Everyday Git With 20 Commands Or So
Git users can broadly be grouped into four categories for the purposes
of describing here a small set of useful command for everyday Git.
o Individual Developer (Standalone) commands are essential for
anybody who makes a commit, even for somebody who works alone.
o If you work with other people, you will need commands listed in the
Individual Developer (Participant) section as well.
o People who play the Integrator role need to learn some more
commands in addition to the above.
o Repository Administration commands are for system administrators
who are responsible for the care and feeding of Git repositories.
INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPER (STANDALONE)
A standalone individual developer does not exchange patches with other
people, and works alone in a single repository, using the following
o git-init(1) to create a new repository.
o git-log(1) to see what happened.
o git-checkout(1) and git-branch(1) to switch branches.
o git-add(1) to manage the index file.
o git-diff(1) and git-status(1) to see what you are in the middle of
o git-commit(1) to advance the current branch.
o git-reset(1) and git-checkout(1) (with pathname parameters) to undo
o git-merge(1) to merge between local branches.
o git-rebase(1) to maintain topic branches.
o git-tag(1) to mark a known point.
Use a tarball as a starting point for a new repository.
$ tar zxf frotz.tar.gz
$ cd frotz
$ git init
$ git add . (1)
$ git commit -m "import of frotz source tree."
$ git tag v2.43 (2)
$ git commit -a -s (5)
$ git diff HEAD^ (6)
$ git commit -a --amend (7)
$ git checkout master (8)
$ git merge alsa-audio (9)
$ git log --since='3 days ago' (10)
$ git log v2.43.. curses/ (11)
1. create a new topic branch.
2. revert your botched changes in curses/ux_audio_oss.c.
3. you need to tell Git if you added a new file; removal and
modification will be caught if you do git commit -a later.
4. to see what changes you are committing.
5. commit everything, as you have tested, with your sign-off.
6. look at all your changes including the previous commit.
7. amend the previous commit, adding all your new changes, using
your original message.
8. switch to the master branch.
9. merge a topic branch into your master branch.
10. review commit logs; other forms to limit output can be combined
and include -10 (to show up to 10 commits), --until=2005-12-10,
11. view only the changes that touch what's in curses/ directory,
since v2.43 tag.
INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPER (PARTICIPANT)
A developer working as a participant in a group project needs to learn
how to communicate with others, and uses these commands in addition to
the ones needed by a standalone developer.
o git-clone(1) from the upstream to prime your local repository.
o git-pull(1) and git-fetch(1) from "origin" to keep up-to-date with
o git-push(1) to shared repository, if you adopt CVS style shared
o git-format-patch(1) to prepare e-mail submission, if you adopt
Linux kernel-style public forum workflow.
o git-send-email(1) to send your e-mail submission without corruption
by your MUA.
o git-request-pull(1) to create a summary of changes for your
upstream to pull.
Clone the upstream and work on it. Feed changes to upstream.
$ git clone git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/.../torvalds/linux-2.6 my2.6
$ cd my2.6
$ git checkout -b mine master (1)
2. repeat as needed.
3. extract patches from your branch, relative to master,
4. and email them.
5. return to master, ready to see what's new
6. git pull fetches from origin by default and merges into the
7. immediately after pulling, look at the changes done upstream
since last time we checked, only in the area we are interested in.
8. check the branch names in an external repository (if not known).
9. fetch from a specific branch ALL from a specific repository and
10. revert the pull.
11. garbage collect leftover objects from reverted pull.
Push into another repository.
satellite$ git clone mothership:frotz frotz (1)
satellite$ cd frotz
satellite$ git config --get-regexp '^(remote|branch)\.' (2)
satellite$ git config remote.origin.push \
satellite$ git push origin (4)
mothership$ cd frotz
mothership$ git checkout master
mothership$ git merge satellite/master (5)
1. mothership machine has a frotz repository under your home
directory; clone from it to start a repository on the satellite
2. clone sets these configuration variables by default. It arranges
git pull to fetch and store the branches of mothership machine to
local remotes/origin/* remote-tracking branches.
3. arrange git push to push all local branches to their
corresponding branch of the mothership machine.
4. push will stash all our work away on remotes/satellite/*
remote-tracking branches on the mothership machine. You could use
this as a back-up method. Likewise, you can pretend that mothership
"fetched" from you (useful when access is one sided).
5. on mothership machine, merge the work done on the satellite
machine into the master branch.
Branch off of a specific tag.
$ git checkout -b private2.6.14 v2.6.14 (1)
$ edit/compile/test; git commit -a
$ git checkout master
$ git cherry-pick v2.6.14..private2.6.14 (2)
A fairly central person acting as the integrator in a group project
receives changes made by others, reviews and integrates them and
publishes the result for others to use, using these commands in
addition to the ones needed by participants.
This section can also be used by those who respond to git request-pull
or pull-request on GitHub (www.github.com) to integrate the work of
others into their history. An sub-area lieutenant for a repository will
act both as a participant and as an integrator.
o git-am(1) to apply patches e-mailed in from your contributors.
o git-pull(1) to merge from your trusted lieutenants.
o git-format-patch(1) to prepare and send suggested alternative to
o git-revert(1) to undo botched commits.
o git-push(1) to publish the bleeding edge.
A typical integrator's Git day.
$ git status (1)
$ git branch --no-merged master (2)
$ mailx (3)
& s 2 3 4 5 ./+to-apply
& s 7 8 ./+hold-linus
$ git checkout -b topic/one master
$ git am -3 -i -s ./+to-apply (4)
$ git checkout -b hold/linus && git am -3 -i -s ./+hold-linus (5)
$ git checkout topic/one && git rebase master (6)
$ git checkout pu && git reset --hard next (7)
$ git merge topic/one topic/two && git merge hold/linus (8)
$ git checkout maint
$ git cherry-pick master~4 (9)
$ git tag -s -m "GIT 0.99.9x" v0.99.9x (10)
$ git fetch ko && for branch in master maint next pu (11)
git show-branch ko/$branch $branch (12)
$ git push --follow-tags ko (13)
1. see what you were in the middle of doing, if anything.
2. see which branches haven't been merged into master yet. Likewise
for any other integration branches e.g. maint, next and pu
3. read mails, save ones that are applicable, and save others that
are not quite ready (other mail readers are available).
url = kernel.org:/pub/scm/git/git.git
fetch = refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/ko/*
push = refs/heads/master
push = refs/heads/next
push = +refs/heads/pu
push = refs/heads/maint
12. In the output from git show-branch, master should have
everything ko/master has, and next should have everything ko/next
13. push out the bleeding edge, together with new tags that point
into the pushed history.
A repository administrator uses the following tools to set up and
maintain access to the repository by developers.
o git-daemon(1) to allow anonymous download from repository.
o git-shell(1) can be used as a restricted login shell for shared
central repository users.
o git-http-backend(1) provides a server side implementation of
Git-over-HTTP ("Smart http") allowing both fetch and push services.
o gitweb(1) provides a web front-end to Git repositories, which can
be set-up using the git-instaweb(1) script.
update hook howto has a good example of managing a shared central
In addition there are a number of other widely deployed hosting,
browsing and reviewing solutions such as:
o gitolite, gerrit code review, cgit and others.
We assume the following in /etc/services
$ grep 9418 /etc/services
git 9418/tcp # Git Version Control System
Run git-daemon to serve /pub/scm from inetd.
$ grep git /etc/inetd.conf
git stream tcp nowait nobody \
/usr/bin/git-daemon git-daemon --inetd --export-all /pub/scm
The actual configuration line should be on one line.
Run git-daemon to serve /pub/scm from xinetd.
server_args = --inetd --export-all --base-path=/pub/scm
log_on_failure += USERID
Check your xinetd(8) documentation and setup, this is from a Fedora
system. Others might be different.
Give push/pull only access to developers using git-over-ssh.
e.g. those using: $ git push/pull ssh://host.xz/pub/scm/project
$ grep git /etc/passwd (1)
$ grep git /etc/shells (2)
1. log-in shell is set to /usr/bin/git-shell, which does not allow
anything but git push and git pull. The users require ssh access to
2. in many distributions /etc/shells needs to list what is used as
the login shell.
CVS-style shared repository.
$ grep git /etc/group (1)
$ cd /home/devo.git
$ ls -l (2)
lrwxrwxrwx 1 david git 17 Dec 4 22:40 HEAD -> refs/heads/master
drwxrwsr-x 2 david git 4096 Dec 4 22:40 branches
-rw-rw-r-- 1 david git 84 Dec 4 22:40 config
-rw-rw-r-- 1 david git 58 Dec 4 22:40 description
drwxrwsr-x 2 david git 4096 Dec 4 22:40 hooks
-rw-rw-r-- 1 david git 37504 Dec 4 22:40 index
drwxrwsr-x 2 david git 4096 Dec 4 22:40 info
drwxrwsr-x 4 david git 4096 Dec 4 22:40 objects
drwxrwsr-x 4 david git 4096 Nov 7 14:58 refs
drwxrwsr-x 2 david git 4096 Dec 4 22:40 remotes
$ ls -l hooks/update (3)
-r-xr-xr-x 1 david git 3536 Dec 4 22:40 update
$ cat info/allowed-users (4)
1. place the developers into the same git group.
2. and make the shared repository writable by the group.
3. use update-hook example by Carl from Documentation/howto/ for
branch policy control.
4. alice and cindy can push into master, only bob can push into
doc-update. david is the release manager and is the only person who
can create and push version tags.
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