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           git *


           This document attempts to write down and motivate some of the workflow
           elements used for git.git itself. Many ideas apply in general, though
           the full workflow is rarely required for smaller projects with fewer
           people involved.
           We formulate a set of rules for quick reference, while the prose tries
           to motivate each of them. Do not always take them literally; you should
           value good reasons for your actions higher than manpages such as this


           As a general rule, you should try to split your changes into small
           logical steps, and commit each of them. They should be consistent,
           working independently of any later commits, pass the test suite, etc.
           This makes the review process much easier, and the history much more
           useful for later inspection and analysis, for example with git-blame(1)
           and git-bisect(1).
           To achieve this, try to split your work into small steps from the very
           beginning. It is always easier to squash a few commits together than to
           split one big commit into several. Don't be afraid of making too small
           or imperfect steps along the way. You can always go back later and edit
           the commits with git rebase --interactive before you publish them. You
           can use git stash save --keep-index to run the test suite independent
           of other uncommitted changes; see the EXAMPLES section of git-stash(1).


           There are two main tools that can be used to include changes from one
           branch on another: git-merge(1) and git-cherry-pick(1).
           Merges have many advantages, so we try to solve as many problems as
           possible with merges alone. Cherry-picking is still occasionally
           useful; see "Merging upwards" below for an example.
           Most importantly, merging works at the branch level, while
           cherry-picking works at the commit level. This means that a merge can
           carry over the changes from 1, 10, or 1000 commits with equal ease,
           which in turn means the workflow scales much better to a large number
           of contributors (and contributions). Merges are also easier to
           understand because a merge commit is a "promise" that all changes from
           all its parents are now included.
           There is a tradeoff of course: merges require a more careful branch
           management. The following subsections discuss the important points.
           As a given feature goes from experimental to stable, it also
           "graduates" between the corresponding branches of the software. git.git
           Each of the four branches is usually a direct descendant of the one
           above it.
           Conceptually, the feature enters at an unstable branch (usually next or
           pu), and "graduates" to master for the next release once it is
           considered stable enough.
       Merging upwards
           The "downwards graduation" discussed above cannot be done by actually
           merging downwards, however, since that would merge all changes on the
           unstable branch into the stable one. Hence the following:
           Example 1. Merge upwards
           Always commit your fixes to the oldest supported branch that require
           them. Then (periodically) merge the integration branches upwards into
           each other.
           This gives a very controlled flow of fixes. If you notice that you have
           applied a fix to e.g. master that is also required in maint, you will
           need to cherry-pick it (using git-cherry-pick(1)) downwards. This will
           happen a few times and is nothing to worry about unless you do it very
       Topic branches
           Any nontrivial feature will require several patches to implement, and
           may get extra bugfixes or improvements during its lifetime.
           Committing everything directly on the integration branches leads to
           many problems: Bad commits cannot be undone, so they must be reverted
           one by one, which creates confusing histories and further error
           potential when you forget to revert part of a group of changes. Working
           in parallel mixes up the changes, creating further confusion.
           Use of "topic branches" solves these problems. The name is pretty self
           explanatory, with a caveat that comes from the "merge upwards" rule
           Example 2. Topic branches
           Make a side branch for every topic (feature, bugfix, ...). Fork it off
           at the oldest integration branch that you will eventually want to merge
           it into.
           Many things can then be done very naturally:
           ?   To get the feature/bugfix into an integration branch, simply merge
               it. If the topic has evolved further in the meantime, merge again.
               (Note that you do not necessarily have to merge it to the oldest
               integration branch first. For example, you can first merge a bugfix
           We should point out that "habitually" (regularly for no real reason)
           merging an integration branch into your topics -- and by extension,
           merging anything upstream into anything downstream on a regular basis --
           is frowned upon:
           Example 3. Merge to downstream only at well-defined points
           Do not merge to downstream except with a good reason: upstream API
           changes affect your branch; your branch no longer merges to upstream
           cleanly; etc.
           Otherwise, the topic that was merged to suddenly contains more than a
           single (well-separated) change. The many resulting small merges will
           greatly clutter up history. Anyone who later investigates the history
           of a file will have to find out whether that merge affected the topic
           in development. An upstream might even inadvertently be merged into a
           "more stable" branch. And so on.
       Throw-away integration
           If you followed the last paragraph, you will now have many small topic
           branches, and occasionally wonder how they interact. Perhaps the result
           of merging them does not even work? But on the other hand, we want to
           avoid merging them anywhere "stable" because such merges cannot easily
           be undone.
           The solution, of course, is to make a merge that we can undo: merge
           into a throw-away branch.
           Example 4. Throw-away integration branches
           To test the interaction of several topics, merge them into a throw-away
           branch. You must never base any work on such a branch!
           If you make it (very) clear that this branch is going to be deleted
           right after the testing, you can even publish this branch, for example
           to give the testers a chance to work with it, or other developers a
           chance to see if their in-progress work will be compatible. git.git has
           such an official throw-away integration branch called pu.
       Branch management for a release
           Assuming you are using the merge approach discussed above, when you are
           releasing your project you will need to do some additional branch
           management work.
           A feature release is created from the master branch, since master
           tracks the commits that should go into the next feature release.
           The master branch is supposed to be a superset of maint. If this
           condition does not hold, then maint contains some commits that are not
           included on master. The fixes represented by those commits will
           therefore not be included in your feature release.
           git tag -s -m "GIT X.Y.Z" vX.Y.Z master
           You need to push the new tag to a public git server (see "DISTRIBUTED
           WORKFLOWS" below). This makes the tag available to others tracking your
           project. The push could also trigger a post-update hook to perform
           release-related items such as building release tarballs and
           preformatted documentation pages.
           Similarly, for a maintenance release, maint is tracking the commits to
           be released. Therefore, in the steps above simply tag and push maint
           rather than master.
       Maintenance branch management after a feature release
           After a feature release, you need to manage your maintenance branches.
           First, if you wish to continue to release maintenance fixes for the
           feature release made before the recent one, then you must create
           another branch to track commits for that previous release.
           To do this, the current maintenance branch is copied to another branch
           named with the previous release version number (e.g. maint-X.Y.(Z-1)
           where X.Y.Z is the current release).
           Example 7. Copy maint
           git branch maint-X.Y.(Z-1) maint
           The maint branch should now be fast-forwarded to the newly released
           code so that maintenance fixes can be tracked for the current release:
           Example 8. Update maint to new release
           ?    git checkout maint
           ?    git merge --ff-only master
           If the merge fails because it is not a fast-forward, then it is
           possible some fixes on maint were missed in the feature release. This
           will not happen if the content of the branches was verified as
           described in the previous section.
       Branch management for next and pu after a feature release
           After a feature release, the integration branch next may optionally be
           rewound and rebuilt from the tip of master using the surviving topics
           on next:
           Example 9. Rewind and rebuild next
           ?    git checkout next
           ?    git reset --hard master
           If you do this, then you should make a public announcement indicating
           that next was rewound and rebuilt.
           The same rewind and rebuild process may be followed for pu. A public
           announcement is not necessary since pu is a throw-away branch, as
           described above.


           After the last section, you should know how to manage topics. In
           general, you will not be the only person working on the project, so you
           will have to share your work.
           Roughly speaking, there are two important workflows: merge and patch.
           The important difference is that the merge workflow can propagate full
           history, including merges, while patches cannot. Both workflows can be
           used in parallel: in git.git, only subsystem maintainers use the merge
           workflow, while everyone else sends patches.
           Note that the maintainer(s) may impose restrictions, such as
           "Signed-off-by" requirements, that all commits/patches submitted for
           inclusion must adhere to. Consult your project's documentation for more
       Merge workflow
           The merge workflow works by copying branches between upstream and
           downstream. Upstream can merge contributions into the official history;
           downstream base their work on the official history.
           There are three main tools that can be used for this:
           ?    git-push(1) copies your branches to a remote repository, usually
               to one that can be read by all involved parties;
           ?    git-fetch(1) that copies remote branches to your repository; and
           ?    git-pull(1) that does fetch and merge in one go.
           Note the last point. Do not use git pull unless you actually want to
           merge the remote branch.
           Getting changes out is easy:
           Example 10. Push/pull: Publishing branches/topics
           git push <remote> <branch> and tell everyone where they can fetch from.
           You will still have to tell people by other means, such as mail. (Git
           provides the git-request-pull(1) to send preformatted pull requests to
           upstream maintainers to simplify this task.)
           If you just want to get the newest copies of the integration branches,
           staying up to date is easy too:
           In that case, git pull can do the fetch and merge in one go, as
           Example 12. Push/pull: Merging remote topics
           git pull <url> <branch>
           Occasionally, the maintainer may get merge conflicts when he tries to
           pull changes from downstream. In this case, he can ask downstream to do
           the merge and resolve the conflicts themselves (perhaps they will know
           better how to resolve them). It is one of the rare cases where
           downstream should merge from upstream.
       Patch workflow
           If you are a contributor that sends changes upstream in the form of
           emails, you should use topic branches as usual (see above). Then use
           git-format-patch(1) to generate the corresponding emails (highly
           recommended over manually formatting them because it makes the
           maintainer's life easier).
           Example 13. format-patch/am: Publishing branches/topics
           ?    git format-patch -M upstream..topic to turn them into preformatted
               patch files
           ?    git send-email --to=<recipient> <patches>
           See the git-format-patch(1) and git-send-email(1) manpages for further
           usage notes.
           If the maintainer tells you that your patch no longer applies to the
           current upstream, you will have to rebase your topic (you cannot use a
           merge because you cannot format-patch merges):
           Example 14. format-patch/am: Keeping topics up to date
           git pull --rebase <url> <branch>
           You can then fix the conflicts during the rebase. Presumably you have
           not published your topic other than by mail, so rebasing it is not a
           If you receive such a patch series (as maintainer, or perhaps as a
           reader of the mailing list it was sent to), save the mails to files,
           create a new topic branch and use git am to import the commits:
           Example 15. format-patch/am: Importing patches
           git am < patch

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