Updated git HOWTO for kernel hackers

From: Jeff Garzik
Date: Wed Jun 22 2005 - 17:37:10 EST

Things in git-land are moving at lightning speed, and usability has improved a lot since my post a month ago: http://lkml.org/lkml/2005/5/26/11

1) installing git

git requires bootstrapping, since you must have git installed in order to check out git.git (git repo), and linux-2.6.git (kernel repo). I have put together a bootstrap tarball of today's git repository.

Download tarball from:

tarball build-deps: zlib, libcurl, libcrypto (openssl)

install tarball: unpack && make && sudo make prefix=/usr/local install

jgarzik helper scripts, not in official git distribution:

After reading the rest of this document, come back and update your copy of git to the latest:

2) download a linux kernel tree for the very first time

$ mkdir -p linux-2.6/.git
$ cd linux-2.6
$ rsync -a --delete --verbose --stats --progress \
rsync://rsync.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux-2.6.git/ \ <- word-wrapped backslash; sigh

3) update local kernel tree to latest 2.6.x upstream ("fast-forward merge")

$ cd linux-2.6
$ git-pull-script \

4) check out files from the git repository into the working directory

$ git checkout -f

5) check in your own modifications (e.g. do some hacking, or apply a patch)

# go to repo
$ cd linux-2.6

# make some modifications
$ patch -sp1 < /tmp/my.patch
$ diffstat -p1 < /tmp/my.patch

# NOTE: add '--add' and/or '--remove' if files were added or removed
$ git-update-cache <list of all files changed>

# check in changes
$ git commit

6) List all changes in working dir, in diff format.

$ git-diff-cache -p HEAD

7) List all changesets (i.e. show each cset's description text) in local branch of local tree, that are not present in remote tree.

$ cd my-kernel-tree-2.6
$ git-changes-script -L ../linux-2.6 | less

8) List all changesets:

$ git-whatchanged

9) apply all patches in a Berkeley mbox-format file

First, download and add to your PATH Linus's git tools:

$ cd my-kernel-tree-2.6
$ dotest /path/to/mbox # yes, Linus has no taste in naming scripts

10) don't forget to download tags from time to time.

git-pull-script only downloads sha1-indexed object data, and the requested remote head. This misses updates to the .git/refs/tags/ and .git/refs/heads directories. It is advisable to update your kernel .git directories periodically with a full rsync command, to make sure you got everything:

$ cd linux-2.6
$ rsync -a --delete --verbose --stats --progress \
\ <- word-wrapped backslash; sigh

11) list all branches, such as those found in my netdev-2.6 or libata-dev trees.


$ cd netdev-2.6
$ ls .git/refs/heads/

{ these are the current netdev-2.6 branches }
8139cp forcedeth master qeth smc91x we18
8139too-iomap for-linus natsemi r8169 smc91x-eeprom wifi
airo hdlc ns83820 register-netdev starfire
atmel ieee80211 orinoco remove-drivers tlan
chelsio iff-running orinoco-hch sis900 veth
dm9000 janitor ppp skge viro

12) make desired branch current in working directory

$ git checkout -f $branch

13) create a new branch, and make it current

$ cp .git/refs/heads/master .git/refs/heads/my-new-branch-name
$ git checkout -f my-new-branch-name

14) examine which branch is current

$ ls -l .git/HEAD

15) undo all local modifications (same as checkout):

$ git checkout -f

16) obtain a diff between current branch, and master branch

In most trees WITH BRANCHES, .git/refs/heads/master contains the current 'vanilla' upstream tree, for easy diffing and merging. (in trees without branches, 'master' simply contains your latest changes)

$ git-diff-tree -p master HEAD

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