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GIT index format
= The git index file has the following format
All binary numbers are in network byte order. Version 2 is described
here unless stated otherwise.
- A 12-byte header consisting of
4-byte signature:
The signature is { 'D', 'I', 'R', 'C' } (stands for "dircache")
4-byte version number:
The current supported versions are 2 and 3.
32-bit number of index entries.
- A number of sorted index entries (see below).
- Extensions
Extensions are identified by signature. Optional extensions can
be ignored if GIT does not understand them.
GIT currently supports cached tree and resolve undo extensions.
4-byte extension signature. If the first byte is 'A'..'Z' the
extension is optional and can be ignored.
32-bit size of the extension
Extension data
- 160-bit SHA-1 over the content of the index file before this
== Index entry
Index entries are sorted in ascending order on the name field,
interpreted as a string of unsigned bytes (i.e. memcmp() order, no
localization, no special casing of directory separator '/'). Entries
with the same name are sorted by their stage field.
32-bit ctime seconds, the last time a file's metadata changed
this is stat(2) data
32-bit ctime nanosecond fractions
this is stat(2) data
32-bit mtime seconds, the last time a file's data changed
this is stat(2) data
32-bit mtime nanosecond fractions
this is stat(2) data
32-bit dev
this is stat(2) data
32-bit ino
this is stat(2) data
32-bit mode, split into (high to low bits)
4-bit object type
valid values in binary are 1000 (regular file), 1010 (symbolic link)
and 1110 (gitlink)
3-bit unused
9-bit unix permission. Only 0755 and 0644 are valid for regular files.
Symbolic links and gitlinks have value 0 in this field.
32-bit uid
this is stat(2) data
32-bit gid
this is stat(2) data
32-bit file size
This is the on-disk size from stat(2), truncated to 32-bit.
160-bit SHA-1 for the represented object
A 16-bit 'flags' field split into (high to low bits)
1-bit assume-valid flag
1-bit extended flag (must be zero in version 2)
2-bit stage (during merge)
12-bit name length if the length is less than 0xFFF; otherwise 0xFFF
is stored in this field.
(Version 3) A 16-bit field, only applicable if the "extended flag"
above is 1, split into (high to low bits).
1-bit reserved for future
1-bit skip-worktree flag (used by sparse checkout)
1-bit intent-to-add flag (used by "git add -N")
13-bit unused, must be zero
Entry path name (variable length) relative to top level directory
(without leading slash). '/' is used as path separator. The special
path components ".", ".." and ".git" (without quotes) are disallowed.
Trailing slash is also disallowed.
The exact encoding is undefined, but the '.' and '/' characters
are encoded in 7-bit ASCII and the encoding cannot contain a NUL
byte (iow, this is a UNIX pathname).
1-8 nul bytes as necessary to pad the entry to a multiple of eight bytes
while keeping the name NUL-terminated.
== Extensions
=== Cached tree
Cached tree extension contains pre-computed hashes for trees that can
be derived from the index. It helps speed up tree object generation
from index for a new commit.
When a path is updated in index, the path must be invalidated and
removed from tree cache.
The signature for this extension is { 'T', 'R', 'E', 'E' }.
A series of entries fill the entire extension; each of which
consists of:
- NUL-terminated path component (relative to its parent directory);
- ASCII decimal number of entries in the index that is covered by the
tree this entry represents (entry_count);
- A space (ASCII 32);
- ASCII decimal number that represents the number of subtrees this
tree has;
- A newline (ASCII 10); and
- 160-bit object name for the object that would result from writing
this span of index as a tree.
An entry can be in an invalidated state and is represented by having
-1 in the entry_count field. In this case, there is no object name
and the next entry starts immediately after the newline.
The entries are written out in the top-down, depth-first order. The
first entry represents the root level of the repository, followed by the
first subtree---let's call this A---of the root level (with its name
relative to the root level), followed by the first subtree of A (with
its name relative to A), ...
=== Resolve undo
A conflict is represented in the index as a set of higher stage entries.
When a conflict is resolved (e.g. with "git add path"), these higher
stage entries will be removed and a stage-0 entry with proper resoluton
is added.
When these higher stage entries are removed, they are saved in the
resolve undo extension, so that conflicts can be recreated (e.g. with
"git checkout -m"), in case users want to redo a conflict resolution
from scratch.
The signature for this extension is { 'R', 'E', 'U', 'C' }.
A series of entries fill the entire extension; each of which
consists of:
- NUL-terminated pathname the entry describes (relative to the root of
the repository, i.e. full pathname);
- Three NUL-terminated ASCII octal numbers, entry mode of entries in
stage 1 to 3 (a missing stage is represented by "0" in this field);
- At most three 160-bit object names of the entry in stages from 1 to 3
(nothing is written for a missing stage).