blob: 9639f705afafab6fcf0cd21ad2693627ab42f66d [file] [log] [blame]
git-update-ref - Update the object name stored in a ref safely
'git update-ref' [-m <reason>] (-d <ref> [<oldvalue>] | [--no-deref] <ref> <newvalue> [<oldvalue>])
Given two arguments, stores the <newvalue> in the <ref>, possibly
dereferencing the symbolic refs. E.g. `git update-ref HEAD
<newvalue>` updates the current branch head to the new object.
Given three arguments, stores the <newvalue> in the <ref>,
possibly dereferencing the symbolic refs, after verifying that
the current value of the <ref> matches <oldvalue>.
E.g. `git update-ref refs/heads/master <newvalue> <oldvalue>`
updates the master branch head to <newvalue> only if its current
value is <oldvalue>. You can specify 40 "0" or an empty string
as <oldvalue> to make sure that the ref you are creating does
not exist.
It also allows a "ref" file to be a symbolic pointer to another
ref file by starting with the four-byte header sequence of
More importantly, it allows the update of a ref file to follow
these symbolic pointers, whether they are symlinks or these
"regular file symbolic refs". It follows *real* symlinks only
if they start with "refs/": otherwise it will just try to read
them and update them as a regular file (i.e. it will allow the
filesystem to follow them, but will overwrite such a symlink to
somewhere else with a regular filename).
If --no-deref is given, <ref> itself is overwritten, rather than
the result of following the symbolic pointers.
In general, using
git update-ref HEAD "$head"
should be a _lot_ safer than doing
echo "$head" > "$GIT_DIR/HEAD"
both from a symlink following standpoint *and* an error checking
standpoint. The "refs/" rule for symlinks means that symlinks
that point to "outside" the tree are safe: they'll be followed
for reading but not for writing (so we'll never write through a
ref symlink to some other tree, if you have copied a whole
archive by creating a symlink tree).
With `-d` flag, it deletes the named <ref> after verifying it
still contains <oldvalue>.
Logging Updates
If config parameter "core.logAllRefUpdates" is true or the file
"$GIT_DIR/logs/<ref>" exists then `git update-ref` will append
a line to the log file "$GIT_DIR/logs/<ref>" (dereferencing all
symbolic refs before creating the log name) describing the change
in ref value. Log lines are formatted as:
. oldsha1 SP newsha1 SP committer LF
Where "oldsha1" is the 40 character hexadecimal value previously
stored in <ref>, "newsha1" is the 40 character hexadecimal value of
<newvalue> and "committer" is the committer's name, email address
and date in the standard GIT committer ident format.
Optionally with -m:
. oldsha1 SP newsha1 SP committer TAB message LF
Where all fields are as described above and "message" is the
value supplied to the -m option.
An update will fail (without changing <ref>) if the current user is
unable to create a new log file, append to the existing log file
or does not have committer information available.
Written by Linus Torvalds <>.
Part of the linkgit:git[1] suite