What's new in Git 1.8.5

Nicola Paolucci
Nicola Paolucci
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While we wait for the next major git release which will bring about some serious updates let's peel off the notes of the latest point release: 1.8.5 is upon us!

Here is what I could dig from the release notes that was interesting to me in my role of average git user.

Oh and if you haven't seen them yet check out my earlier notes on releases 1.8.2, 1.8.3 and 1.8.4.

Customary installation pointers

It is customary for me to provide a few pointers for the upgrade, with caveats and reminders that package managers in some cases might delay the distribution; that is out of my hands. In any case, here are some painless instructions to upgrade:

  • Type brew update && brew upgrade git if you use homebrew on OSX.
  • Use a magic apt trick if on Ubuntu based distributions (I leave other distributions as an exercise for the reader).
  • Simply run the new installer if on Windows (the Windows port sometimes lags a bit behind so please be patient if you can't find it right away).

HEAD new alias is finally live

This had been cooking for a while and it's finally in: HEAD has a new alias, instead of typing four capital letters you can say "@" now, e.g. "git log @".

Some rebase polish

Rebase saw some polish:

  • In the operations sheet of the --interactive rebase the list of commit ids will now conform to the core.abbrev length (core.abbrev is the configuration that holds how long the abbreviated hashes of the commits should be, the default being 7).

  • You can now customize if git pull --rebase should use the default flattening or preserve merges by modifying setting pull.rebase to preserve. For more details on what this and rebase --preserve-merges do, please check Stack Overflow's answer.

Tiny status improvements

Varied improvements to git status have been included in this release:

  • It no longer prints dirty status information for submodules for which submodule.$name.ignore is set to "all".

  • During a cherry-pick it shows what original commit is being picked.

  • It will not spit out its output prepended by # comment markers. If you require scripts to parse the output of git status you should now update them to use git status --porcelain.

  • git status and git branch -v -v now distinguish among a branch that does not build on any other branch, a branch that is in sync with the branch it builds on, and a branch that is configured to build on some other branch that no longer exists.

Diff for "all-but" classes

git diff --diff-filter could already filter several classes of changes:

--diff-filter=[(A|C|D|M|R|T|U|X|B)...[*]] Select only files that are Added (A), Copied (C), Deleted (D), Modified (M), Renamed (R), have their type (i.e. regular file, symlink, submodule, ...) changed (T), are Unmerged (U), are Unknown (X), or have had their pairing Broken (B). Any combination of the filter characters (including none) can be used. When * (All-or-none) is added to the combination, all paths are selected if there is any file that matches other criteria in the comparison; if there is no file that matches other criteria, nothing is selected.

It can can now take lowercase letters to mean show everything but these classes.

HTTP variables per site

  • The "http.*" variables can now be specified per URL that the configuration applies. For example the following would flip http.sslVerify off only when talking to that specified site:
[http] sslVerify = true [http "https://weak.example.com/"] sslVerify = false

Welcome submodule awareness on move

Submodule support has been steadily improving with every release, this time git gains the ability to relocate submodules:

'git mv A B' when moving a submodule A has been taught to relocate its working tree and to adjust the paths in the .gitmodules file.

Performance, Internal Implementation, etc.

  • The HTTP transport will try to use TCP keepalive when able.

  • git repack is now written in C.

Other tidbits

Other interesting tidbits directly from the release notes:

  • git whatchanged deprecated but not removed. It's been made less prominent in the general part of the documentation.
  • git cherry-pick now understands git cherry-pick - to pick from the previous branch.
  • xdg-open can be used as a browser backend for git web-browse (hence to show git help -w output), when available.
  • Just like make -C <directory>, git -C <directory> ... tells Git to go there before doing anything else.
  • Make foo^{tag} to peel a tag to itself, i.e. no-op., and fail if "foo" is not a tag. git rev-parse --verify v1.0^{tag} would be a more convenient way to say test $(git cat-file -t v1.0) = tag.
  • git push --no-thin actually disables the "thin pack transfer" optimization.
  • Magic pathspecs like ":(icase)makefile" that matches both Makefile and makefile and ":(glob)foo/**/bar" that matches "bar" in "foo" and any subdirectory of "foo" can be used in more places.
  • git blame can now take more than one -L option to discover the origin of multiple blocks of the lines.
  • The http transport clients can optionally ask to save cookies with http.savecookies configuration variable.
  • git fetch (hence "git pull" as well) learned to check fetch.prune and remote.*.prune configuration variables and to behave as if the --prune command line option was given.

That's it for now. Let me know if you find this update useful and stay tuned for more. Follow me @durdn and the awesome @AtlDevtools team for more DVCS rocking.