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GIT\-READ\-TREE

Section: Git Manual (1)
Updated: 09/30/2007
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NAME

git-read-tree - Reads tree information into the index  

SYNOPSIS

git-read-tree (<tree-ish> | [[-m [--trivial] [--aggressive] | --reset | --prefix=<prefix>] [-u | -i]] [--exclude-per-directory=<gitignore>] [--index-output=<file>] <tree-ish1> [<tree-ish2> [<tree-ish3>]])  

DESCRIPTION

Reads the tree information given by <tree-ish> into the index, but does not actually update any of the files it "caches". (see: git-checkout-index(1))

Optionally, it can merge a tree into the index, perform a fast-forward (i.e. 2-way) merge, or a 3-way merge, with the -m flag. When used with -m, the -u flag causes it to also update the files in the work tree with the result of the merge.

Trivial merges are done by git-read-tree itself. Only conflicting paths will be in unmerged state when git-read-tree returns.  

OPTIONS

-m

Perform a merge, not just a read. The command will refuse to run if your index file has unmerged entries, indicating that you have not finished previous merge you started.

--reset

Same as -m, except that unmerged entries are discarded instead of failing.

-u

After a successful merge, update the files in the work tree with the result of the merge.

-i

Usually a merge requires the index file as well as the files in the working tree are up to date with the current head commit, in order not to lose local changes. This flag disables the check with the working tree and is meant to be used when creating a merge of trees that are not directly related to the current working tree status into a temporary index file.

--trivial

Restrict three-way merge by git-read-tree to happen only if there is no file-level merging required, instead of resolving merge for trivial cases and leaving conflicting files unresolved in the index.

--aggressive

Usually a three-way merge by git-read-tree resolves the merge for really trivial cases and leaves other cases unresolved in the index, so that Porcelains can implement different merge policies. This flag makes the command to resolve a few more cases internally:

*when one side removes a path and the other side leaves the path unmodified. The resolution is to remove that path.
*when both sides remove a path. The resolution is to remove that path.
*when both sides adds a path identically. The resolution is to add that path.

--prefix=<prefix>/

Keep the current index contents, and read the contents of named tree-ish under directory at <prefix>. The original index file cannot have anything at the path <prefix> itself, and have nothing in <prefix>/ directory. Note that the <prefix>/ value must end with a slash.

--exclude-per-directory=<gitignore>

When running the command with -u and -m options, the merge result may need to overwrite paths that are not tracked in the current branch. The command usually refuses to proceed with the merge to avoid losing such a path. However this safety valve sometimes gets in the way. For example, it often happens that the other branch added a file that used to be a generated file in your branch, and the safety valve triggers when you try to switch to that branch after you ran make but before running make clean to remove the generated file. This option tells the command to read per-directory exclude file (usually .gitignore) and allows such an untracked but explicitly ignored file to be overwritten.

--index-output=<file>

Instead of writing the results out to $GIT_INDEX_FILE, write the resulting index in the named file. While the command is operating, the original index file is locked with the same mechanism as usual. The file must allow to be rename(2)ed into from a temporary file that is created next to the usual index file; typically this means it needs to be on the same filesystem as the index file itself, and you need write permission to the directories the index file and index output file are located in.

<tree-ish#>

The id of the tree object(s) to be read/merged.
 

MERGING

If -m is specified, git-read-tree can perform 3 kinds of merge, a single tree merge if only 1 tree is given, a fast-forward merge with 2 trees, or a 3-way merge if 3 trees are provided.  

Single Tree Merge

If only 1 tree is specified, git-read-tree operates as if the user did not specify -m, except that if the original index has an entry for a given pathname, and the contents of the path matches with the tree being read, the stat info from the index is used. (In other words, the index's stat()s take precedence over the merged tree's).

That means that if you do a git-read-tree -m <newtree> followed by a git-checkout-index -f -u -a, the git-checkout-index only checks out the stuff that really changed.

This is used to avoid unnecessary false hits when git-diff-files is run after git-read-tree.  

Two Tree Merge

Typically, this is invoked as git-read-tree -m $H $M, where $H is the head commit of the current repository, and $M is the head of a foreign tree, which is simply ahead of $H (i.e. we are in a fast forward situation).

When two trees are specified, the user is telling git-read-tree the following:

1.The current index and work tree is derived from $H, but the user may have local changes in them since $H;
2.The user wants to fast-forward to $M.
In this case, the git-read-tree -m $H $M command makes sure that no local change is lost as the result of this "merge". Here are the "carry forward" rules:

  I (index)           H        M        Result
 -------------------------------------------------------
0 nothing             nothing  nothing  (does not happen)
1 nothing             nothing  exists   use M
2 nothing             exists   nothing  remove path from index
3 nothing             exists   exists   use M

  clean I==H  I==M
 ------------------
4 yes   N/A   N/A     nothing  nothing  keep index
5 no    N/A   N/A     nothing  nothing  keep index

6 yes   N/A   yes     nothing  exists   keep index
7 no    N/A   yes     nothing  exists   keep index
8 yes   N/A   no      nothing  exists   fail
9 no    N/A   no      nothing  exists   fail

10 yes   yes   N/A     exists   nothing  remove path from index
11 no    yes   N/A     exists   nothing  fail
12 yes   no    N/A     exists   nothing  fail
13 no    no    N/A     exists   nothing  fail

   clean (H=M)
  ------
14 yes                 exists   exists   keep index
15 no                  exists   exists   keep index

   clean I==H  I==M (H!=M)
  ------------------
16 yes   no    no      exists   exists   fail
17 no    no    no      exists   exists   fail
18 yes   no    yes     exists   exists   keep index
19 no    no    yes     exists   exists   keep index
20 yes   yes   no      exists   exists   use M
21 no    yes   no      exists   exists   fail
In all "keep index" cases, the index entry stays as in the original index file. If the entry were not up to date, git-read-tree keeps the copy in the work tree intact when operating under the -u flag.

When this form of git-read-tree returns successfully, you can see what "local changes" you made are carried forward by running git-diff-index --cached $M. Note that this does not necessarily match git-diff-index --cached $H would have produced before such a two tree merge. This is because of cases 18 and 19 --- if you already had the changes in $M (e.g. maybe you picked it up via e-mail in a patch form), git-diff-index --cached $H would have told you about the change before this merge, but it would not show in git-diff-index --cached $M output after two-tree merge.  

3-Way Merge

Each "index" entry has two bits worth of "stage" state. stage 0 is the normal one, and is the only one you'd see in any kind of normal use.

However, when you do git-read-tree with three trees, the "stage" starts out at 1.

This means that you can do


.ft C
$ git-read-tree -m <tree1> <tree2> <tree3>
.ft

and you will end up with an index with all of the <tree1> entries in "stage1", all of the <tree2> entries in "stage2" and all of the <tree3> entries in "stage3". When performing a merge of another branch into the current branch, we use the common ancestor tree as <tree1>, the current branch head as <tree2>, and the other branch head as <tree3>.

Furthermore, git-read-tree has special-case logic that says: if you see a file that matches in all respects in the following states, it "collapses" back to "stage0":

*stage 2 and 3 are the same; take one or the other (it makes no difference - the same work has been done on our branch in stage 2 and their branch in stage 3)
*stage 1 and stage 2 are the same and stage 3 is different; take stage 3 (our branch in stage 2 did not do anything since the ancestor in stage 1 while their branch in stage 3 worked on it)
*stage 1 and stage 3 are the same and stage 2 is different take stage 2 (we did something while they did nothing)
The git-write-tree command refuses to write a nonsensical tree, and it will complain about unmerged entries if it sees a single entry that is not stage 0.

OK, this all sounds like a collection of totally nonsensical rules, but it's actually exactly what you want in order to do a fast merge. The different stages represent the "result tree" (stage 0, aka "merged"), the original tree (stage 1, aka "orig"), and the two trees you are trying to merge (stage 2 and 3 respectively).

The order of stages 1, 2 and 3 (hence the order of three <tree-ish> command line arguments) are significant when you start a 3-way merge with an index file that is already populated. Here is an outline of how the algorithm works:

*if a file exists in identical format in all three trees, it will automatically collapse to "merged" state by git-read-tree.
*a file that has any difference what-so-ever in the three trees will stay as separate entries in the index. It's up to "porcelain policy" to determine how to remove the non-0 stages, and insert a merged version.
*the index file saves and restores with all this information, so you can merge things incrementally, but as long as it has entries in stages 1/2/3 (i.e., "unmerged entries") you can't write the result. So now the merge algorithm ends up being really simple:

*you walk the index in order, and ignore all entries of stage 0, since they've already been done.
*if you find a "stage1", but no matching "stage2" or "stage3", you know it's been removed from both trees (it only existed in the original tree), and you remove that entry.
*if you find a matching "stage2" and "stage3" tree, you remove one of them, and turn the other into a "stage0" entry. Remove any matching "stage1" entry if it exists too. .. all the normal trivial rules ..
You would normally use git-merge-index with supplied git-merge-one-file to do this last step. The script updates the files in the working tree as it merges each path and at the end of a successful merge.

When you start a 3-way merge with an index file that is already populated, it is assumed that it represents the state of the files in your work tree, and you can even have files with changes unrecorded in the index file. It is further assumed that this state is "derived" from the stage 2 tree. The 3-way merge refuses to run if it finds an entry in the original index file that does not match stage 2.

This is done to prevent you from losing your work-in-progress changes, and mixing your random changes in an unrelated merge commit. To illustrate, suppose you start from what has been committed last to your repository:


.ft C
$ JC=`git-rev-parse --verify "HEAD^0"`
$ git-checkout-index -f -u -a $JC
.ft

You do random edits, without running git-update-index. And then you notice that the tip of your "upstream" tree has advanced since you pulled from him:


.ft C
$ git-fetch git://.... linus
$ LT=`cat .git/FETCH_HEAD`
.ft

Your work tree is still based on your HEAD ($JC), but you have some edits since. Three-way merge makes sure that you have not added or modified index entries since $JC, and if you haven't, then does the right thing. So with the following sequence:


.ft C
$ git-read-tree -m -u `git-merge-base $JC $LT` $JC $LT
$ git-merge-index git-merge-one-file -a
$ echo "Merge with Linus" | \
  git-commit-tree `git-write-tree` -p $JC -p $LT
.ft

what you would commit is a pure merge between $JC and $LT without your work-in-progress changes, and your work tree would be updated to the result of the merge.

However, if you have local changes in the working tree that would be overwritten by this merge,git-read-tree will refuse to run to prevent your changes from being lost.

In other words, there is no need to worry about what exists only in the working tree. When you have local changes in a part of the project that is not involved in the merge, your changes do not interfere with the merge, and are kept intact. When they do interfere, the merge does not even start (git-read-tree complains loudly and fails without modifying anything). In such a case, you can simply continue doing what you were in the middle of doing, and when your working tree is ready (i.e. you have finished your work-in-progress), attempt the merge again.  

SEE ALSO

git-write-tree(1); git-ls-files(1); gitignore(5)  

AUTHOR

Written by Linus Torvalds <torvalds@osdl.org>  

DOCUMENTATION

Documentation by David Greaves, Junio C Hamano and the git-list <git@vger.kernel.org>.  

GIT

Part of the git(7) suite


 

Index

NAME
SYNOPSIS
DESCRIPTION
OPTIONS
MERGING
Single Tree Merge
Two Tree Merge
3-Way Merge
SEE ALSO
AUTHOR
DOCUMENTATION
GIT




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