git fetch vs. git fetch origin master have different effects on tracking branch
This is mostly of the nature of a curiosity as I’m trying to get familiar with Git. I have looked at the documentation for ‘git fetch‘ but I don’t see an obvious explanation for the below. Thanks in advance, and apologies if this is howlingly obvious.
1) From a central repository, say GitHub, I clone a repository named
website on each of two machines,
- git: setting a single tracking remote from a public repo
- git automatic files tracking
- Are there different meanings to the concept of 'tracking' in git?
- How do I get a remote tracking branch to stay up to date with remote origin in a bare Git repository?
- Checking out equivalent branches causes untracked files to appear
- Git: Is there a short way to setup a new branch to track a remote branch?
HostA, I make a change to a file, say
README.txt, and commit it.
At this point on
HostA, the commits for branches
origin/master are, as expected different since I haven’t pushed yet
git show master git show origin/master
report different hashes (since
master has the change and
origin/master does not)
3) Once I push, they are after that the same.
4) Now, over on
HostB, if I do the following:
git fetch git merge FETCH_HEAD
afterwards, on HostB
origin/master report the same hash when queried with
if instead I had done, on
git fetch origin master git merge FETCH_HEAD
at that point the hashes still differ.
git show origin git show origin/master
report different hashes
The tracking branch
origin/master isn’t updated until I do a plain
Why is this?
3 Solutions collect form web for “git fetch vs. git fetch origin master have different effects on tracking branch”
If your branch has an associated remote tracking branch that means its configuration is like:
git config branch.[branch-name].remote [remote-name] git config branch.[branch-name].merge [remote-master]
The key part of
git fetch which explain the difference between the two commands is:
The format of a
<refspec>parameter is an optional plus
+, followed by the source ref
<src>, followed by a colon
:, followed by the destination ref
The remote ref that matches
<src>is fetched, and if
<dst>is not empty string, the local ref that matches it is fast-forwarded using
Let me repeat it:
<dst> is not empty string, the local ref that matches it is fast-forwarded using
git fetchis equivalent to
git fetch origin master:master(from the default value of your branch config), so it will update the remote tracking branch: the destination of the refspec is specified for you.
git fetch origin masteris equivalent to “
git fetch origin master:“, not to “
git fetch origin master:master“; it stores fetched value of ‘
master‘ branch (of remote ‘
FETCH_HEAD, and not in ‘
master‘ branch or remote-tracking ‘
remotes/origin/master‘ branch (from Jakub Narębski’s answer)
In other words, you didn’t specify the destination of your refspec
The answer lies in the messages you get back from
git fetch. In the first case, when you fetch without providing a refspec, you’ll see that the remote tracking branches are updated:
remote: Counting objects: 5, done. remote: Total 3 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0) Unpacking objects: 100% (3/3), done. From /depot c67d1c8..1941673 master -> origin/master
Note how the message says that origin/master is updated with the master from the origin.
Now in the second case, where you specify the refspec, you get something altogether different:
remote: Counting objects: 5, done. remote: Total 3 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0) Unpacking objects: 100% (3/3), done. From /depot * branch master -> FETCH_HEAD
So when you specify the refspec, the remote tracking branch (origin/master) is NOT updated, only FETCH_HEAD.
The end result is that you’ll appear to be ahead of origin/master when you’re not really. I can’t imagine why this behavior would be desirable, but it’s definitely an interesting little quirk of the fetch command.
If you want to fast forward merge yourself, or use git pull. You don’t seem to understand that the purpose of git fetch is NOT to update your working tree. Fetch is meant to update your tracking branches.