What determines default branch after “git clone”?
My understanding is that the default branch of a cloned repository is to be whatever HEAD points to in the repo being cloned.
I now have a case where this is not true. My understanding is obviously flawed, so what does determine the default checkout branch when cloning a (bare) repo?
The last commit on that repo was a merge between the branch referenced in the bare repo’s HEAD into the branch I’m getting as the checkout branch in the clone.
git remote show origin returns:
Fetch URL: ... Push URL: ... HEAD branch (remote HEAD is ambiguous, may be one of the following): <bad-branch> live Remote branches: ...
Bare repo uses Git version 18.104.22.168, client uses 22.214.171.124, transport is SSH.
Maybe the answer is actually this one here. This answer confirms it. If there is a choice of symbolic refs all pointing to the same revision as HEAD, the client will guess which branch to use.
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Beginning with Git 1.8.5, the server will send the actual branch name that
HEAD points to, in the “symref” capability. If you have both a client and server newer than Git 1.8.5, it will update
Prior to that, the client will guess what HEAD may have pointed to by comparing the object ID that HEAD (ultimately) points to with all the object IDs of all the branches. It prefers a branch named
refs/heads/master: if both
master point to the same object ID, then clone will set the default branch in the new repository to
Otherwise, the first branch with a matching OID (when the branches are sorted alphanumerically) will be the default branch. If no branches have matching OIDs, then
HEAD will be set directly to the object ID (ie, a detached HEAD).
It is actually what HEAD points to. Use
git symbolic-ref HEAD refs/heads/mybranch for setting HEAD.
(source: http://feeding.cloud.geek.nz/posts/setting-default-git-branch-in-bare/ )
A bare repo has a
HEAD, too. That’s what you get when you clone it.
git clone documentation:
Clones a repository into a newly created directory, creates remote-tracking branches for each branch in the cloned repository (visible using
git branch -r), and creates and checks out an initial branch that is forked from the cloned repository’s currently active branch.
The bit about “currently active branch” is referring to the remote’s
If you want different behaviour, you can use
Instead of pointing the newly created
HEADto the branch pointed to by the cloned repository’s
HEAD, point to
<name>branch instead. In a non-bare repository, this is the branch that will be checked out.
--branchcan also take tags and detaches the
HEADat that commit in the resulting repository.