Git --local-branching-on-the-cheap
Topics ▾ Version 1.9.0 ▾ git-fetch last updated in 2.1.2

NAME

git-fetch - Download objects and refs from another repository

SYNOPSIS

'git fetch' [<options>] [<repository> [<refspec>...]]
'git fetch' [<options>] <group>
'git fetch' --multiple [<options>] [(<repository> | <group>)...]
'git fetch' --all [<options>]

DESCRIPTION

Fetches named heads or tags from one or more other repositories, along with the objects necessary to complete them.

The ref names and their object names of fetched refs are stored in .git/FETCH_HEAD. This information is left for a later merge operation done by git merge.

By default, tags are auto-followed. This means that when fetching from a remote, any tags on the remote that point to objects that exist in the local repository are fetched. The effect is to fetch tags that point at branches that you are interested in. This default behavior can be changed by using the --tags or --no-tags options, by configuring remote.<name>.tagopt, or by using a refspec that fetches tags explicitly.

git fetch can fetch from either a single named repository, or from several repositories at once if <group> is given and there is a remotes.<group> entry in the configuration file. (See git-config[1]).

When no remote is specified, by default the origin remote will be used, unless there’s an upstream branch configured for the current branch.

OPTIONS

--all

Fetch all remotes.

-a
--append

Append ref names and object names of fetched refs to the existing contents of .git/FETCH_HEAD. Without this option old data in .git/FETCH_HEAD will be overwritten.

--depth=<depth>

Deepen or shorten the history of a shallow repository created by git clone with --depth=<depth> option (see git-clone[1]) to the specified number of commits from the tip of each remote branch history. Tags for the deepened commits are not fetched.

--unshallow

If the source repository is complete, convert a shallow repository to a complete one, removing all the limitations imposed by shallow repositories.

If the source repository is shallow, fetch as much as possible so that the current repository has the same history as the source repository.

--update-shallow

By default when fetching from a shallow repository, git fetch refuses refs that require updating .git/shallow. This option updates .git/shallow and accept such refs.

--dry-run

Show what would be done, without making any changes.

-f
--force

When git fetch is used with <rbranch>:<lbranch> refspec, it refuses to update the local branch <lbranch> unless the remote branch <rbranch> it fetches is a descendant of <lbranch>. This option overrides that check.

-k
--keep

Keep downloaded pack.

--multiple

Allow several <repository> and <group> arguments to be specified. No <refspec>s may be specified.

-p
--prune

After fetching, remove any remote-tracking references that no longer exist on the remote. Tags are not subject to pruning if they are fetched only because of the default tag auto-following or due to a --tags option. However, if tags are fetched due to an explicit refspec (either on the command line or in the remote configuration, for example if the remote was cloned with the --mirror option), then they are also subject to pruning.

-n
--no-tags

By default, tags that point at objects that are downloaded from the remote repository are fetched and stored locally. This option disables this automatic tag following. The default behavior for a remote may be specified with the remote.<name>.tagopt setting. See git-config[1].

-t
--tags

Fetch all tags from the remote (i.e., fetch remote tags refs/tags/* into local tags with the same name), in addition to whatever else would otherwise be fetched. Using this option alone does not subject tags to pruning, even if --prune is used (though tags may be pruned anyway if they are also the destination of an explicit refspec; see --prune).

--recurse-submodules[=yes|on-demand|no]

This option controls if and under what conditions new commits of populated submodules should be fetched too. It can be used as a boolean option to completely disable recursion when set to no or to unconditionally recurse into all populated submodules when set to yes, which is the default when this option is used without any value. Use on-demand to only recurse into a populated submodule when the superproject retrieves a commit that updates the submodule’s reference to a commit that isn’t already in the local submodule clone.

--no-recurse-submodules

Disable recursive fetching of submodules (this has the same effect as using the --recurse-submodules=no option).

--submodule-prefix=<path>

Prepend <path> to paths printed in informative messages such as "Fetching submodule foo". This option is used internally when recursing over submodules.

--recurse-submodules-default=[yes|on-demand]

This option is used internally to temporarily provide a non-negative default value for the --recurse-submodules option. All other methods of configuring fetch’s submodule recursion (such as settings in gitmodules[5] and git-config[1]) override this option, as does specifying --[no-]recurse-submodules directly.

-u
--update-head-ok

By default git fetch refuses to update the head which corresponds to the current branch. This flag disables the check. This is purely for the internal use for git pull to communicate with git fetch, and unless you are implementing your own Porcelain you are not supposed to use it.

--upload-pack <upload-pack>

When given, and the repository to fetch from is handled by git fetch-pack, --exec=<upload-pack> is passed to the command to specify non-default path for the command run on the other end.

-q
--quiet

Pass --quiet to git-fetch-pack and silence any other internally used git commands. Progress is not reported to the standard error stream.

-v
--verbose

Be verbose.

--progress

Progress status is reported on the standard error stream by default when it is attached to a terminal, unless -q is specified. This flag forces progress status even if the standard error stream is not directed to a terminal.

<repository>

The "remote" repository that is the source of a fetch or pull operation. This parameter can be either a URL (see the section GIT URLS below) or the name of a remote (see the section REMOTES below).

<group>

A name referring to a list of repositories as the value of remotes.<group> in the configuration file. (See git-config[1]).

<refspec>

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 <dst>.

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 <src>. If the optional plus + is used, the local ref is updated even if it does not result in a fast-forward update.

Note
If the remote branch from which you want to pull is modified in non-linear ways such as being rewound and rebased frequently, then a pull will attempt a merge with an older version of itself, likely conflict, and fail. It is under these conditions that you would want to use the + sign to indicate non-fast-forward updates will be needed. There is currently no easy way to determine or declare that a branch will be made available in a repository with this behavior; the pulling user simply must know this is the expected usage pattern for a branch.
Note
You never do your own development on branches that appear on the right hand side of a <refspec> colon on Pull: lines; they are to be updated by git fetch. If you intend to do development derived from a remote branch B, have a Pull: line to track it (i.e. Pull: B:remote-B), and have a separate branch my-B to do your development on top of it. The latter is created by git branch my-B remote-B (or its equivalent git checkout -b my-B remote-B). Run git fetch to keep track of the progress of the remote side, and when you see something new on the remote branch, merge it into your development branch with git pull . remote-B, while you are on my-B branch.
Note
There is a difference between listing multiple <refspec> directly on git pull command line and having multiple Pull: <refspec> lines for a <repository> and running git pull command without any explicit <refspec> parameters. <refspec> listed explicitly on the command line are always merged into the current branch after fetching. In other words, if you list more than one remote refs, you would be making an Octopus. While git pull run without any explicit <refspec> parameter takes default <refspec>s from Pull: lines, it merges only the first <refspec> found into the current branch, after fetching all the remote refs. This is because making an Octopus from remote refs is rarely done, while keeping track of multiple remote heads in one-go by fetching more than one is often useful.

Some short-cut notations are also supported.

  • tag <tag> means the same as refs/tags/<tag>:refs/tags/<tag>; it requests fetching everything up to the given tag.

  • A parameter <ref> without a colon fetches that ref into FETCH_HEAD, and updates the remote-tracking branches (if any).

REMOTES

The name of one of the following can be used instead of a URL as <repository> argument:

  • a remote in the Git configuration file: $GIT_DIR/config,

  • a file in the $GIT_DIR/remotes directory, or

  • a file in the $GIT_DIR/branches directory.

All of these also allow you to omit the refspec from the command line because they each contain a refspec which git will use by default.

Named remote in configuration file

You can choose to provide the name of a remote which you had previously configured using git-remote[1], git-config[1] or even by a manual edit to the $GIT_DIR/config file. The URL of this remote will be used to access the repository. The refspec of this remote will be used by default when you do not provide a refspec on the command line. The entry in the config file would appear like this:

	[remote "<name>"]
		url = <url>
		pushurl = <pushurl>
		push = <refspec>
		fetch = <refspec>

The <pushurl> is used for pushes only. It is optional and defaults to <url>.

Named file in $GIT_DIR/remotes

You can choose to provide the name of a file in $GIT_DIR/remotes. The URL in this file will be used to access the repository. The refspec in this file will be used as default when you do not provide a refspec on the command line. This file should have the following format:

	URL: one of the above URL format
	Push: <refspec>
	Pull: <refspec>

Push: lines are used by git push and Pull: lines are used by git pull and git fetch. Multiple Push: and Pull: lines may be specified for additional branch mappings.

Named file in $GIT_DIR/branches

You can choose to provide the name of a file in $GIT_DIR/branches. The URL in this file will be used to access the repository. This file should have the following format:

	<url>#<head>

<url> is required; #<head> is optional.

Depending on the operation, git will use one of the following refspecs, if you don’t provide one on the command line. <branch> is the name of this file in $GIT_DIR/branches and <head> defaults to master.

git fetch uses:

	refs/heads/<head>:refs/heads/<branch>

git push uses:

	HEAD:refs/heads/<head>

EXAMPLES

  • Update the remote-tracking branches:

    $ git fetch origin

    The above command copies all branches from the remote refs/heads/ namespace and stores them to the local refs/remotes/origin/ namespace, unless the branch.<name>.fetch option is used to specify a non-default refspec.

  • Using refspecs explicitly:

    $ git fetch origin +pu:pu maint:tmp

    This updates (or creates, as necessary) branches pu and tmp in the local repository by fetching from the branches (respectively) pu and maint from the remote repository.

    The pu branch will be updated even if it is does not fast-forward, because it is prefixed with a plus sign; tmp will not be.

BUGS

Using --recurse-submodules can only fetch new commits in already checked out submodules right now. When e.g. upstream added a new submodule in the just fetched commits of the superproject the submodule itself can not be fetched, making it impossible to check out that submodule later without having to do a fetch again. This is expected to be fixed in a future Git version.

SEE ALSO

GIT

Part of the git[1] suite