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Given one argument, reads which branch head the given symbolic
ref refers to and outputs its path, relative to the
directory. Typically you would give
HEAD as the <name>
argument to see which branch your working tree is on.
Given two arguments, creates or updates a symbolic ref <name> to point at the given branch <ref>.
A symbolic ref is a regular file that stores a string that
ref: refs/. For example, your
a regular file whose contents is
In the past,
.git/HEAD was a symbolic link pointing at
refs/heads/master. When we wanted to switch to another branch,
ln -sf refs/heads/newbranch .git/HEAD, and when we wanted
to find out which branch we are on, we did
This was fine, and internally that is what still happens by
default, but on platforms that do not have working symlinks,
or that do not have the
readlink(1) command, this was a bit
cumbersome. On some platforms,
ln -sf does not even work as
advertised (horrors). Therefore symbolic links are now deprecated
and symbolic refs are used by default.
git-symbolic-ref will exit with status 0 if the contents of the symbolic ref were printed correctly, with status 1 if the requested name is not a symbolic ref, or 128 if another error occurs.
Written by Junio C Hamano <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Part of the git suite