path: root/Documentation/technical
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authorJeff King <>2015-06-23 10:53:58 (GMT)
committerJunio C Hamano <>2015-06-25 00:09:08 (GMT)
commit00a09d57eb8a041e6a6b0470c53533719c049bab (patch)
tree7b3c236fa9537ddbbfeeaa0a0f2b94a2c0ab5b1a /Documentation/technical
parentdf97e5dfeaea093e50afc15e44a23dfd3fa02502 (diff)
introduce "extensions" form of core.repositoryformatversion
Normally we try to avoid bumps of the whole-repository core.repositoryformatversion field. However, it is unavoidable if we want to safely change certain aspects of git in a backwards-incompatible way (e.g., modifying the set of ref tips that we must traverse to generate a list of unreachable, safe-to-prune objects). If we were to bump the repository version for every such change, then any implementation understanding version `X` would also have to understand `X-1`, `X-2`, and so forth, even though the incompatibilities may be in orthogonal parts of the system, and there is otherwise no reason we cannot implement one without the other (or more importantly, that the user cannot choose to use one feature without the other, weighing the tradeoff in compatibility only for that particular feature). This patch documents the existing repositoryformatversion strategy and introduces a new format, "1", which lets a repository specify that it must run with an arbitrary set of extensions. This can be used, for example: - to inform git that the objects should not be pruned based only on the reachability of the ref tips (e.g, because it has "clone --shared" children) - that the refs are stored in a format besides the usual "refs" and "packed-refs" directories Because we bump to format "1", and because format "1" requires that a running git knows about any extensions mentioned, we know that older versions of the code will not do something dangerous when confronted with these new formats. For example, if the user chooses to use database storage for refs, they may set the "extensions.refbackend" config to "db". Older versions of git will not understand format "1" and bail. Versions of git which understand "1" but do not know about "refbackend", or which know about "refbackend" but not about the "db" backend, will refuse to run. This is annoying, of course, but much better than the alternative of claiming that there are no refs in the repository, or writing to a location that other implementations will not read. Note that we are only defining the rules for format 1 here. We do not ever write format 1 ourselves; it is a tool that is meant to be used by users and future extensions to provide safety with older implementations. Signed-off-by: Jeff King <> Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
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diff --git a/Documentation/technical/repository-version.txt b/Documentation/technical/repository-version.txt
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+Git Repository Format Versions
+Every git repository is marked with a numeric version in the
+`core.repositoryformatversion` key of its `config` file. This version
+specifies the rules for operating on the on-disk repository data. An
+implementation of git which does not understand a particular version
+advertised by an on-disk repository MUST NOT operate on that repository;
+doing so risks not only producing wrong results, but actually losing
+Because of this rule, version bumps should be kept to an absolute
+minimum. Instead, we generally prefer these strategies:
+ - bumping format version numbers of individual data files (e.g.,
+ index, packfiles, etc). This restricts the incompatibilities only to
+ those files.
+ - introducing new data that gracefully degrades when used by older
+ clients (e.g., pack bitmap files are ignored by older clients, which
+ simply do not take advantage of the optimization they provide).
+A whole-repository format version bump should only be part of a change
+that cannot be independently versioned. For instance, if one were to
+change the reachability rules for objects, or the rules for locking
+refs, that would require a bump of the repository format version.
+Note that this applies only to accessing the repository's disk contents
+directly. An older client which understands only format `0` may still
+connect via `git://` to a repository using format `1`, as long as the
+server process understands format `1`.
+The preferred strategy for rolling out a version bump (whether whole
+repository or for a single file) is to teach git to read the new format,
+and allow writing the new format with a config switch or command line
+option (for experimentation or for those who do not care about backwards
+compatibility with older gits). Then after a long period to allow the
+reading capability to become common, we may switch to writing the new
+format by default.
+The currently defined format versions are:
+Version `0`
+This is the format defined by the initial version of git, including but
+not limited to the format of the repository directory, the repository
+configuration file, and the object and ref storage. Specifying the
+complete behavior of git is beyond the scope of this document.
+Version `1`
+This format is identical to version `0`, with the following exceptions:
+ 1. When reading the `core.repositoryformatversion` variable, a git
+ implementation which supports version 1 MUST also read any
+ configuration keys found in the `extensions` section of the
+ configuration file.
+ 2. If a version-1 repository specifies any `extensions.*` keys that
+ the running git has not implemented, the operation MUST NOT
+ proceed. Similarly, if the value of any known key is not understood
+ by the implementation, the operation MUST NOT proceed.
+Note that if no extensions are specified in the config file, then
+`core.repositoryformatversion` SHOULD be set to `0` (setting it to `1`
+provides no benefit, and makes the repository incompatible with older
+implementations of git).
+This document will serve as the master list for extensions. Any
+implementation wishing to define a new extension should make a note of
+it here, in order to claim the name.
+The defined extensions are:
+This extension does not change git's behavior at all. It is useful only
+for testing format-1 compatibility.