path: root/Documentation
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authorJohannes Schindelin <>2018-04-25 12:29:47 (GMT)
committerJunio C Hamano <>2018-04-26 03:28:43 (GMT)
commit25cff9f109afbd6d21b199a38d15911b1f0c5069 (patch)
treefef849490518e7533a4411c730c7bd9baf53e302 /Documentation
parent7543f6f4441a0ec76460a54f90ab8674fe424786 (diff)
rebase -i --rebase-merges: add a section to the man page
The --rebase-merges mode is probably not half as intuitive to use as its inventor hopes, so let's document it some. Signed-off-by: Johannes Schindelin <> Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
Diffstat (limited to 'Documentation')
1 files changed, 135 insertions, 0 deletions
diff --git a/Documentation/git-rebase.txt b/Documentation/git-rebase.txt
index fe681d6..bd5ecff 100644
--- a/Documentation/git-rebase.txt
+++ b/Documentation/git-rebase.txt
@@ -403,6 +403,8 @@ reordered, inserted and dropped at will.
It is currently only possible to recreate the merge commits using the
`recursive` merge strategy; Different merge strategies can be used only via
explicit `exec git merge -s <strategy> [...]` commands.
+See also REBASING MERGES below.
@@ -801,6 +803,139 @@ The ripple effect of a "hard case" recovery is especially bad:
'everyone' downstream from 'topic' will now have to perform a "hard
case" recovery too!
+The interactive rebase command was originally designed to handle
+individual patch series. As such, it makes sense to exclude merge
+commits from the todo list, as the developer may have merged the
+then-current `master` while working on the branch, only to rebase
+all the commits onto `master` eventually (skipping the merge
+However, there are legitimate reasons why a developer may want to
+recreate merge commits: to keep the branch structure (or "commit
+topology") when working on multiple, inter-related branches.
+In the following example, the developer works on a topic branch that
+refactors the way buttons are defined, and on another topic branch
+that uses that refactoring to implement a "Report a bug" button. The
+output of `git log --graph --format=%s -5` may look like this:
+* Merge branch 'report-a-bug'
+| * Add the feedback button
+* | Merge branch 'refactor-button'
+|\ \
+| |/
+| * Use the Button class for all buttons
+| * Extract a generic Button class from the DownloadButton one
+The developer might want to rebase those commits to a newer `master`
+while keeping the branch topology, for example when the first topic
+branch is expected to be integrated into `master` much earlier than the
+second one, say, to resolve merge conflicts with changes to the
+DownloadButton class that made it into `master`.
+This rebase can be performed using the `--rebase-merges` option.
+It will generate a todo list looking like this:
+label onto
+# Branch: refactor-button
+reset onto
+pick 123456 Extract a generic Button class from the DownloadButton one
+pick 654321 Use the Button class for all buttons
+label refactor-button
+# Branch: report-a-bug
+reset refactor-button # Use the Button class for all buttons
+pick abcdef Add the feedback button
+label report-a-bug
+reset onto
+merge -C a1b2c3 refactor-button # Merge 'refactor-button'
+merge -C 6f5e4d report-a-bug # Merge 'report-a-bug'
+In contrast to a regular interactive rebase, there are `label`, `reset`
+and `merge` commands in addition to `pick` ones.
+The `label` command associates a label with the current HEAD when that
+command is executed. These labels are created as worktree-local refs
+(`refs/rewritten/<label>`) that will be deleted when the rebase
+finishes. That way, rebase operations in multiple worktrees linked to
+the same repository do not interfere with one another. If the `label`
+command fails, it is rescheduled immediately, with a helpful message how
+to proceed.
+The `reset` command resets the HEAD, index and worktree to the specified
+revision. It is isimilar to an `exec git reset --hard <label>`, but
+refuses to overwrite untracked files. If the `reset` command fails, it is
+rescheduled immediately, with a helpful message how to edit the todo list
+(this typically happens when a `reset` command was inserted into the todo
+list manually and contains a typo).
+The `merge` command will merge the specified revision into whatever is
+HEAD at that time. With `-C <original-commit>`, the commit message of
+the specified merge commit will be used. When the `-C` is changed to
+a lower-case `-c`, the message will be opened in an editor after a
+successful merge so that the user can edit the message.
+If a `merge` command fails for any reason other than merge conflicts (i.e.
+when the merge operation did not even start), it is rescheduled immediately.
+At this time, the `merge` command will *always* use the `recursive`
+merge strategy, with no way to choose a different one. To work around
+this, an `exec` command can be used to call `git merge` explicitly,
+using the fact that the labels are worktree-local refs (the ref
+`refs/rewritten/onto` would correspond to the label `onto`, for example).
+Note: the first command (`label onto`) labels the revision onto which
+the commits are rebased; The name `onto` is just a convention, as a nod
+to the `--onto` option.
+It is also possible to introduce completely new merge commits from scratch
+by adding a command of the form `merge <merge-head>`. This form will
+generate a tentative commit message and always open an editor to let the
+user edit it. This can be useful e.g. when a topic branch turns out to
+address more than a single concern and wants to be split into two or
+even more topic branches. Consider this todo list:
+pick 192837 Switch from GNU Makefiles to CMake
+pick 5a6c7e Document the switch to CMake
+pick 918273 Fix detection of OpenSSL in CMake
+pick afbecd http: add support for TLS v1.3
+pick fdbaec Fix detection of cURL in CMake on Windows
+The one commit in this list that is not related to CMake may very well
+have been motivated by working on fixing all those bugs introduced by
+switching to CMake, but it addresses a different concern. To split this
+branch into two topic branches, the todo list could be edited like this:
+label onto
+pick afbecd http: add support for TLS v1.3
+label tlsv1.3
+reset onto
+pick 192837 Switch from GNU Makefiles to CMake
+pick 918273 Fix detection of OpenSSL in CMake
+pick fdbaec Fix detection of cURL in CMake on Windows
+pick 5a6c7e Document the switch to CMake
+label cmake
+reset onto
+merge tlsv1.3
+merge cmake
The todo list presented by `--preserve-merges --interactive` does not