path: root/Documentation
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authorStefan Beller <>2017-11-16 02:00:39 (GMT)
committerJunio C Hamano <>2017-12-19 19:17:16 (GMT)
commit644eb60bd01a15f665b63774fd80e3b6316073a1 (patch)
tree67e1d0cd9e08fa002a71e25571eaa30ab8ff6efc /Documentation
parent4dbc59a4cce418ff8428a9d2ecd67c34ca50db56 (diff)
builtin/describe.c: describe a blob
Sometimes users are given a hash of an object and they want to identify it further (ex.: Use verify-pack to find the largest blobs, but what are these? or [1]) When describing commits, we try to anchor them to tags or refs, as these are conceptually on a higher level than the commit. And if there is no ref or tag that matches exactly, we're out of luck. So we employ a heuristic to make up a name for the commit. These names are ambiguous, there might be different tags or refs to anchor to, and there might be different path in the DAG to travel to arrive at the commit precisely. When describing a blob, we want to describe the blob from a higher layer as well, which is a tuple of (commit, deep/path) as the tree objects involved are rather uninteresting. The same blob can be referenced by multiple commits, so how we decide which commit to use? This patch implements a rather naive approach on this: As there are no back pointers from blobs to commits in which the blob occurs, we'll start walking from any tips available, listing the blobs in-order of the commit and once we found the blob, we'll take the first commit that listed the blob. For example git describe --tags v0.99:Makefile conversion-901-g7672db20c2:Makefile tells us the Makefile as it was in v0.99 was introduced in commit 7672db20. The walking is performed in reverse order to show the introduction of a blob rather than its last occurrence. [1] Signed-off-by: Stefan Beller <> Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
Diffstat (limited to 'Documentation')
1 files changed, 16 insertions, 2 deletions
diff --git a/Documentation/git-describe.txt b/Documentation/git-describe.txt
index c924c94..e027fb8 100644
--- a/Documentation/git-describe.txt
+++ b/Documentation/git-describe.txt
@@ -3,14 +3,14 @@ git-describe(1)
-git-describe - Describe a commit using the most recent tag reachable from it
+git-describe - Give an object a human readable name based on an available ref
'git describe' [--all] [--tags] [--contains] [--abbrev=<n>] [<commit-ish>...]
'git describe' [--all] [--tags] [--contains] [--abbrev=<n>] --dirty[=<mark>]
+'git describe' <blob>
@@ -24,6 +24,12 @@ By default (without --all or --tags) `git describe` only shows
annotated tags. For more information about creating annotated tags
see the -a and -s options to linkgit:git-tag[1].
+If the given object refers to a blob, it will be described
+as `<commit-ish>:<path>`, such that the blob can be found
+at `<path>` in the `<commit-ish>`, which itself describes the
+first commit in which this blob occurs in a reverse revision walk
+from HEAD.
@@ -186,6 +192,14 @@ selected and output. Here fewest commits different is defined as
the number of commits which would be shown by `git log tag..input`
will be the smallest number of commits possible.
+Tree objects as well as tag objects not pointing at commits, cannot be described.
+When describing blobs, the lightweight tags pointing at blobs are ignored,
+but the blob is still described as <committ-ish>:<path> despite the lightweight
+tag being favorable.
Part of the linkgit:git[1] suite