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git-bundle - Move objects and refs by archive


git bundle create <file> <git-rev-list-args>
git bundle verify <file>
git bundle list-heads <file> [<refname>...]
git bundle unbundle <file> [<refname>...]


Some workflows require that one or more branches of development on one machine be
replicated on another machine, but the two machines cannot be directly connected, and
therefore the interactive Git protocols (git, ssh, rsync, http) cannot be used. This
command provides support for git fetch and git pull to operate by packaging objects and
references in an archive at the originating machine, then importing those into another
repository using git fetch and git pull after moving the archive by some means (e.g., by
sneakernet). As no direct connection between the repositories exists, the user must
specify a basis for the bundle that is held by the destination repository: the bundle
assumes that all objects in the basis are already in the destination repository.


create <file>
Used to create a bundle named file. This requires the git-rev-list-args arguments to
define the bundle contents.

verify <file>
Used to check that a bundle file is valid and will apply cleanly to the current
repository. This includes checks on the bundle format itself as well as checking that
the prerequisite commits exist and are fully linked in the current repository. git
bundle prints a list of missing commits, if any, and exits with a non-zero status.

list-heads <file>
Lists the references defined in the bundle. If followed by a list of references, only
references matching those given are printed out.

unbundle <file>
Passes the objects in the bundle to git index-pack for storage in the repository, then
prints the names of all defined references. If a list of references is given, only
references matching those in the list are printed. This command is really plumbing,
intended to be called only by git fetch.

A list of arguments, acceptable to git rev-parse and git rev-list (and containing a
named ref, see SPECIFYING REFERENCES below), that specifies the specific objects and
references to transport. For example, master~10..master causes the current master
reference to be packaged along with all objects added since its 10th ancestor commit.
There is no explicit limit to the number of references and objects that may be

A list of references used to limit the references reported as available. This is
principally of use to git fetch, which expects to receive only those references asked
for and not necessarily everything in the pack (in this case, git bundle acts like git


git bundle will only package references that are shown by git show-ref: this includes
heads, tags, and remote heads. References such as master~1 cannot be packaged, but are
perfectly suitable for defining the basis. More than one reference may be packaged, and
more than one basis can be specified. The objects packaged are those not contained in the
union of the given bases. Each basis can be specified explicitly (e.g. ^master~10), or
implicitly (e.g. master~10..master, --since=10.days.ago master).

It is very important that the basis used be held by the destination. It is okay to err on
the side of caution, causing the bundle file to contain objects already in the
destination, as these are ignored when unpacking at the destination.


Assume you want to transfer the history from a repository R1 on machine A to another
repository R2 on machine B. For whatever reason, direct connection between A and B is not
allowed, but we can move data from A to B via some mechanism (CD, email, etc.). We want to
update R2 with development made on the branch master in R1.

To bootstrap the process, you can first create a bundle that does not have any basis. You
can use a tag to remember up to what commit you last processed, in order to make it easy
to later update the other repository with an incremental bundle:

machineA$ cd R1
machineA$ git bundle create file.bundle master
machineA$ git tag -f lastR2bundle master

Then you transfer file.bundle to the target machine B. Because this bundle does not
require any existing object to be extracted, you can create a new repository on machine B
by cloning from it:

machineB$ git clone -b master /home/me/tmp/file.bundle R2

This will define a remote called "origin" in the resulting repository that lets you fetch
and pull from the bundle. The $GIT_DIR/config file in R2 will have an entry like this:

[remote "origin"]
url = /home/me/tmp/file.bundle
fetch = refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/origin/*

To update the resulting mine.git repository, you can fetch or pull after replacing the
bundle stored at /home/me/tmp/file.bundle with incremental updates.

After working some more in the original repository, you can create an incremental bundle
to update the other repository:

machineA$ cd R1
machineA$ git bundle create file.bundle lastR2bundle..master
machineA$ git tag -f lastR2bundle master

You then transfer the bundle to the other machine to replace /home/me/tmp/file.bundle, and
pull from it.

machineB$ cd R2
machineB$ git pull

If you know up to what commit the intended recipient repository should have the necessary
objects, you can use that knowledge to specify the basis, giving a cut-off point to limit
the revisions and objects that go in the resulting bundle. The previous example used the
lastR2bundle tag for this purpose, but you can use any other options that you would give
to the git-log(1) command. Here are more examples:

You can use a tag that is present in both:

$ git bundle create mybundle v1.0.0..master

You can use a basis based on time:

$ git bundle create mybundle --since=10.days master

You can use the number of commits:

$ git bundle create mybundle -10 master

You can run git-bundle verify to see if you can extract from a bundle that was created
with a basis:

$ git bundle verify mybundle

This will list what commits you must have in order to extract from the bundle and will
error out if you do not have them.

A bundle from a recipient repository’s point of view is just like a regular repository
which it fetches or pulls from. You can, for example, map references when fetching:

$ git fetch mybundle master:localRef

You can also see what references it offers:

$ git ls-remote mybundle


Part of the git(1) suite

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