Types of Git Branches Remote Local Tracked

March 25th, 2010

Git continues to amaze me. Yesterday I learned about "tracked branches", sometimes also referred to as tracked remote branches.

I've been using git for several months now and am comfortable with the idea of cloning, forking, and to some degree merging. I felt like something was missing in terms of keeping up to date with "upstream" - the tree which was originally cloned.

The idea of tracked branches is sort of filling in the gap for me. I'm using it to keep a local copy of another remote and actively developed source repository. In doing so, the task of trying to keep my tree and the other tree relatively in sync has become a lot easier.

For example, last night I brought in some changes from deadlyicon's tree of git wiki. A lot has changed in both our branches from the original git-wiki source from sr. I tried:

git pull deadlyiconupstream master

It failed miserably, so I reset my tree to the head of the origin:

git fetch origin
git reset --hard origin

I tried creating a new branch and then pulling the the deadlyicon upstream into it, but for whatever reason it kept propagating into my master. Thankfully I found this page on remotely tracking branches. It didn't explain exactly what I was trying to do, but very close.

To do what I wanted, I added a new remote pointing to the other branch:

git remote add micahbrichgwups git://

After that, I fetched the remote ref:

git fetch micahbrichgwups

Then set a branch to track it:

git branch --track mb micahbrichgwups/master

If I have other repositories which I want to get up to date, I can do this:

git checkout -b mb

Actually this causes a "branch already exists" error, so I'm just using this:

git checkout mb

Though I'm not sure what the difference is between that and the command gitready suggests:

git checkout --track -b mb

Maybe its combination?

Still more to learn!!!


One more time for review:

user@dev-48-gl:/var/www/dev/movabletype-stuff/mt-plugin-tidings$ git remote add upstream
user@dev-48-gl:/var/www/dev/movabletype-stuff/mt-plugin-tidings$ git fetch upstream
remote: Counting objects: 30, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (21/21), done.
remote: Total 24 (delta 10), reused 0 (delta 0)
Unpacking objects: 100% (24/24), done.
 * [new branch]      master     -> upstream/master
user@dev-48-gl:/var/www/dev/movabletype-stuff/mt-plugin-tidings$ git branch --track upstream/master
Branch upstream/master set up to track local branch master.

Nope, that doesn't work. What am I doing wrong here? Ah, I need a name for the branch (I think)!

Like so:

user@dev-48-gl:/var/www/dev/movabletype-stuff/mt-plugin-tidings$ git branch --track ups upstream/master
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