GIT-BISECT(1)                    Git Manual                    GIT-BISECT(1)

NAME         top

       git-bisect - Use binary search to find the commit that introduced a

SYNOPSIS         top

       git bisect <subcommand> <options>

DESCRIPTION         top

       The command takes various subcommands, and different options
       depending on the subcommand:

           git bisect start [--term-{old,good}=<term> --term-{new,bad}=<term>]
                            [--no-checkout] [<bad> [<good>...]] [--] [<paths>...]
           git bisect (bad|new|<term-new>) [<rev>]
           git bisect (good|old|<term-old>) [<rev>...]
           git bisect terms [--term-good | --term-bad]
           git bisect skip [(<rev>|<range>)...]
           git bisect reset [<commit>]
           git bisect (visualize|view)
           git bisect replay <logfile>
           git bisect log
           git bisect run <cmd>...
           git bisect help

       This command uses a binary search algorithm to find which commit in
       your project’s history introduced a bug. You use it by first telling
       it a "bad" commit that is known to contain the bug, and a "good"
       commit that is known to be before the bug was introduced. Then git
       bisect picks a commit between those two endpoints and asks you
       whether the selected commit is "good" or "bad". It continues
       narrowing down the range until it finds the exact commit that
       introduced the change.

       In fact, git bisect can be used to find the commit that changed any
       property of your project; e.g., the commit that fixed a bug, or the
       commit that caused a benchmark’s performance to improve. To support
       this more general usage, the terms "old" and "new" can be used in
       place of "good" and "bad", or you can choose your own terms. See
       section "Alternate terms" below for more information.

   Basic bisect commands: start, bad, good
       As an example, suppose you are trying to find the commit that broke a
       feature that was known to work in version v2.6.13-rc2 of your
       project. You start a bisect session as follows:

           $ git bisect start
           $ git bisect bad                 # Current version is bad
           $ git bisect good v2.6.13-rc2    # v2.6.13-rc2 is known to be good

       Once you have specified at least one bad and one good commit, git
       bisect selects a commit in the middle of that range of history,
       checks it out, and outputs something similar to the following:

           Bisecting: 675 revisions left to test after this (roughly 10 steps)

       You should now compile the checked-out version and test it. If that
       version works correctly, type

           $ git bisect good

       If that version is broken, type

           $ git bisect bad

       Then git bisect will respond with something like

           Bisecting: 337 revisions left to test after this (roughly 9 steps)

       Keep repeating the process: compile the tree, test it, and depending
       on whether it is good or bad run git bisect good or git bisect bad to
       ask for the next commit that needs testing.

       Eventually there will be no more revisions left to inspect, and the
       command will print out a description of the first bad commit. The
       reference refs/bisect/bad will be left pointing at that commit.

   Bisect reset
       After a bisect session, to clean up the bisection state and return to
       the original HEAD, issue the following command:

           $ git bisect reset

       By default, this will return your tree to the commit that was checked
       out before git bisect start. (A new git bisect start will also do
       that, as it cleans up the old bisection state.)

       With an optional argument, you can return to a different commit

           $ git bisect reset <commit>

       For example, git bisect reset bisect/bad will check out the first bad
       revision, while git bisect reset HEAD will leave you on the current
       bisection commit and avoid switching commits at all.

   Alternate terms
       Sometimes you are not looking for the commit that introduced a
       breakage, but rather for a commit that caused a change between some
       other "old" state and "new" state. For example, you might be looking
       for the commit that introduced a particular fix. Or you might be
       looking for the first commit in which the source-code filenames were
       finally all converted to your company’s naming standard. Or whatever.

       In such cases it can be very confusing to use the terms "good" and
       "bad" to refer to "the state before the change" and "the state after
       the change". So instead, you can use the terms "old" and "new",
       respectively, in place of "good" and "bad". (But note that you cannot
       mix "good" and "bad" with "old" and "new" in a single session.)

       In this more general usage, you provide git bisect with a "new"
       commit that has some property and an "old" commit that doesn’t have
       that property. Each time git bisect checks out a commit, you test if
       that commit has the property. If it does, mark the commit as "new";
       otherwise, mark it as "old". When the bisection is done, git bisect
       will report which commit introduced the property.

       To use "old" and "new" instead of "good" and bad, you must run git
       bisect start without commits as argument and then run the following
       commands to add the commits:

           git bisect old [<rev>]

       to indicate that a commit was before the sought change, or

           git bisect new [<rev>...]

       to indicate that it was after.

       To get a reminder of the currently used terms, use

           git bisect terms

       You can get just the old (respectively new) term with git bisect
       terms --term-old or git bisect terms --term-good.

       If you would like to use your own terms instead of "bad"/"good" or
       "new"/"old", you can choose any names you like (except existing
       bisect subcommands like reset, start, ...) by starting the bisection

           git bisect start --term-old <term-old> --term-new <term-new>

       For example, if you are looking for a commit that introduced a
       performance regression, you might use

           git bisect start --term-old fast --term-new slow

       Or if you are looking for the commit that fixed a bug, you might use

           git bisect start --term-new fixed --term-old broken

       Then, use git bisect <term-old> and git bisect <term-new> instead of
       git bisect good and git bisect bad to mark commits.

   Bisect visualize/view
       To see the currently remaining suspects in gitk, issue the following
       command during the bisection process (the subcommand view can be used
       as an alternative to visualize):

           $ git bisect visualize

       If the DISPLAY environment variable is not set, git log is used
       instead. You can also give command-line options such as -p and

           $ git bisect visualize --stat

   Bisect log and bisect replay
       After having marked revisions as good or bad, issue the following
       command to show what has been done so far:

           $ git bisect log

       If you discover that you made a mistake in specifying the status of a
       revision, you can save the output of this command to a file, edit it
       to remove the incorrect entries, and then issue the following
       commands to return to a corrected state:

           $ git bisect reset
           $ git bisect replay that-file

   Avoiding testing a commit
       If, in the middle of a bisect session, you know that the suggested
       revision is not a good one to test (e.g. it fails to build and you
       know that the failure does not have anything to do with the bug you
       are chasing), you can manually select a nearby commit and test that
       one instead.

       For example:

           $ git bisect good/bad                   # previous round was good or bad.
           Bisecting: 337 revisions left to test after this (roughly 9 steps)
           $ git bisect visualize                  # oops, that is uninteresting.
           $ git reset --hard HEAD~3               # try 3 revisions before what
                                                   # was suggested

       Then compile and test the chosen revision, and afterwards mark the
       revision as good or bad in the usual manner.

   Bisect skip
       Instead of choosing a nearby commit by yourself, you can ask Git to
       do it for you by issuing the command:

           $ git bisect skip                 # Current version cannot be tested

       However, if you skip a commit adjacent to the one you are looking
       for, Git will be unable to tell exactly which of those commits was
       the first bad one.

       You can also skip a range of commits, instead of just one commit,
       using range notation. For example:

           $ git bisect skip v2.5..v2.6

       This tells the bisect process that no commit after v2.5, up to and
       including v2.6, should be tested.

       Note that if you also want to skip the first commit of the range you
       would issue the command:

           $ git bisect skip v2.5 v2.5..v2.6

       This tells the bisect process that the commits between v2.5 and v2.6
       (inclusive) should be skipped.

   Cutting down bisection by giving more parameters to bisect start
       You can further cut down the number of trials, if you know what part
       of the tree is involved in the problem you are tracking down, by
       specifying path parameters when issuing the bisect start command:

           $ git bisect start -- arch/i386 include/asm-i386

       If you know beforehand more than one good commit, you can narrow the
       bisect space down by specifying all of the good commits immediately
       after the bad commit when issuing the bisect start command:

           $ git bisect start v2.6.20-rc6 v2.6.20-rc4 v2.6.20-rc1 --
                              # v2.6.20-rc6 is bad
                              # v2.6.20-rc4 and v2.6.20-rc1 are good

   Bisect run
       If you have a script that can tell if the current source code is good
       or bad, you can bisect by issuing the command:

           $ git bisect run my_script arguments

       Note that the script (my_script in the above example) should exit
       with code 0 if the current source code is good/old, and exit with a
       code between 1 and 127 (inclusive), except 125, if the current source
       code is bad/new.

       Any other exit code will abort the bisect process. It should be noted
       that a program that terminates via exit(-1) leaves $? = 255, (see the
       exit(3) manual page), as the value is chopped with & 0377.

       The special exit code 125 should be used when the current source code
       cannot be tested. If the script exits with this code, the current
       revision will be skipped (see git bisect skip above). 125 was chosen
       as the highest sensible value to use for this purpose, because 126
       and 127 are used by POSIX shells to signal specific error status (127
       is for command not found, 126 is for command found but not
       executable—these details do not matter, as they are normal errors in
       the script, as far as bisect run is concerned).

       You may often find that during a bisect session you want to have
       temporary modifications (e.g. s/#define DEBUG 0/#define DEBUG 1/ in a
       header file, or "revision that does not have this commit needs this
       patch applied to work around another problem this bisection is not
       interested in") applied to the revision being tested.

       To cope with such a situation, after the inner git bisect finds the
       next revision to test, the script can apply the patch before
       compiling, run the real test, and afterwards decide if the revision
       (possibly with the needed patch) passed the test and then rewind the
       tree to the pristine state. Finally the script should exit with the
       status of the real test to let the git bisect run command loop
       determine the eventual outcome of the bisect session.

OPTIONS         top

           Do not checkout the new working tree at each iteration of the
           bisection process. Instead just update a special reference named
           BISECT_HEAD to make it point to the commit that should be tested.

           This option may be useful when the test you would perform in each
           step does not require a checked out tree.

           If the repository is bare, --no-checkout is assumed.

EXAMPLES         top

       ·   Automatically bisect a broken build between v1.2 and HEAD:

               $ git bisect start HEAD v1.2 --      # HEAD is bad, v1.2 is good
               $ git bisect run make                # "make" builds the app
               $ git bisect reset                   # quit the bisect session

       ·   Automatically bisect a test failure between origin and HEAD:

               $ git bisect start HEAD origin --    # HEAD is bad, origin is good
               $ git bisect run make test           # "make test" builds and tests
               $ git bisect reset                   # quit the bisect session

       ·   Automatically bisect a broken test case:

               $ cat ~/
               make || exit 125                     # this skips broken builds
               ~/                 # does the test case pass?
               $ git bisect start HEAD HEAD~10 --   # culprit is among the last 10
               $ git bisect run ~/
               $ git bisect reset                   # quit the bisect session

           Here we use a custom script. In this script, if make
           fails, we skip the current commit. should
           exit 0 if the test case passes, and exit 1 otherwise.

           It is safer if both and are outside
           the repository to prevent interactions between the bisect, make
           and test processes and the scripts.

       ·   Automatically bisect with temporary modifications (hot-fix):

               $ cat ~/

               # tweak the working tree by merging the hot-fix branch
               # and then attempt a build
               if      git merge --no-commit hot-fix &&
                       # run project specific test and report its status
                       # tell the caller this is untestable

               # undo the tweak to allow clean flipping to the next commit
               git reset --hard

               # return control
               exit $status

           This applies modifications from a hot-fix branch before each test
           run, e.g. in case your build or test environment changed so that
           older revisions may need a fix which newer ones have already.
           (Make sure the hot-fix branch is based off a commit which is
           contained in all revisions which you are bisecting, so that the
           merge does not pull in too much, or use git cherry-pick instead
           of git merge.)

       ·   Automatically bisect a broken test case:

               $ git bisect start HEAD HEAD~10 --   # culprit is among the last 10
               $ git bisect run sh -c "make || exit 125; ~/"
               $ git bisect reset                   # quit the bisect session

           This shows that you can do without a run script if you write the
           test on a single line.

       ·   Locate a good region of the object graph in a damaged repository

               $ git bisect start HEAD <known-good-commit> [ <boundary-commit> ... ] --no-checkout
               $ git bisect run sh -c '
                       GOOD=$(git for-each-ref "--format=%(objectname)" refs/bisect/good-*) &&
                       git rev-list --objects BISECT_HEAD --not $GOOD >tmp.$$ &&
                       git pack-objects --stdout >/dev/null <tmp.$$
                       rm -f tmp.$$
                       test $rc = 0'

               $ git bisect reset                   # quit the bisect session

           In this case, when git bisect run finishes, bisect/bad will refer
           to a commit that has at least one parent whose reachable graph is
           fully traversable in the sense required by git pack objects.

       ·   Look for a fix instead of a regression in the code

               $ git bisect start
               $ git bisect new HEAD    # current commit is marked as new
               $ git bisect old HEAD~10 # the tenth commit from now is marked as old


           $ git bisect start --term-old broken --term-new fixed
           $ git bisect fixed
           $ git bisect broken HEAD~10

   Getting help
       Use git bisect to get a short usage description, and git bisect help
       or git bisect -h to get a long usage description.

SEE ALSO         top

       Fighting regressions with git bisect[1], git-blame(1).

GIT         top

       Part of the git(1) suite

NOTES         top

        1. Fighting regressions with git bisect

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the git (Git distributed version control system)
       project.  Information about the project can be found at 
       ⟨⟩.  If you have a bug report for this manual page,
       see ⟨⟩.  This page was obtained from the
       project's upstream Git repository ⟨⟩ on
       2018-10-29.  (At that time, the date of the most recent commit that
       was found in the repository was 2018-10-26.)  If you discover any
       rendering problems in this HTML version of the page, or you believe
       there is a better or more up-to-date source for the page, or you have
       corrections or improvements to the information in this COLOPHON
       (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail to

Git           04/30/2018                    GIT-BISECT(1)

Pages that refer to this page: git(1)gittutorial(7)gitworkflows(7)