NAME | SYNOPSIS | DESCRIPTION | OPTIONS | PERFORMANCE | DEVELOPMENT COST | PARALLEL OPERATION | TECHNICAL DISCUSSION | INPUT FORMAT | RESPONSES TO COMMANDS | CRASH REPORTS | TIPS AND TRICKS | PACKFILE OPTIMIZATION | MEMORY UTILIZATION | SIGNALS | SEE ALSO | GIT | COLOPHON

GIT-FAST-IMPORT(1)               Git Manual               GIT-FAST-IMPORT(1)

NAME         top

       git-fast-import - Backend for fast Git data importers

SYNOPSIS         top

       frontend | git fast-import [options]

DESCRIPTION         top

       This program is usually not what the end user wants to run directly.
       Most end users want to use one of the existing frontend programs,
       which parses a specific type of foreign source and feeds the contents
       stored there to git fast-import.

       fast-import reads a mixed command/data stream from standard input and
       writes one or more packfiles directly into the current repository.
       When EOF is received on standard input, fast import writes out
       updated branch and tag refs, fully updating the current repository
       with the newly imported data.

       The fast-import backend itself can import into an empty repository
       (one that has already been initialized by git init) or incrementally
       update an existing populated repository. Whether or not incremental
       imports are supported from a particular foreign source depends on the
       frontend program in use.

OPTIONS         top

       --force
           Force updating modified existing branches, even if doing so would
           cause commits to be lost (as the new commit does not contain the
           old commit).

       --quiet
           Disable all non-fatal output, making fast-import silent when it
           is successful. This option disables the output shown by --stats.

       --stats
           Display some basic statistics about the objects fast-import has
           created, the packfiles they were stored into, and the memory used
           by fast-import during this run. Showing this output is currently
           the default, but can be disabled with --quiet.

   Options for Frontends
       --cat-blob-fd=<fd>
           Write responses to get-mark, cat-blob, and ls queries to the file
           descriptor <fd> instead of stdout. Allows progress output
           intended for the end-user to be separated from other output.

       --date-format=<fmt>
           Specify the type of dates the frontend will supply to fast-import
           within author, committer and tagger commands. See “Date Formats”
           below for details about which formats are supported, and their
           syntax.

       --done
           Terminate with error if there is no done command at the end of
           the stream. This option might be useful for detecting errors that
           cause the frontend to terminate before it has started to write a
           stream.

   Locations of Marks Files
       --export-marks=<file>
           Dumps the internal marks table to <file> when complete. Marks are
           written one per line as :markid SHA-1. Frontends can use this
           file to validate imports after they have been completed, or to
           save the marks table across incremental runs. As <file> is only
           opened and truncated at checkpoint (or completion) the same path
           can also be safely given to --import-marks.

       --import-marks=<file>
           Before processing any input, load the marks specified in <file>.
           The input file must exist, must be readable, and must use the
           same format as produced by --export-marks. Multiple options may
           be supplied to import more than one set of marks. If a mark is
           defined to different values, the last file wins.

       --import-marks-if-exists=<file>
           Like --import-marks but instead of erroring out, silently skips
           the file if it does not exist.

       --[no-]relative-marks
           After specifying --relative-marks the paths specified with
           --import-marks= and --export-marks= are relative to an internal
           directory in the current repository. In git-fast-import this
           means that the paths are relative to the .git/info/fast-import
           directory. However, other importers may use a different location.

           Relative and non-relative marks may be combined by interweaving
           --(no-)-relative-marks with the --(import|export)-marks= options.

   Performance and Compression Tuning
       --active-branches=<n>
           Maximum number of branches to maintain active at once. See
           “Memory Utilization” below for details. Default is 5.

       --big-file-threshold=<n>
           Maximum size of a blob that fast-import will attempt to create a
           delta for, expressed in bytes. The default is 512m (512 MiB).
           Some importers may wish to lower this on systems with constrained
           memory.

       --depth=<n>
           Maximum delta depth, for blob and tree deltification. Default is
           10.

       --export-pack-edges=<file>
           After creating a packfile, print a line of data to <file> listing
           the filename of the packfile and the last commit on each branch
           that was written to that packfile. This information may be useful
           after importing projects whose total object set exceeds the 4 GiB
           packfile limit, as these commits can be used as edge points
           during calls to git pack-objects.

       --max-pack-size=<n>
           Maximum size of each output packfile. The default is unlimited.

       fastimport.unpackLimit
           See git-config(1)

PERFORMANCE         top

       The design of fast-import allows it to import large projects in a
       minimum amount of memory usage and processing time. Assuming the
       frontend is able to keep up with fast-import and feed it a constant
       stream of data, import times for projects holding 10+ years of
       history and containing 100,000+ individual commits are generally
       completed in just 1-2 hours on quite modest (~$2,000 USD) hardware.

       Most bottlenecks appear to be in foreign source data access (the
       source just cannot extract revisions fast enough) or disk IO
       (fast-import writes as fast as the disk will take the data). Imports
       will run faster if the source data is stored on a different drive
       than the destination Git repository (due to less IO contention).

DEVELOPMENT COST         top

       A typical frontend for fast-import tends to weigh in at approximately
       200 lines of Perl/Python/Ruby code. Most developers have been able to
       create working importers in just a couple of hours, even though it is
       their first exposure to fast-import, and sometimes even to Git. This
       is an ideal situation, given that most conversion tools are
       throw-away (use once, and never look back).

PARALLEL OPERATION         top

       Like git push or git fetch, imports handled by fast-import are safe
       to run alongside parallel git repack -a -d or git gc invocations, or
       any other Git operation (including git prune, as loose objects are
       never used by fast-import).

       fast-import does not lock the branch or tag refs it is actively
       importing. After the import, during its ref update phase, fast-import
       tests each existing branch ref to verify the update will be a
       fast-forward update (the commit stored in the ref is contained in the
       new history of the commit to be written). If the update is not a
       fast-forward update, fast-import will skip updating that ref and
       instead prints a warning message. fast-import will always attempt to
       update all branch refs, and does not stop on the first failure.

       Branch updates can be forced with --force, but it’s recommended that
       this only be used on an otherwise quiet repository. Using --force is
       not necessary for an initial import into an empty repository.

TECHNICAL DISCUSSION         top

       fast-import tracks a set of branches in memory. Any branch can be
       created or modified at any point during the import process by sending
       a commit command on the input stream. This design allows a frontend
       program to process an unlimited number of branches simultaneously,
       generating commits in the order they are available from the source
       data. It also simplifies the frontend programs considerably.

       fast-import does not use or alter the current working directory, or
       any file within it. (It does however update the current Git
       repository, as referenced by GIT_DIR.) Therefore an import frontend
       may use the working directory for its own purposes, such as
       extracting file revisions from the foreign source. This ignorance of
       the working directory also allows fast-import to run very quickly, as
       it does not need to perform any costly file update operations when
       switching between branches.

INPUT FORMAT         top

       With the exception of raw file data (which Git does not interpret)
       the fast-import input format is text (ASCII) based. This text based
       format simplifies development and debugging of frontend programs,
       especially when a higher level language such as Perl, Python or Ruby
       is being used.

       fast-import is very strict about its input. Where we say SP below we
       mean exactly one space. Likewise LF means one (and only one) linefeed
       and HT one (and only one) horizontal tab. Supplying additional
       whitespace characters will cause unexpected results, such as branch
       names or file names with leading or trailing spaces in their name, or
       early termination of fast-import when it encounters unexpected input.

   Stream Comments
       To aid in debugging frontends fast-import ignores any line that
       begins with # (ASCII pound/hash) up to and including the line ending
       LF. A comment line may contain any sequence of bytes that does not
       contain an LF and therefore may be used to include any detailed
       debugging information that might be specific to the frontend and
       useful when inspecting a fast-import data stream.

   Date Formats
       The following date formats are supported. A frontend should select
       the format it will use for this import by passing the format name in
       the --date-format=<fmt> command-line option.

       raw
           This is the Git native format and is <time> SP <offutc>. It is
           also fast-import’s default format, if --date-format was not
           specified.

           The time of the event is specified by <time> as the number of
           seconds since the UNIX epoch (midnight, Jan 1, 1970, UTC) and is
           written as an ASCII decimal integer.

           The local offset is specified by <offutc> as a positive or
           negative offset from UTC. For example EST (which is 5 hours
           behind UTC) would be expressed in <tz> by “-0500” while UTC is
           “+0000”. The local offset does not affect <time>; it is used only
           as an advisement to help formatting routines display the
           timestamp.

           If the local offset is not available in the source material, use
           “+0000”, or the most common local offset. For example many
           organizations have a CVS repository which has only ever been
           accessed by users who are located in the same location and time
           zone. In this case a reasonable offset from UTC could be assumed.

           Unlike the rfc2822 format, this format is very strict. Any
           variation in formatting will cause fast-import to reject the
           value.

       rfc2822
           This is the standard email format as described by RFC 2822.

           An example value is “Tue Feb 6 11:22:18 2007 -0500”. The Git
           parser is accurate, but a little on the lenient side. It is the
           same parser used by git am when applying patches received from
           email.

           Some malformed strings may be accepted as valid dates. In some of
           these cases Git will still be able to obtain the correct date
           from the malformed string. There are also some types of malformed
           strings which Git will parse wrong, and yet consider valid.
           Seriously malformed strings will be rejected.

           Unlike the raw format above, the time zone/UTC offset information
           contained in an RFC 2822 date string is used to adjust the date
           value to UTC prior to storage. Therefore it is important that
           this information be as accurate as possible.

           If the source material uses RFC 2822 style dates, the frontend
           should let fast-import handle the parsing and conversion (rather
           than attempting to do it itself) as the Git parser has been well
           tested in the wild.

           Frontends should prefer the raw format if the source material
           already uses UNIX-epoch format, can be coaxed to give dates in
           that format, or its format is easily convertible to it, as there
           is no ambiguity in parsing.

       now
           Always use the current time and time zone. The literal now must
           always be supplied for <when>.

           This is a toy format. The current time and time zone of this
           system is always copied into the identity string at the time it
           is being created by fast-import. There is no way to specify a
           different time or time zone.

           This particular format is supplied as it’s short to implement and
           may be useful to a process that wants to create a new commit
           right now, without needing to use a working directory or git
           update-index.

           If separate author and committer commands are used in a commit
           the timestamps may not match, as the system clock will be polled
           twice (once for each command). The only way to ensure that both
           author and committer identity information has the same timestamp
           is to omit author (thus copying from committer) or to use a date
           format other than now.

   Commands
       fast-import accepts several commands to update the current repository
       and control the current import process. More detailed discussion
       (with examples) of each command follows later.

       commit
           Creates a new branch or updates an existing branch by creating a
           new commit and updating the branch to point at the newly created
           commit.

       tag
           Creates an annotated tag object from an existing commit or
           branch. Lightweight tags are not supported by this command, as
           they are not recommended for recording meaningful points in time.

       reset
           Reset an existing branch (or a new branch) to a specific
           revision. This command must be used to change a branch to a
           specific revision without making a commit on it.

       blob
           Convert raw file data into a blob, for future use in a commit
           command. This command is optional and is not needed to perform an
           import.

       checkpoint
           Forces fast-import to close the current packfile, generate its
           unique SHA-1 checksum and index, and start a new packfile. This
           command is optional and is not needed to perform an import.

       progress
           Causes fast-import to echo the entire line to its own standard
           output. This command is optional and is not needed to perform an
           import.

       done
           Marks the end of the stream. This command is optional unless the
           done feature was requested using the --done command-line option
           or feature done command.

       get-mark
           Causes fast-import to print the SHA-1 corresponding to a mark to
           the file descriptor set with --cat-blob-fd, or stdout if
           unspecified.

       cat-blob
           Causes fast-import to print a blob in cat-file --batch format to
           the file descriptor set with --cat-blob-fd or stdout if
           unspecified.

       ls
           Causes fast-import to print a line describing a directory entry
           in ls-tree format to the file descriptor set with --cat-blob-fd
           or stdout if unspecified.

       feature
           Enable the specified feature. This requires that fast-import
           supports the specified feature, and aborts if it does not.

       option
           Specify any of the options listed under OPTIONS that do not
           change stream semantic to suit the frontend’s needs. This command
           is optional and is not needed to perform an import.

   commit
       Create or update a branch with a new commit, recording one logical
       change to the project.

                   'commit' SP <ref> LF
                   mark?
                   ('author' (SP <name>)? SP LT <email> GT SP <when> LF)?
                   'committer' (SP <name>)? SP LT <email> GT SP <when> LF
                   data
                   ('from' SP <commit-ish> LF)?
                   ('merge' SP <commit-ish> LF)?
                   (filemodify | filedelete | filecopy | filerename | filedeleteall | notemodify)*
                   LF?

       where <ref> is the name of the branch to make the commit on.
       Typically branch names are prefixed with refs/heads/ in Git, so
       importing the CVS branch symbol RELENG-1_0 would use
       refs/heads/RELENG-1_0 for the value of <ref>. The value of <ref> must
       be a valid refname in Git. As LF is not valid in a Git refname, no
       quoting or escaping syntax is supported here.

       A mark command may optionally appear, requesting fast-import to save
       a reference to the newly created commit for future use by the
       frontend (see below for format). It is very common for frontends to
       mark every commit they create, thereby allowing future branch
       creation from any imported commit.

       The data command following committer must supply the commit message
       (see below for data command syntax). To import an empty commit
       message use a 0 length data. Commit messages are free-form and are
       not interpreted by Git. Currently they must be encoded in UTF-8, as
       fast-import does not permit other encodings to be specified.

       Zero or more filemodify, filedelete, filecopy, filerename,
       filedeleteall and notemodify commands may be included to update the
       contents of the branch prior to creating the commit. These commands
       may be supplied in any order. However it is recommended that a
       filedeleteall command precede all filemodify, filecopy, filerename
       and notemodify commands in the same commit, as filedeleteall wipes
       the branch clean (see below).

       The LF after the command is optional (it used to be required).

       author
           An author command may optionally appear, if the author
           information might differ from the committer information. If
           author is omitted then fast-import will automatically use the
           committer’s information for the author portion of the commit. See
           below for a description of the fields in author, as they are
           identical to committer.

       committer
           The committer command indicates who made this commit, and when
           they made it.

           Here <name> is the person’s display name (for example “Com M
           Itter”) and <email> is the person’s email address
           (“cm@example.com”). LT and GT are the literal less-than (\x3c)
           and greater-than (\x3e) symbols. These are required to delimit
           the email address from the other fields in the line. Note that
           <name> and <email> are free-form and may contain any sequence of
           bytes, except LT, GT and LF. <name> is typically UTF-8 encoded.

           The time of the change is specified by <when> using the date
           format that was selected by the --date-format=<fmt> command-line
           option. See “Date Formats” above for the set of supported
           formats, and their syntax.

       from
           The from command is used to specify the commit to initialize this
           branch from. This revision will be the first ancestor of the new
           commit. The state of the tree built at this commit will begin
           with the state at the from commit, and be altered by the content
           modifications in this commit.

           Omitting the from command in the first commit of a new branch
           will cause fast-import to create that commit with no ancestor.
           This tends to be desired only for the initial commit of a
           project. If the frontend creates all files from scratch when
           making a new branch, a merge command may be used instead of from
           to start the commit with an empty tree. Omitting the from command
           on existing branches is usually desired, as the current commit on
           that branch is automatically assumed to be the first ancestor of
           the new commit.

           As LF is not valid in a Git refname or SHA-1 expression, no
           quoting or escaping syntax is supported within <commit-ish>.

           Here <commit-ish> is any of the following:

           ·   The name of an existing branch already in fast-import’s
               internal branch table. If fast-import doesn’t know the name,
               it’s treated as a SHA-1 expression.

           ·   A mark reference, :<idnum>, where <idnum> is the mark number.

               The reason fast-import uses : to denote a mark reference is
               this character is not legal in a Git branch name. The leading
               : makes it easy to distinguish between the mark 42 (:42) and
               the branch 42 (42 or refs/heads/42), or an abbreviated SHA-1
               which happened to consist only of base-10 digits.

               Marks must be declared (via mark) before they can be used.

           ·   A complete 40 byte or abbreviated commit SHA-1 in hex.

           ·   Any valid Git SHA-1 expression that resolves to a commit. See
               “SPECIFYING REVISIONS” in gitrevisions(7) for details.

           ·   The special null SHA-1 (40 zeros) specifies that the branch
               is to be removed.

           The special case of restarting an incremental import from the
           current branch value should be written as:

                       from refs/heads/branch^0

           The ^0 suffix is necessary as fast-import does not permit a
           branch to start from itself, and the branch is created in memory
           before the from command is even read from the input. Adding ^0
           will force fast-import to resolve the commit through Git’s
           revision parsing library, rather than its internal branch table,
           thereby loading in the existing value of the branch.

       merge
           Includes one additional ancestor commit. The additional ancestry
           link does not change the way the tree state is built at this
           commit. If the from command is omitted when creating a new
           branch, the first merge commit will be the first ancestor of the
           current commit, and the branch will start out with no files. An
           unlimited number of merge commands per commit are permitted by
           fast-import, thereby establishing an n-way merge.

           Here <commit-ish> is any of the commit specification expressions
           also accepted by from (see above).

       filemodify
           Included in a commit command to add a new file or change the
           content of an existing file. This command has two different means
           of specifying the content of the file.

           External data format
               The data content for the file was already supplied by a prior
               blob command. The frontend just needs to connect it.

                           'M' SP <mode> SP <dataref> SP <path> LF

               Here usually <dataref> must be either a mark reference
               (:<idnum>) set by a prior blob command, or a full 40-byte
               SHA-1 of an existing Git blob object. If <mode> is 040000`
               then <dataref> must be the full 40-byte SHA-1 of an existing
               Git tree object or a mark reference set with --import-marks.

           Inline data format
               The data content for the file has not been supplied yet. The
               frontend wants to supply it as part of this modify command.

                           'M' SP <mode> SP 'inline' SP <path> LF
                           data

               See below for a detailed description of the data command.

           In both formats <mode> is the type of file entry, specified in
           octal. Git only supports the following modes:

           ·   100644 or 644: A normal (not-executable) file. The majority
               of files in most projects use this mode. If in doubt, this is
               what you want.

           ·   100755 or 755: A normal, but executable, file.

           ·   120000: A symlink, the content of the file will be the link
               target.

           ·   160000: A gitlink, SHA-1 of the object refers to a commit in
               another repository. Git links can only be specified by SHA or
               through a commit mark. They are used to implement submodules.

           ·   040000: A subdirectory. Subdirectories can only be specified
               by SHA or through a tree mark set with --import-marks.

           In both formats <path> is the complete path of the file to be
           added (if not already existing) or modified (if already
           existing).

           A <path> string must use UNIX-style directory separators (forward
           slash /), may contain any byte other than LF, and must not start
           with double quote (").

           A path can use C-style string quoting; this is accepted in all
           cases and mandatory if the filename starts with double quote or
           contains LF. In C-style quoting, the complete name should be
           surrounded with double quotes, and any LF, backslash, or double
           quote characters must be escaped by preceding them with a
           backslash (e.g., "path/with\n, \\ and \" in it").

           The value of <path> must be in canonical form. That is it must
           not:

           ·   contain an empty directory component (e.g.  foo//bar is
               invalid),

           ·   end with a directory separator (e.g.  foo/ is invalid),

           ·   start with a directory separator (e.g.  /foo is invalid),

           ·   contain the special component .  or ..  (e.g.  foo/./bar and
               foo/../bar are invalid).

           The root of the tree can be represented by an empty string as
           <path>.

           It is recommended that <path> always be encoded using UTF-8.

       filedelete
           Included in a commit command to remove a file or recursively
           delete an entire directory from the branch. If the file or
           directory removal makes its parent directory empty, the parent
           directory will be automatically removed too. This cascades up the
           tree until the first non-empty directory or the root is reached.

                       'D' SP <path> LF

           here <path> is the complete path of the file or subdirectory to
           be removed from the branch. See filemodify above for a detailed
           description of <path>.

       filecopy
           Recursively copies an existing file or subdirectory to a
           different location within the branch. The existing file or
           directory must exist. If the destination exists it will be
           completely replaced by the content copied from the source.

                       'C' SP <path> SP <path> LF

           here the first <path> is the source location and the second
           <path> is the destination. See filemodify above for a detailed
           description of what <path> may look like. To use a source path
           that contains SP the path must be quoted.

           A filecopy command takes effect immediately. Once the source
           location has been copied to the destination any future commands
           applied to the source location will not impact the destination of
           the copy.

       filerename
           Renames an existing file or subdirectory to a different location
           within the branch. The existing file or directory must exist. If
           the destination exists it will be replaced by the source
           directory.

                       'R' SP <path> SP <path> LF

           here the first <path> is the source location and the second
           <path> is the destination. See filemodify above for a detailed
           description of what <path> may look like. To use a source path
           that contains SP the path must be quoted.

           A filerename command takes effect immediately. Once the source
           location has been renamed to the destination any future commands
           applied to the source location will create new files there and
           not impact the destination of the rename.

           Note that a filerename is the same as a filecopy followed by a
           filedelete of the source location. There is a slight performance
           advantage to using filerename, but the advantage is so small that
           it is never worth trying to convert a delete/add pair in source
           material into a rename for fast-import. This filerename command
           is provided just to simplify frontends that already have rename
           information and don’t want bother with decomposing it into a
           filecopy followed by a filedelete.

       filedeleteall
           Included in a commit command to remove all files (and also all
           directories) from the branch. This command resets the internal
           branch structure to have no files in it, allowing the frontend to
           subsequently add all interesting files from scratch.

                       'deleteall' LF

           This command is extremely useful if the frontend does not know
           (or does not care to know) what files are currently on the
           branch, and therefore cannot generate the proper filedelete
           commands to update the content.

           Issuing a filedeleteall followed by the needed filemodify
           commands to set the correct content will produce the same results
           as sending only the needed filemodify and filedelete commands.
           The filedeleteall approach may however require fast-import to use
           slightly more memory per active branch (less than 1 MiB for even
           most large projects); so frontends that can easily obtain only
           the affected paths for a commit are encouraged to do so.

       notemodify
           Included in a commit <notes_ref> command to add a new note
           annotating a <commit-ish> or change this annotation contents.
           Internally it is similar to filemodify 100644 on <commit-ish>
           path (maybe split into subdirectories). It’s not advised to use
           any other commands to write to the <notes_ref> tree except
           filedeleteall to delete all existing notes in this tree. This
           command has two different means of specifying the content of the
           note.

           External data format
               The data content for the note was already supplied by a prior
               blob command. The frontend just needs to connect it to the
               commit that is to be annotated.

                           'N' SP <dataref> SP <commit-ish> LF

               Here <dataref> can be either a mark reference (:<idnum>) set
               by a prior blob command, or a full 40-byte SHA-1 of an
               existing Git blob object.

           Inline data format
               The data content for the note has not been supplied yet. The
               frontend wants to supply it as part of this modify command.

                           'N' SP 'inline' SP <commit-ish> LF
                           data

               See below for a detailed description of the data command.

           In both formats <commit-ish> is any of the commit specification
           expressions also accepted by from (see above).

   mark
       Arranges for fast-import to save a reference to the current object,
       allowing the frontend to recall this object at a future point in
       time, without knowing its SHA-1. Here the current object is the
       object creation command the mark command appears within. This can be
       commit, tag, and blob, but commit is the most common usage.

                   'mark' SP ':' <idnum> LF

       where <idnum> is the number assigned by the frontend to this mark.
       The value of <idnum> is expressed as an ASCII decimal integer. The
       value 0 is reserved and cannot be used as a mark. Only values greater
       than or equal to 1 may be used as marks.

       New marks are created automatically. Existing marks can be moved to
       another object simply by reusing the same <idnum> in another mark
       command.

   tag
       Creates an annotated tag referring to a specific commit. To create
       lightweight (non-annotated) tags see the reset command below.

                   'tag' SP <name> LF
                   'from' SP <commit-ish> LF
                   'tagger' (SP <name>)? SP LT <email> GT SP <when> LF
                   data

       where <name> is the name of the tag to create.

       Tag names are automatically prefixed with refs/tags/ when stored in
       Git, so importing the CVS branch symbol RELENG-1_0-FINAL would use
       just RELENG-1_0-FINAL for <name>, and fast-import will write the
       corresponding ref as refs/tags/RELENG-1_0-FINAL.

       The value of <name> must be a valid refname in Git and therefore may
       contain forward slashes. As LF is not valid in a Git refname, no
       quoting or escaping syntax is supported here.

       The from command is the same as in the commit command; see above for
       details.

       The tagger command uses the same format as committer within commit;
       again see above for details.

       The data command following tagger must supply the annotated tag
       message (see below for data command syntax). To import an empty tag
       message use a 0 length data. Tag messages are free-form and are not
       interpreted by Git. Currently they must be encoded in UTF-8, as
       fast-import does not permit other encodings to be specified.

       Signing annotated tags during import from within fast-import is not
       supported. Trying to include your own PGP/GPG signature is not
       recommended, as the frontend does not (easily) have access to the
       complete set of bytes which normally goes into such a signature. If
       signing is required, create lightweight tags from within fast-import
       with reset, then create the annotated versions of those tags offline
       with the standard git tag process.

   reset
       Creates (or recreates) the named branch, optionally starting from a
       specific revision. The reset command allows a frontend to issue a new
       from command for an existing branch, or to create a new branch from
       an existing commit without creating a new commit.

                   'reset' SP <ref> LF
                   ('from' SP <commit-ish> LF)?
                   LF?

       For a detailed description of <ref> and <commit-ish> see above under
       commit and from.

       The LF after the command is optional (it used to be required).

       The reset command can also be used to create lightweight
       (non-annotated) tags. For example:

           reset refs/tags/938
           from :938

       would create the lightweight tag refs/tags/938 referring to whatever
       commit mark :938 references.

   blob
       Requests writing one file revision to the packfile. The revision is
       not connected to any commit; this connection must be formed in a
       subsequent commit command by referencing the blob through an assigned
       mark.

                   'blob' LF
                   mark?
                   data

       The mark command is optional here as some frontends have chosen to
       generate the Git SHA-1 for the blob on their own, and feed that
       directly to commit. This is typically more work than it’s worth
       however, as marks are inexpensive to store and easy to use.

   data
       Supplies raw data (for use as blob/file content, commit messages, or
       annotated tag messages) to fast-import. Data can be supplied using an
       exact byte count or delimited with a terminating line. Real frontends
       intended for production-quality conversions should always use the
       exact byte count format, as it is more robust and performs better.
       The delimited format is intended primarily for testing fast-import.

       Comment lines appearing within the <raw> part of data commands are
       always taken to be part of the body of the data and are therefore
       never ignored by fast-import. This makes it safe to import any
       file/message content whose lines might start with #.

       Exact byte count format
           The frontend must specify the number of bytes of data.

                       'data' SP <count> LF
                       <raw> LF?

           where <count> is the exact number of bytes appearing within
           <raw>. The value of <count> is expressed as an ASCII decimal
           integer. The LF on either side of <raw> is not included in
           <count> and will not be included in the imported data.

           The LF after <raw> is optional (it used to be required) but
           recommended. Always including it makes debugging a fast-import
           stream easier as the next command always starts in column 0 of
           the next line, even if <raw> did not end with an LF.

       Delimited format
           A delimiter string is used to mark the end of the data.
           fast-import will compute the length by searching for the
           delimiter. This format is primarily useful for testing and is not
           recommended for real data.

                       'data' SP '<<' <delim> LF
                       <raw> LF
                       <delim> LF
                       LF?

           where <delim> is the chosen delimiter string. The string <delim>
           must not appear on a line by itself within <raw>, as otherwise
           fast-import will think the data ends earlier than it really does.
           The LF immediately trailing <raw> is part of <raw>. This is one
           of the limitations of the delimited format, it is impossible to
           supply a data chunk which does not have an LF as its last byte.

           The LF after <delim> LF is optional (it used to be required).

   checkpoint
       Forces fast-import to close the current packfile, start a new one,
       and to save out all current branch refs, tags and marks.

                   'checkpoint' LF
                   LF?

       Note that fast-import automatically switches packfiles when the
       current packfile reaches --max-pack-size, or 4 GiB, whichever limit
       is smaller. During an automatic packfile switch fast-import does not
       update the branch refs, tags or marks.

       As a checkpoint can require a significant amount of CPU time and disk
       IO (to compute the overall pack SHA-1 checksum, generate the
       corresponding index file, and update the refs) it can easily take
       several minutes for a single checkpoint command to complete.

       Frontends may choose to issue checkpoints during extremely large and
       long running imports, or when they need to allow another Git process
       access to a branch. However given that a 30 GiB Subversion repository
       can be loaded into Git through fast-import in about 3 hours, explicit
       checkpointing may not be necessary.

       The LF after the command is optional (it used to be required).

   progress
       Causes fast-import to print the entire progress line unmodified to
       its standard output channel (file descriptor 1) when the command is
       processed from the input stream. The command otherwise has no impact
       on the current import, or on any of fast-import’s internal state.

                   'progress' SP <any> LF
                   LF?

       The <any> part of the command may contain any sequence of bytes that
       does not contain LF. The LF after the command is optional. Callers
       may wish to process the output through a tool such as sed to remove
       the leading part of the line, for example:

           frontend | git fast-import | sed 's/^progress //'

       Placing a progress command immediately after a checkpoint will inform
       the reader when the checkpoint has been completed and it can safely
       access the refs that fast-import updated.

   get-mark
       Causes fast-import to print the SHA-1 corresponding to a mark to
       stdout or to the file descriptor previously arranged with the
       --cat-blob-fd argument. The command otherwise has no impact on the
       current import; its purpose is to retrieve SHA-1s that later commits
       might want to refer to in their commit messages.

                   'get-mark' SP ':' <idnum> LF

       This command can be used anywhere in the stream that comments are
       accepted. In particular, the get-mark command can be used in the
       middle of a commit but not in the middle of a data command.

       See “Responses To Commands” below for details about how to read this
       output safely.

   cat-blob
       Causes fast-import to print a blob to a file descriptor previously
       arranged with the --cat-blob-fd argument. The command otherwise has
       no impact on the current import; its main purpose is to retrieve
       blobs that may be in fast-import’s memory but not accessible from the
       target repository.

                   'cat-blob' SP <dataref> LF

       The <dataref> can be either a mark reference (:<idnum>) set
       previously or a full 40-byte SHA-1 of a Git blob, preexisting or
       ready to be written.

       Output uses the same format as git cat-file --batch:

           <sha1> SP 'blob' SP <size> LF
           <contents> LF

       This command can be used anywhere in the stream that comments are
       accepted. In particular, the cat-blob command can be used in the
       middle of a commit but not in the middle of a data command.

       See “Responses To Commands” below for details about how to read this
       output safely.

   ls
       Prints information about the object at a path to a file descriptor
       previously arranged with the --cat-blob-fd argument. This allows
       printing a blob from the active commit (with cat-blob) or copying a
       blob or tree from a previous commit for use in the current one (with
       filemodify).

       The ls command can be used anywhere in the stream that comments are
       accepted, including the middle of a commit.

       Reading from the active commit
           This form can only be used in the middle of a commit. The path
           names a directory entry within fast-import’s active commit. The
           path must be quoted in this case.

                       'ls' SP <path> LF

       Reading from a named tree
           The <dataref> can be a mark reference (:<idnum>) or the full
           40-byte SHA-1 of a Git tag, commit, or tree object, preexisting
           or waiting to be written. The path is relative to the top level
           of the tree named by <dataref>.

                       'ls' SP <dataref> SP <path> LF

       See filemodify above for a detailed description of <path>.

       Output uses the same format as git ls-tree <tree> -- <path>:

           <mode> SP ('blob' | 'tree' | 'commit') SP <dataref> HT <path> LF

       The <dataref> represents the blob, tree, or commit object at <path>
       and can be used in later get-mark, cat-blob, filemodify, or ls
       commands.

       If there is no file or subtree at that path, git fast-import will
       instead report

           missing SP <path> LF

       See “Responses To Commands” below for details about how to read this
       output safely.

   feature
       Require that fast-import supports the specified feature, or abort if
       it does not.

                   'feature' SP <feature> ('=' <argument>)? LF

       The <feature> part of the command may be any one of the following:

       date-format, export-marks, relative-marks, no-relative-marks, force
           Act as though the corresponding command-line option with a
           leading -- was passed on the command line (see OPTIONS, above).

       import-marks, import-marks-if-exists
           Like --import-marks except in two respects: first, only one
           "feature import-marks" or "feature import-marks-if-exists"
           command is allowed per stream; second, an --import-marks= or
           --import-marks-if-exists command-line option overrides any of
           these "feature" commands in the stream; third, "feature
           import-marks-if-exists" like a corresponding command-line option
           silently skips a nonexistent file.

       get-mark, cat-blob, ls
           Require that the backend support the get-mark, cat-blob, or ls
           command respectively. Versions of fast-import not supporting the
           specified command will exit with a message indicating so. This
           lets the import error out early with a clear message, rather than
           wasting time on the early part of an import before the
           unsupported command is detected.

       notes
           Require that the backend support the notemodify (N) subcommand to
           the commit command. Versions of fast-import not supporting notes
           will exit with a message indicating so.

       done
           Error out if the stream ends without a done command. Without this
           feature, errors causing the frontend to end abruptly at a
           convenient point in the stream can go undetected. This may occur,
           for example, if an import front end dies in mid-operation without
           emitting SIGTERM or SIGKILL at its subordinate git fast-import
           instance.

   option
       Processes the specified option so that git fast-import behaves in a
       way that suits the frontend’s needs. Note that options specified by
       the frontend are overridden by any options the user may specify to
       git fast-import itself.

               'option' SP <option> LF

       The <option> part of the command may contain any of the options
       listed in the OPTIONS section that do not change import semantics,
       without the leading -- and is treated in the same way.

       Option commands must be the first commands on the input (not counting
       feature commands), to give an option command after any non-option
       command is an error.

       The following command-line options change import semantics and may
       therefore not be passed as option:

       ·   date-format

       ·   import-marks

       ·   export-marks

       ·   cat-blob-fd

       ·   force

   done
       If the done feature is not in use, treated as if EOF was read. This
       can be used to tell fast-import to finish early.

       If the --done command-line option or feature done command is in use,
       the done command is mandatory and marks the end of the stream.

RESPONSES TO COMMANDS         top

       New objects written by fast-import are not available immediately.
       Most fast-import commands have no visible effect until the next
       checkpoint (or completion). The frontend can send commands to fill
       fast-import’s input pipe without worrying about how quickly they will
       take effect, which improves performance by simplifying scheduling.

       For some frontends, though, it is useful to be able to read back data
       from the current repository as it is being updated (for example when
       the source material describes objects in terms of patches to be
       applied to previously imported objects). This can be accomplished by
       connecting the frontend and fast-import via bidirectional pipes:

           mkfifo fast-import-output
           frontend <fast-import-output |
           git fast-import >fast-import-output

       A frontend set up this way can use progress, get-mark, ls, and
       cat-blob commands to read information from the import in progress.

       To avoid deadlock, such frontends must completely consume any pending
       output from progress, ls, get-mark, and cat-blob before performing
       writes to fast-import that might block.

CRASH REPORTS         top

       If fast-import is supplied invalid input it will terminate with a
       non-zero exit status and create a crash report in the top level of
       the Git repository it was importing into. Crash reports contain a
       snapshot of the internal fast-import state as well as the most recent
       commands that lead up to the crash.

       All recent commands (including stream comments, file changes and
       progress commands) are shown in the command history within the crash
       report, but raw file data and commit messages are excluded from the
       crash report. This exclusion saves space within the report file and
       reduces the amount of buffering that fast-import must perform during
       execution.

       After writing a crash report fast-import will close the current
       packfile and export the marks table. This allows the frontend
       developer to inspect the repository state and resume the import from
       the point where it crashed. The modified branches and tags are not
       updated during a crash, as the import did not complete successfully.
       Branch and tag information can be found in the crash report and must
       be applied manually if the update is needed.

       An example crash:

           $ cat >in <<END_OF_INPUT
           # my very first test commit
           commit refs/heads/master
           committer Shawn O. Pearce <spearce> 19283 -0400
           # who is that guy anyway?
           data <<EOF
           this is my commit
           EOF
           M 644 inline .gitignore
           data <<EOF
           .gitignore
           EOF
           M 777 inline bob
           END_OF_INPUT

           $ git fast-import <in
           fatal: Corrupt mode: M 777 inline bob
           fast-import: dumping crash report to .git/fast_import_crash_8434

           $ cat .git/fast_import_crash_8434
           fast-import crash report:
               fast-import process: 8434
               parent process     : 1391
               at Sat Sep 1 00:58:12 2007

           fatal: Corrupt mode: M 777 inline bob

           Most Recent Commands Before Crash
           ---------------------------------
             # my very first test commit
             commit refs/heads/master
             committer Shawn O. Pearce <spearce> 19283 -0400
             # who is that guy anyway?
             data <<EOF
             M 644 inline .gitignore
             data <<EOF
           * M 777 inline bob

           Active Branch LRU
           -----------------
               active_branches = 1 cur, 5 max

           pos  clock name
           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            1)      0 refs/heads/master

           Inactive Branches
           -----------------
           refs/heads/master:
             status      : active loaded dirty
             tip commit  : 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000
             old tree    : 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000
             cur tree    : 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000
             commit clock: 0
             last pack   :

           -------------------
           END OF CRASH REPORT

TIPS AND TRICKS         top

       The following tips and tricks have been collected from various users
       of fast-import, and are offered here as suggestions.

   Use One Mark Per Commit
       When doing a repository conversion, use a unique mark per commit
       (mark :<n>) and supply the --export-marks option on the command line.
       fast-import will dump a file which lists every mark and the Git
       object SHA-1 that corresponds to it. If the frontend can tie the
       marks back to the source repository, it is easy to verify the
       accuracy and completeness of the import by comparing each Git commit
       to the corresponding source revision.

       Coming from a system such as Perforce or Subversion this should be
       quite simple, as the fast-import mark can also be the Perforce
       changeset number or the Subversion revision number.

   Freely Skip Around Branches
       Don’t bother trying to optimize the frontend to stick to one branch
       at a time during an import. Although doing so might be slightly
       faster for fast-import, it tends to increase the complexity of the
       frontend code considerably.

       The branch LRU builtin to fast-import tends to behave very well, and
       the cost of activating an inactive branch is so low that bouncing
       around between branches has virtually no impact on import
       performance.

   Handling Renames
       When importing a renamed file or directory, simply delete the old
       name(s) and modify the new name(s) during the corresponding commit.
       Git performs rename detection after-the-fact, rather than explicitly
       during a commit.

   Use Tag Fixup Branches
       Some other SCM systems let the user create a tag from multiple files
       which are not from the same commit/changeset. Or to create tags which
       are a subset of the files available in the repository.

       Importing these tags as-is in Git is impossible without making at
       least one commit which “fixes up” the files to match the content of
       the tag. Use fast-import’s reset command to reset a dummy branch
       outside of your normal branch space to the base commit for the tag,
       then commit one or more file fixup commits, and finally tag the dummy
       branch.

       For example since all normal branches are stored under refs/heads/
       name the tag fixup branch TAG_FIXUP. This way it is impossible for
       the fixup branch used by the importer to have namespace conflicts
       with real branches imported from the source (the name TAG_FIXUP is
       not refs/heads/TAG_FIXUP).

       When committing fixups, consider using merge to connect the commit(s)
       which are supplying file revisions to the fixup branch. Doing so will
       allow tools such as git blame to track through the real commit
       history and properly annotate the source files.

       After fast-import terminates the frontend will need to do rm
       .git/TAG_FIXUP to remove the dummy branch.

   Import Now, Repack Later
       As soon as fast-import completes the Git repository is completely
       valid and ready for use. Typically this takes only a very short time,
       even for considerably large projects (100,000+ commits).

       However repacking the repository is necessary to improve data
       locality and access performance. It can also take hours on extremely
       large projects (especially if -f and a large --window parameter is
       used). Since repacking is safe to run alongside readers and writers,
       run the repack in the background and let it finish when it finishes.
       There is no reason to wait to explore your new Git project!

       If you choose to wait for the repack, don’t try to run benchmarks or
       performance tests until repacking is completed. fast-import outputs
       suboptimal packfiles that are simply never seen in real use
       situations.

   Repacking Historical Data
       If you are repacking very old imported data (e.g. older than the last
       year), consider expending some extra CPU time and supplying
       --window=50 (or higher) when you run git repack. This will take
       longer, but will also produce a smaller packfile. You only need to
       expend the effort once, and everyone using your project will benefit
       from the smaller repository.

   Include Some Progress Messages
       Every once in a while have your frontend emit a progress message to
       fast-import. The contents of the messages are entirely free-form, so
       one suggestion would be to output the current month and year each
       time the current commit date moves into the next month. Your users
       will feel better knowing how much of the data stream has been
       processed.

PACKFILE OPTIMIZATION         top

       When packing a blob fast-import always attempts to deltify against
       the last blob written. Unless specifically arranged for by the
       frontend, this will probably not be a prior version of the same file,
       so the generated delta will not be the smallest possible. The
       resulting packfile will be compressed, but will not be optimal.

       Frontends which have efficient access to all revisions of a single
       file (for example reading an RCS/CVS ,v file) can choose to supply
       all revisions of that file as a sequence of consecutive blob
       commands. This allows fast-import to deltify the different file
       revisions against each other, saving space in the final packfile.
       Marks can be used to later identify individual file revisions during
       a sequence of commit commands.

       The packfile(s) created by fast-import do not encourage good disk
       access patterns. This is caused by fast-import writing the data in
       the order it is received on standard input, while Git typically
       organizes data within packfiles to make the most recent (current tip)
       data appear before historical data. Git also clusters commits
       together, speeding up revision traversal through better cache
       locality.

       For this reason it is strongly recommended that users repack the
       repository with git repack -a -d after fast-import completes,
       allowing Git to reorganize the packfiles for faster data access. If
       blob deltas are suboptimal (see above) then also adding the -f option
       to force recomputation of all deltas can significantly reduce the
       final packfile size (30-50% smaller can be quite typical).

MEMORY UTILIZATION         top

       There are a number of factors which affect how much memory
       fast-import requires to perform an import. Like critical sections of
       core Git, fast-import uses its own memory allocators to amortize any
       overheads associated with malloc. In practice fast-import tends to
       amortize any malloc overheads to 0, due to its use of large block
       allocations.

   per object
       fast-import maintains an in-memory structure for every object written
       in this execution. On a 32 bit system the structure is 32 bytes, on a
       64 bit system the structure is 40 bytes (due to the larger pointer
       sizes). Objects in the table are not deallocated until fast-import
       terminates. Importing 2 million objects on a 32 bit system will
       require approximately 64 MiB of memory.

       The object table is actually a hashtable keyed on the object name
       (the unique SHA-1). This storage configuration allows fast-import to
       reuse an existing or already written object and avoid writing
       duplicates to the output packfile. Duplicate blobs are surprisingly
       common in an import, typically due to branch merges in the source.

   per mark
       Marks are stored in a sparse array, using 1 pointer (4 bytes or 8
       bytes, depending on pointer size) per mark. Although the array is
       sparse, frontends are still strongly encouraged to use marks between
       1 and n, where n is the total number of marks required for this
       import.

   per branch
       Branches are classified as active and inactive. The memory usage of
       the two classes is significantly different.

       Inactive branches are stored in a structure which uses 96 or 120
       bytes (32 bit or 64 bit systems, respectively), plus the length of
       the branch name (typically under 200 bytes), per branch. fast-import
       will easily handle as many as 10,000 inactive branches in under 2 MiB
       of memory.

       Active branches have the same overhead as inactive branches, but also
       contain copies of every tree that has been recently modified on that
       branch. If subtree include has not been modified since the branch
       became active, its contents will not be loaded into memory, but if
       subtree src has been modified by a commit since the branch became
       active, then its contents will be loaded in memory.

       As active branches store metadata about the files contained on that
       branch, their in-memory storage size can grow to a considerable size
       (see below).

       fast-import automatically moves active branches to inactive status
       based on a simple least-recently-used algorithm. The LRU chain is
       updated on each commit command. The maximum number of active branches
       can be increased or decreased on the command line with
       --active-branches=.

   per active tree
       Trees (aka directories) use just 12 bytes of memory on top of the
       memory required for their entries (see “per active file” below). The
       cost of a tree is virtually 0, as its overhead amortizes out over the
       individual file entries.

   per active file entry
       Files (and pointers to subtrees) within active trees require 52 or 64
       bytes (32/64 bit platforms) per entry. To conserve space, file and
       tree names are pooled in a common string table, allowing the filename
       “Makefile” to use just 16 bytes (after including the string header
       overhead) no matter how many times it occurs within the project.

       The active branch LRU, when coupled with the filename string pool and
       lazy loading of subtrees, allows fast-import to efficiently import
       projects with 2,000+ branches and 45,114+ files in a very limited
       memory footprint (less than 2.7 MiB per active branch).

SIGNALS         top

       Sending SIGUSR1 to the git fast-import process ends the current
       packfile early, simulating a checkpoint command. The impatient
       operator can use this facility to peek at the objects and refs from
       an import in progress, at the cost of some added running time and
       worse compression.

SEE ALSO         top

       git-fast-export(1)

GIT         top

       Part of the git(1) suite

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the git (Git distributed version control system)
       project.  Information about the project can be found at 
       ⟨http://git-scm.com/⟩.  If you have a bug report for this manual page,
       see ⟨http://git-scm.com/community⟩.  This page was obtained from the
       project's upstream Git repository ⟨https://github.com/git/git.git⟩ on
       2017-04-25.  If you discover any rendering problems in this HTML ver‐
       sion 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 man‐
       ual page), send a mail to man-pages@man7.org

Git 2.9.2.277.g2949358           07/16/2016               GIT-FAST-IMPORT(1)

Pages that refer to this page: git(1)git-config(1)git-fast-export(1)gitremote-helpers(1)