git-p4(1) — Linux manual page


GIT-P4(1)                      Git Manual                      GIT-P4(1)

NAME         top

       git-p4 - Import from and submit to Perforce repositories

SYNOPSIS         top

       git p4 clone [<sync-options>] [<clone-options>] <p4-depot-path>...
       git p4 sync [<sync-options>] [<p4-depot-path>...]
       git p4 rebase
       git p4 submit [<submit-options>] [<master-branch-name>]

DESCRIPTION         top

       This command provides a way to interact with p4 repositories
       using Git.

       Create a new Git repository from an existing p4 repository using
       git p4 clone, giving it one or more p4 depot paths. Incorporate
       new commits from p4 changes with git p4 sync. The sync command is
       also used to include new branches from other p4 depot paths.
       Submit Git changes back to p4 using git p4 submit. The command
       git p4 rebase does a sync plus rebases the current branch onto
       the updated p4 remote branch.

EXAMPLES         top

       •   Clone a repository:

               $ git p4 clone //depot/path/project

       •   Do some work in the newly created Git repository:

               $ cd project
               $ vi foo.h
               $ git commit -a -m "edited foo.h"

       •   Update the Git repository with recent changes from p4,
           rebasing your work on top:

               $ git p4 rebase

       •   Submit your commits back to p4:

               $ git p4 submit

COMMANDS         top

       Generally, git p4 clone is used to create a new Git directory
       from an existing p4 repository:

           $ git p4 clone //depot/path/project


        1. Creates an empty Git repository in a subdirectory called

        2. Imports the full contents of the head revision from the given
           p4 depot path into a single commit in the Git branch

        3. Creates a local branch, master from this remote and checks it

       To reproduce the entire p4 history in Git, use the @all modifier
       on the depot path:

           $ git p4 clone //depot/path/project@all

       As development continues in the p4 repository, those changes can
       be included in the Git repository using:

           $ git p4 sync

       This command finds new changes in p4 and imports them as Git

       P4 repositories can be added to an existing Git repository using
       git p4 sync too:

           $ mkdir repo-git
           $ cd repo-git
           $ git init
           $ git p4 sync //path/in/your/perforce/depot

       This imports the specified depot into refs/remotes/p4/master in
       an existing Git repository. The --branch option can be used to
       specify a different branch to be used for the p4 content.

       If a Git repository includes branches refs/remotes/origin/p4,
       these will be fetched and consulted first during a git p4 sync.
       Since importing directly from p4 is considerably slower than
       pulling changes from a Git remote, this can be useful in a
       multi-developer environment.

       If there are multiple branches, doing git p4 sync will
       automatically use the "BRANCH DETECTION" algorithm to try to
       partition new changes into the right branch. This can be
       overridden with the --branch option to specify just a single
       branch to update.

       A common working pattern is to fetch the latest changes from the
       p4 depot and merge them with local uncommitted changes. Often,
       the p4 repository is the ultimate location for all code, thus a
       rebase workflow makes sense. This command does git p4 sync
       followed by git rebase to move local commits on top of updated p4

           $ git p4 rebase

       Submitting changes from a Git repository back to the p4
       repository requires a separate p4 client workspace. This should
       be specified using the P4CLIENT environment variable or the Git
       configuration variable git-p4.client. The p4 client must exist,
       but the client root will be created and populated if it does not
       already exist.

       To submit all changes that are in the current Git branch but not
       in the p4/master branch, use:

           $ git p4 submit

       To specify a branch other than the current one, use:

           $ git p4 submit topicbranch

       To specify a single commit or a range of commits, use:

           $ git p4 submit --commit <sha1>
           $ git p4 submit --commit <sha1..sha1>

       The upstream reference is generally refs/remotes/p4/master, but
       can be overridden using the --origin= command-line option.

       The p4 changes will be created as the user invoking git p4
       submit. The --preserve-user option will cause ownership to be
       modified according to the author of the Git commit. This option
       requires admin privileges in p4, which can be granted using p4

       To shelve changes instead of submitting, use --shelve and

           $ git p4 submit --shelve
           $ git p4 submit --update-shelve 1234 --update-shelve 2345

       Unshelving will take a shelved P4 changelist, and produce the
       equivalent git commit in the branch

       The git commit is created relative to the current origin revision
       (HEAD by default). A parent commit is created based on the
       origin, and then the unshelve commit is created based on that.

       The origin revision can be changed with the "--origin" option.

       If the target branch in refs/remotes/p4-unshelved already exists,
       the old one will be renamed.

           $ git p4 sync
           $ git p4 unshelve 12345
           $ git show p4-unshelved/12345
           <submit more changes via p4 to the same files>
           $ git p4 unshelve 12345
           <refuses to unshelve until git is in sync with p4 again>

OPTIONS         top

   General options
       All commands except clone accept these options.

       --git-dir <dir>
           Set the GIT_DIR environment variable. See git(1).

       -v, --verbose
           Provide more progress information.

   Sync options
       These options can be used in the initial clone as well as in
       subsequent sync operations.

       --branch <ref>
           Import changes into <ref> instead of refs/remotes/p4/master.
           If <ref> starts with refs/, it is used as is. Otherwise, if
           it does not start with p4/, that prefix is added.

           By default a <ref> not starting with refs/ is treated as the
           name of a remote-tracking branch (under refs/remotes/). This
           behavior can be modified using the --import-local option.

           The default <ref> is "master".

           This example imports a new remote "p4/proj2" into an existing
           Git repository:

                   $ git init
                   $ git p4 sync --branch=refs/remotes/p4/proj2 //depot/proj2

           Use the branch detection algorithm to find new paths in p4.
           It is documented below in "BRANCH DETECTION".

       --changesfile <file>
           Import exactly the p4 change numbers listed in file, one per
           line. Normally, git p4 inspects the current p4 repository
           state and detects the changes it should import.

           Do not print any progress information.

           Query p4 for labels associated with the depot paths, and add
           them as tags in Git. Limited usefulness as only imports
           labels associated with new changelists. Deprecated.

           Import labels from p4 into Git.

           By default, p4 branches are stored in refs/remotes/p4/, where
           they will be treated as remote-tracking branches by
           git-branch(1) and other commands. This option instead puts p4
           branches in refs/heads/p4/. Note that future sync operations
           must specify --import-local as well so that they can find the
           p4 branches in refs/heads.

       --max-changes <n>
           Import at most n changes, rather than the entire range of
           changes included in the given revision specifier. A typical
           usage would be use @all as the revision specifier, but then
           to use --max-changes 1000 to import only the last 1000
           revisions rather than the entire revision history.

       --changes-block-size <n>
           The internal block size to use when converting a revision
           specifier such as @all into a list of specific change
           numbers. Instead of using a single call to p4 changes to find
           the full list of changes for the conversion, there are a
           sequence of calls to p4 changes -m, each of which requests
           one block of changes of the given size. The default block
           size is 500, which should usually be suitable.

           The mapping of file names from the p4 depot path to Git, by
           default, involves removing the entire depot path. With this
           option, the full p4 depot path is retained in Git. For
           example, path //depot/main/foo/bar.c, when imported from
           //depot/main/, becomes foo/bar.c. With --keep-path, the Git
           path is instead depot/main/foo/bar.c.

           Use a client spec to find the list of interesting files in
           p4. See the "CLIENT SPEC" section below.

       -/ <path>
           Exclude selected depot paths when cloning or syncing.

   Clone options
       These options can be used in an initial clone, along with the
       sync options described above.

       --destination <directory>
           Where to create the Git repository. If not provided, the last
           component in the p4 depot path is used to create a new

           Perform a bare clone. See git-clone(1).

   Submit options
       These options can be used to modify git p4 submit behavior.

       --origin <commit>
           Upstream location from which commits are identified to submit
           to p4. By default, this is the most recent p4 commit
           reachable from HEAD.

           Detect renames. See git-diff(1). Renames will be represented
           in p4 using explicit move operations. There is no
           corresponding option to detect copies, but there are
           variables for both moves and copies.

           Re-author p4 changes before submitting to p4. This option
           requires p4 admin privileges.

           Export tags from Git as p4 labels. Tags found in Git are
           applied to the perforce working directory.

       -n, --dry-run
           Show just what commits would be submitted to p4; do not
           change state in Git or p4.

           Apply a commit to the p4 workspace, opening, adding and
           deleting files in p4 as for a normal submit operation. Do not
           issue the final "p4 submit", but instead print a message
           about how to submit manually or revert. This option always
           stops after the first (oldest) commit. Git tags are not
           exported to p4.

           Instead of submitting create a series of shelved changelists.
           After creating each shelve, the relevant files are
           reverted/deleted. If you have multiple commits pending
           multiple shelves will be created.

       --update-shelve CHANGELIST
           Update an existing shelved changelist with this commit.
           Implies --shelve. Repeat for multiple shelved changelists.

           Conflicts can occur when applying a commit to p4. When this
           happens, the default behavior ("ask") is to prompt whether to
           skip this commit and continue, or quit. This option can be
           used to bypass the prompt, causing conflicting commits to be
           automatically skipped, or to quit trying to apply commits,
           without prompting.

       --branch <branch>
           After submitting, sync this named branch instead of the
           default p4/master. See the "Sync options" section above for
           more information.

       --commit (<sha1>|<sha1>..<sha1>)
           Submit only the specified commit or range of commits, instead
           of the full list of changes that are in the current Git

           Disable the automatic rebase after all commits have been
           successfully submitted. Can also be set with

           Disable the automatic sync of p4/master from Perforce after
           commits have been submitted. Implies --disable-rebase. Can
           also be set with git-p4.disableP4Sync. Sync with
           origin/master still goes ahead if possible.

HOOKS FOR SUBMIT         top

       The p4-pre-submit hook is executed if it exists and is
       executable. The hook takes no parameters and nothing from
       standard input. Exiting with non-zero status from this script
       prevents git-p4 submit from launching. It can be bypassed with
       the --no-verify command line option.

       One usage scenario is to run unit tests in the hook.

       The p4-prepare-changelist hook is executed right after preparing
       the default changelist message and before the editor is started.
       It takes one parameter, the name of the file that contains the
       changelist text. Exiting with a non-zero status from the script
       will abort the process.

       The purpose of the hook is to edit the message file in place, and
       it is not suppressed by the --no-verify option. This hook is
       called even if --prepare-p4-only is set.

       The p4-changelist hook is executed after the changelist message
       has been edited by the user. It can be bypassed with the
       --no-verify option. It takes a single parameter, the name of the
       file that holds the proposed changelist text. Exiting with a
       non-zero status causes the command to abort.

       The hook is allowed to edit the changelist file and can be used
       to normalize the text into some project standard format. It can
       also be used to refuse the Submit after inspect the message file.

       The p4-post-changelist hook is invoked after the submit has
       successfully occurred in P4. It takes no parameters and is meant
       primarily for notification and cannot affect the outcome of the
       git p4 submit action.

   Rebase options
       These options can be used to modify git p4 rebase behavior.

           Import p4 labels.

   Unshelve options
           Sets the git refspec against which the shelved P4 changelist
           is compared. Defaults to p4/master.


       The p4 depot path argument to git p4 sync and git p4 clone can be
       one or more space-separated p4 depot paths, with an optional p4
       revision specifier on the end:

           Import one commit with all files in the #head change under
           that tree.

           Import one commit for each change in the history of that
           depot path.

           Import only changes 1 through 6.

       "//depot/proj1@all //depot/proj2@all"
           Import all changes from both named depot paths into a single
           repository. Only files below these directories are included.
           There is not a subdirectory in Git for each "proj1" and
           "proj2". You must use the --destination option when
           specifying more than one depot path. The revision specifier
           must be specified identically on each depot path. If there
           are files in the depot paths with the same name, the path
           with the most recently updated version of the file is the one
           that appears in Git.

       See p4 help revisions for the full syntax of p4 revision

CLIENT SPEC         top

       The p4 client specification is maintained with the p4 client
       command and contains among other fields, a View that specifies
       how the depot is mapped into the client repository. The clone and
       sync commands can consult the client spec when given the
       --use-client-spec option or when the useClientSpec variable is
       true. After git p4 clone, the useClientSpec variable is
       automatically set in the repository configuration file. This
       allows future git p4 submit commands to work properly; the submit
       command looks only at the variable and does not have a
       command-line option.

       The full syntax for a p4 view is documented in p4 help views. git
       p4 knows only a subset of the view syntax. It understands
       multi-line mappings, overlays with +, exclusions with - and
       double-quotes around whitespace. Of the possible wildcards, git
       p4 only handles ..., and only when it is at the end of the path.
       git p4 will complain if it encounters an unhandled wildcard.

       Bugs in the implementation of overlap mappings exist. If multiple
       depot paths map through overlays to the same location in the
       repository, git p4 can choose the wrong one. This is hard to
       solve without dedicating a client spec just for git p4.

       The name of the client can be given to git p4 in multiple ways.
       The variable git-p4.client takes precedence if it exists.
       Otherwise, normal p4 mechanisms of determining the client are
       used: environment variable P4CLIENT, a file referenced by
       P4CONFIG, or the local host name.


       P4 does not have the same concept of a branch as Git. Instead, p4
       organizes its content as a directory tree, where by convention
       different logical branches are in different locations in the
       tree. The p4 branch command is used to maintain mappings between
       different areas in the tree, and indicate related content. git p4
       can use these mappings to determine branch relationships.

       If you have a repository where all the branches of interest exist
       as subdirectories of a single depot path, you can use
       --detect-branches when cloning or syncing to have git p4
       automatically find subdirectories in p4, and to generate these as
       branches in Git.

       For example, if the P4 repository structure is:


       And "p4 branch -o branch1" shows a View line that looks like:

           //depot/main/... //depot/branch1/...

       Then this git p4 clone command:

           git p4 clone --detect-branches //depot@all

       produces a separate branch in refs/remotes/p4/ for //depot/main,
       called master, and one for //depot/branch1 called depot/branch1.

       However, it is not necessary to create branches in p4 to be able
       to use them like branches. Because it is difficult to infer
       branch relationships automatically, a Git configuration setting
       git-p4.branchList can be used to explicitly identify branch
       relationships. It is a list of "source:destination" pairs, like a
       simple p4 branch specification, where the "source" and
       "destination" are the path elements in the p4 repository. The
       example above relied on the presence of the p4 branch. Without p4
       branches, the same result will occur with:

           git init depot
           cd depot
           git config git-p4.branchList main:branch1
           git p4 clone --detect-branches //depot@all .

PERFORMANCE         top

       The fast-import mechanism used by git p4 creates one pack file
       for each invocation of git p4 sync. Normally, Git garbage
       compression (git-gc(1)) automatically compresses these to fewer
       pack files, but explicit invocation of git repack -adf may
       improve performance.


       The following config settings can be used to modify git p4
       behavior. They all are in the git-p4 section.

   General variables
           User specified as an option to all p4 commands, with -u
           <user>. The environment variable P4USER can be used instead.

           Password specified as an option to all p4 commands, with -P
           <password>. The environment variable P4PASS can be used

           Port specified as an option to all p4 commands, with -p
           <port>. The environment variable P4PORT can be used instead.
           Host specified as an option to all p4 commands, with -h
           <host>. The environment variable P4HOST can be used instead.

           Client specified as an option to all p4 commands, with -c
           <client>, including the client spec.

           Specifies the number of times to retry a p4 command (notably,
           p4 sync) if the network times out. The default value is 3.
           Set the value to 0 to disable retries or if your p4 version
           does not support retries (pre 2012.2).

   Clone and sync variables
           Because importing commits from other Git repositories is much
           faster than importing them from p4, a mechanism exists to
           find p4 changes first in Git remotes. If branches exist under
           refs/remote/origin/p4, those will be fetched and used when
           syncing from p4. This variable can be set to false to disable
           this behavior.

           One phase in branch detection involves looking at p4 branches
           to find new ones to import. By default, all branches are
           inspected. This option limits the search to just those owned
           by the single user named in the variable.

           List of branches to be imported when branch detection is
           enabled. Each entry should be a pair of branch names
           separated by a colon (:). This example declares that both
           branchA and branchB were created from main:

               git config       git-p4.branchList main:branchA
               git config --add git-p4.branchList main:branchB

           List of p4 labels to ignore. This is built automatically as
           unimportable labels are discovered.

           Import p4 labels into git, as per --import-labels.

           Only p4 labels matching this regular expression will be
           imported. The default value is [a-zA-Z0-9_\-.]+$.

           Specify that the p4 client spec should be used to identify p4
           depot paths of interest. This is equivalent to specifying the
           option --use-client-spec. See the "CLIENT SPEC" section
           above. This variable is a boolean, not the name of a p4

           Perforce keeps the encoding of a path as given by the
           originating OS. Git expects paths encoded as UTF-8. Use this
           config to tell git-p4 what encoding Perforce had used for the
           paths. This encoding is used to transcode the paths to UTF-8.
           As an example, Perforce on Windows often uses "cp1252" to
           encode path names. If this option is passed into a p4 clone
           request, it is persisted in the resulting new git repo.

           Perforce keeps the encoding of a changelist descriptions and
           user full names as stored by the client on a given OS. The
           p4v client uses the OS-local encoding, and so different users
           can end up storing different changelist descriptions or user
           full names in different encodings, in the same depot. Git
           tolerates inconsistent/incorrect encodings in commit messages
           and author names, but expects them to be specified in utf-8.
           git-p4 can use three different decoding strategies in
           handling the encoding uncertainty in Perforce: passthrough
           simply passes the original bytes through from Perforce to
           git, creating usable but incorrectly-encoded data when the
           Perforce data is encoded as anything other than utf-8.
           strict expects the Perforce data to be encoded as utf-8, and
           fails to import when this is not true.  fallback attempts to
           interpret the data as utf-8, and otherwise falls back to
           using a secondary encoding - by default the common windows
           encoding cp-1252 - with upper-range bytes escaped if decoding
           with the fallback encoding also fails. Under python2 the
           default strategy is passthrough for historical reasons, and
           under python3 the default is fallback. When strict is
           selected and decoding fails, the error message will propose
           changing this config parameter as a workaround. If this
           option is passed into a p4 clone request, it is persisted
           into the resulting new git repo.

           Specify the fallback encoding to use when decoding Perforce
           author names and changelists descriptions using the fallback
           strategy (see git-p4.metadataDecodingStrategy). The fallback
           encoding will only be used when decoding as utf-8 fails. This
           option defaults to cp1252, a common windows encoding. If this
           option is passed into a p4 clone request, it is persisted
           into the resulting new git repo.

           Specify the system that is used for large (binary) files.
           Please note that large file systems do not support the git p4
           submit command. Only Git LFS is implemented right now (see
  for more information). Download
           and install the Git LFS command line extension to use this
           option and configure it like this:

               git config       git-p4.largeFileSystem GitLFS

           All files matching a file extension in the list will be
           processed by the large file system. Do not prefix the
           extensions with ..

           All files with an uncompressed size exceeding the threshold
           will be processed by the large file system. By default the
           threshold is defined in bytes. Add the suffix k, m, or g to
           change the unit.

           All files with a compressed size exceeding the threshold will
           be processed by the large file system. This option might slow
           down your clone/sync process. By default the threshold is
           defined in bytes. Add the suffix k, m, or g to change the

           Boolean variable which defines if large files are
           automatically pushed to a server.

           A changelist that contains only excluded files will be
           imported as an empty commit if this boolean option is set to

           Map a P4 user to a name and email address in Git. Use a
           string with the following format to create a mapping:

               git config --add git-p4.mapUser "p4user = First Last <>"

           A mapping will override any user information from P4.
           Mappings for multiple P4 user can be defined.

   Submit variables
           Detect renames. See git-diff(1). This can be true, false, or
           a score as expected by git diff -M.

           Detect copies. See git-diff(1). This can be true, false, or a
           score as expected by git diff -C.

           Detect copies harder. See git-diff(1). A boolean.

           On submit, re-author changes to reflect the Git author,
           regardless of who invokes git p4 submit.

           When preserveUser is true, git p4 normally dies if it cannot
           find an author in the p4 user map. This setting submits the
           change regardless.

           The submit process invokes the editor before each p4 change
           is submitted. If this setting is true, though, the editing
           step is skipped.

           After editing the p4 change message, git p4 makes sure that
           the description really was changed by looking at the file
           modification time. This option disables that test.

           By default, any branch can be used as the source for a git p4
           submit operation. This configuration variable, if set,
           permits only the named branches to be used as submit sources.
           Branch names must be the short names (no "refs/heads/"), and
           should be separated by commas (","), with no spaces.

           If the user running git p4 submit does not exist in the p4
           user map, git p4 exits. This option can be used to force
           submission regardless.

           If enabled, git p4 submit will attempt to cleanup RCS
           keywords ($Header$, etc). These would otherwise cause merge
           conflicts and prevent the submit going ahead. This option
           should be considered experimental at present.

           Export Git tags to p4 labels, as per --export-labels.

           Only p4 labels matching this regular expression will be
           exported. The default value is [a-zA-Z0-9_\-.]+$.

           Specify submit behavior when a conflict with p4 is found, as
           per --conflict. The default behavior is ask.

           Do not rebase the tree against p4/master following a submit.

           Do not sync p4/master with Perforce following a submit.
           Implies git-p4.disableRebase.


       •   Changesets from p4 are imported using Git fast-import.

       •   Cloning or syncing does not require a p4 client; file
           contents are collected using p4 print.

       •   Submitting requires a p4 client, which is not in the same
           location as the Git repository. Patches are applied, one at a
           time, to this p4 client and submitted from there.

       •   Each commit imported by git p4 has a line at the end of the
           log message indicating the p4 depot location and change
           number. This line is used by later git p4 sync operations to
           know which p4 changes are new.

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
       ⟨⟩.  If you have a bug report for this manual
       page, see ⟨⟩.  This page was obtained
       from the project's upstream Git repository
       ⟨⟩ on 2023-12-22.  (At that time,
       the date of the most recent commit that was found in the
       repository was 2023-12-20.)  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         2023-12-20                      GIT-P4(1)

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