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GIT-MERGE-BASE(1)                                Git Manual                                GIT-MERGE-BASE(1)



NAME
       git-merge-base - Find as good common ancestors as possible for a merge

SYNOPSIS
       git merge-base [-a|--all] <commit> <commit>...
       git merge-base [-a|--all] --octopus <commit>...
       git merge-base --is-ancestor <commit> <commit>
       git merge-base --independent <commit>...


DESCRIPTION
       git merge-base finds best common ancestor(s) between two commits to use in a three-way merge. One
       common ancestor is better than another common ancestor if the latter is an ancestor of the former. A
       common ancestor that does not have any better common ancestor is a best common ancestor, i.e. a merge
       base. Note that there can be more than one merge base for a pair of commits.

OPERATION MODE
       As the most common special case, specifying only two commits on the command line means computing the
       merge base between the given two commits.

       More generally, among the two commits to compute the merge base from, one is specified by the first
       commit argument on the command line; the other commit is a (possibly hypothetical) commit that is a
       merge across all the remaining commits on the command line.

       As a consequence, the merge base is not necessarily contained in each of the commit arguments if more
       than two commits are specified. This is different from git-show-branch(1) when used with the
       --merge-base option.

       --octopus
           Compute the best common ancestors of all supplied commits, in preparation for an n-way merge.
           This mimics the behavior of git show-branch --merge-base.

       --independent
           Instead of printing merge bases, print a minimal subset of the supplied commits with the same
           ancestors. In other words, among the commits given, list those which cannot be reached from any
           other. This mimics the behavior of git show-branch --independent.

       --is-ancestor
           Check if the first <commit> is an ancestor of the second <commit>, and exit with status 0 if
           true, or with status 1 if not. Errors are signaled by a non-zero status that is not 1.

OPTIONS
       -a, --all
           Output all merge bases for the commits, instead of just one.

DISCUSSION
       Given two commits A and B, git merge-base A B will output a commit which is reachable from both A and
       B through the parent relationship.

       For example, with this topology:

                    o---o---o---B
                   /
           ---o---1---o---o---o---A

       the merge base between A and B is 1.

       Given three commits A, B and C, git merge-base A B C will compute the merge base between A and a
       hypothetical commit M, which is a merge between B and C. For example, with this topology:

                  o---o---o---o---C
                 /
                /   o---o---o---B
               /   /
           ---2---1---o---o---o---A

       the result of git merge-base A B C is 1. This is because the equivalent topology with a merge commit
       M between B and C is:

                  o---o---o---o---o
                 /                 \
                /   o---o---o---o---M
               /   /
           ---2---1---o---o---o---A

       and the result of git merge-base A M is 1. Commit 2 is also a common ancestor between A and M, but 1
       is a better common ancestor, because 2 is an ancestor of 1. Hence, 2 is not a merge base.

       The result of git merge-base --octopus A B C is 2, because 2 is the best common ancestor of all
       commits.

       When the history involves criss-cross merges, there can be more than one best common ancestor for two
       commits. For example, with this topology:

           ---1---o---A
               \ /
                X
               / \
           ---2---o---o---B

       both 1 and 2 are merge-bases of A and B. Neither one is better than the other (both are best merge
       bases). When the --all option is not given, it is unspecified which best one is output.

       A common idiom to check "fast-forward-ness" between two commits A and B is (or at least used to be)
       to compute the merge base between A and B, and check if it is the same as A, in which case, A is an
       ancestor of B. You will see this idiom used often in older scripts.

           A=$(git rev-parse --verify A)
           if test "$A" = "$(git merge-base A B)"
           then
                   ... A is an ancestor of B ...
           fi

       In modern git, you can say this in a more direct way:

           if git merge-base --is-ancestor A B
           then
                   ... A is an ancestor of B ...
           fi

       instead.

SEE ALSO
       git-rev-list(1), git-show-branch(1), git-merge(1)

GIT
       Part of the git(1) suite



Git 1.8.3                                        05/24/2013                                GIT-MERGE-BASE(1)

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