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GIT-SYMBOLIC-REF(1) Git Manual GIT-SYMBOLIC-REF(1)

NAME

git-symbolic-ref - Read, modify and delete symbolic refs

SYNOPSIS

git symbolic-ref [-m <reason>] <name> <ref>
git symbolic-ref [-q] [--short] <name>
git symbolic-ref --delete [-q] <name>
 

DESCRIPTION

Given one argument, reads which branch head the given symbolic ref refers to and outputs its path, relative to the .git/ directory. Typically you would give HEAD as the <name> argument to see which branch your working tree is on.
 
Given two arguments, creates or updates a symbolic ref <name> to point at the given branch <ref>.
 
Given --delete and an additional argument, deletes the given symbolic ref.
 
A symbolic ref is a regular file that stores a string that begins with ref: refs/. For example, your .git/HEAD is a regular file whose contents is ref: refs/heads/master.

OPTIONS

-d, --delete
Delete the symbolic ref <name>.
-q, --quiet
Do not issue an error message if the <name> is not a symbolic ref but a detached HEAD; instead exit with non-zero status silently.
--short
When showing the value of <name> as a symbolic ref, try to shorten the value, e.g. from refs/heads/master to master.
-m
Update the reflog for <name> with <reason>. This is valid only when creating or updating a symbolic ref.

NOTES

In the past, .git/HEAD was a symbolic link pointing at refs/heads/master. When we wanted to switch to another branch, we did ln -sf refs/heads/newbranch .git/HEAD, and when we wanted to find out which branch we are on, we did readlink .git/HEAD. But symbolic links are not entirely portable, so they are now deprecated and symbolic refs (as described above) are used by default.
 
git symbolic-ref will exit with status 0 if the contents of the symbolic ref were printed correctly, with status 1 if the requested name is not a symbolic ref, or 128 if another error occurs.

GIT

Part of the git(1) suite
09/26/2017 Git 2.14.2