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git-symbolic-ref(1) [osx man page]

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

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 Git 2.17.1 10/05/2018 GIT-SYMBOLIC-REF(1)

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

git-update-ref - Update the object name stored in a ref safely SYNOPSIS
git update-ref [-m <reason>] (-d <ref> [<oldvalue>] | [--no-deref] <ref> <newvalue> [<oldvalue>]) DESCRIPTION
Given two arguments, stores the <newvalue> in the <ref>, possibly dereferencing the symbolic refs. E.g. git update-ref HEAD <newvalue> updates the current branch head to the new object. Given three arguments, stores the <newvalue> in the <ref>, possibly dereferencing the symbolic refs, after verifying that the current value of the <ref> matches <oldvalue>. E.g. git update-ref refs/heads/master <newvalue> <oldvalue> updates the master branch head to <newvalue> only if its current value is <oldvalue>. You can specify 40 "0" or an empty string as <oldvalue> to make sure that the ref you are creating does not exist. It also allows a "ref" file to be a symbolic pointer to another ref file by starting with the four-byte header sequence of "ref:". More importantly, it allows the update of a ref file to follow these symbolic pointers, whether they are symlinks or these "regular file symbolic refs". It follows real symlinks only if they start with "refs/": otherwise it will just try to read them and update them as a regular file (i.e. it will allow the filesystem to follow them, but will overwrite such a symlink to somewhere else with a regular filename). If --no-deref is given, <ref> itself is overwritten, rather than the result of following the symbolic pointers. In general, using git update-ref HEAD "$head" should be a lot safer than doing echo "$head" > "$GIT_DIR/HEAD" both from a symlink following standpoint and an error checking standpoint. The "refs/" rule for symlinks means that symlinks that point to "outside" the tree are safe: they'll be followed for reading but not for writing (so we'll never write through a ref symlink to some other tree, if you have copied a whole archive by creating a symlink tree). With -d flag, it deletes the named <ref> after verifying it still contains <oldvalue>. LOGGING UPDATES
If config parameter "core.logAllRefUpdates" is true and the ref is one under "refs/heads/", "refs/remotes/", "refs/notes/", or the symbolic ref HEAD; or the file "$GIT_DIR/logs/<ref>" exists then git update-ref will append a line to the log file "$GIT_DIR/logs/<ref>" (dereferencing all symbolic refs before creating the log name) describing the change in ref value. Log lines are formatted as: 1. oldsha1 SP newsha1 SP committer LF Where "oldsha1" is the 40 character hexadecimal value previously stored in <ref>, "newsha1" is the 40 character hexadecimal value of <newvalue> and "committer" is the committer's name, email address and date in the standard GIT committer ident format. Optionally with -m: 1. oldsha1 SP newsha1 SP committer TAB message LF Where all fields are as described above and "message" is the value supplied to the -m option. An update will fail (without changing <ref>) if the current user is unable to create a new log file, append to the existing log file or does not have committer information available. GIT
Part of the git(1) suite Git 11/24/2012 GIT-UPDATE-REF(1)
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