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Let's say that I've created a clone of using web interface on

Since the time I created my clone, there were changes made to and I would like to merge them to my clone, preferably preserving history (i.e. I could merge them manually using a diff/merge tool, but that doesn't preserve git history).

What are the magic commands to perform such merge?

Preferably please provide the complete commands. I imagine it'll involve some combination of git fetch and git merge and remote-tracking branches etc. My problem is not that I can't read man pages for git fetch or merge, I just don't understand them.


Given Lazy Badger's comment below, I've solved half of the issue:

git remote add original

Creates something called 'original' pointing to the source. I can then do:

git pull original master

Which fetches and merges changes from original into my branch master. I would, however, to do it in 2 separate steps: as git fetch and git merge $something to merge into my current branch.

However, after git fetch original, I don't know what $something would be. When I do git branch -a, I don't see anything related to my remote original thingy.

What complicates things is that there are 3 branches in original as well.

So, where do data fetched from original go and how should I refer to it in my git merge $something?

share|improve this question
This is a duplicate of… – polynomial Oct 6 '11 at 2:42
Answer [found here][1], just small googling. [1]:… – Lazy Badger Oct 6 '11 at 3:53
Please see the update. Those don't really answer my questions. – Krzysztof Kowalczyk Oct 6 '11 at 7:07
up vote 2 down vote accepted

You already found how to add another remote and pull directly from it:

git remote add original
git pull original master

If you want to do the fetch and merge separately (instead of a single pull command; maybe because you want to inspect what changed before merging it), then you can do that like this:

git fetch original         # update refs/remotes/original/*
git merge original/master  # merge refs/remotes/original/master

You might inspect the changes before merging with this command:

git log --reverse -p original/master@{1}..original/master@{0}

Instead of using the above reflog-based revision specification, you could also just copy-and-paste the oldhash..newhash revision specification that was output during the fetch.

Technically, git pull remote branch is closer to this pair of commands:

git fetch remote-or-url branch  # grab remote branch and put it in FETCH_HEAD
git merge FETCH_HEAD            # merge it

but this pair (and thus also pulling with both a remote and a branch specified) is usually not as nice since it does not update the remote-tracking branches (refs/remotes/original/*). The remote+branch invocations of fetch and pull are useful for one-off merges from repositories for which you do not particularly want to keep a full set of remote-tracking branches (i.e. fetching/pulling a merge request from a minor/rare contributor).

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You can add multiple remotes to a single repository. Once you've got the second remote, you can simply push the changes of the first to the second. For example:

git clone <google_URI>
cd <projdir>
git remote add github <github_URI>
git push github master
share|improve this answer
That doesn't answer my question - see the update. What I want to know: after git remote add github <github_URI> followed by git fetch github, what is <sth> in git merge <sth>, assuming that github remote has 2 branches, e.g. master and win. – Krzysztof Kowalczyk Oct 6 '11 at 8:01
Chris' answer below shows the shomething: FETCH_HEAD or original/master would do. Or you could create another local branch from either of the two, and merge from there. – Dysaster Oct 6 '11 at 10:20

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