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Can I configure git such that

git pull

will always pull remote:master into my local master branch, regardless of which branch I'm currently on?

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Stack Overflow might be a better place for Git questions. – grawity Sep 27 '13 at 13:37
up vote 2 down vote accepted

No. git pull cannot do that.

The pull command is basically a shortcut for fetch + merge. The first step is to fetch all remote branches into local "remote-tracking" ones; the second step is to merge the appropriate remote-tracking branch into the current branch. Since a proper merge requires a working tree, Git does not allow merging into anything else except the currently checked out branch.

You can, however, fast-forward branches. If you don't have any local commits in master and all merges are going to be fast-forwards, then you can make an alias for:

git fetch && git push . origin/master:master

This fetches all branches, then pushes the new commits from origin/master into master in the same repository (here . means "this repository"). The same could be done using various other commands, but pushing is a convenient way to ensure that only fast-forwards will happen and no commits will be lost.

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