Why do I need to do `–set-upstream` all the time? – Dev

The best answers to the question “Why do I need to do `–set-upstream` all the time?” in the category Dev.

QUESTION:

I create a new branch in Git:

git branch my_branch

Push it:

git push origin my_branch

Now say someone made some changes on the server and I want to pull from origin/my_branch. I do:

git pull

But I get:

You asked me to pull without telling me which branch you
want to merge with, and 'branch.my_branch.merge' in
your configuration file does not tell me, either. Please
specify which branch you want to use on the command line and
try again (e.g. 'git pull <repository> <refspec>').
See git-pull(1) for details.

If you often merge with the same branch, you may want to
use something like the following in your configuration file:

    [branch "my_branch"]
    remote = <nickname>
    merge = <remote-ref>

    [remote "<nickname>"]
    url = <url>
    fetch = <refspec>

See git-config(1) for details.

I learned that I can make it work with:

git branch --set-upstream my_branch origin/my_branch

But why do I need to do this for every branch I create? Isn’t it obvious that if I push my_branch into origin/my_branch, then I would want to pull origin/my_branch into my_branch? How can I make this the default behavior?

ANSWER:

You can make this happen with less typing. First, change the way your push works:

git config --global push.default current

This will infer the origin my_branch part, thus you can do:

git push -u

Which will both create the remote branch with the same name and track it.

ANSWER:

A shortcut, which doesn’t depend on remembering the syntax for git branch --set-upstream 1 is to do:

git push -u origin my_branch

… the first time that you push that branch. Or, to push to the current branch from a branch of the same name (handy for an alias):

git push -u origin HEAD

You only need to use -u once, and that sets up the association between your branch and the one at origin in the same way as git branch --set-upstream does.

Personally, I think it’s a good thing to have to set up that association between your branch and one on the remote explicitly. It’s just a shame that the rules are different for git push and git pull.


1 It may sound silly, but I very frequently forget to specify the current branch, assuming that’s the default – it’s not, and the results are most confusing.

Update 2012-10-11: Apparently I’m not the only person who found it easy to get wrong! Thanks to VonC for pointing out that git 1.8.0 introduces the more obvious git branch --set-upstream-to, which can be used as follows, if you’re on the branch my_branch:

git branch --set-upstream-to origin/my_branch

… or with the short option:

git branch -u origin/my_branch

This change, and its reasoning, is described in the release notes for git 1.8.0, release candidate 1:

It was tempting to say git branch --set-upstream origin/master, but that tells Git to arrange the local branch origin/master to integrate with the currently checked out branch, which is highly unlikely what the user meant. The option is deprecated; use the new --set-upstream-to (with a short-and-sweet -u) option instead.

ANSWER:

You can simply

git checkout -b my-branch origin/whatever

in the first place. If you set branch.autosetupmerge or branch.autosetuprebase (my favorite) to always (default is true), my-branch will automatically track origin/whatever.

See git help config.

ANSWER:

This is my most common use for The Fuck.

$ git push
fatal: The current branch master has no upstream branch.
To push the current branch and set the remote as upstream, use

    git push --set-upstream origin master

$ fuck
git push --set-upstream origin master [enter/↑/↓/ctrl+c]
Counting objects: 9, done.
...

Also, it’s fun to type swear words in your terminal.