Git is a version control system (VCS) for tracking changes in computer files and coordinating work on those files among multiple people. It is primarily used for source code management in software development, but it can be used to keep track of changes in any set of files. As a distributed revision control system it is aimed at speed, data integrity, and support for distributed, non-linear workflows.
As with most other distributed version control systems, and unlike most client–server systems, every Git directory on every computer is a full-fledged repository with complete history and full version tracking abilities, independent of network access or a central server.
Git development began in April 2005, after many developers of the Linux kernel gave up access to BitKeeper, a proprietary source control management (SCM) system that they had formerly used to maintain the project. The copyright holder of BitKeeper, Larry McVoy, had withdrawn free use of the product after claiming that Andrew Tridgell had reverse-engineered the BitKeeper protocols. (The same incident would also spur the creation of another version control system, Mercurial.)
Branching and Merging
The Git feature that really makes it stand apart from nearly every other SCM out there is its branching model.
Git allows and encourages you to have multiple local branches that can be entirely independent of each other. The creation, merging, and deletion of those lines of development takes seconds.
Small and Fast
Git is fast. With Git, nearly all operations are performed locally, giving it a huge speed advantage on centralized systems that constantly have to communicate with a server somewhere.
One of the nicest features of any Distributed SCM, Git included, is that it's distributed. This means that instead of doing a "checkout" of the current tip of the source code, you do a "clone" of the entire repository.
The data model that Git uses ensures the cryptographic integrity of every bit of your project. Every file and commit is checksummed and retrieved by its checksum when checked back out. It's impossible to get anything out of Git other than the exact bits you put in.
Unlike the other systems, Git has something called the "staging area" or "index". This is an intermediate area where commits can be formatted and reviewed before completing the commit.
Free and Open Source
Git is released under the GNU General Public License version 2.0, which is an open source license. The Git project chose to use GPLv2 to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software---to make sure the software is free for all its users.
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