[ANNOUNCE] Regarding Git and Branch Naming

Christian Couder christian.couder at gmail.com
Tue Jun 23 17:58:59 BST 2020

We at Git PLC [*1*] (who represents the project to our umbrella
organization, Software Freedom Conservancy) drafted a statement on
the subject matter with the Conservancy and it now is posted at the
conservancy's site at [*2*].  A copy of it is attached at the end of
this message.

It is important that discussions and decisions about what changes we
are going to make to the code happen on this list, just like any
other changes.

To that end, the patch series posted by Johannes Schindelin earlier
this month [*3*] to allow users to give a name of their choice to
the first branch "git init" creates and to configure the default for
that purpose seems like an obviously good starting point.  Hopefully
the series can be polished and included in the 2.28 release.

But it is just a starting point.  We need to keep the discussion
moving and reach a consensus on remaining issues, including

 - whether to change the default used as the name of the first
   branch created in a new repository away from 'master'?

 - if we were to change it, what should we change it to?

There may be more things that need to be decided.  Please be
respectful to each other and keep the discussion constructive
in the coming weeks.



*1* The current members of Git PLC are:

  - Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason <avarab at gmail.com>
  - Christian Couder <christian.couder at gmail.com>
  - Jeff King <peff at peff.net>
  - Junio C Hamano <gitster at pobox.com>

*2* https://sfconservancy.org/news/2020/jun/23/gitbranchname/

*3* https://lore.kernel.org/git/pull.656.git.1591823971.gitgitgadget@gmail.com/

-- >8 --

Existing versions of Git are capable of working with any branch name;
there's nothing special about ‘master’ except that it has historically
been the name used for the first branch when creating a new repository
from scratch (with the git init command). Thus many projects use it to
represent the primary line of development. We support and encourage
projects to switch to branch names that are meaningful and inclusive,
and we'll be adding features to Git to make it even easier to use a
different default for new projects.

As a first step, Git will add a mechanism to allow users to specify the
default used as the name of the first branch when creating a new
repository. Also, consistent with its project governance, Git has
undertaken a community process to explore changing the name of the
first branch created automatically for new repositories away from
'master'. That change is currently being discussed on our mailing list.
As always, changes in Git's core will minimize disruption for Git's
users and will include appropriate deprecation periods.

Meanwhile, Git as a project remains engaged in encouraging
participation of underrepresented groups in the development of Git
itself. Git continues their participation, which began four years ago,
in Conservancy's Outreachy initiative. Conservancy also continues to
explore and support other initiatives that can also assist in this

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