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detached HEAD before root commit - possible, using GIT?

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I suspect that detaching HEAD before a root commit is not possible by design. What would HEAD contain then!? 'git checkout' seems to corroborate:

$ git init
Initialized empty Git repository in /tmp/test/.git/
$ git checkout --detach
fatal: You are on a branch yet to be born

Are there some plumbing commands and options that would still allow this, or can I rely on that that it's impossible?

posted Jun 23, 2013 by anonymous

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1 Answer

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gitrepository-layout(5) tells me HEAD can be in one of a few states:

a) Missing. In this case the repository is considered to be corrupt and attempts to access the repository fail until the user runs "git init" to recover.

b) A symbolic link, which is one way to represent a symref (pointing to an existing branch or an unborn branch).

c) A standard symref, in the format "ref: refs/some/branch". Behaves like (b).

d) A direct SHA-1 reference (40-character commit object name) pointing to a commit without associating a branch ("detached HEAD").

e) Anything else means the repository is corrupt, as in case (a).

In other words, HEAD always either points to an unborn or existing branch or an existing commit. It's not clear to me what it would mean to detach from an unborn branch.

answer Jun 24, 2013 by anonymous
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