GergelyPolonkai GergelyPolonkai - 11 months ago 59
Git Question

File doesn′t get into the commit after using git add -N

I want to commit a Python module’s
file, which, on my disk, already contains code. However, for the current commit, I wanted to add it empty, as this part of the code is yet to be tested. Thus, I used

$ git add -N

The file is there in the output of
git status
, but if I issue
git commit
, all other files gets into the commit except
, which, in turn, remains in the index according to
git status

The man page of
says for

Record only the fact that the path will be added later. An entry for the path is placed in the index with no content.

Is there a way to circumvent this
will be added later
part, i.e. add the file empty without temporarily deleting its content?

Edit: This happens with current (2.2.0) Git. With 1.7.1 and a small test repo, I get an error:

$ git status
# On branch master
# Changes to be committed:
# (use "git reset HEAD <file>..." to unstage)
# new file: b
# Changed but not updated:
# (use "git add <file>..." to update what will be committed)
# (use "git checkout -- <file>..." to discard changes in working directory)
# modified: b
$ git commit -m 'test'
b: not added yet
error: Error building trees

Answer Source

This should be fixed with Git 2.5 (Q2 2015), meaning git commit won't try to include the new file "intended to be added later".
See commit d95d728 by Nguyễn Thái Ngọc Duy (pclouds) (merged in d0c692263)

diff-lib.c: adjust position of i-t-a entries in diff


Entries added by "git add -N" are reminder for the user so that they don't forget to add them before committing. These entries appear in the index even though they are not real.
Their presence in the index leads to a confusing "git status" like this:

On branch master
Changes to be committed:
        new file:   foo

Changes not staged for commit:
        modified:   foo

If you do a "git commit", "foo" will not be included even though "status" reports it as "to be committed".


This patch changes the output to become

On branch master
Changes not staged for commit:
        new file:   foo

no changes added to commit

In other words:

  • Treat such paths as "yet to be added to the index but Git already know about them";
  • "git diff HEAD" and "git diff --cached HEAD" should not talk about them, and
  • "git diff" should show them as new files yet to be added to the index.

Update Q4 2016:

commit: fix empty commit creation when there's no changes but ita entries

(ita or i-t-a is "intent to add")

See commit 2c49f7f, commit 018ec3c, commit b42b451, commit 425a28e (24 Oct 2016) by Nguyễn Thái Ngọc Duy (pclouds).
(Merged by Junio C Hamano -- gitster -- in commit 6503602, 27 Oct 2016)

When new paths were added by "git add -N" to the index, it was enough to circumvent the check by "git commit" to refrain from making an empty commit without "--allow-empty".
The same logic prevented "git status" to show such a path as "new file" in the "Changes not staged for commit" section.

git diff man page now includes:


By default entries added by "git add -N" appear as an existing empty file in "git diff" and a new file in "git diff --cached".
This option makes the entry appear as a new file in "git diff" and non-existent in "git diff --cached".

This option could be reverted with --ita-visible-in-index.

Both options are experimental and could be removed in future.