TheWebs TheWebs - 4 months ago 23
Git Question

Git cherry-pick syntax and merge branches

So I have done countless cherry picks before and it seems that I must fail at life with this right now, I am trying to cherry pick from one branch to another which should be easy, how ever I get an error about it being a merge but not -m was given?

$ git cherry-pick a8c5ad438f6173dc34f6ec45bddcef2ab23285e0
error: Commit a8c5ad438f6173dc34f6ec45bddcef2ab23285e0 is a merge but no -m option was given.
fatal: cherry-pick failed


That looks wrong.......it should be:

$ git cherry-pick a8c5ad438f6173dc34f6ec45bddcef2ab23285e0


Since when do I have to supply a -m function?

Answer

You have to supply -m if the commit is a merge commit, i.e. a commit with more than one parent.

Normally, what git cherry-pick REV does can be described as:

  1. Take the changes between rev and its parent.

  2. Apply these changes to the current HEAD and commit the result with rev's commit message.

A merge commit joins two lines of development. For example, one line implements widget, and the other line removes clutter. The merge gives you the code with the widget, sans the clutter.

Now consider step #1 of the cherry-pick process: git can't guess whether you want to remove the clutter or to implement the widget. Nor can you do both, because the information on how to do both is not contained inside a single merge commit, only the content of the resultant merged tree is.

The -m option allows you to tell git how to proceed. For example, if clutter removal happened on master and the merge commit was created using git merge WIDGET, then git cherry-pick -m 1 merged-commit will cherry-pick the new widget because diff between the merged tree and parent 1 (the last of clutter-removing commits) will have been exactly the widget addition. On the other hand, git cherry-pick -m 2 merge-commit will delete the clutter, because the difference between parent 2 (the last of the widget-adding commits) and merge-commit is exactly the clutter-removal missing from the widget branch.