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Updated: Wednesday, July 27, 2022

git-pack-objects (1)


git-pack-objects - Create a packed archive of objects


git pack-objects [-q | --progress | --all-progress] [--all-progress-implied]
[--no-reuse-delta] [--delta-base-offset] [--non-empty]
[--local] [--incremental] [--window=<n>] [--depth=<n>]
[--revs [--unpacked | --all]] [--keep-pack=<pack-name>]
[--stdout [--filter=<filter-spec>] | <base-name>]
[--shallow] [--keep-true-parents] [--[no-]sparse] < <object-list>


GIT-PACK-OBJECTS(1)               Git Manual               GIT-PACK-OBJECTS(1)

       git-pack-objects - Create a packed archive of objects

       git pack-objects [-q | --progress | --all-progress] [--all-progress-implied]
               [--no-reuse-delta] [--delta-base-offset] [--non-empty]
               [--local] [--incremental] [--window=<n>] [--depth=<n>]
               [--revs [--unpacked | --all]] [--keep-pack=<pack-name>]
               [--stdout [--filter=<filter-spec>] | <base-name>]
               [--shallow] [--keep-true-parents] [--[no-]sparse] < <object-list>

       Reads list of objects from the standard input, and writes either one or
       more packed archives with the specified base-name to disk, or a packed
       archive to the standard output.

       A packed archive is an efficient way to transfer a set of objects
       between two repositories as well as an access efficient archival
       format. In a packed archive, an object is either stored as a compressed
       whole or as a difference from some other object. The latter is often
       called a delta.

       The packed archive format (.pack) is designed to be self-contained so
       that it can be unpacked without any further information. Therefore,
       each object that a delta depends upon must be present within the pack.

       A pack index file (.idx) is generated for fast, random access to the
       objects in the pack. Placing both the index file (.idx) and the packed
       archive (.pack) in the pack/ subdirectory of $GIT_OBJECT_DIRECTORY (or
       any of the directories on $GIT_ALTERNATE_OBJECT_DIRECTORIES) enables
       Git to read from the pack archive.

       The git unpack-objects command can read the packed archive and expand
       the objects contained in the pack into "one-file one-object" format;
       this is typically done by the smart-pull commands when a pack is
       created on-the-fly for efficient network transport by their peers.

           Write into pairs of files (.pack and .idx), using <base-name> to
           determine the name of the created file. When this option is used,
           the two files in a pair are written in
           <base-name>-<SHA-1>.{pack,idx} files. <SHA-1> is a hash based on
           the pack content and is written to the standard output of the

           Write the pack contents (what would have been written to .pack
           file) out to the standard output.

           Read the revision arguments from the standard input, instead of
           individual object names. The revision arguments are processed the
           same way as git rev-list with the --objects flag uses its commit
           arguments to build the list of objects it outputs. The objects on
           the resulting list are packed. Besides revisions, --not or
           --shallow <SHA-1> lines are also accepted.

           This implies --revs. When processing the list of revision arguments
           read from the standard input, limit the objects packed to those
           that are not already packed.

           This implies --revs. In addition to the list of revision arguments
           read from the standard input, pretend as if all refs under refs/
           are specified to be included.

           Include unasked-for annotated tags if the object they reference was
           included in the resulting packfile. This can be useful to send new
           tags to native Git clients.

           Read the basenames of packfiles (e.g., pack-1234abcd.pack) from the
           standard input, instead of object names or revision arguments. The
           resulting pack contains all objects listed in the included packs
           (those not beginning with ^), excluding any objects listed in the
           excluded packs (beginning with ^).

           Incompatible with --revs, or options that imply --revs (such as
           --all), with the exception of --unpacked, which is compatible.

       --window=<n>, --depth=<n>
           These two options affect how the objects contained in the pack are
           stored using delta compression. The objects are first internally
           sorted by type, size and optionally names and compared against the
           other objects within --window to see if using delta compression
           saves space. --depth limits the maximum delta depth; making it too
           deep affects the performance on the unpacker side, because delta
           data needs to be applied that many times to get to the necessary

           The default value for --window is 10 and --depth is 50. The maximum
           depth is 4095.

           This option provides an additional limit on top of --window; the
           window size will dynamically scale down so as to not take up more
           than <n> bytes in memory. This is useful in repositories with a mix
           of large and small objects to not run out of memory with a large
           window, but still be able to take advantage of the large window for
           the smaller objects. The size can be suffixed with "k", "m", or
           "g".  --window-memory=0 makes memory usage unlimited. The default
           is taken from the pack.windowMemory configuration variable.

           In unusual scenarios, you may not be able to create files larger
           than a certain size on your filesystem, and this option can be used
           to tell the command to split the output packfile into multiple
           independent packfiles, each not larger than the given size. The
           size can be suffixed with "k", "m", or "g". The minimum size
           allowed is limited to 1 MiB. The default is unlimited, unless the
           config variable pack.packSizeLimit is set. Note that this option
           may result in a larger and slower repository; see the discussion in

           This flag causes an object already in a local pack that has a .keep
           file to be ignored, even if it would have otherwise been packed.

           This flag causes an object already in the given pack to be ignored,
           even if it would have otherwise been packed.  <pack-name> is the
           pack file name without leading directory (e.g.  pack-123.pack). The
           option could be specified multiple times to keep multiple packs.

           This flag causes an object already in a pack to be ignored even if
           it would have otherwise been packed.

           This flag causes an object that is borrowed from an alternate
           object store to be ignored even if it would have otherwise been

           Only create a packed archive if it would contain at least one

           Progress status is reported on the standard error stream by default
           when it is attached to a terminal, unless -q is specified. This
           flag forces progress status even if the standard error stream is
           not directed to a terminal.

           When --stdout is specified then progress report is displayed during
           the object count and compression phases but inhibited during the
           write-out phase. The reason is that in some cases the output stream
           is directly linked to another command which may wish to display
           progress status of its own as it processes incoming pack data. This
           flag is like --progress except that it forces progress report for
           the write-out phase as well even if --stdout is used.

           This is used to imply --all-progress whenever progress display is
           activated. Unlike --all-progress this flag doesn't actually force
           any progress display by itself.

           This flag makes the command not to report its progress on the
           standard error stream.

           When creating a packed archive in a repository that has existing
           packs, the command reuses existing deltas. This sometimes results
           in a slightly suboptimal pack. This flag tells the command not to
           reuse existing deltas but compute them from scratch.

           This flag tells the command not to reuse existing object data at
           all, including non deltified object, forcing recompression of
           everything. This implies --no-reuse-delta. Useful only in the
           obscure case where wholesale enforcement of a different compression
           level on the packed data is desired.

           Specifies compression level for newly-compressed data in the
           generated pack. If not specified, pack compression level is
           determined first by pack.compression, then by core.compression, and
           defaults to -1, the zlib default, if neither is set. Add
           --no-reuse-object if you want to force a uniform compression level
           on all data no matter the source.

           Toggle the "sparse" algorithm to determine which objects to include
           in the pack, when combined with the "--revs" option. This algorithm
           only walks trees that appear in paths that introduce new objects.
           This can have significant performance benefits when computing a
           pack to send a small change. However, it is possible that extra
           objects are added to the pack-file if the included commits contain
           certain types of direct renames. If this option is not included, it
           defaults to the value of pack.useSparse, which is true unless
           otherwise specified.

           Create a "thin" pack by omitting the common objects between a
           sender and a receiver in order to reduce network transfer. This
           option only makes sense in conjunction with --stdout.

           Note: A thin pack violates the packed archive format by omitting
           required objects and is thus unusable by Git without making it
           self-contained. Use git index-pack --fix-thin (see git-index-
           pack(1)) to restore the self-contained property.

           Optimize a pack that will be provided to a client with a shallow
           repository. This option, combined with --thin, can result in a
           smaller pack at the cost of speed.

           A packed archive can express the base object of a delta as either a
           20-byte object name or as an offset in the stream, but ancient
           versions of Git don't understand the latter. By default, git
           pack-objects only uses the former format for better compatibility.
           This option allows the command to use the latter format for
           compactness. Depending on the average delta chain length, this
           option typically shrinks the resulting packfile by 3-5 per-cent.

           Note: Porcelain commands such as git gc (see git-gc(1)), git repack
           (see git-repack(1)) pass this option by default in modern Git when
           they put objects in your repository into pack files. So does git
           bundle (see git-bundle(1)) when it creates a bundle.

           Specifies the number of threads to spawn when searching for best
           delta matches. This requires that pack-objects be compiled with
           pthreads otherwise this option is ignored with a warning. This is
           meant to reduce packing time on multiprocessor machines. The
           required amount of memory for the delta search window is however
           multiplied by the number of threads. Specifying 0 will cause Git to
           auto-detect the number of CPU's and set the number of threads

           This is intended to be used by the test suite only. It allows to
           force the version for the generated pack index, and to force 64-bit
           index entries on objects located above the given offset.

           With this option, parents that are hidden by grafts are packed

           Requires --stdout. Omits certain objects (usually blobs) from the
           resulting packfile. See git-rev-list(1) for valid <filter-spec>

           Turns off any previous --filter= argument.

           A debug option to help with future "partial clone" development.
           This option specifies how missing objects are handled.

           The form --missing=error requests that pack-objects stop with an
           error if a missing object is encountered. If the repository is a
           partial clone, an attempt to fetch missing objects will be made
           before declaring them missing. This is the default action.

           The form --missing=allow-any will allow object traversal to
           continue if a missing object is encountered. No fetch of a missing
           object will occur. Missing objects will silently be omitted from
           the results.

           The form --missing=allow-promisor is like allow-any, but will only
           allow object traversal to continue for EXPECTED promisor missing
           objects. No fetch of a missing object will occur. An unexpected
           missing object will raise an error.

           Omit objects that are known to be in the promisor remote. (This
           option has the purpose of operating only on locally created
           objects, so that when we repack, we still maintain a distinction
           between locally created objects [without .promisor] and objects
           from the promisor remote [with .promisor].) This is used with
           partial clone.

           Objects unreachable from the refs in packs named with --unpacked=
           option are added to the resulting pack, in addition to the
           reachable objects that are not in packs marked with *.keep files.
           This implies --revs.

           Pack unreachable loose objects (and their loose counterparts
           removed). This implies --revs.

           Keep unreachable objects in loose form. This implies --revs.

           Restrict delta matches based on "islands". See DELTA ISLANDS below.

       When possible, pack-objects tries to reuse existing on-disk deltas to
       avoid having to search for new ones on the fly. This is an important
       optimization for serving fetches, because it means the server can avoid
       inflating most objects at all and just send the bytes directly from
       disk. This optimization can't work when an object is stored as a delta
       against a base which the receiver does not have (and which we are not
       already sending). In that case the server "breaks" the delta and has to
       find a new one, which has a high CPU cost. Therefore it's important for
       performance that the set of objects in on-disk delta relationships
       match what a client would fetch.

       In a normal repository, this tends to work automatically. The objects
       are mostly reachable from the branches and tags, and that's what
       clients fetch. Any deltas we find on the server are likely to be
       between objects the client has or will have.

       But in some repository setups, you may have several related but
       separate groups of ref tips, with clients tending to fetch those groups
       independently. For example, imagine that you are hosting several
       "forks" of a repository in a single shared object store, and letting
       clients view them as separate repositories through GIT_NAMESPACE or
       separate repos using the alternates mechanism. A naive repack may find
       that the optimal delta for an object is against a base that is only
       found in another fork. But when a client fetches, they will not have
       the base object, and we'll have to find a new delta on the fly.

       A similar situation may exist if you have many refs outside of
       refs/heads/ and refs/tags/ that point to related objects (e.g.,
       refs/pull or refs/changes used by some hosting providers). By default,
       clients fetch only heads and tags, and deltas against objects found
       only in those other groups cannot be sent as-is.

       Delta islands solve this problem by allowing you to group your refs
       into distinct "islands". Pack-objects computes which objects are
       reachable from which islands, and refuses to make a delta from an
       object A against a base which is not present in all of A's islands.
       This results in slightly larger packs (because we miss some delta
       opportunities), but guarantees that a fetch of one island will not have
       to recompute deltas on the fly due to crossing island boundaries.

       When repacking with delta islands the delta window tends to get clogged
       with candidates that are forbidden by the config. Repacking with a big
       --window helps (and doesn't take as long as it otherwise might because
       we can reject some object pairs based on islands before doing any
       computation on the content).

       Islands are configured via the pack.island option, which can be
       specified multiple times. Each value is a left-anchored regular
       expressions matching refnames. For example:

           island = refs/heads/
           island = refs/tags/

       puts heads and tags into an island (whose name is the empty string; see
       below for more on naming). Any refs which do not match those regular
       expressions (e.g., refs/pull/123) is not in any island. Any object
       which is reachable only from refs/pull/ (but not heads or tags) is
       therefore not a candidate to be used as a base for refs/heads/.

       Refs are grouped into islands based on their "names", and two regexes
       that produce the same name are considered to be in the same island. The
       names are computed from the regexes by concatenating any capture groups
       from the regex, with a - dash in between. (And if there are no capture
       groups, then the name is the empty string, as in the above example.)
       This allows you to create arbitrary numbers of islands. Only up to 14
       such capture groups are supported though.

       For example, imagine you store the refs for each fork in
       refs/virtual/ID, where ID is a numeric identifier. You might then

           island = refs/virtual/([0-9]+)/heads/
           island = refs/virtual/([0-9]+)/tags/
           island = refs/virtual/([0-9]+)/(pull)/

       That puts the heads and tags for each fork in their own island (named
       "1234" or similar), and the pull refs for each go into their own

       Note that we pick a single island for each regex to go into, using
       "last one wins" ordering (which allows repo-specific config to take
       precedence over user-wide config, and so forth).

       Various configuration variables affect packing, see git-config(1)
       (search for "pack" and "delta").

       Notably, delta compression is not used on objects larger than the
       core.bigFileThreshold configuration variable and on files with the
       attribute delta set to false.

       git-rev-list(1) git-repack(1) git-prune-packed(1)

       Part of the git(1) suite

Git 2.36.0                        04/17/2022               GIT-PACK-OBJECTS(1)