Git is a version control system. It was created in 2005 by Linus Torvalds, known more famously as the founding developer of the Linux kernel. The original aim of Git was to support versioning the Linux kernel during its development. Git is free and open-source software licensed under the GNU GPL v2 license.
What are some of the salient features of Git?
- Git makes branching and merging computationally cheap and encourages frequent branching to test ideas and develop new features. With Git, developers can create separate branches for deployment, day-to-day development, and individual features.
- Git is also very performance conscious, considering that some of the biggest and fastest-paced projects use it. The primary motivation for Git's development was that FOSS alternatives at the time were about ten times too slow.
- Git is also a distributed VCS. This distributed nature means that any clone of a repository is a full backup of the central code. Having such copies mitigates the accidental loss of data as any copy can restore the repo if lost or corrupted.
- Git uses SHA-1 hash checksums on every file and every commit, meaning that the integrity of the data is assured. Any change to any commit or file changes the hashes of every other following change so malicious actors cannot alter the history.
- Git also uses existing protocols for transferring repositories, such as HTTPS, SSH, or FTP. Developers can use the git CLI to clone repos. They can also download them as compressed .zip or .tar files and then decompress them.
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