Can I 'git commit' a file and ignore its content changes?


Every developer on my team has their own local configuration. That configuration information is stored in a file called devtargets.rb which is used in our rake build tasks. I don't want developers to clobber each other's devtargets file, though.

My first thought was to put that file in the .gitignore list so that it is not committed to git.

Then I started wondering: is it possible to commit the file, but ignore changes to the file? So, I would commit a default version of the file and then when a developer changes it on their local machine, git would ignore the changes and it wouldn't show up in the list of changed files when you do a git status or git commit.

Is that possible? It would certainly be a nice feature...


Sure, I do exactly this from time to time using

git update-index --assume-unchanged [<file> ...]

To undo and start tracking again (if you forgot what files were untracked, see this question):

git update-index --no-assume-unchanged [<file> ...]

Relevant documentation:

When this flag is specified, the object names recorded for the paths are not updated. Instead, this option sets/unsets the "assume unchanged" bit for the paths. When the "assume unchanged" bit is on, the user promises not to change the file and allows Git to assume that the working tree file matches what is recorded in the index. If you want to change the working tree file, you need to unset the bit to tell Git. This is sometimes helpful when working with a big project on a filesystem that has very slow lstat(2) system call (e.g. cifs).

Git will fail (gracefully) in case it needs to modify this file in the index e.g. when merging in a commit; thus, in case the assumed-untracked file is changed upstream, you will need to handle the situation manually.

Fail gracefully in this case means, if there are any changes upstream to that file (legitimate changes, etc.) when you do a pull, it will say:

$ git pull
   72a914a..106a261  master     -> origin/master
Updating 72a914a..106a261
error: Your local changes to the following files would be overwritten by merge:

and will refuse to merge.

At that point, you can overcome this by either reverting your local changes, here’s one way:

 $ git checkout filename.ext

then pull again and re-modify your local file, or could set –no-assume-unchanged and you can do normal stash and merge, etc. at that point.

What is "git remote add ..." and "git push origin master"?

Delete all tags from a Git repository