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Switching from Cygwin to MSysGit – Git Thinks Everything Has Been Modified :-(

Introduction

I’ve been dabbling with git lately, contributing to the Nancy project, and I’ve been happily working away using Cygwin, which I already had installed, and all was fine and dandy. Things went slightly awry, however, when I decided to give MSysGit a whirl. Typing “git status” on my (unmodified) repository, that I’d previously used with Cygwin, showed every single file as modified.. argh!

Faking FileModes

A quick “git diff” showed this output for every file:

old mode 100755
new mode 100644

A brief Google later and it turns out that MSysGit “fakes” filemodes (unix permissions – the 755/644 part of the log above), whereas Cygwin, which is a more “complete” Linux implementation on Windows, does them “properly”. Now, by default, git tracks the filemode and considers it a change whenever it’s modified, so the “fake” modes coming back from MSysGit were making everything appear modified.

Solution

Luckily, the solution is very simple – tell git to stop tracking filemodes! I set this as a global option, but also had to set it on the repository too as it has a default value set in there. The following two commands sorted it out:

git config --global core.filemode false
git config core.filemode false

Conclusion

A simple fix to a, potentially, obscure problem; but I think if you’re using msysgit to work on non-Windows projects, that may have filemodes set for executable scripts, then this workaround may be required too. Apparently MSysGit does attempt to fake the filemode based on file extension, so things that *look* like they should be executable are faked to have +x, but it’s not going to be perfect.

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Posted in Misc, Rambling.

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