The title of this article is intentionally provocative.

Git is a flexible tool that allows many kinds of workflow for using it. Here is the workflow I favour for teams:

  • The master branch is meant to be always releasable.

  • Every commit in master MUST pass the full test suite, though not all commits in merged change sets need to do that.

  • Changes are done in dedicated branches, which get merged to master frequently - avoid long-lived branches, since they tend to result in much effort having to be spent on resolving merge conflicts.

    • If frequent merging is, for some reason, not an option, at least rebase the branch onto current master frequently: at least daily. This keeps conflicts fairly small.
  • Before merging a branch into master, rebase it onto master and resolve any conflicts - also rebase the branch so it tells a clean story of the change.

    • git rebase -i master is a very powerful tool. Learn it.

    • A clean story doesn't have commits that fix mistakes earlier in the branch-to-be-merged, and introduces changes within the branch in chunks of a suitable size, and in an order that makes sense to the reader. Clean up "Fix typo in previous commit" type of commits.

  • Update the NEWS file when merging into master. Also Debian packaging files, if those are included in the source tree.

  • Tag releases using PGP signed, annotated tags. I use a tool called bumper, which updates NEWS,, debian/changelog, tags a release, and updates the files again with with +git appended to version number.

    • Review, update NEWS, debian/changelog before running bumper to make sure they're up to date.
  • Name branches and tags with a prefix foo/ where foo is your username, handle, or other identifier.

  • If master is broken, fixing it has highest priority for the project.

  • If there is a need for the project to support older releases, create a branch for each such, when needed, starting from the release's tag. Treat release branches as master for that release.

How would you modify these tips for someone using Git on Windows? You make several mentions of Debian here. Thanks much!
Comment by dave Mon Feb 26 15:09:55 2018
I wouldn't modify these tips for Windows, since I don't ever use Windows, and haven't ever used Windows for professional software development. I am completely ignorant of how anything works in Windows. Sorry.
Comment by Mon Feb 26 19:29:49 2018