Git branch cleanup

David Osguthorpe david.osguthorpe at
Fri Apr 11 19:02:12 EDT 2014

On Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 03:10:22PM -0700, John Ralls wrote:
> I’d like to delete most of the old feature branches from the repository, but I don’t want to lose the history, so I’ve created a new branch called “archive” and merged in the feature branches in the right order. 
> Having the “heads” of those branches merged into archive means that the branches themselves can be removed without having the commits that belong to them garbage collected, preserving history.
> There are still a few abandoned branches that were never merged. I propose to leave them and the release branches in place, though there are two release branches, xacc-10-patch and xacc-12-patch, that I’d like to rename to 1.0 and 1.2 so that they’ll be consistent.
> Any comments or complaints?

An approach Ive used to clean up the git branch print out while retaining the old heads
is to move the refs into another refs directory out of the heads directory
(git branch only prints from ref/heads by default)

eg this first copies any refs with the string _cvs from refs/heads into refs/cvs
then deletes those same references from refs/heads
(I didnt think of this - found it after some googling)

git for-each-ref --format='%(refname:short)' refs/heads | grep  _cvs | xargs -n 1 -I {}  git update-ref refs/cvs/{} {}

git for-each-ref --format='%(refname:short)' refs/heads | grep  _cvs | xargs -n 1 -I {}  git branch -D {}


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