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GitLab Announces New Git Default Branch Name; Receives Support from GitHub and Atlassian

Supported by GitHub and Atlassian, GitLab has announced that its default branch will now change from ‘master’ to “main”. The default branch ‘master’ is the first branch that is created when a GitLab project is underway. Named initially by Bitkeeper, the former default branch name would cease to function from April 22, 2021.

The development has received support from its peers, GitHub and Atlassian.

What is GitLab?

GitLab is a leading DevOps software development tool for GitOps, CI-CD workflows, DevSecOps and other Agile software development projects. GitLab projects are supported by leading Cloud and data management platforms, including AWS, VMware Tanzu, IBM Red Hat, Google Cloud and Hashi Corp. The latest announcement on version release and name change of branch would enable the developer community to deliver customized DevOps solutions across industries and use cases.

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In an official GitLab blog, Daniel Gruesso (Product Manager – GitLab) wrote the main reason to change the default branch name to ‘main’. He wrote:

“Every Git repository has an initial branch, which is the first branch to be created when a new repository is generated. Historically, the default name for this initial branch was master. This term came from Bitkeeper, a predecessor to Git. Bitkeeper referred to the source of truth as the “master repository” and other copies as “slave repositories”. This shows how common master/slave references have been in technology and the difficulty in knowing how the term master should be interpreted.”

Main as default branch name is perceived to be more inclusive and readily acceptable to the DevOps community, as per GitLab, which gathered feedback from the developers who thought that ‘main’ provides more descriptive information about the Git project.

Last year, in July, GitLab had introduced “init.defaultBranch” configuration option to allow developers define their Git projects with any other branch name.

GitLab has announced that the default branch name would permanently be renamed to ‘main’ from master once it releases Git version 2.31.0 as part of GitLab’s 13.11 release in April. The company also assured Git developers that the new renaming wouldn’t affect the existing projects in the repository.

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