Git is a free and open source distributed code management and version control system that is distributed under the GNU General Public License version 2. In addition to software version control, Git is used for other applications including configuration management and content management.
Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, developed and released Git in 2005. The project was originally undertaken because available open source version control systems at that time weren't up to up to the requirements of Linux kernel development. For one thing, version control for such a large-scale collaborative effort requires better performance than available systems were capable of -- three seconds to apply a patch, for example, versus 30. In addition to its superior performance, Git provides support for a distributed workflow and safeguards against corruption.
Git, as a word, is an alternation of the word get, which itself was shortened from beget. The implicit reference is to illegitimate offspring, and the term is roughly synonymous with twit, dolt, moron or idiot. Within the open source community, the significance of the name choice varies.
From the Git source code readme file:
The name "git" was given by Linus Torvalds when he wrote the very first version. He described the tool as "the stupid content tracker" and the name as (depending on your mood):
- random three-letter combination that is pronounceable, and not actually used by any common UNIX command. The fact that it is a mispronunciation of "get" may or may not be relevant.
- stupid. contemptible and despicable. simple. Take your pick from the dictionary of slang.
- "global information tracker": you're in a good mood, and it actually works for you. Angels sing, and a light suddenly fills the room.
- "goddamn idiotic truckload of sh*t": when it breaks.
See also: GitHub