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git-symbolic-ref - Read, modify and delete symbolic refs
'git symbolic-ref' [-m <reason>] <name> <ref>
'git symbolic-ref' [-q] [--short] [--no-recurse] <name>
'git symbolic-ref' --delete [-q] <name>
Given one argument, reads which branch head the given symbolic
ref refers to and outputs its path, relative to the `.git/`
directory. Typically you would give `HEAD` as the <name>
argument to see which branch your working tree is on.
Given two arguments, creates or updates a symbolic ref <name> to
point at the given branch <ref>.
Given `--delete` and an additional argument, deletes the given
symbolic ref.
A symbolic ref is a regular file that stores a string that
begins with `ref: refs/`. For example, your `.git/HEAD` is
a regular file whose contents is `ref: refs/heads/master`.
Delete the symbolic ref <name>.
Do not issue an error message if the <name> is not a
symbolic ref but a detached HEAD; instead exit with
non-zero status silently.
When showing the value of <name> as a symbolic ref, try to shorten the
value, e.g. from `refs/heads/master` to `master`.
When showing the value of <name> as a symbolic ref, if
<name> refers to another symbolic ref, follow such a chain
of symbolic refs until the result no longer points at a
symbolic ref (`--recurse`, which is the default).
`--no-recurse` stops after dereferencing only a single level
of symbolic ref.
Update the reflog for <name> with <reason>. This is valid only
when creating or updating a symbolic ref.
In the past, `.git/HEAD` was a symbolic link pointing at
`refs/heads/master`. When we wanted to switch to another branch,
we did `ln -sf refs/heads/newbranch .git/HEAD`, and when we wanted
to find out which branch we are on, we did `readlink .git/HEAD`.
But symbolic links are not entirely portable, so they are now
deprecated and symbolic refs (as described above) are used by
'git symbolic-ref' will exit with status 0 if the contents of the
symbolic ref were printed correctly, with status 1 if the requested
name is not a symbolic ref, or 128 if another error occurs.
Part of the linkgit:git[1] suite