Consider the following situation:
- You have a clone of a git repository
- You have some local commits (commits that have not yet been pushed anywhere)
- The remote repository has new commits that you have not yet reconciled
So something like this:
If you execute
git pull with the default settings, you'll get something like this:
This is because git performed a merge.
There's an alternative, though. You can tell pull to do a rebase instead:
git pull --rebase
and you'll get this:
In my opinion, the rebased version has numerous advantages that mostly center around keeping both your code and the history clean, so I'm a little struck by the fact that git does the merge by default. Yes, the hashes of your local commits will get changed, but this seems like a small price to pay for the simpler history you get in return.
By no means am I suggesting that this is somehow a bad or a wrong default, though. I am just having trouble thinking of reasons why the merge might be preferred for the default. Do we have any insight into why it was chosen? Are there benefits that make it more suitable as a default?
The primary motivation for this question is that my company is trying to establish some baseline standards (hopefully, more like guidelines) for how we organize and manage our repositories to make it easier for developers to approach a repository they haven't worked with before. I am interested in making a case that we should usually rebase in this type of situation (and probably for recommending developers set their global config to rebase by default), but if I were opposed to that, I would certainly be asking why rebase isn't the default if it's so great. So I'm wondering if there is something I'm missing.
It has been suggested that this question is a duplicate of Why do so many websites prefer “git rebase” over “git merge”?; however, that question is somewhat the reverse of this one. It discusses the merits of rebase over merge, while this question asks about the benefits of merge over rebase. The answers there reflect this, focusing on problems with merge and benefits of rebase.