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Basic question: confusing messages with git merge

Brad May 9, 2012 4:49 PM
Posted in group: Git for human beings
Hi, I have a single branch (master). I am using a remote git server (bitbucket) to push my changes to and pull them back down from (technically I always do 'git fetch' and then 'git merge origin/master' rather than 'git pull').

Occasionally I'll notice that after doing the operation that I always do at the beginning of any work, namely:
1). 'git fetch'
2). 'git merge origin/master'

I'll see that my local copy is ahead of origin/master by some number of commits. There is no difference in files, but if I type 'git log origin/master..' I'll see that the differences are something like the following:

          bmalone@babybear:~/my_codes$ git log origin/master..
commit d17ac2809465d1b2d0c84de0b3edb1380fd89ef4
Merge: 2c108a8 86b3471
Author: Brad Malone <>
Date:   Wed May 9 16:26:11 2012 -0700
    Merge remote-tracking branch 'origin/master'
commit 2c108a8073ff032964cf68ee183f3dc9577613cc
Author: Brad Malone <>
Date:   Mon May 7 20:57:19 2012 -0700
    Merge branch 'master', remote-tracking branch 'origin'

What do these things mean? I'd imagine that 'Merge remote-tracking branch origin/master' should have been what happens when I type 'git merge origin/master', but what about the other? Could 'Merge branch master, remote-tracking branch origin' be what happens if I accidentally typed "git merge origin master"? If I do this, what happens exactly? 

This is an annoying problem (and has happened twice), because it shows up in my commit history as different branches in my commit tree. Clearly I must be doing something wrong, and I'm wondering if accidentally typing 'git merge origin master' (which I do not know for sure that I have actually done, but I'm speculating) could be the cause of my problem, or whether it's something else.

Thanks so much for reading this!