This is something I’ve being meaning to do for a couple or so years now, and unsurprisingly it’s bubbled up again recently: the business of swapping the name of the master branch in git out for something better.

Because it’s one of those jobs that’s simultaneously simple and also laborious, I kept putting it off. Changing up the local configuration so that main (or whatever name you prefer) is used “out of the box” is simple enough; the laborious part is updating all of the repositories that live in the “forge of choice”. In my case, over on GitHub, I have getting on for 200 repositories – 142 of which are public (as of the time of writing). At work we use GitLab as our internal forge and I’ve got a non-trivial number of repositories on there too.

The obvious first step to tackling this is to knock up a little tool to help find the repos that still need swapping. That was simple enough:


# Quick and dirty tool to find repositories that still make use of a
# "master" branch. Helps with tracking down the ones that need
# updating/improving.

for repo in $(find . -name .git)
        cd "$(dirname $repo)"

        if git branch | grep master > /dev/null 2>&1
            echo "$(dirname $repo)"

### git-archaic ends here

It’s not meant to be clever, just something I can run when I’m in a “default branch swapping” mood so find a repository or two to tackle. The idea being that it uses find to pull out any instance of .git in or below the current directory, changes to it (inside a sub-process to ensure the PWD gets put back after the cd that happens, before the next iteration of the loop), gets a list of the branches and, if master is one of them, prints the directory name.

Using this, I can now slowly work through my more active repositories and make the swap – the idea being that if I currently have them cloned down to my machine, they’re obviously some level of “active”. At some point I imagine I could get more clever and use the APIs of the forges to look at all the repositories I own; that’s another job for another day.

This gives me enough to be going on with. :-)