Git is distributed version control system focused on speed, effectivity and real-world usability on large projects. Its highlights include:
- Distributed development. Like most other modern version control systems, Git gives each developer a local copy of the entire development history, and changes are copied from one such repository to another. These changes are imported as additional development branches, and can be merged in the same way as a locally developed branch. Repositories can be easily accessed via the efficient Git protocol (optionally wrapped in ssh for authentication and security) or simply using HTTP - you can publish your repository anywhere without any special webserver configuration required.
- Strong support for non-linear development. Git supports rapid and convenient branching and merging, and includes powerful tools for visualizing and navigating a non-linear development history.
- Efficient handling of large projects. Git is very fast and scales well even when working with large projects and long histories. It is commonly an order of magnitude faster than most other version control systems, and several orders of magnitude faster on some operations. It also uses an extremely efficient packed format for long-term revision storage that currently tops any other open source version control system.
- Cryptographic authentication of history. The Git history is stored in such a way that the name of a particular revision (a "commit" in Git terms) depends upon the complete development history leading up to that commit. Once it is published, it is not possible to change the old versions without it being noticed. Also, tags can be cryptographically signed.
- Toolkit design. Following the Unix tradition, Git is a collection of many small tools written in C, and a number of scripts that provide convenient wrappers. Git provides tools for both convenient human usage and easy scripting to perform new clever operations.
Besides providing a version control system, the Git project provides a generic low-level toolkit for tree history storage and directory content management. Traditionally, the toolkit is called the plumbing. Aside the user interface coming with Git itself, several other projects (so-called porcelains) offer compatible version control interfaces - see the related tools list.