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How to add Git Pull Shortcut to Different Github Branches

UPDATE 9 hours later: Changed to “remote = origin” to the specific branch “remote = dean” which works!

Short explanation on how to pull changes from different Git repositories into your local Git repository.

Last week I worked with three different Github forks of a project. Now for standard, when you clone a Github repository, the remote repository is automatically added so you can do a simple git pull (instead of the verbose version “git pull origin master”)

Now, let’s say you’d like to pull changes from another branch/fork on Github:

git remote add dean git://
git co -b dean
git pull dean master

Git pull dean master will work. but “git pull” gives the following message:

[~/othercode/webrat (master)] ➔ git co dean
Switched to branch ‘dean’
[~/othercode/webrat (dean)] ➔ git pull
You asked me to pull without telling me which branch you
want to merge with, and ‘branch.dean.merge’ in
your configuration file does not tell me either.    Please
specify which branch you want to merge on the command line and
try again (e.g. ‘git pull <repository> <refspec>’).
See git-pull(1) for details.

If you often merge with the same branch, you may want to
configure the following variables in your configuration

branch.dean.remote = <nickname>
branch.dean.merge = <remote-ref>
remote.<nickname>.url = <url>
remote.<nickname>.fetch = <refspec>

See git-config(1) for details.

Solution to get the shorthand “git pull” to work:

Add the following section to [project_dir]/.git/config

[branch "dean"]
remote = dean
merge = refs/heads/master

So my ./git/config file now looks like this:

repositoryformatversion = 0
filemode = true
bare = false
logallrefupdates = true
ignorecase = true
[remote "origin"]
url = git://
fetch = +refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/origin/*
[branch "master"]
remote = origin
merge = refs/heads/master
[remote "jonas"]
url = git://
fetch = +refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/jonas/*
[branch "jonas"]
remote = jonas
merge = refs/heads/master
[remote "dean"]
url = git://
fetch = +refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/dean/*
[branch "dean"]
remote = dean
merge = refs/heads/master
[branch "orig"]
remote = origin
merge = refs/heads/master

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