Preserving merge trees when using git-svn

If you're like me, you might be using git-svn to connect to centralized SVN repositories (e.g., at the workplace) while keeping many of the powerful features of git. Sometimes you might be working in a local feature branch that is linked to a remote branch, and do a git svn rebase to grab updates from the SVN server. This command only fetches from the corresponding server branch. But, if an SVN merge, say from trunk, had happened on that branch at the server, then git-svn needs the corresponding local master branch to be up-to-date to notice that it was the parent of that merge. If you hadn't fetched from master recently, you lose the merge tree. Oops.

Before the rebase it would've been better to use git svn fetch --all (or it ought to have been, assuming git-svn fetches revisions in order once for all branches). But you might forget to do that. If that's where you find yourself, it is possible to recover. In the feature branch, use git svn reset -r{REV} -p, replacing {REV} with the revision number of the SVN merge which git-svn failed to assign a parent. Then do git svn fetch --all before trying the rebase again.

Note that if there were commits waiting to be dcommitted to the server, you'll have to cherry-pick those back onto the rebased branch.

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