On Mon, 7 Jul 2014 16:43:13 -0700 (PDT)
Anthony Dobaj <apdo...@gadgettronix.com> wrote:

> I need to revert back to an older version of git (1.9.4 has some sort
> of confounding incompatibility with my machine), and the archive is
> here <https://www.kernel.org/pub/software/scm/git/>, but it appears
> this is the source and not the binary.

Yes the only "truly official" things the Git project produce is its
sources available in the various Git repositories or source tarballs.

> I would prefer not to undertake another research project, does
> anybody know where I can get the compiled binary for older versions?

You can grab some past versions from there [1] on Github.
The "research project" is to take a link of the "Download" button at
http://msysgit.github.io/ and strip path components off it one by one
until it works. ;-)

> Also, what fundamentally is the difference between the "official" git
> and the msysgit project?

The Git project was started by folks working on Linux-powered systems
(because it has been created with a goal of managing the sources of
Linux) and hence it assumes a POSIX-compliant OS [2] to work on.
With minor tweaks to cater for bogosities of particular operating
systems, this includes everything Linux, *BSD and Darwin (Mac OS X).

Windows does not provide a working POSIX layer, and what's more, Git is
not entirely written in C -- it contains parts implemented as Unix shell
scripts, Perl scripts and Tcl programs using Tk.  These things are
taken for granted to be found on a sensible POSIX system (well, may be
except Mac OS X, but they can be installed even there with little
effort) but not on Windows.

Due to this, a fork of Git has been created long time ago, relying on
MinGW [3] and MSYS [4] to 1) make Git itself work on Windows 2) make it
possible to ship a minimal working POSIX-like environment with Git so
that its non-C parts work.  The project exists as a set of patches on
top of "upstream" Git sources plus the build environment to build this
patched Git itself, all its dependencies and the binary installer
containing all that built stuff.  With each new release, the project
publishes the binary installer file and the archive containing the
build environment used to create that.  To remove confustion between
which is what, the project at some point started to advertise the
binary installer (what most users want to download) as "Git for Windows"
and the build environment as "msysGit".  So what you're using is
Git for Windows (or GfW for short).

The project have sent (and tries to send) some of its patches upstream,
and its long-standing goal is full integration of the fork into the Git
mainline (though I'm not sure it'll ever happen).

GfW appears to be a "blessed" version targetting Windows because it's
advertised on the official site of the Git project (git-scm.com) but
it's still a separate effort with its own repositories.  That is, it's
very close to the Git mainline, is in sync with it (at the time of the
next release at least) but it's not just a build of pristine Git

1. https://github.com/msysgit/msysgit/releases/
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/POSIX
3. http://www.mingw.org/
4. http://www.mingw.org/wiki/msys

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