Using git version 1.7.12.rc2.18.g61b472e
(1.7.9 has the same problem)

If I run (directly in the bare repository)

git filter-branch -d ../localrewrite --parent-filter cat

I get this error message on the last line, nothing unusual before:
error: Untracked working tree file 'AUTHORS' would be overwritten by merge.

but if I run (directly in the bare repository)

git filter-branch -d .localrewrite --parent-filter cat

everything works fine. Depending on the path of the temporary directory,
the error may also point to some other file. AUTHORS is in the root directory,
but it is never untracked.

If I do a clone and run the same command in the clone, it also works with any
temp directory.

And this only happens with one specific repository - a KDE game, converted with
svn2git. No other game has this problem. git fsck only finds dangling tags.

The resulting repositories are identical, so I can ignore the error message for 
But still - why can't I run this in the bare repository? git help filter-branch 
does not
mention something like that.

You can get the repository here:

Maybe related:

I run this directly in the bare repository. If the command succeeds, I find
a checkout directly there (everything was clean before), so I have

branches  description  HEAD  hooks  info  objects  refs
PLUS all directories and files right in there:
AUTHORS                  History.h                ksokobanui.rc        
MapDelta.h        PathFinder.cpp
Bookmark.cpp             hooks                    LevelCollection.cpp  Map.h    
Bookmark.h               HtmlPrinter.cpp          LevelCollection.h       PlayField.cpp
branches                 HtmlPrinter.h            LevelMap.cpp         
ModalLabel.cpp    PlayField.h
CMakeLists.txt           ImageData.cpp            LevelMap.h           
ModalLabel.h      Queue.h
config-ksokoban.h.cmake  ImageData.h              levels               Move.cpp 
data                     images                   main.cpp             Move.h   
description              index                    MainWindow.cpp       
MoveSequence.cpp  StaticImage.cpp
doc                      info                     MainWindow.h         
MoveSequence.h    StaticImage.h
HEAD                     InternalCollections.cpp  Map.cpp              NEWS     
History.cpp              InternalCollections.h    MapDelta.cpp         objects

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