Ramkumar Ramachandra wrote:
> And if you're still not convinced, run 'git log HEAD^2 -- README.md'
> from the toplevel directory.  You'll get the log of README.md from the
> subproject.

On IRC, Thomas explained to me that mixing in changes from various
branches into the pathspec will break this so-called determinism.  To
try it out for yourself, do:

    $ cd /tmp
    $ git clone gh:trast/subtree-mainline-example
    $ cd subtree-mainline-example
    $ git log HEAD^2 -- sub # only lists the side changes
    $ git log -- dir/sub # only lists the mainline changes

What we should really expect is a mix of the two.
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