Many sites look at commit->buffer to get more detailed
information than what is in the parsed commit struct.
However, we sometimes drop commit->buffer to save memory,
in which case the caller would need to read the object
afresh. Some callers do this (leading to duplicated code),
and others do not (which opens the possibility of a segfault
if somebody else frees the buffer).

Let's provide a pair of helpers, "get" and "unuse", that let
callers easily get the buffer. They will use the cached
buffer when possible, and otherwise load from disk using

Note that we also need to add a "get_cached" variant which
returns NULL when we do not have a cached buffer. At first
glance this seems to defeat the purpose of "get", which is
to always provide a return value. However, some log code
paths actually use the NULL-ness of commit->buffer as a
boolean flag to decide whether to try to printing the
commit. At least for now, we want to continue supporting
that use.

Signed-off-by: Jeff King <>
 commit.c | 28 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 commit.h | 21 +++++++++++++++++++++
 2 files changed, 49 insertions(+)

diff --git a/commit.c b/commit.c
index 5cc52e0..b9ecae0 100644
--- a/commit.c
+++ b/commit.c
@@ -250,6 +250,34 @@ void set_commit_buffer(struct commit *commit, void *buffer)
        commit->buffer = buffer;
+const void *get_cached_commit_buffer(const struct commit *commit)
+       return commit->buffer;
+const void *get_commit_buffer(const struct commit *commit)
+       const void *ret = get_cached_commit_buffer(commit);
+       if (!ret) {
+               enum object_type type;
+               unsigned long size;
+               ret = read_sha1_file(commit->object.sha1, &type, &size);
+               if (!ret)
+                       die("cannot read commit object %s",
+                           sha1_to_hex(commit->object.sha1));
+               if (type != OBJ_COMMIT)
+                       die("expected commit for %s, got %s",
+                           sha1_to_hex(commit->object.sha1), typename(type));
+       }
+       return ret;
+void unuse_commit_buffer(const struct commit *commit, const void *buffer)
+       if (commit->buffer != buffer)
+               free((void *)buffer);
 void free_commit_buffer(struct commit *commit)
diff --git a/commit.h b/commit.h
index 5cc0bf3..67caf92 100644
--- a/commit.h
+++ b/commit.h
@@ -58,6 +58,27 @@ void parse_commit_or_die(struct commit *item);
 void set_commit_buffer(struct commit *, void *buffer);
+ * Get any cached object buffer associated with the commit. Returns NULL
+ * if none. The resulting memory should not be freed.
+ */
+const void *get_cached_commit_buffer(const struct commit *);
+ * Get the commit's object contents, either from cache or by reading the object
+ * from disk. The resulting memory should not be modified, and must be given
+ * to unuse_commit_buffer when the caller is done.
+ */
+const void *get_commit_buffer(const struct commit *);
+ * Tell the commit subsytem that we are done with a particular commit buffer.
+ * The commit and buffer should be the input and return value, respectively,
+ * from an earlier call to get_commit_buffer.  The buffer may or may not be
+ * freed by this call; callers should not access the memory afterwards.
+ */
+void unuse_commit_buffer(const struct commit *, const void *buffer);
  * Free any cached object buffer associated with the commit.
 void free_commit_buffer(struct commit *);

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