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git status: document trade-offs in choosing parameters to the -u option

In some repostories users experience that "git status" command takes
long time.  The command spends some time searching the file system
for untracked files.

Explain the trade-off struck by the default choice of `normal` to
help users make an appropriate choice better, before talking about
the configuration variable.

Inspired by Torsten Bögershausen.

Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
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1 parent 1599999 commit 5823eb2b28696bf0eb25f6ca35b303447869f85c @gitster gitster committed Mar 15, 2013
Showing with 10 additions and 4 deletions.
  1. +10 −4 Documentation/git-status.txt
@@ -43,15 +43,21 @@ OPTIONS
Show untracked files.
The mode parameter is optional (defaults to 'all'), and is used to
-specify the handling of untracked files; when -u is not used, the
-default is 'normal', i.e. show untracked files and directories.
+specify the handling of untracked files.
The possible options are:
- - 'no' - Show no untracked files
- - 'normal' - Shows untracked files and directories
+ - 'no' - Show no untracked files.
+ - 'normal' - Shows untracked files and directories.
- 'all' - Also shows individual files in untracked directories.
+When `-u` option is not used, untracked files and directories are
+shown (i.e. the same as specifying `normal`), to help you avoid
+forgetting to add newly created files. Because it takes extra work
+to find untracked files in the filesystem, this mode may take some
+time in a large working tree. You can use `no` to have `git status`
+return more quickly without showing untracked files.
The default can be changed using the status.showUntrackedFiles
configuration variable documented in linkgit:git-config[1].

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