Find regressions with git bisect#

git bisect allows you to find the git commit that introduced a regression.

  1. To do this, start the search with git bisect start. Then you can narrow down the area where a bug was introduced with git bisect bad [COMMIT] and git bisect good [COMMIT]. Alternatively, you can use the short form git bisect start [BAD COMMIT] [GOOD COMMIT]. git bisect then checks out a commit in the middle and asks you to test it, for example:

    $ git bisect start v2.6.27 v2.6.25
    Bisecting: 10928 revisions left to test after this (roughly 14 steps)
    [2ec65f8b89ea003c27ff7723525a2ee335a2b393] x86: clean up using max_low_pfn on 32-bit
  2. The search can now be continued manually or automatically with a script. Manually, you can use git bisect bad and git bisect good to narrow down the area in which an error was introduced. If this commit is found, the output may look like this:

    $ git bisect bad
    2ddcca36c8bcfa251724fe342c8327451988be0d is the first bad commit
    commit 2ddcca36c8bcfa251724fe342c8327451988be0d
    Author: Linus Torvalds <>
    Date:   Sat May 3 11:59:44 2008 -0700
        Linux 2.6.26-rc1
    :100644 100644 5cf82581... 4492984e... M      Makefile
  3. We then use git show HEAD to check what changes have been made in this commit:

    $ git show HEAD
    commit 2ddcca36c8bcfa251724fe342c8327451988be0d
    Autor: Linus Torvalds <>
    Datum: Sa 3. Mai 11:59:44 2008 -0700
        Linux 2.6.26-rc1
    diff --git a / Makefile b / Makefile
    index 5cf8258 ..4492984 100644
    --- a / Makefile
    +++ b / Makefile
    @@ -1,7 +1,7 @@
     VERSION = 2
    -SUBLEVEL = 25
    + SUBLEVEL = 26
    + EXTRAVERSION = -rc1
     NAME = Funky Weasel ist Jiggy wit it

    Checking whether faulty code was introduced with a commit can also be automated. You can find an example of this in the issue fetch_california_housing fails in CI on master from scikit-learn:

    git bisect run pytest sklearn/utils/tests/ -k test_unique_labels_non_specific
  4. The scikit-learn-issue also shows how you can tell others the results of your bisect search in a traceable way using $ git bisect log:

    $ git bisect log
    81f2d3a0e *   massich/multiclass_type_of_target Merge branch 'master' into multiclass_type_of_target
    15f24f25d | * bad DOC Cleaning for what's new
    fbb2c7c70 | * good-fbb2c7c7007dc373c462e39ab273a183a8823d58 @ ENH Adds _MultimetricScorer for Optimized Scoring  (#14593)

    With $ git bisect log > bisect_log.txt you can save your search in a reproducible way for others:

    $ git bisect replay bisect_log.txt
  5. Finally, you can use $ git bisect reset to return to the branch you were in before the bisect search:

    $ git bisect reset
    Checking out files: 100% (21549/21549), done.
    Previous HEAD position was 2ddcca3... Linux 2.6.26-rc1
    Switched to branch 'master'