Yet another great git error message – expected sha/ref, got ‘

I’d been working away on the Bixo project, and pushing changes to GitHub without any problems.

Then I made the mistake of pulling in a new branch, versus creating the branch.

% git checkout origin cfetcher
% git pull

This merged the remote branch into my local master branch, with bizarre results. After a few attempts at trying to back it out, I blew away my local directory and just re-cloned the remote cfetcher branch, since that’s where I’d be working for the next few days. Unfortunately when I cloned it, I did:

% git clone git://

That created a clone using the GitHub “Public Clone URL”, not the “Your Clone URL”, which is Oops.

Everything worked, though, until I wanted to push back some changes:

% git push
fatal: protocol error: expected sha/ref, got '

You can't push to git://


Expected sha/ref? Though the error message had all of the info I needed, just not in a format that was obvious. For example, a good message would have said:

You can't push to git://
Update the url for the "origin" remote in your .git/config file to use

Eventually the Supercharged git-daemon blog post at GitHub cleared things up for me. I edited the URL entry in my .git/config file, and all is (once again) well.

[remote "origin"]
    url =
    fetch = +refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/origin/*

4 Responses to Yet another great git error message – expected sha/ref, got ‘

  1. Lori M Olson says:

    Thanks. Saved me some time on a day where I’d already wasted to much time!

  2. Si says:

    Yup, as Lori, I’m *so* glad I found this. Thanks for documenting the problem.

  3. Thanks for documenting this!

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