Git is a version control system that is used for software development and other version control tasks. As a distributed revision control system it is aimed at speed, data integrity, and support for distributed, non-linear workflows. Git was created by Linus Torvalds in 2005 for development of the Linux kernel, with other kernel developers contributing to its initial development.

Git development began in April 2005, after many developers of the Linux kernel gave up access to BitKeeper, a proprietary source control management (SCM) system that they had previously used to maintain the project. The copyright holder of BitKeeper, Larry McVoy, had withdrawn free use of the product after claiming that Andrew Tridgell had reverse-engineered the BitKeeper protocols.

Torvalds wanted a distributed system that he could use like BitKeeper, but none of the available free systems met his needs, particularly in terms of performance. Torvalds cited an example of a source-control management system requiring 30 seconds to apply a patch and update all associated metadata, and noted that this would not scale to the needs of Linux kernel development, where syncing with fellow maintainers could require 250 such actions at a time. For his design criteria, he specified that patching should take no more than three seconds, and added three additional points.