Delete a git submodule

A submodule can simply be deleted using two commands sequentially git rm <submodule path> && git commit like below

[email protected]:~/youtube-dl$ git rm -f requests rm 'requests' [email protected]:~/youtube-dl$ git commit -m "Deleted submodule" [master ddba8654e] Deleted submodule 1 file changed, 0 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-) create mode 100644 .gitmodules
Code language: Bash (bash)

The section in .gitmodules along with the submodule working directory will be removed.

However, its history in Git directory ($GIT_DIR, which is usually .git) is keep around so that you can undo your changes using git revert or checkout past commits without fetching from the original repository.

To completely delete all traces of the submodules, you can manually delete .git/modules/module_name or $GIT_DIR/modules/module_name/ in case you’ve changed $GIT_DIR to your own value.

A list of steps for you guys who are in need of a quick solution :

  • Give the submodule a name submodule="module_name
  • Delete .gitmodules section and submodule directory using git rm "$submodule"
  • Delete submodule’s directory in $GIT_DIR with rm -rf ".git/modules/$submodule"
  • Commit the changes git commit -m "Remove submodule $submodule"
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