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The "Recent commits" section in the status view shows short commit checksums plus the subject of the commit. How can I also show the author of each commit?

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Turn on the "log margin" using L L. As you can see the L prefix features other margin related bindings as well.

This is mostly intended for buffers showing only logs or to be enabled only briefly. Of course you can also permanently enable it for the status buffer, but then you also permanently waste space in the margin of lines that have nothing that they could display there.

To enable the margin permanently and to control what is shown by default and how, see the options in the magit-margin group.

Also see the Log Margin section in the manual.

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