I ran into a strange issue while attempting to checkout a remote tracking branch of an Intridea project earlier today, so I thought I'd post up my work around.
I ran my normal checkout command, like so...
brent:~/Intridea/earthaid[master]$ git checkout -b prod origin/prod
which resulted in this error message
fatal: git checkout: updating paths is incompatible with switching branches.
Did you intend to checkout 'origin/prod' which can not be resolved as commit
After a bit of googling, I'm still not sure of the cause as most of the search results were related to issues around deploying tags, and I was merely attempting a checkout. What I did find out was that I could specify the start point of my new branch by the revision/commit sha instead of the remote branch name, like so...
brent:~/Intridea/earthaid[master]$ git branch prod 02314583a99abdc276cde968c20babbadd23
brent:~/Intridea/earthaid[master]$ gc prod
Switched to branch "prod"
Once I had applied my changes, I just had to make sure to push them to the proper branch.
Ok, I'm a retard. About a minute or two after I typed up this post, it occurred to me that Git couldn't resolve the remote branch name because I hadn't pulled first. Yeah, that's right. All I need to do was pull and then everything worked properly.