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Last pushed: 10 days ago
Short Description
Provide git repositories over SSH, with tight access control without shell accounts.
Full Description


gitosis -- software for hosting git repositories

Manage ``git`` repositories, provide access to them over SSH,
with tight access control and not needing shell accounts.

.. note::

Documentation is still lacking, and non-default configurations
(e.g. config file, repositories, installing in a location that
is not in ``PATH``) basically have not been tested at all.
Basic usage should be very reliable -- the project has been
hosting itself for a long time. Any help is welcome.

gitosis aims to make hosting git repos easier and safer. It
manages multiple repositories under one user account, using SSH keys
to identify users. End users do not need shell accounts on the server,
they will talk to one shared account that will not let them run
arbitrary commands.

gitosis is licensed under the GPL, see the file COPYING for
more information.

You can get gitosis via git by saying::

git clone

And install it via::

python install

Though you may want to use e.g. --prefix=.

Setting up

First, we will create the user that will own the repositories. This is
usually called git, but any name will work, and you can have more
than one per system if you really want to. The user does not need a
password, but does need a valid shell (otherwise, SSH will refuse to
work). Don't use an existing account unless you know what you're

I usually store git repositories in the subtree
/srv/ (replace with your own
domain). You may choose another location. Adjust to suit and run::

sudo adduser \
    --system \
    --shell /bin/sh \
    --gecos 'git version control' \
    --group \
    --disabled-password \
    --home /srv/ \

This command is known to work in Debian and Ubuntu. Your mileage may

You will need an SSH public key to continue. If you don't have one,
you need to generate one. See the man page for ssh-keygen, and you
may also be interested in ssh-agent. Create it on your personal
computer, and protect the private key well -- that includes not
transferring it over the network.

Next, we need to set things up for this newly-created user. The
following command will create a ~/repositories that will hold the
git repositories, a ~/.gitosis.conf that will be a symlink to
the actual configuration file, and it will add the SSH public key to
~/.ssh/authorized_keys with a command= option that restricts
it to running gitosis-serve. Run::

sudo -H -u git gitosis-init <
# (or just copy-paste the public key when prompted)

then just git clone git@SERVER:gitosis-admin.git, and you get a
repository with SSH keys as keys/ and a gitosis.conf
where you can configure who has access to what.

.. warning::

For now, ``gitosis`` uses the ``HOME`` environment variable to
locate where to write its files. If you use ``sudo -u``
without ``-H``, ``sudo`` will leave the old value of ``HOME``
in place, and this will cause trouble. There will be a
workaround for that later on, but for now, always remember to
use ``-H`` if you're sudoing to the account.

You should always edit the configuration file via git. The file
symlinked to ~/.gitosis.conf on the server will be overwritten
when pushing changes to the gitosis-admin.git repository.

Edit the settings as you wish, commit and push. That's pretty much it!
Once you push, gitosis will immediately make your changes take
effect on the server.

Managing it

To add new users:

  • add a keys/ file
  • authorize them to read/write repositories as needed (or just
    authorize the group @all)

To create new repositories, just authorize writing to them and
push. It's that simple! For example: let's assume your username is
jdoe and you want to create a repository myproject.
In your clone of gitosis-admin, edit gitosis.conf and add::

[group myteam]
members = jdoe
writable = myproject

Commit that change and push. Then create the initial commit and push

mkdir myproject
cd mypyroject
git init
git remote add myserver git@MYSERVER:myproject.git
# do some work, git add and commit files
git push myserver master:refs/heads/master

That's it. If you now add others to members, they can use that
repository too.

Example configuration

.. include:: example.conf

Using git daemon

Anonymous read-only access to git repositories is provided by
git daemon, which is distributed as part of git. But
gitosis will still help you manage it: setting daemon = yes in
your gitosis.conf, either globally in [gitosis] or
per-repository under [repo REPOSITORYNAME], makes gitosis
create the git-daemon-export-ok files in those repository, thus
telling git daemon that publishing those repositories is ok.

To actually run git daemon in Ubuntu, put this in

.. include:: etc-event.d-local-git-daemon

For other operating systems, use a similar invocation in an init.d
script, /etc/inittab, inetd.conf, runit, or something like
that (good luck).

Note that this short snippet is not a substitute for reading and
understanding the relevant documentation.

Using gitweb

gitweb is a CGI script that lets one browse git repositories
on the web. It is most commonly used anonymously, but you could also
require authentication in your web server, before letting people use
it. gitosis can help here by generating a list of projects that
are publicly visible. Simply add a section [repo REPOSITORYNAME]
to your gitosis.conf, and allow publishing with gitweb = yes
(or globally under [gitosis]). You should also set description
and owner for each repository.

Here's a LightTPD_ config file snippet showing how to run gitweb
as a CGI:

.. _LightTPD:

.. include:: lighttpd-gitweb.conf

And a simple gitweb.conf file:

.. include:: gitweb.conf

Note that this short snippet is not a substitute for reading and
understanding the relevant documentation.


You can email the author at, or hop on channel #git and hope for the best.

There will be more, keep an eye on and/or the git
mailing list.

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