Experimental large files in Git (discontinued, use git-lfs instead)
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TL;DR: use Git LFS instead of this project.

git-lob was an experiment into Git large file handling by [Atlassian] (https://www.atlassian.com) in late 2014 / early 2015. Unbeknownst to us, GitHub had already started working on this problem too and announced [Git LFS] (https://git-lfs.github.com) in May 2015.

Atlassian are keenly aware that it's in the community's interest not to fragment this space any further, and GitHub's thinking turned out to be very similar to our own, even picking the same language, Go. Therefore we've shelved this project and are now contributing to Git LFS instead.

We're releasing the source to git-lob anyway, even though we have no intention of developing it further. We'd always intended to make it open source, and others might find this code useful. We'll probably be porting some of the features here to Git LFS ourselves but other people are welcome to pick some things up too. Here are some of the features that could be ported:

  1. SSH native API (we're porting this right now)
  2. Support for large file storage on S3 and file stores (no server required - probably won't be ported)
  3. Chunked uploads/downloads for easier resuming
  4. Pushing / fetching binaries separately from git commits
  5. Pruning old binaries
  6. Include / exclude paths (only download binaries in areas you work in)
  7. Binary deltas using VCDIFF to reduce upload/download time
  8. Shared local binary stores

You're free to experiment with this project of course but it is not supported by Atlassian, nor will it have any further updates.

Original documentation


git-lob is a git extension for efficiently handling binary files in Git. Instead of storing the binary file content inside the git repo, it is hashed & externalised, with the git commit only referring to the hash. The binary store is synchronised separately from the commits.

Why is it useful?

  1. Adding large binaries to git slows it down & makes cloning slow
  2. Most people don't need or want to have every version ever of large binary files on their disk when they only use the more recent ones
  3. We need efficient ways to synchronise large binaries via deltas

git-lob keeps your Git repository smaller and faster, while providing rich functionality for managing binary files linked to the source code.

The target audience is a project team on Windows, Mac or Linux who generally collaborate through one 'master' upstream repo (and maybe a small number of forks) and want to use the speed & power of Git for all their code & smaller resources while having lots of large binary files which are potentially inter-dependent with the history of that code.

Why did you write it, rather than use X, and why Go?

Discussed in more detail...


You must have git 1.8+ installed and on your path.


Install from source

If you want to build from source, make sure you have a Go environment already set up, with $GOPATH/bin already on your $PATH (on Windows, %GOPATH%\bin on your %PATH%). Then run the following in a console:

> go get github.com/atlassian/git-lob
> go install github.com/atlassian/git-lob

Now edit your main .gitconfig file in your user directory and add a new filter definition.

On Mac/Linux:

[filter "lob"]
  clean = "$GOPATH/bin/git-lob filter-clean %f"
  smudge = "$GOPATH/bin/git-lob filter-smudge %f"
  required = true

On Windows:

[filter "lob"]
  clean = "%GOPATH%/bin/git-lob.exe filter-clean %f"
  smudge = "%GOPATH%/bin/git-lob.exe filter-smudge %f"
  required = true

You can expand $GOTPATH/%GOPATH% inline if you need to support usage where GOPATH is not defined. Again on Windows, always use forward slashes, for example c:/path/to/git-lob.exe

Install From binary distribution

If you downloaded a precompiled version for your platform, just extract git-lob[.exe] to a location of your choice.

Now edit your main .gitconfig file in your user directory and add a new filter definition as shown in the 'Install from source' section but set the path to git-lob[.exe] to be wherever you extracted it

Repository Configuration

To start putting binary files into git-lob you need to create or modify a .gitattributes file in the root of your repository:

*.png filter=lob -crlf
*.jpg filter=lob -crlf
*.zip filter=lob -crlf
*.tiff filter=lob -crlf
*.tga filter=lob -crlf
*.dds filter=lob -crlf
*.bmp filter=lob -crlf
*.mov filter=lob -crlf

Include a line for all file types you want to be handled by git-lob. After saving this file, every time you 'git add' on a matching file, its content will be excluded from Git and put in the separate binary store, referenced by SHA in the commit.

Configuring remote storage

Binaries in git-lob are not stored in the regular git repo, but a corresponding binary store must always exist to provide the actual binary content. A remote in git usually only gives you the real git repo, so git-lob needs to expand the configuration parameters to git remotes to specify the location of the corresponding remote binary store.

The parameters depend on the type of binary storage ('provider') being used; see git-lob providers for a list of available providers and git-lob provider <provider> for specific details of one provider.

As an example, let's take the 'filesystem' provider, which simply uses the OS's file system as a remote transport (obviously very simplistic):

[remote "origin"]
    # these 2 lines are standard git
    url = ssh://git@bitbucket.org/something/somthing.git
    fetch = +refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/origin/*
    # these next 2 lines are required to configure the remote binary store
    git-lob-provider = filesystem
    git-lob-path = /Volumes/shared/something/something/binary/store

Other providers may require other parameters. It's important to note that you can share a binary store among multiple remote repos if you wish, much like the local git-lob.sharedstore option, since binaries are stored by SHA. Identical file content in multiple repos can be stored only once this way. Of course, access control may be an issue to consider here though.

Other options

git-lob supports a number of command-line parameters, and configuration parameters in your .gitconfig (user or repository level). Please call 'git lob help' for general help and a list of main commands, and 'git lob help topics' to list other topics.

More Information

Host setup

Information for git-lob developers