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Signed-off-by: David Aguilar <>

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git-cola: The highly caffeinated Git GUI

Git Cola is a powerful Git GUI with a slick and intuitive user interface.

git clone

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  • Sphinx is used to generate the documentation.


Git Cola uses QtPy, so you can choose between PyQt5 and PySide2 by setting the QT_API environment variable to pyqt5 or pyside2 as desired. qtpy defaults to pyqt5 and falls back to pyside2 if pyqt5 is not installed.

Any of the following Python Qt libraries must be installed:

Optional Features

Git Cola enables additional features when the following Python modules are installed.

send2trash enables cross-platform "Send to Trash" functionality.


IMPORTANT: never run pip install as root or outside of a Python virtualenv!

You can install the latest released version using pip:

python3 -m venv env3
./env3/bin/pip install git-cola

Add the env3/bin directory to your $PATH (or symlink to bin/git-cola from somewhere in your $PATH) allows you to launch Git Cola like any other built-in git command:

git cola
git dag

Python Virtual Environments

If you don't have PyQt installed then the easiest way to get it is to use a Python virtualenv and install Git Cola into it in "editable" mode so that you can "upgrade" Git Cola by running git pull.

# Create a virtualenv called "env3" and activate it.
python3 -m venv env3
source env3/bin/activate

# One-time setup: install optional requirements for development.
make requirements-dev requirements-optional

# Install git-cola in "editable" mode so that it uses the source tree.
make develop

# Run Git Cola via the "git-cola" Git subcommand.
git cola

If you add env3/bin (or symlink to bin/git-cola ) to your $PATH then you can run git cola as if it were a builtin git command.

Standalone Installation

Running make install will install Git Cola in your $HOME directory ($HOME/bin/git-cola, $HOME/lib, etc).

If you want to do a global install you can do

make prefix=/usr/local install

The Makefile also supports DESTDIR:

make DESTDIR=/tmp/stage prefix=/usr/local install


Linux is it! Your distro has probably already packaged git-cola. If not, please file a bug against your distribution ;-)


Available in the AUR.

Debian, Ubuntu

apt install git-cola


dnf install git-cola


emerge git-cola


zypper install git-cola


Available in


See here for the versions that are available in Ubuntu's repositories.

There was a PPA by @pavreh but it has not been updated for a while.


# Install from official binary packages
pkg install -r FreeBSD devel/git-cola

# Build from source
cd /usr/ports/devel/git-cola && make clean install


For most end-users we recommend using either Homebrew or pip install git-cola inside of a virtualenv.

You can install Git Cola using the same Makefile steps above to install from source.


An easy way to install Git Cola is to use Homebrew . Use Homebrew to install the git-cola recipe:

brew install git-cola

If you install using Homebrew you can stop at this step. You don't need to clone the repo or anything.

If you have all of the dependencies installed, either via pip or brew then you can build a shell app bundle wrapper for use in /Applications.

If you'd like to build a bundle for /Applications run this command:


You will need to periodically rebuild the app wrapper whenever Python is upgraded.

Updating macOS and Homebrew

Updating macOS can often break Homebrew-managed software.

If you upgrade your macOS version and Git Cola no longer runs then then it is recommended that you re-install Git Cola's dependencies after upgrading.

A quick fix when upgrading to newer versions of XCode or macOS is to reinstall pyqt5.

brew reinstall pyqt@5

You may also need to relink your pyqt installation:

brew link pyqt@5

This is required when upgrading to a modern (post-10.11 El Capitan) Mac OS X. Homebrew now bundles its own Python3 installation instead of using the system-provided default Python.

If the "brew reinstall" command above does not work then re-installing from scratch using the instructions below should get things back in shape.

# update homebrew
brew update

# uninstall git-cola and its dependencies
brew uninstall git-cola
brew uninstall pyqt5
brew uninstall sip

# re-install git-cola and its dependencies
brew install git-cola


IMPORTANT If you have a 64-bit machine, install the 64-bit versions only. Do not mix 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Download and install the following:

Once these are installed you can run Git Cola from the Start menu.

See "Windows (Continued)" below for more details.


Git Cola ships with an interactive rebase editor called git-cola-sequence-editor. git-cola-sequence-editor is used to reorder and choose commits when rebasing. Start an interactive rebase through the "Rebase" menu, or through the git cola rebase sub-command to use the git-cola-sequence-editor:

git cola rebase @{upstream}

git-cola-sequence-editor can be launched independently of git cola by telling git rebase to use it as its editor through the GIT_SEQUENCE_EDITOR environment variable:

export GIT_SEQUENCE_EDITOR="$HOME/git-cola/bin/git-cola-sequence-editor"
git rebase -i @{upstream}

Git Cola Sub-commands

The git-cola command exposes various sub-commands that allow you to quickly launch tools that are available from within the git-cola interface. For example, git cola find launches the file finder, and git cola grep launches the grep tool.

See git cola --help-commands for the full list of commands.

$ git cola --help-commands
usage: git-cola [-h]


valid commands:

    cola                start git-cola
    am                  apply patches using "git am"
    archive             save an archive
    branch              create a branch
    browse              browse repository
    config              edit configuration
    dag                 start git-dag
    diff                view diffs
    fetch               fetch remotes
    find                find files
    grep                grep source
    merge               merge branches
    pull                pull remote branches
    push                push remote branches
    rebase              interactive rebase
    remote              edit remotes
    search              search commits
    stash               stash and unstash changes
    tag                 create tags
    version             print the version


If you already have Git Cola's dependencies installed then you can start cola as a Python module if you have the source code available.

python -m cola
python -m cola dag

The following commands should be run during development:

# Run the unit tests
$ make test

# Run tests and longer-running pylint and flake8 checks
$ make check

# Run tests against multiple python interpreters using tox
$ make tox

The test suite can be found in the test directory.

Commits and pull requests are automatically tested for code quality using GitHub Actions.

Auto-format cola/i18n/*.po files before committing when updating translations:

$ make po

When submitting patches, consult the contributing guidelines.

Packaging Notes

Git Cola installs its modules into the default Python site-packages directory (eg. lib/python3.7/site-packages) using setuptools.

While end-users can use pip install git-cola to install Git Cola, distribution packagers should use the make prefix=/usr install process. Git Cola's Makefile wraps pip install --prefix=<prefix> to provide a packaging-friendly make install target.

Windows (Continued)

Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 Redistributable

Earlier versions of Git Cola may have shipped without vcruntime140.dll and may not run on machines that are missing this DLL.

To fix this, download the Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 Redistributable and install it

Git Cola v4.0.0 and newer include this DLL and do not require this to be installed separately.


In order to develop Git Cola on Windows you will need to install Python3 and pip. Install PyQt5 using pip install PyQt5 to make the PyQt5 bindings available to Python.

Once these are installed you can use python.exe to run directly from the source tree. For example, from a Git Bash terminal:

/c/Python36/python.exe ./bin/git-cola

Multiple Python versions

If you have multiple versions of Python installed, the contrib/win32/cola launcher script might choose the newer version instead of the python that has PyQt installed. In order to resolve this, you can set the cola.pythonlocation git configuration variable to tell cola where to find python. For example:

git config --global cola.pythonlocation /c/Python39

Building Windows Installers

Windows installers are built using

To build the installer using Pynsist run:


This will generate an installer in build/nsis/.

Windows "History Browser" Configuration Upgrade

You may need to configure your history browser if you are upgrading from an older version of Git Cola on Windows.

gitk was originally the default history browser, but gitk cannot be launched as-is on Windows because gitk is a shell script.

If you are configured to use gitk, then change your configuration to go through Git's sh.exe on Windows. Similarly, we must go through python.exe if we want to use git-dag.

If you want to use gitk as your history browser open the Preferences screen and change the history browser command to:

"C:/Program Files/Git/bin/sh.exe" --login -i C:/Git/bin/gitk

git-dag became the default history browser on Windows in v2.3, so new users do not need to configure anything.