Skip to content


Subversion checkout URL

You can clone with
Download ZIP
Fetching contributors…
Cannot retrieve contributors at this time
159 lines (113 sloc) 6.71 KB

administering and running gitolite

Note: some of the paths in this document use variable names. Just refer to ~/.gitolite.rc for the correct values for your installation.

In this document:

  • administer
    • adding users and repos
    • moving pre-existing repos into gitolite
    • specifying gitweb and daemon access
    • custom hooks
    • hook chaining
    • custom git config


First of all, do NOT add new repos manually, unless you know how to add the required hook as well. Without the hook, branch-level access control will not work for that repo, which sorta defeats the idea of using gitolite :-)

Please read on to see how to do this correctly.

adding users and repos

  • ask each user who will get access to send you a public key. See other sources (for example here) for how to do this

  • rename each public key according to the user's name, with a .pub extension, like or You can also use periods and underscores

  • copy all these *.pub files to keydir in your gitolite-admin repo clone

  • edit the config file (conf/gitolite.conf in your admin repo clone). See conf/example.conf in the gitolite source for details on what goes in that file, syntax, etc. Just add new repos as needed, and add new users and give them permissions as required. The users names should be exactly the same as their keyfile names, but without the .pub extension

  • when done, commit your changes and push

moving pre-existing repos into gitolite

One simple way to add a pre-existing repo to gitolite is to let gitolite create it as a brand new repo as in the previous section, and then, from an existing clone, "push --all" to the new one.

However, if you have many existing repos to add, this can be time-consuming and error-prone. Here's how to take a bunch of existing repos and add them to gitolite:

  • make sure they're bare repos ;-)

  • log on to the server and copy the repos to $REPO_BASE (which defaults to ~/repositories), making sure that the directory names end in ".git".

  • back on your workstation, add each repo (without the .git suffix) to conf/gitolite.conf in your gitolite-admin repo clone. Then add, commit, push.

specifying gitweb and daemon access

This is a feature that I personally do not use (corporate environments don't like unauthenticated access of any kind to any repo!), but someone wanted it, so here goes.

To make a repo or repo group accessible via "git daemon", just give read permission to the special user "daemon". See the faq, tips, etc document for easy ways to specify access for multiple repositories.

There's a special user called "gitweb" also, which works the same way. However, setting a description for the project also enables gitweb permissions so you may as well use that method and kill two birds with one stone, like so:

gitolite = "fast, secure, access control for git in a corporate environment"

You can also specify an owner for gitweb to show, if you like:

gitolite "Sitaram Chamarty" = "fast, secure, access control for git in a corporate environment"

Note that gitolite does not install or configure gitweb/daemon -- that is a one-time setup you must do separately. All this does is:

  • for daemon, create the file git-daemon-export-ok in the repository
  • for gitweb, add the repo (plus owner name, if given) to the list of projects to be served by gitweb (see the config file variable $PROJECTS_LIST, which should have the same value you specified for $projects_list when setting up gitweb)
  • put the description, if given, in $repo/description

The "compile" script will keep these files consistent with the config settings -- this includes removing such settings/files if you remove "read" permissions for the special usernames or remove the description line.

custom hooks

You can supply your own, custom, hook scripts if you wish. Just put a tested hook script in hooks/common of your gitolite clone (as distributed, there are only two files there). For each file in that directory, a symlink pointing to it will be placed in the hooks/ subdirectory of every new repo created.

If you added any new hooks and wish to propagate them to existing repos as well, just run gl-easy-install (or gl-setup, if you installed directly on the server) once.

VERY IMPORTANT SECURITY NOTE: the update hook in hooks/common is what implements all the branch-level permissions in gitolite. If you fiddle with the hooks directory, please make sure you do not mess with this file accidentally, or all your fancy per-branch permissions will stop working.

hook chaining

Gitolite basically takes over the update hook for all repos, but some setups really need the update hook functionality for their own purposes too. In order to allow this, Gitolite now exec's a hook called update.secondary when it's own "update" hook is done and everything is ready to go.

You can create this update.secondary hook manually on selected repos on the server, or use the mechanism in the previous section to make gitolite put it on all your repos.

Similarly, gitolite also takes over the post-update hook for the special "gitolite-admin" repo. This hook will also chain to a post-update.secondary if such a hook exists. People wishing to do exotic things on the server side when the admin repo is pushed should see doc/shell-games.notes for how to exploit this :-)

Finally, these names (update.secondary and post-update.secondary) are merely the defaults. You can change them to anything you want; look in conf/example.gitolite.rc for details.

custom git config

The custom hooks feature is a blunt instrument -- all repos get the hook you specified and will run it. In order to make it a little more fine-grained, you could set your hooks to only work if a certain "gitconfig" variable was set. Which means we now need a way to specify "git config" settings on a per repository basis.

Thanks to Teemu (teemu dot matilainen at iki dot fi), gitolite now does this very easily. For security reasons, this can only be done from the master config file (i.e., if you're using delegation, the delegated admins cannot specify git config settings).

Please see conf/example.conf for syntax. Note that this only supports the basic forms of the "git config" command:

git config              section.key value   # value may be an empty string
git config --unset-all  section.key

It does not (currently) support other options like --add, the value_regex, etc.

Jump to Line
Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.