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configuration variables for gitolite

This is the documentation for the contents of the "rc" file ($HOME/.gitolite.rc) on the server. Until now this documentation was inline, within the rc file itself, but it has grown too large, too unwieldy, and too difficult to grok for people new to gitolite.

The documentation follows approximately the same order as the sample variables in the (now reorganised) example "rc" file.

In this document:

[Note: in perl, there is no actual boolean. The undefined value, the number '0', and the empty string, are all 'false'. Everything else is 'true'. It is thus common to use just 0/1 for false/true].

variables that should not be touched at all

The first section does not need too much elaboration. Let's just say bad things happen if you change them.

most often used/changed variables

  • $GL_WILDREPOS, boolean, default 0

    Setting this variable lets your users create repositories based on wild cards, hand out R and RW permissions to other users to collaborate, etc.

    See doc/wildcard-repositories.mkd for lots of info on this.

  • $PROJECTS_LIST, filename, default ~/projects.list

    This is for gitweb users only. Gitweb setup has a variable called $projects_list (please see gitweb docs for more on this). Set this to the same value as that one.

  • $REPO_UMASK, octal, default 0077

    The default UMASK that gitolite uses makes all the repos and their contents have rwx------ permissions. People who want to run gitweb realise that this will not do. The correct way to deal with this is to change this variable to 0027 (which gets you rwxr-x---), then add the apache or httpd user running the webserver as a member of the 'gitolite' group.

    Please note the syntax; the leading 0 is required. If you change it after the install is complete, you'll have to do some chmod's also to adjust permissions of files and directories that have already been created.

variables with an efficiency impact

  • $GL_BIG_CONFIG, boolean, default 0

    This is the most common setting for efficiency in handling large repo/user groups. This is a very powerful setting; please read doc/big-config.mkd for all the details you might need.

    There are 3 other settings related to big configs. They are changed only in rare cases, however, so are described later.

  • $GL_NO_DAEMON_NO_GITWEB, boolean, default 0

    If you have lots of repos, and you're not using gitweb or daemon, you should probably set this on for efficiency. Despite the name, it also blocks repo config settings. Please read doc/big-config.mkd for more details.

variables with a security impact


This section describes variables that, if not carefully used, can cause security issues. It also includes variables which I personally do not use and do not have the ability to test thoroughly

Using non-default value for these variables voids the security reward in the README. This does not mean they are less important or that I will ignore problems; it just means my ability to catch problems may be limited by my test suite, my actual production use, my time, and sometimes (LDAP comes to mind) even my skill or resources available to me, and that therefore I depend on feedback from my users to find or fix issues.

  • $GL_ALL_READ_ALL, boolean, default undef

    Eliminates the access control check for read access. Makes things much (much!) faster when you have 10,000 projects and the compiled conf file is more than 20MB in size! Double check with your boss or have a new job lined up before setting this on!

  • $GIT_PATH, string, default empty

    If git on your server is on a standard path (that is ssh git@server git --version works), leave this setting as is. Otherwise, find out where it is and use that value here, for example GIT_PATH="/opt/bin/";

  • $GL_GITCONFIG_KEYS, string, default empty

    This setting allows the repo admin to define acceptable gitconfig keys.

    Gitolite allows you to set git repo options using the "config" keyword; see conf/example.conf for details and syntax.

    However, if you are in an installation where the repo admin does not (and should not) have shell access to the server, then allowing him to set arbitrary repo config options may be a security risk -- some config settings allow executing arbitrary commands!

    You have 3 choices. By default $GL_GITCONFIG_KEYS is left empty, which completely disables this feature (meaning you cannot set git configs via the repo config).

    The second choice is to give it a space separated list of settings you consider safe. (These are actually treated as a set of perl regular expression patterns, and any one of them must match). For example: $GL_GITCONFIG_KEYS = "core\\.logAllRefUpdates core\\..*compression"; allows repo admins to set one of those 3 config keys (yes, that second pattern matches two settings from "man git-config", if you look).

    The third choice (which you may have guessed already if you're familiar with regular expressions) is to allow anything and everything: $GL_GITCONFIG_KEYS = ".*";

    NOTE that due to some quoting and interpolation issues I have not been able to look at, a literal "." needs to be specified in this string as \\. (two backslashes and a dot). So this is how you'd allow any keys in the "foo" category: $GL_GITCONFIG_KEYS = "foo\\..*";

  • $GL_GITCONFIG_WILD, boolean, default 0

    This setting allows gitconfig keys even for wild repos. This is an efficiency issue more than a security issue, since this requires trawling through all of $REPO_BASE looking for stuff :)

  • $GL_NO_CREATE_REPOS, boolean, default 0

    DO NOT CHANGE THIS unless you have other means to create repos and correctly populate them with the required hooks. No hooks, no access control; you have been warned!

  • $GL_NO_SETUP_AUTHKEYS, boolean, default 0

    DO NOT CHANGE THIS unless you have other means to setup the authkeys file (~/.ssh/authorized_keys). In an extreme case, if you switch this on without also fixing up the authkeys file, users who you think you deleted may still have access. All in all, please be careful, as with any change that affects ssh.

  • $GL_WILDREPOS_DEFPERMS, string, default undef

    This sets default wildcard permissions for newly created wildcard repos.

    If set, this value will be used as the default user-level permission rule of new wildcard repositories. The user can change this value with the setperms command as desired after repository creation; it is only a default.

    Example: $GL_WILDREPOS_DEFPERMS = 'R @all';

  • $HTPASSWD_FILE, string, default empty

    Gitolite can help users run the htpasswd command in a secure manner (since gitolite has already identified them by an ssh key). If you want to enable this, give the variable the absolute path to whatever file apache (etc) expect to find the passwords in.

    Look in doc/3-faq-tips-etc.mkd ("easier to link gitweb authorisation with gitolite" section) for more details on using this feature.

  • $RSYNC_BASE, string, default empty

    Gitolite can be used to allow fine grained control of the rsync command.

    This setting enables the rsync external command helper, by specifying the base path of all the files that are accessible via rsync. It must be an absolute path, like $RSYNC_BASE = "/home/git/up-down";. Leave it undefined or set to the empty string to disable the rsync helper.

    When enabled, it runs rsync with specific arguments, all presumably filled in correctly by the client-side rsync. However, I am not an expert on how rsync may be abused, so if it breaks, you get to keep both pieces!

  • $SVNSERVE, string, default empty

    Gitolite can also be used to gate access (though not at a fine grained level) to SVN if needed, passing authentication information on to svnserve. This setting allows launching svnserve when requested by the ssh client. This allows using the same SSH setup for both SVN and git access. Leave it undefined or set to the empty string to disable svnserve access.

    The setting will look something like (where the %u is substituted with the username):

    $SVNSERVE = "/usr/bin/svnserve -r /var/svn/ -t --tunnel-user=%u";
  • hook chaining

    • $UPDATE_CHAINS_TO, string, default "hooks/update.secondary"
    • $ADMIN_POST_UPDATE_CHAINS_TO, string, default "hooks/post-update.secondary"

    By default, the update hook in every repo chains to "update.secondary". Similarly, the post-update hook in the admin repo chains to "post-update.secondary". If you're fine with the defaults, there's no need to do anything here. However, if you want to use different names or paths, change these variables.

  • $GL_ADC_PATH, string, default undef

    This setting enables admin defined commands.

    WARNING: Use this feature only if (a) you really know what you're doing and (b) you really, really, know what you're doing! Please read doc/admin-defined-commands.mkd for details. This is an extremely powerful and flexible feature, and naturally anything that flexible can be a security risk!

  • $GL_GET_MEMBERSHIPS_PGM, string, default undef

    Some sites would like to store group membership outside gitolite, because they already have it in (usually) their LDAP server, and it doesn't make sense to be forced to duplicate this information.

    Set the following variable to the name of a script that, given a username as argument, will return a list of groups that she is a member of. See doc/big-config.mkd for more details.

    Example: $GL_GET_MEMBERSHIPS_PGM = "/usr/local/bin/expand-ldap-user-to-groups"

less used/changed variables

  • $GL_ALL_INCLUDES_SPECIAL, boolean, default undef

    Giving access to @all users (as in R = @all) in the config normally does not include the special users "gitweb" and "daemon". If you want @all to include these two users, set this variable.

  • mirroring setup

    These two variables enable mirroring support; see doc/mirroring.mkd for details. The two variables are $GL_SLAVE_MODE, (boolean, default undef), and $ENV{GL_SLAVES}, (environment variable, string, default undef)

    Note on the second variable above: you must use single quotes to give it its value, not double quotes, (like $ENV{GL_SLAVES} = 'gitolite@server2 gitolite@server3';). Also note that this is an environment variable, not a regular perl variable, so mind the syntax if you're not a perl guy :-)


    Originally, we only allowed "R" and "RW" in the setperms command. Now we allow the admin to define other categories as she wishes (example: MANAGERS, TESTERS, etc).

    This variable is a space-separated list of the allowed categories.

    PLEASE, PLEASE, read the section in doc/wildcard-repositories.mkd for caveats and warnings. This is a VERY powerful feature and if you're not careful you could mess up the ACLs nicely.

    This is the internal default if you don't set it (like if you didn't update your ~/.gitolite.rc with new variables when you upgraded gitolite):


    You can use your own categories in addition to the standard ones; I suggest you include READERS and WRITERS for backward compatbility though:


rarely changed variables

  • $GL_LOGT, string, default $GL_ADMINDIR/logs/gitolite-%y-%m.log

    This is the template for location of the log files and format of their names.

    The default produces files like ~/.gitolite/logs/gitolite-2009-09.log. If you make up your own templates, PLEASE MAKE SURE the directory exists and is writable; gitolite won't do that for you unless it is the default, ("$GL_ADMINDIR/logs")

  • $GL_PERFLOGT, string, default undef

    This gives the location of the performance log files. Uncomment and set this variable if you want performance logging. Performance log files are kept separate from access log files because they store different, usually much shorter term, information.

  • $GL_SITE_INFO, string, default undef

    Some installations would like to give their users customised information (like a link to their own websites, for example) so that users have a quick way to find some links or information.

    If this variable is defined, the "info" command will print it at the end of the listing.

  • $REPO_BASE, string, default "repositories"

    This is where all the repos go. If it's not an absolute path, it is considered to be relative to $HOME. Changing it after the install has completed is doable, but tricky if you don't know how gitolite works.

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