Debian Wheezy Local Git Server With Git Lite Workflow


This howto describes a shared local git [1] server setup for a small team. This is a repository layout that is familiar to anyone used to working with a traditional version control system.

One of the tutorial objectives is to show detailed steps to prepare the server (here called the depot because of its authoritative role) and publish the code on a public service like Github, Gitorious [2,3] et. al.

A second objective is to introduce the Git Lite Workflow in team development. This serves as an introduction to gits powerful branch and merge features. Your personal favorite workflow may be different compared to this model. For a feature rich workflow albeit more complex, see nvie [4].

To facilitate the description we have two team members. Alice, who code and is responsible for all releases. A second team developer is Bill. Their shared git server have the private IP address

They both work for an open source friendly company EXAMPLE with domain Alice have set up a project repository at Github with the url

If you want to replay this howto, set up a free public Github repository. Follow Githubs instructions but do not add README or .gitignore files. This howto push an existing repository to this Github repository.

This tutorial has been tested on Debian Wheezy with following versions:

$ uname -a ; lsb_release -d ; git --version ; ssh -V

Linux debinix 3.2.0-4-686-pae #1 SMP Debian 3.2.32-1 i686 GNU/Linux
Description: Debian GNU/Linux testing (wheezy)
git version
OpenSSH_6.0p1 Debian-3, OpenSSL 1.0.1c 10 May 2012


Install git on the server

Install git and create a git1 user on the depot server to authorize git push and pull access. As an extra precaution restrict this git1 user to only doing git activities with a limited shell tool called git-shell. This is included with git. With this as shell our git1 user can't have normal shell access to the git server.

# aptitude install git

Add a new password for this git1 user in the adduser script and use e.g. Git Group 1 as Full Name.

# adduser --shell /usr/bin/git-shell git1

To use this shared git depot Alice and Bob must know this password in order to collaborate as a team in this project. If very fine-grained access control is required then look at the gitolite project [5].

Confirm that git1 user shell is set to git-shell with:

# cat /etc/passwd | grep git1

Git first time settings includes adding depot user information:

# git config --system "Git Depot"
# git config --system "[email protected]"

Server tasks can be performed remotely if secure shell is installed. If not already installed, install it with:

# aptitude install openssh-server


Create the shared git project depot on the server

The root of the depot is e.g. created below /srv with:

# mkdir /srv/git1
# chown root:git1 /srv/git1
# chmod 0750 /srv/git1

Create a project and name it e.g. My-Module.git:

# mkdir /srv/git1/My-Module.git
# chmod 0750 /srv/git1/My-Module.git

Initialize a bare git repository in the project directory:

# cd /srv/git1/My-Module.git
# git --bare init
# chown -R git1:git1 /srv/git1/My-Module.git

Repeat these last five steps to setup a new project on the depot server.


Project authentication for git users

Users authenticate with ssh keys. Alice and Bill does not need a password for the key itself since git on the server use the git1 account password for authorization. Note: There is no need to create a new ssh key if it already exist. Use it also for the git server.

On Alice workstation, switch user to alice and accept the default ssh-keygen options when creating her key:

# su alice
$ ssh-keygen

This created the file in directory ~/.ssh.

Copy her public key to the depot server (not the private key!).

$ exit
# scp /home/alice/.ssh/ [email protected]:/tmp

Use ssh to access the depot sever at address

# ssh [email protected]
[email protected]'s password: *********

Once logged in at the server, append this key to git1 authorization_keys file in /home/git1/.ssh. Adding new users can be done with a shell script:

# cd /usr/local/bin
# nano ssh.addkey

In this file add:

test  !  -d  /home/$1/.ssh && mkdir  /home/$1/.ssh
chmod  0700  /home/$1/.ssh
cat  /tmp/  >>  /home/$1/.ssh/authorized_keys
chmod  0600  /home/$1/.ssh/authorized_keys
chown  -R  $1:$1  /home/$1/.ssh
rm  /tmp/

Save it and make this script executable:

# chmod 0700 ssh.addkey
# exit

Add appropriate error checks to this script. Whenever a new user needs to be added to group git1 on depot server invoke it like so:

# ssh [email protected] ssh.addkey git1

Don't forget to copy the ssh key to directory /tmp on the server first.


Desktop (Alice) git preparations

Install git and gitk (revision tree visualizer) on alice machine:

# aptitude install git
# aptitude install gitk

Add some information about Alice:

# su alice
$ git config --global "Alice"
$ git config --global "[email protected]"

Continue and add some useful settings in ~/.gitconfig:

$ nano ~/.gitconfig

Add these lines in the file:

    name = Alice
    email = [email protected]
    ui = auto
    editor = /bin/nano
    com = commit
    sta = status
    sw2 = checkout
    nbr = checkout -b
    vhi =  <see Note 2>
    vbr = branch -a
    vre = remote -v
    mer = merge --no-ff
    mef = merge --ff-only
    dif = diff --staged

The merge option, --no-ff, helps maintaining the history, for which commits implemented a specific feature, after it have been merged into another branch.

Naturally you can put any development files you like in the project directory but for the purpose of this howto Alice plans a new Perl module. Alice initiate the new Perl project wisely and install one Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN [6]) distribution that helps create a good start set of files called Module::Starter::PBP.

# aptitude install libmodule-starter-pbp-perl

To set up module-starter (i.e. setup its configuration and templates), run as user alice:

$ perl -MModule::Starter::PBP=setup

Creating /home/alice/.module-starter/PBP...done.
Creating /home/alice/.module-starter/PBP/t...done.
Creating /home/alice/.module-starter/config...
Please enter your full name: Alice Wonderland
Please enter an email address: [email protected]
Writing /home/alice/.module-starter/config...
Installing templates...
Installation complete.

The configuration file is in ~/.module-starter.

Option: To install the latest Module::Starter::PBP module direct from CPAN use the Perl installer tool cpanminus. As root install cpanminus:

# aptitude install cpanminus
# cpanm Module::Starter::PBP


Share this page:

0 Comment(s)

Add comment


From: Debinix at: Jan 17, 2013