• be configured like a regular git remote, with an unusual url or other configuration
  • receive notifications when a remote has received new commits, and take some action
  • optionally, do receive-pack and send-pack to a remote that is only accessible over an arbitrary network transport (like assistant does with XMPP)
  • optionally, send/receive git-annex objects to remote over an arbitrary network transport


  • authentication & configuration
  • multiple nodes may be accessible over a single network transport, with it desirable to sync with any/all of them. For example, with XMPP, there can be multiple friends synced with. This means that one git remote can map to multiple remote nodes. Specific to git-annex, this means that a set of UUIDs known to be associated with the remote needs to be maintained, while currently each remote can only have one annex-uuid in .git/config.


  • support telehash!
  • Allow running against a normal ssh git remote. This would run git-annex-shell on the remote, watching for changes, and so be able to notify when a commit was pushed to the remote repo. This would let the assistant immediately notice and pull. So the assistant would be fully usable with a single ssh remote and no other configuration! do this first
  • clean up existing XMPP support, make it not a special case, and not tightly tied to the assistant
  • git-remote-daemon could be used independantly of git-annex, in any git repository.


Let git-remote-daemon be the name. Or for git-annex, git annex remotedaemon.

It runs in one of two ways:

  1. Forked to background, using a named pipe for the control protocol.
  2. With --foreground, the control protocol goes over stdio.

Either way, behavior is the same:

  • Get a list of remotes to act on by looking at .git/config
  • Automatically notices when a remote has changes to branches matching remote.$name.fetch, and pulls them down to the appropriate location.
  • When the control protocol informs it about a new ref that's available, it offers the ref to any interested remotes.

control protocol

This is an asynchronous protocol. Ie, either side can send any message at any time, and the other side does not send a reply.

It is line based and intended to be low volume and not used for large data.

TODO: Expand with commands for sending/receiving git-annex objects, and progress during transfer.

TODO: Will probably need to add something for whatever pairing is done by the webapp.

emitted messages


    Sent when a connection has been made with a remote.


    Sent when connection with a remote has been lost.

  • SYNCING uri

    Indicates that a pull or a push with a remote is in progress. Always followed by DONESYNCING.

  • DONESYNCING uri 1|0

    Indicates that syncing with a remote is done, and either succeeded (1) or failed (0).

  • WARNING uri string

    A message to display to the user about a remote.

consumed messages


    The user has requested a pause.
    git-remote-daemon should close connections and idle.


    The network connection has been lost.
    git-remote-daemon should close connections and idle.


    Undoes PAUSE or LOSTNET.
    Start back up network connections.

  • CHANGED ref ...

    Indicates that a ref is new or has changed. These can be offered to peers, and peers that are interested in them can pull the content.


    Indicates that configs have changed. Daemon should reload .git/config and/or restart.

    Possible config changes include adding a new remote, removing a remote, or setting remote.<name>.annex-sync to configure whether to sync with a particular remote.

  • STOP

    Shut down git-remote-daemon

    (When using stdio, it also should shutdown when it reaches EOF on stdin.)

encryption & authentication

For simplicity, the network transports have to do their own end-to-end encryption. Encryption is not part of this design.

(XMPP does not do end-to-end encryption, but might be supported transitionally.)

Ditto for authentication that we're talking to who we intend to talk to. Any public key data etc used for authentication is part of the remote's configuration (or hidden away in a secure chmodded file, if necessary). This design does not concern itself with authenticating the remote node, it just takes the auth token and uses it.

For example, in telehash, each node has its own keypair, which is used or authentication and encryption, and is all that's needed to route messages to that node.

network level protocol

How do peers communicate with one another over the network?

This seems to need to be network-layer dependant. Telehash will need one design, and git-annex-shell on a central ssh server has a very different (and much simpler) design.


git-annex-shell notifychanges is run, and speaks a simple protocol over stdio to inform when refs on the remote have changed.

No pushing is done for CHANGED, since git handles ssh natively.

This is implemented and seems to work well.




Reuse xmpp