This tutorial shows how to set up a centralized git repository hosted on your own git server, which can be any unix system with ssh and git and git-annex installed. A VPS, a home server, etc.

This sets up a very simple git server. More complex setups are possible. See for example using gitolite with git-annex.

set up the server

On the server, you'll want to install git, and git-annex, if you haven't already. If possible, install it using your distribution's package manager:

server# sudo apt-get install git git-annex

Note that git-annex-shell needs to be located somewhere in the PATH, so that a client can successfully run "ssh yourserver git-annex-shell". Installing git-annex using a package manager will take care of this for you. But if you're not root or otherwise can't install git-annex that way, you may need to do more work; see get git-annex-shell into PATH.

Decide where to put the repository on the server, and create a bare git repo there. In your home directory is a simple choice:

server# cd
server# git init annex.git --bare --shared

That's the server setup done!

make a checkout

Now on your laptop, clone the git repository from the server:

laptop# git clone ssh://example.com/~/annex.git
Cloning into 'annex'...
warning: You appear to have cloned an empty repository.
Checking connectivity... done.

Tell git-annex to use the repository, and describe where this clone is located:

laptop# cd annex
laptop# git annex init 'my laptop'
init my laptop ok

add files to the repository

Add some files, obtained however.

# git annex add *.mp4
add Haskell_Amuse_Bouche-b9OVqxmI.mp4 (checksum) ok
(Recording state in git...)
# git commit -m "added a video. I have not watched it yet but it sounds interesting"

Feel free to rename the files, etc, using normal git commands:

# git mv Haskell_Amuse_Bouche-b9OVqxmI.mp4 Haskell_Amuse_Bouche.mp4
# git commit -m 'better filenames'

Now push your changes back to the central repository on your server. As well as pushing the master branch, remember to push the git-annex branch, which is used to track the file contents.

# git push origin master git-annex
To git@github.com:joeyh/techtalks.git
 * [new branch]      master -> master
 * [new branch]      git-annex -> git-annex

That push went fast, because it didn't upload large videos to the server.

So, to finish up, tell git-annex to sync all the data in the repository to your server:

# git annex sync --content
...

make more checkouts

So far you have a central repository on your server, and a checkout on a laptop. Let's make another checkout elsewhere. Clone the central repository as before.

elsewhere# git clone ssh://example.com/~/annex.git
elsewhere# cd annex

Notice that your clone does not have the contents of any of the files yet. If you run ls, you'll see broken symlinks. It's easy to download them from your server either by running git annex sync --content, or by asking git-annex to download individual files:

# git annex get Haskell_Amuse_Bouche.mp4
get Haskell_Amuse_Bouche.mp4 (from origin...)
12877824   2%  255.11kB/s    00:00
ok