Let's say you want to distribute some big files to the whole world. You can of course, just drop them onto a website. But perhaps you'd like to use git-annex to manage those files. And as an added bonus, why not let anyone in the world clone your site and use git-annex get!

My site like this is downloads.kitenet.net. Here's how I set it up. --Joey

  1. Set up a web site. I used Apache, and configured it to follow symlinks. Options FollowSymLinks
  2. Put some files on the website. Make sure it works.
  3. git init; git annex init
  4. git config core.sharedrepository world (Makes sure files are always added with permissions that allow everyone to read them.)
  5. We want users to be able to clone the git repository over http, because git-annex can download files from it over http as well. For this to work, git update-server-info needs to get run after commits. The git post-update hook will take care of this, you just need to enable the hook. chmod +x .git/hooks/post-update
  6. git annex add; git commit -m added
  7. Make sure users can still download files from the site directly.
  8. Instruct advanced users to clone a http url that ends with the "/.git/" directory. For example, for downloads.kitenet.net, the clone url is https://downloads.kitenet.net/.git/
  9. Set up a git post-receive hook to update the repository's working tree when changes are pushed to it. See below for details.

When users clone over http, and run git-annex, it will automatically learn all about your repository and be able to download files right out of it, also using http.

post-receive hook

If you have git-annex 4.20130703, the post-receive hook mentioned above in step 9 just needs to run git annex merge.

With older versions of git-annex, you can instead use git annex sync.

There are two gotchas with some versions of git to be aware of when writing this post-receive hook.

  1. The hook may be run with the current directory set to the .git directory, and not the top of your work tree. So you need to cd .. or similar in the hook.
  2. GIT_DIR may be set to ., which will not be right after changing directory. So you will probably want to unset it.

Here's a post-receive hook that takes these problems into account:

unset GIT_DIR
cd ..
git annex merge


would it be possible to do this whith the contents of a public repository-group (a non-bare public repository)?

Comment by Oluf Tue Jul 16 09:44:26 2013

You can choose which files get stored in the public repository, and are thus accessible to the public. However, note that since the git repository is published, anyone could clone it and see all the names and hashes of your files, even if you've not pushed the file contents to the public repository.

Currently the way the "public" repository group works only makes it be usable with special remotes. This is because it uses a preferreddir setting in the special remote configuration.

Comment by joeyh.name Tue Jul 16 17:54:28 2013

Is there a low cost web hosting solution that would support a public git-annex repo relatively simply with simple access to download the public files.

I figure I could set up an Amazon EC2 micro instance and mount an s3 share, hosting the git-annex remote, but this is a lot of overhead for something that dropbox does with 1 click "share dropbox link"?

Any suggestions would be great!

Comment by Lyle Fri Jan 17 22:59:27 2014