The git-annex-shell program is a part of git-annex that is used when accessing a git-annex repository on a remote server. The client runs something like "ssh server git-annex-shell". For this to work, git-annex-shell needs to be installed in PATH.

If you install git-annex on your server as root, using a distribution's package manager, like apt-get, or otherwise installing it into /usr/bin, or /usr/local/bin, then git-annex-shell will be in PATH, and you'll not have any trouble (and can stop reading here).

But, if you need to install git-annex on a server without being root, it can be tricky to get it into PATH. The bash shell doesn't source all of its config files when ssh uses it to run a non-interactive command like git-annex-shell, so even if git-annex-shell seems to be in PATH when you're logged onto the server, "ssh server git-annex-shell" won't find it.

bash: git-annex-shell: command not found; failed; exit code 127

In some systems (when it's compiled with SSH_SOURCE_BASHRC set), bash will load your ~/.bashrc (but not your ~/.bash_profile). So you can add to PATH in the .bashrc.

Note that many .bashrc files start with something like this:

# If not running interactively, don't do anything
[ -z "$PS1" ] && return

So, make sure to make any PATH changes before such a guard. For example:


# If not running interactively, don't do anything else
[ -z "$PS1" ] && return

In some systems, bash won't load any config files at all. A few ways to deal with that:

  • Move or symlink git-annex-shell into a directory like /usr/bin, that is in the default PATH.

  • If you're not root, ask the system administrator to please install git-annex system-wide.

  • As a last resort, you can configure the git repository that's using the server to know where git-annex shell is installed, by configuring remote.<name>.annex-shell

    For example, if git-annex-shell is installed in ~/bin/git-annex-shell on the server, and the git remote named "annoyingserver" uses the server:

    git config remote.annoyingserver.annex-shell /home/me/bin/git-annex-shell