Gitolite is a git repository manager. Here's how to add git-annex support to gitolite, so you can git annex copy files to a gitolite repository, and git annex get files from it.

A nice feature of using gitolite with git-annex is that users can be given read-only access to a repository, and this allows them to git annex get file contents, but not change anything.

First, you need new enough versions:

  • the current master branch of gitolite works with git-annex (tested 2014-04-19), but v3.5.3 and earlier v3.x require use of the git-annex branch.
  • gitolite 2.2 also works -- this version contains a git-annex-shell ADC and supports "ua" ADCs.
  • git-annex 3.20111016 or newer needs to be installed on the gitolite server. Don't install an older version, it wouldn't be secure!

Instructions for gitolite master branch

To setup gitolite to work with git-annex, you can follow the instructions on the gitolite website, and just add 'git-annex-shell ua', to the ENABLE list in ~/.gitolite.rc.

Here are more detailed instructions:

1: Create a git user

sudo adduser \
   --system \
   --shell /bin/bash \
   --gecos 'git version control' \
   --group \
   --disabled-password \
   --home /home/git git

2: Copy a public SSH key for the user you want to be the gitolite administrator. In the instructions below, I placed the key in a file named /home/git/

3: Clone and install gitolite

First switch to the git user (e.g. sudo su - git) and then run:

git clone
mkdir -p bin
./gitolite/install -ln

4: Add ~/bin to PATH

Make sure that ~/bin is in the PATH, since that's where gitolite installed its binary. Do something like this:

echo 'export PATH=/home/git/bin:$PATH' >> .profile
export PATH=/home/git/bin:$PATH

5: Configure gitolite

Edit ~/.gitolite.rc to enable the git-annex-shell command. Find the ENABLE list and add this line in there somewhere:

'git-annex-shell ua',

Now run gitolite's setup:

gitolite setup -pk

Instructions for gitolite 2.2

And here's how to set it up. The examples are for gitolite as installed on Debian with apt-get, but the changes described can be made to any gitolite installation, just with different paths.

Set $GL_ADC_PATH in .gitolite.rc, if you have not already done so.

echo '$GL_ADC_PATH = "/usr/local/lib/gitolite/adc/";' >>~gitolite/.gitolite.rc

Make the ADC directory, and a "ua" subdirectory.

mkdir -p /usr/local/lib/gitolite/adc/ua

Install the git-annex-shell ADC into the "ua" subdirectory from the gitolite repository.

cd /usr/local/lib/gitolite/adc/ua/
cp gitolite/contrib/adc/git-annex-shell .

Now all gitolite repositories can be used with git-annex just as any ssh remote normally would be used. For example:

# git clone gitolite@localhost:testing
Cloning into testing...
Receiving objects: 100% (18/18), done.
# cd testing
# git annex init
init  ok
# cp /etc/passwd my-cool-big-file
# git annex add my-cool-big-file
add my-cool-big-file ok
(Recording state in git...)
# git commit -m added
[master d36c8b4] added
 1 files changed, 1 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)
 create mode 120000 my-cool-big-file
# git push --all
Counting objects: 17, done.
Delta compression using up to 2 threads.
Compressing objects: 100% (12/12), done.
Writing objects: 100% (14/14), 1.39 KiB, done.
Total 14 (delta 0), reused 1 (delta 0)
To gitolite@localhost:testing
   c552a38..db4653e  git-annex -> git-annex
   29cd204..d36c8b4  master -> master
# git annex copy --to origin
copy my-cool-big-file (checking origin...) (to origin...) 
        2502 100%    0.00kB/s    0:00:00 (xfer#1, to-check=0/1)

sent 2606 bytes  received 31 bytes  1758.00 bytes/sec
total size is 2502  speedup is 0.95


I got an error like this when setting up gitolite after setting up a local git repo and git annex:

git-annex-shell: First run: git-annex init
Command ssh ["","git-annex-shell 'configlist' '/~/myrepo.git'"] failed; exit code 1

because I forgot to "git push --all" after adding the new gitolite remote.