My own Git server - installing gitolite

Yesterday I wanted to share some code with some friends, but I didn’t want to create a repository on GitHub, so I decided to install my own git server. After some minutes googleing I found gitosis and gitolite. Both programs seem to be popular, but the last commit to gitosis was two yeas ago. So I chose gitolite.

I had two options on how to install gitolite: either through the package manager (sudo apt-get install gitolite) or by directly cloning the repository from Github. I used the latter one to be up to date.

I wanted gitolite to run under its own user account, lets say gitolite. So I had to add this user:

markus@server:~$ sudo adduser --system \
--shell /bin/bash \
--group \
--disabled-password \
--home /home/gitolite \

The installation was quite easy. For initial configuration I needed my SSH-key. So I copied my local ~/.ssh/ to /tmp/ on the server. Then I switched to the newly created user and cloned the code from Github:

markus@server:~$ sudo su gitolite -
gitolite@server:/home/markus$ cd
gitolite@server:~$ git clone

After these steps I could install gitolite. Therefor I ran those commands:

gitolite@server:~$ cd gitolite
gitolite@server:~$ src/gl-system-install
gitolite@server:~$ gl-setup /tmp/

Now I was able to clone the repository to my local machine:

git clone gitolite@server:gitolite-admin

A new folder gitolite-admin was created that contains a configuration file and an directory for SSH-keys. To add my other computers and my friends to the repositories, I changed the configuration file as follows:

@markus = markus markus2 markus3
@user = user1 user2
@otheruser = otheruser1 otheruser2 otheruser3

repo gitolite-admin
     RW = @markus

repo project1
     RW = @markus @user otheruser2

repo project2
     RW = @markus @user
     R  = @otheruser

repo project3
     RW = @markus
     R  = @all

The first three lines declare some groups, so if one gets a new client, I can add that to the group and he will directly have access to all repositories that his other clients can access as well.

The repository gitolite-admin is only readable (R) and writabel (W) by myself. The project1 has read/write permissions for all my clients, all clients of user but only the second client of otheruser. In the second project repository, (project2) all clients of otheruser can only read, but not write. Finally, repository project3 is only writable for all my clients but readable for all users.

The next step was to add the changes and all new SSH-keys to the repository:

$ git add conf/gitolite.conf keydir/ keydir/ \
keydir/ keydir/ \
keydir/ keydir/ keydir/
$ git commit -m 'add first projects and users'
$ git push


If you are now trying to connect via SSH and user gitolite to the server, you will get a nice information:

$ ssh git@server
hello markus, this is gitolite running on git
the gitolite config gives you the following access:
     R   W      gitolite-admin
     R   W      project1
     R   W      project2
     R   W      project3
Connection to server closed.

Thanks for reading :)