Gitolite is an access control layer on top of git. Here are the features that most people see:



Also see the WARNINGS page for more on what gitolite expects on the server side.

TODO: which packages to install for Ubuntu 12.04 and 14.04 and Debian 6, 7 and 8?


The gitolite client is an ordinary git client, documented at Git user manual



Gitolite has only one server side "command" now, much like git itself. This command is gitolite. You don't need to place it anywhere special; worst case you run it with the full path.

"Installation" consists of the following options:

  1. Keep the sources anywhere and use the full path to run the gitolite command.
  2. Keep the sources anywhere and symlink just the gitolite program to some directory on your $PATH.
  3. Copy the sources somewhere and use that path to run the gitolite command.

Option 2 is the best for general use.

There is a program called 'install' that helps you do these easily. Assuming your cloned the repo like this:

git clone git:// 

you can run the 'install' command in 3 different ways:

# option 1 gitolite/install # option 2 gitolite/install -ln # defaults to $HOME/bin (which is assumed to exist) # ** or ** # or use a specific directory (please supply full path): gitolite/install -ln /usr/local/bin # option 3 # (again, please supply a full path) gitolite/install -to /usr/local/gitolite/bin 

Creating a symlink doesn't need a separate program but 'install' also runs git describe to create a VERSION file, which, trust me, is important!

Installing the software gets you ready to use it, but the first "use" of it is always the "setup" command.

The first time you run it, you need to have a public key file (usually from the admin's workstation) ready. If the main gitolite admin's username is "alice", this file should be named "". Then, as the hosting user, run:

gitolite setup -pk 

If that command completes without any warnings, you should be done. If it had a warning, you probably supplied a key which already has shell access to the server. That won't work.

Normally, gitolite is hosted on a user that no one accesses directly -- you log on to the server using some other userid, and then su - git. In this scenario, there is no key being used for shell access, so there is no conflict.

An alternative method is to use two different keys, and a host alias to distinguish the two.

common errors has some links to background information on this issue.

The 'setup' command has other uses, so you will be running it at other times after the install as well:

When in doubt, run 'gitolite setup' anyway; it doesn't do any harm, though it may take a minute or so if you have more than a few thousand repos!


The gitolite client is an ordinary git client, documented at Git user manual

Configuration and administration


to adminster gitolite just

git clone git:gitolite-admin

The directory tree is self explanatory

To update just commit

git commit -a #tell git about the changes you want to incorporate
git push # send it to the server

Set the "remote" of an "orphan", local git repo, to a new repo created with gitolite

This is a usual use case: a repo has been created on a development machine, before the repo created using gitolite on the server.

Assume you have an existing project you want to add in your new repository.

cd foo
git init
git add --all
git commit -m "Initial commit"

Link your local repository with your remote repository then push the local content to your remote repository.

git remote add origin git-bluelight:foo
git push --set-upstream origin master