Building a Bare-Bones Git Environment

How to migrate repositories from GitHub, configure the software and get started with hosting Git repositories on your own Linux server.

With the recent news of Microsoft's acquisition of GitHub, many people have chosen to research other code-hosting options. Self-hosted solutions like GitLabs offer a polished UI, similar in functionality to GitHub but one that requires reasonably well-powered hardware and provides many features that casual Git users won't necessarily find useful.

For those who want a simpler solution, it's possible to host Git repositories locally on a Linux server using a few basic pieces of software that require minimal system resources and provide basic Git functionality including web accessibility and HTTP/SSH cloning.

In this article, I show how to migrate repositories from GitHub, configure the necessary software and perform some basic operations.

Migrating Repositories

The first step in migrating away from GitHub is to relocate your repositories to the server where they'll be hosted. Since Git is a distributed version control system, a cloned copy of a repository contains all information necessary for running the entire repository. As such, the repositories can be cloned from GitHub to your server, and all the repository data, including commit logs, will be retained. If you have a large number of repositories this could be a time-consuming process. To ease this process, here's a bash function to return the URLs for all repositories hosted by a specific GitHub user:


genrepos() {
    if [ -z "$1" ]; then
        echo "usage: genrepos "
    else
        repourl="https://github.com/$1?tab=repositories"
        while [ -n "$repourl" ]; do
            curl -s "$repourl" | awk '/href.*codeRepository/
 ↪{print gensub(/^.*href="\/(.*)\/(.*)".*$/,
↪"https://github.com/\\1/\\2.git","g",$0); }'
            export repourl=$(curl -s "$repourl" | grep'>Previous<.
↪*href.*>Next<' | grep -v 'disabled">Next' | sed
↪'s/^.*href="//g;s/".*$//g;s/^/https:\/\/github.com/g')
        done
    fi
}

This function accepts a single argument of the GitHub user name. If the output of this command is piped into a while loop to read each line, each line can be fed into a git clone statement. The repositories will be cloned into the /opt/repos directory: