Git is a useful tool for remote/online work collaboration, as well as social coding. It is useful being able to share one’s work among different computers using native git commands such as merge, fetch, push, clone, or pull without resolving to using ssh, or scp which are without the benefits of diff and merge strategies of git. More so, not everyone enjoys exposing their incomplete work/code to a remote repo for the sake of fetching to local origins on different computers. This post is meant to show how to go about these git ops strategies without going through a remote e.g. an http[s] server.

Pulling/Pushing git remotes from a LAN/WAN repo

As an example, suppose we have a repo named sensors in the Documents directory of a computer with username and group name drumpf@dissembler and we have a few commits ahead of a tracking repo on a computer named robots@killem, we can fetch and merge our recent commits on drumpf@dissembler into robots@killem as follows:

We could use ssh, http[s], ftp[s] or rsync transport protocols. To pull updates from drump@dissembler:~/Documents/sensors.git to robots@killem:~/Documents/sensors.git repo, we would do one of the following:

  • via ssh:

    robots@killem:~/Documents/sensors$ git pull ssh://drumpf@dissembler:/~/Documents/sensors.git
  • via https:

    robots@killem:~/Documents/sensors$ git pull http[s]://drumpf@dissembler:/robots/killem/Documents/sensors.git
  • via ftp

    robots@killem:/home/drumpf/Documents/sensors$ git pull ftp[s]://drumpf@dissembler:/robots/killem/Documents/sensors.git
  • via rsync

    robots@killem:/home/drumpf/Documents/sensors$ git pull rsync://drumpf@dissembler:/~/Documents/sensors.git

Note that we have used user expansion for both ssh and git. ftp[s] and rsync do not allow user expansion when pulling, pushing or cloning, so the full path to the repo has to be specified. The https syntax has no authentication and can be dangerous on unsecured networks. If the group names of the computers are not advertised by /etc/hosts, you can use the ip address of the computer in place of the host names. Note that ftp[s] can be used for fetching while rsync can be used for both fetching and pushing. Both are not very efficient, however, and they are actually deprecated; so you should refrain from using them as much as you can.

All the commands above would also work for git push.

SCP-like syntaxes are valid as well:

scp [user@]

but note that the first character after the first column must not be a slash to help distinguish a local path from an ssh url

All of the above commands also support cloning git repos from one directory to another on the same host or between workstations on the same LAN/WAN. All that would need to change would be to replace the LAN/WAN hostname with the path we are cloning from. See examples below:

Cloning git remotes from a LAN/WAN repo

The procedure is the same as above save we replace pull/push with clone, e.g

  • git clone ssh://[you@][:port]/path/to/repo.git/
  • git clone  git://[:port]/path/to/repo.git/
  • git clone  http[s]://[:port]/path/to/repo.git/
  • git clone  ftp[s]://[:port]/path/to/repo.git/
  • git clone rsync://

If when doing any of the operations specified so far, the transport protocol is not specified, no problem! Git assumes a remote url transport protocol if it does not know what the remote address is. So we could for example do

robots@killem:~/Documents/sensors$ git push transport::address

where address is the path to the repo on the LAN/WAN and transport is replaced by https.

An alternative scp-like syntax is also valid when using the ssh protocol:

  • git clone [you@]

Just as is the case for pull/push, https is not secure and should be used with caution.