Central Git Repo With SSH

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Central Git Repo With SSH

Central Git Repo With SSH

Note: This tutorial can be tried interactively on: https://katacoda.com/dashohoxha/courses/misc/central-git-repo-with-ssh

Introduction

To synchronize the work on a programming project we usually use GitHub, GitLab, etc. It is also possible to install and use one of the GitHub-like systems in your own server, like:

However if you don't need a web interface, issue management, pull requests, and other fancy features, you can easily create a central Git repository on your own server and access it through ssh. This tutorial shows how to do it.

Step 1 - Setup the central server

ssh-git.png

Figure 1: Central Git Repo With SSH

In this step we are going to setup the server. In the following steps we will do the setup for the first user and the second user.

  1. Create user accounts. For each user that needs to access the central repo we will create an account on the server. Let's assume that we have two users and their accounts are named user1 and user2.

    useradd -m -s /bin/bash user1
    echo user1:pass1 | chpasswd
    useradd -m -s /bin/bash user2
    echo user2:pass2 | chpasswd
    
  2. Create a group for Git and add the users to this group:

    addgroup git-group
    adduser user1 git-group
    adduser user2 git-group
    
  3. Create a bare Git repository for the project:

    git init --bare --shared /srv/project.git
    

    Central Git repositories don't have a working tree. They are called "bare" repositories and are initialized with the option --bare.

    The option --shared specifies that this Git repository is to be shared amongst several users. This allows users belonging to the same group to push into this repository.

  4. Set the right group ownership to this repo:

    chgrp -R git-group /srv/project.git
    chmod -R g+rw /srv/project.git
    chmod -R g+s /srv/project.git
    ls -al /srv/project.git
    

    Notice the setgid permission that we set on the repo dir. Because of it, the new sub-directories or files that are created inside the repo dir will have the same group as the repo dir (git-group). This is convenient for a group of users that use the same directory.

Step 2 - First user setup

For the sake of example, the first user is named first-user. He is going to use the account user1 on the server.

The following steps should be done on the computer of the first user.

  1. Set up the ssh config for the central Git server:

    mkdir ~/.ssh
    chmod 700 ~/.ssh/
    

    SSH client configurations are usually kept on the directory ~/.ssh/, and it should be accessible only by the owner.

    cat <<EOF >> ~/.ssh/config
    Host git-server
        HostName host01
        User user1
        IdentityFile ~/.ssh/git-server
        IdentitiesOnly yes 
    EOF
    

    In this configuration entry we describe the details for the Host (server) named git-server, which is an arbitrary name (we choose it). Its HostName in our example is host01 (which in our case resolves to the localhost, however usually it is a FQDN or an IP).

    The User account on the server host01 is user1, and we will login there with an SSH key (IdentityFile) that is located on ~/.ssh/git-server.

  2. The SSH key above doesn't exist yet, so let's create it:

    ssh-keygen -t rsa -q -N '' -f ~/.ssh/git-server
    

    The option -N '' tells the command to use no passphrase for encrypting the private key, and -f ~/.ssh/git-server gives it the filename where the key should be saved.

  3. In order to be able to login to the server with this key, we need to send the public part of it to the server:

    ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/git-server.pub git-server
    

    Now let's try to ssh to the server with the new key (should be able to do it without a password):

    ssh git-server ls -al .ssh/
    ssh git-server cat .ssh/authorized_keys
    

    The command ls -al .ssh/ is running on the server, through ssh.

    Notice that the public key that we sent to the server has been appended to .ssh/authorized_keys on the home directory of user1.

  4. Now that we configured an SSH connection to the server, let's create a test Git project (on the computer of first-user):

    mkdir project
    cd project/
    echo '# Test project' > README.md
    git init
    git add .
    git commit -m 'Initial commit'
    
  5. Finally, let's set the remote and push this project to the server:

    git remote add origin git-server:/srv/project.git
    git push --set-upstream origin master
    

Step 3 - Second user setup

The setup for the second user is similar to the first one. The following steps should be done on the computer of the second user.

  1. Set up the ssh config for the central Git server:

    mkdir ~/.ssh
    chmod 700 ~/.ssh/
    cat <<EOF >> ~/.ssh/config
    Host git-server
        HostName host01
        User user2
        IdentityFile ~/.ssh/git-server
        IdentitiesOnly yes 
    EOF
    
  2. Create an SSH key with the filename (~/.ssh/git-server) that we used above:

    ssh-keygen -t rsa -q -N '' -f ~/.ssh/git-server
    
  3. Send the public key to the server:

    ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/git-server.pub git-server
    

    Now try to ssh to the server with the new key (should be able to do it without a password):

    ssh git-server ls -al .ssh/
    ssh git-server cat .ssh/authorized_keys
    
  4. Clone the Git project:

    git clone git-server:/srv/project.git
    cd project/
    git remote -v
    git log
    

    This time we didn't have to add a remote, because the origin remote is added automatically when we clone the project.

Step 4 - Share Code

With this setup we can collaborate and share code by using the central Git repo as a coordinator.

  1. Make some changes to the project, then commit and push it:

    cat << EOF >> README.md
    
    First line
    EOF
    
    git add .
    git commit -m 'Update README'
    git push
    
  2. Now switch to the first user and pull these changes:

    cd ~/project/
    git pull
    cat README.md
    git log
    

Date: 2020-08-13

Author: Dashamir Hoxha

Created: 2020-08-13 Thu 23:32

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