How do you use "git --bare init" repository?


I'm adding this answer because after arriving here (with the same question), none of the answers really describe all the required steps needed to go from nothing to a fully usable remote (bare) repo.

Note: this example uses local paths for the location of the bare repo, but other git protocols (like SSH indicated by the OP) should work just fine.

I've tried to add some notes along the way for those less familiar with git.

1. Initialise the bare repo...

> git init --bare /path/to/bare/repo.git
Initialised empty Git repository in /path/to/bare/repo.git/

This creates a folder (repo.git) and populates it with git files representing a git repo. As it stands, this repo is useless - it has no commits and more importantly, no branches. Although you can clone this repo, you cannot pull from it.

Next, we need to create a working folder. There are a couple of ways of doing this, depending upon whether you have existing files.

2a. Create a new working folder (no existing files) by cloning the empty repo

git clone /path/to/bare/repo.git /path/to/work
Cloning into '/path/to/work'...
warning: You appear to have cloned an empty repository.

This command will only work if /path/to/work does not exist or is an empty folder. Take note of the warning - at this stage, you still don't have anything useful. If you cd /path/to/work and run git status, you'll get something like:

On branch master

Initial commit

nothing to commit (create/copy files and use "git add" to track)

but this is a lie. You are not really on branch master (because git branch returns nothing) and so far, there are no commits.

Next, copy/move/create some files in the working folder, add them to git and create the first commit.

> cd /path/to/work
> echo 123 > afile.txt
> git add .
> git config --local adelphus
> git config --local
> git commit -m "added afile"
[master (root-commit) 614ab02] added afile
 1 file changed, 1 insertion(+)
 create mode 100644 afile.txt

The git config commands are only needed if you haven't already told git who you are. Note that if you now run git branch, you'll now see the master branch listed. Now run git status:

On branch master
Your branch is based on 'origin/master', but the upstream is gone.
  (use "git branch --unset-upstream" to fixup)

nothing to commit, working directory clean

This is also misleading - upstream has not "gone", it just hasn't been created yet and git branch --unset-upstream will not help. But that's OK, now that we have our first commit, we can push and master will be created on the bare repo.

> git push origin master
Counting objects: 3, done.
Writing objects: 100% (3/3), 207 bytes | 0 bytes/s, done.
Total 3 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0)
To /path/to/bare/repo.git
 * [new branch]      master -> master

At this point, we have a fully functional bare repo which can be cloned elsewhere on a master branch as well as a local working copy which can pull and push.

> git pull
Already up-to-date.
> git push origin master
Everything up-to-date

2b. Create a working folder from existing files If you already have a folder with files in it (so you cannot clone into it), you can initialise a new git repo, add a first commit and then link it to the bare repo afterwards.

> cd /path/to/work_with_stuff
> git init 
Initialised empty Git repository in /path/to/work_with_stuff
> git add .
# add git config stuff if needed
> git commit -m "added stuff"

[master (root-commit) 614ab02] added stuff
 20 files changed, 1431 insertions(+)
 create mode 100644 stuff.txt

At this point we have our first commit and a local master branch which we need to turn into a remote-tracked upstream branch.

> git remote add origin /path/to/bare/repo.git
> git push -u origin master
Counting objects: 31, done.
Delta compression using up to 4 threads.
Compressing objects: 100% (31/31), done.
Writing objects: 100% (31/31), 43.23 KiB | 0 bytes/s, done.
Total 31 (delta 11), reused 0 (delta 0)
To /path/to/bare/repo.git
 * [new branch]      master -> master
Branch master set up to track remote branch master from origin.

Note the -u flag on git push to set the (new) tracked upstream branch. Just as before, we now have a fully functional bare repo which can be cloned elsewhere on a master branch as well as a local working copy which can pull and push.

All this may seem obvious to some, but git confuses me at the best of times (it's error and status messages really need some rework) - hopefully, this will help others.