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dgit - git integration with the Debian archive


dgit [dgit-opts] clone [dgit-opts] package [suite] [./dir|/dir]
dgit [dgit-opts] fetch|pull [dgit-opts] [suite]
dgit [dgit-opts] build|sbuild|build-source [build-opts]
dgit [dgit-opts] push [dgit-opts] [suite]
dgit [dgit-opts] rpush build-host:build-dir [push args...]
dgit [dgit-opts] action ...


dgit allows you to treat the Debian archive as if it were a git repository. See dgit(7)
for detailed information about the data model, common problems likely to arise with
certain kinds of package, etc.

The usual workflow is:
1. dgit clone or fetch;
2. make, do dev tests, and commit changes in git as desired;
3. build packages for upload, using e.g. dgit sbuild
4. do pre-upload tests of the proposed upload;
5. dgit push.


dgit clone package [suite] [./dir|/dir]
Consults the archive and dgit-repos to construct the git view of history for
package in suite (sid by default) in a new directory (named ./package by default);
also, downloads any necessary orig tarballs.

The suite's git tip is left on the local branch dgit/suite ready for work, and on
the corresponding dgit remote tracking branch. The origin remote will be set up to
point to the package's dgit-repos tree for the distro to which suite belongs.

For your convenience, the vcs-git remote will be set up from the package's Vcs-Git
field, if there is one - but note that in the general case the history found there
may be different to or even disjoint from dgit's view.

dgit fetch [suite]
Consults the archive and git-repos to update the git view of history for a specific
suite (and downloads any necessary orig tarballs), and updates the remote tracking
branch remotes/dgit/dgit/suite. If the current branch is dgit/suite then dgit
fetch defaults to suite; otherwise it parses debian/changelog and uses the suite
specified there.

dgit pull [suite]
Does dgit fetch, and then merges the new head of the remote tracking branch
remotes/dgit/dgit/suite into the current branch.

dgit build ...
Runs dpkg-buildpackage with some suitable options. Options and arguments after
build will be passed on to dpkg-buildpackage. It is not necessary to use dgit
build when using dgit; it is OK to use any approach which ensures that the
generated source package corresponds to the relevant git commit.

Tagging, signing and actually uploading should be left to dgit push.

dgit build-source ...
Builds the source package, and a changes file for a prospective source-only upload,
using dpkg-source. The output is left in package_version.dsc and

Tagging, signing and actually uploading should be left to dgit push.

dgit clean
Cleans the current working tree (according to the --clean= option in force).

dgit help
Print a usage summary.

dgit sbuild ...
Constructs the source package, uses sbuild to do a binary build, and uses
mergechanges to merge the source and binary changes files. Options and arguments
after sbuild will be passed on to sbuild. Changes files matching
package_version_*.changes in the parent directory will be removed; the output is
left in package_version_multi.changes.

Tagging, signing and actually uploading should be left to dgit push.

dgit gbp-build ...
Runs git-buildpackage with some suitable options. Options and arguments after gbp-
build will be passed on to git-buildpackage.

Tagging, signing and actually uploading should be left to dgit push.

dgit push [suite]
Does an `upload', pushing the current HEAD to the archive (as a source package) and
to dgit-repos (as git commits). The package must already have been built ready for
upload, with the .dsc and .changes left in the parent directory. It is normally
best to do the build with dgit too (eg with dgit sbuild): some existing build tools
pass unhelpful options to dpkg-source et al by default, which can result in the
built source package not being identical to the git tree.

In more detail: dgit push checks that the current HEAD corresponds to the .dsc. It
then pushes the HEAD to the suite's dgit-repos branch, makes a signed git tag,
edits the .dsc to contain the dgit metadata field, runs debsign to sign the upload
(.dsc and .changes), pushes the signed tag, and finally uses dput to upload the
.changes to the archive.

dgit push always uses the package, suite and version specified in the
debian/changelog and the .dsc, which must agree. If the command line specifies a
suite then that must match too.

If dgit push fails while uploading, it is fine to simply retry the dput on the
.changes file at your leisure.

dgit rpush build-host:build-dir [push args...]
Pushes the contents of the specified directory on a remote machine. This is like
running dgit push on build-host with build-dir as the current directory; however,
signing operations are done on the invoking host. This allows you to do a push
when the system which has the source code and the build outputs has no access to
the key:

1. Clone on build host (dgit clone)
2. Edit code on build host (edit, git commit)
3. Build package on build host (dgit build)
4. Test package on build host or elsewhere (dpkg -i, test)
5. Upload by invoking dgit rpush on host with your GPG key.

However, the build-host must be able to ssh to the dgit repos. If this is not
already the case, you must organise it separately, for example by the use of ssh
agent forwarding.

The remaining arguments are treated just as dgit push would handle them.

build-host and build-dir can be passed as separate arguments; this is assumed to be
the case if the first argument contains no : (except perhaps one in [ ], to support
IPv6 address literals).

You will need similar enough versions of dgit on the build-host and the invocation
host. The build-host needs gnupg installed, with your public key in its keyring
(but not your private key, obviously).

dgit setup-new-tree
Configure the current working tree the way that dgit clone would have set it up.
Like running dgit setup-useremail and setup-mergechangelogs (but only does each
thing if dgit is configured to do it automatically). You can use these in any git
repository, not just ones used with the other dgit operations.

dgit setup-useremail
Set the working tree's user.name and user.email from the distro-specific dgit
configuration (dgit-distro.distro.user-name and .user-email), or DEBFULLNAME or

dgit setup-mergechangelogs
Configures a git merge helper for the file debian/changelog which uses dpkg-

dgit quilt-fixup
`3.0 (quilt)' format source packages need changes representing not only in-tree but
also as patches in debian/patches. dgit quilt-fixup checks whether this has been
done; if not, dgit will make appropriate patches in debian/patches and also commit
the resulting changes to git.

This is normally done automatically by dgit build and dgit push.

dgit will try to turn each relevant commit in your git history into a new quilt
patch. dgit cannot convert nontrivial merges, or certain other kinds of more
exotic history. If dgit can't find a suitable linearisation of your history, by
default it will fail, but you can ask it to generate a single squashed patch

dgit version
Prints version information and exits.

dgit clone-dgit-repos-server destdir
Tries to fetch a copy of the source code for the dgit-repos-server, as actually
being used on the dgit git server, as a git tree.


--dry-run | -n
Go through the motions, fetching all information needed, but do not actually update
the output(s). For push, dgit does the required checks and leaves the new .dsc in
a temporary file, but does not sign, tag, push or upload.

--damp-run | -L
Go through many more of the motions: do everything that doesn't involve either
signing things, or making changes on the public servers.

Use keyid for signing the tag and the upload. The default comes from the distro's
keyid config setting (see CONFIGURATION, below), or failing that, the uploader
trailer line in debian/changelog.

does not sign tags or uploads (meaningful only with push).

Specifies that we should process source package package rather than looking in
debian/control or debian/changelog. Valid with dgit fetch and dgit pull, only.

--clean=git | -wg
The source tree should be cleaned, before building a source package with one of the
build options, using git clean -xdf. This will delete all files which are not
tracked by git. Also, -wg causes dgit to pass -nc to dpkg-buildpackage, which
prevents the package's own clean target from being run.

--clean=git is useful when the package's clean target is troublesome; the downside
is simply that git clean may delete files you forgot to git add. --clean=git can
also avoid needing the build-dependencies.

--clean=git-ff | -wgf
The source tree should be cleaned, before building a source package with one of the
build options, using git clean -xdff. This is like "git clean -xdf" but it also
removes any subdirectories containing different git trees (which only unusual
packages are likely to create).

--clean=check | -wc
Merely check that the tree is clean (does not contain uncommitted files), before
building a source package.

--clean=none | -wn
Do not clean the tree before building a source package. If there are files which
are not in git, or if the build creates such files, a subsequent dgit push will

--clean=dpkg-source | -wd
Use dpkg-buildpackage to do the clean, so that the source package is cleaned by
dpkg-source running the package's clean target. This is the default. It requires
the package's build dependencies.

--clean=dpkg-source-d | -wdd
Use dpkg-buildpackage -d to do the clean, so that the source package is cleaned by
dpkg-source running the package's clean target. The build-dependencies are not
checked (due to -d), which violates policy, but may work in practice.

-N | --new
The package is or may be new in this suite. Without this, dgit will refuse to
push. It may (for Debian, will) be unable to access the git history for any
packages which have been newly pushed and have not yet been published.

Do not complain if the working tree does not match your git HEAD. This can be
useful with build, if you plan to commit later. (dgit push will still ensure that
the .dsc you upload and the git tree you push are identical, so this option won't
make broken pushes.)

Declare that you are deliberately doing something. This can be used to override
safety catches, including safety catches which relate to distro-specific policies.
The meanings of somethings understood in the context of Debian are discussed below:

Declare that you are deliberately rewinding history. When pushing to Debian, use
this when you are making a renewed upload of an entirely new source package whose
previous version was not accepted for release from NEW because of problems with
copyright or redistributibility.

Declare that you are deliberately including, in the git history of your current
push, history which contains a previously-submitted version of this package which
was not approved (or has not yet been approved) by the ftpmasters. When pushing to
Debian, only use this option after verifying that: none of the rejected-from-NEW
(or never-accepted) versions in the git history of your current push, were rejected
by ftpmaster for copyright or redistributability reasons.

Declare that you are deliberately rewinding history and want to throw away the
existing repo. Not relevant when pushing to Debian, as the Debian server will do
this automatically when necessary.

When fixing up source format `3.0 (quilt)' metadata, insist on generating a linear
patch stack. If such a stack cannot be generated, fail. This is the default for

When fixing up source format `3.0 (quilt)' metadata, prefer to generate a linear
patch stack, but if that doesn't seem possible, generate a single squashed patch
for all the changes made in git. This is not a good idea for an NMU in Debian.

When fixing up source format `3.0 (quilt)' metadata, generate a single squashed
patch for all the changes made in git. This is not a good idea for an NMU in

Check whether source format `3.0 (quilt)' metadata would need fixing up, but, if it
does, fail. You must then fix the metadata yourself somehow before pushing. (NB
that dpkg-source --commit will not work because the dgit git tree does not have a
.pc directory.)

--quilt=nocheck | --no-quilt-fixup
Do not check whether up source format `3.0 (quilt)' metadata needs fixing up. If
you use this option and the metadata did in fact need fixing up, dgit push will

-D Prints debugging information to stderr. Repeating the option produces more output
(currently, up to -DDDD is meaningfully different).

Specifies a git configuration option, to be used for this run. dgit itself is also
controlled by git configuration options.

-vversion|_ | --since-version=version|_
Specifies the -vversion option to pass to dpkg-genchanges, during builds. Changes
(from debian/changelog) since this version will be included in the built changes
file, and hence in the upload. If this option is not specified, dgit will query
the archive and use the latest version uploaded to the intended suite.

Specifying _ inhibits this, so that no -v option will be passed to dpkg-genchanges
(and as a result, only the last stanza from debian/changelog will be used for the
build and upload).

Passed to dpkg-genchanges (eventually).

Specifies a single additional option to pass, eventually, to dpkg-genchanges.

--curl=program | --dput=program |...
Specifies alternative programs to use instead of curl, dput, debsign, dpkg-source,
dpkg-buildpackage, dpkg-genchanges, sbuild, gpg, ssh, dgit, git, or mergechanges.

For dpkg-buildpackage, dpkg-genchanges, mergechanges and sbuild, this applies only
when the program is invoked directly by dgit.

For dgit, specifies the command to run on the remote host when dgit rpush needs to
invoke a remote copy of itself. (dgit also reinvokes itself as the EDITOR for
dpkg-source --commit; this is done using argv[0], and is not affected by --dgit=).

For ssh, the default value is taken from the DGIT_SSH or GIT_SSH environment
variables, if set (see below). And, for ssh, when accessing the archive and dgit-
repos, this command line setting is overridden by the git config variables dgit-
distro.distro.ssh and .dgit.default.ssh (which can in turn be overridden with -c).
Also, when dgit is using git to access dgit-repos, only git's idea of what ssh to
use (eg, GIT_SSH) is relevant.

--curl:option | --dput:option |...
Specifies a single additional option to pass to curl, dput, debsign, dpkg-source,
dpkg-buildpackage, dpkg-genchanges, sbuild, ssh, dgit, or mergechanges. Can be
repeated as necessary.

For dpkg-buildpackage, dpkg-genchanges, mergechanges and sbuild, this applies only
when the program is invoked directly by dgit. Usually, for passing options to
dpkg-genchanges, you should use --ch:option.

Specifying --git not effective for some lower-level read-only git operations
performed by dgit, and also not when git is invoked by another program run by dgit.

See notes above regarding ssh and dgit.

NB that --gpg:option is not supported (because debsign does not have that
facility). But see -k and the keyid distro config setting.

-ddistro | --distro=distro
Specifies that the suite to be operated on is part of distro distro. This
overrides the default value found from the git config option dgit-
suite.suite.distro. The only effect is that other configuration variables (used
for accessing the archive and dgit-repos) used are dgit-distro.distro.*.

If your suite is part of a distro that dgit already knows about, you can use this
option to make dgit work even if your dgit doesn't know about the suite. For
example, specifying -ddebian will work when the suite is an unknown suite in the
Debian archive.

To define a new distro it is necessary to define methods and URLs for fetching
(and, for dgit push, altering) a variety of information both in the archive and in
dgit-repos. How to set this up is not yet documented.

Specifies the .changes file which is to be uploaded. By default dgit push looks
for single .changes file in the parent directory whose filename suggests it is for
the right package and version - or, if there is a _multi.changes file, dgit uses

If the specified changesfile pathname contains slashes, the directory part is also
used as the value for --build-products-dir; otherwise, the changes file is expected
in that directory (by default, in ..).

Specifies where to find the built files to be uploaded. By default, dgit looks in
the parent directory (..).

dgit push needs to canonicalise the suite name. Sometimes, dgit lacks a way to ask
the archive to do this without knowing the name of an existing package. Without
--new we can just use the package we are trying to push. But with --new that will
not work, so we guess dpkg or use the value of this option. This option is not
needed with the default mechanisms for accessing the archive.

Print a usage summary.

dgit rpush uses a temporary directory on the invoking (signing) host. This option
causes dgit to use directory instead. Furthermore, the specified directory will be
emptied, removed and recreated before dgit starts, rather than removed after dgit
finishes. The directory specified must be an absolute pathname.

Do not delete the destination directory if clone fails.


It is always possible with dgit to clone or fetch a package, make changes in git (using
git-commit) on the suite branch (git checkout dgit/suite) and then dgit push. You can use
whatever gitish techniques you like to construct the commits to push; the only requirement
is that what you push is a descendant of the state of the archive, as provided by dgit in
the remote tracking branch remotes/dgit/dgit/suite.

If you are using dgit to do an NMU (in Debian), and don't know about the maintainers'
preferred packaging workflows, you should make your changes as a linear series of
(logicially separated) commits on top of what's already in the archive.

If you are lucky the other uploaders have also used dgit and integrated the other relevant
git history; if not you can fetch it into your tree and cherry-pick etc. as you wish.


If you are the maintainer of a package dealing with uploads made without dgit, you will
probably want to merge the synthetic commits (made by dgit to represent the uploads) into
your git history. Normally you can just merge the dgit branch into your own master, or
indeed if you do your work on the dgit local suite branch dgit/suite you can just use dgit

However the first time dgit is used it will generate a new origin commit from the archive
which won't be linked into the rest of your git history. You will need to merge this.

If last upload was in fact made with git, you should usually proceed as follows: identify
the commit which was actually used to build the package. (Hopefully you have a tag for
this.) Check out the dgit branch (git checkout dgit/suite) and merge that other commit
(git merge debian/version). Hopefully this merge will be trivial because the two trees
should be very similar. The resulting branch head can be merged into your working
branches (git checkout master && git merge dgit/suite).

If last upload was not made with git, a different approach is required to start using
dgit. First, do dgit fetch (or clone) to obtain a git history representation of what's in
the archive and record it in the remotes/dgit/dgit/suite tracking branch. Then somehow,
using your other git history plus appropriate diffs and cherry picks from the dgit remote
tracking branch, construct a git commit whose tree corresponds to the tree to use for the
next upload. If that commit-to-be-uploaded is not a descendant of the dgit remote
tracking branch, check it out and say git merge -s ours remotes/dgit/dgit/suite; that
tells git that we are deliberately throwing away any differences between what's in the
archive and what you intend to upload. Then run dgit push to actually upload the result.


dgit can be configured via the git config system. You may set keys with git-config
(either in system-global or per-tree configuration), or provide -ckey=value on the dgit
command line.

Settings likely to be useful for an end user include:

dgit-suite.suite.distro distro
Specifies the distro for a suite. dgit keys off the suite name (which appears in
changelogs etc.), and uses that to determine the distro which is involved. The
config used is thereafter that for the distro.

dgit.default.distro distro
The default distro for an unknown suite.

for each dgit-distro.distro.*, the default value used if there is no distro-
specific setting.

One of the values for the command line --clean= option; used if --clean is not

dgit-distro.distro.readonly auto|a | true|t|y|1 | false|f|n|0
Whether you have push access to the distro. For Debian, it is OK to use auto,
which uses readonly mode if you are not pushing right now; but, setting this to
false will avoid relying on the mirror of the dgit git repository server.

See also -k.

dgit-distro.distro.mirror url

Not relevant for Debian.

Might be useful if you have an intermediate queue server.

dgit-distro.distro.user-name dgit-distro.distro.user-email
Values to configure for user.name and user.email in new git trees. If not
specified, the DEBFULLNAME and DEBEMAIL environment variables are used,
respectively. Only used if .setup-usermail is not disabled.

Whether to set user.name and user.email in new git trees. True by default.
Ignored for dgit setup-setup-useremail, which does it anyway.

Whether to setup a merge driver which uses dpkg-mergechangelogs for
debian/changelog. True by default. Ignored for dgit setup-mergechangelogs, which
does it anyway.

Program to use instead of cmd. Works like --cmd=... .

Extra options to pass to cmd. Works like --cmd:... . To pass several options,
configure multiple values in git config (with git config --add). The options for
dgit.default.opts-cmd dgit-distro.distro/push.opts-cmd and are all used, followed
by options from dgit's command line.


There are many other settings which specify how a particular distro's services (archive
and git) are provided. These should not normally be adjusted, but are documented for the
benefit of distros who wish to adopt dgit.

If set, overrides corresponding non /push config when readonly=false, or when
pushing and readonly=auto.





dgit-distro.distro.git-check true|false|url|ssh-cmd


dgit-distro.distro.diverts.divert new-distro|/distro-suffix

dgit-distro.distro.git-create ssh-cmd|true

dgit-distro.distro.archive-query ftpmasterapi: | madison:distro | dummycat:/path |









specify an alternative default program (and perhaps arguments) to use instead of
ssh. DGIT_SSH is consulted first and may contain arguments; if it contains any
whitespace will be passed to the shell. GIT_SSH specifies just the program; no
arguments can be specified, so dgit interprets it the same way as git does. See
also the --ssh= and --ssh: options.

Default git user.email and user.name for new trees. See dgit setup-new-tree.

gpg, dpkg-..., debsign, git, curl, dput, LWP::UserAgent
and other subprograms and modules used by dgit are affected by various environment
variables. Consult the documentaton for those programs for details.

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