Activity Team/Git FAQ

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Using GitHub (

Help! I suddenly can't connect to GitHub!

Please contact to GitHub support, or look at GitHub FAQ

How do I create an account on

Join using the link on the upper right menu on the Home Page.

How do I migrate a project to GitHub?

Please follow the instructions here to first set up your project's entry in GitHub.

How do I create a new project?

First set up the project in GitHub as per above.
Go to your project directory and type:
git init

git add .
git commit -a
git remote add origin[your project name].git
git push origin master
Hence forth, just use:
git commit
git push
You can also use
git commit -a -m "I am the commit message"
to avoid opening an editor.

How do I add an additional committer to my project?

Go to: . Type a username in the box and click "add collaborator"

How do I create a fork of an existing project?

Go to project page, and click the "Fork" button in the top
Note: if you (as maintainer) are making a clone to replace a corrupted mainline on your local machine, you'll need to:
 git clone  git://
and update [remote] section
git config remote.origin.url

in the .git/config file, you may have to change:
[remote "origin"]
    url = git://
[remote "origin"]
    url =

How do I request a merge?

Go to your GitHub fork page and follow the steps of the images

Click on the Pull Request button Merge-Step2.png
You will get something like that Merge-Step3.png
If you used another branch for changes, just change it in the image Merge-Step4.png
Click on Create Pull request Merge-Step5.png
Edit the title/description of the pull request, and click on Create pull request. Now the commiter will review it]]

What is the difference between a branch and a repository?

When you make a clone of a project on GitHub, it creates a "repository". You can see the list of repositories associated with a project by clicking on the Repository Tab. Branches are clones within a repository (created with git branch and accessed through git checkout). Git merge commands refer to branches, not repositories, so in order to merge a repository back into mainline, you need to pull (fetch followed by merge) it as if it were a patch.

git merge [your repository name]   # This won't work
git pull [your project name/[your repository name].git master  # This will work

How do I select which branch I am working on?

git checkout master
git checkout sucrose-0.84

How do I merge changes from master into a branch?

git checkout sucrose-0.84
git rebase master

How do I push my branch to GitHub?

Use git push origin <your branch name>, e.g.,

git push origin sucrose-0.84

See Development_Team/Release#Branching for more details as to when and why you branch.


How do I generate a patch?

git diff > blah.patch
diff -rup [old] [new]
git format-patch HEAD^

It is preferable that you generate your patch from the root directory of your project.

How do I apply a patch?

First, take a look at what changes are in the patch. You can do this easily with git apply f.e:

git apply --stat sugar_fixes.patch

Note that this command does not apply the patch, but only shows you the stats about what it’ll do. After opening the patch file with your favorite editor, you can see what the actual changes are.

Next, you’re interested in how troublesome the patch is going to be. Git allows you to test the patch before you actually apply it.

git apply --check sugar_fixes.patch

If you don’t get any errors, the patch can be applied cleanly. Otherwise you may see what trouble you’ll run into. To apply the patch, we can use git am instead of git apply. The reason for this is that git am allows you to sign off an applied patch. This may be useful for later reference.

git am --signoff 

Taken from: [1]

Appying a patch from thunderbird

  • Right click save as
* cat <save-as>  | git am --signoff

How do I send a patch to a maintainer?

First, you may need to install git-mail:

sudo yum -y install git-email

An easy way to send a complete patch is to commit in git, then do:

git format-patch -s -1
git send-email --to <maintainer> --cc <mailing-list> <filename>

For example, you can do:

git send-email --to <maintainer> --subject=mail-subject  0003-service-name-deprecated.patch
git send-email --to <maintainer> --cc <mailing-list> --subject=new-patch --cover-letter --annotate 0001-*.patch
git send-email --to <maintainer> --cc <mailing-list> --subject=new-patch --cover-letter --annotate --no-validate 0001-*.patch

You can also generate a merge request on GitHub from your forked repository to mainline.

How do I send a patch to the Sugar developers?

git send-email 0001*.patch

How do I set up git-send-email?

1. Install git-email

2. Configure your ~/.gitconfig file

   email =
   name = Foo Bar
   smtpserver =
   smtpserverport = 465
   smtpuser =
   smtpencryption = ssl
   suppresscc = author

3. In the directory where patch is present use:

git send-email HEAD^..HEAD --to "" patchname.patch

You can configure the destination address so you don't need to specify it manually every time:

git config "sugar-devel <>"

You need to do this for each of the repositories you are working on (e.g. sugar + sugar-toolkit).

For more git send-email options please see man git send-email

How do I amend a commit message?

If you have "dirty" history (i.e., other patches that are not in mainline yet) please create a branch carrying only those two patches and push that branch:

git checkout -b to-push origin/master
git cherry-pick <commit ID of first patch>
git commit --amend

(fix summary)

git cherry-pick <commit ID of second patch>
git commit --amend

(fix summary)

git push origin to-push:master

You can remove the branch afterwards:

git checkout master
git branch -d to-push

How do I revert a commit?

Again, best to do this on a branch as per above

Find the commit id and then:

git revert <commit ID>

As a maintainer, how do I merge a patch?

git-pull does a combination of fetch and merge, so to merge a patch...
git pull git:// master

What is the community protocol for submitting patches?

  1. Introduce yourself to the community.
  2. Don't leave questions without a reply.
  3. Whenever you take a task that someone else was doing, mention it explicitly so others aren't concerned about wasting efforts.
  4. Ask when you don't understand.
  5. Answer other people's questions when you can.

Internationalization work flow

This section is for Gitorious only
The following does not apply to GitHub.

The i18n work flow involves an interplay between the Pootle server, where translations are maintained and Gitorious, where the master POT files are updated. Note: As a maintainer, you may update the .pot file associated with your project, but never update .po files. These are updated for you in the i18n work flow.

How do I get translations for my project?

  1. Use the gettext mechanism for your stings.
  2. Use python genpot to generate a .pot file for your project.
  3. Fill a ticket requesting that your POT file be added to Pootle. Assign the ticket to "Localization".
  4. Add User Pootle to the list of committers on your project.

How do I stay in sync with translations being pushed from the Pootle server?

Periodically—in my experience, on Fridays—updates to the project .po files are pushed from the Localization team.
Use git-pull to periodically pull these updates to the local copy of your project.
Also, run python fix_manifest to update the .mo files after updating the .po files
Note: After every major release, a new branch is created on the Pootle server, e.g., Fructose-0.82 and Fructose-0.84. The Localization team may push translations to any or all of the corresponding branches of your project. Changes to your master branch are not necessarily intended for the release branches.

How do my string changes get into Pootle?

Any changes to your project's .pot file are daily pulled into Pootle from git. All you have to do as a developer is make to regenerate your pot file whenever you make string changes. genpot
git commit po/Myproject.pot -m "new strings"
git push


What if my project has a binary blob?

You may have to use the --force flag.
git push -fv

How do I update the Tag field in GitHub?

git tag -m "Release 36" v36 HEAD
git push --tags

How do I list tags ?

git tag -l 

How do I checkout specific tags?

git checkout <tag_name>

How do I delete specific tags?

git tag -d <tag_name>
git push origin :refs/tags/<tag_name>

How can I get commit access behind firewall?

If you are behind a firewall and need only Read-Only access to, you can use HTTP links, like<project>.git
But if you need commit access, you'll have to set up an SSH proxy tunnel. One option is using Tor. So, install all requirements:
  • Tor to make tunnel via Tor network,
  • connect to let SSH use this tunnel.
You don't need any special configs for this software (in case of Tor, if your distribution makes some smart pre-configurations, just remove /etc/tor/torrc).
Setup your tunnel in SSH. Add the following lines to your ~/.ssh/config
    User git
    ProxyCommand /usr/bin/connect -S 22
Then start Tor, you can just run it on behalf of your account
Then do the regular stuff you can do without any firewalls.
NOTE: If you use Tor on a regular basis, please consider the possibility of helping Tor by donating your bandwidth.

Why are my commits not visible on event pages?

Check that your email address on account page is the same like in global git settings or in local repository setting (if you set once):

git config

New activity maintainer walkthrough

Here's an IRC session recording the very first steps of new activity maintainer learning how to merge patches: