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Currently GIT is only supported on Windows within a Cygwin environment. While this works well, there are several efforts that aim to provide a more native GIT on Windows.

These efforts are

     MinGW-based recompilation (
     Packaged version (using NSIS) is available at
  • EclipseIDE-based GIT client, based on a pure Java implmentation of GIT's internals.
  • A libgit + cygwin.dll Windows Explorer extension (perhaps based on TortoiseSVN)

Ask on the MailingLists for the latest news on this ;-)

If you have the main development team on linux/unix, and peripheral developers or translators on Windows, consider using git-cvsserver to give those users read or read/write access to the GIT tree via the CVS protocol. Committers using git-cvsserver have some limits: they cannot branch, tag or merge. On the other hand, git-cvsserver works well with Eclipse, TortoiseCVS and other easy-to-use CVS clients.



Git is now a cygwin binary package, directly installable without needing to compile it.

Otherwise, to be able to build git directly from source, you will need to install cygwin and the following packages:

  • tcltk (for gitk and git-gui)
  • perl
  • openssh
  • openssl (and -dev)
  • libiconv
  • zip (and -dev)
  • curl (and -dev), optional if compiled with NO_CURL=1
  • expat (and -dev), optional if compiled with NO_CURL=1
  • make
  • gcc
  • binutils (sorta necessary to compile!)
  • patchutils (at least for the tests)
  • cpio (at least for the tests)
  • xmlto to build the man pages
  • util-linux: just to have getopt (required by xmlto)
     asciidoc to build documents (
  • python to build documents

With these packages installed download the git source package from the git homepage and then unpack it with:

tar xvzf git-x.y.z.tar.gz (or tar xvjf git-x.y.z.tar.bz2)

Then, build git and install it in your ~/bin directory by doing:

make install

If want to be extra careful, you can always run the regression tests:

make test

You are now ready to use GIT. Check that your path includes ~/bin and you are off!

Extra notes

  • Use git on local NTFS disks -- Network drives disks don't support the filesystem semantics GIT needs; for interoperability purposes you can store bare repositories on FAT32 disks.
  • Be careful with the case in filenames. Similarly, avoid special chars in filenames.
  • Run git gc early and often. There are slowdowns with many unpacked objects. Be careful to not create very big packfiles (bigger than 2 Gb).
     Avoid using ActiveState Perl if possible. Ask in the MailingLists if you must.
  • Try to avoid interrupting (Ctrl-C) processes - it breaks cygwin.
  • Consider setting core.fileMode to false (git repo-config core.fileMode false) if file modes are frequently the only differences detected by Git. Many Windows applications make the execute bit be set in Cygwin when they save a file. Besides Cygwin detects file mode by stupid combination of content analysis, file name extension and moon phase.
  • Insert "set CYGWIN=tty binmode" after the first line of C:\cygwin\cygwin.bat, so you can use Ctrl-z in cygwin's bash to suspend a program.
  • Windows usually writes end-of-line as CRLF, while Unix/POSIX writes LF. This can cause a variety of problems. There are current efforts to address this.
  • Setup binary mode for cygwin (there is an option in cygwin's setup program), otherwise Cygwin mangles everything read and written (Git repos have binary files in control structures).
  • Avoid big repos.
  • Avoid Big Blobs (very big files. Basically anything larger than 10Mb is too big).
  • Avoid Big Trees (directories with many files in them).
  • Avoid Deep Hierarchies.
  • Reboot regularly (memory fragmentation)
  • Defragment often (filesystems fragmentation)

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