Cloning git-buildpackage repositories

published 2013-05-25, last modified 2019-02-04 in tag debian

Whenever I want to work on some package, I usually clone its git repository, make my changes, then push and upload the Debian package. I don’t keep those repositories around in order to avoid cruft and also to have a 100% clean, up-to-date setup whenever I start working on something.

Everytime I clone such a repository, I struggle with the setup. For example, I usually forget the --pristine-tar flag for gbp-clone. Also, I usually forget to push other branches (working on “debian”, forgetting “upstream”) and, even more often, I forget pushing tags.

I spent some time on this and figured out that one can use the following to make --pristine-tar the default:

cat >> ~/.gbp.conf <EOF
pristine-tar = True

Avoiding my other pain points is not so easy apparently, so I wrote a little shell function (only tested with zsh!) which uses debcheckout to get the git URL, gbp-clone to actually clone it and a few git config calls to make me able to just “git push” when I am done and not worry about anything:

# Clones the git sources of a Debian package
# needs debcheckout from devscripts and gbp-clone from git-buildpackage
function d-clone() {
    local package=$1
    if debcheckout --print $package >/dev/null
        set -- $(debcheckout --print $package)
        if [ "$1" != "git" ]
            echo "$package does not use git, but $1 instead."

        echo "cloning $2"
        gbp-clone $2 || return

        # Change to the newest git repository
        cd $(dirname $(ls -1td */.git | head -1)) || return

        # This tells git to push all branches at once,
        # i.e. if you changed upstream and debian (after git-import-orig),
        # both upstream and debian will be pushed when running “git push”.
        git config push.default matching || return

        # This tells git to push tags automatically,
        # so you don’t have to use “git push; git push --tags”.
        git config --add remote.origin.push "+refs/heads/*:refs/heads/*" || return
        git config --add remote.origin.push "+refs/tags/*:refs/tags/*" || return

        echo "d-clone set up everything successfully."
        echo "debcheckout $package failed. Is $package missing Vcs tags?"

With that function, starting work on a package becomes as easy as “d-clone golang-doc”.