Here’s how to set up your workstation for easy access to both open-source and closed-source git repositories.
Are you on a team that works with both public and private repositories on GitHub? Do you use SSH authentication? (If not, you should.)
If so, you may have encountered one of these problems…
When you try to pull an open-source repo
cd my-public-repo git pull
it ought to just work, regardless of whether you’ve added your SSH key. But instead, you might see
Permission denied (publickey). fatal: Could not read from remote repository. Please make sure you have the correct access rights and the repository exists.
That’s an open-source repo: anyone should be able to pull it, right?
You add your SSH key and try to pull a private repo
ssh-add -t 1H /Volumes/my-ssh-key/id_rsa cd my-private-repo git pull
You want it to authenticate via SSH. But instead you see:
Username for 'https://github.com': myusername Password for 'https://firstname.lastname@example.org':
Here’s a simple 3-part workflow to correct both of the problems above.
In your global git configuration file,
~/.gitconfig, add this section:
[url "email@example.com:"] pushInsteadOf = https://github.com/ pushInsteadOf = git://github.com/
This ensures that pushes will always use SSH authentication, even if the remote URL specifies
In the local checkout for each public repo, edit the
.git/config so that the remote uses
[remote "origin"] url = https://github.com/myusername/my-public-repo
This way, you can pull public remotes without needing to authenticate.
If you’re cloning a public repo for the first time, follow the same pattern
git clone https://github.com/myusername/my-public-repo
In the local checkout for each private repo, edit the
.git/config file to use SSH authentication:
[remote "origin"] url = firstname.lastname@example.org:myusername/my-private-repo
This ensures that git pulls will use your SSH key instead of prompting you for a username and password.
If you’re cloning a private repo for the first time, follow the same pattern
git clone email@example.com:myusername/my-private-repo
Follow the steps above whenever you’re working with a mixture of open-source and closed-source repositories.
If your open-source project uses git submodules, be sure to use HTTPS for the submodule references too. This way, anyone can easily pull and checkout all your submodules, even if they can’t authenticate against the remote.