Seven general-purpose Git utilities

Add to Your Toolbox

© Lead Image © Maksym Yemelyanov, 123RF.com

© Lead Image © Maksym Yemelyanov, 123RF.com

Article from Issue 241/2020
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Once you've started using Git, these seven utilities can help you get the most out of this essential version control system.

Git, the version control system originally written by Linus Torvalds, is one of the most widely used Linux commands. Like other popular commands, such as apt or vim, an entire ecosystem of tools has grown up around it. In fact, Debian's stable repository alone lists over 60 secondary tools whose names start with "git" and around 70 with unique names.

These tools cover a vast range of functions. Some, like git-github and git-gitlab, help you more efficiently use other services. Others enable particular text editors: git-el enables Emacs support, while git-email adds functionality. Still others are commands to run reports on authors, commits, and other activities; to generate packages and send them to the repositories of distributions from within Git; to clean up repositories; and much more. There is even Gitless, an experiment to create a version control system on top of Git. Most of these tools are standalone scripts, but a minority are add-ons to Git and run as an option to the basic git command. Look beyond the Debian repositories, and you are likely to find as many choices again.

Some users install git-all and sort through all the secondary tools at their leisure. But what if you are more selective about what you put on your hard drive? Below are seven general utilities that can benefit most Git users.

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