Getting git to work on OS X Tiger

If you haven’t heard of git yet, it’s quickly becoming the preferred version-control system for tons of open-source projects, including the twin suns of ruby on rails and prototype.

In fact, if you keep your eye on the github blog you’ll see a steady stream of well-known projects moving over to git, as diverse as the Blueprint CSS framework and the Haskell compiler.

Basically, if git was a stock-market commodity, analysts would be issuing strong buy recommendations left, right and centre. Git’s tipping-point has arrived.

How to play

If you’ve arrived here via search-engine, it’s probably because you’re trying to work around errors like Can’t locate or Can’t locate SVN/ Read on…

I already had macports installed, but if you haven’t, follow the macports install instructions - we’ll be using macports to download and install git as it’s supposed to be simpler than building from source.

If you’ve had macports installed a while, make sure it’s up to date:

sudo port selfupdate

We want to use git to connect to subversion repositories as well, so we’ll just check that’s possible:

$ port list variant:svn
git-core        @1.6.0  devel/git-core
subversion      @1.5.1  devel/subversion

I already had subversion installed but through trial-and-error found I needed to reinstall it with perl-bindings (git must be using perl scripts to talk to subversion…) Note: I’m using the -f flag to force it to reinstall, you might want to try without first, just to see what conflicts it brings up:

sudo port uninstall -f subversion-perlbindings
sudo port install -f subversion-perlbindings

Next, we install git:

# This may take a while to install with all its dependencies:
sudo port install git-core +svn

And finally, we check it works:

mkdir myproject; cd myproject;
# Check your PATH's set properly, this should output:
# fatal: Not a git repository
git svn
# If that's OK... clone a repository:
git svn clone

Can’t locate

If you’re getting Can’t locate or Can’t locate SVN/ you should immediately try:

PATH=/opt/local/bin:$PATH git svn

If that works, you know it’s just a PATH problem. It’s something to do with Apple’s perl install having slightly kooky ideas about where to store perl libraries.

If you’re still getting complaints about, you need to install the CPAN module - and we’re going to use the /opt/local/bin instance of cpan, to make sure things go in the right place for us:

sudo /opt/local/bin/cpan -i lib::Error

Cross your fingers, and try again:

git svn clone

If things are working, git will spend a while cloning the subversion repository by pulling out every single revision so you can have a complete set of revisions (including deltas), ready for you to refer to with lightning-speed regardless of internet connectivity. Which is nice.