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From: Antonio Ospite <>
Cc: Brandon Williams <>, git <>,
	Richard Hartmann <>
Subject: Re: [RFC 00/10] Make .the gitmodules file path configurable
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2018 13:33:12 +0200
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

On Thu, 12 Apr 2018 16:36:32 -0700
Stefan Beller <> wrote:

> Hi Antonio,

Hi Stefan,

> On Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 3:20 PM, Antonio Ospite <> wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > vcsh[1] uses bare git repositories and detached work-trees to manage
> > *distinct* sets of configuration files directly into $HOME.
> >
> > In general, submodules have worked perfectly fine with detached
> > work-trees for some time[2,3,4].
> >
> > However when multiple repositories take turns using the same directory
> > as their work-tree, and more than one of them want to use submodules,
> > there could still be conflicts about the '.gitmodules' file because git
> > hardcodes this path.
> >
> > So this series proposes a mechanism to set an alternative path for the
> > submodules configuration file (from now on "gitmodules file").
> > Expanding on that change the first patch in the series makes the path
> > customizable exposing a 'core.submodulesFile' configuration setting.
> I guess the similarity to core.ignoreFile is desired here. Although these
> mechanisms are very different.

The option name is similar to 'core.excludesFile' also because, when I
started, I first looked at how multiple ignore files were used, so I
may have been influenced by that.

I acknowledge that the two mechanisms are different, in particular
because git *writes* the gitmodules file itself.

I am not opposed to change the name, something like
'core.submodulesConfigFile' might highlight that the syntax of the file
is the one of git config, but I think it's too long.

> > The new configuration setting can be used to set an *alternative*
> > location for the gitmodules file; IMHO there is no need to provide
> > *additional* locations like in the case of exclude files.
> I think there *may* be a need for additional files.
> Currently there is only the .gitmodules file and the configuration
> in .git/config overriding settings from .gitmodules.
> There was some discussion on the mailing list in the past, which
> presented a intermediate layer in between these two places, in
> a special ref, such that:
>     base is in .gitmodules
>     overwritten via refs/meta/submodules:.gitmodules
>     overwritten via the .git/config
> The intermediate would be a config file that is tracked on another
> ref. This (a) decouples main project history from submodule history
> and (b) makes it easier to distribute as it is part of the repository.
> For example (a) is desired if you dig up an old project and the
> submodules have all moved from one git hosting provider to another.
> Another example would be when you fork a project with submodules
> and don't want to mess with the main history but you just want to
> adjust the submodule URLs. That is possible with such an intermediate
> additional place.
> For (b) you can imagine the fork that you want to distribute in your
> community and you don't want to tell everyone to change the
> submodule URLs, but instead you can provide them with a prepared
> .gitmodules file, that they have to place into that special ref (which
> can be done via fetching).
> I digress as these ideas seem to be orthogonal to your patch series,
> just FYI. prior discussion starting at:
> I recall there was a better discussion even prior to that, but have no
> link handy.

Just to understand, is that 'refs/meta/submodules:.gitmodules' file
meant to be managed manually? Or do you imagine some options to
instruct "git submodule" to *write* to that file instead of .gitmodules?

In the latter case your idea could cover my use case too, couldn't it?

But most importantly, is this realistically going to be added?
Currently I am not that familiar with the git code base to do it
myself, and I've never explicitly dealt with special refs in git.

The approach of this patch series is a lot simpler, and something I can
work on in my spare time.

Presumably (b) could even be partially supported with my changes, by
having both '.gitmodules' and some custom '.gitmodules-alternative'
files in the repository and tell users to clone with:

  git clone --config core.submodulesFile=.gitmodules-alternative URL

Not as clean as your idea but doable.

> > Since the gitmodules file is meant to be checked in into the repository,
> > the overridden file path should be relative to the work-tree; is there
> > a way to enforce this constraint at run time (i.e. validate the config
> > value), or is it enough to have it documented?
> I think we'd want to check at run time, if we need this constraint.

I'll look into it once we decide which the way to go.

Thank you.


Antonio Ospite

A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?

  reply index

Thread overview: 28+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2018-04-12 22:20 Antonio Ospite
2018-04-12 22:20 ` [RFC 01/10] submodule: add 'core.submodulesFile' to override the '.gitmodules' path Antonio Ospite
2018-04-12 23:50   ` Stefan Beller
2018-04-16 16:37     ` Antonio Ospite
2018-04-16 21:22       ` Stefan Beller
2018-04-18 11:43         ` Antonio Ospite
2018-04-18 18:44           ` Stefan Beller
2018-04-12 22:20 ` [RFC 02/10] submodule: fix getting custom gitmodule file in fetch command Antonio Ospite
2018-04-12 23:55   ` Stefan Beller
2018-04-16 16:18     ` Antonio Ospite
2018-04-16 19:23       ` Stefan Beller
2018-04-16 20:46         ` Antonio Ospite
2018-04-12 22:20 ` [RFC 03/10] submodule: use the 'submodules_file' variable in output messages Antonio Ospite
2018-04-12 22:20 ` [RFC 04/10] submodule: document 'core.submodulesFile' and fix references to '.gitmodules' Antonio Ospite
2018-04-12 22:20 ` [RFC 05/10] submodule: adjust references to '.gitmodules' in comments Antonio Ospite
2018-04-12 22:20 ` [RFC 06/10] completion: add 'core.submodulesfile' to the git-completion.bash file Antonio Ospite
2018-04-12 23:36 ` [RFC 00/10] Make .the gitmodules file path configurable Stefan Beller
2018-04-16 11:33   ` Antonio Ospite [this message]
2018-04-16 19:22     ` Stefan Beller
2018-04-13  8:07 ` Antonio Ospite
2018-04-13  8:07 ` [RFC 07/10] FIXME: set 'core.submodulesFile' for each git invocation Antonio Ospite
2018-04-13  8:07   ` [RFC 08/10] FIXME: submodule: fix to take into account the new config Antonio Ospite
2018-04-13  8:07   ` [RFC 09/10] FIXME: submodule: pass custom gitmodules file to 'test-tool submodule-config' Antonio Ospite
2018-04-13  8:07   ` [RFC 10/10] FIXME: add a hacky script to test the changes with a patched test suite Antonio Ospite
2018-04-13 20:05   ` [RFC 07/10] FIXME: set 'core.submodulesFile' for each git invocation Stefan Beller
2018-04-16 11:36     ` Antonio Ospite
2018-04-23 17:47 ` [RFC 00/10] Make .the gitmodules file path configurable Jonathan Nieder
2018-04-30 12:51   ` Antonio Ospite

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