What exactly is git-ubuntu?


git-ubuntu comprises two components:

1. The git-ubuntu importer service runs the importer to maintain git repositories of Ubuntu packages in Launchpad.

2. The git-ubuntu CLI tool contains all its provided automation for developer use.

Importer service

Sources only

The git-ubuntu importer consumes source packages only, and has no involvement with binaries. Launchpad’s source and binary publication pipelines are independent of each other, except that of course binary publications are dependent on their corresponding source publications. So whether or not a build fails, or even if Launchpad hasn’t processed a build or binary packages yet, git-ubuntu catches up on source package updates as soon as Launchpad publishes them.

git-ubuntu and Launchpad

Launchpad is the platform where Ubuntu development happens. But it is separate from git-ubuntu:

  • Launchpad provides the machinery that validates, builds and publishes packages.

  • Launchpad also provides the hosting for the git-ubuntu repositories, and the mechanism for developers to collaborate on them through repository forks and merge proposals with comment and voting facilities.

  • git-ubuntu maintains the git-ubuntu repositories in Launchpad. The git-ubuntu importer service clones them, scans and downloads Launchpad source publications updates, converts these into repository updates and pushes the updated repositories back to Launchpad.

The importer itself is provided by the CLI as the import subcommand. It’s possible to run the tool locally if the importer service is unavailable or inaccessible, and for development of the git-ubuntu importer itself. Similarly, the components that schedule the imports are available as the importer-service-{broker,poller,worker} subcommands.


The git-ubuntu CLI is installed with sudo snap install --classic git-ubuntu. It adds ubuntu subcommands to the git command. For example: git ubuntu clone hello.

Just like the git command itself, most git-ubuntu subcommands expect to be running in the context of a git repository.

Why use the CLI? Why does it even exist?

Since the git-ubuntu importer service hosts its imported repositories in Launchpad, there is a regular public URL to clone from for each source package, and you can do this using plain git. So it’s not strictly necessary to use the git-ubuntu CLI at all.

However use of the git-ubuntu CLI gives you the following:

  • Convenience. For example:

    • git ubuntu clone <package> clones a git-ubuntu repository without you having to look up the URL, and adds an additional remote that corresponds to your personal space on Launchpad, so you can later easily push to it to propose a merge.

    • git ubuntu remote add <lpuser> adds a peer’s personal repository space for the same package, so you can easily fetch and review their merge proposals without typing long URLs.

  • git log is automatically configured to display “changelog notes” if you used git ubuntu clone, so it’s easier to see summaries of what changed in synthesized commits.

  • Workaround hooks are automatically added by git ubuntu clone to help detect and deal with edge case issues, such as Empty directories.