Self-hosted Git Server

I've had a GitHub account since 2008. June 16th, to be exact. For almost six years I've been hosting my code on someone else's servers. It was sure convenient, and free, and I don't regret it one bit, but the time has come to move that vital service in-house.

I've run my own private git server on the Mac mini in my living room since 2012. For the last few years, then, my GitHub account has become more of a public portfolio and mirror of a selection of my private repos. As of today, my GitHub account is deprecated. If you want to see what I'm working on now you can go to my Projects page. I'll be gradually moving old projects over to this page, and new projects will show up there first.


The projects page has three moving pieces. The git repos themselves, read-only public clone access, and finally displaying the projects on the page.

For the git repos, I was able to just re-use the puppet recipe I put together to install Gitolite on my Mac mini. It has a much simpler config because it just needs dynamic repos and no other crazy hooks.

To add read-only clone access I turned to a project named Grack. Grack implements git's smart HTTP protocol as a Rack handler which makes it super simple to add to bugsplat.rb, the software that runs this site. Here's what config.rb looks like:

require 'dotenv'

require 'app'
require 'grack'

grack_config = {
  project_root: ENV['PROJECTS_REPOS_ROOT'],
  adapter: Grack::GitAdapter,
  git_path: ENV['GIT_BINARY'],
  upload_pack: true

puts grack_config.to_json

use Rack::ShowExceptions
run \
  '/'       =>,
  '/source' =>

Every git repo in the directory named by PROJECTS_REPOS_ROOT is available for read-only public cloning.

To display these repos, I added a new Project class. Here it is, in it's entirety:

require 'grit'
require 'yaml'

class Project
  def initialize(path)
    @path = path

  def load_config
    data = repo_data(".repo.yml")
    @config = data.nil? ? {} : YAML.load(data)

  def name
    @config['name'] || base_path.gsub('.git', '')

  def description
    @config['description'] || "No description"

  def clone_url

  def information_page
    "/projects/#{base_path.gsub('.git', '')}"

  def base_path

  def repo_data(path)
    repo =
    obj = repo.tree / path
    if obj'UTF-8')

  def readme_contents
    repo_data("") || ""

  def self.all
    Dir[File.join(ENV['PROJECTS_REPOS_ROOT'], "*.git")] do |dir|

  def self.find(name)
    path = File.join(ENV['PROJECTS_REPOS_ROOT'], "#{name}.git")

It uses Grit to pull out the file from the repo, as well as a small YAML config file that contains a few pieces of metadata.

The app then uses the existing Redcarpet-based Markdown renderer that renders the rest of the pages and throws the content up on the page.

Future Additions

There are a lot of little things that this system lacks. Easy code and commit browsing are both huge features that I'd like to add at some point. I thought about using Gitlab which has all kinds of nice features, but hacking things together is kind of my thing.

I realize that it's a little ironic that most of the links in this post point at GitHub. My reasons for moving to this system are pretty simple: I want to control my own destiny, free of even the possibility that someone else will be able to decide how or what I choose to share with the world.

For a lot of people, GitHub or Bitbucket or another 3rd party service presents a reasonable compromise for them, and that's fine. For myself, today is the last day that I'm pushing new repos to GitHub as well as the last day I'm paying them for my organization account.

16 Mar 2014   Share:           

Posted in: Software  

Tagged: Programming