SKM IT World

Just another blog about IT

Leave a comment

Pimp My Git – Manage Different Git Identities

I usually work on different Git projects that need different Git identities. My work flow for new repositories was

  1. Clone new repository.
  2. Go to cloned repository.
  3. If it is necessary to change the Git identity, call a shell script that runs `git config “Sandra Parsick”; git config`

I was never happy with this solution, but it works. Fortunately, a tweet of @BenediktRitter and one of @wosc suggest two alternatives to my method.

The first method bases on the Git feature “Conditional Includes” (required Git Version at least 2.13). The idea is that you define a default Git identity and separate Git identities per specific directory. That means, every repository, that is cloned beneath one of the specific directory, has automatically its specified Git identities.

The second method bases on a Python script, that is inspired by the Mercurial extension hg-persona. The idea is that you can individually set a Git identity per Git repository. It is an one command replacement for the git config user.* command serie.

In the next two sections I’d like to summarize how to set up and how to use these two methods. I have tested it on a Debian-based system. Let’s start with the first one.

Summarize Git identity for several Git repositories

As above described, this method bases on the Git feature “Conditional Includes”. Therefore, ensure you have installed your Git client in at least version 2.13 . Assume, we want to have two Git identities, one for Github and one for work. Therefore, create two .gitconfig files in your home folder.

touch ~/.gitconfig_github
touch ~/.gitconfig_work

Then add the specific Git identity in respective .gitconfig files.


   name = YourNameForGithub
   email =


   name = YourNameForWork
   email =

The next step is to add these two .gitconfig files to our global one and to specify when to use them.


   name = defaultName
   email =

[includeIf "gitdir:~/workspace_work/"]
   path = .gitconfig_work

[includeIf "gitdir:~/workspace_github/"]
   path = .gitconfig_github

Now, every repository, that is cloned beneath ~/workspace_work/, has automatically the Git identity for Work (.gitconfig_work) and every repository, that is cloned beneath ~/workspace_github/, has automatically the Git identity for Github (.gitconfig_github). Otherwise, the default Git identity is used.

Setting Git identity individually per Git repository

For the second method, you have to install ws.git-persona from PyPI.

sudo apt-get install pip # if PyPI isn't install
pip install ws.git-persona

Then, open your global ~/.gitconfig and add your personas. In our cases, we add two personas, one for Github and one for work.


  github = YourNameForGithub <>
  work = YourNameForWork <>

In the next step, we want to switch our Git identity in a Git repository. This is now possible with the command git-persona. In the following example we switch to the identity for Github and then to the identity for work.

> git-persona -n github
> git config
> git config
> git-persona -n work
> git config
> git config

If you have other methods to manage different Git identities, let me know it and write a comment.



  1. Blog post about Git feature “Conditional Includes”.
  2. Github repository of git-personas.

Leave a comment

Pimp My Git – Git Mergetool

I like to work with git on the command line. But in some cases I prefer UI support. For example, solving merge conflicts is such a case. Git has a command mergetool, which can open a graphical tool to solve merge conflicts. But before you can use this command, you had to configure it. In this blog post I’d like to show you how to configure mergetool and how to use it.


First at all, open a shell on Linux. On Windows, open Git Bash. Then choose a graphic tool that should support you solving merge conflicts. git mergetool –tool-help shows a list which tools are supported on your machine

 sparsick@sparsick-ThinkPad-T430s > git mergetool --tool-help
'git mergetool --tool=<tool>' may be set to one of the following:

The following tools are valid, but not currently available:

Some of the tools listed above only work in a windowed
environment. If run in a terminal-only session, they will fail.

This command shows two lists. The first list shows all tools that are supported by git and that are available on your machine (in sample, it is araxis, kdiff3 and meld). The second list shows that are also supported by git, but they aren’t install on your machine.

I use meld as graphical tool. It’s runnable on Windows and Linux. If you haven’t install meld on your machine, then it’s now the right time to do it or choose another tool.

We want to set mergetool globally for all our repositories.

sparsick@sparsick-ThinkPad-T430s > git config --global merge.tool meld
sparsick@sparsick-ThinkPad-T430s > git mergetool
No files need merging

If git mergetool returns more than No files need merging, then the path to your graphic tool isn’t set in your $PATH system variable (The normal case on Windows systems). It’s possible to set the path to the graphical tool directly in git.

sparsick@sparsick-ThinkPad-T430s > git config --global mergetool.meld.path /c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/Meld/Meld.exe</pre>

Bear two important things in mind: mergetool is written without a dot between merge and tool and meld is a placeholder for the name of the graphical tool in the above sample. If you use another tool such like vimdiff, then the config key is called mergetool.vimdiff.path .

Now git mergetool is ready to use.


Now I’d like to demonstrate how to use git mergetool. It is used in when we have merge conflicts during a merge action. Let’s say we want to merge branch branch1 into master and this merge will have some merge conflicts.

sparsick@sparsick-ThinkPad-T430s > git merge branch1

Auto-merging test
CONFLICT (content): Merge conflict in test
Automatic merge failed; fix conflicts and then commit the result.

Now, we want to solve these conflicts with a graphical tool (in the example, it’s meld). git mergetool on the command line open the graphical tool of our choice.

sparsick@sparsick-ThinkPad-T430s > git mergetool


Normal merge conflict for 'test':
{local}: modified file
{remote}: modified file

After solving the merge conflicts, the change has to commit.

sparsick@sparsick-ThinkPad-T430s > git status

On branch master
All conflicts fixed but you are still merging.
(use "git commit" to conclude merge)

Changes to be committed:

modified:   test

Untracked files:
(use "git add <file>..." to include in what will be committed)

sparsick@sparsick-ThinkPad-T430s > git commit

You can see that we have a new untracked file test.orig . This is a backup of the merged file created by mergetool. You can configure that this backup should be removed after a successful merge.

sparsick@sparsick-ThinkPad-T430s > git config --global mergetool.keepBackup false

Further files are created when using git mergetool:

sparsick@sparsick-ThinkPad-T430s > git status

On branch master
Untracked files:
(use "git add ..." to include in what will be committed)


If only these files are currently untracked, then a git clean can help. Otherwise they have to be removed manually.

sparsick@sparsick-ThinkPad-T430s > git clean -f

Removing test.BACKUP.7344
Removing test.BASE.7344
Removing test.LOCAL.7344
Removing test.REMOTE.734


  1. Meld Homepage
  2. git mergetool Documentation

Leave a comment

Git Resources for Beginner

In this post I’d like to share resources that help me learning and understanding Git.


Do you have some more resources that you can recommend? Let me know it and write a comment.