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Xubuntu Git Workflow

The Xubuntu team uses Git for all version-controlled projects. While Launchpad's Git support is still relatively young, it is robust. Furthermore, Git is one of the world's most common version control systems (VCS) and is used upstream: both in Debian and Xfce.

If this is your first time working with Git, the Xfce Wiki has a great guide for getting started and some typical use cases.

Please note that this change has nothing to do with GitHub and recent related news. GitHub is a different service than Launchpad with the only similarity being the usage of the Git VCS.

Why Git?

Xubuntu and its various projects have used Bazaar since the beginning. Bazaar has served us well in the past, but there are several compelling reasons for us to transition. And the Xubuntu 18.10 cycle is the perfect time for us to move.

  • Consistent Workflow: Git is now used by both all of our upstreams. Debian, Xfce, and Shimmer Project all use Git. Upstream contributions become easier with a familiar process.
  • Familiarity: Git is one of the most popular version control systems for open source projects. New contributors are more likely to have used Git in previous projects.
  • Development Activity: Git continues to be actively maintained and supported, with regular releases and bug fixes. The last Bazaar release was over two years ago.
  • Application Support: Many applications provide support for Git in one way or another. Thunar's VCS plugin and Geany's GeanyVC plugin provide addon support for managing Git repositories. Atom and Visual Studio Code, two of the most popular IDEs available for Linux, have native support for Git.

Setting Up Git


Git identifies repositories using URLs. Unlike Bazaar, there is no built-in abbreviation for repositories hosted on Launchpad, but it is very easy to add such a thing yourself. Edit ~/.gitconfig and add these lines, where USER is your Launchpad username:

[url "git+ssh://"]
        insteadof = lp:

This allows you to type git clone lp:REPOSITORY and keeps the bzr and git workflows consistent.

Managing Launchpad Projects

At the time of writing (May 2018), Launchpad does not have full support for git for its project management features. The following features are not fully implemented. There are ways to work around some of these shortcomings, as described below.

Linking Series to Git Branches

This is currently not possible. Series only help to identify which code branches are associated with each version lines. Instead, consider pushing each version line as a separate branch in your project.

Translation Imports & Exports

Launchpad does not currently support automatic synchronization to/from Git branches. Instead, you can create an git-to-bzr code import, and import translations from this Bazaar branch. You can periodically download the translations for a project and sync them manually.


We'll use Xubuntu Documentation (lp:xubuntu-docs) for our examples.

Cloning a Repository

git clone lp:xubuntu-docs # Requires the configuration outlined above in "Setting up Git"
cd xubuntu-docs

Making Changes

# Make a change to Makefile
git status # Shows changed files
git diff # Shows changes to files
git add Makefile # Adds a single file to be committed
# or
git add -u # Adds all changed files to be committed
git commit -m "Some makefile changes"
git push # Pushes the commit to the repository

Pushing to a Branch

Say you have some changes you want want to have merged. Instead of pushing directly to the main repository, you can instead push your own branch. In the below example, you tell git about your new “remote” where you are going to be pushing your commits. In this example we will use the following names:

  • “myfeaturebranch” as the name of our new branch.
  • “myremote” as the name of our new remote repository.
  • “myusername” as our Launchpad username.
  • Replace these as necessary.
git checkout -b myfeaturebranch # Creates a new branch and switches to it
git remote add myremote lp:~myusername/xubuntu-docs/myfeaturebranch # Adds the remote repository location
git push --set-upstream myremote myfeaturebranch

Merging a Branch

# clone your branch
git clone lp:lightdm-gtk-greeter
cd lightdm-gtk-greeter

# fetch the remote branch
git remote add remotename
git fetch remotename
git merge remotename/master

# push the merge
git push

Git Repositories

Xubuntu Team Projects

Xubuntu Applications

Packages Maintained By Xubuntu