Jens Lehmann <> writes:

> Am 23.07.2012 07:09, schrieb Junio C Hamano:
>> Daniel Graña <> writes:
>>> A common way to track dotfiles with git is using GIT_DIR and
>>> GIT_WORK_TREE to move repository out of ~/.git with something like:
>>>     git init --bare ~/.dotfiles
>>>     alias dotfiles="GIT_DIR=~/.dotfiles GIT_WORK_TREE=~ git"
>>>     dotfiles add ~/.bashrc
>>>     dotfiles commit -a -m "add my bashrc"
>>>     ...
>>> but git-submodule complains when trying to add submodules:
>>>     dotfiles submodule add
>>>     fatal: working tree '/home/user' already exists.
>>>     git --git-dir ~/.dotfiles submodule add
>>>     fatal: /usr/lib/git-core/git-submodule cannot be used without a
>>> working tree.
>>> Signed-off-by: Daniel Graña <>
>>> ---
>> I think this is in line with what we discussed earlier on list when
>> the interaction between GIT_DIR/GIT_WORK_TREE and submodules came up
>> the last time.  Jens?
> Yes, I think this is the only way submodules in current git can
> be used with the GIT_DIR and GIT_WORK_TREE environment variables:
> set them when adding or initializing the submodule and always use
> the same settings when accessing them later. Daniel's dotfile
> alias achieves exactly that, so his fix looks good. But I agree
> the tests should be improved as you already pointed out.

Thanks for a quick review.  The "the only way ... in current git can
be used" part makes it sound as if it is a somewhat suboptimal ugly
workaround, but if that is what you meant, what is a more optimal
and less ugly way that you have in mind?

If you want to move .git out of way with GIT_DIR and if you want to
sit somewhere different from the top of your working tree, you must
use GIT_WORK_TREE (or core.worktree) to tell where the top resides,
whether your project use submodules or not, so I do not think it is
an ugly workaround but is the one true way to use such a dismembered
layout, I would think.
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