Currently, all paths in the config file are subject to tilde expansion
for user paths while the argument to --git-dir is not expanded, and
neither are paths in the environment such as GIT_DIR. From the user
perspective, though, the two commands

GIT_DIR=~user/foo git command
git --git-dir=~user/foo command

currently behave differently because in the first case the shell would
perform tilde expansion, but not in the second. Also, one may argue that
specifying '--git-dir=' is like specifying a config variable (which
cannot exist for this purpose).

Thus, make arguments to '--git-dir' undergo tilde expansion.
So, here's a simple patch implementing tilde expansion for --git-dir. It passes
all tests. It's done doing the expansion on the setting side.

Alternatively, one might do it on the getting side, i.e. when reading GIT_DIR,
so that paths passed directly through the environment undergo tilde expansion
as well. We don't do this for any environment variable yet, so I didn't go
that far.

Signed-off-by: Michael J Gruber <>
 git.c | 20 ++++++++++++++++++--
 1 file changed, 18 insertions(+), 2 deletions(-)

diff --git a/git.c b/git.c
index 8788b32..35e8011 100644
--- a/git.c
+++ b/git.c
@@ -64,6 +64,22 @@ static void commit_pager_choice(void) {
+static int expand_path_setenv(const char *name, const char *value, int 
+       int ret;
+       const char *expanded;
+       if (!value)
+               return setenv(name, value, overwrite);
+       expanded = expand_user_path(value);
+       if (!expanded)
+               die("Failed to expand user dir in: '%s'", value);
+       ret = setenv(name, expanded, overwrite);
+       free((void *)expanded);
+       return ret;
 static int handle_options(const char ***argv, int *argc, int *envchanged)
        const char **orig_argv = *argv;
@@ -117,13 +133,13 @@ static int handle_options(const char ***argv, int *argc, 
int *envchanged)
                                fprintf(stderr, "No directory given for 
--git-dir.\n" );
-                       setenv(GIT_DIR_ENVIRONMENT, (*argv)[1], 1);
+                       expand_path_setenv(GIT_DIR_ENVIRONMENT, (*argv)[1], 1);
                        if (envchanged)
                                *envchanged = 1;
                } else if (!prefixcmp(cmd, "--git-dir=")) {
-                       setenv(GIT_DIR_ENVIRONMENT, cmd + 10, 1);
+                       expand_path_setenv(GIT_DIR_ENVIRONMENT, cmd + 10, 1);
                        if (envchanged)
                                *envchanged = 1;
                } else if (!strcmp(cmd, "--namespace")) {

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