Topics ▾ Version ▾ git-init last updated in 2.19.0


git-init - Create an empty git repository or reinitialize an existing one


git init [-q | --quiet] [--bare] [--template=<template_directory>] [--shared[=<permissions>]]



Only print error and warning messages, all other output will be suppressed.


Create a bare repository. If GIT_DIR environment is not set, it is set to the current working directory.


Provide the directory from which templates will be used. The default template directory is /usr/share/git-core/templates.

When specified, <template_directory> is used as the source of the template files rather than the default. The template files include some directory structure, some suggested "exclude patterns", and copies of non-executing "hook" files. The suggested patterns and hook files are all modifiable and extensible.


Specify that the git repository is to be shared amongst several users. This allows users belonging to the same group to push into that repository. When specified, the config variable "core.sharedRepository" is set so that files and directories under $GIT_DIR are created with the requested permissions. When not specified, git will use permissions reported by umask(2).

The option can have the following values, defaulting to group if no value is given:

  • umask (or false): Use permissions reported by umask(2). The default, when --shared is not specified.

  • group (or true): Make the repository group-writable, (and g+sx, since the git group may be not the primary group of all users). This is used to loosen the permissions of an otherwise safe umask(2) value. Note that the umask still applies to the other permission bits (e.g. if umask is 0022, using group will not remove read privileges from other (non-group) users). See 0xxx for how to exactly specify the repository permissions.

  • all (or world or everybody): Same as group, but make the repository readable by all users.

  • 0xxx: 0xxx is an octal number and each file will have mode 0xxx. 0xxx will override users' umask(2) value (and not only loosen permissions as group and all does). 0640 will create a repository which is group-readable, but not group-writable or accessible to others. 0660 will create a repo that is readable and writable to the current user and group, but inaccessible to others.

By default, the configuration flag receive.denyNonFastForwards is enabled in shared repositories, so that you cannot force a non fast-forwarding push into it.


This command creates an empty git repository - basically a .git directory with subdirectories for objects, refs/heads, refs/tags, and template files. An initial HEAD file that references the HEAD of the master branch is also created.

If the $GIT_DIR environment variable is set then it specifies a path to use instead of ./.git for the base of the repository.

If the object storage directory is specified via the $GIT_OBJECT_DIRECTORY environment variable then the sha1 directories are created underneath - otherwise the default $GIT_DIR/objects directory is used.

Running git-init in an existing repository is safe. It will not overwrite things that are already there. The primary reason for rerunning git-init is to pick up newly added templates.

Note that git-init is the same as git-init-db. The command was primarily meant to initialize the object database, but over time it has become responsible for setting up the other aspects of the repository, such as installing the default hooks and setting the configuration variables. The old name is retained for backward compatibility reasons.


Start a new git repository for an existing code base
$ cd /path/to/my/codebase
$ git init      (1)
$ git add .     (2)
  1. prepare /path/to/my/codebase/.git directory

  2. add all existing file to the index


Written by Linus Torvalds <>


Documentation by David Greaves, Junio C Hamano and the git-list <>.


Part of the git[1] suite