KDE Dev Guide

Using Git for KDE Development

Git is a free and open source version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency. It provides lots of tools for figuring out where you have gone as you edit files, as well as merging your changes with those made by other developers.

You can find more about git (and download it if necessary) at http://git-scm.com.

Git basics

There are several levels at which your changes can reside in git. You need to go through all the steps carefully in order to save changes correctly. A typical sequence of git activities starts with cloning a remote repository.  Now you have a complete copy of what the original developer has. Then you should do the following:

  1. Create and edit files.
  2. Run git add to tell git about any new files you have created or files that you have just edited. Files with changes are in an intermediate state called a staging area, but not in any repository yet.
  3. Run git commit to save your changes in your own local repository.
We'll show examples of all this later in the chapter.

Instead of having to remember and type in the different full git addresses for pulling and pushing, we recommend you manually add the following to your Git User Configuration (~/.gitconfig):

[url "git://anongit.kde.org/"]
    insteadOf = kde:
[url "git@git.kde.org:"] 
    pushInsteadOf = kde: 

Cloning repositories

After setting up your ~/.gitconfig as shown in the previous section, you need to clone the source repositories using the following command:

git clone kde:project_name

where project_name is the name of the project that you want to contribute to. For instance, to submit a patch to kdelibs, start with the command:

git clone kde:kdelibs

Pulling changes

If you already have a git repository that you need to update with new changes from the original source, run the following:

git pull 

Working with branches

Git is a very powerful revision control system that supports the concept of branches. In order to develop a new feature for a KDE Development Platform Project, it's best to use a separate branch for feature development. You can check out a new branch using the following command:

git checkout -b feature_name

for example:

git checkout -b myFeature

Later on you can switch between multiple branches using the git checkout command:

git checkout myFeature

Every git project has a branch called master that the owners of the repository consider the main branch. Usually, nothing gets added to this branch until it is tested in a variety of environments and the project leaders are sure it's both robust and useful.  

Tracking Remote Branches 

There are two types of branches in git, local and remote. Remote branches are branches that exist in the remote repository. You can also track remote branches using the following command:

git checkout --track remote_repository:remote_branch

For instance, to checkout the KDE 4.7 branch, use:

git checkout --track origin:KDE/4.7

Committing your work

Before pushing anything to the KDE codebase, you need a KDE identity and a developer account. Please visit http://identity.kde.org/ to register your account. Your account name will almost always be your surname; do not attempt to get around this rule. Developers with a lot of experience can get accounts with commit rights, but that is outside the scope of this book.

In order to generate a diff of your changes and review them, run the following:

git diff

You can pipe this output into a patch using the following:

git diff > my_patch.patch 

In order to commit your work, you first need to add the files you changed to the staging area using the following command:

git add fileName1 fileName2

In order to commit your changes to your local repository, use the following command:

git commit

This opens up a text editor where you can type a commit message that describes your changes.

Submitting your changes into the main tree

You can submit your patches to the KDE Review Board at https://git.reviewboard.kde.org/. Log in using your KDE Identity account and submit a patch to a project there.

You can also directly send patches to review board using post review. The procedure is outlined at:



For any issues related to git and the KDE Development Platform, you can seek help in one of the following channels on irc.freenode.net.

  • #kde-sysadmin
  • #kde-git

You can read more about KDE platform development using git at http://techbase.kde.org/Development/Git