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I’m pretty new to using git and was wondering if it’s ok to copy a Git repository with common UNIX commands (like cp or tar/untag), rather than through git clone.

I’m in the situation where I have a production environment (python virtual) that some code checked out in git in it. I’m wondering if it's a bad idea from a git perspective to copy down the whole environment using a tar or something. This approach would be convenient for making a quick copy of a codebase/environment.

My concern is that maybe git clone associates some unique id with the working copy that could cause conflicts if two working copies exist where one was filesystem-copied from the other.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

It is perfectly fine.

git stores all of its history, commits, etc. on site - this is a fundamental property of a DCVS.

Technically speaking, git can operate just fine with copied repositories running around everywhere, because the whole point of a DCVS is that it doesn't have to know what's going on outside of any given repository, and in fact doesn't unless you tell it.

The same principle applies here.

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You should be able to copy the entire working directory to anywhere else on your system and have it continue to function as normal when using Git, Hg, or SVN. I can't comment on other SCMs.

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This is a more unusual use case, but...

I've seen the repo utility make symbolic links in the .git directory. In that case, when you're doing a copy, you'd want to make sure you dereference symbolic links. E.g.:

cp -r -L <source-repo-dir> <destination-repo-dir>
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