In my .zshrc file I have a chpwd function that sets the GIT_CONFIG environment variable based on the current path.

Something like this:

update_gitconfig() {
  if [[ "$(pwd | grep -Poe '^/home/user/repositories/user-A(/|$)')" != "" ]]
    export GIT_CONFIG="$HOME/.gitconfig-A"

  if [[ "$(pwd | grep -Poe '^/home/user/repositories/user-B(/|$)')" != "" ]]
    export GIT_CONFIG="$HOME/.gitconfig-B"

  export GIT_CONFIG="$HOME/.gitconfig-default"


If I run git config --list, it displays the expected configuration under every directory:

  • Under $HOME/repositories/user-A it displays the settings from $HOME/.gitconfig-A.
  • Under $HOME/repositories/user-B it displays the settings from $HOME/.gitconfig-B.
  • Everywhere else, it displays the settings from $HOME/.gitconfig-default.

The problem begins when I run git commit; it doesn't seem to get the settings:

*** Please tell me who you are.


  git config --global user.email "you@example.com"
  git config --global user.name "Your Name"

to set your account's default identity.
Omit --global to set the identity only in this repository.

fatal: unable to auto-detect email address (got 'user@host.(none)')

So, the question is:

Is there any way to force git commit to get the info from the $GIT_CONFIG file?

NOTE: I know I could run git config commands in the chpwd hook to apply local settings to every repository automatically, but I'm looking for a more "elegant" way.


Git v1.6.0 release note contains a clue :

GIT_CONFIG, which was only documented as affecting "git config", but
actually affected all git commands, now only affects "git config".

And git v1.8.2 fixes that new behavior for git clone command which was still affected.

The workarounds I can see of interest are:

  • Use git with as many users as needed (su command-line tool can help).
  • Writing aliases like alias gitcommit='git commit --author=$(git config user.email)' (ugly).
  • Copy your configuration file into your repo local configs (any config modification must then be propagated by-hand).
  • Fake ~/.gitconfig lookup through HOME environment variable override. Ex: HOME=~/.gitconfig/user-a/ git commit should read ~/.gitconfig/user-a/.gitconfig (may have some other side effects).

Also, if you go with chpwd zsh hook, be careful to support multiple zsh running in multiple repositories.



[includeIf "gitdir:~/Projects/"]
    path = ~/.gitconfig_personal
[includeIf "gitdir:~/Projects/work/"]
    path = ~/.gitconfig_work


    email = user@mail.com
    name = User Name


    email = user@work-mail.com
    name = User Name

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