“git lfs” stands for Git Large File Storage, and it is an extension to Git that allows you to handle large files more efficiently in Git repositories. Git is not designed to handle large binary files effectively, as it stores each file’s complete history, resulting in increased repository size and slower operations. Git LFS addresses this issue by replacing large files with text pointers, storing the actual file content separately.
Here’s how “git lfs” works:
- Installation: Before using Git LFS, you need to install it on your system. You can download and install the Git LFS command-line tool from the official Git LFS website or use package managers specific to your operating system.
- Repository Setup: Once Git LFS is installed, you need to initialize Git LFS for a repository. By running the command “git lfs install” in a Git repository, Git LFS sets up the necessary hooks and configuration to enable large file handling.
- File Tracking: After initializing Git LFS, you can start tracking large files in your repository. By using the “git lfs track” command, you can specify file patterns or individual files that should be treated as large files. Git LFS replaces the actual file content with a pointer file, while the actual file content is stored separately in a Git LFS server or an external storage service.
- File Operations: With Git LFS set up and large files tracked, you can perform various Git operations as usual. Git LFS transparently handles large file operations by uploading, downloading, and storing file content separately from the Git repository.
- Pushing and Pulling: When you push or pull changes in a Git repository that contains large files tracked by Git LFS, Git LFS automatically handles the transfer of the large file content between your local repository and the remote repository.
- Git LFS Server: Git LFS requires a server-side component to store and manage the actual file content. You can set up your own Git LFS server using the open-source Git LFS server implementation or use a third-party Git hosting service that supports Git LFS, such as GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket.
Using Git LFS offers several benefits, including reduced repository size, faster cloning and fetching operations, and more efficient collaboration on repositories containing large files. It enables you to work with large files in a Git workflow without sacrificing performance.
It’s important to note that Git LFS is not a built-in feature of Git but rather an extension that needs to be installed and configured separately. The availability and functionality of Git LFS may vary depending on the Git hosting service or server implementation you are using.
git lfs Command Examples
1. Initialize Git LFS:
# git lfs install
2. Track files that match a glob:
# git lfs track '*.bin'
3. Change the Git LFS endpoint URL (useful if the LFS server is separate from the Git server):
# git config -f .lfsconfig lfs.url lfs_endpoint_url
4. List tracked patterns:
# git lfs track
5. List tracked files that have been committed:
# git lfs ls-files
6. Push all Git LFS objects to the remote server (useful if errors are encountered):
# git lfs push --all remote_name branch_name
7. Fetch all Git LFS objects:
# git lfs fetch
8. Checkout all Git LFS objects:
# git lfs checkout