Blog Engineering GitLab without gitolite
Published on: February 12, 2013
2 min read

GitLab without gitolite

Yeap GitLab 5.0 will be without gitolite. Read this artlicle to learn more.


Yeap GitLab 5.0 will be without gitolite

Gitolite was a real help when we started with GitLab. It saves us a lot of work and provide a pretty functional solution.

But after time we understood - keep gitlab and gitolite synced is harder than build own solution.


  • out of sync between gitlab and gitolite
  • gitolite becomes slower on bigger count of repos
  • 2 system users increased complexity of setup
  • code complexity, easy to make a mistake
  • gitolite does not allow to create repositories, keys in simultaneously

GitLab Shell

GitLab Shell is my replacement for gitolite.

Basically it's a few scripts on ruby and shell for managing /home/git/.ssh/authorized_keys and /home/git/repositories

You can find source code on github

2 users -> 1 user

Earlier we have 2 users for GitLab. gitlab for GitLab and git for gitolite.

Now its only one git user for GitLab and GitLab Shell

New GitLab directory structure

This is the directory structure you will end up with following the instructions in the Installation Guide.

|-- home
|   |-- git
|       |-- .ssh
|       |-- gitlab
|       |-- gitlab-satellites
|       |-- gitlab-shell
|       |-- repositories


1. Amount of code

Its was ~ 1000 lines of code related to gitolite inside of GitLab. And one library for parsing gitolite config.

Now it is only 150 lines of pretty simple code related to gitlab shell.

2. Performance

For we decreased project creation time in 10 times.

3. Stability

GitLab Shell does not store Access Control List. It asks GitLab for permissions via api.

No out of sync between GitLab and GitLab Shell == much stable backend solution.

4. Simplicity of update

You can update gitlab-shell just by git pull

You dont even need to restart gitlab service

Feb 22: GitLab 4.2 - last release with gitolite

Mar 22: GitLab 5.0 - requires gitlab-shell

Currently I'm working on migration docs to GitLab 5.0.0pre. You can find a draft here

We want to hear from you

Enjoyed reading this blog post or have questions or feedback? Share your thoughts by creating a new topic in the GitLab community forum. Share your feedback

Ready to get started?

See what your team could do with a unified DevSecOps Platform.

Get free trial

Find out which plan works best for your team

Learn about pricing

Learn about what GitLab can do for your team

Talk to an expert