Guide to Installing GitForce
Document date: Friday, March 25, 2011
Git is a popular source revision control system. GitForce is one of several GUI front-ends for the Git command line tool. Both of these packages are in public domain, fully available and free to use.
This guide describes how to install GitForce on Windows and Linux OS’es.
The screenshots shown in this manual may be different from the actual images that you might see due to differences in software versions and of a particular setup (and the fact that documentation is lagging behind the code development).
GitForce is written in C# and uses .NET 3.5 framework. The same binary file (“GitForce.exe”) runs as-is on both Windows and Linux OS’es. The tool comprises of only that one file and needs no particular installation – just copy it to a folder of your choice and run it.
Consequently, the main requirements are having .NET support and the actual git tool.
Git’s overall functionality and its command line tool
options are extremely numerous and too versatile to be able to fully wrap them
with any GUI, so the goal of GitForce is to provide visual front end to most
common operations and then move out of the way when one does need to do a more
elaborate command line gymnastic. Therefore, GitForce does not keep much state
information. Whatever you do within a repo, the GUI will pick it up on a first
refresh (F5) allowing you to mix and match operations as you feel the need for
That said, GitForce is still powerful enough to be used exclusively, without calling up a command line Git tool. It may just as well satisfy all the needs of many users.
When installing Git on Windows, there are basically 2 choices: mSysGit and Cygwin. At this time, GitForce supports only mSysGit.
Install Git for Windows from Google code: http://code.google.com/p/msysgit/
Select the “Git-1.7.4-preview20110204.exe” or any newer version, if available. Download it and run it.
When asked for the destination location, select the default folder:
When asked for the components to install, you can either leave the suggested ones, or you can also select to have Git available from the Explorer context menu (recommended):
When presented with the PATH option, select to add Git to your path:
The disparity between Windows and Unix line endings can be handled by Git in several ways. I suggest leaving the default option to change the line endings accordingly as this will work with all Windows editors:
That’s it! You have basic Git command line tools installed on your Windows:
If you selected it during your installation, you will also notice Git added to the Programs Menu and the Explorer shell extension.
GitForce has been tested to work on Ubuntu, although it should also work on any other modern Linux distribution if the same supporting environment is present.
These installation steps assume that you have a clean install of the operating system with all recent updates applied (using the Update Manager). Although it assumes x64 versions, x32 versions should work identically well.
The installation breaks down into installing the git command line tools and installing the required version of Mono (http://www.mono-project.com) and its supporting WinForms assembly package.
Once you have required prerequisites described below, simply start GitForce.exe from a command line:
(Do not start the tool by double-clicking on it with a mouse. This link explains why.)
By default, Ubuntu does not have git version control system installed. Install git command line tools either using the Synaptic Package Manager (serach for and install “git” package) or by issuing a command:
$ sudo apt-get install git
Verify that you have git running by issuing a command:
$ git --version
This version of Ubuntu comes preinstalled with mono framework supporting the required .NET level. However, the WinForms assembly still needs to be added, “libmono-winforms2.0-cil”:
Open System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager, paste that package name into the search box, select it for install and install it and that should be it!
Ubuntu 10.04 LTS includes mono version 2.4.4 which should be sufficient to run GitForce.
However, the WinForms assembly still needs to be added, “libmono-winforms2.0-cil”:
Open System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager, paste that package name into the search box, select it for install and install it.
If the required version of Mono support is not installed, you will need to update it. The update is fairly simple (as described on http://badgerports.org):
Badgerports is an Ubuntu repository. In order to use it, you must add it to your Software Sources.
From now on, whenever you try to install or update Mono-related packages on your system, you will be given the badgerports version for preference. You don't need to do anything more than update your system as usual to get started!
Now update mono via System->Administration->Update Manager:
You may see a download size of 7.5Mb, 21 files selected.
As with any other distribution, one more component to install is “libmono-winforms2.0-cil”:
Open System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager, paste that package into the search box, select it for install and install it.
When GitForce starts, it tries to detect diff and merge utilities to use. It is recommended to have one of these installed before running the application although you can always set them in Settings menu.
These are the few common diff and merge utilities that GitForce knows about:
Perforce Merge Tool http://www.perforce.com/perforce/products/merge.html
Beyond Compare 3 http://www.scootersoftware.com
On Linux OS, installing many of these utilities is as simple as typing “sudo apt-get install <name>” where <name> is a specific diff or merge utility.
There is no installer.
Just copy and run the “GitForce.exe” executable on either or both Windows and Linux OS to a location where you want to keep them and you are done (installing).
GitForce is also not dependent on where it resides; you can move it at any time to another location and run it.