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ITK version tracking and development is hosted by Git.

Official Repository

One may browse the repository online using the Gitweb interface at


Clone ITK using the command

$ git clone git://

If your institution's firewall blocks the Git port for outgoing connections you may see an error similar to:

Initialized empty Git repository in C:/abc/ITK/.git/[0:]:
errno=No such file or directory
fatal: unable to connect a socket (No such file or directory)

In that case, see below.

If you want to run tests, add the --recursive option to download the Testing/Data submodule.

$ git clone --recursive git://

This requires Git 1.6.5 or higher. If you do not have it, see below.

All further commands work inside the local copy of the repository created by the clone:

$ cd ITK

If you already cloned and want to add the Testing/Data submodule then run

$ git submodule update --init

For ITKApps, use the url




At the time of this writing the repository has the following branches:

  • master: Development (default)
  • nightly-master: Follows master, updated at 01:00 UTC
  • hooks: Local commit hooks (place in .git/hooks)
  • dashboard: Dashboard script (see below)

Release branches converted from CVS have been artificially merged into master. Actual releases have tags named by the release version number.


We provide here a brief introduction to ITK development with Git. See the Resources page for further information such as Git tutorials.


We require all commits in ITK to record valid author/committer name and email information. Use git config to introduce yourself to Git:

$ git config --global "Your Name"
$ git config --global ""

Note that "Your Name" is your real name (e.g. "John Doe", not "jdoe"). While you're at it, optionally enable color output from Git commands:

$ git config --global color.ui auto

If less displays strange characters and no color, your LESS environment variable may already be set. You can override the less options with:

$ git config --global core.pager "less -FXRS"

The --global option stores the configuration settings in ~/.gitconfig in your home directory so that they apply to all repositories.


The hooks branch provides local commit hooks to be placed in .git/hooks. It is shared by many repositories.

See the general hooks information page to set up your local hooks.


We've chosen to approximate our previous CVS-based development workflow after the initial move to Git, at least while things get settled. The basic rule is to rebase your work on origin/master before pushing:

git fetch origin
git rebase origin/master


git pull --rebase

The server will refuse your push if it contains any merges. Later we will move to a full branchy workflow based on topic branches.

Topic Stage

We provide a "ITK Topic Stage" repository to which developers may publish arbitrary topic branches and request automatic merges.

The topic stage URLs are

See our Topic Stage Workflow documentation for general instructions. (Currently ITK does not have a next branch. Just skip that part of the instructions and merge directly to master.) When accessing the ITK stage, one may optionally substitute "ssh stage ITK ..." for "ssh stage <repo> ..." in the ssh command-line interface.

Stage Usage Summary

Initial Setup:

$ git remote add stage git://
$ git config remote.stage.pushurl

Fetch Staged Topics:

$ git fetch stage --prune

Create Local Topic:

$ git checkout -b topic-name origin/master
$ edit files
$ git commit

Stage Current Topic:

$ git push stage HEAD

Print Staged Topics:

$ ssh stage ITK print

Merge Staged Topic:

$ ssh stage ITK merge topic-name

Note that the stage implementation is not ITK-specific and is used for other projects too. If the merge attempt conflicts it may print instructions for performing the merge manually. Ignore these instructions; you will not be able to push the merge commit directly. Instead, identify the commit that conflicts with yours, merge it into your topic locally, push the topic to the stage again, and then repeat the merge request.



Authorized developers may publish work directly to using Git's SSH protocol. To request access, fill out the Kitware Password form.

See the push instructions for details.

For ITK, configure the push URL:

git config remote.origin.pushurl

For ITKApps, configure the push URL:

git config remote.origin.pushurl

Update Hook

The repository has an update hook. When someone tries to push changes to the repository it checks the commits as documented here.



The dashboard branch contains a dashboard client helper script. Use these commands to track it:

$ mkdir -p ~/Dashboards/ITKScripts
$ cd ~/Dashboards/ITKScripts
$ git init
$ git remote add -t dashboard origin git://
$ git pull origin

The itk_common.cmake script contains setup instructions in its top comments. Update the dashboard branch to get the latest version of this script by simply running

$ git pull origin


Firewall Blocks Port 9418

Some institutions have firewalls that block Git's native protocol port 9418. Use the "url.<base>.insteadOf" configuration option to map git URLs to http:

$ git config --global url. git://

This tells Git to translate URLs under the hood by replacing prefixes. After running these commands once in your home directory then you can just use the "git://" mentioned elsewhere on this page and git will use the http protocol automagically.

Git Below 1.6.5

To clone ITK using Git 1.6.4 or lower, use the commands

$ git clone git://
$ cd ITK
$ git submodule init
$ git submodule update

The remote end hung up unexpectedly

If git push fails with

fatal: The remote end hung up unexpectedly

check that you set the pushurl with "git config". See the push instructions.

If you suspect your ssh key may not be configured correctly, see the authentication test instructions.


Additional information about Git may be obtained at sites listed here.