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Because sometimes technology makes you cranky

Disabling LFS for Git Checkouts

05 October 2017

I was working with a server that was checking out Git repositories, and it was taking errors on the LFS downloads. In this instance, it was a Jenkins server and it was just having problems with LFS.

Ahead of fixing the actual issue with the LFS hosting, the answer is to disable the LFS download since my process doesn’t actually need the LFS documents (your mileage may vary).

One option is to set an .lfsconfig config file in the impacted repositories and set the lfs.fetchexclude setting so that the LFS documents are not automatically downloaded.

I’m looking for a more broad solution that will automatically apply to all repositories and will not impact normal checkouts, thus avoiding having to educate everyone on how to download the LFS documents when they checkout a repository.

The answer is well articulated on this Git LFS tips and tricks page. In short, you can add a setting to the global Git config so that Git will never download the LFS documents, but just on the computer with that config. I could then apply this setting to all the nodes in my Jenkins cluster.

Issue this command:

git config --global filter.lfs.process "git-lfs filter-process --skip"

Make sure Git saved the global setting where you really want it. You should see settings similar to this in the gitconfig file:

[filter "lfs"]
  clean = git-lfs clean -- %f
  smudge = git-lfs smudge -- %f
  required = true
  process = git-lfs filter-process --skip

What do I mean by “make sure Git saved the setting where you really want it”? Well, it may save the setting in your user’s home directory in .gitconfig, or alternatively in Git’s “Program Files” directory on Windows, for instance, something like C:\Program Files\Git\mingw32\etc\gitconfig. For Windows, this latter setting will apply for all users.

So how do you know? Run this command:

git config --list --show-origin

It will output your Git settings and show which config provided which setting. Alter the files as necessary to make sure the setting is truly global for the computer (all users), given that you are looking for that result.