How to Install

First you need to install the latest release of libgit2. If you clone the repository, make sure to use the master branch. You can find platform-specific instructions to build the library in the libgit2 website:

Also, make sure you have Python 2.6+ installed together with the Python development headers.

When those are installed, you can install pygit2:

$ git clone git://
$ cd pygit2
$ python install
$ python test


A minor version of pygit2 must be used with the corresponding minor version of libgit2. For example, pygit2 v0.20.x must be used with libgit2 v0.20.0

Building on *nix (including OS X)

If you installed libgit2 and pygit2 in one of the usual places, you should be able to skip this section and just use the generic pygit2 installation steps described above. This is the recommended procedure.

Shared libraries packaged by your distribution are usually in /usr/lib. To keep manually installed libraries separate, they are usually installed in /usr/local/lib. If you installed libgit2 using the default installation procedure (e.g. without specifying CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX), you probably installed it under /usr/local/lib. On some distributions (e.g. Ubuntu), /usr/local/lib is not in the linker’s default search path (see the ld man page for details), and you will get errors like:

$ python -c 'import pygit2'
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<string>", line 1, in <module>
  File "pygit2/", line 29, in <module>
    from _pygit2 import *
ImportError: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

The following recipe shows how to install libgit2 and pygit2 on these systems. First, download and install libgit2 (following the instructions in the libgit2

$ git clone -b master git://
$ mkdir libgit2/build
$ cd libgit2/build
$ cmake ..
$ cmake --build .
$ sudo cmake --build . --target install
$ cd ../..

Now, download and install pygit2. You will probably have to set the LIBGIT2 environment variable so the compiler can find the libgit2 headers and libraries:

$ git clone git://
$ cd pygit2
$ export LIBGIT2="/usr/local"
$ export LDFLAGS="-Wl,-rpath='$LIBGIT2/lib',--enable-new-dtags $LDFLAGS"
$ python build
$ sudo python install

This compiles the pygit2 libraries with a RUNPATH, which bakes extra library search paths directly into the binaries (see the ld man page for details). With RUNPATH compiled in, you won’t have to use LD_LIBRARY_PATH. You can check to ensure RUNPATH was set with readelf:

$ readelf --dynamic build/lib.linux-x86_64-3.2/ | grep PATH
 0x000000000000000f (RPATH)              Library rpath: [/usr/local/lib]
 0x000000000000001d (RUNPATH)            Library runpath: [/usr/local/lib]

Building on Windows

pygit2 expects to find the libgit2 installed files in the directory specified in the LIBGIT2 environment variable.

In addition, make sure that libgit2 is build in “__cdecl” mode. The following recipe shows you how to do it, assuming you’re working from a bash shell:

$ export LIBGIT2=C:/Dev/libgit2
$ git clone -b master git://
$ cd libgit2
$ mkdir build
$ cd build
$ cmake .. -DSTDCALL=OFF -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$LIBGIT2 -G "Visual Studio 9 2008"
$ cmake --build . --config release --target install
$ ctest -v

At this point, you’re ready to execute the generic pygit2 installation steps described above.

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