Compiling and installing GitHub’s Hub Utility in msys2

Hub project source code root directory

So I’ve been liking msys2 so far. I’ve replaced the default git install with msys2’s utilities in C:\tools\msys64\usr\bin and they seem to work from Windows command prompt just fine, except for bash, which complains of cygwin1.dll mismatch, but that’s OK, I’ll just run the msys2_shell.cmd which is how it’s intended to be used anyway (inside Mintty – or, alternately ConEmu or defterm). So it’s slightly less flexible (git-bash’s bash.exe could be run from inside a standard cmd.exe terminal), but I’m OK with that since I now have man files in Windows (!) and I can update the utilities using pacman, instead of waiting for updates to come through git-bash updates (I have my doubts that it ever happens).

Why do all of this hacky 3rd-party linux sublayer stuff instead of just enabling Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)? Simple: I am fairly certain you cannot run WSL binaries from Windows (please correct me if I’m wrong!).

Therefore, if I wanted to grep a dir, that’s not going to happen, whereas with git-bash or msys2, I can run (most) those utilities inside cmd, so it doesn’t matter where I am or which terminal I’m using. I even discovered man works from cmd, too (note: not administrative prompt)! See?

hub man page shown in Windows cmd.exe terminal

That brings me to hub:

Hub is a nice little addition to git that extends its functionality. You set some variables in your .bashrc regarding your git identity (GitHub or otherwise) and a token for access to your repositories, and suddenly you can do a bunch of stuff git wasn’t able to, or do the same things much more easily. If you’d like to study up on how hub can make your life easier, check this out: https://hub.github.com/ – My favorite feature is creating a new repo from the terminal – hub create.

But I was using Hub installed in Windows, and while it appeared to work OK, it didn’t have a man file, and I’m constantly looking up references for it while I get the hang of it and would rather not have to consult a browser window every time I want to read about its features. Since I had this new msys2 installation with man working and everything, I thought I should migrate over hub, too, and since most the other utilities from msys2 work from cmd.exe, I figured maybe I’d get lucky and hub would be the same…

First, I searched the msys2 repos, but although there’s a lot of git-related packages, nothing for hub itself… so the next thing I tried was installing from pip, but that resulted in a barrage of errors (which is common with pip), primarily regarding unresolved dependencies.

Note: Even though pypi (pip) is listed as an installation method for Hub, I actually have my doubts that python is still a dependency of Hub, as from looking at the source code it appears to have been re-built in Golang, a common trend among python developers, it seems. So that might explain why pip didn’t work for installing Hub.

So I just cloned the Hub repo and built it from there. I have a working copy of go installed in Windows, so since that’s the primary dependency, the rest was easy. Note: golang does not appear to be in the msys2 repos, so it’ll has to be installed in Windows with %PATH% variable enabled, and then use msys64_shell.cmd -use-full-path to start msys2 so you have all your Windows %PATH% variables in addition to those included by default.

A quick run-down of the dependencies (other than Golang, which you installed in Windows…):

# Currently installed packages:
$ pacman -Qe
base 2020.12-1
cmake 3.20.1-1
gcc 10.2.0-1
git 2.31.1-2
make 4.3-1
man-db 2.9.4-1
python 3.8.7-1
python-pip 20.2.2-1
tree 1.8.0-1

# depdendencies for Hub - if you want tests and docs, include ruby and man-db
$ pacman -S make gcc git make

# make yourself a clean parent directory for all your builds
$ mkdir build && cd build

# clone the repo
$ git clone https://github.com/github/hub && cd hub

# run make and allow it to run through compilation w/ go - will download any necessary dependencies that may have not been resolved 
$ make

# instead of running 'make install', use the installation script: 
$ cp script/install.sh . && ./install.sh

That worked great for me. If I had it to do over again, I might try using the bootstrap script in the ./hub/script directory. I believe from looking at a couple of the scripts, they’re meant to either be copied to the ./hub directory or run from hub’s root – although, I tried running install.sh from ./hub with ./script/install.sh and it failed, so I scanned through it and it looked like it was meant to be copied to ./hub. Check them out a bit if you want to use them and see what the author intended, it should be relatively obvious.

OK, so now hub is working from msys2 – complete with man file – both inside and outside mintty! Super excited. That’s all for now…

Author: averyfreeman

Enjoy making stuff work

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