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3.4 Repository Detection

Ghub does not associate a given local repository with a repository on a forge. The Forge package itself takes care of this. In doing so it ignores the Git variable and other *.host variables used by Ghub. (But github.user and other variables used to specify the user are honored).

Forge associates the local repository with a forge repository by first determining which remote is associated with the upstream repository and then looking that up in forge-alist.

If only one remote exists, then Forge uses that unconditionally. To reduce the number of support requests, this is even the case if the Git variable forge.remote names another, non-existent, remote.

If several remotes exist, then a remote may be selected based on its name. Almost always we want to fetch the data associated with the upstream repository, so that is what the logic described here tries to achieve. The convention is to name the upstream remote "origin", and if that convention were universally followed, then things would be trivial. However many people name the upstream remote "upstream", which also makes sense.

Note, however, that even though a surprising number of people do just that, it does not make any sense to use the name "origin" to refer to a fork; not even to your own fork. A fork is a copy of the original, "copy" is an antonym for "original", and the word "origin" is not only closely related to but even contained in the word "original". Naming a fork the "origin" is at best extremely confusing.


a thing made to be similar or identical to another.


the earliest form of something, from which copies may be made.


the point or place where something begins, arises, or is derived.

If several remotes exist, then the following remote names are tried in order and the first remote thus named that exists in the repository is used.

  1. The value of the Git variable forge.remote, if set. If the variable has a value but no remote by the specified name exists, then a warning is shown, but otherwise this conflict is ignored. This behavior is arguably odd, but due to historic and pragmatic reasons it is the least painful path forward.
  2. The remote named upstream, if it exists.
  3. The remote named origin, if it exists.

The remote named "upstream" is preferred over the remote named "origin" because the existence of the former strongly suggests that the latter is either not used in this repository (in which case the order does not matter) or else it is abused as the name of a fork (in which case "upstream" must be preferred).

Variable: forge.remote

The value of this variable specifies the remote from which Forge fetches data. It is usually best to leave this unspecified and to rely on the behavior described above.

If the remote has to be specified explicitly, then this should be done locally, for a single repository.

Only ever set this globally, if you consistently use a certain name to refer to the upstream repository and it isn’t one of "upstream" or "origin", and you never use that name to refer to a repository that does not refer to the upstream repository.

N r (forge-forge.remote)

This command changes the value of the forge.remote Git variable in the current repository.

If this variable is set, then Forge uses the remote by that name, if it exists, the same way it may have used origin if the the variable were undefined. I.e., it does not fall through to try origin if no remote by your chosen name exists.

Once the upstream remote has been determined, Forge looks it up in forge-alist, using the host part of the URL as the key. For example the key for is

User Option: forge-alist

This option defines forge hosts known to Forge.

Each entry has the form (GITHOST APIHOST WEBHOST CLASS).

  • GITHOST is the host used to access repositories on the forge using Git.
  • APIHOST is the host used to access the forge’s API. For some forges the isn’t just a host, but a host followed by the path to the API’s endpoint.
  • WEBHOST is the host used to access repositories on this forge using a browser. The IDs used to identify repositories from the forge in the local database also derives from this value.
  • CLASS is the class to be used for repositories from the forge.


  • When connecting to a Github Enterprise edition whose REST API’s end point is "<host>/v3" and whose GraphQL API’s end point is "<host>/graphql", then use "<host>/v3" as APIHOST. This is a historic accident. See issue #174.
  • WEBHOST and CLASS cannot be changed once you have added one or more repositories from a forge. Changing GITHOST and/or APIHOST may be possible, but should seldom be necessary.

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