Synchronet v3.18b-Win32 (install) has been released (Sept-2020).

Synchronet v3.19a, now under development, requires libarchive-dev to build successfully.

You can donate to the Synchronet project using PayPal.

Use Synchronet Git Repository

Synchronet uses Git for its Source Repository (as of August, 2020).

Updating an Install from CVS

So you previously installed Synchronet for *nix using the install/GNUmakefile method, which resulted in “checking-out” the source files from CVS before building them and now you want to get the latest updates since the switch to Git.

  1. Follow the Clone instructions below, cloning into a sub-directory off of your Synchronet install directory (e.g. /sbbs/repo).
  2. If you previously had any files (e.g. src/build/ or src/sbbs3/ you will want to copy or move those files into the corresponding location in the new repo/src/ sub-directory.
  3. Now go through your normal build steps (e.g. running make symlinks) in the repo/src/sbbs3 sub-directory, adding RELEASE=1 or whatever build options you're used to using. Once the build is complete, due to the symlinks target, your executable binary files in /sbbs/exec/ should now be updated with the “latest and greatest” Synchronet development version.
  4. If you want the latest ctrl/text.dat changes (you probably do) or the latest files from text, docs, xtrn, web, or webv4, you will need to either copy those files or symlink them to their equivalent in the repo sub-directories at this time. DO NOT copy or symlink over your other ctrl/* files or you will lose important configuration settings. If you have any locally modified files in your exec directory, you'll want to move those to your mods before overwriting them with upstream files.


It is highly recommended to clone the Synchronet Git Repository into a directory other than the directory you are/will-be using for your live Synchronet BBS. The following steps clone the repository into the directory /sbbs/repo, so if your Synchronet directory tree was located at /sbbs, then the repository would be cloned to a sub-directory (folder) named repo. This will result in duplicates of several Synchronet directories, e.g.

  • /sbbs/exec and /sbbs/repo/exec
  • /sbbs/ctrl and /sbbs/repo/ctrl
  • /sbbs/text and /sbbs/repo/text

etc., once the BBS is installed, configured, and operational.

To clone the repository to your local system (into a directory named /sbbs/repo) using unauthenticated HTTPS:

$ git clone /sbbs/repo

To clone the repository to your local system using SSH (your public key must be configured for your user account at

$ git clone /sbbs/repo


The Synchronet Source Repository is mirrored (e.g. for faster download/cloning) at:

Read-only Directories

If you do not plan to make significant changes to the contents of the exec and text directories, you can make their later update more seamless (e.g. upon git clone) by either:

  1. Setting SCFG->System->Advanced Options->Exec Directory to ../repo/exec/ and Setting SCFG->Nodes->Node 1->Advanced Options->Text Directory to ../repo/text
  2. Or (on *nix-like systems) symlinking sbbs/repo/exec to sbbs/exec and the same for text.

This approach is feasible even for sysops that make changes to files in exec and text by using a local branch (i.e. merging in upstream changes from the master branch), but that setup should be pursued only by experienced Git users.

If you do decide to change your configured exec directory, be sure to update your SBBSEXEC environment variable to point to the correct location too.

Create and Checkout a Branch

If you're going to make any changes to any files in the repo, you should first create a local branch. To create a local branch and check it out (make it the current branch):

$ git checkout -b <your-awesome-branch-name>

Merge Upstream Changes into Your Branch

To download the latest changes from the Synchronet repository and integrate (merge) with your changed files, while your branch is checked-out (run git status if you're unsure):

$ git pull
$ git merge master

Push Without Merge Commit

You attempt to push a set of commits and get the following error:

$ git push
 ! [rejected]            master -> master (non-fast-forward)
error: failed to push some refs to ''
hint: Updates were rejected because the tip of your current branch is behind
hint: its remote counterpart. Integrate the remote changes (e.g.
hint: 'git pull ...') before pushing again.
hint: See the 'Note about fast-forwards' in 'git push --help' for details.

To avoid a 'merge commit'

$ git pull --rebase --autostash

Then push your changes.

'up' alias

To create a convenient alias for the git pull –rebase usage above:

git config --global alias.up "pull --rebase --autostash"

Now you can just run git up instead of git pull.

Push Without Password

If you're being prompted for your gitlab password when pushing changes to, that's an indicator that you're using https rather than ssh (the default) for the Git communication protocol.

Make the following change to your sbbs/repo/.git/config file:

[remote "origin"]
        url =

With that change, if your SSH public key is registered with your user account, git should automatically authenticate for push requests.


A git pull fails with the message:

error: Your local changes to the following files would be overwritten by merge:

Whether you knowingly or intentionally modified any files, or Git just did it automatically (e.g. changing line-endings of text files), the suggested solution is to “Stash Local Changes”:

  1. Run git diff -w in the repo (show changes, ignoring white-space) and confirm that no file differences are shown. If file differences are shown, you can still proceed with these instructions.
  2. Run git stash in the repo to push any changed (or presumed changed) files into your local git stash. If you wish, you can use git stash show to display what changes are currently stashed.
  3. Run git pull in the repo to merge any upstream changes into your local repo.
  4. Run git stash pop in the repo to re-apply the changes previously pushed to your local git stash. If there were in fact no local changes, this will actually do nothing but empty the local git stash. If there are “merge conflicts” when the stashed changes are reapplied, there will be CONFLICT warnings that you will need to address by editing the listed files.
  5. Run git diff in the repo (show changes, including white-space) to confirm that either no changes or only your expected changes are shown.

Delete the Repo

Under normal circumstances, you should never need to delete your Synchronet source repository (the sbbs/repo directory) and it is strongly advised that you do not:

  1. Most installations use symbolic links from the sbbs/exec directory to the build output directories of the sbbs/repo. Deleting the repo would delete your working executable binary files.
  2. The repo is your copy of the working source code. Deleting the repo would delete your copy of your working source code.
  3. Just git pull to update your sbbs/repo to the latest and greatest source, if that's what you're trying to do.

See Also

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