This lesson is in the early stages of development (Alpha version)



Teaching: 5 min
Exercises: 5 min
  • How do I clone an existing project

  • Delete and re-clone your gitlab project

This episode assumes

  • You’ve uploaded a readme to gitlab

Delete your local repository (!)

First, make sure your repository on gitlab is there!

Now let’s do something super careless: go to the directory above your repository and run

rm -rf dan-example

Poof: gone just like that! This is a contrived case but this will happen to you at some point in the future.

Be careful with rm -rf!

We gave rm two options:

  • -r: recursive remove, this removes the directory by recursively deleting every file and subdirectory under it. This is obviously very dangerous so use it with caution.
  • -f: this tells rm to delete files even though they aren’t writable. In most situations files are not writable for a reason. Again this is very dangerous, use with caution.

Together these options are a “nuclear” option to remove something, don’t train your fingers to type this easily1

Bring your local repository back

Good thing we just pushed to gitlab. Let’s clone the repository again. Go to your ‘‘dan-example’’ repository on gitlab again, click “clone” button again and copy the “clone with SSH” url. Then run

git clone <copied url>

You should be back where you were before you deleted everything.

Cloning with other protocols

Here we assumed that you used the ssh method, but gitlab allows you to clone with kerberos or via https as well. All will work equally well, your choice should be based on what you consider most convenient.


  1. If you’re curious about other things that you should only ever use with extreme caution:

    • sudo elevates your privileges to allow you to delete files you normally can’t
    • rm -rf * will remove everything in your current directory, recursively, without asking for confirmation to remove writable files.

    The ultimate nuclear option is thus sudo rm -rf *. Please don’t ever use this. 

Key Points

  • Once you’ve pushed to gitlab, your code is backed up!