How to copy tags from one git repository to another

Not long ago my team moved a legacy version of our application from a different branch out into a new repository. The problem was that they had forgotten to copy tags there, so we lived without tags for quite a time, until I decided to deal with the problem and made a utility that copies matching tags from one git repository to another.

Actually, I found a solution on github which was a shell script written in ruby. But there were two issues. First, I neither had nor wanted to install ruby on my machine. Secondly, I use Windows on my office laptop. So, I decided to port the original script to Go and here is the code

package main

import (

func usage() {
	fmt.Println("Usage: git-copy-tags <source-repo> <dest-repo> [-f]")
	fmt.Println("By default, the script is in \"dry run\" mode, which means that it only prints out what it would do, without actually doing it. If you are happy with the result, add -f.")

func shell(cmd string) ([]byte, error) {
	sh := "sh"
	c := "-c"
	if runtime.GOOS == "windows" {
		sh = "cmd"
		c = "/c"

	return exec.Command(sh, c, cmd).CombinedOutput()

func exe(cmd string) string {
	result, err := shell(cmd)
	if err != nil {

	return string(result)

func getTags() map[string]string {
	tags := exe("git tag")
	dict := make(map[string]string)

	for _, tag := range strings.Split(tags, "\n") {
		tag = strings.TrimSpace(tag)
		if len(tag) < 1 {
		cmd := fmt.Sprintf("git rev-list --max-count=1 %s", tag)
		commit := strings.TrimSpace(exe(cmd))
		dict[tag] = commit

	return dict

func main() {
	if len(os.Args) < 3 {

	src := os.Args[1]
	dest := os.Args[2]
	force := false
	if len(os.Args) > 3 && os.Args[3] == "-f" {
		force = true

	srcTags := getTags()

	destTags := getTags()

	if !force {
		fmt.Println("Running dry, use -f to actually apply changes...")

	for tag, commit := range srcTags {
		if _, ok := destTags[tag]; !ok {
			cmd := fmt.Sprintf("git rev-list --max-count=1 %s", commit)
			if _, err := shell(cmd); err == nil {
				if force {
					if _, err := shell(fmt.Sprintf("git tag %s %s\n", tag, commit)); err == nil {
						fmt.Printf("Tagged %s with %s", commit, tag)
					} else {
						fmt.Printf("Error while tagging %s with %s\n", commit, tag)

				} else {
					fmt.Printf("Would tag %s with %s\n", commit, tag)


git-copy-tags <source-repo> <dest-repo> \[-f\]

By default, the script is in “dry run” mode, which means that it only prints out what it would do, without actually doing it. If you are happy with the result, add -f.

After running the command with -f, make sure to run git push --tags  in the destination repository.


The source code is available in the github repository. And here is a cross-compiled version for different operating systems (all 64-bit)

Bonus. Cross compilation in Go

Since Go 1.5 cross compilation is very simple. Just properly set a pair of $GOOS and $GOARCH variables and run a build process as usual. For example, on Windows it can be done in the following way:

set GOARCH=amd64
set GOOS=linux
go build

The actual list is defined in src/go/build/syslist.go and the valid combinations of $GOOS and $GOARCH are:

android arm
darwin 386
darwin amd64
darwin arm
darwin arm64
dragonfly amd64
freebsd 386
freebsd amd64
freebsd arm
linux 386
linux amd64
linux arm
linux arm64
linux ppc64
linux ppc64le
linux mips
linux mipsle
linux mips64
linux mips64le
netbsd 386
netbsd amd64
netbsd arm
openbsd 386
openbsd amd64
openbsd arm
plan9 386
plan9 amd64
solaris amd64
windows 386
windows amd64
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