Help please - New User - Git Command Message

Gramps V 5.1.4-2 using Mac OS Catalina V10.15.7

I used an earlier version of Gramps 4.0.1-2 circa 2013 so have some idea of how it works - useful program. I found some of the printed outputs useful. I doubt I will be able to recover/ use any of my old data but that is not an issue - I am happy to start afresh.

I note that on installing and running Gramps for the first time I get a message 'The “git” command requires the command line developers tools. Would you like to install the tools now?"

I am not familiar with ‘git’ and don’t know whether I need this or not. Is it just for developers? I assume given the message that it should be possible to download the tools at a later time, if required. However, I would like to have some idea regarding whether I need this before proceeding further and starting to set up my first tree.

Grateful any advice re the above. Darrylf

I know this isn’t your priority but, once we get past your installation issue, hopefully you’ll consider recovering your old Gramps data. It should be eminently doable.

This is a surprising error condition.

Git is a source code version control system. It IS the system used by Gramps developers but generally at their specific request… it shouldn’t be popping up by itself.

Perhaps your system has Git active from installing another tool and Git recognizes Gramps as an application known to its management catalog?

Or maybe you’re using one of the alternate installation methods like homebrew or MacPorts instead of the dmg file? Perhaps you’re attempting to build from source instead of using an installer?

Where did you get your Gramps installer?

x Hi Brian: Thank you for the prompt reply. - Glad to know old data may be recoverable.

The Gramps installer was downloaded from
I clicked on the Intel 5.1.4 link and the gramps-Intel-5.1.4-2.dmg downloaded into Downloads. I placed this on a new folder under Downloads, double clicked on the loader which contained the Gramps graphic which I pull into Applications and proceed from there.
One thing I did notice was that in there were 7 icons ( incl. Gramps icon, RELEASE_NOTES.txt and four other .txt documents. However the README file was labelled and the graphic on this was ‘mu’. Clicking on that brought up Musescore (a music composition and notation software for Windows Mac and Linux) that I use. Following your comments, and the fact that clicking on the README file initiated the Musescore program, I suspect that ‘git’ is associated with Musescore. In fact, research shows “Musescore is an open source - GitHub. Musescore uses GitHub to host the code and manage the collaboration of developers”. So via Musescore, it seems my Mac recognises / recognised Git via the Musescore Application.
The ‘Git’ error message still occurs when I load Gramps. I am wondering whether I should just say “Install” rather than ‘Cancel’ to the message “Would you like to install the [developer] tools now?” That might ‘just ‘quieten’ the system and stop the error occurring. Copying the file to the Desktop and relabelling as a .txt file one is able to read the README file. I am not sure where Gramps stores its files (they are most likely hidden somewhere) or whether the README file, when located, should be renamed to README.txt and whether that might cure the apparent problem.


Linux is the primary OS with Windows & macOS being ports. Of course, Linux has so many distribution dialects that they’re used to adapting to minor organizational & interface re-arrangements.

I use the Windows install, which has a slightly different assortment of of top-level files. (The primaries being icons that are added to menus the desktop for launching Gramps normally & another ‘console’ version for a diagnostic mode.) So we’ll need to get a macOS user to chime in on the & other text files.

Beyond that specific content, there’s a general point… .md files are “text with markdown”. They allow layout just like HTML does. And most of the projects on GitHub (including Gramps) have a … because serves up a browsable webpage with that project’s folders of content (automatically wrapped in their custom content management layout) appended by the documentation of any ReadMe file it discovers.

As for where Gramps stores its internal files (as opposed to your collection of Genealogical source documents), there are 2 primary distinctions: the application source files & the data/addon files in the User Directory. Both locations differ based on which OS you use.

In normal use, you’ll most often find it useful to know the path to the User Directory. On macOS, the application files are where you dragged them. But, unless you’re hacking, the files to which you regularly need to access will be the subdirectory containing the example files. (The linked page include screen captures for ‘Gnome for Ubuntu Linux’, ‘Windows’ & ‘macOS’ dialogs showing the breadcrumb path.) These examples allow you to exactly replicate the data conditions used for illustration purposes in the wiki user manual.

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Progressing a little further. I am wondering if Gramps has been installed correctly. After cancelling out of advice that “The Git Command requires the command line developer tools. Would you like to install the tools now?” I find I can make a new database and rename it. Fine. Right at the top of the screen I have “Gramps Family Trees, View and Help”. I am on “People” but there are only limited icons on the ’toolbar’ - “Manage databases”, a down arrow “Connect to a recent database”, “Configure the active view” (dropdown seems to have ID, Gender, Birth date, Death date ticked), “Grouped People” and “People” buttons. But there does not seem to be a home, + - clipboard and other items that I would expect in the toolbar. I have used an earlier version of Gramps, so I would not have expected this degree of difficulty.

I am wondering whether Gramps has installed correctly or whether I should go ahead with the “Install the tools” option” - seems it could take a while to load the tools (perhaps 10 min or so). Grateful any further advice.



Menus (from the menubar & right-mouseclick pop-up menus) & toolbars in Gramps are contextual. Until there is a tree & data in the tree, much of the interface is not enabled.

To try any of the examples in the online manual, you might want to import the example.gramps data into a newly created blank Tree database.

To save yourself a lot of confusion, maybe you’d find watching one of the tutorial videos on YouTube to be helpful.

The important thing to know about Gramps is that there is not just 1 way to do most things. You can build a tree from any number of starting points: a new person, a new family grouping, a source, an event, an import (even just from your phone’s contact list). And different way to start entering data for any of those starting points.

You use Gramps in the way that fits your workflow.

Add those add-ons you mentioned? They offer even more ways of simplifying tasks or adding more power.

For instance, the Data Entry Gramplet allows adding a person, establishing their relationship to the selected (Active) person, birth, death & associate a source for each in a single step. By default, you’d open an editor dialog for each of those elements.


Thanks so much for your comments. I’d quite forgotten that the menus are contextual.
I have managed to get under way with the latest version and things are working fine. There will be some further learning along the way, but things are working pretty much as I expected. The reporting aspects of Gramps, that I have used in a much earlier version, are great.
Thanks once again for your assistance. Much appreciated.


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