I use git, and for visualization of branches, often use gitk. But - I don't like it:

  • Most importantly: You can't copy most of the text from there, e.g. commit comments. Aargh!
  • It doesn't use the same controls and color scheme as the rest of my desktop environment
  • Its UI fonts and icon are ugly
  • No tooltips or other gadget for overflowing text.
  • Can't zoom in or out
  • Can't "pull" one branch away from the rest.
  • Can't toggle certain things on and off, e.g. visibility of remote branches, visibility of tags and so on.

Are there alternatives I could use instead of gitk, which meet most of the above requirements, and...

  • Work on Linux
  • Work on amd64 machines
  • Are libre
  • Are gratis


Note: A similar question was asked on StackOverflow in 2015, but with somewhat different requirements (e.g. not Linux support).

  • git-cola seems to come with a tool named "git dag" you might wish to take a look at. Not sure if it fits your needs as I don't use it (I only occasionally use git-cola. See screenshots here, the last one is git-dag.
    – Izzy
    Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 23:05
  • @Izzy: Sounds like an answer.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 7:19
  • As you confirm, it then is – thanks, will transport it over for you to accept!
    – Izzy
    Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 14:17

2 Answers 2


Have a look at gitg. It is a GNOME program that is also available for Windows and is very similar to gitk but using the gtk/gnome tookit.

gitg screenshot


git-cola seems to come with a tool named "git dag" you might wish to take a look at. You can find some screenshots here, let me pick the two most relevant:

git dag (left) and git cola (right), source: GitCola (click images for larger variants)

The two rawly correspond to gitk (git-dag) and git-gui (git-cola), but have a fresher design. You can makr (and copy-paste) text from diffs and more (I just tried that to confirm). Let's see how it meets you other requirements:

  • Work on Linux: definitely. Even comes with the default repositories of most distributions, AFAIK.
  • Work on amd64 machines: confirmed, mine is such a machine.
  • libre/gratis: yes to both (or it wouldn't be in Debian main).

UI might depend on the desktop environment used – but it never offended me (I'm using Cinnamon). My only complaints towards git-cola are that it never remembers I want all my commits signed – so I have to tick that check-box before the first commit of a session (it then sticks until you exit the GUI). As I rarely use the GUI, it's rather an annoyance than a show-stopper for me, though.

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