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Using go get with Github 2FA

If you have two-factor-authentication set up on your Github account, you might run into password prompt error when you try to run go get on a private repo.

go get
# cd .; git clone /Users/jdoe/go/src/
Cloning into '/Users/jdoe/go/src/'...
fatal: could not read Username for '': terminal prompts disabled
package exit status 128

This is because under-the-hood, go uses https to clone repos, and not ssh, so the go client can’t access your ssh key.

Luckily, there is an easy fix. Using a linux concept called a netrc file you can instruct your computer to pass an authentication token over https to give you access to your private repo.

First, log into your Github account visit this page to create a Personal Access Token.

Give it a name like go get and make sure it has both the public and private repo options selected.

It should look something like this:

Personal access token with repo-level permissions enabled

Scroll to the bottom and click Generate Token.

You’ll be presented with the token and a handy button to copy the token to your clipboard. Click that:

New token ready to be copied to the clipboard

Next, use your favorite editor to create a file called ~/.netrc and give it the following contents, subtituting the yourusername value for your own gihub username, and YOURTOKEN for the token you just copied.

    login yourusername
    password YOURTOKEN

Now you should be able to go get your private repo without any problems!

Published 31 Jul 2018

Thoughts about technology and teaching
Dave Cadwallader on Twitter