gvt is the go vendoring tool for the GO15VENDOREXPERIMENT, based on gb-vendor

go get


gvt, the Go vendoring tool

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gvt is a simple vendoring tool made for Go native vendoring (aka GO15VENDOREXPERIMENT), based on gb-vendor.

It lets you easily and "idiomatically" include external dependencies in your repository to get reproducible builds.

  • No need to learn a new tool or format!
    You already know how to use gvt: just run gvt fetch when and like you would run go get. You can imagine what gvt update and gvt delete do.

  • No need to change how you build your project!
    gvt downloads packages to ./vendor/.... The stock Go compiler will find and use those dependencies automatically without import path rewriting or GOPATH changes.
    (Go 1.6+, or Go 1.5 with GO15VENDOREXPERIMENT=1 set required.)

  • No need to manually chase, copy or cleanup dependencies!
    gvt works recursively as you would expect, and lets you update vendored dependencies. It also writes a manifest to ./vendor/manifest and never touches your system GOPATH. Finally, it strips the VCS metadata so that you can commit the vendored source cleanly.

  • No need for your users and occasional contributors to install or even know about gvt!
    Packages whose dependencies are vendored with gvt are go build-able and go get-able out of the box by Go 1.6+, or Go 1.5 with GO15VENDOREXPERIMENT=1 set.

Note that projects must live within the GOPATH tree in order to be go build-able with native vendoring.


With a correctly configured Go installation:

go get -u


You know how to use go get? That's how you use gvt fetch.

$ gvt fetch
2015/09/05 02:38:06 fetching recursive dependency
2015/09/05 02:38:07 fetching recursive dependency

gvt fetch downloads the dependency into the vendor folder.

Files and folders starting with . or _ are ignored. Only files relevant to the Go compiler are fetched. LICENSE files are always included, too.

Test files and testdata folders can be included with -t.

$ tree -d
└── vendor
        ├── fatih
        │   └── color
        ├── mattn
        │   └── go-isatty
        └── shiena
            └── ansicolor
                └── ansicolor

9 directories

There's no step 2, you are ready to use the fetched dependency as you would normally do.

(Requires Go 1.6+, or 1.5 with GO15VENDOREXPERIMENT=1 set.)

$ cat > main.go
package main
import ""
func main() {
    color.Red("Hello, world!")

# Only needed with Go 1.5, vendoring is on by default in 1.6

$ go build .
$ ./hello
Hello, world!

Finally, remember to check in and commit the vendor folder.

$ git add main.go vendor/ && git commit

A full set of example usage and other commands can be found on GoDoc.

Alternative: not checking in vendored source

Some developers prefer not to check in the source of the vendored dependencies. In that case you can add lines like these to e.g. your .gitignore


When you check out the source again, you can then run gvt restore to fetch all the dependencies at the revisions specified in the vendor/manifest file.

Please consider that this approach has the following consequences:

  • the package consumer will need gvt to fetch the dependencies
  • the dependencies will need to remain available from the source repositories: if the original repository goes down or rewrites history, build reproducibility is lost
  • go get won't work on your package


fatal: Not a git repository [...]

error: tag 'fetch' not found.

These errors can occur because you have an alias for gvt pointing to git verify-tag (default if using oh-my-zsh).

Recent versions of oh-my-zsh removed the alias. You can update with upgrade_oh_my_zsh.

Alternatively, run this, and preferably add it to your ~/.bashrc / ~/.zshrc: unalias gvt.

go build can't find the vendored package

Make sure you are using at least Go 1.5, set GO15VENDOREXPERIMENT=1 if you are using Go 1.5 and didn't set GO15VENDOREXPERIMENT=0 if you are using Go 1.6.

Also note that native vendoring does not work outside the GOPATH tree. That is, your project MUST be somewhere in a subfolder of $GOPATH.


MIT licensed. See the LICENSE file for details.