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I need to clone a repository. The command is:

git clone

If I do it this way it takes a long time to install/download. Now I opened this link and I got a zip file of the same linux-sunxi. How do I install this zip file? I mean what is difference between cloning and a zip file?

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There are full install instruction provided in the repository... – panmari Jan 6 '13 at 15:41

If git clone ... takes too long and you just want to checkout one revision (i.e. you don't want all the history) of the repository, do this:

git clone --depth 1 protocol://path/to/repo

As from this answer on StackOverflow. This gets you the latest commit, without history. It's still gonna take you a long time, as it appears to be the whole Linux kernel...

A regular clone is a repository with all its history and commit messages. The ZIP-file just contains the state of the repository at a single commit (snapshot) without any history. This --depth option provides you a way to do this with Git without the need for a ZIP file for every commit.

About the ZIP-files on Github in particular. If the developer of the repository determines to tag a specific commit (i.e. puts a label with a nice name on the commit hash like "version 1.0"), the contents of the repository is made available as a ZIP/TAR file on Github for your convenience. There should be no difference between the two, besides the version of it as the clone command is likely to give you a newer (probably experimental) version.

To make things more complicated, but necessary to be correct in this answer, the clone only checks out the default branch, whereas the ZIP-file on Github may be created from a tag in another branch (release for example).

As stated in the comment, further instructions on how to install this particular piece of software is documented very well in the README.

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