I track some Linux kernel development subsystems: Linus, perf, network (davem's) net-next and lkvm. Additionally I add two historic Linux repositories: Thomas post 2.4 tree and davej's pre 2.4 branch. In the earlier git days I referenced cloned locally. Later I started to add remotes within one repository. To setup this environment the following commands may be helpful:

# create a vanilla git container
mkdir linux; cd linux
git init

# add remotes
git remote add --track torvalds git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux.git
git remote add --track net-next git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/davem/net-next.git
git remote add --track mingo git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/tip/tip.git
git remote add --track kvm-tool git://github.com/penberg/linux-kvm.git
# historic branches desired?
# git remote add --track post-2.4 git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/tglx/history.git
# git remote add --track pre-2.4 git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/davej/history.git

# update all remotes
git remote update

git checkout --track -b origin-torvalds-master remotes/torvalds/master
git checkout --track -b origin-mingo-perf-core remotes/mingo/perf/core
git checkout --track -b origin-net-next-master remotes/net-next/master
git checkout --track -b origin-kvm-tool-master remotes/kvm-tool/master

See the branch naming of the remotes: all starts with origin. This is my common prefix to handle remote tracking branches and local branches. Furthermore, I also have two (git.jauu.net as primary git master and github as a backup) under control. To differentiate these both I prefix these branches with github and jauu.

The master branch is empty. This is ok, the one and only problem is that gitweb and friends will always start to present the master tree.

It is also possible to connect the historic branches into one coherent whole. See the following command. But note: if you never or seldom use the historic archive you may prefer a seperate referenced cloned repository! With historic roots the repository is really large - which slows down day to day development. A seperate repository, cloned via reference is a optimal compromiss. Git operations are fast in the normal repository and because the referenced clone do not comsume additional memory (at least not that much) because hard links are used.

cat .git/info/grafts
1da177e4c3f41524e886b7f1b8a0c1fc7321cac2 e7e173af42dbf37b1d946f9ee00219cb3b2bea6a
7a2deb32924142696b8174cdf9b38cd72a11fc96 379a6be1eedb84ae0d476afbc4b4070383681178

The following two aliases are really helpful to cope with remote branches:

lu = log ..@{upstream}
ft = merge --ff-only @{upstream}

You start by calling git remote update to update all remotes. Then git lu will show you all changes made upstream and git ft finally will integrate this tracking branch if a fast forwarding is possible.

If you're not sure about the current status of your branches and what they are tracking, simply use git branch -vv

Add own remotes where other can pull and as a backup service. Push local branches to github are easily done by: git push github torvalds-epoll-exclusive

git remote add github git@github.com:hgn/linux.git

If your are behind a proxy you can add proxy setting:

export http_proxy='http://username:password@proxy.local:80'