After trying to figure out what was going on, the response to a simple sanity check command said it all:

+ git config --list --global
fatal: $HOME not set

More details filed here: https://issues.jenkins-ci.org/browse/JENKINS-4046

In my case the debian package was slightly newer (the one that came with Ubuntu 11.10), and jenkins is now controlled using service, and i modified the /etc/init/jenkins file to include

env HOME="/var/lib/jenkins"
with the rest of the environment variables.

On 31 December 2011

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