To clone the stacks project onto your local linux machine just type
$ git clone git://paard.math.columbia.edu/var/git/stacks
on your command line. This assumes you have the linux tool git installed. It will create a directory called “stacks” which has all the tex files in the project (and the complete history of the project). To latex all tex files and obtain dvi files on you system type
$ cd stacks
$ make dvis
You can get all the pdfs by typing
make pdfs instead. Play around with it!
If you do not have git installed, then you will usually be able to install it using your distributions package manager (or you may have to ask your administrator to do this). For example on Debian you would use
$ apt-get install git-core
If you still use the windows operating system, then you can install msysgit. This will allow you to clone the stacks git repository by the age old point and click method. But I’m not sure this is too useful, since you still need some kind of make clone to be able to convert the tex files into dvis or pdfs. In that regard it may be better (if you haven’t already) to install Cygwin which gives you access to unix tools on windows (including git).
Zachary Maddock has reported success installing git on OS X (presumably using git-osx-installer) and using it to download the stacks project onto his Apple.
Of course a less nerdy and perhaps more efficient way to get the complete project (source files only) is to download stacks-git.tar.bz2. The advantage of having the git tool is that when you type
$ git pull
on the command line (inside the project directory) it will automatically look for updates and pull them in if there are any. In the file git-howto there are some hints as how to use the git tool and contribute to the stacks project. Much more information on using git can be found on its website.