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First, clone this repository:

$ cd $HOME
$ git clone --recursive ~/.dotfiles

Then, run the dfm installer. The DFM_REPO environment variable is required for the first install due to a technical quirk I have yet to address.

$ DFM_REPO=~/.dotfiles ~/.dotfiles/home/.bin/dfm install

On Mac OS/X create a ~/.bashrc file.

$ touch ~/.bashrc
$ cat <<< '. $HOME/.bashrc.load
'> ~/.bashrc

My background

On my machines I usually keep a set of personalized dotfiles which I don't want to miss on any other server I have to administrate:


I need these files on all machines which I regularly work on.

Some interesting solutions for dotfile management

Many people have looked at this problem before – and solved it in their own ways. Most often the basic principle is that the files are stored and tracked via git in a hidden directory, and the tool of your choise manages symlinks between the files in the store and in $HOME.

For example, a very interesting idea is to use GNU Stow to manage dotfiles. It tracks the necessary files in subdirectories and of course links the files from there to the 'real' places in $HOME. I like reusing existing tools, so the idea of using GNU Stow appealed immediately. Unfortunately, on most systems GNU Stow is not installed by default, and I cannot install new software on other machines all the time.

The problem of necessary software installation is also relevant for another often mentioned solution: Homesick. Homesick is Ruby based, and works similar to the GNU Stow solution mentioned above: files are stored in a hidden subdirectory, tracked with git, and linked in $HOME. The main feature here is that it can keep the configuration files in various git repositories, called 'castles', so you can integrate the work of projects like oh-my-zsh. While Homesick does offer quite some features, it is Ruby based – and I cannot expect a working Ruby environment on each system, so it is out of question. I can go with Perl or Python, but that's about it.

Other people had the same Ruby problem and created Homeshick – a Homesick clone spelled with an additional 'h' and besides written in Bash. It is quite straight forward and offers all necessary features like listing and tracking various git repositories as source for dotfiles, linking the actual dotfiles to your home, and so on. This one is almost my favorite! I wouldn't be surprised if it is the favorite for most of the users out there.

But Homeshick is only almost my favorite – meet dfm – a Utility to Manage Dotfiles! It is written in Perl and mainly does the same as mentioned above, minus the support for more than one repository. But on the plus side it has the capability of ensuring file rights via chmod. I haven't seen that in any other solution. Additionally it supports arbitrary scripts executed during the update process for example for host specific commands.

Starting with dfm

The .bashrc is hardly modified:

$ tail -n 1 .bashrc
. $HOME/.bashrc.load

As a side node, I am not sure if I really want to drop all my customizations on the bashrc loader, but the reasoning behind that move from the dfm author is rationale:

Why .bashrc.load instead of .bashrc?

Each OS or distribution generally has its own way of populating a default .bashrc in each new user's home directory. This file works with the rest of the OS to load in special things like bash completion scripts or aliases. The idea behind using .bashrc.load is that dotfiles should add new things to a system rather than overwriting built-in funcitonality.

For instance, if a system sources bash completion files for you, and your dotfiles overwrites the system-provided .bashrc, then you would have to replicate that functionality on your own.

Adding files with dfm

The next step is to add further files to your dfm repository, which is quite easy because dfm comes along with an import function:

$ dfm import .vimrc

The usage is pretty straightforward, and supports directories as well:

$ dfm import .emacs.d

Using dfm on a new system

Using dfm on a new system is straightforward as well: clone the repo, invocate dfm, and you are done:

$ git clone .dotfiles
$ ./.dotfiles/home/.bin/dfm
INFO: Installing dotfiles...
INFO:   Backing up .vimrc.
INFO:   Symlinking .vimrc (.dotfiles/home/.vimrc).
INFO:   Backing up .bin.
INFO:   Symlinking .bin (.dotfiles/home/.bin).
INFO:   Symlinking .bashrc.load (.dotfiles/home/.bashrc.load).
INFO:   Backing up .inputrc.
INFO:   Symlinking .inputrc (.dotfiles/home/.inputrc).
INFO:   Backing up .emacs.d.
INFO:   Symlinking .emacs.d (.dotfiles/home/.emacs.d).
INFO: Appending loader to .bashrc

As you see quite some files are backed up, that just means they are moved to .backup, so in worst case you know where to look.

Adding soft links with dfm

Now lets see what happens when you change something.

$ cd ~/.bin
$ ln -s /usr/bin/gnome-terminal gt
$ dfm add bin/gt
$ dfm commit -m "Added gt symlink for gnome-terminal."
[master 441c067] Added gt symlink for gnome-terminal.
 1 file changed, 1 insertion(+)
 create mode 120000 bin/gt
$ dfm push
Counting objects: 6, done.
Delta compression using up to 4 threads.
Compressing objects: 100% (3/3), done.
Writing objects: 100% (4/4), 363 bytes, done.
Total 4 (delta 1), reused 0 (delta 0)
To git@sinoda:dotfiles
   b28dc11..441c067  master -> master

As you see, dfm supports git pass through: git commands are directly handed over to git. The changes where added to the git repository, and the repository was pushed to the remote URL.

Updates with dfm

So, to get the changes onto the other system you just have to ask dfm to update the files via dfm umi. In this case I called it after I made changes to .screenrc:

$ dfm umi
INFO: re-installing dotfiles
INFO: Installing dotfiles...
INFO:   Symlinking .screenrc (.dotfiles/.screenrc).

Special features of dfm

As mentioned above, the strongest feature of dfm is to be able to ensure file system rights and to start scripts after an update. The first option comes in handy when you are sharing files in your ssh config directory. The second is useful whenever you have to alter files or do anything based for example on host names. Imagine that you have various build machines to build rpm files, but you have to use different packages names on each build environment.


So, summarizing I can say dfm offers a quite neat and easily understandable solution for managing dotfiles while not relying on languages or tools you probably cannot install on the systems you are working on. However, Homeshick comes in as a close second, and I might give that one a try at some other point in the future. In the end, both solutions are much better than self written solutions – or no solution at all.

Heroku Accounts

Helps use multiple accounts on Heroku.


$ heroku plugins:install git://


To add accounts:

$ heroku accounts:add personal
Enter your Heroku credentials.
Password: ******

Add the following to your ~/.ssh/config

Host heroku.personal
  IdentitiesOnly yes

Or you can choose a fully-automated approach:

$ heroku accounts:add work --auto
Enter your Heroku credentials.
Password: ******
Generating new SSH key
Generating public/private rsa key pair.
Your identification has been saved in ~/.ssh/
Your public key has been saved in ~/.ssh/
Adding entry to ~/.ssh/config
Adding public key to Heroku account:

To switch an app to a different account:

# in project root
heroku accounts:set personal

To list accounts:

$ heroku accounts

To remove an account:

$ heroku accounts:remove personal
Account removed: personal

Set a machine-wide default account:

$ heroku accounts:default personal

To clone a git repository from Heroku, change '' to the Host of the desired account defined in your .ssh/config:

$ git clone

If you want to switch the account for an app:

$ heroku accounts:set work

This also changes the URL of the git origin heroku to make sure you're using the correct SSH host.



This started off from github-keygen, which is also checked in at home\.bin\github-keygen. Since the ~/.ssh/config file was created for me and my accounts, you will probably want to remove the soft link in your own ~/.ssh folder. I would strongly suggest following the pattern. On Mac OS/X it requires a newer openssh you can install from homebrew/dupes.

Global Variables on OSX

Nothing quite works right for yosemite for enabling global variables for GUI applications launched from Finder. You can try the launchctl setenv var val route but that does not work for PATH. You can try the /etc/paths route but that too is limited in variable substitutions. I ended up using a combination of these two methods and using a path_munge function helper in my bashrc.load to not add duplicate entries.


I added my /usr/local/bin and /usr/local/sbin to the top of the existing paths.



This works but doesn’t set up PATH environment variable. However, it still proved useful for setting up other global variables that can be used later on. Here I’m adding the most important variable, NVM_DIR, which I’ll use next.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">
        /bin/launchctl setenv BREW_HOME /usr/local
        /bin/launchctl setenv GOPATH /usr/local/go
        /bin/launchctl setenv NVM_DIR /usr/local/nvm
        /bin/launchctl setenv NVM_TARGET /usr/local/opt/nvm


System-wide .profile for sh(1)

This file is what kicks off /etc/paths from the path_helper function. Trouble is that it kills anything before it. I’m keeping the existing behavior and then setting up my node paths from nvm. Here, we are grabbing the version nvm is set to use from the alias/default file and then using it to add node to the PATH. The NVM_DIR was set prior in the launchctl command.

NOTE: I just added launchctl setenv commands to the /etc/profile as well because the launchctl was not getting the paths up front. I ran into this while executing a ~/LaunchAgent under my user account to mount nfs drives.

# System-wide .profile for sh(1)

if [ -x /usr/libexec/path_helper ]; then
  eval `/usr/libexec/path_helper -s`

if [ -d /etc/profile.d ]; then
    for i in /etc/profile.d/*.sh; do
        if [ -r $i ]; then
            . $i
    unset i

if [ "${BASH_NO}" != "no" ]; then
  [ -r /etc/bashrc ] && . /etc/bashrc

Here is a copy of my /etc/profile.d/ file:


if ! [ -d "$BREW_HOME" ]; then
    if hash brew 2>/dev/null; then
        BREW_HOME=$(brew --prefix)
        export BREW_HOME
        launchctl setenv BREW_HOME "$BREW_HOME"

if ! [ -d "$NVM_DIR" ]; then
    if [ -d /usr/local/nvm ]; then
    elif [ -d "$HOME" ]; then

    export NVM_DIR
    launchctl setenv NVM_DIR "$NVM_DIR"

if [ -d "$NVM_DIR" ]; then
    if [ -f "${NVM_DIR}/alias/default" ]; then
        NVM_VERSION=$(cat "${NVM_DIR}/alias/default")
        # NPM_CONFIG_PREFIX="${NVM_DIR}/versions/node/v${NVM_VERSION}"
        export NPM_VERSION
        export NVM_BIN
        export NVM_PATH
        # export NPM_CONFIG_PREFIX
        launchctl setenv NVM_VERSION "$NVM_VERSION"
        launchctl setenv NVM_BIN "$NVM_BIN"
        launchctl setenv NVM_PATH "$NVM_PATH"
        # launchctl setenv NPM_CONFIG_PREFIX "$NPM_CONFIG_PREFIX"

export PATH
launchctl setenv PATH "$PATH"

Note: The NPM_CONFIG_PREFIX env var is commented out because if you are using nvm then it gets in the way when you switch node versions.

And through all these files and commands I have the correct node path from nvm loaded into the gloabl environment. Now obviously I doubt this would work once you update the version of node and a reboot or logoff/login will be required for the changes to take effect. But that’s ok with me since I typically only update node once every couple months.