First, the metaphor:
Certain bulky technologies in your home — such as your washing machine and your refrigerator (let's call them appliances) — deserve to be installed. You're not going to move them much, and they might have to be hooked up to the water pipes and so forth.
But certain other, lighter technologies — such as your can opener and your broom and dustpan (let's call them tools) — aren't "installed" anywhere. Instead, you simply store them somewhere (say, on a shelf) until they're needed.
toolshelf applies this paradigm to software. Because you should never need to
install a can opener.
If this metaphor piques your curiosity, you can read more about
toolshelf exists, where it shines, and where it doesn't
(tl;dr great for evaluating random projects off Github, maybe not so great
for getting X.org onto a machine.)
toolshelf is a "package manager" which doesn't actually install any files.
- stores ("docks") the source distributions of projects in a directory tree (usually located in your home directory);
- builds executables, libraries, etc. as needed in these source directories;
- creates "link farms" of symlinks to these executables, libraries, etc.; and
- extends your search paths to include these link farms.
The source distributions are typically version-controlled working directories (e.g. a local clone of a Git repository), but they can also be directory structures extracted from downloaded archives (so-called "tarballs" or "distfiles".)
The primary application (after acquiring and building a source) is to get
these executables from the source onto your
$PATH, so that you can run them
from anywhere. The secondary application is to get shared components into
their respective paths, so they can be used from any other project that needs
them — this currently works with C, Python, and Lua, in many cases obviating
the need for package managers like
pip and LuaRocks.
toolshelf is, in some sense, stateless. It does not record a database of
what has been docked (this information can mostly be gleaned from the
filesystem) and there is no package metadata (beyond "cookies", over which
you have control.)
The current released version of
toolshelf is version 0.1. The current
development version is version 0.2-PRE. As indicated by the major version
number 0, it is a work in progress and subject to backwards-incompatible
toolshelf is written in Bourne shell and Python 2.7. It also requires the
presence of those tools it needs to use to get and build what it asks for.
Obviously, the less you ask for, the less it needs, but at least some of the
following will be helpful:
toolshelf command is written as a Bourne shell function (to support
toolshelf cd), so it should work with
ash, and other Bourne-shell-
compatible shells. It has not been tested with
zsh or others. It will not
toolshelf is distributed under an MIT-style license.
Start a shell. (On some OS'es, this means "Open a Terminal window.")
bootstrap-toolshelf.sh, for example by running:
(If you don't have
curlshould also work. Or you can just download it from the link above with your web browser.)
Follow the instructions given to you by the script.
Start a new shell to start using
(If you don't want to use the bootstrap script, it's not very difficult to get toolshelf up and running manually; see below for instructions.)
Now, you can dock any source that
toolshelf can handle, simply by typing,
toolshelf dock gh:nelhage/reptyr
When that completes, you can run
reptyr by simply typing
Convenient! And if you want to
cd to where the
reptyr sources are, to
hack on it or whatever, just
And if you ever want to get rid of (almost) all trace of
reptyr from your
system, simply run
rm -rf $TOOLSHELF/nelhage/reptyr
(For removal to be completely complete, you'd also want to run
toolshelf relink all, to remove the now-broken symbolic links to the
executable(s) that were in
And, if you want to get rid of (almost) all trace of
toolshelf and all of
the packages you've docked using it, simply
rm -rf $TOOLSHELF
(For removal to be completely complete, you'd also want to remove the commands
bootstrap-toolshelf.sh added to your
.bashrc. But if your
directory doesn't exist, they won't run anyway.)
For a summary of the
toolshelf commands, run
toolshelf --help. If you
want to know more about how it works, you can read about
toolshelf's theory of operation.
Decide where you want your toolshelf sources to be kept. I keep mine in a directory called
toolshelfin my home directory. In the following examples, I'll use
/home/user/toolshelf. It is strongly recommended that this pathname not contain any spaces or other characters which normally require escaping for the shell; even if
toolshelfhandles all these cases correctly, there's a fair chance any random source that you dock won't.
Make this directory:
mkdir -p /home/user/toolshelf
.toolshelfin it, perhaps like so:
git clone https://github.com/catseye/toolshelf /home/user/toolshelf/.toolshelf
If you prefer, you could use Mercurial and clone it from Bitbucket. Or get a zip of the
toolshelfdistribution, and unzip it to there. Any of these options should be fine.
Add the following line to your
.bashrc, or the startup script for whatever POSIX-compliant Bourne shell-alike you use:
export TOOLSHELF=/home/user/toolshelf/ && . $TOOLSHELF/.toolshelf/init.sh
Start a new shell and test that it works.