A shell script which turns your Mac into an awesome web development machine.
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Laptop is a script to set up an OS X computer for web development.

It can be run multiple times on the same machine safely. It installs, upgrades, or skips packages based on what is already installed on the machine.


We support:

Older versions may work but aren't regularly tested. Bug reports for older versions are welcome.


Begin by opening the Terminal application on your Mac. The easiest way to open an application in OS X is to search for it via Spotlight. The default keyboard shortcut for invoking Spotlight is command-Space. Once Spotlight is up, just start typing the first few letters of the app you are looking for, and once it appears, press return to launch it.

In your Terminal window, copy and paste each of these three commands one at a time, then press return after each one to download, review, and execute the script respectively:

curl --remote-name https://raw.githubusercontent.com/18F/laptop/master/mac
cat mac
bash mac 2>&1 | tee ~/laptop.log

The first time you run the script, make sure to quit and relaunch Terminal at the end.

We also have more detailed instructions with a video in the Wiki.


Your last Laptop run will be saved to ~/laptop.log. Read through it to see if you can debug the issue yourself. If not, copy the lines where the script failed into a new GitHub Issue for us. Or, attach the whole log file as an attachment.

What it sets up

  • CloudApp for sharing screenshots and making an animated GIF from a video
  • Flux for adjusting your Mac's display color so you can sleep better
  • GitHub for Mac for setting up your SSH keys automatically
  • Homebrew for managing operating system libraries
  • Homebrew Cask for quickly installing Mac apps from the command line
  • Homebrew Services so you can easily stop, start, and restart services
  • hub for interacting with the GitHub API
  • ImageMagick for cropping and resizing images
  • Node.js and NPM, for running apps and installing JavaScript packages
  • Postgres for storing relational data
  • [Python 3] for programming software and data analysis
  • Qt for headless JavaScript testing via Capybara Webkit
  • Redis for storing key-value data
  • RVM for managing Ruby versions (includes Bundler and the latest Ruby)
  • Slack for communicating with your team
  • Sublime Text 3 for coding all the things
  • The Silver Searcher for finding things in files
  • Virtualenv for creating isolated Python environments
  • Virtualenvwrapper for extending Virtualenv
  • Zsh as your shell

It should take less than 15 minutes to install (depends on your machine and internet connection).

Customize in ~/.laptop.local

Your ~/.laptop.local is run at the end of the mac script. Put your customizations there. This repo already contains a .laptop.local you can use to get started. It lets you install the following tools (commented out by default):

  • Atom - GitHub's open source text editor
  • Exuberant Ctags for indexing files for vim tab completion
  • Firefox for testing your website on a browser other than Chrome
  • iTerm2 - an awesome replacement for the OS X Terminal
  • reattach-to-user-namespace to allow copy and paste from Tmux
  • Tmux for saving project state and switching between projects
  • Vim for those who prefer the command line

For example:


# brew_cask_install 'atom'
# brew_cask_install 'firefox'
brew_cask_install 'iterm2'

# brew_install_or_upgrade 'vim'
# brew_install_or_upgrade 'ctags'
# brew_install_or_upgrade 'tmux'
# brew_install_or_upgrade 'reattach-to-user-namespace'

Write your customizations such that they can be run safely more than once. See the mac script for examples.

Laptop functions such as fancy_echo, brew_install_or_upgrade, gem_install_or_update, and brew_cask_install can be used in your ~/.laptop.local.

# Go to your OS X user's root directory
cd ~

# Download the sample file to your computer
curl --remote-name https://raw.githubusercontent.com/18F/laptop/master/.laptop.local


The 18F laptop script is based on and inspired by Thoughbot's laptop script.

Public domain

thoughtbot's original work remains covered under an MIT License.

18F's work on this project is in the worldwide public domain, as are contributions to our project. As stated in CONTRIBUTING:

This project is in the public domain within the United States, and copyright and related rights in the work worldwide are waived through the CC0 1.0 Universal public domain dedication.

All contributions to this project will be released under the CC0 dedication. By submitting a pull request, you are agreeing to comply with this waiver of copyright interest.