Automatically comment and uncomment config file sections.
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There are recognizable qualitative characters of the given, which may be repeated in different experiences, and are thus a sort of universals; I call these "qualia." But although such qualia are universals, in the sense of being recognized from one to another experience, they must be distinguished from the properties of objects. Confusion of these two is characteristic of many historical conceptions, as well as of current essence-theories. The quale is directly intuited, given, and is not the subject of any possible error because it is purely subjective.

—Clarence Irving Lewis

mir.qualia provides a Python 3 script for conditionally commenting and uncommenting blocks in files, for example configuration files (dotfiles). This can be used to keep dotfiles for different machines in a single version control repository and check out the right copy on each machine.

There is a Go version. The main tradeoff is that the Go version is a lot faster, but compiles to a 2MB binary.


Installing from PyPI is recommended:

$ pip3 install mir.qualia

Basic usage

qualia is a filter script, so it is used by redirecting stdin and stdout:

$ qualia [qualities...] <infile >outfile

qualia recognizes special blocks (called qualified blocks) and comments or uncomments them. A qualified block looks like this:

# BEGIN laptop
export PATH="$HOME/bin:$PATH"
# END laptop

The quality of this block is laptop. If laptop is given as a quality, then qualia will make sure the contents of the block are uncommented. If laptop isn't given as a quality, then qualia will make sure the contents of the block are commented.

It is possible to pass multiple qualities or no qualities:

$ qualia audio games
$ qualia

qualia is idempotent, so you can run it multiple times; only the last time takes effect:

$ qualia <infile | qualia laptop | qualia desktop | qualia laptop
# BEGIN laptop
alias home="cd /home/bob"
# END laptop

# BEGIN desktop
#alias home="cd /home/robert"
# END desktop

Using qualia with Git filters

qualia can be used with Git filters to automatically uncomment and comment the right blocks on different computers.

Here's an example setup:

$ cd ~
$ git init
$ git add .bashrc
$ cat <<EOF >.gitattributes
* filter=qualia
.* filter=qualia
$ git add .gitattributes
$ git commit -m 'Initial commit'

On each of your machines, clone your dotfiles repository and run:

$ git config filter.qualia.clean qualia
$ git config filter.qualia.smudge "qualia [qualities]"

Now, whenever you check out, commit, pull and push your dotfiles around, your machine specific configuration will always be correctly commented and uncommented on each machine.

Note that because Git applies its filters when files are checked out or committed, you may need to force Git to apply the filters when you first set this up:

$ rm .git/index
$ git checkout HEAD -- "$(git rev-parse --show-toplevel)"


mir.qualia uses semantic versioning. The block qualification behavior is specified by the tests in tests/ Major version compatible changes will not change these tests.