My dotfiles
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Lots of people have written tools to manage their dotfiles. This one's mine. It's not written for anyone else, but you're welcome to try.

The design principles are:

  • There are several different configurations: my home laptop, my work laptop, work development machines, and so on.
  • To the extent possible, these should share common file fragments so that when I add aliases or the like, I don't have to do it in several places.
  • Each configuration may have its own custom fragments, since lots of configuration applies only to one or two of them.
  • It should be very easy to apply dotfiles to a brand new machine.
  • I want the implementation to be very straightforward. I don't care too much about UX. It's a dev tool, only intended for me.

Dotfiles fragments

In the top-level of this repo are directories for the various configurations. There are also directories for common hunks (e.g., "base", which is incorporated into all configurations; or "joyent", which is incorporated into several work-related configurations). These directories contain fragments of dotfiles.

Configuring and building

The configurations are defined in the top-level Makefile, and you build all dotfiles by just typing "make". Here's an example configuration for my machine "spike":

DOTFILES_spike               = .bashrc .bash_profile
SOURCES_spike                = base joyent
ALLDOTFILES                 += $(DOTFILES_spike:%=$(OUTDIR)/spike/%)
out/spike/%: force
    $(MKDOTFILE) $* out/spike $(SOURCES_spike)

This says that for "spike", we're building ".bashrc" and ".bash_profile", and we do it by combining the fragments from the "base" and "joyent" configurations.

When you type "make", the dotfiles for each configuration are built from the various fragments, as configured in the Makefile. The outputs go into "out/$config_name" in the root of the repository.

Getting dotfiles onto machines

  1. Type make publish to publish the dotfiles to Joyent's Manta Storage Service.

  2. Get the ./tools/fetch-dotfiles" command onto the machine you want to deploy dotfiles onto and run it as:

    ./fetch-dotfiles LABEL

    where LABEL is the name of one of your configurations. If you run without "-f", it does a dry run, which shows you what will be changed (i.e., diffs between your current dotfiles and what's been published). If you're happy with it, run it again with "-f".

    You can also specify a different local directory to use (other than $HOME) using -L. This is useful for testing.

    If you're trusting, you can use the Github URL for fetch-dotfiles and run it directly.