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A shell configuration utility to compartmentalize and manage your terminal utilities and environment

ProfileGem provides a structured and modular way to configure your terminal, as a more robust alternative to editing .bashrc or .bash_profile directly. At a basic level, it uses dedicated files to define aliases, functions, environment variables, commands to execute at login, and cron jobs. More powerfully, this behavior can be split into separate parts, called gems, to compartmentalize and customize your environment based on the needs of the user/machine being used.

On its own ProfileGem doesn't change your environment in any way (excluding adding some ProfileGem utility functions). Instead, you create or install one or more gems alongside it which are then loaded by ProfileGem to customize your environment just the way you want it.

Example Uses

  • You have a series of personal aliases, functions, and configurations you like to use across multiple machines.
  • Your team has a set of utilities everyone regularly uses and wants to keep in sync.
  • You need to configure your shell differently depending on the current project you're working on, but want to easily switch between configurations when you change projects.
  • You want to load up your personal, team, and project configurations together, giving you exactly the shell you need right now.

Getting Started

  1. Clone ProfileGem to your machine (~/ProfileGem is suggested).

  2. Drop any gems you'd like to use into the ProfileGem directory. A future update may help automate this, but presently you must create/checkout gems manually. Once configured ProfileGem can update everything together for you.

    • To create a new gem, copy the template directory to a new *.gem directory:

      cp -R template mycool.gem
  3. Run ~/ProfileGem/ and confirm no errors / unexpected output. You can also run it in debug mode with _PGEM_DEBUG=true ~/ProfileGem/ to get more detailed output.

    • This creates a file which determines the order gems are loaded; you can reorder the #GEM lines if needed. Gems can also be configured here, see each gem's file for available configuration hooks.
  4. To install, source in your ~/.bashrc:

     source ~/ProfileGem/

    And you're good to go! When you open a new terminal window ProfileGem will run, executing all your installed gems. You can also run the above command in a running terminal to load ProfileGem manually.

Using ProfileGem

Once configured, there should be little you need to do with ProfileGem directly, however there are some features worth knowing about:

  • pgem_reload: If you make a change to any of your gems or your config file, you can reload it by running pgem_reload.
  • pgem_update: Updates ProfileGem and all checked out gems from their parent repositories and then reloads them.
  • pgem_info: List installed gems. Run pgem_info GEM_NAME to display more detailed information about that gem, if available.
  • pgem_help: Outputs ProfileGem's usage information.
  • _PGEM_DEBUG=true: Set this, either in ~/.bashrc or inline (e.g. _PGEM_DEBUG=true ~/ProfileGem/ to output debug messages when ProfileGem is loading.

Customizing With

In addition to specifying the gems to load (and their order), many gems can be further customized by settings in Each gem defines a file which contains defaults that can be overridden or updated in For example, prompt.gem lets you customize the color of the hostname in the prompt:

#GEM prompt

Public Gems

Some gems you can install right away:

  • prompt.gem: installs a clean and extensible prompt.
  • util.gem: several helpful and non-invasive utilities.

Creating A Gem

A gem template is available in ProfileGem/template; to create your own, simply copy it to a .gem directory, e.g. cp -R template myshell.gem - you can easily drop your desired behavior into the appropriate files of your new gem and (after updating ProfileGem will load it. For more details on how to create a gem, particularly regarding how to ensure your gem interacts safely with other gems, see the README in the template directory, and the comments in the individual template files.

Copyright and License

Copyright 2012-2019 Michael Diamond

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see


A shell configuration utility to compartmentalize and manage your terminal utilities and environment








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