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Dotfiles (Nicolas Gallagher)

My OS X dotfiles.

How to install

The installation step requires the XCode Command Line Tools and may overwrite existing dotfiles in your HOME and .vim directories.

$ bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

N.B. If you wish to fork this project and maintain your own dotfiles, you must substitute my username for your own in the above command and the 2 variables found at the top of the bin/dotfiles script.

How to update

You should run the update when:

  • You make a change to ~/.dotfiles/git/gitconfig (the only file that is copied rather than symlinked).
  • You want to pull changes from the remote repository.
  • You want to update Homebrew formulae and Node packages.

Run the dotfiles command:

$ dotfiles


-h, --help Help
-l, --list List of additional applications to install
--no-packages Suppress package updates
--no-sync Suppress pulling from the remote repository


Automatic software installation

Homebrew formulae:

Node packages:

Vim plugins:

Custom OS X defaults

Custom OS X settings can be applied during the dotfiles process. They can also be applied independently by running the following command:

$ osxdefaults

Bootable backup-drive script

These dotfiles include a script that uses rsync to incrementally back up your data to an external, bootable clone of your computer's internal drive. First, make sure that the value of DST in the bin/backup script matches the name of your backup-drive. Then run the following command:

$ backup

For more information on how to setup your backup-drive, please read the preparatory steps in this post on creating a Mac OS X bootable backup drive.

Custom bash prompt

I use a custom bash prompt based on the Solarized color palette and influenced by @gf3's and @cowboy's custom prompts. For best results, you should install iTerm2 and import Solarized Dark.itermcolors.

When your current working directory is a Git repository, the prompt will display the checked-out branch's name (and failing that, the commit SHA that HEAD is pointing to). The state of the working tree is reflected in the following way:

+ Uncommitted changes in the index
! Unstaged changes
? Untracked files
$ Stashed files

Further details are in the bash_prompt file.


Local/private Bash and Vim configuration

Any special-case Vim directives local to a machine should be stored in a ~/.vimrc.local file on that machine. The directives will then be automatically imported into your master .vimrc.

Any private and custom Bash commands and configuration should be placed in a ~/.bash_profile.local file. This file will not be under version control or committed to a public repository. If ~/.bash_profile.local exists, it will be sourced for inclusion in bash_profile.

Here is an example ~/.bash_profile.local:

# PATH exports
export PATH

# Git credentials
# Not under version control to prevent people from
# accidentally committing with your details
GIT_AUTHOR_NAME="Nicolas Gallagher"
# Set the credentials (modifies ~/.gitconfig)
git config --global "$GIT_AUTHOR_NAME"
git config --global "$GIT_AUTHOR_EMAIL"

# Aliases
alias code="cd ~/Code"

N.B. Because the git/gitconfig file is copied to ~/.gitconfig, any private git configuration specified in ~/.bash_profile.local will not be committed to your dotfiles repository.

Custom location for Homebrew installation

If your Homebrew installation is not in /usr/local then you must prepend your custom installation's bin to the PATH in a file called ~/.dotfilesrc:

# Add `brew` command's custom location to PATH

Adding new git submodules

If you want to add more git submodules, e.g., Vim plugins to be managed by pathogen, then follow these steps while in the root of the superproject.

# Add the new submodule
git submodule add vim/bundle/one-submodule
# Initialize and clone the submodule
git submodule update --init
# Stage the changes
git add vim/bundle/one-submodule
# Commit the changes
git commit -m "Add a new submodule: one-submodule"

Updating git submodules

Updating individual submodules within the superproject:

# Change to the submodule directory
cd vim/bundle/one-submodule
# Checkout the desired branch (of the submodule)
git checkout master
# Pull from the tip of master (of the submodule - could be any sha or pointer)
git pull origin master
# Go back to main dotfiles repo root
cd ../../..
# Stage the submodule changes
git add vim/bundle/one-submodule
# Commit the submodule changes
git commit -m "Update submodule 'one-submodule' to the latest version"
# Push to a remote repository
git push origin master

Now, if anyone updates their local repository from the remote repository, then using git submodule update will update the submodules (that have been initialized) in their local repository. N.B This will wipe away any local changes made to those submodules.


Inspiration and code was taken from many sources, including: