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These are my dotfiles. This project was originally forked from @holman's repository.
You probably want to go there and fork his. Mine has continued to diverge from his and has started to become its own Frankenstein.

Some of the changes that will cause you headaches / confusion if you're trying to use his stuff:

  • this is basically a bash project, not zsh
  • I'm using boxen and reworked this with that assumption
  • I'm centralizing around a .bash.d directory structure
  • I'm presuming you also want to do a very similar thing with not just a ~/.dotfiles, but also a private-repo managed ~/.private-dotfiles
  • the dot script will bring both of these repositories together under your ~
  • I massaged things so that I can have files within one directory be some-private and some-public and have things work

Original README from holman/dotfiles follows:

holman does dotfiles


Your dotfiles are how you personalize your system. These are mine.

I was a little tired of having long alias files and everything strewn about (which is extremely common on other dotfiles projects, too). That led to this project being much more topic-centric. I realized I could split a lot of things up into the main areas I used (Ruby, git, system libraries, and so on), so I structured the project accordingly.

If you're interested in the philosophy behind why projects like these are awesome, you might want to read my post on the subject.


Run this:

git clone ~/.dotfiles
cd ~/.dotfiles

This will symlink the appropriate files in .dotfiles to your home directory. Everything is configured and tweaked within ~/.dotfiles.

The main file you'll want to change right off the bat is bash/bashrc.symlink, which sets up a few paths that'll be different on your particular machine.

dot is a simple script that installs some dependencies, sets sane OS X defaults, and so on. Tweak this script, and occasionally run dot from time to time to keep your environment fresh and up-to-date. You can find this script in bin/.


Everything's built around topic areas. If you're adding a new area to your forked dotfiles — say, "Java" — you can simply add a java directory and put files in there. Anything with an extension of .bash will get automatically included into your shell. Anything with an extension of .symlink will get symlinked without extension into $HOME when you run script/bootstrap.

what's inside

A lot of stuff. Seriously, a lot of stuff. Check them out in the file browser above and see what components may mesh up with you. Fork it, remove what you don't use, and build on what you do use.


There's a few special files in the hierarchy.

  • bin/: Anything in bin/ will get added to your $PATH and be made available everywhere.
  • topic/*.bash: Any files ending in .bash get loaded into your environment.
  • topic/path.bash: Any file named path.bash is loaded first and is expected to setup $PATH or similar.
  • topic/completion.bash: Any file named completion.bash is loaded last and is expected to setup autocomplete.
  • topic/*.symlink: Any files ending in *.symlink get symlinked into your $HOME. This is so you can keep all of those versioned in your dotfiles but still keep those autoloaded files in your home directory. These get symlinked in when you run script/bootstrap.


I want this to work for everyone; that means when you clone it down it should work for you even though you may not have rbenv installed, for example. That said, I do use this as my dotfiles, so there's a good chance I may break something if I forget to make a check for a dependency.

If you're brand-new to the project and run into any blockers, please open an issue on this repository and I'd love to get it fixed for you!


I forked Ryan Bates' excellent dotfiles for a couple years before the weight of my changes and tweaks inspired me to finally roll my own. But Ryan's dotfiles were an easy way to get into bash customization, and then to jump ship to zsh a bit later. A decent amount of the code in these dotfiles stem or are inspired from Ryan's original project.

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