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A shell script which turns your OS X laptop into an awesome web development machine.
Latest commit 66f16d8 @croaky croaky Improve readability of permissions code
* Better reveal intent with `HOMEBREW_PREFIX` variable.
* Do less work by referencing `$USER` instead of `whoami`.


The $USER environment variable is not guaranteed to exist,
but $LOGNAME is defined by POSIX
(Environment Variables, section 8.3 Other Environment Variables).


Laptop is a script to set up an OS X laptop for web development.

It can be run multiple times on the same machine safely. It installs, upgrades, or skips packages based on what is already installed on the machine.


We support:

  • OS X Mavericks (10.9)
  • OS X Yosemite (10.10)
  • OS X El Capitan (10.11)

Older versions may work but aren't regularly tested. Bug reports for older versions are welcome.


Download, review, then execute the script:

curl --remote-name
less mac
sh mac 2>&1 | tee ~/laptop.log

Optionally, install thoughtbot/dotfiles.


Your last Laptop run will be saved to ~/laptop.log. Read through it to see if you can debug the issue yourself. If not, copy the lines where the script failed into a new GitHub Issue for us. Or, attach the whole log file as an attachment.

OS X El Capitan (10.11)

You may have problems installing Homebrew for the first time on OS X El Capitan due to permission changes to the /usr directory (within which the Homebrew installation is typically located). See the Homebrew El Capitan troubleshooting instructions for steps to resolve the permissions issues that interfere with Homebrew's installation.

What it sets up

Mac OS X tools:

  • Homebrew for managing operating system libraries.

Unix tools:

  • Exuberant Ctags for indexing files for vim tab completion
  • Git for version control
  • OpenSSL for Transport Layer Security (TLS)
  • RCM for managing company and personal dotfiles
  • The Silver Searcher for finding things in files
  • Tmux for saving project state and switching between projects
  • Zsh as your shell

Heroku tools:

GitHub tools:

  • Hub for interacting with the GitHub API

Image tools:

Testing tools:

  • Qt for headless JavaScript testing via Capybara Webkit

Programming languages and configuration:

  • Bundler for managing Ruby libraries
  • Node.js and NPM, for running apps and installing JavaScript packages
  • Rbenv for managing versions of Ruby
  • Ruby Build for installing Rubies
  • Ruby stable for writing general-purpose code


  • Postgres for storing relational data
  • Redis for storing key-value data

It should take less than 15 minutes to install (depends on your machine).

Customize in ~/.laptop.local

Your ~/.laptop.local is run at the end of the Laptop script. Put your customizations there. For example:


brew_install_or_upgrade 'go'
brew_install_or_upgrade 'ngrok'
brew_install_or_upgrade 'watch'

fancy_echo "Cleaning up old Homebrew formulae ..."
brew cleanup
brew cask cleanup

if [ -r "$HOME/.rcrc" ]; then
  fancy_echo "Updating dotfiles ..."

Write your customizations such that they can be run safely more than once. See the mac script for examples.

Laptop functions such as fancy_echo, brew_install_or_upgrade, brew_tap, brew_launchctl_restart, and gem_install_or_update can be used in your ~/.laptop.local.

See the wiki for more customization examples.


Edit the mac file. Document in the file. Follow shell style guidelines by using ShellCheck and Syntastic.

brew install shellcheck

Thank you, contributors!

By participating in this project, you agree to abide by the thoughtbot code of conduct.


Laptop is © 2011-2016 thoughtbot, inc. It is free software, and may be redistributed under the terms specified in the LICENSE file.

About thoughtbot


Laptop is maintained and funded by thoughtbot, inc. The names and logos for thoughtbot are trademarks of thoughtbot, inc.

We are passionate about open source software. See our other projects. We are available for hire.

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