Ellipsis is a package manager for dotfiles.
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 _    _    _
/\_\ /\_\ /\_\
\/_/ \/_/ \/_/   …because $HOME is where the <3 is!

Ellipsis is a package manager for dotfiles.


  • Creating new packages is trivial (any git repository is already a package).
  • Modular configuration files are easier to maintain and share with others.
  • Allows you to quickly see which dotfiles have been modified, and keep them updated and in-sync across systems.
  • Adding new dotfiles to your collection can be automated with ellipsis add.
  • Cross platform, known to work on Mac OS X, Linux, FreeBSD and even Cygwin.
  • Large test suite to ensure your $HOME doesn't get ravaged.
  • Completely customizable.
  • Works with existing dotfiles!


Clone and symlink or use handy-dandy installer:

$ curl -sL ellipsis.sh | sh

...no you didn't read that wrong, this website also doubles as the installer

You can also specify which packages to install by setting the PACKAGES variable, i.e.:

$ curl -sL ellipsis.sh | PACKAGES='vim zsh' sh

Add ~/.ellipsis/bin to your $PATH (or symlink somewhere convenient) and start managing your dotfiles in style :)


Ellipsis comes with no dotfiles out of the box. To install packages, use ellipsis install. Packages can be specified by github-user/repo or full ssh/git/http(s) urls:

$ ellipsis install ssh://github.com/zeekay/private.git
$ ellipsis install zeekay/vim
$ ellipsis install zsh

...all work. By convention username/package and package are aliases for https://github.com/username/dot-package.

Full usage available via ellipsis executable:

$ ellipsis -h
Usage: ellipsis <command>
    -h, --help     show help
    -v, --version  show version

    new        create a new package
    edit       edit an installed package
    add        add new dotfile to package
    install    install new package
    uninstall  uninstall package
    link       link package
    unlink     unlink package
    broken     list any broken symlinks
    clean      rm broken symlinks
    installed  list installed packages
    links      show symlinks installed by package(s)
    pull       git pull package(s)
    push       git push package(s)
    status     show status of package(s)
    publish    publish package to repository
    search     search package repository


You can customize ellipsis by exporting a few different variables:

Variable Description
GITHUB_USER / ELLIPSIS_USER Customizes whose dotfiles are installed when you ellipsis install without specifying user or a full repo url. Defaults to $(git config github.user) or zeekay.
ELLIPSIS_REPO Customize location of ellipsis repo cloned during a curl-based install. Defaults to https://github.com/ellipsis/ellipsis.
ELLIPSIS_PROTO Customizes which protocol new packages are cloned with, you can specify https,ssh, git. Defaults to https.
ELLIPSIS_HOME Customize which folder files are symlinked into, defaults to $HOME. (Mostly useful for testing)
ELLIPSIS_PATH Customize where ellipsis lives on your filesystem, defaults to ~/.ellipsis.
ELLIPSIS_PACKAGE Customize where ellipsis installs packages on your filesystem, defaults to ~/.ellipsis/packages.
export ELLIPSIS_USER="zeekay"
export ELLIPSIS_PROTO="ssh"
export ELLIPSIS_PATH="~/.el"


A package is any repo with files you want to symlink into $ELLIPSIS_PATH (typically $HOME). By default all of a repository's non-hidden files (read: not beginning with a .) will naively be linked into place, with the exception of a few common text files (README, LICENSE, etc).

You can customize how ellipsis interacts with your package by adding an ellipsis.sh file to the root of your project. Here's an example of a complete ellipsis.sh file:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

Yep, that's it :) If all you want to do is symlink some files into $HOME, adding an ellipsis.sh to your package is completely optional. But what if you need more? That's where hooks come in...


Hooks allow you to control how ellipsis interacts with your package, and how various commands are executed against your package. Say for instance you wanted to run the installer for your favorite zsh framework, you could define a pkg.install hook like this:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

pkg.install() {
    utils.run_installer 'https://raw.github.com/zeekay/zeesh/master/scripts/install.sh'

When you ellipsis install a package, ellipsis:

  1. git clone's the package into ~/.ellipsis/packages.
  2. Changes the current working dir to the package.
  3. Sets $PKG_NAME and $PKG_PATH.
  4. Sources the package's ellipsis.sh (if one exists).
  5. Executes the package's pkg.install hook or hooks.install (the default hook).


Here's a more complete example (from zeekay/files):

#!/usr/bin/env bash

pkg.link() {
    fs.link_files common

    case $(os.platform) in
            fs.link_files platform/cygwin
            fs.link_files platform/osx
            fs.link_files platform/freebsd
            fs.link_files platform/linux

...and here's a slightly more complex example (from zeekay/vim):

#!/usr/bin/env bash

pkg.link() {
    files=(gvimrc vimrc vimgitrc vimpagerrc xvimrc)

    # link files into $HOME
    for file in ${files[@]}; do
        fs.link_file $file

    # link package into $HOME/.vim
    fs.link_file $PKG_PATH

pkg.install() {
    cd ~/.vim/addons

    # install dependencies
    git.clone https://github.com/zeekay/vice
    git.clone https://github.com/MarcWeber/vim-addon-manager

helper() {
    # run command for ourselves

    # run command for each addon
    for addon in ~/.vim/addons/*; do
        # git status/push only repos which are ours
        if [ $1 = "git.pull" ] || [ "$(cat $addon/.git/config | grep url | grep $ELLIPSIS_USER)" ]; then
            cd $addon
            $1 vim/$(basename $addon)

pkg.pull() {
    helper git.pull

pkg.status() {
    helper hooks.status

pkg.push() {
    helper git.push

The hooks available in your ellipsis.sh are:

Hook Description
pkg.add Customizes how a files is added to your package.
pkg.install Customize how package is installed. By default the pkg.link hooks is run.
pkg.installed Customize how package is listed as installed.
pkg.link Customizes which files are linked into $ELLIPSIS_HOME.
pkg.links Customizes which files are detected as symlinks.
pkg.pull Customize how how changes are pulled in when ellipsis pull is used.
pkg.push Customize how how changes are pushed ellipsis push is used.
pkg.status Customize output of ellipsis status.
pkg.uninstall Customize how package is uninstalled. By default all symlinks are removed and the package is deleted from $ELLIPSIS_PATH/packages.
pkg.unlink Customize which files are unlinked by your package.


Besides the default hook implementations which are available to you from your ellipsis.sh as hooks.<name>, there are a number of useful functions and variables which ellipsis exposes for you:

Function/Variable Description
ellipsis.list_packages Lists all installed packages.
ellipsis.each Executes command for each installed package.
fs.folder_empty Returns true if folder is empty.
fs.file_exists Returns true if file exists.
fs.is_symlink Returns true if file is a symlink.
fs.is_ellipsis_symlink Returns true if file is a symlink pointing to an ellipsis package.
fs.is_broken_symlink Returns true if file is a broken symlink.
fs.list_symlinks Lists symlinks in a folder, defaulting to $ELLIPSIS_HOME.
fs.backup Creates a backup of an existing file, ensuring you don't overwrite existing backups.
fs.link_file Symlinks a single file into $ELLIPSIS_HOME.
fs.link_files Symlinks all files in given folder into $ELLIPSIS_HOME.
git.clone Clones a Git repo, identical to git clone.
git.pull Identical to git pull.
git.push Identical to git push.
git.sha1 Prints last commit's sha1 using git rev-parse --short HEAD.
git.last_updated Prints commit's relative last update time.
git.head Prints how far ahead a package is from origin.
git.has_changes Returns true if repository has changes.
git.diffstat Displays git diff --stat.
path.abs_path Return absolute path to $1.
path.is_path Simple heuristic to determine if $1 is a path.
path.relative_to_home Replaces $HOME with ~
path.relative_to_packages Strips $ELLIPSIS_PACKAGES from path.
path.strip_dot Strip dot from hidden files/folders.
os.platform Returns one of cygwin, freebsd, linux, osx.
utils.cmd_exists Returns true if command exists.
utils.prompt Prompts user $1 message and returns true if YES or yes is input.
utils.run_installer Downloads and runs web-based shell script installers.

Available packages


Alfred configuration files.


Atom configuration files.


Emacs configuration files.


Common dotfiles for various programs.


Irssi configuration.


iTerm2 configuration files.


Vim configuration based on vice framework.


Xmonad configuration.


Zsh configuration using zeesh! framework.

Upgrading to ellipsis

No stranger to dotfiles? Spent years hording complex configurations for esoteric and archaic programs? Have your own system for managing them using a bunch of scripts you've cobbled together over the years? I've been there, friend.

Luckily it's easy to convert your existing dotfiles into a shiny new ellipsis package:

$ export ELLIPSIS_USER=your-github-user

$ ellipsis new dotfiles
Initialized empty Git repository in /home/user/.ellipsis/packages/dotfiles/.git/
[master (root-commit) 5f5d2a9] Initial commit
 2 files changed, 35 insertions(+)
 create mode 100644 README.md
 create mode 100644 ellipsis.sh
new package created at ~/.ellipsis/packages/dotfiles

$ ellipsis add dotfiles .*
mv ~/.vimrc dotfiles/vimrc
linking dotfiles/vimrc -> ~/.vimrc
mv ~/.zshrc dotfiles/zshrc
linking dotfiles/zshrc -> ~/.zshrc


A completion file for zsh is included. To use it add _ellipsis to your fpath and ensure auto-completion is enabled:

fpath=($HOME/.ellipsis/comp $fpath)
autoload -U compinit; compinit


Pull requests welcome! New code should follow the existing style (and ideally include tests).

Suggest a feature or report a bug? Create an issue!


Ellipsis is open-source software licensed under the MIT license.