I’ve received plenty of feedback for my last blog article on how I handle dotfiles, hence I’ve decided that I want to give a glimpse on how others are managing their dotfiles.
Another way of handling dotfiles is using GNU stow as explained here: http://brandon.invergo.net/news/2012-05-26-using-gnu-stow-to-manage-your-dotfiles.html
With GNU stow it’s possible to store your dotfiles in a separate directory and then symlink to the files in this directory via invoking
stow <directory name>. Imagine the following structure:
home `-- chris `-- dotfiles |-- sway | `-- .config | `-- sway | `-- config `-- vim |-- .vim `-- .vimrc
Now you can do the following:
$ cd ~/dotfiles $ stow sway $ stow vim
Your resulting structure will look like this (the added files are symlinks):
home `-- chris |-- .config | `-- sway | `-- config |-- dotfiles | |-- sway | | `-- .config | | `-- sway | | `-- config | `-- vim | |-- .vim | `-- .vimrc |-- .vim `-- .vimrc
Pretty nice and clean approach, if you ask me. Disadvantage is that you need stow as additional program though.
The next approach is also interesting. It’s described here: https://medium.com/toutsbrasil/how-to-manage-your-dotfiles-with-git-f7aeed8adf8b
This approach is not so different from mine (using git + gitignore as
whitelist). Here the author is using some features of git I did not know about.
First you create a bare git repository, then you set an alias for git with that
git directory as git-dir and your $HOME as work-tree. Next you set
status.showUntrackedFiles to no for this git repository and you are able to
manage your $HOME directory with git.
$ git init --bare $HOME/.dotfiles $ alias dotfiles='/usr/bin/git --git-dir=$HOME/.dotfiles/ --work-tree=$HOME' $ dotfiles config --local status.showUntrackedFiles no $ dotfiles status $ dotfiles add .vimrc $ dotfiles commit -m "new vimrc"
If you want to setup your environment on a new computer, you can do the following:
$ git clone --bare https://github.com/USERNAME/dotfiles.git $HOME/.dotfiles $ alias dotfiles='/usr/bin/git --git-dir=$HOME/.dotfiles/ --work-tree=$HOME' $ dotfiles checkout
I actually prefer this approach over the one with stow. You don’t need an
additional program and you don’t end up with too much symlinks. If I wouldn’t
have managed my $HOME already, I would give this definitely a try, although I
would be afraid that I could add files to my repository that I don’t want.
showUntrackedFiles is disabled, but you can still add new files or
directories. So if you use this approach make sure to use
git add -p or
git commit -v for checking your chunks, before you add/commit/push them.
Last but not least, one of my readers told me about yadm. Yadm is just another dotfiles manager and supports GPG. Encryption is something that is missing in my current approach (I sometimes miss it). Nevertheless it’s another program, so I don’t want to get into too much details about yadm.