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Revision as of 19:28, 28 April 2016 by Alad (talk | contribs) (Other tools: put new entries at the bottom)
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This article collects user repositories with custom configuration files, commonly known as dotfiles.

Version control

Managing dotfiles with version control software such as Git helps to keep track of changes, share with others, and synchronize dotfiles across various hosts.

Using gitignore

Keeping a git directory inside the home folder allows to directly keep track of changes. It is recommended to selectively add file contents to the index with git add.

To prevent untracked files (appearing in commits and removed by git clean), first exclude all files with gitignore:


Then use git add -f, for example:

$ git add -f ~/.config/*

And commit the changes:

$ git commit -a

Other tools

  • vcsh — Allows separating differents modules (e.g., Emacs config vs. zsh config) into individual repositories which can be maintained separately, as opposed to keeping all dotfiles in a single repository. Works with git only. || vcshAUR
  • yadm — Manages files across systems using a single Git repository. Provides a way to use alternate files on a specific OS or host. Supplies a method of encrypting confidential data so it can safely be stored in your repository. || yadmAUR
  • etckeeper — Intended to version-control system-wide configuration in /etc. Works by keeping track of permissions and modes which version-control software often ignores. Can use various SCM systems as a backend. Hooks can auto-commit changes to the repository before a system-upgrade; for pacman, these hooks currently have to be triggered manually. || etckeeper
  • GNU Stow — Can be used to symlink dotfiles from a repository into the $HOME tree. See [1] for more information. || stow
  • pearl — Package manager for dotfiles, plugins, programs and any form of code accessible via git. Allow to easily share and sync packages across systems and have them ready to work out of the box. ||

Maintaining dotfiles across multiple machines

Tango-edit-clear.pngThis article or section needs language, wiki syntax or style improvements. See Help:Style for reference.Tango-edit-clear.png

Reason: This and the section below need a rewrite (Discuss in Talk:Dotfiles#)

One way of maintaining dotfiles across various machines across various hosts while still allowing for per-host customizations, is by maintaining a master-branch for all shared configuration, while each individual machine has a machine-specific branch checked out. Host-specific configuration can be committed to the machine-specific branch; as shared configuration is added to the master-branch, the per-machine branches are then rebased on top of the updated master.

Confidential information

Occasionally, software may keep plain-text passwords in configuration files, as opposed to hooking into a keyring. In these cases, git clean-filters may be handy to avoid accidentally commiting confidential information. E. g., the following .gitattributes file assigns a filter to the file “some-dotfile”:

# .gitattributes
some-dotfile filter=remove-pass

Whenever the file “some-dotfile” is checked into git, git will invoke the filter “remove-pass” on the file before checking it in. The filter must be defined in .git/config, e. g.:

[filter "remove-pass"]
clean = "sed -e 's/^password=.*/#password=TODO/'"


Author Shell WM / DE Editor Terminal Multiplexer Audio Monitor Mail IRC
Ambrevar zsh awesome emacs rxvt-unicode cmus htop/vicious mutt
bamos zsh i3/xmonad vim/emacs rxvt-unicode tmux mpv/cmus conky/xmobar mutt ERC
brisbin33 zsh xmonad vim rxvt-unicode screen dzen mutt irssi
cinelli zsh dwm vim termite-git pianobar htop mutt-kz weechat
drkhsh zsh dwm vim st screen cmus conky mutt weechat
Earnestly zsh i3/orbment vim/emacs termite tmux mpd conky mutt weechat
ErikBjare zsh xmonad/xfce4 vim terminator tmux xfce4-panel weechat
falconindy bash i3 vim rxvt-unicode ncmpcpp conky mutt
graysky zsh xfce4 vim terminal ncmpcpp custom thunderbird
gtmanfred zsh dwm vim termite-git tmux mpd conky mutt weechat
insanum bash herbstluftwm vim evilvte tmux dzen mutt-kz
izmntuk zsh xfce4 vim rxvt-unicode/yaft tmux cmus xfce4-panel irssi
jasonwryan bash/zsh dwm vim rxvt-unicode tmux ncmpcpp custom mutt irrsi
jelly zsh i3 vim termite tmux ncmpcpp mutt-kz-git weechat
meskarune bash herbstluftwm vim rxvt-unicode screen conky weechat
neersighted zsh i3 vim rxvt-unicode tmux ncmpcpp htop mutt irssi
OK100 bash dwm vim rxvt-unicode cmus conky, dzen mutt weechat
pid1 zsh dwm neovim termite tmux custom mutt weechat
unexist zsh subtle vim rxvt-unicode ncmpcpp mutt irssi
vodik zsh xmonad vim termite-git tmux ncmpcpp custom mutt weechat
w0ng zsh dwm vim rxvt-unicode tmux ncmpcpp custom mutt irssi
Wintervenom bash herbstluftwm vim rxvt-unicode screen mpd (mpc-utils) hlwm-dzen2 mutt weechat
wolfcore bash dwm vim rxvt-unicode tmux cmus custom weechat
xfausto zsh dwm vim st ncmpcpp conky
thiagowfx bash/zsh i3 vim/emacs rxvt-unicode ncmpcpp i3blocks
zendeavor zsh i3 vim rxvt-unicode tmux ncmpcpp i3status weechat
bstaletic zsh dwm vim terminator screen ncmpcpp conky
swalladge zsh/bash i3 neovim/vim termite tmux i3status

See also