Keeping your dotfiles in git
martin f krafft
madduck at madduck.net
Wed Aug 27 14:28:47 CEST 2008
also sprach chombee at lavabit.com <chombee at lavabit.com> [2008.08.26.2255 +0100]:
> Google and you can find lots of people who keep their dotfiles in
> a git repository. Usually they create a directory such as
> ~/dotfiles/ and they move all the dotfiles they want to track into
> that directory, and create the git repository in that directory.
> Then they have a script of some kind (I've seen scripts in half
> a dozen languages for this) that creates symlinks from the root of
> their homedir into their dotfiles directory, e.g. linking
> ~/.muttrc/ to ~/dotfiles/muttrc/.
I found this too ugly and cumbersome and never liked the redundancy
a script would introduce, or the mess of symlinks cluttering ~.
Therefore I started to experiment with "detached worktrees" with
Git. The concept is easy: ~/dotfiles/vim.git is what I call
a fake-bare Git repository (meaning ~/dotfiles/vim.git/config holds
the Git config, but core.bare is false), with core.worktree set to
../../. As a result, ~/.vimrc is actually a plain file versioned in
the repository at ~/dotfiles/vim.git.
This works reasonably well for me, but I have yet to figure out how
to deal with .gitignore.
Also, to commit or otherwise interact with the vim repository,
I have to set $GIT_WORK_TREE and $GIT_REPO accordingly prior to any
command using /usr/bin/git. At the moment, I am using a script
called vcsh for that, which spawns a subshell with these
variables set (and the $PS1 modified to help me keep track), and
I am actually liking it a lot, even though at first I tought this
explicit "context-switching" would quickly get on my nerves.
The approach has the advantage that my /bin/ls -l output is not
polluted with a lot of symlinks, and that I can tell someone else to
look at e.g. http://git.madduck.net/v/etc/zsh.git?a=tree and know
immediately what goes where. No explanation, no script, no
redundancy, little room for failure.
Joey's mr script knows how to deal with "fake-bare" Git
repositories, so "cd ~/dotfiles/vim.git && mr commit" will work as
expected, as will "cd ~/dotfiles && mr update".
As mentioned before, the problem is simply that in the context of
~/.git or ~/dotfiles/vim.git a file like ~/.mutt/muttrc is "unknown"
and will show up in git-status output. One way to deal with that is
to put stuff like
into ~/dotfiles/vim.git/info/exclude, but unfortunately, that has to
be done on every machine and cannot be synchronised. It would be
possible to version ~/.gitignore.d/vim in ~/dotfiles/vim.git and set
core.excludesfile in ~/dotfiles/vim.git/config, but that too is
something that has to be done on all machine and won't be
There's also an issue with certain Git repositories requiring
post-processing after cloning and merging (see
http://git.madduck.net/v/etc/ssh.git?a=tree;f=.ssh;hb=HEAD for an
example, which uses make to generate the configuration actually used
by SSH). This can either be done with something like mr, but it's
hackish, or with ~/dotfiles/ssh.git/hooks/update, but that isn't
versioned or synchronised.
Maybe someone has an idea how to deal with those issues?
> I'm not entirely clear on why, in the examples I've seen, the -s
> option is used to create symbolic links instead of just using hard
Many "editors" don't respect hardlinks and would unlink them,
causing your files in ~ to become detached from the Git-versioned
> What about the permissions of your dotfiles? Git does not track
> file permissions, except for the executable bit, so people often
> create scripts to somehow store and restore the permissions of all
> the files.
I have ~ at 711 and a umask of 077 and have been happy so far.
martin | http://madduck.net/ | http://two.sentenc.es/
"nothing can cure the soul but the senses,
just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul."
-- oscar wilde
spamtraps: madduck.bogus at madduck.net
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Size: 197 bytes
Desc: Digital signature (see http://martin-krafft.net/gpg/)
More information about the vcs-home