To use vcsh or not to use vcsh, that is the question

Adam Spiers vcs-home at
Sat Jan 14 12:17:19 CET 2017

On 12 January 2017 at 04:20, Samuel Hodgkins <samuel.hodgkins at>

> So, I am a fan of keeping as much under version control as possible
> (Indeed, I recently reorganized my home directory to help with this) but
> I've hit an interesting dilemma.
> On the one hand, vcsh is a very powerful and useful utility and comes with
> handy commands and functionality and I currently use it for most
> repositories. However, it also both conceptually and practically more
> complex than plain git due to the use of fake-bare repositories, meaning
> you cannot just 'cd' and use git. For self-contained directories, this
> makes me wonder if the additional vcsh-provided commands are worth it.
> In comparison to vcsh, I also use myrepos which is excellent at managing a
> set of repositories, and although I haven't used it much it can also do
> commands. I think (but cannot confirm) that it can be extended with
> additional commands just like vcsh and has the benefit of also using normal
> git repositories, enabling easier usage from the command-line.
> While vcsh is the obvious (and only) option for some cases, such as
> dotfiles directly in ~

It's certainly not the only option.  Some of us are using GNU Stow (the
symlink farm manager) for this:

The first two links within the description give you more details about how
it works.  The second of those two pages gives details of the plugin I
wrote for mr (now myrepos) which integrates support for stowable
repositories.  This combination has worked well enough for me for several
years that I haven't actually bothered to upgrade my mr installation to the
latest myrepos.  However if others are interested in it then I'd be glad to
do that - I doubt it would take much work.

There are pros and cons to both approaches.  I remember having an amicable
conversation with vcsh's author about this at a FOSDEM conference a long
time ago.  My recommendation would be to try both vcsh and Stow (ideally
both in combination with myrepos) and see which you prefer.  I'll do my
best to answer any questions you have regarding Stow and the mr plugin I

Hope this is of interest!

P.S. Declaration of interest: I maintain GNU Stow.

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