Dotfiles made easy
extract files from the current HEAD when cloning the dotfiles repository
Be more POSIXy w.r.t. mktemp usage.
Respect $XDG_CONFIG_HOME even for init.


browse  log 



You can also use your local clone with git send-email.

#Dotfiles made easy

So you've decided to version-control your dotfiles, and you're looking for a way to do it for you, and all of a sudden you hit this snag. It's a pretty simple snag, but no one really seems to have a nice solution for it: symlink farms linking all your files into $HOME is ugly, but so is turning $HOME itself into a git repository annd having all your git metadata there (for example, ensuring that git commands will always fall back to acting on your dotfiles). :( If only there was some way to have the best of both worlds...

Enter dotfiles, a simple wrapper around git that runs all git commands with a custom $GIT_DIR, allowing metadata to be stored separate from the files. gitignore and gitattributes files can be easily hidden through the use of sparse checkout. A handful of administrative commands are also provided to bootstrap the repository.


  • dotfiles init /path/to/metadata

Initialize a new bare git repository, configured to treat $HOME as the worktree. $GIT_DIR/info/sparse-checkout is seeded with .gitignore, .gitattributes, and README.md. $GIT_DIR/info/exclude is seeded with a gitignore file ignoring common types of uninteresting files. Configure git status to not list untracked files.

  • dotfiles clone protocol://domain.name/repo.git /path/to/metadata

Instead of init'ing a new repo, clone it from somewhere, and try to extract a usable gitignore/gitattributes and copy it to $GIT_DIR/info/. If it is possible to do so without overwriting, checkout all files too.

  • dotfiles ignore [PATTERN] ...

Append new patterns to $GIT_DIR/info/exclude, or directly edit it if no patterns are given. Then utilize the git plumbing to add the file contents to the index as .gitignore itself.

  • dotfiles attributes [ATTRIBUTES] ...

Append new gitattribute lines to $GIT_DIR/info/attributes and... well, you get the drill. :)

  • dotfiles readme

Edit your README.md in a temporary file so you can talk about what it does etc. Once again this is directly read into the index without actually manifesting in $HOME (because having some readme file in your home directory is cluttersome, but you still want it to show up on Github or wherever).

#Encrypting secret files.

No especial effort has been taken to magically take care of files that should be synced, but not everyone should be able to read. I've found that I don't need to reinvent the wheel, as git-crypt works very well in that regard without extra effort. Simply add the following dotfiles attributes lines, then commit the secret files like any other:

[attr]crypt      filter=git-crypt diff=git-crypt

fileglob1        crypt
.bash_secrets    crypt

The git-crypt key will be stored in $GIT_DIR/git-crypt/ and can be exported and transferred separately.