dm: Dotfile Manager

A single-file "dotfile" manager written in POSIX shell. It creates and synchronises symlinks in your home directory to a central dotfile source.


The script expects your dotfiles master to be in ~/.dotfiles or have the ENV variable DOTFILES set to the path. This master path can then be kept in revision control and be kept clean. The script will symbolically link files from the master path to your home directory.

dm check will list all files needing linking.

dm sync will link all files to your home directory.

dm add <file> will move the file into the master and then link it.

Each command has optional flags which modify the default behaviour as the usage help describes below:

    -v        Be noisy
    -s <path> Specify dotfile path (default: ~/.dotfiles)
    -f        Force. Replace symlinks and no backups (sync)
    -h        This help


Q: What about deeply nested files?

A: All parent directories that do not exist will be created in your home directory. This enables linking only files. For example:

|-- blah
\-- bin
    \-- nested
        \-- foo -> ~/.dotfiles/bin/nested/foo

The nested and foo directories above will be created if need be.

Q: How do I clean up old symlinks?

A: Manually. I have not yet had the time/motivation to work out how to see if the broken symlink is pointing to a missing file in the dotfiles source.

Q: What about host specific files?

A: By creating a file in your dotfiles with the suffix .__$(hostname -s) then dm will use it in place of the general version. To exclude a file for a particular host then append yet another suffix of ! like this (for the host "acme"):

|-- blah
\-- bin
    |-- somefile
    |-- somefile.__acme -> ~/.dotfiles/bin/somefile
    |-- anotherfile
    \-- anotherfile.__acme!


Felix Hanley felix@userspace.com.au