dotbot: A (dot)files (bo)o(t)strapper

Something else you might have noticed: I’m not following alphabetical order any more. 😉

I started doing that about a year ago, because I was conveniently skipping titles I didn’t know anything about or sensed were over my head.

Scraping through the alphabet was a way of making sure I at least mentioned each title before moving to the next one. The way things were going, I would have ended up with a list of software I had no interest in, and no desire to examine.

So at the moment, it’s a simple ls vimwiki/ | shuf -n1 that determines the next title. This will also keep you guessing, so you never know how close we are to The Real End of The List. 😉

However I do it, I still see titles that I’m unlikely to adopt, sometimes for personal reasons.

Next is Anish Athalye‘s dotbot, a tool specifically designed to handle dotfiles symlinked against github. I’ve seen people do this in the past, or use github as a repository for their dotfiles.

I’m a little timid about that though. Call me old-fashioned, but I still find The Cloud to be a little sketchy. I always have. Plus, I have used some real maverick software in the past, that stores passwords in plain text in dotfiles. 😯

Of course, my sense of dread stems from the downward turn of online privacy in recent years. But it also plays havoc with my less-than-stellar link to the Internet. When you realize you have a fragile connection, you adjust your lifestyle accordingly.

Anish promises that dotbot is easy to set up and for what I saw, it was. I don’t have a screenshot this time, and I apologize for that.

At the time of this writing, dotbot had seen attention within the last month. Like I mentioned earlier, a lot of the upcoming programs are worth mentioning because they’re more active; dotbot is a good example of that.

If you give dotbot a whirl, and it suits your fancy without triggering alarm bells, please use it with my blessing. Send along a screenshot if you like. 😉 Just because I steer away from a program doesn’t mean everyone else should. You are your own person. Stand your ground. Hold your head up.

Go forth, and preach the gospel of dotbot. 😀

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5 thoughts on “dotbot: A (dot)files (bo)o(t)strapper

  1. rodney

    Do you know stow? It was designed to manage software as packages on a local enviroment, but like most GNU utilities is pretty flexible and does a good job at keeping a backup of dotfiles (via rsync or whatever you like) and bootstraping them. Sounds like something you would like.

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      I have heard of it, but had forgotten — thanks! I’ll add it to the list and see what shakes out. 😉

  2. Anish Athalye

    Hey K.Mandla,

    Anish here, (Dotbot author). It’s awesome to see you cover my tool! I’ve been a big fan of yours for a while (even back when you were running kmandla.wordpress.com).

    Just wanted to clear some things up — Dotbot is a tool that helps you bootstrap your dotfiles, and it makes it really easy for you to organize your dotfiles nicely. Dotbot actually doesn’t even require you to use a version control system, although I would recommend using git (or something similar).

    Dotbot in no way requires you to host your files on GitHub — you can keep your files on just your own computer, your own private server, Bitbucket, or any where else you want to. I tend to be distrusting too — I’ve split my dotfiles in two (see http://www.anishathalye.com/2014/08/03/managing-your-dotfiles/), and I have a bunch of public stuff in https://github.com/anishathalye/dotfiles, and then I have a bunch of private stuff that’s also managed using git, but saved only on my servers.

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      Hi Anish. Thanks for writing to clear things up. Sorry for the mistakes; I shall be more careful. I’ll take a look at your links and try to fix where I was wrong. I’m a little embarrassed now! 😳 Cheers!

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