Yet Another Dotfiles Manager
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yadm - Yet Another Dotfiles Manager
yadm command [options]
yadm git-command-or-alias [options]
yadm init [-f]
yadm clone url [-f] [-w directory]
yadm config name [value]
yadm config [-e]
yadm list [-a]
yadm encrypt
yadm decrypt [-l]
yadm alt
yadm perms
yadm is a tool for managing a collection of files across multiple com-
puters, using a shared Git repository. In addition, yadm provides a
feature to select alternate versions of files based on the operation
system or host name. Lastly, yadm supplies the ability to manage a
subset of secure files, which are encrypted before they are included in
the repository.
git-command or git-alias
Any command not internally handled by yadm is passed through to
git(1). Git commands or aliases are invoked with the yadm man-
aged repository. The working directory for git commands will be
the configured work-tree (usually $HOME).
Dotfiles are managed by using standard git commands; add, com-
mit, push, pull, etc.
The config command is not passed directly through. Instead use
the gitconfig command (see below).
alt Create symbolic links for any managed files matching the naming
rules describe in the ALTERNATES section. It is usually unnec-
essary to run this command, as yadm automatically processes
alternates by default. This automatic behavior can be disabled
by setting the configuration to "false".
clone url
Clone a remote repository for tracking dotfiles. After the con-
tents of the remote repository have been fetched, a "merge" of
origin/master is attempted. If there are conflicting files
already present in the work-tree, this merge will fail and
instead a "reset" of origin/master will be done. It is up to
the user to resolve these conflicts, but if the desired action
is to have the contents in the repository overwrite the existing
files, then a "hard reset" should accomplish that:
yadm reset --hard origin/master
The repository is stored in $HOME/.yadm/repo.git. By default,
$HOME will be used as the work-tree, but this can be overridden
with the -w option. yadm can be forced to overwrite an existing
repository by providing the -f option.
config This command manages configurations for yadm. This command
works exactly they way git-config(1) does. See the CONFIGURA-
TION section for more details.
Decrypt all files stored in $HOME/.yadm/files.gpg. Files
decrypted will be relative to the configured work-tree (usually
$HOME). Using the -l option will list the files stored without
extracting them.
Encrypt all files matching the patterns found in
$HOME/.yadm/encrypt. See the ENCRYPTION section for more
Pass options to the git config command. Since yadm already uses
the config command to manage its own configurations, this com-
mand is provided as a way to change configurations of the repos-
itory managed by yadm. One particularly useful case may be to
configure the repository so untracked files are hidden from sta-
tus commands:
yadm gitconfig status.showUntrackedFiles no
help Print a summary of yadm commands.
init Initialize a new, empty repository for tracking dotfiles. The
repository is stored in $HOME/.yadm/repo.git. By default, $HOME
will be used as the work-tree, but this can be overridden with
the -w option. yadm can be forced to overwrite an existing
repository by providing the -f option.
list Print a list of files managed by yadm. The -a option will cause
all managed files to be listed. Otherwise, the list will only
include files from the current directory or below.
perms Update permissions as described in the PERMISSIONS section. It
is usually unnecessary to run this command, as yadm automati-
cally processes permissions by default. This automatic behavior
can be disabled by setting the configuration to
Print the version of yadm.
yadm uses a configuration file named $HOME/.yadm/config. This file
uses the same format as git-config(1). Also, you can control the con-
tents of the configuration file via the yadm config command (which
works exactly like git-config). For example, to disable alternates you
can run the command:
yadm config false
The following is the full list of supported configurations:
Disable the automatic linking described in the section ALTER-
NATES. If disabled, you may still run yadm alt manually to cre-
ate the alternate links. This feature is enabled by default.
Disable the automatic permission changes described in the sec-
tion PERMISSIONS. If disabled, you may still run yadm perms
manually to update permissions. This feature is enabled by
Disable the permission changes to $HOME/.ssh/*. This feature is
enabled by default.
When managing a set of files across different systems, it can be useful
to have an automated way of choosing an alternate version of a file for
a different operation system or simply for a different host. yadm
implements a feature which will automatically create a symbolic link to
the appropriate version of a file, as long as you follow a specific
naming convention. yadm can detect files with names ending in:
##OS.HOSTNAME or ##OS or ##
If there are any files managed by yadm's repository which match this
naming convention, symbolic links will be created for the most appro-
priate version. This may best be demonstrated by example. Assume the
following files are managed by yadm's repository:
- $HOME/path/example.txt##
- $HOME/path/example.txt##Darwin
- $HOME/path/example.txt##Darwin.host1
- $HOME/path/example.txt##Darwin.host2
- $HOME/path/example.txt##Linux
- $HOME/path/example.txt##Linux.host1
- $HOME/path/example.txt##Linux.host2
If running on a Macbook named "host2", yadm will create a symbolic link
which looks like this:
$HOME/path/example.txt -> $HOME/path/example.txt##Darwin.host2
However, on another Mackbook named "host3", yadm will create a symbolic
link which looks like this:
$HOME/path/example.txt -> $HOME/path/example.txt##Darwin
Since the hostname doesn't match any of the managed files, the more
generic version is chosen.
If running on a Linux server named "host4", the link will be:
$HOME/path/example.txt -> $HOME/path/example.txt##Linux
If running on a Solaris server, the link use the default "##" version:
$HOME/path/example.txt -> $HOME/path/example.txt##
If no "##" version exists and no files match the current OS or HOST-
NAME, then no link will be created.
OS is determined by running uname -s, and HOSTNAME by running host-
name -s. yadm will automatically create these links by default. This
can be disabled using the configuration. Even if dis-
abled, links can be manually created by running yadm alt.
It can be useful to manage confidential files, like SSH keys, across
multiple systems. However, doing so would put plain text data into a
Git repository, which often resides on a public system. yadm imple-
ments a feature which can make it easy to encrypt and decrypt a set of
files so the encrypted version can be maintained in the Git repository.
This feature will only work if the gpg(1) command is available.
To use this feature, a list of patterns must be created and saved as
$HOME/.yadm/encrypt. This list of patterns should be relative to the
configured work-tree (usually $HOME). For example:
The yadm encrypt command will find all files matching the patterns, and
prompt for a password. Once a password has confirmed, the matching
files will be encrypted and saved as $HOME/.yadm/files.gpg. The pat-
terns and files.gpg should be added to the yadm repository so they are
available across multiple systems.
To decrypt these files later, or on another system run yadm decrypt and
provide the correct password. After files are decrypted, permissions
are automatically updated as described in the PERMISSIONS section.
NOTE: It is recommended that you use a private repository when keeping
confidential files, even though they are encrypted.
When files are checked out of a Git repository, their initial permis-
sions are dependent upon the user's umask. This can result in confiden-
tial files with lax permissions.
To prevent this, yadm will automatically update the permissions of con-
fidential files. The "group" and "others" permissions will be removed
from the following files:
- $HOME/.yadm/files.gpg
- All files matching patterns in $HOME/.yadm/encrypt
- The SSH directory and files, .ssh/*
yadm will automatically update permissions by default. This can be dis-
abled using the configuration. Even if disabled, per-
missions can be manually updated by running yadm perms. The SSH direc-
tory processing can be disabled using the yadm.ssh-perms configuration.
Configuration file for yadm.
Git repository used by yadm.
List of globs used for encrypt/decrypt
All files encrypted with yadm encrypt are stored in this file.
yadm init
Create an empty repo for managing files
yadm add .bash_profile ; yadm commit
Add .bash_profile to the Git index and create a new commit
yadm remote add origin <url>
Add a remote origin to an existing repository
yadm push -u origin master
Initial push of master to origin
echo .ssh/*.key >> $HOME/.yadm/encrypt
Add a new pattern to the list of encrypted files
yadm encrypt ; yadm add ~/.yadm/files.gpg ; yadm commit
Commit a new set of encrypted files
Report issues or create pull requests at GitHub:
Tim Byrne <>
git(1), gpg(1)
Other management tools which inspired the creation of yadm:
homeshick <>
vcsh <>