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Chezmoi stores the desired state of your dotfiles in the directory ~/.local/share/chezmoi. When you run chezmoi apply, chezmoi calculates the desired contents for each of your dotfiles and then makes the minimum changes required to make your dotfiles match your desired state.

What I like:

What I don't like:


I've added some useful aliases:

alias ce='chezmoi edit'
alias ca='chezmoi add'
alias cdiff='chezmoi diff'
alias cdata='chezmoi edit-config'
alias capply='chezmoi apply'
alias cexternal='nvim ~/.local/share/chezmoi/.chezmoiexternal.yaml'

Basic Usage

First install

Assuming that you have already installed chezmoi, initialize chezmoi with:

$ chezmoi init

This will create a new git local repository in ~/.local/share/chezmoi where chezmoi will store its source state. By default, chezmoi only modifies files in the working copy.

Manage your first file with chezmoi:

$ chezmoi add ~/.bashrc

This will copy ~/.bashrc to ~/.local/share/chezmoi/dot_bashrc.

Edit the source state:

$ chezmoi edit ~/.bashrc

This will open ~/.local/share/chezmoi/dot_bashrc in your $EDITOR. Make some changes and save the file.

See what changes chezmoi would make:

$ chezmoi diff

Apply the changes:

$ chezmoi -v apply

Sometimes the diff is too big and you need to work with it chuck by chunk. For each change you can either:

  • chezmoi add <target> if you want to keep the changes you've manually made to the files that match the <target>.
  • chezmoi apply <target> if you want to apply the changes that chezmoi proposes for the <target>.

Here <target> is any directory or file listed in the diff.

All chezmoi commands accept the -v (verbose) flag to print out exactly what changes they will make to the file system, and the -n (dry run) flag to not make any actual changes. The combination -n -v is very useful if you want to see exactly what changes would be made.

Next, open a shell in the source directory, to commit your changes:

$ chezmoi cd
$ git add .
$ git commit -m "Initial commit"

Create a new repository on your desired git server called dotfiles and then push your repo:

$ git remote add origin$GIT_USERNAME/dotfiles.git
$ git branch -M main
$ git push -u origin main

Hint: chezmoi can be configured to automatically add, commit, and push changes to your repo.

Finally, exit the shell in the source directory to return to where you were:

$ exit

Install a binary from an external url

Sometimes you may want to install some binaries from external urls, for example velero a backup tool for kubernetes. And you may want to be able to define what version you want to have and be able to update it at will.

To do that we can define the version in the configuration with chezmoi edit-config

  velero_version: 1.9.5

All the variables you define under the data field are globally available on all your templates.

Then we can set the external configuration of chezmoi by editing the file ~/.config/chezmoi/.chezmoiexternal.yaml and add the next snippet:

  type: "file"
  url:{{ .velero_version }}/velero-v{{ .velero_version }}-{{ .chezmoi.os }}-{{ .chezmoi.arch }}.tar.gz
  executable: true
  refreshPeriod: 168h
    command: tar
      - --extract
      - --file
      - /dev/stdin
      - --gzip
      - --to-stdout
      - velero-v{{ .velero_version }}-{{ .chezmoi.os }}-{{ .chezmoi.arch }}/velero

This will download the binary of version 1.9.5 from the source, unpack it and extract the velero binary and save it to ~/.local/bin/velero.