A fast and easy bootstrap for my dotfiles that also acts as a simple management script once installed. Bootstrapping is as simple as:

curl https://dots.00dani.me | zsh 

If you’re wary about piping scripts into your shell - you should be - then feel free to download the script and check it out first. dots is designed to crash harmlessly rather than run something dangerous if curl is interrupted, however.

curl https://dots.00dani.me > dots 
less dots 
# reviewing ... looks okay! 
zsh dots 

When run through either of these methods, dots will install itself, GNU Stow (if not already installed globally), and my configuration for git, vim, and zsh.

By default, packages are installed by dots to ~/dotfiles and then linked into ~ using Stow. Environment variables are available for customising this behaviour.

Environment Variables

  • DOTFILES - the location to clone new packages. Defaults to ~/dotfiles. Don’t set it to ~, because that’ll just be super confusing.
  • DOTS_SOURCE_PREFIX - a URL prefix that will be prepended to simple package names, like “git” and “vim”. Defaults to https://git.00dani.me/dot. You might want to change this to point at your own Git hosting.
  • STOW - which GNU Stow binary to use. Defaults to stow. You probably don’t need to change this.
  • HOME - the target directory for linking packages. Probably not a good idea to change this either.


Much like git and many other tools, dots is based around subcommands for accessing particular functions. The available commands are:


Set up dotfiles on a brand-new system. Will create a DOTFILES package directory, clone GNU Stow into it if necessary, clone itself and other default packages, and then link everything using Stow. This is the default command if dots is run on a system where DOTFILES doesn’t already exist, leading to the succinct bootstrap snippet shown above.


Will clone one or more packages specified into your DOTFILES directory. Packages must be specified as Git repository URLs, but two forms of shorthand are supported:

  • GitHub package paths: “sharkdp/bat”, “hlandau/acmetool”. “https://github.com/” will automatically be prepended to find the correct GitHub repository.
  • Simple package names: “git”, “emacs”, “task”. The entire DOTS_SOURCE_PREFIX is prepended to these names, hopefully producing a URL that points to your self-hosted Git service.


Will simply run git fetch -p for each of the specified package names. If there are no package names provided, will implicitly run over all packages.


Will employ GNU Stow to symlink each of the packages specified by name into your HOME. If no package names are provided, will implicitly link all packages.

Additionally, unstow and restow commands are available with the same interface. These three commands correspond to the -S, -D, and -R modes Stow can be run in.


Very similar to fetch. Will simply run git pull for each of the specified package names. If there are no package names provided, will implicitly run over all packages.


Can be abbreviated to st. Will list all packages you have cloned into your dotfiles directory, along with their Git status (whether the working directory is clean, whether there are commits to push or pull, that sort of thing). This command is the default if you have already bootstrapped.