Get your own dotfiles

Josh Sherman
2 min read
Command-line Interface

These are my dotfiles. There are many like them, but these are mine.

A lot of folks do it. They publish their dotfiles because they want other people to enjoy them. Free as in Freedom and all of that.

And there’s not a damn thing wrong with that workflow.

I share my dotfiles because I want other people to be able to learn from them. I want everybody on the planet to be as productive as possible (also why I started CrowdSync ;)

The thing is, even though I do believe that dotfiles are meant to be forked, there is a basic level of understanding that people should have before they are blindly pulling in somebody else’s hackery.

I’ve experienced this first hand at least a few times. Somebody will grab all of my dotfiles and not realize half of what they have available to them.

It’s great for me because I can sit down behind somebody’s keyboard and all of my custom aliases just work. Sucks when I find out that they had no idea that those shortcuts were available to them.

You shouldn’t use somebody else’s dotfiles if you’re not going to take the time to fully realize what’s going on with them.

If nothing else, all of that extra magic comes with overhead that you shouldn’t be carrying around if you’re not going to be using it. It’s also why I’ve sworn off things like Oh My Zsh, Tmux Package Manager and Vundle.

Pesonally speaking, I want my dotfiles to be as trim and fine tuned to me and my quirks as humanly possible.

Next time you’re thinking about forking my (or anybody else’s) dotfiles, consider going through and just cherry picking the things you want to be using.

At the very least, make sure you’ve got a full understanding of what you’re pulling in so that you can get the most out of it instead of just lugging around somebody else’s bag of tricks.

My dotfiles may be a bit on the sparse side but I am always looking for ways to improve them. I’d love to hear your favorite hacks so comment them below!

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About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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