Speed up the setup of a new laptop with dotfiles

When you get a new laptop, there might be multiple things you do, such as:

  • setup the shell, with aliases, exports, functions, autocompletion
  • install desktop apps, like a browser, an editor, password manager
  • setup the system itself, such as disk encryption, shortcuts, hostname

If you have a new laptop every few years, or if you need to personalize multiple laptops at the same time, the personalization can be time consuming.

You can automate many of these tasks. Typically, in a hacker community, this is done via dotfiles: a set of scripts to bootstrap the system. Dotfiles can save you hours in the long-term, with a trade off of inital time investment. It might also be inspiring to look into other's dotfiles: that's how I discovered autojump, brew bundle, .macos,

Document how to install a tool. Quickly after having a new machine you feel like at home again.

  • Start with a simple system that works and grow incrementally from there
  • Spend appropriate time on setting up dotfiles, see xkcd.com/1205

https://www.defaults-write.com https://pawelgrzybek.com/change-macos-user-preferences-via-command-line/

Further reading:


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