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Customize your source directory

Use a subdirectory of your dotfiles repo as the root of the source state

By default, chezmoi uses the root of your dotfiles repo as the root of the source state. If your source state contains many entries in its root, then your target directory (usually your home directory) will in turn be filled with many entries in its root as well. You can reduce the number of entries by keeping .chezmoiignore up to date, but this can become tiresome.

Instead, you can specify that chezmoi should read the source state from a subdirectory of the source directory instead by creating a file called .chezmoiroot containing the relative path to this subdirectory.

For example, given:


Then chezmoi will read the source state from the home subdirectory of your source directory, for example the desired state of ~/.gitconfig will be read from ~/.local/share/chezmoi/home/dot_gitconfig (instead of ~/.local/share/chezmoi/dot_gitconfig).

When migrating an existing chezmoi dotfiles repo to use .chezmoiroot you will need to move the relevant files in to the new root subdirectory manually. You do not need to move files that are ignored by chezmoi in all cases (i.e. are listed in .chezmoiignore when executed as a template on all machines), and you can afterwards remove their entries from home/.chezmoiignore.

Use a different version control system to git

Although chezmoi is primarily designed to use a git repo for the source state, it does not require git and can be used with other version control systems, such as fossil or pijul.

The version control system is used in only three places:

  • chezmoi init will use git clone to clone the source repo if it does not already exist.
  • chezmoi update will use git pull by default to pull the latest changes.
  • chezmoi's auto add, commit, and push functionality use git status, git add, git commit and git push.

Using a different version control system (VCS) to git can be achieved in two ways.

Firstly, if your VCS is compatible with git's CLI, then you can set the git.command configuration variable to your VCS command and set useBuiltinGit to false.

Otherwise, you can use your VCS to create the source directory before running chezmoi init, for example:

$ fossil clone dotfiles.fossil
$ mkdir -p .local/share/chezmoi/.git
$ cd .local/share/chezmoi
$ fossil open ~/dotfiles.fossil
$ chezmoi init --apply


The creation of an empty .git directory in the source directory is required for chezmoi to be able to identify the work tree.

For updates, you can set the update.command and update.args configuration variables and chezmoi update will use these instead of git pull, for example:

    command = "fossil"
    args = ["update"]

Currently, it is not possible to override the auto add, commit, and push behavior for non-git VCSs, so you will have to commit changes manually, for example:

$ chezmoi cd
$ fossil add .
$ fossil commit