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Containers and VMs

You can use chezmoi to manage your dotfiles in GitHub Codespaces, Visual Studio Codespaces, and Visual Studio Code Remote - Containers.

For a quick start, you can clone the chezmoi/dotfiles repository which supports Codespaces out of the box.

The workflow is different to using chezmoi on a new machine, notably:

  • These systems will automatically clone your dotfiles repo to ~/dotfiles, so there is no need to clone your repo yourself.

  • The installation script must be non-interactive.

  • When running in a Codespace, the environment variable CODESPACES will be set to true. You can read its value with the env template function.

First, if you are using a chezmoi configuration file template, ensure that it is non-interactive when running in Codespaces, for example, .chezmoi.toml.tmpl might contain:

{{- $codespaces:= env "CODESPACES" | not | not -}}
sourceDir = {{ .chezmoi.sourceDir | quote }}

[data]
    name = "Your name"
    codespaces = {{ $codespaces }}
{{- if $codespaces }}{{/* Codespaces dotfiles setup is non-interactive, so set an email address */}}
    email = "your@email.com"
{{- else }}{{/* Interactive setup, so prompt for an email address */}}
    email = {{ promptString "email" | quote }}
{{- end }}

This sets the codespaces template variable, so you don't have to repeat (env "CODESPACES") in your templates. It also sets the sourceDir configuration to the --source argument passed in chezmoi init.

Second, create an install.sh script that installs chezmoi and your dotfiles and add it to .chezmoiignore and your dotfiles repo:

$ chezmoi generate install.sh > install.sh
$ chmod a+x install.sh
$ echo install.sh >> .chezmoiignore
$ git add install.sh .chezmoiignore
$ git commit -m "Add install.sh"

The generated script installs the latest version of chezmoi in ~/.local/bin if needed, and then chezmoi init ... invokes chezmoi to create its configuration file and initialize your dotfiles. --apply tells chezmoi to apply the changes immediately, and --source=... tells chezmoi where to find the cloned dotfiles repo, which in this case is the same folder in which the script is running from.

Finally, modify any of your templates to use the codespaces variable if needed. For example, to install vim-gtk on Linux but not in Codespaces, your run_once_install-packages.sh.tmpl might contain:

{{- if (and (eq .chezmoi.os "linux") (not .codespaces)) -}}
#!/bin/sh
sudo apt install -y vim-gtk
{{- end -}}
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