What does chezmoi do?
chezmoi helps you manage your personal configuration files (dotfiles, like
~/.gitconfig) across multiple machines.
chezmoi is helpful if you have spent time customizing the tools you use (e.g. shells, editors, and version control systems) and want to keep machines running different accounts (e.g. home and work) and/or different operating systems (e.g. Linux, macOS, and Windows) in sync, while still being able to easily cope with differences from machine to machine.
chezmoi scales from the trivial (e.g. copying a few dotfiles onto a Raspberry
Pi, development container, or virtual machine) to complex long-lived
multi-machine development environments (e.g. keeping any number of home and
work, Linux, macOS, and Windows machines in sync). In all cases you only need
to maintain a single source of truth (a single branch in git) and getting
started only requires adding a single binary to your machine (which you can do
chezmoi has strong support for security, allowing you to manage secrets (e.g. passwords, access tokens, and private keys) securely and seamlessly using a password manager and/or encrypt whole files with your favorite encryption tool.
If you do not personalize your configuration or only ever use a single operating system with a single account and none of your dotfiles contain secrets then you don't need chezmoi. Otherwise, read on...
What are chezmoi's key features?
You can share as much configuration across machines as you want, while still
being able to control machine-specific details.Your dotfiles can be templates
text/template syntax). Predefined
variables allow you to change behavior depending on operating system,
architecture, and hostname. chezmoi runs on all commonly-used platforms, like
Linux, macOS, and Windows. It also runs on less commonly-used platforms, like
FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and Termux.
Personal and secure
Nothing leaves your machine, unless you want it to. Your configuration remains in a git repo under your control. You can write the configuration file in the format of your choice. chezmoi can retrieve secrets from 1Password, AWS Secrets Manager, Bitwarden, gopass, KeePassXC, Keeper, LastPass, pass, passhole, Vault, Keychain, Keyring, or any command-line utility of your choice. You can encrypt individual files with GnuPG or age. You can checkout your dotfiles repo on as many machines as you want without revealing any secrets to anyone.
chezmoi includes verbose and dry run modes so you can review exactly what changes it will make to your home directory before making them. chezmoi's source format uses only regular files and directories that map one-to-one with the files, directories, and symlinks in your home directory that you choose to manage. If you decide not to use chezmoi in the future, it is easy to move your data elsewhere.
Declarative and robust
You declare the desired state of files, directories, and symbolic links in your source of truth and chezmoi updates your home directory to match that state. What you want is what you get. chezmoi updates all files and symbolic links atomically. You will never be left with incomplete files that could lock you out, even if the update process is interrupted.
Fast and easy to use
Using chezmoi feels like using git: the commands are similar and chezmoi runs in fractions of a second. chezmoi makes most day-to-day operations one line commands, including installation, initialization, and keeping your machines up-to-date. chezmoi can pull and apply changes from your dotfiles repo in a single command, and automatically commit and push changes.