Tyrel's Blog

Code, Flying, Tech, Automation

Jan 10, 2023

Dotfiles - My 2022 Way

New Year's eve eve, my main portable computer crashed. Rebooting to Safe mode, I could mount this MacBook's hard drive long enough to SCP the files over the network to my server, but I had to start that over twice because it fell asleep. I don't have access to rsync in the "Network Recovery Mode" it seems - maybe I should look to see if next time I can install things, it's moot now.

I spent all January 1st evening working on learning how Nix works. Of course, I started with Nix on macOS (intel at least) so I had to also learn how nix-darwin works. I have my dotfiles set up to use Nix now, rather than an INSTALL.sh file that just sets a bunch of symlinks.

I played around for a litle bit with different structures, but what I ended up with by the end of the weekend was two bash scripts (still working on makefile, env vars are being funky) one for each operating system rebuild-macos.sh and rebuild-ubuntu.sh. For now I'm only Nixifying one macOS system and two Ubuntu boxes. Avoiding it on my work m1 Mac laptop, as I don't want to have to deal with managing synthetic.conf and mount points on a work managed computer. No idea how JAMF and Nix will fight.

My filetree currently looks like (trimmed out a host and a bunch of files in home/)

├── home
│   ├── bin/
│   ├── config/
│   ├── gitconfig
│   ├── gitignore
│   ├── gpg/
│   ├── hushlogin
│   └── ssh/
├── hosts/
│   ├── _common/
│   │   ├── fonts.nix
│   │   ├── home.nix
│   │   ├── programs.nix
│   │   └── xdg.nix
│   ├── ts-tl-mbp/
│   │   ├── brew.nix
│   │   ├── default.nix
│   │   ├── flake.lock
│   │   ├── flake.nix
│   │   ├── home-manager.nix
│   │   └── home.nix
│   └── x1carbon-ubuntu/
│       ├── default.nix
│       ├── flake.lock
│       ├── flake.nix
│       ├── home-manager.nix
│       └── home.nix
├── rebuild-macos.sh
└── rebuild-ubuntu.sh

Under hosts/ as you can see, I have a brew.nix file in my macbook pro's folder. This is how I install anything in homebrew. In my flake.nix for my macos folder I am using home-manager, nix-darwin, and nixpkgs. I provide this brew.nix to my darwinConfigurations and it will install anything I put in my brew nixfile.

I also have a _common directory in my hosts, this is things that are to be installed on EVERY machine. Things such as bat, wget, fzf, fish, etc. along with common symlinks and xdg-config links. My nvim and fish configs are installed and managed this way. Rather than need to maintain a neovim config for every different system, in the nix way, I can just manage it all in _common/programs.nix.

This is not "The Standard Way" to organize things, if you want more inspiration, I took a lot from my friend Andrey's Nixfiles. I was also chatting with him a bunch during this, so I was able to get three systems up and configured in a few days. After the first ubuntu box was configured, it was super easy to manage my others.

My home/ directory is where I store my config files. My ssh public keys, my gpg public keys, my ~/.<dotfiles> and my ~/.config/<files>. This doesn't really need any explaination, but as an added benefit is I also decided to LUA-ify my nvim configs the same weekend. But that's a story for another time.

I am at this time choosing not to do NixOS - and relying on Ubuntu for managing my OS. I peeked into Andrey's files, and I really don't want to have to manage a full system configuration, drivers, etc. with Nix. Maybe for the future - when my Lenovo X1 Carbon dies and I need to reinstall that though.

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