but that was my $HOME

  • I’m a linux user …In fact, I’ve been using linux for a long time – my first account on a Linux box was at least a year before 1.0 came out.
  • I’m a bit of a hoarder …arguably more than a “bit”, actually.

Combine these two points, and I can point to dotfiles in my $HOME directory that date back over a decade. In fact, the oldest four date to 2001…

How has this come about? Well, as I’ve upgraded machines over the years, I’ve carried my $HOME with me. After all, it has my stuff in it!  Including my customisations. The .bash_profile (2001) for instance, contains the last iteration of my bash prompt before I moved to zsh. (my current zsh prompt can trace it’s derivation through bash in 2001, all the way back to a 4DOS prompt configuration that I set up around 1994. For the record, I’ve searched for my old 4DOS configurations, but failed to find them.)

I have dotfiles from obscure chat programs that I no longer use (.goofeypw – 2002), from apps I’ve forgotten I ever used (.coldsyncrc – 2003), apps I’ve long avoided using (.lynxrc – 2005), and so on. In some cases they’re newer files from a utility I still use, but which has changed where it keeps it’s dotfile data:

-rw-r--r-- 23 nemo 24576 Oct  6  2009 .clivecache
-rw-r--r-- 23 nemo    43 Oct  6  2009 .clivelast

-rw-r--r-- 2 nemo 364544 Dec 19 22:16 .cache/clive/cache
-rw-r--r-- 2 nemo     26 Dec 19 22:17 .cache/clive/last

Worst though, is that some of this dotfile cruft causes issues with current apps, since they sometimes attempt to maintain backwards compatibility with older configurations. Notably, I once had competing flash plugins in firefox – which had the effect that one flash-video based website would refuse to play videos and tell me I had to upgrade to flash 9, whilst about:plugins would happily announce that I HAD flash9. From memory, it was fixed when I found and removed an old flash8 .so that I found sitting in ~/.netscape. Ouch! Other similar oddities have crept into my Gnome2 configuration also, but have as yet resisted resolution.

All of this has driven me to ask…

Am considering a complete $HOME dotfile cruft purge. Reconfigure from scratch all but vitals (eg: .ssh) Anyone else done this? !lazyweb
@nemo / identi.ca – July 2011

Now fast forward to Christmas 2011. Now. A system drive crashed and whilst the two RAID1s that constitute the basis of my $HOME LVM were not lost, one did seem a little funny, so I’ve taken the opportunity to wipe both, and to restore my $HOME from backups.

…and in doing so, to also clear my dotfile cruft – only importing what I need, and taking the effort to clean up the configuration of apps which have spaghetti conf files. (mutt, I’m looking at you especially!)

This is my $HOME. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

…and I’m rebuilding it.

This is my story.

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