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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Synching your enviroment around

Ubuntu 9.10 has just came out & iv rushed to upgrade, upgrading my 9.04 to 9.10 via the upgrade manager is a working option but usually id rather do a clean install & get a fresh system to poke around.
The main issue that clean install brings is restoring your old environment which includes installed programs, settings files (.bashrc, .vimrc etc..), non packaged applications (usually the latest & greatest versions of Clojure, Groovy etc..).
Another issue is the need to restore these settings on multiple machines while keeping it all consistent between them, there must a better way than working it all manually!

Well the solution that iv come with involve two tools, Dropbox & AutomateIt, Dropbox is no more than a fancy folder to the cloud synchronizer which enables me to access all my settings file from any machine, lsym-ing my .bashrc, .vimrc & any other file that id like to share across machines into the Dropbox folder is all that is required.

The second part involves AutomateIt, which is a configuration management framework written in Ruby, an easy way of re-creating symlinks from my Dropbox folder onto a new system is using the following AutomateIt script:

DROP = "#{HOME}/Private/Dropbox"

def link(src,dst)

# Vim
link "vim/.vimrc",".vimrc"
link "vim/.vim",".vim"
link "vim/.vimclojure-2.1.2",".vimclojure"
# Bash
link "BashEnv/.bashrc",".bashrc"
link "BashEnv/.inputrc",".inputrc"
# Languages
link "prog-langs/.clojure",".clojure"
link "prog-langs/.groovy",".groovy"
link "prog-langs/.jruby",".jruby"

The nice thing about it is that it hides all the nitty gritty details that id have to figure out when using plain Ruby (or any other environment for that matter), AutomateIt wraps common tasks with a bash like DSL, unlike bash this DSL is portable across multiple unix systems & it hides many of the complexities that follow.
AutomateIt performs actions only when they are required, this solves annoying cases that rise when scripts run more than once on a system (e.g. appending text to files).

Another cool feature is package management, AutomateIt is capable of interacting with multiple packaging systems (yum, apt, gem etc..) in a transparent way, its easy to replicate installed packages onto multiple systems:

# bash
%w(terminator rlwrap).each{ |p| package_manager.install p}

# programming
%w(vim git-core).each{ |p| package_manager.install p}

# communication
%w(deluge openssh-server).each{ |p| package_manager.install p}

# misc
%w(gpodder gnome-do).each{ |p| package_manager.install p}

# installing dropbox
download_manager.download 'http://www.getdropbox.com/download?dl=packages/nautilus-dropbox_0.6.1_i386_ubuntu_9.10.deb' , :to => '/tmp/nautilus-dropbox_0.6.1_i386_ubuntu_9.10.deb'
package_manager.install ({'nautilus-dropbox' => '/tmp/nautilus-dropbox_0.6.1_i386_ubuntu_9.10.deb'} , :with => :dpkg)

Using these tools has made configuration nirvana a bit closer to me & hopefully to you :)

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