Filip Borkiewicz

Dotfile madness  ↦

Solid rant:

My own home directory contains 25 ordinary files and 144 hidden files. The dotfiles contain data that doesn’t belong to me: it belongs to the programmers whose programs decided to hijack the primary location designed as a storage for my personal files. I can’t place those dotfiles anywhere else and they will appear again if I try to delete them.

Let’s see here, in my $HOME directory:

ls -l | wc -l # => 18


ls -la | wc -l # => 114

96 hidden files! I guess it’s never really bothered me, but that is definitely excessive.

To those of you reading this: I beg you. Avoid creating files or directories of any kind in your user’s $HOME directory in order to store your configuration or data. This practice is bizarre at best and it is time to end it.

What do you think, is this a real issue or just a pet peeve?


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2019-02-08T17:09:11Z ago

What about this bothers you? In the ordinary course of using your home directory, you never see or interact with those files.

Jerod Santo

Jerod Santo

Omaha, Nebraska

Jerod co-hosts The Changelog, crashes JS Party, and takes out the trash (his old code) once in awhile.

2019-02-08T17:14:47Z ago

I have to agree. This has never bothered me. There have been a few times where I’d ls -a looking for a specific dotfile and struggle a bit to find it because of how many there are, but that is rare and not a huge deal.

That being said, I get it if it bothers folks and it was interesting to learn of the XDG stuff.

Adam Stacoviak

Adam Stacoviak

Austin, TX

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Changelog

2019-02-08T17:26:31Z ago

True…unless you’re lsing around your home directory.

For me it’s more of an annoyance to have files I don’t control cluttering up my user directory. It’d be nice if there was a standard like bin or something for dotfiles to collect in. That way they are at least contained and have a true home.

2019-02-08T18:27:25Z ago

I rarely ls -a unless I’m specifically looking for a dotfile, in which case I’m going to have the same issue whether or not they are in a subdirectory. I also don’t keep any actual files in $HOME - everything is relegated to subdirectories in $HOME

I do agree that being able to control where things end up (ala the XDG spec) would be potentially useful.

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