When I work, I often have to switch computers or virtual machines which means that every time I switch, I have to set up my (Linux) environment again.

Is there a tool (in contrast to a simple bash script) that I could use, that would automatically set up my environment?

The setup would consist of installing Debian packages, importing .bash_profile (aliases, functions), environment variables, add lines/fill-in config files, etc...

  • 1
    For all mutual files in the home directory I would suggest to place them in a centralized repo and pull them (e.g. via git or scp) on each host. For system-wide software this seems to be more complicated, since different distributions have different package names and even within the same distribution the package names are not the same for each architecture.
    – Marco
    Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 0:15
  • I've seen this crossposted in another SE group....that is BAD form.
    – mdpc
    Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 3:37

1 Answer 1


This problem has bugged many an admin/power user. The most common solutions I am aware of involve some kind of server that you will always have access to and then some git repo on there or a http folder with everything you need. These can then of course include a shell script that also installs all the necessary packages for you.

I personally used the latter and am thinking about switching to the former, since a lot of friends and colleagues keep telling me why it's better. It only takes effort once really and you will have a great time saver.

  • Ok, thank you both Max and Marco for your quick answer ! I guess that a git server will be my best option then. Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 0:19

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