Personal Dotfiles management
Given that they are all “configuration management” tools - meaning they are designed to deploy, configure and manage servers - what would be the simplest - and yet robust - solution to manage personal dotfiles - for n00bs.
Ideally, I reckon, it should:
- be containerized (Docker?)
- be versionable (Git)
- ensure idempotency
- allow full automation (tests, CI/CD, etc.)
- be fully recoverable (Linux/ macOS)
- be easier to setup/manage (as much as possible)
Does it make sense?
Chef is a definite no-go for me. I learned it the hard way (ie. got a few tasks in a prod system) and it took quite a lot to grasp it on an acceptable level. Ansible in turn is much more straightforward and much easier to test.
I recommend whatever you are most comfortable with/whatever might already be installed in the system. Note that, for personal dotfiles, it does not need to be containerized or have full automation/testing. It just needs to handle multiple OS and platform and be idempotent. Git will handle the heavy lifting. Note that you'll have to separate out certain files like the private SSH keys and write your CM so that it will pull it from another store or assist in manually importing them.
I personally use Ansible since it is a serverless design and is in Python, which I prefer to Ruby. Saltstack was too new when I started to port my dotfile management scripts from shell into a configuration management tool. I think any of the above is fine.