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Sharing dotfiles between diverse accounts

I have about four completely different login accounts that I use
regularly.  They may as well be in separate universes; one is on my
laptop, for example, while another will let me log in on most of the
machines on the main MIT campus (with a fairly non-standard filesystem
setup).  Regardless, though, there are several very portable things
I'd like to share, like my two-line .screenrc, or my Emacs

In my ideal world, I'd like some sort of update system where I can
change a dotfile on one machine and everything magically changes
elsewhere.  Using something like rsync or CVS might work for this; I'd
prefer to not have to type changelog comments (this could be worked
around) or deal with merge conflicts (probably unavoidable).  Also
ideally, I wouldn't have to type a password, but I don't think there's
a good long-term reliable solution here (by far the most reliable
place to keep, say, a CVS repository is on MIT's Athena system, but I
can't use ssh RSA authentication and the various Kerberos-based
services don't quite seem commonplace enough).

This seems like a common enough problem that anybody sufficiently
geeky (say, who has a Debian machine at home and some Unixy machine at
work/school) would have run into it.  Are there any pre-canned, or at
least not-too-groady home-baked solutions out there?

(Other thoughts: I don't want a solution where I run 'cvs update' and
'cvs commit' directly in my home directory, because then CVS will want
to scan my entire account, possibly including the CVS root directory.
Using CVS in some other directory and then semiautomatically setting
up symlinks to there is gross, but workable, except that there's at
least one program I use routinely that unlinks its dotfile before
writing it, effectively desymlinkifying things.  I could in principle
set up AFS everywhere that matters, but in practice I've run into
issues unloading the openafs kernel modules before [issueful if I need
to kick my laptop's networking] and I have less control over my work
machine than I'd like.  And, of course, it goes without saying that
people who aren't me shouldn't be able to modify the dotfiles.)


David Maze         dmaze@debian.org      http://people.debian.org/~dmaze/
"Theoretical politics is interesting.  Politicking should be illegal."
	-- Abra Mitchell

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