Updating your system with skel and still keeping your own settings


When a Linux system is installed all the files and folders located in the folder /etc/skel will be transferred to the home directory of the user.

Skel stands for skeleton.

It is the developersĀ  intention that you have these files and folders. That is for example very important for Tiling Window Managers (TWM). Without the configuration files of a TWM nothing would work.

But what if you stay rolling?
Meaning: you do not do a clean install.

The updates will be installed in /etc/skel and these updates are invisible for the user and will never be used by the system.

As a rule we do not write in your home directory.

In order to have the latest configurations we used to manually copy all files/folders from /etc/skel to your home directory.

Since this is quite tedious we created an alias.

The alias called skel was created

Typing “skel” in the terminal results in :

  • a backup of your current .config folder to save your settings
  • copy all the files/folders from /etc/skel to your home directory
  • only files that exist in /etc/skel will be overwritten in your home directory

“Skel” has been created forĀ  developers and betatesters.

It is a quick and easy way to copy the new configurations we need in order to try them out.

Before we had the alias skel, we actually compared folders with the application Meld.

You can do a skel once a week or once a month or never.


How to quickly restore your settings after a skel?

Set the computer the way you want.

Then go to your .config folder and also .local folder and just make a copy of these two.
Then do a skel.
Then compare your .config and .config copy with each other with Meld.

This does not take very long and you learn the code in this manner.

Watch the video to analyze the new code coming in.

SKEL became a script in May 2022

Still not clear?

Here is the Playlist of skel on Youtube