pupfiles /

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Machine setup/sync scripts


This repository holds the public part of the setup and config files I use on my desktop machines. It requires nothing but a base (Arch Linux) installation, network access, and a copy of to be copied on the machine, and a few moments later, the entire machine is set up and ready to use with my favorite desktop environment, packages, application configuration, services, user accounts, SSH/PGP keys, network profiles, etc.


Unfortunately, this repository cannot be used as-is, because there is a private part to it. This is necessary because it includes user passwords, SSH private keys, etc. I do not want to expose these files to the whole Internet, so these are not in this repo. However, I understand that some people may want to use these scripts for their own purposes. To this end, I tried as hard as possible to make as many files public as possible, and I provide a directory layout of the private repository in the private-layout.txt file. It should give you an idea of what files it expects.

However, I still recommend that this repository should only be used as a source of inspiration, rather than as a source of actual code. It has some kludge-y and/or assumption-y parts about how things should behave.

Still, as far as usage goes, it's simple: Run as root. You don't even need a full copy of the Git repo, you just need this one file copied on the new machine, a working network connection (even if temporary through dhcpcd), and a base Arch install (base and base-devel).

Given these things, you can just run as root to start the process.

It will interactively ask for three things:

  • To "open the flood gates" (which basically means making the private repo public for a few seconds)
  • The decryption key to decrypt the files in the private repo
  • The name of the machine manifest to use (i.e. which profile to follow). Manifests are defined in the manifests folder.

Public/private repositories

This section documents the public/private splitting in more details, because there is no such thing as security though obscurity.

There are two repositories:

  • git:// is the main, public repository: it contains the cleartext files that you see next to this README file. It contains the vast majority of the files required for the system to work.
  • git:// is the private repository. It contains all files that I'd rather not make public, such as SSH keys, GPG keys, distribution-restricted files, etc. All files in there are encrypted.

This repository is usually only accessible over SSH (through However, when you run, it assumes that it is being run on a new machine (that's the purpose of this whole system, anyway) which necessarily doesn't have any SSH keys on it. Thus, it asks for the private repository to be opened for a few moments so that it can clone it locally. Once it has done so, it asks for the private repository to be closed, and it asks for the decryption key used to encrypt the files in the private repository. One of these files is an SSH key named ssh.key which has access to the private repository over SSH. Thus, if the correct decryption key is provided, the machine now has a copy of ssh.key and no longer needs the private repository to be opened to the public.

I believe this system is secure enough. Of course, it is vulnerable to someone constantly trying to clone the private repository, hoping to clone it in the small timeframe during which it is open, but hopefully xinetd will throttle them to make this attack unsuccessful. In the event that the attack is successful, it would still require massive amounts of computational power to decrypt all the files.

The encryption used on the files is done using scrypt (which is a very slow key derivation function used to get the actual encryption key of the AES256-CTR stream), such that it would not be a catastrophe if someone were to get a copy of a file from the private repository. The scripts taking care of the encryption and decryption are util/ and util/ respectively.


This repository is licensed under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license. Check the LICENSE file for more information.