1 May 2012

OS X Spring Nuking

Sometimes you just get fed up with your broke-ass environment and you need to start over. Despite best intentions, you temporarily lose your vigilance, and you end up with macports and homebrew on your machine at the same time. Strange poltergeists creep into your machine and start warning you about Nokogiri every time you execute rails. Command-T completely refuses to work for no good reason, and you become suspicious, which’ing and –version’ing every call. Your home dir has accumulated so much junk, tab completion has become useless.

Stop the insanity. Nuke it all. And by nuke, I mean delete everything and re- install OS X. I’ve always been a fan of starting from scratch, and the best thing about nuking is, the more you do it, the easier it is. My latest foray has been my finest to date, thanks to a short consultation with Chris Moore, a connessuier of nuking the things.

After moving all my keeper stuff offshore, to Dropbox or whatnot, I wiped out my hard drive and reinstalled Lion (hold Command-R during restart). I did the Mac setup stuff and once I was able to hit Safari, I found myself installing a few desktop apps, 1Password was needed almost immediately. Shout- out to SizeUp, apparently I can’t live without it either.

I didn’t import all of my old 1Password data back in, because, surprisingly, my 1Password was also a horrific mess. So my strategy is to pull things from offshore as I realize I need them, which is rarely. More often than not, I find myself just resetting all of my online passwords, it’s easier than importing and it doesn’t seem like a terrible practice.

My next step was to start using Time Machine. I’ve stopped using it in the past because I was doing it wrong. At this point in the process, it seemed pretty essential to be able to roll back because installing code is like adding salt, it’s very easy to do it, not so much the reverse.

The big exciting next step, on Chris’s suggestion, was to install Cinderella for Mac OSX (previously Cider). I was really hoping this was going to work out, and it did. It only required Xcode, so I installed the latest.

Cinderella is a gem, that utilizes homebrew and chef to install all of the things. Namely: Ruby, Python, Node, Erlang, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Redis, Riak, Elastic Search, Memcached, and MongoDB. Do I need all of those things? No. Do I need one third of them? Almost. Have I worked with some of these things in the past, and do I not wholly reject using any of them in the future? Yes. Do I respect the idea of some of these things and fantasize about someday becoming the master of them? Yes. Would I like to just set this thing to run for a couple hours and play games on my iPhone? Yes. Carry on.

So I immediately encountered some sad stuff on attempting to install the gem. The issue and fix are outlined here. Look for the post by cpeterson, in which you install “Command Line Tools” via an Xcode menu.

Once that was cleared up, it took a while, but with two commands Cinderella installed and set up all of those things, not to mention homebrew and rbenv, and put it all in ~/Developer. Quite tidy.

Cinderella finished, I cloned one of our Rails projects, did some obligatory set up and was running it without issue. Validated, I’ve just implemented Chris’s final pro-tip, which was to version all of my dot files. I’ve just committed and pushed my vim, bash, and git configs.

I love how the last step is already preparing me for the inevitable, I can hardly wait to nuke again. When you’ve come to terms with the fact, like me, that you are a messy piggy of a developer sometimes, or you accept the fact that you’re still trying to get a handle on Unix best practices, just resolve to become really good at cleaning your pen.

Heads up! This article may make reference to the Gaslight team—that's still us! We go by Launch Scout now, this article was just written before we re-introduced ourselves. Find out more here.

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