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thoughtbot /laptop

A shell script to set up a macOS laptop for web and mobile development.

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Laptop is a script to set up a macOS laptop for web and mobile development.

It can be run multiple times on the same machine safely. It installs, upgrades, or skips packages based on what is already installed on the machine.


We support:

  • macOS Mavericks (10.9)
  • macOS Yosemite (10.10)
  • macOS El Capitan (10.11)
  • macOS Sierra (10.12)
  • macOS High Sierra (10.13)
  • macOS Mojave (10.14)

Older versions may work but aren't regularly tested. Bug reports for older versions are welcome.


Download the script:

curl --remote-name

Review the script (avoid running scripts you haven't read!):

less mac

Execute the downloaded script:

sh mac 2\>&1 | tee ~/laptop.log

Optionally, review the log:

less ~/laptop.log

Optionally, install thoughtbot/dotfiles.


Your last Laptop run will be saved to


. Read through it to see if you can debug the issue yourself. If not, copy the lines where the script failed into anew GitHub Issue for us. Or, attach the whole log file as an attachment.

What it sets up

macOS tools:

  • Homebrew for managing operating system libraries.

Unix tools:

  • Universal Ctags for indexing files for vim tab completion
  • Git for version control
  • OpenSSL for Transport Layer Security (TLS)
  • RCM for managing company and personal dotfiles
  • The Silver Searcher for finding things in files
  • Tmux for saving project state and switching between projects
  • Watchman for watching for filesystem events
  • Zsh as your shell

Heroku tools:

GitHub tools:

  • Hub for interacting with the GitHub API

Image tools:

Programming languages, package managers, and configuration:

  • asdf-vm for managing programming language versions
  • Bundler for managing Ruby libraries
  • Node.js and npm, for running apps and installing JavaScript packages
  • Ruby stable for writing general-purpose code
  • Yarn for managing JavaScript packages


  • Postgres for storing relational data
  • Redis for storing key-value data

It should take less than 15 minutes to install (depends on your machine).

Customize in




is run at the end of the Laptop script. Put your customizations there. For example:

#!/bin/sh brew bundle --file=- \<<eof brew eof default_docker_machine docker-machine ls grep if then create virtualbox default fi default_docker_machine_running start fancy_echo up old homebrew formulae ... cleanup cask dotfiles rcup>
<p>Write your customizations such that they can be run safely more than once.
See the </p>
<pre class="">mac</pre> script for examples.

<p>Laptop functions such as </p>
<pre class="">fancy_echo</pre> and
<pre class="">gem_install_or_update</pre>
can be used in your <pre class="">~/.laptop.local</pre>.

<p>See the <a href="">wiki</a>
for more customization examples.</p>


<p>Edit the </p>
<pre class="">mac</pre> file.
Document in the <pre class=""></pre> file.
Follow shell style guidelines by using <a href="">ShellCheck</a> and <a href="">Syntastic</a>.
<pre class="sh">brew install shellcheck
<p>Thank you, <a href="">contributors</a>!</p>

<p>By participating in this project,
you agree to abide by the thoughtbot <a href="">code of conduct</a>.</p>


<p>Laptop is © 2011-2020 thoughtbot, inc.
It is free software,
and may be redistributed under the terms specified in the <a href="">LICENSE</a> file.</p>

<h2>About thoughtbot</h2>

<p><img src="" alt="thoughtbot"></p>

<p>Laptop is maintained and funded by thoughtbot, inc.
The names and logos for thoughtbot are trademarks of thoughtbot, inc.</p>

<p>We are passionate about open source software.
See <a href="">our other projects</a>.
We are <a href="">available for hire</a>.</p>

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