mainGNU Stow - Summary

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Id: 978
System Name: stow
Name: GNU Stow
Group Type: Official GNU software

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This software is part of the GNU Project.

GNU Stow 2.x

GNU Stow version 2 is in a GNU Savannah Git repository. The source package is available:

About Stow

GNU Stow is a symlink farm manager which takes distinct packages of software and/or data located in separate directories on the filesystem, and makes them appear to be installed in the same place. For example, /usr/local/bin could contain symlinks to files within /usr/local/stow/emacs/bin, /usr/local/stow/perl/bin etc., and likewise recursively for any other subdirectories such as .../share, .../man, and so on.

How Stow works

You install (often with GNU Make) your software into a repository directory (often /usr/local/stow).  You tell Stow where you want your software to belong, and Stow safely symbolically links it there. Stow doesn't install or remove your software - it only makes or removes symbolic links to your software, which always remains in the repository.


Let's install GNU Emacs 22.3 into /stow/emacs-22.3 and stow it into our root file system.

$ tar -xvf emacs-22.3.tar.gz
$ cd emacs-22.3
$ ./configure --prefix=/usr/local
$ make
$ su
# make DESTDIR=/stow/emacs-22.3 install
# stow --verbose --target=/ --dir=/stow emacs-22.3

Stow checks to see if emacs is already in your file system and stops if it there will be a conflict with an existing file. If not, Stow will safely and efficiently link your entire compiled Emacs package into your file system. For example, Stow will make a symbolic link from /usr/local/bin/emacs to /stow/emacs-22.3/usr/local/bin/emacs.

Let's unstow Emacs 22.3

$ su
# stow --verbose --delete --target=/ --dir=/stow emacs-22.3

In a blink of an eye Stow has removed all the symbolic links it created in the previous stow operation. The Emacs package remains at all times in /stow/emacs-22.3 should you wish to restow it.

Registration Date: Sun 23 Dec 2001 11:32:44 AM UTC
License: GNU General Public License v2 or later
Development Status: 5 - Production/Stable


Latest News rss feed
GNU Stow 2.4.0 released
     posted by aspiers, Sun 07 Apr 2024 11:22:19 PM UTC

Stow 2.4.0 has been released. This release contains some much-wanted bug-fixes — specifically, fixing the --dotfiles option to work with dot-foo directories, and avoiding a spurious warning when unstowing. There were also very many clean-ups and improvements, mostly internal and not visible to users. See for more details.

GNU Stow 2.3.1 released
     posted by aspiers, Sun 28 Jul 2019 01:43:29 PM UTC

This release improves ease of installation by dropping some module dependencies which were introduced in 2.3.0.  It also fixes an issue with the test suite, and improves the release procedure.  See for more details.

Also note that 2.3.0 was released last month (June 2019) and announced on the mailing lists but not here on savannah.

GNU Stow 2.2.2 released
     posted by aspiers, Mon 09 Nov 2015 09:46:24 PM UTC

After a long wait, this release contains a number of bug fixes and minor cleanups.

GNU Stow 2.2.0 released
     posted by aspiers, Sat 18 Feb 2012 08:56:48 PM UTC

This release introduces a long-wanted --no-folding option which disables the (re)folding which in some usage scenarios can be confusing or undesirable.  It also drops the abbreviated -a version of the --adopt option for safety reasons, and makes various improvements to the documentation, test suite, and command-line output.

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