Configuration Files

There are three types of configuration files for unburden-home-dir:

Global Xsession Hook Configuration File

  • /etc/default/unburden-home-dir

It is sourced by unburden-home-dir’s Xsession hook and configures the global on-login behaviour.

Recognized Settings

  • UNBURDEN_HOME: If set to yes, unburden-home-dir will run for all users upon X login.
  • UNBURDEN_BASENAME: Sets the basename of the configuration files to use. Defaults to unburden-home-dir. Equivalent to the -b commandline option.

General Configuration File

  • /etc/unburden-home-dir (Global configuration file)
  • ~/.unburden-home-dir (Per user configuration file)
  • ~/.config/unburden-home-dir/config (XDG style per user configuration file)

All three file are parsed by Config::File in the above given order.

Recognized Settings

The files may contain one or more of the following settings:

  • TARGETDIR: To where the files should be unburdened, e.g. TARGETDIR=/tmp orTARGETDIR=/scratch
  • FILELAYOUT: File name template for the target locations.
  • UNBURDEN_HOME: For per user activation of unburden-home-dir upon X login, UNBURDEN_HOME=yes (see above) may be used in the per-user configuration files, too.

Format Strings

The FILELAYOUT variable knows about these format strings replaced by the according values from the user running unburden-home-dir:

  • %u is replaced by the user name.
  • %i is replaced by the user id.
  • %s is replaced by the target identifier defined in the list file.


  • FILELAYOUT='.unburden-%u/%s'
  • FILELAYOUT='unburden/%u/%s'
  • FILELAYOUT='%i/unburden/%s (Example for TARGETDIR=/run/user)

List Files

unburden-home-dir looks at the following places for list of files to take care of:

  • /etc/unburden-home-dir.list (Global list of files to take care of)
  • ~/.unburden-home-dir.list (Per user list of files to take care of)
  • ~/.config/unburden-home-dir/list (XDG style per user list of files to take care of)

File Format of unburden-home-dir.list

unburden-home-dir.list lists files and directories to take care of and how to take care of them.

Each lines contains space separated values. The columns are interpreted as follows:

  1. column: Action (d/r or m: delete/remove or move; the first two are equivalent)
  2. column: Type (d, D, f or F: directory or file, capital letter means “create it if it doesn’t exist”)
  3. column: Path relative to $HOME to move off to some other location.
  4. column: Identifier for file or directory in the other location.

The (partial) path names given in the third and fourth column initially must be of the type declared in the second column, i.e. you can’t list a file’s name in the third column but then only give the path to the subdirectory to where it should be unburden in the fourth column. The fourth column must contain the path to the symlink target itself, too.

What To Unburden?

The Debian package comes with a lot of commented examples in /etc/unburden-home-dir.list. See etc/unburden-home-dir.list in the Git repository or source tar ball.

A good start for checking what kind of caches you have in your own home directory is running

find ~ -type d -iname ‘cache‘ -not -path ‘/.git/‘ -not -path ‘/.hg/‘ -print0 | xargs -0 du -sh | sort -h

Older versions of the sort utility (e.g. GNU Coreutils versions before 7.5, i.e. before Debian 6.0 Squeeze) don’t have the -h option. In that case drop the -h from the du call as well and use sort -n instead:

find ~ -type d -iname ‘cache‘ -not -path ‘/.git/‘ -not -path ‘/.hg/‘ -print0 | xargs -0 du -s | sort -n

Or check Mundus Project’s modules which cache files they would clean up.

Example Configuration Files

See /usr/share/doc/unburden-home-dir/examples/ on debianoid installations or etc/ in the source tar ball for example files.

User Contributed Examples and Setups