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Sorry if this is a super naive/dumb question, but why wouldn't I simply write a "build" script that copies files out of my dotfile repo to where they're supposed to go?

The copies get out of sync, if you edit ~/.vimrc instead of ~/projects/dotfiles/vimrc you will have a hard time keeping all of your systems in sync.

Replace copies with links and you are golden. Yeah, you can write a simple script to create those links for you, but Stow seems pretty full featured.

1) It's cumbersome, and you'll need to specially handle things like deleting files. I personally wouldn't be comfortable having a homebaked script rm stuff in my home directory.

2) By using copies instead of symlinks you'll need to run your script Everytime you make changes and be careful to edit only your clone instead of the target location.

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