GNU Stow

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GNU Stow is a program for managing the installation of software packages, keeping them separate (/usr/local/stow/emacs vs. /usr/local/stow/perl, for example) while making them appear to be installed in the same place (/usr/local).

You can read the Stow manual (52k characters) on-line.

Stow is a Perl script which should run correctly under Perl 5.005 and above. You must install Perl before running Stow. For more information about Perl, see

Stow was inspired by Carnegie Mellon's Depot program, but is substantially simpler. Whereas Depot requires database files to keep things in sync, Stow stores no extra state between runs, so there's no danger (as there is in Depot) of mangling directories when file hierarchies don't match the database. Also unlike Depot, Stow will never delete any files, directories, or links that appear in a Stow directory (e.g., /usr/local/stow/emacs), so it's always possible to rebuild the target tree (e.g., /usr/local). Stow is free software, licensed under the GNU General Public License.

Please mail questions and comments to, and bug reports to For information regarding Stow development, check out our Savannah page.

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Copyright (C) 1996 Bob Glickstein
Copyright (C) 2001 Guillaume Morin

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