A configuration file for a computer program. The name comes from the fact that the filenames usually began with a dot (.), to hide them on Unix systems. Typically, a program's dotfile is read when the program starts up and sets various variables and parameters. If you're using Unix or Linux and don't know what a dotfile is, try this command in your home directory:
ls -la
...and you'll probably see a few. Common examples:
dotfiles.org has a large collection of examples. Some dotfiles can go on for hundreds of lines, particularly .emacs files.

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