Boxen is a framework and collection of libraries created by the fine folks
at GitHub to make setting up and managing Mac OS X computers easy and
repeatable. Rather than a simple set of shell scripts or other provisioning
tools, Boxen uses Puppet to automate installing and configuring software.
I don't have the time or space to explain how great Puppet is a configuration
management is, so you'll have to trust me or go do your own research.
Anybody could take a stab at rolling their own collection of Puppet manifests
to manage their laptop or their corporate install base. That's actually
exactly what GitHub did to create Boxen. Having tried (and failed) at doing
just that before I was pretty impressed when I gave Boxen a test drive. GitHub
has not only provided a system that "works for them"; they have also managed
to engineer a reasonably extensible solution for a very complex problem.
You can use your favorite search engine to find folks who can wax poetic about
the magnitude of this accomplishment. Let's get on with a description of what
I've been able to do with it.