cdist configuration management Latest manual: Home page:
You cannot select more than 25 topics Topics must start with a letter or number, can include dashes ('-') and can be up to 35 characters long.
Go to file
Steven Armstrong b5b7d8e727 add missing return_output=True argument when fetching script content
Signed-off-by: Steven Armstrong <>
12 years ago
bin add missing import 12 years ago
conf bugfix: use -gt when comparing int values 12 years ago
doc add full output of error 12 years ago
lib/cdist add missing return_output=True argument when fetching script content 12 years ago
other add banner to tests again 12 years ago
.gitignore Merge branch 'master' into split_into_modules 12 years ago
README Finished Mac OS X installation 12 years ago
build build does not need suffix .sh 12 years ago


[[!meta title="cdist - usable configuration management"]]

                 ..          .       .x+=:.        s   
               dF           @88>    z`    ^%      :8  
              '88bu.        %8P        .   <k    .88 
          .   '*88888bu      .       .@8Ned8"   :888ooo
     .udR88N    ^"*8888N   .@88u   .@^%8888"  -*8888888
    <888'888k  beWE "888L ''888E` x88:  `)8b.   8888
    9888 'Y"   888E  888E   888E  8888N=*8888   8888
    9888       888E  888E   888E   %8"    R88   8888
    9888       888E  888F   888E    @8Wou 9%   .8888Lu=
    ?8888u../ .888N..888    888&  .888888P`    ^%888*
     "8888P'   `"888*""     R888" `   ^"F        'Y" 
       "P'        ""         ""  

[[!toc levels=3]]

## Introduction

cdist is an alternative to other configuration management systems like
and [puppet](
But cdist ticks differently, here is the feature set that makes it unique: 

[[!table  data="""
Keywords | Description
Simplicity | There is only one type to extend cdist called ***type***
Design | Type and core cleanly seperated
Design | Sticks completly to the KISS (keep it simple and stupid) paradigma
Design | Meaningful error messages - do not lose time debugging error messages
Design | Consistency in behaviour, naming and documentation
Design | No surprise factor: Only do what is obviously clear, no magic
Design | Define target state, do not focus on methods or scripts
Design | Push architecture: Instantly apply your changes
Small core | cdist's core is very small - less code, less bugs
Fast development | Focus on straightforwardness of type creation is a main development objective
Modern Programming Language | cdist is written in Python
Requirements, Scalability | No central server needed, cdist operates in push mode and can be run from any computer
Requirements, Scalability, Upgrade | cdist only needs to be updated on the master, not on the target hosts
Requirements, Security | Uses well-know [SSH]( as transport protocol
Requirements, Simplicity | Requires only shell and SSH server on the target
UNIX | Reuse of existing tools like cat, find, mv, ...
UNIX, familar environment, documentation | Is available as manpages and HTML
UNIX, simplicity, familar environment | cdist is configured in POSIX shell

### Documentation

The cdist documentation is included as manpages in the distribution.

 * You can [browse the documentation of the latest version online](man) as well.
 * Or you can watch the youtube **video**
[cdist installation and first usage in less than 60 seconds][
 * Have a look at the [given speeches](speeches)

### OS support

cdist was tested or is know to run on at least

 * [Archlinux](
 * [Debian](
 * [Fedora](
 * [Gentoo](
 * [Mac OS X](
 * [OpenBSD](
 * [Redhat](
 * [Ubuntu](

## Requirements

### Server

 * A posix like shell
 * Python (>= 3.2 required)
 * SSH-Client
 * Asciidoc (for building the manpages)

### Client ("target host")

 * A posix like shell
 * SSH-Server

## Installation

### Preperation

Ensure you have Python 3.x and the **argparse** module installed on
the machine you use to **deploy to the targets**.

#### Archlinux

Archlinux already has python >= 3.2, so you only need to do:

    pacman -S python

#### Debian

    aptitude install python3 python3-setuptools
    easy_install3 argparse

#### Gentoo

Gentoo only provides python 3.2 in testing packages (
If you want to ensure nothing breaks you must set back the python version to what was default before.

    emerge -av =python-3.2.2 --autounmask-write
    emerge -av =python-3.2.2
    eselect python list
    eselect python list set python3.2

#### Max OS X

Ensure you have port installed and configured (

    port install python32
    ln -s /opt/local/bin/python3.2 /opt/local/bin/python3

### Get cdist

You can clone cdist from git, which gives you the advantage of having
a version control in place for development of your own stuff as well.
To install cdist, execute the following commands:

    git clone git://
    cd cdist
    export PATH=$PATH:$(pwd -P)/bin

    # If you want the manpages
    ./ man
    export MANPATH=$MANPATH:$(pwd -P)/doc/man

Afterwards you can run ***cdist-quickstart*** to get an impression on
how to use cdist.

### Available versions

There are at least the following branches available:

 * Development: master
 * 2.0: Python rewrite of cdist core

Old versions:

 * 1.7: Bugfixes, cleanups, new type and explorer rename
 * 1.6: New types, cleaned up \_\_package* types, internal cleanup
 * 1.5: Focus on object orientation instead of global stage orientation
 * 1.4: Support for redefiniton of objects (if equal)
 * 1.3: Support for local and remote code execution (current stable)
 * 1.2: Dependencies supported
 * 1.1: \_\_file to \_\_file, \_\_directory, \_\_link migration
 * 1.0: First official release

Other branches may be available for features or bugfixes, but they
may vanish at any point. To select a specific branch use

    # Generic code
    git checkout -b <name> origin/<name>
    # Stay on a specific version
    git checkout -b $version origin/$version

### Mirrors

 * git:// ([github](

## Update

To upgrade cdist in the current branch use

    git pull

    # Also update the manpages
    ./ man
    export MANPATH=$MANPATH:$(pwd -P)/doc/man

If you stay on a version branche (i.e. 1.0, 1.1., ...), nothing should break.
The master branch on the other hand is the development branch and may not be
working, break your setup or eat the tree in your garden.

### Upgrading from 1.7 to 2.0

* Ensure python (>= 3.2) is installed on the server
* Use "cdist config host" instead of "cdist-deploy-to host"
* Use "cdist config -p host1 host2" instead of "cdist-mass-deploy"
* Use "cdist banner" for fun
* Use **\_\_object_fq** instead of **\_\_self** in manifests

### Upgrading from 1.6 to 1.7

* If you used the global explorer **hardware_type**, you need to change
  your code to use **machine** instead.

### Upgrading from 1.5 to 1.6

* If you used **\_\_package_apt --preseed**, you need to use the new
  type **\_\_debconf_set_selections** instead.
* The **\_\_package** types accepted either --state deinstalled or
  --state uninstaaled. Starting with 1.6, it was made consistently
  to --state removed.

### Upgrading from 1.3 to 1.5

No incompatiblities.

### Upgrading from 1.2 to 1.3

Rename **gencode** of every type to **gencode-remote**.

### Upgrading from 1.1 to 1.2

No incompatiblities.

### Upgrading from 1.0 to 1.1

In 1.1 the type **\_\_file** was split into **\_\_directory**, **\_\_file** and
**\_\_link**. The parameter **--type** was removed from **\_\_file**. Thus you
need to replace **\_\_file** calls in your manifests:

 * Remove --type from all \_\_file calls
 * If type was symlink, use \_\_link and --type symbolic
 * If type was directory, use \_\_directory

## Support

### IRC

You can join the development ***IRC channel***
[#cstar on](irc://

### Mailing list

Bug reports, questions, patches, etc. should be send to the
[cdist mailing list](

### Commercial support

You can request commercial support for cdist from
[my company](

## Used by

If you're using cdist, feel free to send a report to the mailing list.
Interesting information are for instance

 * Which services do you manage?
 * How many machines do you manage?
 * What are the pros/cons you see in cdist?
 * General comments/critics

### Nico Schottelius, Systems Group ETH Zurich and privately

Yes, I'm actually eating my own dogfood and currently managing

 * [plone]( (cms)
 * [moinmoin]( (wiki)
 * [apache]( (webserver)
 * [kerberos (mit)]( (authentication)
 * [nss-pam-ldapd]( (authentication)
 * [ircd-hybrid]( (chat)
 * [stunnel]( (SSL tunnel)
 * [mercurial-server]( (version control)
 * [xfce]( (lightweight desktop environment)
 * [slim]( (graphical login manager for X11)

with cdist on more than **60** production machines of the
[Systems Group]( at the
[ETH Zurich]( as well at home.

### Steven Armstrong, CBRG ETH Zurich

The CBRG is managing most of their compute clusters with cdist.