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cdist - Usable Configuration Management

CDIST(1) cdist CDIST(1)


cdist - Usable Configuration Management


cdist [-h] [-d] [-v] [-V] {banner,config,shell,install} ...
cdist banner [-h] [-d] [-v]
cdist config [-h] [-d] [-v] [-b] [-c CONF_DIR] [-f HOSTFILE] [-i MANIFEST] [-j [JOBS]] [-n] [-o OUT_PATH] [-p] [-s] [--remote-copy REMOTE_COPY] [--remote-exec REMOTE_EXEC] [host [host ...]]
cdist install [-h] [-d] [-v] [-b] [-c CONF_DIR] [-f HOSTFILE] [-i MANIFEST] [-j [JOBS]] [-n] [-o OUT_PATH] [-p] [-s] [--remote-copy REMOTE_COPY] [--remote-exec REMOTE_EXEC] [host [host ...]]
cdist shell [-h] [-d] [-v] [-s SHELL]


cdist is the frontend executable to the cdist configuration management. It supports different subcommands as explained below.
It is written in Python so it requires python(1) to be installed. It requires a minimal Python version 3.2.


All commands accept the following options:
-h, --help
Show the help screen

-d, --debug
Set log level to debug (deprecated, use -vvv instead)

-v, --verbose
Increase log level, be more verbose. Use it more than once to increase log level. The order of levels from the lowest to the highest are: ERROR, WARNING, INFO, DEBUG.

-V, --version
Show version and exit

Displays the cdist banner. Useful for printing cdist posters - a must have for every office.


Configure/install one or more hosts.
-b, --beta
Enable beta functionalities.
Can also be enabled using CDIST_BETA env var.

-c CONF_DIR, --conf-dir CONF_DIR
Add a configuration directory. Can be specified multiple times. If configuration directories contain conflicting types, explorers or manifests, then the last one found is used. Additionally this can also be configured by setting the CDIST_PATH environment variable to a colon delimited list of config directories. Directories given with the --conf-dir argument have higher precedence over those set through the environment variable.

Read additional hosts to operate on from specified file or from stdin if '-' (each host on separate line). If no host or host file is specified then, by default, read hosts from stdin. For the file format see below.

-i MANIFEST, --initial-manifest MANIFEST
Path to a cdist manifest or - to read from stdin

-j [JOBS], --jobs [JOBS]
Specify the maximum number of parallel jobs; currently only global explorers are supported (currently in beta)

-n, --dry-run
Do not execute code

-o OUT_PATH, --out-dir OUT_PATH
Directory to save cdist output in

-p, --parallel
Operate on multiple hosts in parallel

-s, --sequential
Operate on multiple hosts sequentially (default)

--remote-copy REMOTE_COPY
Command to use for remote copy (should behave like scp)

--remote-exec REMOTE_EXEC
Command to use for remote execution (should behave like ssh)


HOSTFILE contains hosts per line. All characters after and including '#' until the end of line is a comment. In a line, all leading and trailing whitespace characters are ignored. Empty lines are ignored/skipped.
Hostfile line is processed like the following. First, all comments are removed. Then all leading and trailing whitespace characters are stripped. If such a line results in empty line it is ignored/skipped. Otherwise, host string is used.


This command allows you to spawn a shell that enables access to the types as commands. It can be thought as an "interactive manifest" environment. See below for example usage. Its primary use is for debugging type parameters.
-s SHELL, --shell SHELL
Select shell to use, defaults to current shell. Used shell should be POSIX compatible shell.


Your personal cdist config directory. If exists it will be automatically used.
The distribution configuration directory. It contains official types and explorers. This path is relative to cdist installation directory.


cdist detects if host is specified by IPv6 address. If so then remote_copy command is executed with host address enclosed in square brackets (see scp(1)).


# Configure with debug enabled
% cdist config -d
# Configure hosts in parallel and use a different configuration directory % cdist config -c ~/p/cdist-nutzung \ -p
# Use custom remote exec / copy commands % cdist config --remote-exec /path/to/my/remote/exec \ --remote-copy /path/to/my/remote/copy \ -p
# Configure hosts read from file loadbalancers % cdist config -f loadbalancers
# Configure hosts read from file web.hosts using 16 parallel jobs # (beta functionality) % cdist config -b -j 16 -f web.hosts
# Display banner cdist banner
# Show help % cdist --help
# Show Version % cdist --version
# Enter a shell that has access to emulated types % cdist shell % __git usage: __git --source SOURCE [--state STATE] [--branch BRANCH] [--group GROUP] [--owner OWNER] [--mode MODE] object_id
# Install with debug enabled % cdist install -d


Setup the base directory for the temporary directory. See for more information. This is rather useful, if the standard directory used does not allow executables.
Colon delimited list of config directories.
Selects shell for local script execution, defaults to /bin/sh.
Selects shell for remote script execution, defaults to /bin/sh.
Allow overwriting type parameters.
Create dependencies based on the execution order.
Use this command for remote execution (should behave like ssh).
Use this command for remote copy (should behave like scp).
Enable beta functionalities.


The following exit values shall be returned:
0 Successful completion.
1 One or more host configurations failed.


Originally written by Nico Schottelius <> and Steven Armstrong <>.


When operating in parallel, either by operating in parallel for each host (-p/--parallel) or by parallel jobs within a host (-j/--jobs), and depending on target SSH server and its configuration you may encounter connection drops. This is controlled with sshd MaxStartups configuration options. You may also encounter session open refusal. This happens with ssh multiplexing when you reach maximum number of open sessions permitted per network connection. In this case ssh will disable multiplexing. This limit is controlled with sshd MaxSessions configuration options. For more details refer to sshd_config(5).
When requirements for the same object are defined in different manifests (see example below) in init manifest and in some other type manifest and they differs then dependency resolver cannot detect dependencies right. This happens because cdist cannot prepare all objects first and then run objects because some object can depend on the result of type explorer(s) and explorers are executed during object run. cdist will detect such case and write warning message. Example for such a case:
init manifest:
    __a a
    require="__e/e" __b b
    require="__f/f" __c c
    __e e
    __f f
    require="__c/c" __d d
    __g g
    __h h
type __g manifest: require="__c/c __d/d" __a a
Warning message: WARNING: cdisttesthost: Object __a/a already exists with requirements: /usr/home/darko/ungleich/cdist/cdist/test/config/fixtures/manifest/init-deps-resolver /tmp/tmp.cdist.test.ozagkg54/local/759547ff4356de6e3d9e08522b0d0807/data/conf/type/__g/manifest: set() /tmp/tmp.cdist.test.ozagkg54/local/759547ff4356de6e3d9e08522b0d0807/data/conf/type/__g/manifest: {'__c/c', '__d/d'} Dependency resolver could not handle dependencies as expected.


Copyright (C) 2011-2013 Nico Schottelius. Free use of this software is granted under the terms of the GNU General Public License v3 or later (GPLv3+).
December 18, 2016 4.4.1