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Package management with cfengine

From: Luke A. Kanies
Subject: Package management with cfengine
Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2003 10:29:04 -0600 (CST)

Hi all,

I'm trying to implement a somewhat simplistic package management within
cfengine.  It would contain the following components:

-A method of specifying the package to install

-A short cfengine script for each package to do the install, which
   -how to copy the file to the local system
   -any shellcommands to run
   -any processes to check for
   -anything else you need (such as adding cron jobs)

I've basically got everything covered except the first item.  Is anyone
specifying within cfengine itself exactly which packages to install?  The
closest thing I can think of is something like the following:

   host_type1::  pkgs = ( "${pkgs} cfengine--2.1.0 openssh--3.7.1p1" )
   host_type::   pkgs = ( "{pkgs} openssl--" )

   actionsequence = ( "module:packages ${pkgs}" )

And then have the packages module dynamically build the exact sequence of
stuff to do, based on template cfengine scripts and such.

This kind of works, but it's got some serious problems.  First and
foremost, because the module functions as an abstraction layer between the
main cfengine process and the package installation process, the subprocess
doesn't really know anything that the parent process does (e.g., classes,

There are a couple other problems with this model, too, but that's the
main one.

Is anyone doing something like this right now?  I specifically, definitely
want to specify the packages to be installed within cfengine; I don't want
an external file that does it or whatever.


Nature and nature's laws lay hid in night,
God said, "Let Newton be," and all was light.

It did not last; the devil howling "Ho!
Let Einstein be!" restored the status quo.

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