Opscode Chef cookbook that sanitizes a fresh system by providing a sane default configuration
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This cookbook aims to normalize setup of a fresh server and set sane defaults for global settings, and work with various initial environments (tested on EC2 images, Hetzner "minimal" installations, and debootstrap-created LXC images). At the moment it supports only Ubuntu, Debian support is planned.

This cookbook is developed on GitHub at https://github.com/3ofcoins/chef-cookbook-sanitize


  • apt
  • chef-client
  • iptables


  • sanitize.iptables -- if false, does not install and configure iptables; defaults to true.

  • sanitize.ip6tables -- if false, does not install base ip6tables rules along with iptables; defaults to true

  • sanitize.keep_access -- if true, don't disable direct access users (ubuntu user or root password); defaults to false.

  • sanitize.ports -- if sanitize.iptables is true, specifies TCP ports to open. It is a dictionary, where keys are port numbers or service names, and values can be:

    • true -- open port for any source address
    • false -- don't open port
    • a string -- will be used as --src argument to iptables
    • an array of strings -- for many different --src entries
    • TODO: It should be possible to specify a node search query

    If the key is a list of ports (port,port) or a range (port1:port2), then the multiport iptables module will be used.

    If the value is true and sanitize.ip6tables is true, the port will be open in ip6tables; ip6tables treats strings as false.


default['sanitize']['ports']['ssh'] = true
  • sanitize.accept_interfaces -- if sanitize.iptables is true, specifies interfaces to unconditionally accept traffic. It should be a dictionary, where key is name of interface, and value should be true to accept traffic, or false to not accept (which lets override true values). Default:
default['sanitize']['accept_interfaces']['lo'] = true
  • sanitize.apt_repositories -- dictionary of APT repositories to add. Key is repository name, value is remaining attributes of the apt_repository resource provided by the apt cookbook (see http://community.opscode.com/cookbooks/apt). If you set distribution to "lsb_codename", node['lsb']['codename'] attribute will be used instead.:

    Ubuntu's PPAs can be specified as a simple string, or as a ppa key; the second form allows for customizing some of the attributes.

:sanitize => {
  :apt_repositories => {
    :percona => {
      :uri => 'http://repo.percona.com/apt',
      :distribution => 'lsb_codename',
      :components => [ 'main' ],
      :deb_src => true,
      :keyserver => 'hkp://keys.gnupg.net',
      :key => '1C4CBDCDCD2EFD2A'
    :ruby_ng => 'ppa:brightbox/ruby-ng',
    :nginx => {
      :ppa => 'nginx/stable',
      :distribution => 'precise' # force distribution regardless of lsb.codename
  • sanitize.install_packages -- a list of packages to install on all machines; defaults to an empty list.

  • sanitize.locale.default="en_US.UTF-8", sanitize.locale.available=[] -- list of locales to make available on the server, and a locale to set as default.


Include recipe[sanitize] in your run list after your user accounts are created and sudo and ssh is configured, and otherwise as early as possible. In particular, if you use omnibus_updater cookbook, it should be after sanitize in the run list.


This is the default "base settings" setup. It should be called after shell user accounts and sudo are configured, as it locks default login user and direct root access.

  1. Deletes ubuntu system user
  2. Locks system password for root user (assumes that only sudo is used to elevate privileges)
  3. Ensure all FHS-provided directories exist by creating some that have been found missing on some of the installation (namely, /opt)
  4. Sets locale to en_US.UTF-8, generates this locale, sets time zone to UTC
  5. Deletes annoying motd.d files
  6. Installs vim and sets it as a default system editor
  7. Installs and configures iptables, opens SSH port (optional, but enabled by default)
  8. Installs can-has command as a symlink to apt-get
  9. Runs chef-client::config


Plans for future, in no particular order:

  • Depend on and include openssh-server; configure SSH known hosts, provide sane SSH server and client configuration defaults
  • Provide hooks (definitions / LWRP / library) for other cookbooks for commonly used facilities, such as opening up common ports, "backend" http service, SSL keys management, maybe some other "library" functions like helpers for encrypted data bags
  • Test with test-kitchen