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My Boxen

The Boxen rubygem and the Boxen puppet modules are a framework for getting things done. This project is boxen and puppet files for setting up a new mac automatically. Boxen will install applications, pull in other repositories (like dotfiles) and run setup commands.

Getting Started

To start using boxen, we'll need to

  • Install dependencies (basically Xcode)
  • Bootstrap a boxen
  • Let boxen pull in anything else you want

There are a few potential conflicts to keep in mind. Boxen does its best not to get in the way of a dirty system, but you should check into the following before attempting to install your boxen on any machine (we do some checks before every Boxen run to try and detect most of these and tell you anyway):

  • Boxen requires at least the Xcode Command Line Tools installed.
  • Boxen will not work with an existing rvm install.
  • Boxen may not play nice with a GitHub username that includes dash(-)
  • Boxen may not play nice with an existing rbenv install.
  • Boxen may not play nice with an existing chruby install.
  • Boxen may not play nice with an existing homebrew install.
  • Boxen may not play nice with an existing nvm install.
  • Boxen recommends installing the full Xcode.


Install the Xcode Command Lines Tools and/or full Xcode. This will grant you the most predictable behavior in building apps like MacVim.

How do you do it?

  1. Install Xcode from the Mac App Store.
  2. Open Xcode.
  3. Open the Preferences window (Cmd-,).
  4. Go to the Downloads tab.
  5. Install the Command Line Tools.


Create a new git repository somewhere. It can be private or public -- it really doesn't matter. If you're making a repository on GitHub, you may not want to fork this repo to get started. The reason for that is that you can't really make private forks of public repositories easily.

Once you've done that, you can use my installation one liner, or run each command yourself.

Installation one-liner

curl -L | sh


sudo mkdir -p /opt/boxen
sudo chown ${USER}:staff /opt/boxen
git clone /opt/boxen/repo
cd /opt/boxen/repo
git remote rm origin
git remote add origin <the location of my new git repository>
git push -u origin master

Keep in mind this requires you to encrypt your hard drive by default. If you do not want to do encrypt your hard drive, you can use the --no-fde.

script/boxen --no-fde

It should run successfully, and should tell you to source a shell script in your environment. For users without a bash or zsh config or a ~/.profile file, Boxen will create a shim for you that will work correctly. If you do have a ~/.bashrc or ~/.zshrc, your shell will not use ~/.profile so you'll need to add a line like so at the end of your config:

[ -f /opt/boxen/ ] && source /opt/boxen/

Once your shell is ready, open a new tab/window in your Terminal and you should be able to successfully run boxen --env. If that runs cleanly, you're in good shape.

What You Get

This template project provides the following by default:

  • Homebrew
  • Git
  • Hub
  • dnsmasq w/ .dev resolver for localhost
  • rbenv
  • Full Disk Encryption requirement
  • Node.js 0.10
  • Ruby 2.0.0
  • ack
  • Findutils
  • GNU tar


You can always check out the number of existing modules already provided as optional installs under the boxen organization. These modules are all tested to be compatible with Boxen. Use the Puppetfile to pull them in dependencies automatically whenever boxen is run.

Including boxen modules from github (boxen/puppet-)

You must add the github information for your added Puppet module into your Puppetfile at the root of your boxen repo (ex. /path/to/your-boxen/Puppetfile):

# Core modules for a basic development environment. You can replace
# some/most of these if you want, but it's not recommended.

github "repository", "2.0.2"
github "dnsmasq",    "1.0.0"
github "gcc",        "1.0.0"
github "git",        "1.2.2"
github "homebrew",   "1.1.2"
github "hub",        "1.0.0"
github "inifile",    "0.9.0", :repo => "cprice404/puppetlabs-inifile"
github "nginx",      "1.4.0"
github "nodejs",     "2.2.0"
github "ruby",       "4.1.0"
github "stdlib",     "4.0.2", :repo => "puppetlabs/puppetlabs-stdlib"
github "sudo",       "1.0.0"

# Optional/custom modules. There are tons available at

github "java",     "1.1.0"

In the above snippet of a customized Puppetfile, the bottom line includes the Java module from Github using the tag "1.1.0" from the github repository "boxen/puppet-java". The function "github" is defined at the top of the Puppetfile and takes the name of the module, the version, and optional repo location:

def github(name, version, options = nil)
  options ||= {}
  options[:repo] ||= "boxen/puppet-#{name}"
  mod name, version, :github_tarball => options[:repo]

Now Puppet knows where to download the module from when you include it in your site.pp or mypersonal.pp file:

# include the java module referenced in my Puppetfile with the line
# github "java",     "1.1.0"
include java

Node definitions

Puppet has the concept of a 'node', which is essentially the machine on which Puppet is running. Puppet looks for node definitions in the manifests/site.pp file in the Boxen repo. You'll see a default node declaration that looks like the following:

node default {
  # core modules, needed for most things
  include dnsmasq

  # more...

How Boxen interacts with Puppet

Boxen runs everything declared in manifests/site.pp by default. But just like any other source code, throwing all your work into one massive file is going to be difficult to work with. Instead, we recommend you use modules in the Puppetfile when you can and make new modules in the modules/ directory when you can't. Then add include $modulename for each new module in manifests/site.pp to include them. One pattern that's very common is to create a module for your organization (e.g., modules/github) and put an environment class in that module to include all of the modules your organization wants to install for everyone by default. An example of this might look like so:

# modules/github/manifests/environment.pp

 class github::environment {
   include github::apps::mac

   include ruby::1-8-7

   include projects::super-top-secret-project

If you'd like to read more about how Puppet works, we recommend checking out the official documentation for:

Creating a personal module

See the documentation in the modules/people directory for creating per-user modules that don't need to be applied globally to everyone.

Creating a project module

See the documentation in the modules/projects directory for creating organization projects (i.e., repositories that people will be working in).

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