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RFC Title Author Status Type Chef-Version
Remove HTTP Config Files
John Keiser <>
Standards Track

Remove HTTP Config Files

Remove the ability to specify HTTP config files with chef-client -c


As a Chef developer,
I want to not have to directly find and fix the unknown number of bugs where we assume config_file is a path,
so that I can write new features for Chef instead.

As a Chef user,
I am not using the ability to download a config file as a URL,
And I am much more interested in the Chef developers writing new features instead of fixing bugs in it.


  1. Get rid of all code that lets you treat Chef::Config.config_file as an HTTP or HTTPS URL (in ConfigFetcher primarily).
  2. Make it an error when you specify a config file that does not exist.


There are already bugs in the chef-client because we assume client is a path (config_dir is File.dirname(config_file), and some rather crucial values are inferred from config_dir). While we could find and fix them all, we could also just make the code simpler by removing this capability.

Impact and Workaround

Anyone running chef-client -c will get an error saying the config file does not exist.

I suspect the number of people this will affect is somewhere between 0 and 0. No Chef-written servers export config directly and there are very real security concerns around it. If those people exist, there are real bugs in the client that those people are hitting because of it, as well (see the config_dir issue in Rationale). Hence this RFC, so we can discuss it.

Users who are doing this can restore the original effect by doing the following in /etc/chef/client.rb:

require 'net/http'
instance_eval(Net::HTTP.get('', '/client.rb'))


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