Development repository for build-essential Chef Cookbook
tas50 Release 8.2.1
Signed-off-by: Tim Smith <>
Latest commit 666f7fa Sep 4, 2018

build-essential Cookbook

Cookbook Version Build Status

Installs packages required for compiling C software from source. Use this cookbook if you wish to compile C programs, or install RubyGems with native extensions. Contains a resource, 'build_essential', as as well as a default recipe that simply calls that same resource.

Note: The functionality of this cookbook is now built into Chef 14+ in the build_essential resource. This cookbook is no longer being maintained and all future changes will be done directly in the chef-client. We highly recommend you update your chef-client to the latest release and if possible migrate to using the build_essential resources instead of the recipe in this cookbook.



  • Debian/Ubuntu
  • RHEL/CentOS/Scientific/Amazon/Oracle
  • openSUSE / SUSE Enterprise Linux
  • SmartOS
  • Fedora
  • Mac OS X 10.9+
  • FreeBSD


  • Chef 12.7+


  • seven_zip
  • mingw

Note for Debian platform family: On Debian platform-family systems, it is recommended that apt-get update be run, to ensure that the package cache is updated. It's not in the scope of this cookbook to do that, as it can create a duplicate resource. We recommend using the apt cookbook to do this.


Attribute Default Description
node['build-essential']['compile_time'] false Execute resources at compile time
node['build-essential']['msys2']['path'] #{ENV['SYSTEMDRIVE']\\msys2 Destination for msys2 build tool chain (Windows only)


Recipe Usage

The recipe simply calls the build_essential resource, but it ideal for adding to roles or node run lists.

Include the build-essential recipe in your run list:

knife node run_list add NODE "recipe[build-essential::default]"

or add the build-essential recipe as a dependency and include it from inside another cookbook:

include_recipe 'build-essential::default'

Gems with C extensions

For RubyGems that include native C extensions you wish to use with Chef, you should do the following.

  • Set the compile_time attribute to true in your wrapper cookbook or role:

     # Wrapper attribute
     default['build-essential']['compile_time'] = true
     # Role
       'build-essential' => {
         'compile_time' => true
  • Ensure that the C libraries, which include files and other assorted "dev"

    type packages, are installed in the compile phase after the build-essential

    recipe is executed. For example:

     include_recipe 'build-essential::default'
     package('mypackage-devel') { action :nothing }.run_action(:install)
  • Use the chef_gem resource in your recipe to install the gem with the native


     chef_gem 'gem-with-native-extension'

Resource Usage

The cookbook includes a resource 'build_essential' that can be included in your cookbook to install the necessary build-essential packages

Simple package installation during the client run:

build_essential 'some name you choose'

Package installation during the compile phase:

build_essential 'some name you choose' do
  compile_time false


This cookbook is maintained by Chef's Community Cookbook Engineering team. Our goal is to improve cookbook quality and to aid the community in contributing to cookbooks. To learn more about our team, process, and design goals see our team documentation. To learn more about contributing to cookbooks like this see our contributing documentation, or if you have general questions about this cookbook come chat with us in #cookbok-engineering on the Chef Community Slack


Copyright: 2009-2016, Chef Software, Inc.

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