Development repository for build-essential Chef Cookbook
Latest commit c20db08 Apr 25, 2017 @tas50 tas50 Remove OS X 10.10 testing
Signed-off-by: Tim Smith <>

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.



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


  • Chef 12.5+


  • 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

License & Authors

Author: Cookbook Engineering Team (

Copyright: 2009-2016, Chef Software, Inc.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
limitations under the License.