Development repository for Homebrew Chef cookbook
Latest commit daf2a3a Nov 25, 2016 @tas50 tas50 Update copyright headers
Signed-off-by: Tim Smith <>

Homebrew Cookbook

Build Status Cookbook Version

This cookbook installs Homebrew and under Chef 11 and earlier versions, its package provider replaces MacPorts as the default package provider for the package resource on OS X systems.


Chef 12: The package provider is not necessary on Chef 12, as the default OS X package provider is homebrew.

Chef <= 11: The package provider will be set as the default provider for OS X.


In order for this recipe to work, your userid must own /usr/local. This is outside the scope of the cookbook because it's possible that you'll run the cookbook as your own user, not root and you'd have to be root to take ownership of the directory. Easiest way to get started:

sudo chown -R `whoami`:staff /usr/local

Bear in mind that this will take ownership of the entire folder and its contents, so if you've already got stuff in there (eg MySQL owned by a mysql user) you'll need to be a touch more careful. This is a recommendation from the Homebrew project.

Note This cookbook only supports installing in /usr/local. While the Homebrew project itself allows for alternative installations, this cookbook doesn't.


  • Mac OS X (10.6+)

The only platform supported by Homebrew itself at the time of this writing is Mac OS X. It should work fine on Server edition as well, and on platforms that Homebrew supports in the future.


  • build-essential: homebrew itself doesn't work well if XCode is not installed.


  • node['homebrew']['owner'] - The user that will own the Homebrew installation and packages. Setting this will override the default behavior which is to use the non-privileged user that has invoked the Chef run (or the SUDO_USER if invoked with sudo). The default is nil.
  • node['homebrew']['auto-update'] - Whether the default recipe should automatically update homebrew each run or not. The default is true to maintain compatibility. Set to false or nil to disable. Note that disabling this feature may cause formula to not work.
  • node['homebrew']['formulas'] - An Array of formula that should be installed using homebrew by default, used only in the homebrew::install_formulas recipe.

    • To install the most recent version, include just the recipe name: - simple_formula
    • To install a specific version, specify both its name and version:

      - name: special-version-formula
        version: 1.2.3
    • To install the HEAD of a formula, specify both its name and head: true:

      - name: head-tracking-formula
        head: true
    • To provide other options, specify both its name and options

      - name: formula-with-options
        options: --with-option-1 --with-other-option
  • node['homebrew']['casks'] - An Array of casks that should be installed using brew cask by default, used only in the homebrew::install_casks recipe.

  • node['homebrew']['taps'] - An Array of taps that should be installed using brew tap by default, used only in the homebrew::install_taps recipe.

Resources and Providers

This cookbook includes a package resource provider to use homebrew. Under Chef 12+, this is not necessary, and the code doesn't actually get used on Chef 12+. This was preserved to maintain backwards compatiblity with older versions of Chef.

package / homebrew_package

This cookbook provides a package provider called homebrew_package which will install/remove packages using Homebrew. This becomes the default provider for package if your platform is Mac OS X.

As this extends the built-in package resource/provider in Chef, it has all the resource attributes and actions available to the package resource. However, a couple notes:

  • Homebrew itself doesn't have a notion of "upgrade" per se. The "upgrade" action will simply perform an install, and if the Homebrew Formula for the package is newer, it will upgrade.
  • Likewise, Homebrew doesn't have a purge, but the "purge" action will act like "remove".


package 'mysql' do
  action :install

homebrew_package 'mysql'

package 'mysql' do
  provider Chef::Provider::Package::Homebrew

package 'wireshark' do
  options '--with-qt --devel'


LWRP for brew tap, a Homebrew command used to add additional formula repositories. From the brew man page:

tap [tap]
       Tap a new formula repository from GitHub, or list existing taps.

       tap is of the form user/repo, e.g. brew tap homebrew/dupes.

Default action is :tap which enables the repository. Use :untap to disable a tapped repository.


homebrew_tap 'homebrew/dupes'

homebrew_tap 'homebrew/dupes' do
  action :untap


LWRP for brew cask, a Homebrew-style CLI workflow for the administration of Mac applications distributed as binaries. It's implemented as a homebrew "external command" called cask.

homebrew-cask on GitHub


You must have the homebrew-cask repository tapped.

homebrew_tap 'caskroom/cask'

And then install the homebrew cask package before using this LWRP.

package "brew-cask" do
  action :install

You can include the homebrew::cask recipe to do this.


homebrew_cask "google-chrome"

homebrew_cask "google-chrome" do
  action :uncask

Default action is :cask which installs the Application binary . Use :uncask to uninstall a an Application.

View the list of available Casks


We strongly recommend that you put "recipe[homebrew]" in your node's run list, to ensure that it is available on the system and that Homebrew itself gets installed. Putting an explicit dependency in the metadata will cause the cookbook to be downloaded and the library loaded, thus resulting in changing the package provider on Mac OS X, so if you have systems you want to use the default (Mac Ports), they would be changed to Homebrew.

The default recipe also ensures that Homebrew is installed and up to date if the auto update attribute (above) is true (default).

License and Authors

This cookbook is maintained by CHEF. The original author, maintainer and copyright holder is Graeme Mathieson. The cookbook remains licensed under the Apache License version 2.

Original blog post by Graeme

Author:: Graeme Mathieson (

Author:: Joshua Timberman (

Copyright:: 2011, Graeme Mathieson
Copyright:: 2012-2016, 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.