A systems integration framework, built to bring the benefits of configuration management to your entire infrastructure.
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Code Climate Build Status Master Build Status Master Gem Version

Getting Started

Want to try Chef? For Chef user, please refer to Quick Start For more details, please refer to learnchef

Chef is a configuration management tool designed to bring automation to your entire infrastructure.

This README focuses on developers who want to modify Chef source code. If you just want to use Chef, check out these resources:

Reporting Issues

Issues can be reported by using GitHub Issues.

Full details on how to report issues can be found in the CONTRIBUTING doc.

Note that this repository is primarily for reporting chef-client issues. For reporting issues against other Chef projects, please look up the appropriate repository to report issues against in the Chef docs in the community contributions section. If you can't determine the appropriate place to report an issue, then please open it against the repository you think best fits and it will be directed to the appropriate project.

Installing From Git for Developers

NOTE: As a Chef user, please download the Chef or Chef-DK packages, which provide Ruby and other necessary libraries for running Chef.

We do not recommend end users install Chef from gems or build from source. The following instructions apply only to those doing software development on Chef.



  • git
  • C compiler, header files, etc.
  • Ruby 2.4 or later
  • bundler gem

NOTE: Chef supports a large number of platforms, and there are many different ways to manage Ruby installs on each of those platforms. We assume you will install Ruby in a way appropriate for your development platform, but do not provide instructions for setting up Ruby.

Chef Installation

Once you have your development environment configured you can clone the Chef repository and install Chef:

git clone https://github.com/chef/chef.git
cd chef
bundle install
bundle exec rake install


Please read our Community Contributions Guidelines, and ensure you are signing all your commits with DCO sign-off.

The general development process is:

  1. Fork this repo and clone it to your workstation.
  2. Create a feature branch for your change.
  3. Write code and tests.
  4. Push your feature branch to GitHub and open a pull request against master.

Once your repository is set up, you can start working on the code. We do utilize RSpec for test driven development, so you'll need to get a development environment running. Follow the above procedure ("Installing from Git") to get your local copy of the source running.


This repository uses rspec for testing.

# all tests
bundle exec rspec

# single test
bundle exec rspec spec/PATH/TO/FILE_spec.rb

# all tests under a subdir
bundle exec rspec spec/PATH/TO/DIR

When you submit a PR rspec tests will run automatically on Travis-CI and AppVeyor.

Building the Full Package

To build Chef as a standalone package, we use the omnibus packaging system.

To build:

git clone https://github.com/chef/chef.git
cd chef/omnibus
bundle install
bundle exec omnibus build chef

The prerequisites necessary to run omnibus itself are not documented in this repository. See the Omnibus repository for additional details.

Updating Dependencies

If you want to change our constraints (change which packages and versions we accept in the chef), there are several places to do so:

In addition there are several places versions are pinned for CI tasks:

In order to update everything run rake dependencies. Note that the Gemfile.lock pins windows platforms and to fully regenerate the lockfile you must use the following commands or run rake dependencies:update_gemfile_lock:

bundle lock --update --add-platform ruby
bundle lock --update --add-platform x64-mingw32
bundle lock --update --add-platform x86-mingw32

How Chef Builds and Versions

Chef is an amalgam of many components. These components update all the time, necessitating new builds. This is an overview of the process of versioning, building and releasing Chef.

Chef Packages

Chef is distributed as packages for debian, rhel, ubuntu, windows, solaris, aix, and macos. It includes a large number of components from various sources, and these are versioned and maintained separately from the chef project, which bundles them all together conveniently for the user.

These packages go through several milestones:

  • master: When code is checked in to master, the patch version of chef is bumped (e.g. 14.5.1 -> 14.5.2) and a build is kicked off automatically to create and test the packages in Chef's internal CI cluster.
  • unstable: When a package is built, it enters the unstable channel. When all packages for all OS's have successfully built, the test phase is kicked off in Jenkins across all supported OS's. These builds are password-protected and generally only available to the test systems.
  • current: If the packages pass all the tests on all supported OS's, it is promoted as a unit to current, and is available by running curl https://www.chef.io/chef/install.sh | sudo bash -s -- -c current -P chef or at https://downloads.chef.io/chef/current
  • stable: Periodically, Chef will pick a release to "bless" for folks who would like a slower update schedule than "every time a build passes the tests." When this happens, it is manually promoted to stable and an announcement is sent to the list. It can be reached at https://downloads.chef.io or installed using the curl command without specifying -c current. Packages in stable are no longer available in current.

Additionally, periodically Chef will update the desired versions of chef components and check that in to master, triggering a new build with the updated components in it.

Automated Version Bumping

Whenever a change is checked in to master, the patch version of chef is bumped. To do this, the chef-ci bot listens to GitHub for merged PRs, and when it finds one, takes these actions:

  1. Bumps the patch version (e.g. 14.1.14 -> 14.1.15) by running ./ci/version_bump.sh
  2. Updates the changelog with the new pull request and current point release
  3. Pushes to master and submits a new build to Chef's Jenkins cluster.

Bumping the minor version of Chef

After each "official" stable release we need to bump the minor version. To do this:

  1. Run bundle exec rake version:bump_minor

Submit a PR with the changes made by the above.

Branch Structure

We develop and ship the current release of Chef off the master branch of this repository. Our goal is that master should always be in a shipable state. Previous stable releases of Chef are developed on their own branches named by the major version (ex: chef-13 or chef-12). We do not perform direct development on these stable branches except to resolve build failures. Instead we backport fixes from our master branch to these stable branches. Stable branches receive critical bugfixes and security releases and stable Chef releases are made as necessary for security purposes.

Backporting Fixes to Stable Releases

If there is a critical fix you believe should be backported from master to a stable branch please follow these steps to backport your change:

  1. Ask in the #chef-dev channel on Chef Community Slack if this is an appropriate change to backport.
  2. Inspect the Git history and find the SHA(s) associated with the fix.
  3. Backport the fix to a branch via cherry-pick:
  4. Check out the stable release branch: git checkout chef-13
  5. Create a branch for your backport: git checkout -b my_great_bug_packport
  6. Cherry Pick the SHA with the fix: git cherry-pick SHA
  7. Address any conflicts (if necessary)
  8. Push the new branch to your origin: git push origin
  9. Open a PR for your backport
  10. The PR title should be Backport: ORIGINAL_PR_TEXT
  11. The description should link to the original PR and include a description of why it needs to be backported

Component Versions

Chef has two sorts of component: ruby components like berkshelf and test-kitchen, and binary components like openssl and even ruby itself.

In general, you can find all chef desired versions in the Gemfile and omnibus_overrides.rb files. The Gemfile.lock is the locked version of the Gemfile.

Binary Components

The versions of binary components (as well as rubygems and bundler, which can't be versioned in a Gemfile) are stored in omnibus_overrides.rb.

These have software definitions either in omnibus/config/software or, more often, in the omnibus-software project.

Rubygems Components

Our rubygems component versions are locked down with Gemfile.lock, and can be updated with bundle update or rake dependencies:update_gemfile_lock.

Build Tooling Versions

The external environment necessary to build omnibus (compilers, make, git, etc) is configured by the opscode-ci cookbook cookbook. In order to reliably create omnibus builds that cookbook should be used to install the prerequisites. It may be possible to install the latest version of utilities on a suitably recent distribution and be able to build an omnibus package, but the necessary prerequisites will not be documented here. In most cases a recent MacOS with Xcode and a few homebrew packages or a recent Ubuntu distribution with packages like build-essentials should suffice.

Test Versions

chef is tested by the chef-acceptance framework, which contains suites that are run on the Jenkins test machines. The definitions of the tests are in the acceptance directory. The version of chef-acceptance and test-kitchen, are governed by acceptance/Gemfile.

The test tooling versions are locked down with acceptance/Gemfile.lock, which can be updated by running rake dependencies.


Chef - A configuration management system

Author: Adam Jacob (adam@chef.io)
Copyright: Copyright 2008-2018, Chef Software, Inc.
License: Apache License, Version 2.0
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.