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Chef cookbook which installs individual packages via attribute or data bag metadata.
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Installs individual packages via attribute or data bag metadata. If your needs are complex or there is additonal config, then that should be in a standalone recipe/cookbook.

The motivating use case is putting packages like tree on systems without cranking out a cookbook for it. Mac OS X users can also use this cookbook with the homebrew cookbook to install packages.



Tested on 0.10.2 but newer and older version should work just fine. File an issue if this isn't the case.


The following platforms have been tested with this cookbook, meaning that the recipes run on these platforms without error:

  • ubuntu
  • debian
  • mac_os_x
  • suse
  • arch

Please report any additional platforms so they can be added.


There are *no external cookbook dependencies. If you are targetting Mac OS X, then you should consider using the homebrew cookbook.


Depending on the situation and use case there are several ways to install this cookbook. All the methods listed below assume a tagged version release is the target, but omit the tags to get the head of development. A valid Chef repository structure like the Opscode repo is also assumed.

From the Opscode Community Platform

To install this cookbook from the Opscode platform, use the knife command:

knife cookbook site install platform_packages

Using Librarian

The Librarian gem aims to be Bundler for your Chef cookbooks. Include a reference to the cookbook in a Cheffile and run librarian-chef install. To install with Librarian:

gem install librarian
cd chef-repo
librarian-chef init
cat >> Cheffile <<END_OF_CHEFFILE
cookbook 'platform_packages',
  :git => 'git://', :ref => 'v0.4.0'
librarian-chef install

Using knife-github-cookbooks

The knife-github-cookbooks gem is a plugin for knife that supports installing cookbooks directly from a GitHub repository. To install with the plugin:

gem install knife-github-cookbooks
cd chef-repo
knife cookbook github install fnichol/chef-platform_packages/v0.4.0

As a Git Submodule

A common practice (which is getting dated) is to add cookbooks as Git submodules. This is accomplishes like so:

cd chef-repo
git submodule add git:// cookbooks/platform_packages
git submodule init && git submodule update

Note: the head of development will be linked here, not a tagged release.

As a Tarball

If the cookbook needs to downloaded temporarily just to be uploaded to a Chef Server or Opscode Hosted Chef, then a tarball installation might fit the bill:

cd chef-repo/cookbooks
curl -Ls | tar xfz - && \
  mv fnichol-chef-platform_packages-* platform_packages


Simply include recipe[platform_packages] in your run_list and populate the node['platform_packages']['pkgs'] attribute list.

To use recipe[platform_packages::data_bag], include it in your run_list and have a data bag called pkgs with an item name corresponding to your platform like the following:

  "id"    : "ubuntu",
  "pkgs"  : [
    { "name"    : "tree",
      "action"  : "upgrade"
    { "name"    : "stow" }

Alternatively, you can override the data bag and item by setting the node['platform_packages']['data_bag'] attribute to some like:

node['platform_packages']['data_bag'] = ['apps', "workstation-mac"]



Processes a list of pkgs (which is emtpy by default) to be installed.

Use this recipe when you have a list of packages in node['platform_packages']['pkgs'].


Fetches an list of pkgs from a data bag item and appends it to the node['platform_packages']['pkgs'] attribute for processing. This recipe then includes the default recipe, so there is no need to explicitly include recipe[platform_packages].

Use this recipe when you want data bag driven data in your workflow.



An array of package hashes to be installed on the system, all of which need no configuration. The keys in each hash correspond to the attributes passed to the package resource. For example:

node['platform_packages']['pkgs'] = [
  { 'name'    => 'tree',
    'action'  => 'upgrade'
  { 'name'    => 'stow' }

The default is an empty Array: [].


The data bag and item containing a list of packages to be installed.. This is used by the data_bag recipe. The default is ['pkgs', node['platform']].

Resources and Providers

There are none defined.


Pull requests are very welcome! Make sure your patches are well tested. Ideally create a topic branch for every separate change you make.

License and Author

Author:: Fletcher Nichol (

Copyright:: 2011, Fletcher Nichol

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, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

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