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Augeas is a library and command line tool that focuses on the most basic
problem in handling Linux configurations programmatically: editing actual
configuration files in a controlled manner.
To that end, Augeas exposes a tree of all configuration settings (well,
all the ones it knows about) and a simple local API for manipulating the
tree. Augeas then modifies underlying configuration files according to
the changes that have been made to the tree; it does as little modeling
of configurations as possible, and focuses exclusivley on transforming
the tree-oriented syntax of its public API to the myriad syntaxes of
individual configuration files.
This focus on editing sets Augeas apart from any other configuration tool
I know of. Hopefully, Augeas will form a more solid foundation on which
these tools can be built; with a clean, simple API these tools should
be able to focus more on their core concerns and less on the mechanics
of running sed, grep, awk, etc. to tweak a config file.
If all you need is a tool to edit configuration files, you only need to
concern yourself with the handful of public API calls that Augeas exposes
(or their equivalent language bindings). However, to teach Augeas about a
new file format, you need to describe that file format in Augeas's domain
specific language (a very small subset of ML) Documentation for that
language can be found on the Augeas website at If you
do that, please contribute the description if at all possible, or include
it in the distribution of your software - all you need to do for that is
add a couple of text files, there is no need to change existing
code. Ultimately, Augeas should describe all config files commonly found
on a Linux system.
Augeas is as much defined by the things it does _not_ try to accomplish
as by its goals:
* No abstraction from native config format, i.e. the organization of
the tree mirrors closely how the native config files are organized
* No cross-platform abstraction - what is logically the same value may
live in different places in the tree on different
distributions. Dealing with that should be left to a higher-level
* No remote management support. Augeas is a local API, other ways of
access to Augeas should be built on top of it
* No (or very little) modelling. Augeas is focused on syntax
transformation, not on any higher-level understanding of
The above non-goals are of course important concerns in
practice. Historically though, too many config mgmt projects have failed
because they set their sights too high and tried to address syntax
transformation, modelling, remote support, and scalable management all in
one. That leads to a lack of focus, and to addressing each of those goals
These instructions apply to building a released tarball. If you want to
build from a git checkout, see the file HACKING.
See the generic instructions in INSTALL. Generally,
make && make install
should be all that is needed.
You need to have readline-devel installed. On systems that support
SELinux, you should also install libselinux-devel.
Documentation can be found on Augeas' website The site
also contains information on how to get in touch, what you can do to help