A Ruby/Rake DSL for building and packaging software into omnibus-style packages
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Bunchr is a Rake/Ruby-based DSL for building and bundling complex software projects into various package formats, ie: RPM, DEB, etc (packaging performed by fpm.

Originally developed to create "omnibus" style packages that include an entire ruby stack along with one or more gems, but useful for general compilation and packaging as well.

It is typically intended to be used in conjunction with Vagrant but can be used without Vagrant as well.


Bunchr was conceived as a tool to help the Sensu monitoring project find a better way to create packages that would be as easy as possible to deploy on a variety of platforms with minimal friction and with little or no knowledge about the idiosyncrasies of the Ruby universe (version incompatibilities, gem conflicts, etc). This was particularly desirable for Sensu because one of the components is an agent that will be installed on most or all servers in an infrastructure. Thus, the package should be easy to install and should not interfere with any other Ruby apps or scripts on the server.

About the time the Sensu project was discussing a new packaging approach, Adam Jacob from Opscode/Chef took notice and suggested a slightly different approach that achieved the same goals. The approach was called 'omnibus' and was already in use at Opscode to produce a simple and uniform installer for Chef.

Opscode was using a Clojure-based tool at the time called omnibus and were working on a Ruby-based version of omnibus as well.

However, the Ruby based Omnibus was not available at the time, so Bunchr was created and it re-implements many of the concepts of the Clojure-based Omnibus but on top of Ruby / Rake with a few differences.


gem install bunchr


The simplest workflow is:

  1. Create a Rakefile
  2. Define 1 or more Bunchr::Software objects
  3. Define 1 Bunchr::Packages object.
  4. run rake
  5. receive new packages (.rpm or .deb, depending on platform) !

For details on the DSL and examples, continue reading.

DSL Overview

A typical Bunchr project is comprised of one or more Bunchr::Software objects and a single Bunchr::Packages object. Define these all in a single Rakefile or separate them into files for readability and re-use.

Software objects are responsible for downloading, building, and installing a single software component, such as zlib or ruby. Software objects support platform-specific compilation options by making Ohai data available for decision making.

Packages objects are used to combine Software objects into a single package. It will automatically try to generate any packages supported by the current platform, for example, RPMs will be built if the platform supports it, DEB will be built if the platform supports it.

The goal is to be able to use a single code base to build and package a project on multiple platforms.

Currently supported package types:

  • tar.gz
  • .deb
  • .rpm

Packages DSL

A project will typically only contain a single Bunchr::Packages object which is essentially a wrapper around fpm.

The Ohai platform data will be used to determined what type of packages can be built on the current system. Typically you would run the same Bunchr code on a Debian based box to build the .deb, and a Redhat based box to build the .rpm. Vagrant can help with this.

Example Rakefile:

require 'bunchr'

Bunchr.build_dir   = '/tmp/build'
Bunchr.install_dir = '/opt/sensu'

Bunchr.load_recipes Dir['recipes/**/*.rake']

Bunchr::Packages.new do |t|
  t.name = 'sensu'
  t.version = ENV['SENSU_VERSION'] || '0.9.5'
  t.iteration = ENV['BUILD_NUMBER'] || '1'

  t.category = 'Monitoring'
  t.license  = 'MIT License'
  t.vendor   = 'Sonian Inc.'
  t.url      = 'https://github.com/sonian/sensu'
  t.description = 'A monitoring framework that aims to be simple, malleable, and scalable. Publish/subscribe model.'

  case t.ohai.platform_family
  when 'debian'
    t.scripts[:after_install]  = 'pkg_scripts/deb/postinst'
    t.scripts[:before_remove]  = 'pkg_scripts/deb/prerm'
    t.scripts[:after_remove]   = 'pkg_scripts/deb/postrm'
  when 'rhel', 'fedora'
    t.scripts[:before_install] = 'pkg_scripts/rpm/pre'
    t.scripts[:after_install]  = 'pkg_scripts/rpm/post'
    t.scripts[:before_remove]  = 'pkg_scripts/rpm/preun'


  t.files << Bunchr.install_dir    # /opt/sensu
  t.files << '/usr/share/sensu'
  t.files << '/var/log/sensu'

  t.files << '/etc/init.d/sensu-api'
  t.files << '/etc/init.d/sensu-client'
  t.files << '/etc/init.d/sensu-server'
  t.files << '/etc/init.d/sensu-dashboard'

  # need to enumerate config files for fpm
  # these are installed from recipe/sensu_configs.rake
  t.config_files << "/etc/sensu/handlers/default"
  t.config_files << "/etc/sensu/conf.d/client.json"
  t.config_files << "/etc/sensu/conf.d/checks.json"
  t.config_files << "/etc/sensu/conf.d/handlers.json"
  t.config_files << "/etc/sensu/config.json"

  t.config_files << '/etc/logrotate.d/sensu'

# default task executed when `rake` is run with no args.
task :default => ['packages:sensu']

Let's break it all down:

  • Bunchr.build_dir - Required. This variable is available to all Bunchr::Software recipes specifying a temporary directory used for downloading and compiling.

  • Bunchr.install_dir - Required. This variable is available to all Bunchr::Software recipes. It will typically be the base directory where all software is installed.

The following variables are used to drive fpm when building packages:

  • t.name, t.version, t.iteration - Required. Used by fpm to construct the package names, ie: name-version-iteration-arch.rpm

  • t.arch - Optional. Can be used to override the default detected architecture, eg: all or noarch.

  • t.category, t.license, t.vendor, t.url, t.description - Optional. Package metadata.

  • t.include_software(name) - Optional. This is used to tell Bunchr what Software components should be built and installed before creating packages.

  • t.scripts - Optional. A hash with keys: :after_install, :before_install, :after_remove, and :before_remove. The specified files will be included with the packages.

  • t.files - Required. An array of files and directories to include.

  • t.config_files - Optional. An array of files that will be marked as configuration files (if supported by the underlying package type). Config_files are automatically added to the t.files array.

    NOTE: you must specify individual files, not directories.

All tasks created by a Bunchr::Packages object are prefixed into the packages: namespace. To see the generated tasks:

$ rake -T packages
rake packages:sensu                # Create bunchr packages for sensu 0.9.5-1
rake packages:sensu:build          # Build all packages: sensu-0.9.5-1-x86_64
rake packages:sensu:build_deb      # Build deb: sensu-0.9.5-1-x86_64
rake packages:sensu:build_rpm      # Build RPM: sensu-0.9.5-1-x86_64
rake packages:sensu:build_tarball  # Build tarball: sensu-0.9.5-1-x86_64.tar.gz

The main task is packages:#{name}. Exec this task to create all relevant packages.

Software DSL

Example recipe for building and installing ruby:

Bunchr::Software.new do |t|
  t.name = 'ruby'
  t.version = '1.9.3-p125'


  install_prefix = "#{Bunchr.install_dir}/embedded"

  os   = t.ohai['os']
  arch = t.ohai['kernel']['machine']

  t.download_commands << "curl -O http://ftp.ruby-lang.org/pub/ruby/1.9/ruby-1.9.3-p125.tar.gz"
  t.download_commands << "tar xfvz ruby-1.9.3-p125.tar.gz"

  if os == 'darwin' && arch == 'x86_64'
    t.build_environment['LDFLAGS'] = "-arch x86_64 -R#{install_prefix}/lib -L#{install_prefix}/lib -I#{install_prefix}/include"
    t.build_environment['CFLAGS'] = "-arch x86_64 -m64 -L#{install_prefix}/lib -I#{install_prefix}/include"
  elsif os == 'linux'
    t.build_environment['LDFLAGS'] = "-Wl,-rpath #{install_prefix}/lib -L#{install_prefix}/lib -I#{install_prefix}/include"
    t.build_environment['CFLAGS'] = "-L#{install_prefix}/lib -I#{install_prefix}/include"
  elsif os == 'solaris2'
    t.build_environment['LDFLAGS'] = "-R#{install_prefix}/lib -L#{install_prefix}/lib -I#{install_prefix}/include"
    t.build_environment['CFLAGS'] = "-L#{install_prefix}/lib -I#{install_prefix}/include"

  t.build_commands << "./configure --prefix=#{install_prefix} \
                      --with-opt-dir=#{install_prefix} \
                      --enable-shared \
  t.build_commands << "make"

  t.install_commands << "make install"

  CLEAN << install_prefix
  • t.name - Required. Name of the software component.

  • t.version - Optional. Version of the software component.

  • t.depends_on(name) - Optional. This is used to tell Bunchr that other Software components should be built before this one.

  • t.ohai - This provides access to the Bunchr::Ohai object which contains Ohai data about the system. By default, only the platform and os plugins are loaded. Since you have direct access to the Ohai object, other plugins can be loaded by calling t.ohai.require_plugin

  • t.download_commands - An array of shell commands used to download and uncompress the source. You could also do a git clone .. here. These commands are executed in the download_dir which is #{Bunchr.build_dir}/#{t.name}. The download_dir cannot be changed.

  • t.build_commands - An array of shell commands used to compile the downloaded source. These commands are executed in the directory defined by t.work_dir which will be automatically determined from: 1) #{download_dir}/#{t.name}-#{t.version} (common for most tarballs), or 2) #{download_dir}/#{t.name} (if no t.version set), or 3) explicitly set by calling t.work_dir = '/some/absolute/path'

  • t.install_commands - An array of shell commands used to download and uncompress the source. You could also do a git clone .. here. These commands are executed in t.work_dir directory.

  • CLEAN - Optional. This is an array of files and directories that should be deleted when rake clean is executed.

download_commands, build_commands, and install_commands are all optional, but unless one of them contains some commands your Software object won't be doing anything useful.

If any of download_commands, build_commands, or install_commands exit with a non-zero status, the entire Bunchr process will stop and print any STDOUT or STDERR from the failed command to the Logger.

Bunchr will keep track of what has succeeded so that you can restart a failed build after fixing an error. This can save quite a bit of time during package development, but you should consider doing a full rake clean before building any official packages.

All tasks created by a Bunchr::Software object are prefixed into the software: namespace. To see the generated tasks:

$ rake -T software:ruby
rake software:ruby           # Download, build, and install ruby 1.9.3-p125
rake software:ruby:build     # Build ruby 1.9.3-p125
rake software:ruby:download  # Download ruby 1.9.3-p125
rake software:ruby:install   # Install ruby 1.9.3-p125

Software recipes can be defined directly in the Rakefile or they can be separated into individual files and loaded via Bunchr.load_recipes(files).

Integration with Vagrant

  • TODO. maybe link to sensu-bunchr here.

Other Examples

  • TODO. maybe link to sensu-bunchr here, or a complete example of fpm



Author:: Joe Miller (<joeym@joeym.net>)
Copyright:: Copyright (c) 2012 Joe Miller
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.