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Easily create full-stack installers for your project across a variety of platforms.

Seth Chisamore and Christopher Maier of Opscode gave an introductory talk on Omnibus at ChefConf 2013, entitled Eat the Whole Bowl: Building a Full-Stack Installer with Omnibus (video, slides).


Omnibus is designed to run with a minimal set of prerequisites. You'll need the following:

Though not strictly necessary, Vagrant makes using Omnibus easier, and is highly recommended.

Get Started

Omnibus provides both a DSL for defining Omnibus projects for your software, as well as a command-line tool for generating installer artifacts from that definition.

To get started, install Omnibus locally on your workstation.

$ gem install omnibus

You can now create an Omnibus project in your current directory by using the project generator feature.

$ omnibus project $MY_PROJECT_NAME

This will generate a complete project skeleton in the directory omnibus-$MY_PROJECT_NAME

This minimal project will actually build.

$ cd omnibus-$MY_PROJECT_NAME
$ bundle install --binstubs
$ bin/omnibus build project $MY_PROJECT_NAME

More details can be found in the generated project README file.

Configuration DSL

Though the template project will build, it won't do anything exciting. For that, you'll need to use the Omnibus DSL to define the specifics of your own application.


Omnibus "software" files define individual software components that go into making your overall package. They are the building blocks of your application. The Software DSL provides a way to define where to retrieve the software sources, how to build them, and what dependencies they have. These dependencies are also defined in their own Software DSL files, thus forming the basis for a dependency-aware build ordering.

All Software definitions should go in the config/software directory of your Omnibus project repository.

Opscode has created software definitions for a number of commonly-needed components, available in the omnibus-software repository. When you create a new project skeleton using Omnibus, this is automatically added to the project's Gemfile, making all these software definitions available to you. (If you prefer, however, you can write your own versions of these same definitions in your project repository; local copies in config/software have precedence over anything from the omnibus-software repository.)

An example:

name    "ruby"
version "1.9.2-p290"
source  :url => "{version}.tar.gz",
        :md5 => "604da71839a6ae02b5b5b5e1b792d5eb"

dependency "zlib"
dependency "ncurses"
dependency "openssl"

relative_path "ruby-#{version}"

build do
  command "./configure"
  command "make"
  command "make install"

Some of the DSL methods available include:

name: The name of the software component.

version: The version of the software component.

source: Directions to the location of the source.

dependency: An Omnibus software-defined component that this software depends on.

relative_path: The relative path of the extracted tarball.

build: The build instructions.

command: An individual build step.

For more, consult the documentation.


A Project DSL file defines your actual application; this is the thing you are creating a full-stack installer for in the first place. It provides a means to define the dependencies of the project (again, as specified in Software DSL definition files), as well as ways to set installer package metadata.

All Project definitions (yes, you can have more than one) should go in the config/projects directory of your Omnibus project repository.

name            "chef-full"
maintainer      "YOUR NAME"
homepage        ""

install_path    "/opt/chef"
build_version   "0.10.8"
build_iteration 4

dependency "chef"

Some DSL methods available include:

name: The name of the project.

install_path: The desired install location of the package.

build_version: The package version.

build_iteration: The package iteration number.

dependency: An Omnibus software-defined component to include in this package.

For more, see the documentation.

A Note On Builds

As stated above, the generated project skeleton can run "as-is". However, Omnibus determines the platform for which to build an installer based on the platform it is currently running on. That is, you can only generate a .deb file for Ubuntu if you're actually running Omnibus on Ubuntu.

This is currently achieved using Vagrant. A valid Vagrantfile for generating builds on Ubuntu and Centos platforms (though Omnibus is not limited to just those!) is created for each project that you generate using omnibus project $MY_PROJECT_NAME


See the LICENSE and NOTICE files for more information.

Copyright: Copyright (c) 2012--2013 Opscode, 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, 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.