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Collect and display system facts
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Latest commit 70452b4 @kylog kylog Merge pull request #1223 from peterhuene/fix
(maint) Fixes for compiling Facter with GCC 5 on Windows.
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acceptance (maint) Enable fact acceptance test for OS X 10.11
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ext (maint) Update Leatherman for FACT-1082 merge
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man/man8 (FACT-1075) Add flag to display legacy facts
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.editorconfig (maint) support consistent coding style across users
.gitignore (maint) Generate .gemspec
.gitmodules (CFACT-227) Use leatherman where possible
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CMakeLists.txt (maint) Use RapidJSON from Leatherman. (doc) Update contributing with other Facter 3 info (FACT-855) Rename cfacter to facter
LICENSE (FACT-855) Rename cfacter to facter (maint) Confirm doxygen issues no warnings
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Native Facter

An implementation of facter functionality in C++11, providing:

  • a shared library which gather facts about the system
  • an executable for standalone command line usage
  • a ruby file to enable require 'facter'.

Please see our extensibility document to learn more about extending native facter using custom and external facts.

Build Requirements

  • GCC 4.8+ or Clang 5.0+ (OSX)
  • CMake >= 3.2.2
  • Boost C++ Libraries >= 1.54
  • yaml-cpp >= 0.5.1

Currently the leatherman library is vendored as a git submodule. To ensure submodules are initialized, please run:

git submodule update --init

Optional Build Libraries

  • OpenSSL - enables SSH fingerprinting facts.
  • libblkid (Linux only) - enables the partitions fact.
  • libcurl >= 7.18.0 - enables facts that perform HTTP requests.

Initial Setup

Note: Testing custom facts requires Ruby 1.9+ with libruby built as a dynamic library; that often implies development builds of Ruby.

Setup on Fedora 20

The following will install all required tools and libraries:

yum install boost-devel openssl-devel yaml-cpp-devel libblkid-devel libcurl-devel gcc-c++ make wget tar
tar xzvf cmake-3.2.3-Linux-x86_64.tar.gz --strip 1 -C /usr/local

Setup on Mac OSX Mavericks (homebrew)

This assumes Clang is installed and the system OpenSSL libraries will be used.

The following will install all required libraries:

brew install cmake boost yaml-cpp

Setup on Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty)

The following will install most required tools and libraries:

apt-get install build-essential libboost-all-dev libssl-dev libyaml-cpp-dev libblkid-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev wget tar
tar xzvf cmake-3.2.3-Linux-x86_64.tar.gz --strip 1 -C /usr/local

Setup on Windows

MinGW-w64 is used for full C++11 support, and Chocolatey can be used to install. You should have at least 2GB of memory for compilation.

  • install CMake
  • install MinGW-w64

    choco install mingw --params "/threads:win32"

For the remaining tasks, build commands can be executed in the shell from Start > MinGW-w64 project > Run Terminal

  • select an install location for dependencies, such as C:\tools or cmake\release\ext; we'll refer to it as $install

  • build Boost

    .\bootstrap mingw
    .\b2 toolset=gcc --build-type=minimal install --prefix=$install --with-program_options --with-system --with-filesystem --with-date_time --with-thread --with-regex --with-log --with-locale --with-chrono boost.locale.iconv=off
  • build yaml-cpp

    cmake -G "MinGW Makefiles" -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=$install -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$install .
    mingw32-make install
  • build libcurl

    mingw32-make mingw32
    cp -r include\curl $install\include
    cp -r lib\libcurl.a $install\lib

In Powershell:

choco install cmake 7zip.commandline -y
choco install mingw --params "/threads:win32" -y
$env:PATH = "C:\tools\mingw64\bin;$env:PATH"
$install = "C:\tools"

(New-Object Net.WebClient).DownloadFile("", "$pwd/boost_1_54_0.7z")
7za x boost_1_54_0.7z
pushd boost_1_54_0
.\bootstrap mingw
.\b2 toolset=gcc --build-type=minimal install --prefix=$install --with-program_options --with-system --with-filesystem --with-date_time --with-thread --with-regex --with-log --with-locale --with-chrono boost.locale.iconv=off

(New-Object Net.WebClient).DownloadFile("", "$pwd/yaml-cpp-0.5.1.tar.gz")
7za x yaml-cpp-0.5.1.tar.gz
7za x yaml-cpp-0.5.1.tar
pushd yaml-cpp-0.5.1
cmake -G "MinGW Makefiles" -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH="$install" -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX="$install" .
mingw32-make install

(New-Object Net.WebClient).DownloadFile("", "$pwd/")
7za x
pushd curl-7.42.1
mingw32-make mingw32
cp -r include\curl $install\include
cp -r lib\libcurl.a $install\lib

Note that OpenSSL isn't needed on Windows.


All of the following examples start by assuming the current directory is the root of the repo.

On Windows, add -G "MinGW Makefiles" -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=\<binary install path\> -DBOOST_STATIC=ON to the cmake invocation.

Before building facter, use cmake to generate build files:

$ mkdir release
$ cd release
$ cmake ..

To generate build files with debug information:

$ mkdir debug
$ cd debug
$ cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug ..


To build facter, use 'make':

$ cd release
$ make

To build facter with debug information:

$ cd debug
$ make


You can run facter from where it was built:

$ release/bin/facter

For a debug build:

$ debug/bin/facter


If a ruby was found during configuration, execute the following command before running tests:

$ bundle install --gemfile lib/Gemfile

You can run facter tests using the test target:

$ cd release
$ make test

For a debug build:

$ cd debug
$ make test

For verbose test output, run ctest instead of using the test target:

$ cd release
$ ctest -V


You can install facter into your system:

$ cd release
$ make && sudo make install

By default, facter will install files into /usr/local/bin, /usr/local/lib, and /usr/local/include. If the project is configured with Ruby in the PATH, facter.rb will be installed to that Ruby's vendor dir.

To install to a different location, set the install prefix:

$ cd release
$ make clean install

This would install facter into ~/bin, ~/lib, and ~/include.

Ruby Usage

Using the Ruby API requires that facter.rb is installed into the Ruby load path, as done in the previous install steps.

    require 'facter'

    # Use the Facter API...
    puts "kernel: #{Facter.value(:kernel)}"


Run the following command to remove files that were previously installed:

$ sudo xargs rm < release/install_manifest.txt


To generate API documentation, install doxygen 1.8.7 or later.

$ cd lib
$ doxygen

To view the documentation, open lib/html/index.html in a web browser.

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