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Installs runit and provides runit_service definition for managing new services under runit.

This cookbook does not use runit to replace system init, nor are there plans to do so.

For more information about runit:



  • Debian/Ubuntu
  • Gentoo


See attributes/default.rb for defaults.

  • node['runit']['sv_bin'] - Full path to the sv binary.
  • node['runit']['chpst_bin'] - Full path to the chpst binary.
  • node['runit']['service_dir'] - Full path to the default "services" directory where enabled services are linked.
  • node['runit']['sv_dir'] - Full path to the directory where the service lives, which gets linked to service_dir.



Installs and sets up runit on the system. Assumes a package installation, so native package must exist. This recipe will make sure that the runsvdir process gets started, ensures that inittab is updated with the SV entry. The package will be preseeded on ubuntu/debian signal init, otherwise the appropriate action is chosen to notify the runsvdir command.

Older versions of Ubuntu (<= 10.04) are supported, but support may be removed in a future version.


The definition in this cookbook will be deprecated by an LWRP in a future version. See Roadmap.


This definition includes recipe[runit] to ensure it is installed first. As LWRPs cannot use include_recipe, this will not be available in future versions, so runit will need to be in a role or node run list.

Sets up a new service to be managed and supervised by runit. It will be created in the node['runit']['sv_dir'] unless otherwise specified in the directory parameter (see below).


  • name - Name of the service. This will be used in the template file names (see Usage), as well as the name of the service resource created in the definition.
  • directory - the directory where the service's configuration and scripts should be located. Default is node['runit']['sv_dir'].
  • only_if - unused, will be removed in a future version (won't be present in lwrp). Default is false.
  • finish_script - if true, a finish script should be created. Default is false. For more information see: Description of runsv.
  • control - Array of signals to create a control directory with control scripts (e.g., sv-SERVICE-control-SIGNAL.erb, where SERVICE is the name parameter for the service name, and SIGNAL is the Unix signal to send. Default is an empty array. For more information see: Customize Control
  • run_restart - if true, the service resource will subscribe to changes to the run script and restart itself when it is modified. Default is true.
  • active_directory - used for user-specific services. Default is node['runit']['service_dir'].
  • owner - userid of the owner for the service's files, and should be used in the run template with chpst to ensure the service runs as that user. Default is root.
  • group - groupid of the group for the service's files, and should be used in the run template with chpst to ensure the service runs as that group. Default is root.
  • template_name - specify an alternate name for the templates instead of basing them on the name parameter. Default is the name parameter.
  • log_template_name - specify an alternate name for the runit log template instead of basing them on the template_name parameter. Default is the template_name parameter.
  • control_template_names - specify alternate names for runit control signal templates instead of basing them on the template_name parameter. Default is the template_name parameter.
  • finish_script_template_name - specify an altername for the finish script template. Default is the template_name parameter
  • start_command - The command used to start the service in conjunction with the sv command and the service_dir name. Default is start.
  • stop_command - The command used to stop the service in conjunction with the sv command and the service_dir name. Default is stop.
  • restart_command - The command used to restart the service in conjunction with the sv command and the service_dir name. You may need to modify this to send an alternate signal to restart the service depending on the nature of the process. Default is restart
  • status_command - The command used to check status for the service in conjunction with the sv command and the service_dir name. This is used by chef when checking the current resource state in managing the service. Default is status.
  • options - a Hash of variables to pass into the run and log/run templates with the template resource variables parameter. Available inside the template(s) as @options. Default is an empty Hash.
  • env -


Create templates for sv-myservice-run.erb and sv-myservice-log-run.erb that have the commands for starting myservice and its logger.

runit_service "myservice"

See Usage for expanded examples.


None yet. See Roadmap.


To get runit installed on supported platforms, use recipe[runit]. Once it is installed, use the runit_service definition to set up services to be managed by runit. Do note that once CHEF-154 is implemented, some of the usage/implementation here will change. In order to use the runit_service definition, two templates must be created for the service, cookbook_name/templates/default/sv-SERVICE-run.erb and cookbook_name/templates/default/sv-SERVICE-log-run.erb. Replace SERVICE with the name of the service you're managing. For more usage, see Examples.


We'll set up chef-client to run as a service under runit, such as is done in the chef-client cookbook. This example will be more simple than in that cookbook. First, create the required run template, chef-client/templates/default/sv-chef-client-run.erb.

exec 2>&1
exec /usr/bin/env chef-client -i 1800 -s 30

Then create the required log/run template, chef-client/templates/default/sv-chef-client-run.erb.

exec svlogd -tt ./main

Note This will cause output of the running process to go to /etc/sv/chef-client/log/main/current.

Finally, set up the service in the chef-client recipe with:

runit_service "chef-client"

Next, let's set up memcached with some additional options. First, the memcached/templates/default/sv-memcached-run.erb template:

exec 2>&1
exec chpst -u <%= @options[:user] %> /usr/bin/memcached -v -m <%= @options[:memory] %> -p <%= @options[:port] %>

Note that the script uses chpst (which comes with runit) to set the user option, then starts memcached on the specified memory and port (see below).

The log/run template, memcached/templates/default/sv-memcached-log-run.erb:

exec svlogd -tt ./main

Finally, the runit_service in our recipe:

runit_service "memcached" do
    :memory => node[:memcached][:memory],
    :port => node[:memcached][:port],
    :user => node[:memcached][:user]}.merge(params)

This is where the user, port and memory options used in the run template are used.

License and Author

Author:: Adam Jacob Author:: Joshua Timberman

Copyright:: 2008-2011, Opscode, Inc

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.