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apt Cookbook

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This cookbook includes recipes to execute apt-get update to ensure the local APT package cache is up to date. There are recipes for managing the apt-cacher-ng caching proxy and proxy clients. It also includes a custom resource for pinning packages via /etc/apt/preferences.d.


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  • Ubuntu 12.04+
  • Debian 7+

May work with or without modification on other Debian derivatives.


  • Chef 13.3+


  • None



This recipe manually updates the timestamp file used to only run apt-get update if the cache is more than one day old.

This recipe should appear first in the run list of Debian or Ubuntu nodes to ensure that the package cache is up to date before managing any package resources with Chef.

This recipe also sets up a local cache directory for preseeding packages.

Including the default recipe on a node that does not support apt (such as Windows or RHEL) results in a noop.


Configures the node to use a apt-cacher-ng server to cache apt requests. Configuration of the server to use is located in default['apt']['cacher_client']['cacher_server'] which is a hash containing host, port, proxy_ssl, and bypass keys. Example:

  "apt": {
    "cacher_client": {
      "cacher_server": {
        "host": "cache_server.mycorp.dmz",
        "port": 1234,
        "proxy_ssl": true,
        "cache_bypass": {
          "": "http"

Bypassing the cache

Occasionally you may come across repositories that do not play nicely when the node is using an apt-cacher-ng server. You can configure cacher-client to bypass the server and connect directly to the repository with the cache_bypass attribute.

To do this, you need to override the cache_bypass attribute with an hash of repositories, with each key as the repository URL and value as the protocol to use:

  "apt": {
    "cacher_client": {
      "cacher_server": {
        "cache_bypass": {
          "URL": "PROTOCOL"

For example, to prevent caching and directly connect to the repository at via http and the repo at via https

  "apt": {
    "cacher_client": {
      "cacher_server": {
        "cache_bypass": {
          "": "http",
          "": "https"


Installs the apt-cacher-ng package and service so the system can provide APT caching. You can check the usage report at http://{hostname}:3142/acng-report.html.

If you wish to help the cacher-ng recipe seed itself, you must now explicitly include the cacher-client recipe in your run list after cacher-ng or you will block your ability to install any packages (ie. apt-cacher-ng).


Installs and configures the unattended-upgrades package to provide automatic package updates. This can be configured to upgrade all packages or to just install security updates by setting ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['allowed_origins'].

To pull just security updates, set origins_patterns to something like ["origin=Ubuntu,archive=trusty-security"] (for Ubuntu trusty) or ["origin=Debian,label=Debian-Security"] (for Debian).



  • ['apt']['compile_time_update'] - force the default recipe to run apt-get update at compile time.
  • ['apt']['periodic_update_min_delay'] - minimum delay (in seconds) between two actual executions of apt-get update by the execute[apt-get-update-periodic] resource, default is '86400' (24 hours)


  • ['apt']['cacher_client']['cacher_server'] - Hash containing server information used by clients for caching. See the example in the recipes section above for the full format of the hash.
  • ['apt']['cacher_interface'] - interface to connect to the cacher-ng service, no default.
  • ['apt']['cacher_port'] - port for the cacher-ng service (used by server recipe only), default is '3142'
  • ['apt']['cacher_dir'] - directory used by cacher-ng service, default is '/var/cache/apt-cacher-ng'
  • ['apt']['compiletime'] - force the cacher-client recipe to run before other recipes. It forces apt to use the proxy before other recipes run. Useful if your nodes have limited access to public apt repositories. This is overridden if the cacher-ng recipe is in your run list. Default is 'false'

Unattended Upgrades

  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['enable'] - enables unattended upgrades, default is false
  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['update_package_lists'] - automatically update package list (apt-get update) daily, default is true
  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['allowed_origins'] - array of allowed apt origins from which to pull automatic upgrades, defaults to a guess at the system's main origin and should almost always be overridden
  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['origins_patterns'] - array of allowed apt origin patterns from which to pull automatic upgrades, defaults to none.
  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['package_blacklist'] - an array of package which should never be automatically upgraded, defaults to none
  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['auto_fix_interrupted_dpkg'] - attempts to repair dpkg state with dpkg --force-confold --configure -a if it exits uncleanly, defaults to false (contrary to the unattended-upgrades default)
  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['minimal_steps'] - Split the upgrade into the smallest possible chunks. This makes the upgrade a bit slower but it has the benefit that shutdown while a upgrade is running is possible (with a small delay). Defaults to false.
  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['install_on_shutdown'] - Install upgrades when the machine is shuting down instead of doing it in the background while the machine is running. This will (obviously) make shutdown slower. Defaults to false.
  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['mail'] - Send email to this address for problems or packages upgrades. Defaults to no email.
  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['sender'] - Send email from this address for problems or packages upgrades. Defaults to 'root'.
  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['mail_only_on_error'] - If set, email will only be set on upgrade errors. Otherwise, an email will be sent after each upgrade. Defaults to true.
  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['remove_unused_dependencies'] Do automatic removal of new unused dependencies after the upgrade. Defaults to false.
  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['automatic_reboot'] - Automatically reboots without confirmation if a restart is required after the upgrade. Defaults to false.
  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['dl_limit'] - Limits the bandwidth used by apt to download packages. Value given as an integer in kb/sec. Defaults to nil (no limit).
  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['random_sleep'] - Wait a random number of seconds up to this value before running daily periodic apt actions. System default is 1800 seconds (30 minutes).
  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['syslog_enable'] - Enable logging to syslog. Defaults to false.
  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['syslog_facility'] - Specify syslog facility. Defaults to 'daemon'.
  • ['apt']['unattended_upgrades']['dpkg_options'] An array of dpkg options to be used specifically only for unattended upgrades. Defaults to [] which will prevent it from being rendered from the template in the resulting file.

Configuration for APT

  • ['apt']['confd']['force_confask'] - Prompt when overwriting configuration files. (default: false)
  • ['apt']['confd']['force_confdef'] - Don't prompt when overwriting configuration files. (default: false)
  • ['apt']['confd']['force_confmiss'] - Install removed configuration files when upgrading packages. (default: false)
  • ['apt']['confd']['force_confnew'] - Overwrite configuration files when installing packages. (default: false)
  • ['apt']['confd']['force_confold'] - Keep modified configuration files when installing packages. (default: false)
  • ['apt']['confd']['install_recommends'] - Consider recommended packages as a dependency for installing. (default: true)
  • ['apt']['confd']['install_suggests'] - Consider suggested packages as a dependency for installing. (default: false)


There is an interface_ipaddress method that returns the IP address for a particular host and interface, used by the cacher-client recipe. To enable it on the server use the ['apt']['cacher_interface'] attribute.


Put recipe[apt] first in the run list. If you have other recipes that you want to use to configure how apt behaves, like new sources, notify the execute resource to run, e.g.:

template '/etc/apt/sources.list.d/my_apt_sources.list' do
  notifies :run, 'execute[apt-get update]', :immediately

The above will run during execution phase since it is a normal template resource, and should appear before other package resources that need the sources in the template.

Put recipe[apt::cacher-ng] in the run_list for a server to provide APT caching and add recipe[apt::cacher-client] on the rest of the Debian-based nodes to take advantage of the caching server.

If you want to cleanup unused packages, there is also the apt-get autoclean and apt-get autoremove resources provided for automated cleanup.



The apt_preference resource has been moved into chef-client in Chef 13.3.

See for usage details


The apt_repository resource has been moved into chef-client in Chef 12.9.

See for usage details


The apt_update resource has been moved into chef-client in Chef 12.7.

See for usage details


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