Chef is a configuration management tool designed to bring automation to your entire infrastructure.

The Chef Wiki is the definitive source of user documentation.

This README focuses on developers who want to modify Chef source code. For users who just want to run the latest and greatest Chef development version in their environment, see:


Before working on the code, if you plan to contribute your changes, you need to read the Opscode Contributing document.

You will also need to set up the repository with the appropriate branches. We document the process on the Chef Wiki.

Once your repository is set up, you can start working on the code. We do use BDD/TDD with RSpec and Cucumber, so you’ll need to get a development environment running.


Ruby 1.8.7+ [1]


As of 2012-05-25 Ruby 1.8.6 should still work, except for CHEF-2329.


In order to have a development environment where changes to the Chef code can be tested, we’ll need to install a few things after setting up the Git repository.

Non-Gem Dependencies

Install these via your platform’s preferred method; for example apt, yum, ports, emerge, etc.

  • Git

  • Erlang/OTP

  • CouchDB

  • RabbitMQ

  • GCC and C Standard Libraries, header files, etc. (i.e., build-essential on debian/ubuntu)

  • Ruby development package

Runtime Rubygem Dependencies

Chef Client and Solo

  • ohai

  • bunny

  • erubis

  • highline

  • json (1.4.4 - 1.4.6)

  • mixlib-authentication

  • mixlib-cli

  • mixlib-config

  • mixlib-log

  • moneta

  • rest-client

  • uuidtools

  • merb-core

  • net-ssh

  • fog

Chef Server, WebUI and Solr

All of the above, plus the following:

  • coderay

  • haml

  • merb-assets

  • merb-core

  • merb-haml

  • merb-helpers

  • merb-param-protection

  • ruby-openid

  • thin

Development Rubygem Dependencies

Ohai is also by Opscode and available on GitHub,

Starting the Environment:

On Mac OS X:

For ease of debugging, Chef includes a script to start each of the required daemons in a separate tab via applescript:

scripts/mac-dev-start features

On Linux and BSD

run the dev:features rake task. You may need to run it as root depending on how your system is configured.

rake dev:features


After starting the environment, you should have the following processes running:

  • couchdb listening on port 5984

  • rabbitmq listening on port 5672

  • solr listening on port 8983

  • chef-solr-indexer connected as a client to rabbitmq

  • chef-server listening on port 4000

  • chef-server-webui listening on port 4040

You’ll know its running when you see:

merb : chef-server (api) : worker (port 4000) ~ Starting Thin at port 4000
merb : chef-server (api) : worker (port 4000) ~ Using Thin adapter on host and port 4000.
merb : chef-server (api) : worker (port 4000) ~ Successfully bound to port 4000

You’ll want to leave this terminal running the dev environment.

Web Interface:

With the dev environment running, you can now access the web interface via localhost:4040/.

Spec testing:

We use RSpec for unit/spec tests. It is not necessary to start the development environment to run the specs–they are completely standalone.

rake spec

Integration testing:

We test integration with Cucumber. To run the full suite, run the rake task:

rake features

Subsets of the integration tests can be run with the various tasks in the features namespace. To see the full list, run

rake -T

To run individual feature tests, you can take advantage of cucumber’s tagging support. Tag the feature you wish to run (tags are denoted with a leading ‘@’ sign), then use the cucumber command:

cucumber -t @my_tag





Chef - A configuration management system


Adam Jacob (<[email protected]>)


Copyright © 2008-2012 Opscode, Inc.


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.