Lisp declarative configuration management system

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Sean Whitton <>




Introduction ============ Consfigurator is a system for declarative configuration management using Common Lisp. You can use it to configure hosts as root, deploy services as unprivileged users, build and deploy containers, and produce disc images. Consfigurator's design gives you a great deal of flexibility about how to control the hosts you want to configure. If there is a command you can run which will obtain input and output streams attached to an interactive POSIX sh running on the target host/container, then with a little glue code, you can use much of Consfigurator's functionality to configure that host/container. But if it is possible to get an implementation of Common Lisp started up on the host, then Configurator can transparently execute your deployment code over on the remote side, rather than exchanging information via POSIX sh. This lets you use the full power of Common Lisp to deploy your configuration. Configurator has convenient abstractions for combining these different ways to execute your configuration on hosts with different ways of connecting to them. Connections can be arbitrarily nested. For example, to combine SSHing to a Debian machine as an unprivileged user, using sudo to become root, and then starting up a Lisp image to execute your deployment code, you would just evaluate:: (deploy (:ssh (:sudo :as "") :sbcl) Declarative configuration management systems like Consfigurator and Propellor_ share a number of goals with projects like the `GNU Guix System`_ and `NixOS`_. However, tools like Consfigurator and Propellor try to layer the power of declarative and reproducible configuration on top of traditional, battle-tested unix system administration infrastructure like apt, dpkg, yum, and distro package archives, rather than seeking to replace any of those. Let's get as much as we can out of all that existing distro policy-compliant work! *Some features described in the foregoing are not yet implemented, but Consfigurator's design permits them to be.* .. _Propellor: .. _GNU Guix System: .. _NixOS: About the name -------------- ``CONS`` is a fundamental operator in Lisp. Consfigurator is so named because we hope to enable configuration management workflows which take advantage of some of the unique properties of the activity of programming in Lisp. For example, using Lisp's interactivity, it's easy to test a new property you're working on without having to plumb it into your main deployments, which might be large and relatively slow to run. Hit ``C-c C-c`` on your ``DEFPROP`` form in Emacs, switch to the repl, and then use ``DEPLOY-THESE`` to run just that property against localhost or a local container, until it does what it should. For this purpose you can use whatever connection type is most convenient -- perhaps you normally deploy using Consfigurator's support for starting up remote Lisp images, but you can swap in a simple, lighter-weight connection type for testing. Another respect in which this is useful is that interactive debugging is not possible with connection types which start up remote Lisp images. We have a few nice macros defined, too. Installation and usage ====================== Please see the `user's manual`_ which includes a tutorial/quick start guide. .. _user's manual: Bug reports, patches etc. ========================= Please see CONTRIBUTING.rst, included in the source tree, for information regarding the reporting of bugs and submission of patches/pull requests. License ======= Copyright (C) 2020-2021 Sean Whitton Consfigurator is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. Consfigurator is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details. You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with Consfigurator. If not, see <>.

Dependencies (11)

  • agnostic-lizard
  • alexandria
  • babel
  • cffi
  • cl-heredoc
  • cl-interpol
  • closer-mop
  • cl-ppcre
  • named-readtables
  • rt
  • trivial-backtrace

Dependents (0)

    • GitHub
    • Quicklisp
    • Sponsor