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Cfengine is a suite of programs for integrated autonomic management of either individual or networked computers. The main purpose of cfengine is to allow a system administrator to create a single central file which will define how every host on a network should be configured.

With this software installed, an interpreter runs on every host on your network and parses the master file (or file-set); the configuration of each host is checked against this file and then, if you request it, any deviations from the defined configuration are fixed automatically.

It takes a while to set up cfengine for a network (especially an already existing network), but once that is done you will wonder how you ever lived without it. This software significantly reduces the amount of time consumed by mundane tasks.

Cfengine consists of a number of components:

  • cf-agent Active agent – responsible for maintaining promises about the state of your system
  • cf-execd Scheduler – responsible for running cf-agent on a regular (and user-configurable) basis
  • cf-know Knowledge modelling agent – responsible for building and analysing a semantic knowledge network
  • cf-monitord Passive monitoring agent – responsible for collecting information about the status of your system
  • cf-promises Promise validator – used to verify that the promises used by the other components of cfengine are syntactically valid
  • cf-runagent Remote run agent – used to execute cf-agent on a remote machine
  • cf-serverd Server – used to distribute policy and/or data files to clients requesting them and used to respond to requests from cf-runagent
  • cf-report Self-knowledge extractor – takes data stored in cfengine's embedded databases and converts them to human readable form
  • cf-key Key generation tool – run once on every host to create public/private key pairs for secure communication

 Cfengine 3.5.3

Free to download



Mark Burgess


System Requirements
BerkeleyDB 3.2 or later
PCRE (recommended)

Documentation, FAQ, Forums

Selected Reviews:
ONLamp, Linux Magazine

Features include:

  • A brand new language with a simple uniform syntax and powerful templating features
  • Integrated self-diagnostics and automated self-healing documentation.
  • Many features simplified but extended
  • Distributed monitoring and integrated reporting
  • Generic file editing with multiple models
  • Pattern matching and design features to match any environment, large and small
  • Integrated knowledge management using topic maps
  • GPL 3 code for open inspection and security auditing.
  • Full integration with existing Cfengine 2 systems
  • Auto-encapsulation of Cfengine 2 for incremental upgrade
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Last Updated Sunday, June 01 2014 @ 06:34 AM EDT

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