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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, install operating systems, produce disc images, and more. Some key advantages:

  • Apply configuration by transparently starting up another Lisp image on the machine to be configured, so that you can use the full power of Common Lisp to inspect and control the host.
  • Also define properties of hosts in a more restricted language, that of :POSIX properties, to configure machines, containers and user accounts where you can't install Lisp. These properties can be applied using just an SSH or serial connection, but they can also be applied by remote Lisp images, enabling code reuse.
  • Flexibly chain and nest methods of connecting to hosts. For example, you could have Consfigurator SSH to a host, sudo to root, start up Lisp, use the setns(2) system call to enter a Linux container, and then deploy a service. Secrets, and other prerequisite data, are properly passed along.
  • Combine declarative semantics for defining hosts and services with a multiparadigmatic general-purpose programming language that won't get in your way.

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 semantics on top of traditional, battle-tested UNIX system administration infrastructure like distro package managers, package archives and daemon configuration mechanisms, 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!

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.

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) 2015-2018, 2020-2022 Sean Whitton
Copyright (C) 2021-2022 David Bremner

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 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.