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multipackage (12) Versions 1.0.2

Accumulated installation of multiple packages across multiple cookbooks

cookbook 'multipackage', '= 1.0.2'
cookbook 'multipackage', '= 1.0.2', :supermarket
knife cookbook site install multipackage
knife cookbook site download multipackage

Multipackage Cookbook

Chef Package Installation Nirvana

  • Leverages Chef 12.1.0 multipackage installation
  • Back-compat with earlier chef versions
  • Accumulate packages across all cookbooks and install with one resource
  • Duplicated packages do not generate CHEF-3694 resource cloning errors


This cookbook supplies an LWRP multipackage_install which provides a backwards-compatability layer around supplying an array of packages to the package resource which was introduced in Chef 12.1.0. By using this LWRP a cookbook will execute a single resource with an array argument on Chef 12.1.0, but will dispatch multiple resources to handle each individual resource to maintain compatibility with previous versions of Chef.

This cookbook also supplies a definition multipackage which wraps multipackage_install with additional functionality not present in core chef which implements an accumulator pattern to gather packages from many different cookbooks and install them in a single resource call (assuming it runs on Chef 12.1.0 or greater).


This should run fine on any distro on any version of Chef. For installing multiple packages in a single resource call the core chef provider that is being used will need to support that (as of Chef 12.1.0 this is only apt on Ubuntu and yum on RHELs/Fedora).

Cookbook Dependencies




This takes an array of packages and installs them. On chef versions that do not support array arguments to the package resource it will explode the package_name argument into multiple package resources for backwards compatibility.


multipackage_install [ "lsof, "tcpdump", "zsh" ] do
  version [ "1.1.1", "2.2.2", "3.3.3" ]
  options { "some" => "options" }
  timeout 86400


  • :install - install the packages


  • package_name - This must be an array
  • version - This must be an array and, if present, must have the same number of elements as package_name
  • options - Options to pass to package provider(s).
  • timeout - Timeout to pass to package provider(s).



This implements an accumulator pattern to gather all its arguments across every cookbook and issue a single multipackage_install resource to install all of the gathered packages. The resource will be placed in the resource collection at the point where the first definition is encountered -- in other words it will run very early in converge phase as opposed to being implemented as a delayed notification which would run too late for cookbooks to depend upon the packages being installed.


In my_zlib/default.rb:

multipackage "zlib-dev"

In my_zsh/default.rb:

multipackage "zsh"

In my_xml/default.rb:

multipackage [ "xml2-dev", "xslt-dev" ]

On Chef >= 12.1.0 and Ubuntu/RHEL this will result in a single resource that installs all 4 packages at once.


  • :install - Setup the symlinks


  • package_name - This must be an array
  • version - This must be an array and, if present, must have the same number of elements as package_name
  • options - Options to pass to package provider, currently there is no merging, last-writer-wins
  • timeout - Timeout to pass to package provider, last-writer-wins






Put 'depends multipackage' in your metadata.rb to gain access to the LWRP and definition in your code.

NOTE on Using Definitions

This cookbook uses a definition for a specific purpose to implement an accumulator or scatter-gather pattern so that many statements across multiple recipes and cookbooks produce one resource which is executed. This is done with a definition so that the accumulating/gathering process occurs at compile-time. When compile-time is finished all of the data has been accumulated. This lets a resource run very early in the run-list and do its work early.

If this was implemented as an LWRP it would have to do its accumulation work late, at converge time in the provider That would make it impossible to install the packages early. An LWRP implementation is possible in conjunction with a delayed notification to a resource to consume the accumulated data, but then recipe code could not depend on the packages having been installed. Since a definition is a compile-time macro this cookbook takes advantage of that distinction to more elegantly solve this problem without forcing providers to run at compile_time which is more of an antipattern than definitions are.

In general LWRPs should always be used over definitions. This is the one case where they should be used.

Bugs and Edge Conditions

  • options could be merged in the definition
  • timeout could update the timeout in the definition only if its larger than the current one or something like that
  • there's other parameters to package, yum_package, etc that are not implemented
  • to suppress CHEF-3694 errors the first declaration of installing a package 'wins' with regards to options/version/etc


Just open a PR or Issue on GitHub.

License and Author

Copyright:: 2015 Lamont Granquist

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,
See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
limitations under the License.

Dependent cookbooks

This cookbook has no specified dependencies.

Contingent cookbooks

zsh Applicable Versions

Foodcritic Metric

1.0.2 failed this metric

FC009: Resource attribute not recognised: /tmp/cook/a2cce4fb928c4d8bd05673b2/multipackage/providers/install.rb:8
FC015: Consider converting definition to a LWRP: /tmp/cook/a2cce4fb928c4d8bd05673b2/multipackage/definitions/default.rb:1
FC031: Cookbook without metadata file: /tmp/cook/a2cce4fb928c4d8bd05673b2/multipackage/metadata.rb:1
FC045: Consider setting cookbook name in metadata: /tmp/cook/a2cce4fb928c4d8bd05673b2/multipackage/metadata.rb:1