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CF-AGENT(8) System Manager's Manual CF-AGENT(8)


cf-agent - evaluate CFEngine policy code and actuate change to the system.


cf-agent [OPTION]... [FILE]


cf-agent evaluates policy code and makes changes to the system. Policy bundles are evaluated in the order of the provided bundlesequence (this is normally specified in the common control body). For each bundle, cf-agent groups promise statements according to their type. Promise types are then evaluated in a preset order to ensure fast system convergence to policy.


Bootstrap CFEngine to the given policy server IP, hostname or :avahi (automatic detection)
Set or override bundlesequence from command line
Override the default /var/cfengine work directory for testing (same as setting CFENGINE_TEST_OVERRIDE_WORKDIR)
Enable debugging output
Define a list of comma separated classes to be defined at the start of execution
Run checks to diagnose a CFEngine agent installation
All talk and no action mode - make no changes, only inform of promises not kept
Specify an alternative input file than the default. This option is overridden by FILE if supplied as argument.
Print the help message
Print basic information about changes made to the system, i.e. promises repaired
Specify how detailed logs should be. Possible values: 'error', 'warning', 'notice', 'info', 'verbose', 'debug'
Define a list of comma separated classes to be undefined at the start of execution
Ignore locking constraints during execution (ifelapsed/expireafter) if "too soon" to run
Output verbose information about the behaviour of the agent
Output the version of the software
Output timing information on console when in verbose mode
Possible values: 'yes' (default, trust the server when bootstrapping), 'no' (server key must already be trusted)
Enable colorized output. Possible values: 'always', 'auto', 'never'. If option is used, the default value is 'auto'
Disable extension loading (used while upgrading)
Log timestamps on each line of log output
Enable even more detailed debug logging for specific areas of the implementation. Use together with '-d'. Use --log-modules=help for a list of available modules
Show *final* evaluated classes, including those defined in common bundles in policy. Optionally can take a regular expression.
Show *final* evaluated variables, including those defined without dependency to user-defined classes in policy. Optionally can take a regular expression.
Do not run policy as the last step of the bootstrap process
Do not run database integrity checks and repairs at startup


CFEngine provides automated configuration management of large-scale computer systems. A system administrator describes the desired state of a system using CFEngine policy code. The program cf-agent reads policy code and attempts to bring the current system state to the desired state described. Policy code is downloaded by cf-agent from a cf-serverd daemon. The daemon cf-execd is responsible for running cf-agent periodically.
Documentation for CFEngine is available at


CFEngine is built on principles from promise theory, proposed by Mark Burgess in 2004. Promise theory is a model of voluntary cooperation between individual, autonomous actors or agents who publish their intentions to one another in the form of promises. A promise is a declaration of intent whose purpose is to increase the recipient's certainty about a claim of past, present or future behaviour. For a promise to increase certainty, the recipient needs to trust the promiser, but trust can also be built on the verification that previous promises have been kept, thus trust plays a symbiotic relationship with promises.
For an introduction to promise theory, please see


cf-agent is part of CFEngine.
Binary packages may be downloaded from
The source code is available at


Please see the public bug-tracker at
GitHub pull-requests may be submitted to


cf-promises(8), cf-agent(8), cf-serverd(8), cf-execd(8), cf-monitord(8), cf-runagent(8), cf-key(8)


Mark Burgess and AS

CFEngine System Administration