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


cf-promises - validate and analyze CFEngine policy code


cf-promises [OPTION]... [FILE]


cf-promises is a tool for checking CFEngine policy code. It operates by first parsing policy code checing for syntax errors. Second, it validates the integrity of policy consisting of multiple files. Third, it checks for semantic errors, e.g. specific attribute set rules. Finally, cf-promises attempts to expose errors by partially evaluating the policy, resolving as many variable and classes promise statements as possible. At no point does cf-promises make any changes to the system.


Override the work directory for testing (same as setting CFENGINE_TEST_OVERRIDE_WORKDIR)
Evaluate functions during syntax checking (may catch more run-time errors). Possible values: 'yes', 'no'. Default is 'yes'
Show discovered classes, including those defined in common bundles in policy. Optionally can take a regular expression.
Show discovered variables, including those defined without dependency to user-defined classes in policy. Optionally can take a regular expression.
Print the help message
Use the specified bundlesequence for verification
Enable debugging output
Output verbose information about the behaviour of cf-promises
Specify how detailed logs should be. Possible values: 'error', 'warning', 'notice', 'info', 'verbose', 'debug'
All talk and no action mode - make no changes, only inform of promises not kept
Output the version of the software
Specify an alternative input file than the default. This option is overridden by FILE if supplied as argument.
Define a list of comma separated classes to be defined at the start of execution
Define a list of comma separated classes to be undefined at the start of execution
Print basic information about changes made to the system, i.e. promises repaired
Activate internal diagnostics (developers only)
Output the parsed policy. Possible values: 'none', 'cf', 'json' (this file only), 'cf-full', 'json-full' (all parsed promises). Default is 'none'. (experimental)
Output a document describing the available syntax elements of CFEngine. Possible values: 'none', 'json'. Default is 'none'.
Ensure full policy integrity checks
Pass comma-separated <warnings>|all to enable non-default warnings, or error=<warnings>|all
Enable colorized output. Possible values: 'always', 'auto', 'never'. If option is used, the default value is 'auto'
Tag a directory with with cf_promises_validated and cf_promises_release_id
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


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-promises 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