I’d like to briefly introduce my new project, Consfigurator:

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, and produce disc images. [not all of these are implemented yet, but the design permits them to be]

Consfigurator’s design gives you a great deal of flexibility about how to control the hosts you want to configure. If there is a command you can run which will obtain input and output streams attached to an interactive POSIX sh running on the target host/container, then with a little glue code, you can use much of Consfigurator’s functionality to configure that host/container. But if it is possible to get an implementation of Common Lisp started up on the host, then Configurator can transparently execute your deployment code over on the remote side, rather than exchanging information via POSIX sh. This lets you use the full power of Common Lisp to deploy your configuration.

Configurator has convenient abstractions for combining these different ways to execute your configuration on hosts with different ways of connecting to them. Connections can be arbitrarily nested. For example, to combine SSHing to a Debian machine as an unprivileged user, using sudo to become root, and then starting up a Lisp image to execute your deployment code, you would evaluate

    (deploy ((:ssh (:sudo :as "spwhitton@athena.example.com") :debian-sbcl)) athena.example.com)

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 on top of traditional, battle-tested unix system administration infrastructure like apt, dpkg, yum, and distro package archives, 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!

Please check out the user’s manual, which includes a tutorial/quick start guide, and come join us in #consfigurator on irc.oftc.net. It’s early days but you can already do a fair few things with Consfigurator. It’s a good time to come help get all the basic properties defined!

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