Bundler is used to describe groups of inter-dependent configuration entries, such as the combination of packages, configuration files, and service activations that comprise typical Unix daemons. Bundles are used to add groups of configuration entries to the inventory of client configurations, as opposed to describing particular versions of those entries. For example, a bundle could say that the configuration file /etc/passwd should be included in a configuration, but will not describe the particular version of /etc/passwd that a given client will receive.

Group and Client tags can be used inside of bundles to differentiate which entries particular clients will recieve; this is useful for the case where entries are named differently across systems; for example, one linux distro may have a package called openssh while another uses the name ssh. Configuration entries nested inside of Group elements only apply to clients who are a member of those groups; multiple nested groups must all apply. Also, groups may be negated; entries included in such groups will only apply to clients who are not a member of said group. The same applies to Client elements.

The following is an annotated copy of a bundle:

<Bundle name='ssh' version='2.0'>
  <Path name='/etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key'/>
  <Path name='/etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key'/>
  <Path name='/etc/ssh/'/>
  <Path name='/etc/ssh/'/>
  <Path name='/etc/ssh/ssh_host_key'/>
  <Path name='/etc/ssh/'/>
  <Path name='/etc/ssh/sshd_config'/>
  <Path name='/etc/ssh/ssh_config'/>
  <Path name='/etc/ssh/ssh_known_hosts'/>
  <Group name='rpm'>
    <Package name='openssh'/>
    <Package name='openssh-askpass'/>
    <Service name='sshd'/>
    <Group name='fedora' >
       <Group name='fc14' negate='true'>
         <Package name='openssh-clients'/>
       <Package name='openssh-server'/>
  <Group name='deb'>
    <Package name='ssh'/>
    <Service name='ssh'/>
  <Client name=''>
      <Path name='/etc/ssh/shosts.equiv'/>

In this bundle, most of the entries are common to all systems. Clients in group deb get one extra package and service, while clients in group rpm get two extra packages and an extra service. In addition, clients in group fedora and group rpm get one extra package entries, unless they are not in the fc14 group, in which case, they get an extra package. The client gets one extra file that is not distributed to any other clients. Notice that this file doesn’t describe which versions of these entries that clients should get, only that they should get them. (Admittedly, this example is slightly contrived, but demonstrates how group entries can be used in bundles)

Group/Hostname Entry
all /etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key
all /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key
all /etc/ssh/
all /etc/ssh/
all /etc/ssh/ssh_host_key
all /etc/ssh/
all /etc/ssh/sshd_config
all /etc/ssh/ssh_config
all /etc/ssh/ssh_known_hosts
rpm Package openssh
rpm Package openssh-askpass
rpm Service sshd
rpm and fedora Package openssh-server
rpm and fedora and not fc4 Package openssh-clients
deb Package ssh
deb Service ssh /etc/ssh/shosts.equiv

Genshi templates

Genshi xml templates can be specified one of two ways:

  1. Add an xml-style genshi template to the Bundler directory with a .genshi and the associated namespace attribute.
  2. Simply add the appropriate namespace attribute to your existing xml bundle.

The namespace attribute in this case should look like the following:



Static Bundles have served us relatively well, but have a relatively weak set of interal per-client differentiation mechanisms. In static Bundles, the group hierarchy (from the perspective of the current client) is available for use via boolean constraints with negation. This notion does not mesh well with the use of Probes, which can result in freeform data. In the presence of probe results, clients can have a wide array of data, and rendering down to a boolean logic may not always be desirable. Moreover, while static Bundles allow entry inclusion or exclusion based on group memberships, they do not allow programatic entry rendering. Hence, Genshi templates not only provide more control options, but it also provide the ability to perform new entry rendering operations.

The Genshi templating system is used internally.



<Group> and <Client> tags are allowed inside of Genshi templates as of Bcfg2 1.2. However, they do not behave the same as using a Genshi conditional, e.g.:

<py:if test="'groupname' in metadata.groups">

The conditional is evaluated when the template is rendered, so code inside the conditional is not executed if the conditional fails. A <Group> tag is evaluated after the template is rendered, so code inside the tag is always executed. This is an important distinction: if you have code that will fail on some groups, you must use a Genshi conditional, not a <Group> tag. The same caveats apply to <Client> tags.

Bcfg2 uses the Genshi API for templates, and performs a XML format stream rendering of the template into an lxml entry, which is included in the client configuration. Client metadata is available inside of the template using the ‘metadata’ name. Note that only the markup Genshi template format can be used, as the target output format is XML.

A Genshi template looks much like a Bundler file, except the Bundle tag has an additional xmlns:py attribute. See the examples.


To render a bundle for a given client, you can run:

bcfg2-info buildbundle <bundle name> <hostname>

This will render the template; it will not fully bind all of the entries in the bundle.

See bcfg2-info for more details.



In some cases, configuration files need to include the client’s hostname in their name. The following template produces such a config file entry.

<Bundle name='foo'  xmlns:py="">
    <Path name='/etc/package-${metadata.hostname}'/>

Depending on the circumstance, these configuration files can either be handled by individual entries in Cfg, TCheetah, or TGenshi, or can be mapped to a single entry by using the altsrc feature.

In this example, configuration file names are built using probed results from the client. getmac is a probe that gathers client MAC addresses and returns them in a newline delimited string.

<Bundle name="networkinterfaces" xmlns:py="">
      files = metadata.Probes["getmacs"].split("\n")
    <Path py:for="file in files"


  • The use of the altsrc directive causes all ifcfg files to be handled by the same plugin and entry.
  • The <?python ?> blocks have only been available in genshi since 0.4 (

If you want a file to be only on a per-client basis, you can use an if declaration.

<Bundle name='bacula' xmlns:py="">
     <Path name="/etc/bacula/bconsole.conf"/>
     <Path name="/etc/bacula/bacula-fd.conf"/>
     <Path name="/etc/bacula/bacula-sd.conf"/>
     <Path py:if="metadata.hostname == ''"

or alternately

<Bundle name='bacula' xmlns:py="">
     <Path name="/etc/bacula/bconsole.conf"/>
     <Path name="/etc/bacula/bacula-fd.conf"/>
     <Path name="/etc/bacula/bacula-sd.conf"/>
     <py:if="metadata.hostname == ''">
       <Path name="/etc/bacula/bacula-dir.conf"/>

or yet another way

<Bundle name='bacula' xmlns:py="">
    <Path name="/etc/bacula/bconsole.conf"/>
    <Path name="/etc/bacula/bacula-fd.conf"/>
    <Path name="/etc/bacula/bacula-sd.conf"/>
    <Client name="">
        <Path name="/etc/bacula/bacula-dir.conf"/>

The final form is preferred if there is no code inside the block that would fail on other clients.

While these examples are simple, the test in the if block can in fact be any python statement.

Other examples

Some simple examples of Bundles can be found in the Bcfg2 example repository.

In addition to the example repository, the following is a list of some more complex example Bundles.

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