cf-agent(8) 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, -B
Bootstrap CFEngine to the given policy server IP, hostname or :avahi (automatic detection)
--bundlesequence, -b
Set or override bundlesequence from command line
--debug, -d
Enable debugging output
--define, -D
Define a list of comma separated classes to be defined at the start of execution
--self-diagnostics, -x
Run checks to diagnose a CFEngine agent installation
--dry-run, -n
All talk and no action mode - make no changes, only inform of promises not kept
--file, -f
Specify an alternative input file than the default
--help, -h
Print the help message
--inform, -I
Print basic information about changes made to the system, i.e. promises repaired
--negate, -N
Define a list of comma separated classes to be undefined at the start of execution
--no-lock, -K
Ignore locking constraints during execution (ifelapsed/expireafter) if "too soon" to run
--verbose, -v
Output verbose information about the behaviour of the agent
--version, -V
Output the version of the software
--legacy-output, -l
Use legacy output format
--color, -C
Enable colorized output. Possible values: 'always', 'auto', 'never'. If option is used, the default value is 'auto'
--no-extensions, -E
Disable extension loading (used while upgrading)


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


Mark Burgess and CFEngine AS