cf-promises(8) 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.


--eval-functions, -
" Evaluate functions during syntax checking (may catch more run-time errors). Possible values: 'yes', 'no'. Default is 'yes'
--show-classes, -
" Show discovered classes, including those defined in common bundles in policy
--show-vars, -
" Show discovered variables, including those defined without dependency to user-defined classes in policy
--help, -h
Print the help message
--bundlesequence, -b
Use the specified bundlesequence for verification
--debug, -d
Enable debugging output
--verbose, -v
Output verbose information about the behaviour of the agent
--dry-run, -n
All talk and no action mode - make no changes, only inform of promises not kept
--version, -V
Output the version of the software
--file, -f
Specify an alternative input file than the default
--define, -D
Define a list of comma separated classes to be defined at the start of execution
--negate, -N
Define a list of comma separated classes to be undefined at the start of execution
--inform, -I
Print basic information about changes made to the system, i.e. promises repaired
--diagnostic, -x
Activate internal diagnostics (developers only)
--reports, -r
Generate reports about configuration and insert into CFDB
--policy-output-format, -p
Output the parsed policy. Possible values: 'none', 'cf', 'json'. Default is 'none'. (experimental)
--syntax-description, -s
Output a document describing the available syntax elements of CFEngine. Possible values: 'none', 'json'. Default is 'none'.
--full-check, -c
Ensure full policy integrity checks
--warn, -W
Pass comma-separated <warnings>|all to enable non-default warnings, or error=<warnings>|all
--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'
--tag-release, -T
Tag a directory with with cf_promises_validated and cf_promises_release_id


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


Mark Burgess and CFEngine AS