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authorJoey Hess2014-04-19 15:45:27 -0400
committerJoey Hess2014-04-19 15:45:27 -0400
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+This is a configuration management system using Haskell and Git.
+Propellor enures that the system it's run against satisfies a list of
+properties, taking action as necessary when a property is not yet met.
+Propellor is configured via a git repository, which typically lives
+in ~/.propellor/. The git repository contains a config.hs file,
+and also the entire source code to propellor.
+You typically want to have the repository checked out on a laptop, in order
+to make changes and push them out to hosts. Each host will also have a
+clone of the repository, and in that clone "make" can be used to build and
+run propellor. This can be done by a cron job (which propellor can set up),
+or a remote host can be triggered to update by running propellor on your
+laptop: propellor --spin $host
+Properties are defined using Haskell. Edit config.hs to get started.
+For API documentation, see <>
+There is no special language as used in puppet, chef, ansible, etc.. just
+the full power of Haskell. Hopefully that power can be put to good use in
+making declarative properties that are powerful, nicely idempotent, and
+easy to adapt to a system's special needs.
+Also avoided is any form of node classification. Ie, which hosts are part
+of which classes and share which configuration. It might be nice to use
+reclass[1], but then again a host is configured using simply haskell code,
+and so it's easy to factor out things like classes of hosts as desired.
+## quick start
+1. Get propellor installed
+ `cabal install propellor`
+ or
+ `apt-get install propellor`
+2. Run propellor for the first time. It will set up a `~/.propellor/` git
+ repository for you.
+3. `cd ~/.propellor/`; use git to push the repository to a central
+ server (github, or your own git server). Configure that central
+ server as the origin remote of the repository.
+4. If you don't have a gpg private key, generate one: `gpg --gen-key`
+5. Run: `propellor --add-key $KEYID`
+6. Edit `~/.propellor/config.hs`, and add a host you want to manage.
+ You can start by not adding any properties, or only a few.
+7. Pick a host and run: `propellor --spin $HOST`
+8. Now you have a simple propellor deployment, but it doesn't do
+ much to the host yet, besides installing propellor.
+ So, edit `~/.propellor/config.hs` to configure the host (maybe
+ start with a few simple properties), and re-run step 7.
+ Repeat until happy and move on to the next host. :)
+9. To move beyond manually running `propellor --spin` against hosts
+ when you change their properties, add a property to your hosts
+ like: `Cron.runPropellor "30 * * * *"`
+ Now they'll automatically update every 30 minutes, and you can
+ `git commit -S` and `git push` changes that affect any number of
+ hosts.
+10. Write some neat new properties and send patches to <>!
+## security
+Propellor's security model is that the hosts it's used to deploy are
+untrusted, and that the central git repository server is untrusted too.
+The only trusted machine is the laptop where you run `propellor --spin`
+to connect to a remote host. And that one only because you have a ssh key
+or login password to the host.
+Since the hosts propellor deploys are not trusted by the central git
+repository, they have to use git:// or http:// to pull from the central
+git repository, rather than ssh://.
+So, to avoid a MITM attack, propellor checks that any commit it fetches
+from origin is gpg signed by a trusted gpg key, and refuses to deploy it
+That is only done when privdata/keyring.gpg exists. To set it up:
+ gpg --gen-key # only if you don't already have a gpg key
+ propellor --add-key $MYKEYID
+In order to be secure from the beginning, when `propellor --spin` is used
+to bootstrap propellor on a new host, it transfers the local git repositry
+to the remote host over ssh. After that, the remote host knows the
+gpg key, and will use it to verify git fetches.
+Since the propoellor git repository is public, you can't store
+in cleartext private data such as passwords, ssh private keys, etc.
+Instead, `propellor --spin $host` looks for a
+`~/.propellor/privdata/$host.gpg` file and if found decrypts it and sends
+it to the remote host using ssh. This lets a remote host know its own
+private data, without seeing all the rest.
+To securely store private data, use: `propellor --set $host $field`
+The field name will be something like 'Password "root"'; see PrivData.hs
+for available fields.
+## debugging
+Set `PROPELLOR_DEBUG=1` to make propellor print out all the commands it runs
+and any other debug messages that Properties choose to emit.