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directory

Use the directory resource to manage a directory, which is a hierarchy of folders that comprises all of the information stored on a computer. The root directory is the top-level, under which the rest of the directory is organized. The directory resource uses the name property to specify the path to a location in a directory. Typically, permission to access that location in the directory is required.

Syntax

A directory resource block declares a directory and the permissions needed on that directory. For example:

directory '/etc/apache2' do
  owner 'root'
  group 'root'
  mode '0755'
  action :create
end

where

  • '/etc/apache2' specifies the directory
  • owner, group, and mode define the permissions

The full syntax for all of the properties that are available to the directory resource is:

directory 'name' do
  group                      String, Integer
  inherits                   TrueClass, FalseClass
  mode                       String, Integer
  notifies                   # see description
  owner                      String, Integer
  path                       String # defaults to 'name' if not specified
  provider                   Chef::Provider::Directory
  recursive                  TrueClass, FalseClass
  rights                     Hash
  subscribes                 # see description
  action                     Symbol # defaults to :create if not specified
end

where

  • directory is the resource
  • name is the name of the resource block; when the path property is not specified, name is also the path to the directory, from the root
  • :action identifies the steps the chef-client will take to bring the node into the desired state
  • group, inherits, mode, owner, path, provider, recursive, and rights are properties of this resource, with the Ruby type shown. See “Properties” section below for more information about all of the properties that may be used with this resource.

Actions

This resource has the following actions:

:create
Default. Create a directory. If a directory already exists (but does not match), update that directory to match.
:delete
Delete a directory.
:nothing
Define this resource block to do nothing until notified by another resource to take action. When this resource is notified, this resource block is either run immediately or it is queued up to be run at the end of the chef-client run.

Properties

This resource has the following properties:

group

Ruby Types: Integer, String

A string or ID that identifies the group owner by group name, including fully qualified group names such as domain\group or group@domain. If this value is not specified, existing groups remain unchanged and new group assignments use the default POSIX group (if available).

ignore_failure

Ruby Types: TrueClass, FalseClass

Continue running a recipe if a resource fails for any reason. Default value: false.

inherits

Ruby Types: TrueClass, FalseClass

Microsoft Windows only. Whether a file inherits rights from its parent directory. Default value: true.

mode

Ruby Types: Integer, String

A quoted 3-5 character string that defines the octal mode. For example: '755', '0755', or '00755'. If mode is not specified and if the directory already exists, the existing mode on the directory is used. If mode is not specified, the directory does not exist, and the :create action is specified, the chef-client assumes a mask value of '0777', and then applies the umask for the system on which the directory is to be created to the mask value. For example, if the umask on a system is '022', the chef-client uses the default value of '0755'.

The behavior is different depending on the platform.

UNIX- and Linux-based systems: A quoted 3-5 character string that defines the octal mode that is passed to chmod. For example: '755', '0755', or '00755'. If the value is specified as a quoted string, it works exactly as if the chmod command was passed. If the value is specified as an integer, prepend a zero (0) to the value to ensure that it is interpreted as an octal number. For example, to assign read, write, and execute rights for all users, use '0777' or '777'; for the same rights, plus the sticky bit, use '01777' or '1777'.

Microsoft Windows: A quoted 3-5 character string that defines the octal mode that is translated into rights for Microsoft Windows security. For example: '755', '0755', or '00755'. Values up to '0777' are allowed (no sticky bits) and mean the same in Microsoft Windows as they do in UNIX, where 4 equals GENERIC_READ, 2 equals GENERIC_WRITE, and 1 equals GENERIC_EXECUTE. This property cannot be used to set :full_control. This property has no effect if not specified, but when it and rights are both specified, the effects are cumulative.

notifies

Ruby Type: Symbol, ‘Chef::Resource[String]’

A resource may notify another resource to take action when its state changes. Specify a 'resource[name]', the :action that resource should take, and then the :timer for that action. A resource may notifiy more than one resource; use a notifies statement for each resource to be notified.

A timer specifies the point during the chef-client run at which a notification is run. The following timers are available:

:before
Specifies that the action on a notified resource should be run before processing the resource block in which the notification is located.
:delayed
Default. Specifies that a notification should be queued up, and then executed at the very end of the chef-client run.
:immediate, :immediately
Specifies that a notification should be run immediately, per resource notified.

The syntax for notifies is:

notifies :action, 'resource[name]', :timer
owner

Ruby Types: Integer, String

A string or ID that identifies the group owner by user name, including fully qualified user names such as domain\user or user@domain. If this value is not specified, existing owners remain unchanged and new owner assignments use the current user (when necessary).

path

Ruby Type: String

The path to the directory. Using a fully qualified path is recommended, but is not always required. Default value: the name of the resource block See “Syntax” section above for more information.

provider

Ruby Type: Chef Class

Optional. Explicitly specifies a provider.

recursive

Ruby Types: TrueClass, FalseClass

Create or delete parent directories recursively. For the owner, group, and mode properties, the value of this attribute applies only to the leaf directory. Default value: false.

retries

Ruby Type: Integer

The number of times to catch exceptions and retry the resource. Default value: 0.

retry_delay

Ruby Type: Integer

The retry delay (in seconds). Default value: 2.

rights

Ruby Types: Integer, String

Microsoft Windows only. The permissions for users and groups in a Microsoft Windows environment. For example: rights <permissions>, <principal>, <options> where <permissions> specifies the rights granted to the principal, <principal> is the group or user name, and <options> is a Hash with one (or more) advanced rights options.

subscribes

Ruby Type: Symbol, ‘Chef::Resource[String]’

A resource may listen to another resource, and then take action if the state of the resource being listened to changes. Specify a 'resource[name]', the :action to be taken, and then the :timer for that action.

A timer specifies the point during the chef-client run at which a notification is run. The following timers are available:

:before
Specifies that the action on a notified resource should be run before processing the resource block in which the notification is located.
:delayed
Default. Specifies that a notification should be queued up, and then executed at the very end of the chef-client run.
:immediate, :immediately
Specifies that a notification should be run immediately, per resource notified.

The syntax for subscribes is:

subscribes :action, 'resource[name]', :timer

Recursive Directories

The directory resource can be used to create directory structures, as long as each directory within that structure is created explicitly. This is because the recursive attribute only applies group, mode, and owner attribute values to the leaf directory.

A directory structure:

/foo
  /bar
    /baz

The following example shows a way create a file in the /baz directory:

directory "/foo/bar/baz" do
  owner 'root'
  group 'root'
  mode '0755'
  action :create
end

But with this example, the group, mode, and owner attribute values will only be applied to /baz. Which is fine, if that’s what you want. But most of the time, when the entire /foo/bar/baz directory structure is not there, you must be explicit about each directory. For example:

%w[ /foo /foo/bar /foo/bar/baz ].each do |path|
  directory path do
    owner 'root'
    group 'root'
    mode '0755'
  end
end

This approach will create the correct hierarchy—/foo, then /bar in /foo, and then /baz in /bar—and also with the correct attribute values for group, mode, and owner.

Windows File Security

To support Microsoft Windows security, the template, file, remote_file, cookbook_file, directory, and remote_directory resources support the use of inheritance and access control lists (ACLs) within recipes.

Access Control Lists (ACLs)

The rights property can be used in a recipe to manage access control lists (ACLs), which allow permissions to be given to multiple users and groups. Use the rights property can be used as many times as necessary; the chef-client will apply them to the file or directory as required. The syntax for the rights property is as follows:

rights permission, principal, option_type => value

where

permission

Use to specify which rights are granted to the principal. The possible values are: :read, :write, read_execute, :modify, and :full_control.

These permissions are cumulative. If :write is specified, then it includes :read. If :full_control is specified, then it includes both :write and :read.

(For those who know the Microsoft Windows API: :read corresponds to GENERIC_READ; :write corresponds to GENERIC_WRITE; :read_execute corresponds to GENERIC_READ and GENERIC_EXECUTE; :modify corresponds to GENERIC_WRITE, GENERIC_READ, GENERIC_EXECUTE, and DELETE; :full_control corresponds to GENERIC_ALL, which allows a user to change the owner and other metadata about a file.)

principal
Use to specify a group or user name. This is identical to what is entered in the login box for Microsoft Windows, such as user_name, domain\user_name, or user_name@fully_qualified_domain_name. The chef-client does not need to know if a principal is a user or a group.
option_type

A hash that contains advanced rights options. For example, the rights to a directory that only applies to the first level of children might look something like: rights :write, 'domain\group_name', :one_level_deep => true. Possible option types:

Option Type Description
:applies_to_children Specify how permissions are applied to children. Possible values: true to inherit both child directories and files; false to not inherit any child directories or files; :containers_only to inherit only child directories (and not files); :objects_only to recursively inherit files (and not child directories).
:applies_to_self Indicates whether a permission is applied to the parent directory. Possible values: true to apply to the parent directory or file and its children; false to not apply only to child directories and files.
:one_level_deep Indicates the depth to which permissions will be applied. Possible values: true to apply only to the first level of children; false to apply to all children.

For example:

resource 'x.txt' do
  rights :read, 'Everyone'
  rights :write, 'domain\group'
  rights :full_control, 'group_name_or_user_name'
  rights :full_control, 'user_name', :applies_to_children => true
end

or:

rights :read, ['Administrators','Everyone']
rights :full_control, 'Users', :applies_to_children => true
rights :write, 'Sally', :applies_to_children => :containers_only, :applies_to_self => false, :one_level_deep => true

Some other important things to know when using the rights attribute:

  • Only inherited rights remain. All existing explicit rights on the object are removed and replaced.
  • If rights are not specified, nothing will be changed. The chef-client does not clear out the rights on a file or directory if rights are not specified.
  • Changing inherited rights can be expensive. Microsoft Windows will propagate rights to all children recursively due to inheritance. This is a normal aspect of Microsoft Windows, so consider the frequency with which this type of action is necessary and take steps to control this type of action if performance is the primary consideration.

Use the deny_rights property to deny specific rights to specific users. The ordering is independent of using the rights property. For example, it doesn’t matter if rights are granted to everyone is placed before or after deny_rights :read, ['Julian', 'Lewis'], both Julian and Lewis will be unable to read the document. For example:

resource 'x.txt' do
  rights :read, 'Everyone'
  rights :write, 'domain\group'
  rights :full_control, 'group_name_or_user_name'
  rights :full_control, 'user_name', :applies_to_children => true
  deny_rights :read, ['Julian', 'Lewis']
end

or:

deny_rights :full_control, ['Sally']

Inheritance

By default, a file or directory inherits rights from its parent directory. Most of the time this is the preferred behavior, but sometimes it may be necessary to take steps to more specifically control rights. The inherits property can be used to specifically tell the chef-client to apply (or not apply) inherited rights from its parent directory.

For example, the following example specifies the rights for a directory:

directory 'C:\mordor' do
  rights :read, 'MORDOR\Minions'
  rights :full_control, 'MORDOR\Sauron'
end

and then the following example specifies how to use inheritance to deny access to the child directory:

directory 'C:\mordor\mount_doom' do
  rights :full_control, 'MORDOR\Sauron'
  inherits false # Sauron is the only person who should have any sort of access
end

If the deny_rights permission were to be used instead, something could slip through unless all users and groups were denied.

Another example also shows how to specify rights for a directory:

directory 'C:\mordor' do
  rights :read, 'MORDOR\Minions'
  rights :full_control, 'MORDOR\Sauron'
  rights :write, 'SHIRE\Frodo' # Who put that there I didn't put that there
end

but then not use the inherits property to deny those rights on a child directory:

directory 'C:\mordor\mount_doom' do
  deny_rights :read, 'MORDOR\Minions' # Oops, not specific enough
end

Because the inherits property is not specified, the chef-client will default it to true, which will ensure that security settings for existing files remain unchanged.

Windows File Redirection

64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows have a 32-bit compatibility layer that redirects attempts by 32-bit application to access the System32 directory to a different location. Starting with chef-client version 12.9, the 32-bit version of the chef-client is subject to the file redirection policy.

For example, consider the following script:

process_type = ENV['PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE'] == 'AMD64' ? '64-bit' : '32-bit'
system32_dir = ::File.join(ENV['SYSTEMROOT'], 'system32')
test_dir = ::File.join(system32_dir, 'cheftest')
test_file = ::File.join(test_dir, 'chef_architecture.txt')

directory test_dir do
  # some directory
end

file test_file do
  content "Chef made me, I come from a #{process_type} process."
end

When running a 32-bit version of chef-client, the script will write the chef_architecture file to the C:\Windows\SysWow64 directory. However, when running a native 64-bit version of the chef-client, the script will write a file to the C:\Windows\System32 directory, as expected.

For more information, see: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa384187(v=vs.85).aspx.

Examples

The following examples demonstrate various approaches for using resources in recipes. If you want to see examples of how Chef uses resources in recipes, take a closer look at the cookbooks that Chef authors and maintains: https://github.com/chef-cookbooks.

Create a directory

directory '/tmp/something' do
  owner 'root'
  group 'root'
  mode '0755'
  action :create
end

Create a directory in Microsoft Windows

directory "C:\\tmp\\something.txt" do
  rights :full_control, "DOMAIN\\User"
  inherits false
  action :create
end

or:

directory 'C:\tmp\something.txt' do
  rights :full_control, 'DOMAIN\User'
  inherits false
  action :create
end

Note

The difference between the two previous examples is the single- versus double-quoted strings, where if the double quotes are used, the backslash character (\) must be escaped using the Ruby escape character (which is a backslash).

Create a directory recursively

%w{dir1 dir2 dir3}.each do |dir|
  directory "/tmp/mydirs/#{dir}" do
    mode '0755'
    owner 'root'
    group 'root'
    action :create
    recursive true
  end
end

Delete a directory

directory '/tmp/something' do
  recursive true
  action :delete
end

Set directory permissions using a variable

The following example shows how read/write/execute permissions can be set using a variable named user_home, and then for owners and groups on any matching node:

user_home = "/#{node[:matching_node][:user]}"

directory user_home do
  owner 'node[:matching_node][:user]'
  group 'node[:matching_node][:group]'
  mode '0755'
  action :create
end

where matching_node represents a type of node. For example, if the user_home variable specified {node[:nginx]...}, a recipe might look similar to:

user_home = "/#{node[:nginx][:user]}"

directory user_home do
  owner 'node[:nginx][:user]'
  group 'node[:nginx][:group]'
  mode '0755'
  action :create
end

Set directory permissions for a specific type of node

The following example shows how permissions can be set for the /certificates directory on any node that is running Nginx. In this example, permissions are being set for the owner and group properties as root, and then read/write permissions are granted to the root.

directory "#{node[:nginx][:dir]}/shared/certificates" do
  owner 'root'
  group 'root'
  mode '0755'
  recursive true
end

Reload the configuration

The following example shows how to reload the configuration of a chef-client using the remote_file resource to:

  • using an if statement to check whether the plugins on a node are the latest versions
  • identify the location from which Ohai plugins are stored
  • using the notifies property and a ruby_block resource to trigger an update (if required) and to then reload the client.rb file.
directory 'node[:ohai][:plugin_path]' do
  owner 'chef'
  recursive true
end

ruby_block 'reload_config' do
  block do
    Chef::Config.from_file('/etc/chef/client.rb')
  end
  action :nothing
end

if node[:ohai].key?(:plugins)
  node[:ohai][:plugins].each do |plugin|
    remote_file node[:ohai][:plugin_path] +"/#{plugin}" do
      source plugin
      owner 'chef'
              notifies :run, 'ruby_block[reload_config]', :immediately
    end
  end
end

Manage dotfiles

The following example shows using the directory and cookbook_file resources to manage dotfiles. The dotfiles are defined by a JSON data structure similar to:

"files": {
  ".zshrc": {
    "mode": '0755',
    "source": "dot-zshrc"
    },
  ".bashrc": {
    "mode": '0755',
    "source": "dot-bashrc"
     },
  ".bash_profile": {
    "mode": '0755',
    "source": "dot-bash_profile"
    },
  }

and then the following resources manage the dotfiles:

if u.has_key?('files')
  u['files'].each do |filename, file_data|

  directory "#{home_dir}/#{File.dirname(filename)}" do
    recursive true
    mode '0755'
  end if file_data['subdir']

  cookbook_file "#{home_dir}/#{filename}" do
    source "#{u['id']}/#{file_data['source']}"
    owner 'u['id']'
    group 'group_id'
    mode 'file_data['mode']'
    ignore_failure true
    backup 0
  end
end

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https://docs.chef.io/release/12-13/resource_directory.html