Update Chef 10.14 is released. I removed the “--pre” from the gem install commands but otherwise left this post, since it was written by Past Me.

As you may be aware, the next release of Chef, 10.14, is in beta testing. Most publicly available baseboxes for Vagrant aren’t built for the beta. But perhaps you want to try it out?

Vagrant to the rescue! Besides the Chef solo and client provisioners, Vagrant has a shell provisioner, too. It allows you to pass in an inline command, or a shell script. This example builds on my MultiVM Vagrantfile for Chef post. You may wish to refer to the full file in that post for complete context.

First, the shell provisioner line looks like this:

config.vm.provision :shell, :inline => "sudo /opt/chef/embedded/bin/gem install chef --no-ri --no-rdoc"

It goes in the config block. Remember that cookbook_testers is a hash of data about the multiple VMs I’m using, so they would all get launched with this provisioner.

Vagrant::Config.run do |global_config|
  cookbook_testers.each_pair do |name, options|
    global_config.vm.define name do |config|
      ### Use shell for great justice!
      config.vm.provision :shell, :inline => "sudo /opt/chef/embedded/bin/gem install chef --no-ri --no-rdoc"
      ### chef-client (allthethings)
      config.vm.provision :chef_client do |chef|
        # ... chef provisioner is the same as before

And now, a vagrant up on my Ubuntu 12.04 VM, with the less interesting output truncated:

% vagrant up precise
[precise] Running provisioner: Vagrant::Provisioners::Shell...
Successfully installed chef-10.14.0.beta.3
1 gem installed
[precise] Running provisioner: Vagrant::Provisioners::ChefClient...
[precise] Running chef-client...
[Fri, 10 Aug 2012 17:50:23 +0000] INFO: *** Chef 10.14.0.beta.3 ***
[Fri, 10 Aug 2012 17:50:37 +0000] INFO: Chef Run complete in 11.323208919 seconds

One of the most compelling features of Chef 10.14 is the introduction of “no-op” or “dry-run” mode, also called “Why Run Mode”. However, at this time, neither arbitrary command-line arguments nor why-run mode itself are supported in Vagrant. I opened a pull request for the former, which will allow the latter easily. Of course, vagrant is highly valuable for doing testing by actually running your recipes, but I think arbitrary command-line options will be a welcome feature for other purposes.

Another use case for this particular method of using Vagrant provisioners is to update RubyGems inside an “Omnibus” full stack install, to resolve this bug, or this request.

config.vm.provision :shell, :inline => "sudo /opt/chef/embedded/bin/gem update --system"

These two example commands can be combined in a single :inline, or as a shell script.

config.vm.provision :shell, :path => "gem-updater.sh"

And the shell script, gem-updater.sh in the same directory as the Vagrantfile:

sudo /opt/chef/embedded/bin/gem update --system
sudo /opt/chef/embedded/bin/gem install chef --no-ri --no-rdoc