The Pain of CFEngine
Posted: Thu, 11 May 2006 | permalink | No comments
So it seems that Steve Kemp is finding out that, whilst being a brilliant idea in theory, CFEngine is just plain weird in practice.
I was the person who originally encouraged Steve to look at Puppet when he was originally talking about this stuff about a month ago. I was arguing from a position of weakness then, as I'd never tried Puppet then (although I was already eminently familiar with CFEngine and it's issues).
Since then, I have started using Puppet on a project for a client, and let me just say that it is "all that and a bag of potato chips". Luke Kanies, the main man behind Puppet, is immensely supportive, quick to work up new features when suggested (< 24 hour turn around, in some cases) and really knows his systems-management stuff. The configuration language itself is quite easy to learn, it's wonderfully extensible, and the system as a whole doesn't have nearly the same number of "WTF?" moments as CFEngine (and Luke has already, in the week or so I've been using Puppet, fixed up two of them based on my suggestions).
There's only one thing in CFEngine that I use that Puppet doesn't have, and that's editfiles. This is by design, apparently -- there is no consensus, even within the CFEngine diehards, that editfiles is a good thing, and Luke isn't really keen on implementing it (it's a big feature, and there's known better ways of solving most of the problems that editfiles solves anyway). I still feel that it's useful to use editfiles in some circumstances, but not having it certainly hasn't cramped my Puppet style excessively so far.
Oh, Steve -- about Ruby being "un-perl" -- that's not a bug, it's a feature!
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