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I am starting to use chef to automate setting up build machines for a build farm. Some of our dependencies here are machine specific (e.g. license key for proprietary compiler), and other recipe attributes would benefit from being customizable (e.g. where to find an installer that is not publicly available).

Right now, all those settings are hardcoded in the attributes.rb, e.g.:

default[:mkl][:serial] = "XXXX"

and I used default[:mkl][:serial] inside the recipe itself.

I would like a solution that does not require a chef server if possible (I am using chef-solo, and the overhead of a server is not justified at this point).

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I managed to do it as follows:

  • first, in the solo.json file, set it up as such:

    {                                                                                                   
      "mkl": {                                                                                        
       "license": "XXX",                                                          
      },
      "run_list": ["recipe[mkl::default]"
    }
    
    • then run the command chef-solo with -j solo.json.

My mistake was to put the "mkl" section inside override_attributes.

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