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Reason: Article was written 2012. (Discuss in Talk:Cdist)

cdist is a configuration management system.

The author of cdist is also using Arch Linux as a target distribution and has some re-usable example configurations online. This page describes how to automatically configure Arch Linux using cdist.


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Reason: There is cdistAUR. (Discuss in Talk:Cdist)

Get the cdist repository with Nico's modifications[dead link 2020-03-28 ⓘ]:


If you want to start brewing your own configuration tree, it is recommended to get the clean upstream version:


(you should probably read the documentation on the first in any case)

How to use the types

Edit cdist/conf/manifest/init, add your hostname and use the types as seen on the present hosts. Afterwards run

./bin/cdist config -v your-host-name

And then the your-host-name will be configured.

Type overview

The following types are present and have been tested on Archlinux systems.

Managed Desktop (__nico_managed_desktop)

This type is mainly focussed to create a computer usable by non-geeks.


  • User can shutdown, suspend the computer (pm-utils)
  • Graphical user login (slim)
  • LXDE Desktop environment
  • Office suite (Libreoffice)
  • Browser (chromium)
  • User can configure network (using wicd)

Notebook (__nico_notebook)

This is the highly personal tuned notebook configuration. Used every 2-3 years when changing the notebook. It contains everything necessary to work (highy biased opinion there).

Some features:

  • LaTeX, i3, mplayer, nfs, wireshark, ...

Dos gaming station (__nico_dosbox)

This type contains a dosbox installation + some sample games. If you do not know what dos is, you do not need this type.

Multimedia Support (__nico_media)

Ever searched for tool X to do multimedia action Y? It is probably included in here.


  • Image viewer
  • Image manipulation
  • Drawing
  • Video playback
  • CD/DVD backup

User based network configuration (__nico_network_user_based)

This type allows the user to manage the network using wicd. Included are the cli and gui versions.