Building Chef 14.12.9 for CentOS 7 on the Raspberry Pi 3

UPDATE: The latest builds and instructions are now at the 32-bit Arm Chef Infra and Cinc Client Builds for Linux landing page.


Now that I’ve got CentOS 7 installed on my Raspberry Pi 3 I can make RPM builds available for this platform as well. The CentOS build has a few minor differences from the Debian/Raspbian builds and I took the opportunity to streamline the instructions a bit.


The Chef client is packaged with Omnibus, which builds the application and all of its runtime dependencies with the Omnibus-Toolchain. Omnibus is built with Ruby, so the instructions need to start with building Ruby. These instructions follow the Installing CentOS 7.6 on a Raspberry Pi 3, so the CentOS machine is ready for use.


There are several steps that need to be done before we get started. As the root user update to ensure the latest packages are installed and install the prerequisites for building Ruby and Omnibus-Toolchain.

yum update
yum install -y  autoconf automake bison flex gcc gcc-c++ gdbm-devel gettext git kernel-devel libffi-devel libyaml-devel m4 make ncurses-devel openssl-devel patch readline-devel rpm-build wget zlib-devel

Add the omnibus user for performing the builds.

adduser omnibus

Let’s add the omnibus user to the wheel group so they have permissions to manage the directories, this will make it easier to do the build with a single script rather than switching between the root and omnibus users.

usermod -aG wheel omnibus

Use the visudo command and uncomment the following line:

%wheel  ALL=(ALL)       NOPASSWD: ALL

You can now sudo su - omnibus and continue without changing users.

Previous Installations

If you have previously-installed Chef and omnibus-toolchain packages (perhaps following these instructions), you’ll need to uninstall those and clear out the directories.

sudo systemctl stop chef-client
sudo yum remove chef omnibus-toolchain -y
sudo rm -rf /opt/chef /opt/omnibus-toolchain

Ruby 2.6.3

The Omnibus-toolchain is built with Ruby 2.6.3, so we will install it with rbenv. We don’t need documentation for our gems, so first we’ll disable that.

echo 'gem: --no-document' >> ~/.gemrc

Let’s install rbenv and add it to our PATH.

git clone ~/.rbenv
cd ~/.rbenv && src/configure && make -C src
export PATH="$HOME/.rbenv/bin:$PATH"
eval "$(rbenv init -)"

Install the ruby-build plugin to make it easier to manage different Ruby versions.

mkdir plugins
git clone "$(rbenv root)"/plugins/ruby-build
rbenv install 2.6.3
rbenv global 2.6.3
eval "$(rbenv init -)"

Omnibus CentOS Raspberry Pi 3 Patch

CentOS provides packages for the Raspberry Pi 3 platform, but the arch is armv7hl not armv7l. Omnibus does not have proper support for this yet, but the following patch has been submitted. You will need to patch your lib/omnibus/packagers/rpm.rb in your omnibus gem provided by bundler accordingly.


Now that Ruby is installed, let’s build and install the Omnibus-Toolchain as the omnibus user.

git clone
cd omnibus-toolchain
bundle install --without development --path=.bundle

Apply the lib/omnibus/packagers/rpm.rb patch to


Now you can build and install the RPM.

sudo mkdir /opt/omnibus-toolchain
sudo mkdir /var/cache/omnibus
sudo chown omnibus:omnibus -R /opt/omnibus-toolchain
sudo chown omnibus:omnibus -R /var/cache/omnibus
bundle exec omnibus build omnibus-toolchain -l internal
sudo rm -rf /opt/omnibus-toolchain
sudo rpm -Uvh ~/omnibus-toolchain/pkg/omnibus-toolchain*el7.armv7hl.rpm

Chef 14.12.9

With omnibus-toolchain installed, we can reset our PATH and build Chef as the omnibus user.

export PATH="/opt/omnibus-toolchain/bin:$PATH"
tar -xzf v14.12.9.tar.gz
cd chef-14.12.9/omnibus/
bundle install --without development --path=.bundle

Apply the lib/omnibus/packagers/rpm.rb patch to


Now you can complete the Chef build.

sudo mkdir /opt/chef
sudo chown omnibus:omnibus -R /opt/chef
bundle exec omnibus build chef -l internal

This usually takes a 2 hours on this limited ARM machine.

Installing Chef 14.12.9

Once the builds have completed we can delete the working build directory.

sudo rm -rf /opt/chef

Now Chef 14.12.9 can be installed.

sudo rpm -Uvh ~/chef-14.12.9/omnibus/pkg/chef_14.12.9*el7.armv7hl.rpm

Using the new Chef build

From your workstation, you can now knife bootstrap the machine with the ARM build on it and register it with your Chef Server. If you are working with a previously Chef-managed box, you can run chef-client and the machine will continue to use its previous configuration.

Chef 14.12.9 CentOS 7 Raspberry Pi 3 RPM