Chapters 5 and 6 of "Learning CFEngine 3" are Online

I am happy to announce that Chapters 5 and 6 of the book are now also freely available online.

Read them now at The Book.

Chapter 4 of "Learning CFEngine 3" is Online

After a long hiatus, I am happy to announce that Chapter 4 of the book is now also freely available online.

Read it now at The Book.

Chapter 3 of "Learning CFEngine 3" is Online

I am happy to announce that Chapter 3 of the book is now also freely available online.

Read it now at The Book.

Chapter 2 of "Learning Cfengine 3" is Online

I am happy to announce that Chapter 2 of the book is now also freely available online.

Read it now at The Book.

Limited Time Promotion! 50% off "Learning CFEngine 3" on Amazon

For one week only, until September 20th, 2017, you can buy the new ebook release of “Learning CFEngine 3” on Amazon at 50% off its list price, US$4.98 instead of the regular US$9.99.

Get it while it’s hot! Buying the ebook on Amazon gives you access to free updates to the book, so you will get all future versions as well.

Chapter 1 of “Learning CFEngine 3” is Online

I have always believed that knowledge is best when freely shared. For this reason I have for a long time wished I could make “Learning CFEngine 3” freely available, and it became possible when the rights of the book were reassigned to me. I am proud to announce that, as promised a few days ago, the first chapter of the book is now available online. Over the next few weeks I will post the next chapters.

Read it now at The Book.

New Release of "Learning CFEngine 3"

It has finally happened: a new release of “Learning CFEngine 3” is here!

Short version

  • The book is no longer published by O’Reilly Media - the new release is published directly by me, and distributed through Amazon as a Kindle ebook, available now. It is also available at a lower price (US$9.99) than the previous release.

  • The book now has an index! This has been a very frequent request since the book was first released.

  • The book will also be available for free in this website! Over the next few weeks, I will publish it one chapter at a time.

  • This release is still focused on CFEngine 3.5.2 (just like the last O’Reilly release), but being self-published, it will receive much more frequent updates as I update it for the most recent releases of CFEngine.

You can get the new release from Amazon immediately (disclaimer: affiliate link): Learning CFEngine 3: Automated System Administration for Sites of Any Size

Long version

Read on if you want the full, juicy details about the new release and the change of publisher.

Over the last few years, O’Reilly has shifted its focus from being primarily a book publisher, to being a much more diverse media publisher – its conferences, videos, tutorials, etc. have become just as important, if not more, than its books. The change was made official when O’Reilly announced that it was stopping the direct distribution of books, ebooks and videos, but it’s a shift many years in the making.

Since last year, O’Reilly decided they would no longer publish new releases of “Learning CFEngine 3”, but at my request, agreed to revert the rights of the book back to me. This means that I can self-publish the book, but I can no longer use the O’Reilly design elements, including the animal in the cover (I consider the current cover to be temporary, and am actively looking for a new cover design). However, among other things, it also means that I can make the book’s content available for free, which is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I have decided to make the full ebook available now, but over the next few weeks, I will publish the chapters of the book in this website. Stay tuned!

The departure from O’Reilly has been an extremely amicable one. O’Reilly is an amazing publisher, and it was always a pleasure working with them. I will always be particularly grateful to my editor, Andy Oram, who helped and supported me through the whole process, from the initial conception of the book until the rights reassignment a few weeks ago.

Why release the book now, before updating its contents to newer versions of CFEngine? The most important reason is: to get it out. I’ve been slowly working on updating the content, but I wanted to get the self-publishing process done, and to make the index available, which I think is a great resource for anyone reading the book. I have also fixed many of the errata in the last release of the book. Eventually I will produce a paperback version of the book, but only after I update the contents. If you want a paper version of the book, you can still get the O’Reilly release from Amazon and other book vendors. If you are a Safari Books Online subscriber, you can read also find it there.

I hope you enjoy this new release. I look forward to hearing from you! Please talk to me in the comments below, or send me a message.

Finally, an update about “Learning CFEngine 3”!

I know, I know. It’s been over two years since the last post, and other than my occasional comment on the IRC channel or mailing list, you couldn’t be blamed to think that I had disappeared from the face of the earth.

But I’m back! And I have a few updates for you:

  • I am finally working again on the new release of the book! It will focus on the upcoming CFEngine 3.7 release, and will of course also talk about all the goodies that were introduced in the 3.6 series.
  • You may notice the new, redesigned website. Most of the contents is the same as before, but the website is now being powered by my own Enwrite, which allows me to post and manage contents from Evernote, making it much easier to keep things up to date. Please let me know if you find anything broken.

I have a few other surprises coming up, but those are the big two for now. Follow @LearningCF3 on Twitter if you want to stay updated.

"Learning CFEngine 3" at LISA'12

Last week I attended the Usenix LISA'12 conference in San Diego, and the awesome people at O'Reilly organized a book signing while we were there. I'd like to share a couple of photos from the event. I had a great time!

The second release of the book has been out for a few weeks now. If you purchased the e-book from O'Reilly, make sure to check your "My books" page at to get the updated version!

Lisa_2012_diego_zamboni Lisa_2012_diego_zamboni_booksi

Second release of "Learning CFEngine 3"

I am happy to announce that as of today, the second release of "Learning CFEngine 3" is available. If you have purchased the e-book version of the book you can get the new release from the "Your Products" page at (pro tip: set up Dropbox synchronization, and you will always have the latest version with you!). And if you haven't purchased it, now it's an excellent time to do it! You get all the fresh content, and all future releases for free.

These are the main updates in this release:
  • The book has been updated to reflect changes introduced up to CFEngine 3.3.9 (the latest stable release as of this writing), including many features that were previously only available in CFEngine Enterprise, such as guest_environments promises, databases promises, and more.
  • The installation instructions now reflect the availability of binary package repositories for many Linux distributions, as well as the “Free 25” Enterprise packages that allow you to try CFEngine Enterprise for free, for up to 25 machines.
  • Vim fans rejoice! A new Appendix, contributed by Neil H. Watson, provides details on how to use Vim to edit CFEngine policy files.
  • This release fixes all known errata, including many typos, omissions, and other numerous miscellaneous things.
I hope you enjoy this update! And if you have any feedback, please feel free to contact me.