Quick start guide


This guide is intended for users and developers. If you’re brand new to mgmt, it’s probably a good idea to start by reading an introductory article about the engine and an introductory article about the language. There are other articles and videos available if you’d like to learn more or prefer different formats. Once you’re familiar with the general idea, or if you prefer a hands-on approach, please start hacking…

Getting mgmt

You can either build mgmt from source, or you can download a pre-built release. There are also some distro repositories available, but they may not be up to date. A pre-built release is the fastest option if there’s one that’s available for your platform. If you are developing or testing a new patch to mgmt, or there is not a release available for your platform, then you’ll have to build your own.

Downloading a pre-built release:

This method is not recommended because those packages are now very old.

The latest releases can be found here. An alternate mirror is available here.

Make sure to verify the signatures of all packages before you use them. The signing key can be downloaded from https://purpleidea.com/contact/#pgp-key to verify the release.

If you’ve decided to install a pre-build release, you can skip to the Running mgmt section below!

Building a release:

You’ll need some dependencies, including golang, and some associated tools.

Installing golang

  • You need golang version 1.19 or greater installed.
    • To install on rpm style systems: sudo dnf install golang
    • To install on apt style systems: sudo apt install golang
    • To install on macOS systems install Homebrew and run: brew install go
  • You can run go version to check the golang version.
  • If your distro is too old, you may need to download a newer golang version.

Setting up golang

  • You can skip this step, as your installation will default to using ~/go/, but if you do not have a GOPATH yet and want one in a custom location, create one and export it:
mkdir $HOME/gopath
export GOPATH=$HOME/gopath
  • You might also want to add the GOPATH to your ~/.bashrc or ~/.profile.
  • For more information you can read the GOPATH documentation.

Getting the mgmt code and associated dependencies

  • Download the mgmt code and switch to that directory:
git clone --recursive https://github.com/purpleidea/mgmt/ ~/mgmt/
cd ~/mgmt/
  • Add $GOPATH/bin to $PATH
export PATH=$PATH:$GOPATH/bin
  • Run make deps to install system and golang dependencies. Take a look at misc/make-deps.sh if you want to see the details of what it does.

Building mgmt

  • Now run make to get a freshly built mgmt binary. If this succeeds, you can proceed to the Running mgmt section below!

Installing a distro release

Installation of mgmt from distribution packages currently needs improvement. They are not always up-to-date with git master and as such are not recommended. At the moment we have:

  • COPR (currently dead)
  • Arch (currently stale)

Please contribute more and help improve these! We’d especially like to see a Debian package!

Building from a container:

This method avoids polluting your workstation with the dependencies for the build. Here is an example using Fedora, Podman and Buildah:

git clone --recursive https://github.com/purpleidea/mgmt/ ~/mgmt/
cd ~/mgmt/docker
buildah build -f Dockerfile-fedora.build -t mgmt_build
podman run -d -it --name mgmt_build localhost/mgmt_build
podman cp mgmt_build:/src/github.com/purpleidea/mgmt/mgmt /tmp/mgmt
sudo mv /tmp/mgmt /usr/local/bin  # be sure this is in your $PATH
sudo chown root:root /usr/local/bin/mgmt

Running mgmt

  • Run mgmt run --tmp-prefix lang examples/lang/hello0.mcl to try out a very simple example! If you built it from source, you’ll need to use ./mgmt from the project directory.
  • Look in that example file that you ran to see if you can figure out what it did! You can press ^C to exit mgmt.
  • Have fun hacking on our future technology and get involved to shape the project!


Please look in the examples/lang/ folder for some more examples!