Prototype: packageupdatesmatching(package_regex, version_regex, arch_regex, method_regex)

Return type: data

Description: Return a data container with the list of available packages matching the parameters.

This function searches for the anchored regular expressions in the list of currently available packages.

The return is a data container with a list of package descriptions, looking like this:



  • package_regex: string - Regular expression (unanchored) to match package name - in the range: .*
  • version_regex: string - Regular expression (unanchored) to match package version - in the range: .*
  • arch_regex: string - Regular expression (unanchored) to match package architecture - in the range: .*
  • method_regex: string - Regular expression (unanchored) to match package method - in the range: .*

IMPORTANT: The data source used when querying depends on policy configuration. When package_inventory in body common control is configured, CFEngine will record the packages installed and the package updates available for the configured package modules. In the Masterfiles Policy Framework package_inventory will be configured to the default for the hosts platform. Since only one body common control can be present in a policy set any bundles which use these functions will typically need to execute in the context of a full policy run. However, the packagesmatching and packageupdatesmatching policy functions will look for and use the existing software inventory databases (available in $(sys.statedir)), even if the default package inventory is not configured. This enables the usage of these policy functions in standalone policy files. But please note that you still need the default package inventory attribute specified in the policy framework for the software inventory databases to exist in the first place and for them to be maintained/updated. If there is no package_inventory attribute (such as on package module unsupported platforms) and there are no software inventory databases available in $(sys.statedir) then the legacy package methods data will be used instead. At no time will both the standard and the legacy data be available to these functions simultaneously.


    data => packageupdatesmatching(".*", # Package name regex
                                   ".*",  # Version regex
                                   ".*",  # Arch regex
                                   ".*"); # Method regex

Refresh rules: * updates cache used by packageupdatesmatching() is refreshed at the end of each agent run in accordance with constraints defined in the relevant package module body. * updates cache is refreshed every time repo type package is installed or removed * updates cache is refreshed if no local cache exists. This means a reliable way to force a refresh of CFEngine's internal package cache is to simply delete the local cache:


Or in the case of legacy package methods:



  • Introduced in CFEngine 3.6

  • Function started using package_module based data sources by default, even if there is no package_inventory attribute defined in body common control if available in 3.23.0

See also: packagesmatching(), Package information cache tunables in the MPF