Author image Scott Schneider


pfacter - Collect and display facts about the system


pfacter [option]... [fact] [fact]...


Pfacter is a cross-platform distribution for retrieving facts about the system it is run on. It works like a rosetta stone, collecting information on things like IP and MAC addresses, DIMMs, processors, and other hardware information. Pfacter supports writing to an LDAP database, making it an ideal tool in the creation of a universal infrastructure host list.

Pfacter was inspired by Facter (



Print debugging information while working.


Display a short usage synopsis.


Display the current version/release of Pfacter.


Specifies the extensible module location; if no specific facts are specified, the entire moduledir directory will be read and acted upon.

This (at the most basic level) addes a path to perl's @INC array; as an example, if moduledir is specified as "/etc/pfacter/modules" (the default), a module named Pfacter::thirdparty would be loaded from a module located at /etc/pfacter/modules/Pfacter/


Allows for multi-valued facts (ipAddress, macAddress, memory, etc) to be displayed as such (both locally and in LDAP).


Write any new or changed host facts to LDAP. Requires that either a configuration file be specified, or a username, password, and server address be provided on the command line.

The following flags are used in conjunction with the --write option:

--configfile <configfile>

The file containing configuration information (username, password, LDAP server address, etc). Format is:

    $option: "value"

Anything specified on the command-line (such as moduledir, LDAP connection information, etc) can be specified in this configuration file.

For LDAP authentication, the configfile would contain something like:

    $username: "pfacter"
    $password: "pf4ct3r"
    $server:   ""

If you use the configfile option it is also possible to specify multiple LDAP servers to attempt binds against. Simple change the format to:

    @server:   ""

...and Net::LDAP will attempt to bind to each host in order until a successful connection is made. This is not possible if the server is specified on the command line.

The configfile flag is the most secure (and preferred) method for storing connection and authentication information. It is however possible to pass configuration information via the command line with the following three flags:

--username <username>

The name of the LDAP user to bind as.

--password <password>


--server <server>

The IP address or name of the LDAP server.

Refer to the examples for more information regarding the syntax/use of the username, password, and server flags.

--base <base DN>

If not specified, the base DN is guessed based on the domain.


Connect securely (with SSL, obviously) to the LDAP server.


Print all output in XML format.


Print all output in YAML format.


pfacter kernel kernelrelease kernelversion

Print information about the kernel, kernel release, and kernel version.

pfacter --write --configfile /etc/pfacter.conf

Print all facts and write any changes to LDAP. Uses the authentication information stored in /etc/pfacter.conf.

pfacter --write --username uid=pfacter,ou=People,dc=company,dc=com --password pf4ct3r --server --ssl ipaddress macaddress

Print IP address and MAC address facts. Write any changes to LDAP using the specified connection and authentication information. Use SSL.


What follows is the output of Pfacter on a relatively standard Linux VM.

    architecture => x86_64
    disk => /dev/sda=10.7g /dev/sdb=8589m
    domain =>
    filesystems => /dev/sda1=/boot /dev/sda2=/ /dev/sda3=/usr /dev/sda4=/var /dev/sda5=/tmp /dev/sda6=/home
    fqdn =>
    hardwaremodel => x86_64
    hardwareplatform => x86_64
    hardwareproduct => VMware Virtual Platform
    hostname => rabbit
    ipaddress => eth0= lo=
    kernel => Linux
    kernelrelease => 2.6.18-8.el5
    kernelversion => #1 SMP Fri Jan 26 14:15:14 EST 2007
    localtime => Thu Feb 21 14:52:01 2008
    lsbdescription => Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server release 5 (Tikanga)
    lsbid => RedHatEnterpriseServer
    lsbrelease => 5
    macaddress => eth0=00:50:56:A6:55:D2
    memory => 0=1024m
    memorytotal => 1027280
    operatingsystem => RedHat
    processor => Dual Core AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 280
    processorcount => 1
    serialnumber => VMware-50 26 c5 38 09 2f 52 a3-b0 19 5c c9 f6 51 a8 6f
    swap => 1540920
    uniqueid => 7d0ab20b

Refer to the formatting options above for alternatives (XML, YAML, etc).


Pfacter can be easily installed from CPAN on almost any OS:

perl -MCPAN -e 'install Pfacter'


Scott Schneider <>