Slaughter is a tool which allow policies to be downloaded from a central server and executed upon a local machine. The intention is that these policies may be used to automate the administration of a large number of Linux machines.

Slaughter policies are easy to write, and because they're backed with the power of Perl you have an awful lot of freedom and expression in the things you can write.

To ensure that many tasks don't need to be implemented "by hand" the slaughter tool makes several primitives and variables available for your use.

The supplied primitives allow you to easily carry out common tasks, such as installing files located upon the central server.

The Definitive Slaughter Guide provides a good overview of what you can do with Slaughter, how it works, and has many examples.


  • Built on Perl
  • No micro-languages.
  • Runs on Linux, BSD, & etc
  • More ..


  • Fetch files.
  • Manipulate accounts.
  • Manipulate packages.
  • More ..


  • Choice of distribution methods.
  • No over-loaded central server.
  • Easy to extend.
  • More ..


The slaughter utility is packaged for CPAN, the perl distribution site, and it can be downloaded directly from there:

Once downloaded you can unpack the release and install system-wide via:

perl Makefile.PL
make install

If you're a Debian GNU/Linux user you will probably prefer the Debian release:

If that doesn't suit you can downloaded the soure from the following link:

If you prefer something more cutting-edge, or wish to contribute changes, you should take a look at the source code repository:

Getting Started

To get started you'll need to do three things:

  • Configure a central server to serve your policies
    • This central server might use rsync, a webserver, or it might just be a Github repository rather than an actual host.
  • Install the software on the client(s) you wish slaughter to manage. Configure these hosts to run the slaughter client against your central server once a day, or once an hour.
  • Write your policies to control your systems.

These steps are documented and explained in The Definitive Slaughter Guide.