How to Install chainctl

Install the chainctl command line tool to work with Chainguard Enforce and Images

The Chainguard command line interface (CLI) tool, chainctl, will help you interact with the account model that Chainguard provides, and enable you to make queries into the state of your Chainguard resources.

The tool uses the familiar <context> <noun> <verb> style of CLI interactions. For example, to list groups within the context of Chainguard Identity and Access Management (IAM), you can run chainctl iam groups list to receive relevant output.

Before we begin, let’s move into a temporary directory that we can work in. Be sure you have curl installed, which you can achieve through visiting the curl download docs for your relevant operating system.

mkdir ~/tmp && cd $_

There are currently two ways to install chainctl, depending on your operating system and preferences.

Install chainctl with Homebrew

You can install chainctl for macOS and Linux with the package manager Homebrew.

Note that you will need to have the Xcode Command Line Tools installed prior to installing chainctl with Homebrew on macOS. Without these installed, you won’t be able to use Homebrew to install chainctl on your macOS device.

If you haven’t already done so, you can install the Xcode Command Line Tools with the following command.

xcode-select --install

Before installing chainctl with Homebrew, use brew tap to bring in Chainguard’s repositories.

brew tap chainguard-dev/tap

Next, install chainctl with Homebrew.

brew install chainctl

You are now ready to use the chainctl command. You can verify that it works correctly in the final section of this guide.

Install with curl

A platform agnostic approach to installing chainctl is through using curl, which you can achieve with the following command.

curl -o chainctl "$(uname -s | tr '[:upper:]' '[:lower:]')_$(uname -m | sed 's/aarch64/arm64/')"

Move chainctl into your /usr/local/bin directory and elevate its permissions so that it can execute as needed.

sudo install -o $UID -g $GID -m 0755 chainctl /usr/local/bin/chainctl

At this point, you’ll be able to use the chainctl command.

Verify installation

You can verify that everything was set up correctly by checking the chainctl version.

chainctl version

You should receive output similar to the following.

   ____   _   _      _      ___   _   _    ____   _____   _
  / ___| | | | |    / \    |_ _| | \ | |  / ___| |_   _| | |
 | |     | |_| |   / _ \    | |  |  \| | | |       | |   | |
 | |___  |  _  |  / ___ \   | |  | |\  | | |___    | |   | |___
  \____| |_| |_| /_/   \_\ |___| |_| \_|  \____|   |_|   |_____|
chainctl: Chainguard Control

GitVersion:    <semver version>
GitCommit:     <commit hash>
GitTreeState:  clean
BuildDate:     <date here>
GoVersion:     <compiler version>
Compiler:      gc
Platform:      <your platform>

If you received output that you did not expect, check your bash profile to make sure that your system is using the expected PATH.

Verifying the chainctl binary with Cosign

You can verify the integrity of your chainctl binary using Cosign. Ensure that you have the latest version of Cosign installed by following our How to Install Cosign guide. Verify your chainctl binary with the following command:

cosign verify-blob \
   --signature "$(chainctl version 2>&1 |awk '/GitVersion/ {print $2}')/chainctl_$(uname -s | tr '[:upper:]' '[:lower:]')_$(uname -m).sig" \
   --certificate "$(chainctl version 2>&1 |awk '/GitVersion/ {print $2}')/chainctl_$(uname -s | tr '[:upper:]' '[:lower:]')_$(uname -m).cert.pem" \
   --certificate-identity "$(chainctl version 2>&1 |awk '/GitVersion/ {print $2}')" \
   --certificate-oidc-issuer \
   $(which chainctl)

You should receive the following output:

Verified OK

If you do not see the line Verified OK then there is a problem with your chainctl binary and you should reinstall it using the instructions at the beginning of this page.


With chainctl installed, you can authenticate into Chainguard with the following command:

chainctl auth login

This will open your browser window and take you through a workflow to login with your OIDC provider.

Configure a Docker credential helper

You can configure a Docker credential helper with chainctl by running:

chainctl auth configure-docker

This will update your Docker config file to call chainctl when an auth token is needed. A browser window will open when the token needs to be refreshed.

For guidance on pull tokens, please review authenticating with a pull token.

Updating chainctl

When your version of chainctl is a few weeks old or older, you may consider updating it to make sure that your version is the most up to date. You can update chainctl by running the update command.

sudo chainctl update

Keeping chainctl up to date will ensure that you are using the most up to date version.

Last updated: 2023-12-07 15:56