How to Install chainctl

Install the chainctl command line tool to work with Chainguard

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 retrieve a list of all the private Chainguard Images available to your organization, you can run chainctl images list.

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. We have specific instructions for Windows users on installing chainctl with curl, but all others can run 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/

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

Installing with curl in Windows Powershell

As stated previously, you can also use curl install chainctl on Windows systems. Running the following command in PowerShell will download the appropriate .exe file.

curl -o chainctl.exe

It may take several minutes for this operation to complete.

Following that you can use chainctl. Be aware that Windows PowerShell does not load commands from the working directory by default so you will need to include .\ before any chainctl commands you run, as in this example.

.\chainctl auth login

Also, please note that while chainctl commands will generally work, some are not as thoroughly tested on Windows and may not behave as expected. In particular, the chainctl auth configure-docker command is known to cause errors on Windows as of this writing.

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: 2024-06-24 15:22