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Fleet documentation

Welcome to the documentation for Fleet, the lightweight telemetry platform for servers and workstations.

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Install osquery and Fleet

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Orbit is an osquery runtime and autoupdater. With Orbit, it's easy to deploy osquery, manage configurations, and stay up to date. Orbit eases the deployment of osquery connected with a Fleet server and is a (near) drop-in replacement for osquery in a variety of deployment scenarios.

Orbit is the recommended agent for Fleet. But Orbit can be used with or without Fleet, and Fleet can be used with or without Orbit.

Try Orbit

With fleetctl preview already running:

# With fleetctl in your $PATH
# Generate a macOS installer pointed at your local Fleet
fleetctl package --type=pkg --fleet-url=localhost:8412 --insecure --enroll-secret=YOUR_FLEET_ENROLL_SECRET_HERE
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With fleetctl preview running, you can find your Fleet enroll secret by selecting the "Add new host" button on the Hosts page in the Fleet UI.

An installer configured to point at your Fleet instance has now been generated.

Now run that installer (double click, on a Mac) to enroll your own computer as a host in Fleet. Refresh after several seconds (≈30s), and you should now see your local computer as a new host in Fleet.


Capability Status
Secure autoupdate for osquery
Secure autoupdate for Orbit
Configurable update channels
Full osquery flag customization
Package tooling for macOS .pkg
Package tooling for Linux .deb
Package tooling for Linux .rpm
Package tooling for Windows .msi
Manage/update osquery extensions
Manage cgroups for Linux performance 🔜


General information and flag documentation can be accessed by running orbit --help.


Orbit generally expects root permissions to be able to create and access its working files.

To get root level permissions:


Prefix orbit commands with sudo (sudo orbit ...) or run in a root shell.


Run Powershell or cmd.exe with "Run as administrator" and start orbit commands from that shell.

Osquery shell

Run an osqueryi shell with orbit osqueryi or orbit shell.

Connect to a Fleet server

Use the --fleet-url and --enroll-secret flags to connect to a Fleet server.

For example:

orbit --fleet-url=https://localhost:8080 --enroll-secret=the_secret_value

Use --fleet_certificate to provide a path to a certificate bundle when necessary for osquery to verify the authenticity of the Fleet server (typically when using a Windows client or self-signed certificates):

orbit --fleet-url=https://localhost:8080 --enroll-secret=the_secret_value --fleet-certificate=cert.pem

Add the --insecure flag for connections using otherwise invalid certificates:

orbit --fleet-url=https://localhost:8080 --enroll-secret=the_secret_value --insecure

Osquery flags

Orbit can be used as a near drop-in replacement for osqueryd, enhancing standard osquery with autoupdate capabilities. Orbit passes through any options after -- directly to the osqueryd instance.

For example, the following would be a typical drop-in usage of Orbit:

orbit -- --flagfile=flags.txt

Osquery extensions

Orbit can be used to remotely deploy and manage osquery extensions. This saves the time and energy required to maintain extensions using a separate tool like Munki or an MDM solution.

Learn how


Orbit, like standalone osquery, is typically deployed via OS-specific packages. Tooling is provided with this repository to generate installation packages.


Orbit currently supports building packages on macOS and Linux.

Before building packages, clone or download this repository and install Go.

Building Windows packages requires Docker to be installed.

Packaging support

  • macOS - .pkg package generation with (optional) notarization and codesigning - Persistence via launchd.

  • Linux - .deb (Debian, Ubuntu, etc.) & .rpm (RHEL, CentOS, etc.) package generation - Persistence via systemd.

  • Windows - .msi package generation - Persistence via Services.

Building packages

Use fleetctl package to run the packaging tools.

The only required parameter is --type, use one of deb, rpm, pkg, or msi.

Configure osquery to connect to a Fleet (or other TLS) server with the --fleet-url and --enroll-secret flags.

A minimal invocation for communicating with Fleet:

fleetctl package --type deb --enroll-secret=notsosecret

This will build a .deb package configured to communicate with a Fleet server at using the enroll secret notsosecret.

When the Fleet server uses a self-signed (or otherwise invalid) TLS certificate, package with the --insecure or --fleet-certificate options.

Configuration options

The following command-line flags allow you to configure an osquery installer further to communicate with a specific Fleet instance.

Flag Options
--type Required - Type of package to build.
Options: pkg(macOS),msi(Windows), deb(Debian based Linux), rpm(RHEL, CentOS, etc.)
--fleet-desktop Include Fleet Desktop.
--enroll-secret Enroll secret for authenticating to Fleet server
--fleet-url URL (host:port) of Fleet server
--fleet-certificate Path to server certificate bundle
--identifier Identifier for package product (default: com.fleetdm.orbit)
--version Version for package product (default: 0.0.3)
--insecure Disable TLS certificate verification (default: false)
--service Install osquery with a persistence service (launchd, systemd, etc.) (default: true)
--sign-identity Identity to use for macOS codesigning
--notarize Whether to notarize macOS packages (default: false)
--disable-updates Disable auto updates on the generated package (default: false)
--osqueryd-channel Update channel of osqueryd to use (default: stable)
--orbit-channel Update channel of Orbit to use (default: stable)
--desktop-channel Update channel of desktop to use (default: stable)
--update-url URL for update server (default:
--update-roots Root key JSON metadata for update server (from fleetctl updates roots)
--debug Enable debug logging (default: false)
--verbose Log detailed information when building the package (default: false)
--help, -h show help (default: false)

Fleet Desktop

Fleet Desktop is a menu bar icon available on macOS, Windows, and Linux that gives your end users visibility into the security posture of their machine.

You can include Fleet Desktop in the orbit package by including the --fleet-desktopoption.

Update channels

Orbit uses the concept of "update channels" to determine the version of Orbit, Fleet Desktop, osquery, and any extensions (extension support coming soon) to run. This concept is modeled from the common versioning convention for Docker containers.

Configure update channels for Orbit and osqueryd with the --orbit-channel, --desktop-channel and --osqueryd-channel flags when packaging.

Channel Versions
4 4.x.x
4.6 4.6.x
4.6.0 4.6.0

Additionally, stable and edge are special channel names. The stable channel will provide the most recent osquery version that Fleet deems to be stable. When a new version of osquery is released, it's added to the edge channel for beta testing. Fleet then provides input to the osquery TSC based on testing. After the version is declared stable by the osquery TSC, Fleet will promote the version to stable ASAP.

macOS signing & notarization

Orbit's packager can automate the codesigning and notarization steps to allow the resulting package to generate packages that appear "trusted" when installed on macOS hosts. Signing and notarization are supported only on macOS hosts.

For signing, a "Developer ID Installer" certificate must be available on the build machine (generation instructions). Use security find-identity -v to verify the existence of this certificate and make note of the identifier provided in the left column.

For notarization, valid App Store Connect credentials must be available on the build machine. Set these in the environment variables AC_USERNAME and AC_PASSWORD. It's common to configure this via app-specific passwords. Some organizations (notably those with Apple Enterprise Developer Accounts) may also need to specify AC_TEAM_ID. This value can be found on the Apple Developer "Membership" page under "Team ID."

Build a signed and notarized macOS package with an invocation like the following:

[email protected] AC_PASSWORD=llpk-sije-kjlz-jdzw fleetctl package --type=pkg --enroll-secret=63SBzTT+2UyW --sign-identity 3D7260BF99539C6E80A94835A8921A988F4E6498 --notarize

This process may take several minutes, as the notarization process completes on Apple's servers.

After successful notarization, the generated "ticket" is automatically stapled to the package.

Orbit osquery result and status logs

If the logger_path configuration is set to filesystem, Orbit will store osquery's "result" and "status" logs to the following directories:

  • Windows: C:\Program Files\Orbit\osquery_log
  • macOS: /opt/orbit/osquery_log
  • Linux: /opt/orbit/osquery_log

Orbit development

Run Orbit from source

To execute orbit from source directly, run the following command:

go run \
    --dev-mode \
    --disable-updates \
    --root-dir /tmp/orbit \
    --fleet-url https://localhost:8080 \
    --insecure \
    --enroll-secret Pz3zC0NMDdZfb3FtqiLgwoexItojrYh/ \
    -- --verbose

Or, using a flagfile.txt for osqueryd:

go run \
    --dev-mode \
    --disable-updates \
    --root-dir /tmp/orbit \
    -- --flagfile=flagfile.txt --verbose
Generate installer packages from Orbit source

The fleetctl package command generates installers by fetching the targets/executables from a TUF repository. To generate an installer that contains an Orbit built from source, you need to setup a local TUF repository. The following document explains how you can generate a TUF repository and installers that use it: tools/tuf/test.



Orbit captures and streams osqueryd's stdout/stderr into its own stdout/stderr output. These are the log destinations for each platform:

  • Linux: Orbit and osqueryd stdout/stderr output is sent to syslog (/var/log/syslog on Debian systems and /var/log/messages on CentOS).
  • macOS: /private/var/log/orbit/orbit.std{out|err}.log.
  • Windows: C:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile\AppData\Local\FleetDM\Orbit\Logs\orbit-osquery.log (the log file is rotated). Users will need administrative permissions on the host to access these log destinations.


You can use the --debug option in fleetctl package to generate installers in "debug mode." This mode increases the verbosity of logging for orbit and osqueryd (log DEBUG level).



Use the "Add or remove programs" dialog to remove Orbit.


Uninstall the package with the corresponding package manager:

  • Ubuntu
    sudo apt remove fleet-osquery -y
  • CentOS
    sudo rpm -e fleet-osquery-X.Y.Z.x86_64


Run the cleanup script.


Create an issue to report a bug or request a feature.

Did we miss anything?

If you notice something we've missed or could be improved on, please follow this link and submit a pull request to the Fleet repo.