Tag Archives: plugin

Upgrade of puppet from 0.24.5 to 2.6.2: “Got nil value for content”

Something I should have probably done a while ago. Upgrading our puppet clients and master from 0.24.5 (current Debian stable) to 2.6.2 (current backports). I've been advised to go all the way to 2.6.4, that contains an important security fix. I'll probably do that soon.

So, first error I did was to upgrade one client before the puppetmaster. In my mental model, it's always ok to upgrade the server first (puppetmaster), but I remember I was kind of surprised when I learned that puppet needs upgrading the clients first, so that is something I seemed to remember well: first upgrade clients, then the puppetmaster.

So I did, and that didn't work at all. The client couldn't retrieve the catalog. I discovered I had to update the puppetmaster first. Another very common thing with puppet: if something doesn't work, wipe out the SSL certificates. Almost every puppet user, maybe unexperienced like me, will tell you to remove the entire /var/lib/puppet/ssl directory, and restart your client. Good. So I did.

After fiddling for a while with client and server-side SSL certificates, removing, --waitforcert and puppetca invocations, I was able to finally connect the client with the puppetmaster and have them talk to each other correctly, downloading the manifests and applying the changes. However, one problem remained…

Digression: custom facter plugins

I wrote a specific facter plugin that provides a datacenter fact. Just as an example, it works like this:

# Provide an additional 'datacenter' fact
# to use in generic modules to provide datacenter
# specific settings, such as resolv.conf
# Cosimo, 03/Aug/2010
# $Id: datacenter.rb 15240 2011-01-03 14:27:44Z cosimo $

Facter.add("datacenter") do
    setcode do

        datacenter = "unknown"

        # Get current ip address from Facter's own database
        ipaddr = Facter.value(:ipaddress)

        if ipaddr.match("^12.34.56.")
            datacenter = "dc1"
        elsif ipaddr.match("^34.56.78.")
            datacenter = "dc2"
        elsif ipaddr.match("^56.78.12.")
            datacenter = "dc3"
        # etc ...
        # etc ...


This allows for very cool things, like specific DNS resolver settings by datacenter:

# Data-center based settings
case $datacenter {
    "dc1" :  { include opera::datacenters::dc1 }
    "dc2" :  { include opera::datacenters::dc2 }
    "dc3" :  { include opera::datacenters::dc3 }
    # ...
    default: { include opera::datacenters::dc1 }

where each opera::datacenter::dc class contains all the datacenter-dependent settings. In my case, just the resolver for now.

class opera::datacenters::dc1 {
    resolver::dns { "dc1-ns":
        domain => "opera.com",
        nameservers => [ "", "" ],

resolver::dns is in turn a small define in a resolver module I wrote to generate resolv.conf contents from a small template. It's so small I can copy/paste it here:

# "resolver/manifests/init.pp"
define resolver::dns ($nameservers, $search="", $domain="") {
    file { "/etc/resolv.conf":
        ensure => "present",
        owner  => "root",
        group  => "root",
        mode   => 644,
        content => template("resolver/resolv.conf.erb"),

# "resolver/templates/resolv.conf.erb"
# File managed by puppet <%= puppetversion %> on <%= fqdn %>
# Data center: <%= name %>
<% if domain != "" %>domain <%= domain %>
<% end %>
<% if search != "" %>search <%= search %>
<% end %>
<% nameservers.each do |ns| %>nameserver <%= ns %>
<% end %>

One problem remained…

Let's get back to the remaining problem. Every client run was spitting this error string:

info: Retrieving plugin
err: /File[/var/lib/puppet/lib]: Could not evaluate: Got nil value for content

After a lot of searching and reading through similar (but not quite the same) messages, I found this thread where one guy was having a very similar problem, but with a different filename, /root/.gitconfig that he obviously specified in his manifests.

My problem happened with /var/lib/puppet/lib, which is never specified in any of my manifests. But the symlink bit got me thinking. At some point, to have the specific facter plugin work, and having read about differences between older and 2.6.x versions of puppet, I had put it into my module's lib/facter folder, but creating also a symlink called plugins (required by the new puppet). Doing so, I thought, would probably prevent problems, as the new puppet could read the file from the new folder, while the older version could read it from "lib".

Well, turns out that puppet will not be able to read custom facter plugins from a plugins folder that is a symlink. Removing the symlink and making {module}/plugins/facter a real directory solved that problem too.

I really hope to save someone else the time I spent on this. Cheers :)

Adding the irc NOTICE capability to Bot::BasicBot

Bot::BasicBot is a Perl module that provides a really easy, fast and convenient way to build plugin-based IRC bots. I'm playing around with an IRC bot that should assist in continuously deploying projects.

This bot has two main functionalities:

  • keep track of continous integration builds
  • initiate and keep track of deployments

Right now the bot reads a main configuration file with data about projects, repositories, continuous integration, etc… and answers commands. This is an example:

21:58 <@cosimo> projects-list
21:58 < deployer> auth, geodns, libopera, link, myopera, sso
21:58 <@cosimo> build-status geodns
21:58 < deployer> 97ad24e success cosimo https://git.server/functests/builds/geodns/97ad24e
21:58 <@cosimo> latest-revision sso
21:58 < deployer> 5207cfe, https://git.server/?p=sso.git;a=commit;h=fe977d32e9580551dffe8139396106ba25207cfe
21:59 <@cosimo> build-status auth
21:59 < deployer> 24135 success cosimo https://test.server/functests/builds/auth-unit/24135
21:59 < deployer> 24135.2 success (manual) https://test.server/functests/builds/auth-functional/24135.2

Another functionality of the bot is to detect new builds, and automatically send updates to a given channel, stating the project, the new VCS revision, the committer and a link to the continuous integration test run. Example:

17:22 -deployer:#chan- sso, fe977d3 success cosimo https://test.server/functests/builds/opera-sso/fe977d3

In the future, I also want to command the bot to initiate deployments. Anyway, the problem was that Bot::BasicBot apparently lacked support for sending IRC notices. This caused all the bot messages to interrupt the flow of IRC conversations. Bot::BasicBot has source code also on github, so I just forked it and added support for IRC notices. I just noticed that the author already pulled in the new changes. o/

It will still take years for this to land in Debian, but still… :-)

Opera 10 and the Microsoft Silverlight plugin

Just in case anyone is wondering…

If you don't know, SilverLight is the Microsoft answer to Flash.
If there's some website that has videos or other content that you want to see but they chose to use SilverLight, not all hope is lost.

Just go to the download page for the SilverLight plugin. If you are using Opera, it will tell you that "This browser is not supported blah blah blah…".

Ignore that bullshit and just download it. Then close Opera and install it.
Be sure to remove any pre-existing version first, or it won't work.

After the installation takes place, reopen Opera and go to the plugins page. You should see the SilverLight plugin already enabled. Congratulations, and welcome to the fantastic world of SilverLight content. :-|