Puppet 3 & 4 on FreeBSD

I’ve been playing with FreeBSD recently and wanted to run Puppet on it to provide my machines with configuration.

Unfortunately I faced the following error when I first ran Puppet with a simple Puppet manifest that tries to install NTP via usage of the puppetlabs/ntp module:

Warning: Found multiple default providers for package: pip, gem; using pip
Error: Could not set 'present' on ensure: Could not locate the pip command. at modules/ntp/manifests/install.pp

Error: /Stage[main]/Ntp::Install/Package[net/ntp]/ensure: change from absent to present failed: Could not set 'present' on ensure: Could not locate the pip command. at modules/ntp/manifests/install.pp

This collection of errors is pretty interesting – we can see that Puppet seems to understand that it’s running on FreeBSD and that the package is called “net/ntp” but it’s trying to install it with pip, which is the Python package manager :-/

Turns out that Puppet versions older than and including 4.0.0 [1] lack support for PkgNg package manager which is used in FreeBSD 10.x and since it doesn’t know how to use it, defaults to trying one of the only two providers left over – pip & gem. Not really the smartest approach…

There’s two ways to fix right now:

  1. An independently packaged provider for PkgNg was written and is available at xaque208/puppet-pkgng. This can be included into any existing Puppet 3/4 deployment and you can define it as the default for all packages globally.
  2. Pull the commit from Puppet that provides PkgNg support (thanks to author of the above project). The downside is that you then have to build your own Gem and install it.

Longer term you can either:

  1. Wait for Puppet to release a stable version that actually works. I’m guessing it will be in 4.0.0 +1 (so 4.0.1?) but I’m not familiar with their approach to releasing new feature additions. See [1] for more information.
  2. Hope that the FreeBSD developers can backport the commit that adds PkgNg support to Puppet4. I’ve actually started chatting with one of the FreeBSD developers who’s been kind enough to have a look at upgrading their package from Puppet3 to Puppet4, but it’s not as simple as it should be thanks to the terrible way Puppetlabs has packaged Puppet4 (lots of hard coded /opt paths everywhere) so it may take some time.


Additionally there is an issue if you choose to install Puppet 4 via RubyGems and when you attempt to run it, you will get the following error:

Error: Cannot create /opt/puppetlabs/puppet/cache; parent directory /opt/puppetlabs/puppet does not exist
Error: /File[/var/log/puppetlabs/puppet]/ensure: change from absent to directory failed: Cannot create /var/log/puppetlabs/puppet; parent directory /var/log/puppetlabs does not exist

This is because the Gem is not properly packaged and doesn’t run nicely with FreeBSD’s filesystem structure. You can hack in a “fix” with:

mkdir -p /opt/puppetlabs/puppet/cache
mkdir -p /var/log/puppetlabs/puppet

It’s far from the right way of properly fixing this, the best solution if you value OS purity right now is to stick with the FreeBSD packaged Puppet 3 version and add the xaque208/puppet-pkgng module.


[1] So at time of writing, *no* stable Puppet version supports PkgNg yet, but given that it’s been merged into the master git branch for Puppet, I have to *presume* that it’s going into 4.0.1… I hope :-/

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3 Responses to Puppet 3 & 4 on FreeBSD

  1. Jethro Carr says:

    As of Puppet 4.1.0, the PkgNg provider is now available in the stock Puppet distribution.

  2. Jethro Carr says:

    As of September 2015, FreeBSD now ships with a puppet4 package available in Ports, I recommend starting any Puppet-on-FreeBSD work with Puppet 4 rather than the Puppet(3) package.

  3. Hi Jethro! I’ve been meaning to update my Puppet install script for 4.0, I didn’t realize they added in the Puppet 4 to Ports, makes my life a lot easier! :D

    pkg install sysutils/puppet4

    This’ll soon be in https://github.com/petems/puppet-install-shell :)

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