Frequently asked questions

The ansible.cfg file

Where should the ansible.cfg file go when using an execution environment?

The easiest place to have the ansible.cfg is in the project directory adjacent to the playbook. The playbook directory is automatically mounted in the execution environment and the ansible.cfg file will be found. If the ansible.cfg file is in another directory, the ANSIBLE_CONFIG variable needs to be set and the directory specified as a custom volume mount. (See the settings guide for execution-environment-volume-mounts)

Where should the ansible.cfg file go when not using an execution environment?

Ansible will look for the ansible.cfg in the typical locations when not using an execution-environment. (See the ansible docs for the possibilities)

Placement of ansible collections

Where should ansible collections be placed when using an execution environment?

The easiest place to have ansible collections is in the project directory, in a playbook adjacent collections directory. (eg ansible-galaxy collections install ansible.utils -p ./collections). The playbook directory is automatically mounted in the execution environment and the collections should be found. Another option is to build the collections into an execution environment using ansible builder. This was done to help playbook developers author playbooks that are production ready, as both ansible controller and awx support playbook adjacent collection directories. If the collections are in another directory, the ANSIBLE_COLLECTIONS_PATHS variable needs to be set and the directory specified as a custom volume mount. (See the settings guide for execution-environment-volume-mounts)

Where should ansible collections be placed when not using an execution environment?

When not using an execution environment, ansible will look in the default locations for collections. For more information about these, check out the collections guide.

ansible-navigator settings

What is the order in which configuration settings are applied?

The configuration system of ansible-navigator pulls in settings from various sources and applies them hierarchically in the following order (where the last applied changes are the most prevalent):

  1. Default internal values

  2. Values from a settings file

  3. Values from environment variables

  4. Flags and arguments specified on the command line

  5. While issuing : commands within the text-based user interface (TUI)

Why does ansible-navigator change the terminal colors or look terrible?

ansible-navigator queries the terminal for its OSC4 compatibility. OSC4, 10, 11, 104, 110, 111 indicate the terminal supports color changing and reverting. It is possible that the terminal is misrepresenting its ability. OSC4 detection can be disabled by setting --osc4 false. (See the settings guide for how to handle this with an environment variable or in the settings file)

How can I change the colors used by ansible-navigator

Full theme support should come in a later release, for now, try --osc4 false. This will cause ansible-navigator to use the terminal’s defined colors. (See the settings guide for how to handle this with an environment variable or in the settings file)

What’s with all these site-artifact-2021-06-02T16:02:33.911259+00:00.json files in the playbook directory?

ansible-navigator creates a playbook artifact for every playbook run. These can be helpful for reviewing the outcome of automation after it is complete, sharing and troubleshooting with a colleague, or keeping for compliance or change-control purposes. The playbook artifact file contains the detailed information about every play and task, as well as the stdout from the playbook run. Playbook artifacts can be review with ansible-navigator replay <filename> or :replay <filename> while in an ansible-navigator session. All playbook artifacts can be reviewed with both --mode stdout and --mode interactive, depending on the desired view. Playbook artifacts writing can be disabled and the default file naming convention changed as well.(See the settings guide for additional information)

Why does vi open when I use :open?

ansible-navigator will open anything showing in the terminal in the default editor. The default is set to either vi +{line_number} {filename} or the current value of the EDITOR environment variable. Related to this is the editor-console setting which indicates if the editor is console/terminal based. Here are examples of alternate settings that may be useful:

# emacs
ansible-navigator:
  editor:
    command: emacs -nw +{line_number} {filename}
    console: true
# vscode
ansible-navigator:
  editor:
    command: code -g {filename}:{line_number}
    console: false
#pycharm
ansible-navigator:
  editor:
    command: charm --line {line_number} {filename}
    console: false

How do I define volume mounts using an environment variable?

Because the definition of a volume mount may contain the : these need to be delimited with a ;.

$ export ANSIBLE_NAVIGATOR_EXECUTION_ENVIRONMENT_VOLUME_MOUNTS /tmp/1:/tmp/1\;/tmp/2:/tmp/2:Z
$ ansible-navigator exec
bash-4.4# ls /tmp/1
file.txt

How can tls-verify be disabled when an execution environment image is being pulled?

Although disabling TLS verification is not recommended, it may be necessary in lab and non-production environments. The pull policy parameters can be provided on the command line or in the settings file.

$ ansible-navigator --pull-arguments=--tls-verify=false
ansible-navigator:
  execution-environment:
    pull:
      arguments:
        - "--tls-verify=false"

SSH keys

How do I use my SSH keys with an execution environment?

The simplest way to use SSH keys with an execution environment is to use ssh-agent and use default key names. Register keys as needed if they do not use one of the default key names. (~/.ssh/id_rsa, ~/.ssh/id_dsa, ~/.ssh/id_ecdsa, ~/.ssh/id_ed25519, and ~/.ssh/identity. (eg ssh-add ~/.ssh/my_key). ansible-navigator will automatically setup and enable the use of ssh-agent within the execution environment by volume mounting the SSH authentication socket path and setting the SSH_AUTH_SOCK environment variable. (eg

-v /run/user/1000/keyring/:/run/user/1000/keyring/ -e SSH_AUTH_SOCK=/run/user/1000/keyring/ssh (as seen in the ansible-navigator log file when using an execution environment and --log-level debug)

The use of ssh-agent results in the simplest configuration and eliminates issues with SSH key passphrases when using ansible-navigator with execution environments.

Additionally, ansible-navigator will automatically volume mount the user’s SSH keys into the execution environment in 2 different locations to assist users not running ssh-agent.

  1. For compatibility with SSH connections using OpenSSH, the keys are mounted into the home directory of the default user within the execution environment as specified by the user’s entry in the execution environment’s /etc/passwd file. When using OpenSSH without ssh-agent, only keys using the default names (id_rsa, id_dsa, id_ecdsa, id_ed25519, and id_xmss) will be used. The use of ansible_ssh_private_key_file will enable the use of non-default named keys.

-v /home/current_user/.ssh/:/root/.ssh/ (as seen in the ansible-navigator log file when using an execution environment and --log-level debug)

  1. For compatibility with SSH connections using paramiko, the keys are mounted into the home directory of the default user within the execution environment as specified by the HOME environment variable within the execution environment. When using paramiko without ssh-agent, only key using default names (id_rsa, id_dsa or id_ecdsa, and id_ed25519) will by used. The use of ansible_ssh_private_key_file will enable the use of non-default named keys.

-v /home/current_user/.ssh/:/home/runner/.ssh/ (as seen in the ansible-navigator log file when using an execution environment and --log-level debug)

Note: When using ansible_ssh_private_key_file with execution environments, the path to the key needs to reference it’s location after being volume mounted to the execution environment. (eg /home/runner/.ssh/key_name or /root/.ssh/key_name). It may be convenient to specify the path to the key as ~/.ssh/key_name which will resolve to the user’s home directory with or without the use of an execution environment.

Compatibility with ansible-* utilities

Why does the playbook hang when vars_prompt, pause/prompt or --ask-pass is used?

By default ansible-navigator runs the playbook in the same manner that ansible controller and AWX would run the playbook. This was done to help playbook developers author playbooks that would be ready for production. If the use of vars_prompt, pause\prompt or --ask-pass can not be avoided, disabling playbook-artifact creation and using --mode stdout causes ansible-navigator to run the playbook in a manner that is compatible with ansible-playbook and allows for user interaction.

$ ansible-navigator run site.yml --mode stdout --playbook-artifact-enable false --ask-pass

How can I use ansible-test without having it locally installed?

The ansible-test utility can be used from within an execution environment using the exec subcommand.

$ cd  ./collections/ansible_collections/ansible/utils/
$ ansible-navigator exec -- ansible-test sanity --python 3.8

How do I use ansible-playbook parameters like --forks 15?

All parameters not directly used by ansible-navigator will be passed to the ansible-playbook command. These can be provided inline after the ansible-navigator parameters or delimited by a --

$ ansible-navigator run site.yml --forks 15
$ ansible-navigator run site.yml -- --forks 15

How can I use a vault password with ansible-navigator?

The following options provide a vault password to ansible-navigator when using the text-based user interface (TUI). Please ensure these do not conflict with your enterprise security standards. Do not add password files to source control.

  1. Store the vault password securely on the local file system

$ touch ~/.vault_password
$ chmod 600 ~/.vault_password
# The leading space here is necessary to keep the command out of the command history
$  echo my_password >> ~/.vault_password
# Link the password file into the current working directory
$ ln ~/.vault_password .
# Set the environment variable to the location of the file
$ ANSIBLE_VAULT_PASSWORD_FILE=.vault_password
$ ansible-navigator run site.yml
  1. Store the vault password in an environment variable

$ touch ~/.vault_password.sh
$ chmod 700 ~/.vault_password.sh
$ echo -e '#!/bin/sh\necho ${ANSIBLE_VAULT_PASSWORD}' >> ~/.vault_password.sh
# Link the password file into the current working directory
$ ln ~/.vault_password.sh .
# The leading space here is necessary to keep the command out of the command history
# by using an environment variable prefixed with ANSIBLE it will automatically get passed
# into the execution environment
$  export ANSIBLE_VAULT_SECRET=my_password
# Set the environment variable to the location of the file
$ ANSIBLE_VAULT_PASSWORD_FILE=.vault_password.sh
$ ansible-navigator run site.yml

Additional information about ansible-vault can be found here

Other

How can complex commands be run inside an execution-environment?

The easiest way to pass complex commands to an execution environment is by using the -- delimiter. Everything after the -- will be passed into the execution-environment.

$ ansible-navigator exec -- ansible --version | head -n 1 | awk -F '\\[|\\]|\\s' '{print $4}'
2.12.4rc1.post0

Why did I get an error about /dev/mqueue missing?

Although the /dev/mqueue directory is not used by ansible-navigator, it is currently required when using podman. Not all operating systems have a /dev/mqueue directory by default.

Please reference the documentation for your operating system related to POSIX message queues, or simply create the directory.

Something didn’t work, how can I troubleshoot it?

ansible-navigator has reasonable logging messages, debug logging can be enabled with --log-level debug. If you think you might have found a bug, please log an issue and include the details from the log file.