ec2-describe-snapshots -O xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx -W yyyyyyyyyyyyyy

Just gives me the 'usage', as if I'd written ec2-describe-snapshots -h with no other arguments.

This is on Ubuntu 12.04, java version:

java version "1.6.0_24"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (IcedTea6 1.11.4) (6b24-1.11.4-1ubuntu0.12.04.1)
OpenJDK Server VM (build 20.0-b12, mixed mode)

Seems like it's got to be something fairly simple, but even straceing it does not reveal anything in particular.

Tried running it as different users locally, with different credentials... nothing changes. If I omit the -O and -W it complains about needing the -K option, but nothing else changes its behaviour.

$ ec2-version 2011-11-01
  • Seems the version of ec2 is too old. Downloading the latest and greatest from Amazon seems to work. – David N. Welton Oct 12 '12 at 10:40

Update to the latest version which is at the time of writing this post.

Run something like this from command line and it should work for you once you install.

curl -o ec2.zip http://s3.amazonaws.com/ec2-downloads/ec2-api-tools-
unzip ec2.zip
names=( ec2* ); name="${names[0]}"
mv $name /usr/share/ec2
rm -rf ec2.zip

Once you have done that, you then need to make sure that you add a few env variables. It's easiest if you add these to your /home/$user/.bashrc file.


export EC2_HOME=/usr/share/ec2
export JAVA_HOME=/usr
export PATH=/usr/share/ec2/bin/:$PATH

That should fix your problem.


As of 2012-10-12, the only .deb I could find of these tools that is a recent version is here:


Things now work as expected, and like in the documenation. My problem above was the old version, which did not error out in a way that was at all descriptive of the problem.

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