I'm trying to use Ansible to provision a Vagrant VM. The VM is running CentOS 6.4. I'm using the following (abbreviated) ansible playbook:

- hosts: default
    home: '/home/vagrant'
    curl_version: '7_19_7'
    curl_url: 'https://github.com/bagder/curl/archive/curl-{{ curl_version }}.tar.gz'
    curl_dir: '{{ home }}/curl-curl-{{ curl_version }}'

  # user: vagrant
  remote_user: vagrant
  sudo: yes


  - name: Ensure required packages and installed and up to date - pt1
    yum: pkg={{ item }} state=present
      - make
      - gcc
      - etc...

  # Lots more yum tasks in here

  - name: Ensure CURL source downloaded
    get_url: url={{ curl_url }} dest=/home/vagrant/curl-{{ curl_version }}.tar

  - name: Extract CURL source
    command: tar -zxf {{ home }}/curl-{{ curl_version }}.tar creates={{ curl_dir }}

  - name: Copy ssh patch over
    copy: src=./files/ssh.c.patch dest={{ home }}/ssh.c.patch

  - name: Patch CURL with openssl
    command: '"{{ item }}" chdir={{ curl_dir }}/lib'
      - patch {{ curl_dir }}/lib/ssh.c {{ home }}/ssh.c.patch

Vagrangt is working fine and the Ansible playbook runs successfully up to the last task 'Patch CURL with openssl' - which fails, like so:

TASK: [Patch CURL with openssl] *********************************************** 
failed: [default] => (item=patch < /home/vagrant/ssh.c.patch) => {"cmd": ["patch < /home/vagrant/ssh.c.patch"], "failed": true, "item": "patch < /home/vagrant/ssh.c.patch", "rc": 2}
msg: [Errno 2] No such file or directory

FATAL: all hosts have already failed -- aborting

I've verified that all the tasks up to that point work, and the files are downloaded and extracted to the expected places.

After the task fails, if you SSH into the VM that's being configured, and run the same thing yourself - using the exact values from the playbook variables, it works:

cd /home/vagrant/curl-curl-7_19_7
sudo patch /home/vagrant/curl-curl-7_19_7/lib/ssh.c /home/vagrant/ssh.c.patch

I'm new to Ansible and I'm not sure why this isn't working - it looks like it should be? What am I doing wrong?


2 Answers 2


It looks like you are using a shell redirect less-than sign in your "command" call (but it got eaten by the ServerFault parser). Try using "shell" instead of "command" there. Command doesn't go through the shell, so shell stuff like redirects and pipes won't work. Shell should work.

  • Actually, I was using patch in the form: patch < ssh.c.patch previously, but got the problem you described. I'm current doing it as above, i.e. patch <sourcefile> <patchfile> and it's not working. Switching to shell: patch {{ curl_dir }}/lib/ssh.c {{ home }}/ssh.c.patch chdir={{ curl_dir }}/lib makes it work though - for some reason? Feb 5, 2014 at 23:53
  • shell passes the command to the server and runs it as if you're on the server itself, with redirection, environment variables, etc. If you use command, things like redirection (>, <, etc.), and env variables ($HOME, etc.) don't work. Feb 8, 2014 at 21:26

The answer from @Tybstar pointed me in the right direction - using shell instead of command. The actual fix was to change the patch task from this:

- name: Patch CURL with openssl
  command: '"{{ item }}" chdir={{ curl_dir }}/lib'
    - patch {{ curl_dir }}/lib/ssh.c {{ home }}/ssh.c.patch

to this:

- name: Patch CURL with openssl
  shell: patch {{ curl_dir }}/lib/ssh.c {{ home }}/ssh.c.patch chdir={{ curl_dir }}/lib
  • Tybstar deserves the credit for the answer Jan 8, 2015 at 6:57
  • 2
    I'm not sure I agree, in this context. For people coming across this question, the most direct solution is the code that I posted in my answer - this is indicated by the checkmark. This helps future searchers to get the most complete answer quickly, without them having to read all the comments. If it's magic internet points you care about, then I did upvote his answer. Jan 9, 2015 at 22:20
  • Give credit where credit is due. You asked... Jan 9, 2015 at 22:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.