I'm trying to get some very basic things working with Ansible on OS X.

My targets are all Ubuntu 16.04, so the very first thing I have to do is get it to install python2.7, as without that even 'ping' won't work.

I have an inventory set up like this in servers:

192.168.x.x set_hostname=db



And this is my play in init.yml:

- hosts: servers
  gather_facts: False
  become: yes
     - name: apt-get update
       raw: /usr/bin/apt-get update -qq
     - name: Install python 2.7
       raw: test -e /usr/bin/python || /usr/bin/apt-get install -q -y python2.7 python-simplejson

I check that it's selecting the right hosts by specifying the dbservers group, which is a subset of servers (there is only 1 anyway), which looks right to me:

# ansible dbservers -i servers --list-hosts
  hosts (1):

The command I'm running is this:

# ansible dbservers -i servers init.yml

and that's when I get the error ERROR! Missing target hosts. I don't understand how it can have hosts and no hosts at the same time! What am I doing wrong?


You are trying to run a playbook with the ansible command. The ansible command is for add-hoc commands.

Try executing your playbook with ansible-playbook command:

ansible-playbook -i servers init.yml
  • Thanks, I knew it had to be something simple! It didn't occur to me that these would be handled separately. I had been wondering how conflicts between CLI targets and hosts directives were resolved - and the answer is, they're not!
    – Synchro
    Sep 2 '16 at 11:15
  • Your last paragraph is wrong: You can do anything with raw, and installing the Python prerequisites is a very common thing to do with it. Sep 2 '16 at 14:26
  • You are right. It was even on the page I linked to. I deleted that paragraph. My fault. Sep 2 '16 at 14:52

You have a [servers:children] section, but no [servers] section in your hosts file. So when you set hosts: servers there is no matching group.

  • That doesn't help. It still fails if I specify all, and doesn't explain why it matches hosts when I ask it to --list-hosts.
    – Synchro
    Sep 2 '16 at 7:36
  • 2
    Also, this is not true: the docs show that setting a group property creates a group implicitly.
    – Synchro
    Sep 2 '16 at 7:38

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