Recipe calls shell script and it runs, but nothing happens


I have a cookbook recipe which calls a shell script in a node. The recipe runs without any error, I also tried running it with -l debug and found no error. The shell script basically checkout a subversion tag and builds. For now I have commented out the build part and kept only checkout.

If I run the shell script it does exactly the checkout. But via recipe it shows execute success.

INFO: execute[test shell script] ran successfully
- execute sh /home/user_test/abc/ release_xxxx release_xxxx

From Node I also tried chef-client -l debug, it shows same thing but checkout doesn’t happened. The log shows files being checked-out but I can’t find it.


Does your script explicitly/implicitly rely on environment variables like HOME or similar that may not be set or be set to incorrect values?


What does the recipe code look like?

Matt Ray
Director of Partner Integration :: Chef :: 512.731.2218
mattray :: GitHub :: IRC :: Twitter


well just keep in mind that it probably is running either way…
it creates a shell script in tmp i think and runs it…

I shy away from execute/bash in chef as it is not idempotent and can sometimes cause more harm than good.

if you must - you should look to extend it with a creates

execute 'hello script' do
  command 'echo hello > /tmp/hello'
  creates '/tmp/hello'

something like that i think


First, look at subversion resource.

Second, run shell script with content = “export” only. It looks like You
have’t some environment variables (due to noninteractive mode of shell).


Here is the recipe below.

include_recipe ‘subversion::client’

cookbook_file “/home/user_test/test/” do
source ""
mode 0755

execute “test shell script” do
command "sh /home/user_test/test/ release_25022 release_25022"

and the containts

if [ “$1” != “” ] && [ “$2” != “” ]; then


echo "Tag version is $release "
echo "Cleaning up the workspace"
rm -rf $basedir/one
rm -rf $basedir/two

echo “checkout the $release source”

==== Checkout from tag

svn co https://path_to_tag/$release one --non-interactive --no-auth-cache --username xxxx --password xxxx
svn co https://path_to_tag/$schrelease two --non-interactive --no-auth-cache --username xxxx --password xxxx

echo “build required release label as parameter”


It runs without any issues if I call the shell script directly on node. But through recipe it runs success but nothing happens.


For the subversion resource. How to provide tags?

subversion ‘CouchDB Edge’ do
svn_arguments '$release’
svn_username xxxx
svn_password xxxx
repository '$release
destination '/opt/mysources/couch’
action :checkout



Ruby Type: String

A branch, tag, or commit to be synchronized with git. This can be symbolic,
like HEAD or it can be a source control management-specific revision
identifier. Default value: HEAD.


You should use

repository “{tag}$value


you should make certain to exit with a non-zero exit code from your shell script on error:

  echo "build required release label as parameter"
  exit 1

you should also begin your bash script by turning on bash ‘strictmode’:

that’ll actually surface failures in the script and won’t just print error messages and exit 0

then you should probably look at the cwd property to the execute resource and make sure you’re executing in the directory you think you are. you may also want to look at making certain that PATH and HOME and other env vars are set correctly:


Hi Lamont,

When I do chef-client -l info I can see the script is actually doing what it needs to do. for e.g. it will do a checkout. I can see also those on when I run chef-client -l info. But only thing is its not there at the location. The location is /home/user_test/test/

The Output while chef-client -l info

  • cookbook_file[/home/user_test/test/] action create[2016-04-19T21:55:31+05:30] INFO: Processing cookbook_file[/home/user_test/test/] action create (test_shell::default line 11)
    (up to date)
  • execute[test shell script] action run[2016-04-19T21:55:31+05:30] INFO: Processing execute[test shell script] action run (test_shell::default line 16)
[execute] Test Release version is  release_25022
          Cleaning up the workspace
          checkout the release_25022 source
          A    test/pom.xml
          A    test/.settings
          A    test/.settings/org.eclipse.core.resources.prefs
          A    test/.settings/org.eclipse.wst.common.project.facet.core.xml
          A    test/.settings/org.eclipse.wst.validation.prefs
          A    test/.settings/org.eclipse.wst.common.component
          A    test/.settings/org.eclipse.jdt.core.prefs
          A    test/.settings/org.eclipse.m2e.core.prefs
          A    test/build.xml
          A    test/test
          A    test/test/load
          A    test/test/load/build.xml
          A    test/test/load/tests
          A    test/test/load/tests/FrameWork_TestPlan.jmx
          A    test/test/load/tests/config.csv
          A    test/test/load/
...... and so on
          Checked out revision 354.

[2016-04-19T21:55:36+05:30] INFO: execute[test shell script] ran successfully
- execute sh /home/user_test/test/ release_25022 release_25022
[2016-04-19T21:55:36+05:30] INFO: Chef Run complete in 6.653224538 seconds

Running handlers:
[2016-04-19T21:55:36+05:30] INFO: Running report handlers
Running handlers complete
[2016-04-19T21:55:36+05:30] INFO: Report handlers complete
Chef Client finished, 1/6 resources updated in 13 seconds

So this means there is no error on the cookbook or on the script right? When I run the script apart the cookbook, it does do everything and all the files are available.


It is resolved. Thank you… Just realized that I am using a variable basedir=. and chef thinks the . as path / instead of where the file is.

I also changed the basedir=. to basedir=/home/user_test/test and it still checks out to /app1 and /app2 instead of /home/user_test/test/app1 and /home/user_test/test/app2.

So I just changed the checkout folder as /home/user_test/test/app1 instead of just app1.