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Slackware Automation Using Ansible

Rationale, and What Is Ansible, Anyway?

Like everyone else, I used to write Perl and bash scripts to automate things, but decided to learn the modern way of doing such things. I looked at Puppet initially but decided to learn Ansible instead. I wrote a simple collection of Perl scripts and Ansible playbooks to be run on a fresh Slackware install, and was told in Freenode #slackware that I ought to write something for the wiki, which brings us up to date.

So what is Ansible? It's a buzzword-compliant IT automation platform, comparable to Chef, Puppet, Saltstack and whatever else the cool kids are using this week. Ansible's advantages over its competitors is that it's lightweight (it runs over SSH) and it's simple to understand and use. If you're new to Ansible, you might want to take a look at the official docs first.

Bootstrap A Fresh Slackware Install

Let's say you have a brand-new Slack 14.2 install… now what? You have to log in and make sure all the software you want is installed, copy over your .bashrc and whatnot, and generally get your shiny new desktop or server ready to be used. You can use my ansible_slackware_bootstrap scripts and playbooks to automate some of that for you.

There are prerequisites, of course… you need git and ansible installed on a Linux machine (perhaps your Ubuntu desktop, maybe), plus you need to set up SSH keys, so that you can log in as root to the Slackware machine you want to set up. Lastly, you need to list your target machine in the /etc/ansible/hosts inventory file on your desktop. Once that's done, you can begin.

The latest code can be found on GitLab. All you have to do is click the green “Clone or download” button and copy the link provided, get root on your Linux box, and type “git clone $URL”, then cd to the directory it creates and you've got the code.

The README file will give you more information, but what you want to do is run slackware-bootstrap-perl-and-python.pl, which will install Perl and Python on your target Slackware machine. After that, run the slackware-installsets.yaml and slackware-admin-setup.yaml playbooks, in that order. You can use my runplaybook.pl script for these if you like. Once you're run the scripts and playbooks, log in to your target Slackware machine and verify that slackpkg, sbopkg and your favorite dotfiles are installed.

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