Automake in OpenShift

It’s Friday evening, 19:00 (7pm) and I just spent more than an hour resolving a problem in anaconda. The problem was that builds sometimes failed with:

/bin/sh: /sandcastle/docker-io-usercont-sandcastle-prod-20210212-101715691597/missing: No such file or directory

The irony, right? A file called “missing” is actually missing.

Luckily, I was successful and figured it out. Beer incoming.


The main reason I am writing this is to record my investigation.

Also to give you a little bit of context. Packit is a CI solution which builds RPMs of upstream PRs. In case of anaconda, after cloning the repo, packit needs to initialize files (automake/autoconf) needed to create an archive and then passes the path to the archive via the last ls -1 line:

    - ./
    - ./configure
    - "make release"
    - 'bash -c "ls -1 anaconda-*.tar.bz2"'

Before I even started…

…I spoke to a good friend of mine, Vasek and he gave me some pretty good tips: isolate the issue and check what’s happening and why it’s happening when it happens.

The main problem was that this only used to happen once in a while - so I knew it was probably a race condition (spoiler: it wasn’t) or a problem in the filesystem or EBS (spoiler: not even close).

Vasek clearly told me: “since the error happens with the same file all the time, it’s a bug in the application”, which I downplayed in my head. I did not know at the time that Vasek was actually right as I would discover in the evening.

Step 1 (initial analysis)

I Opened the logs and studied them. (if you look very closely you can spot the problem and resolve it here :) I couldn’t)

I also opened logs where the build was passing

I used the power of diff here:


Most of the lines are the same, except in CI, config.h had to created — interesting.

Step 2

I opened the generated Makefiles and studied them. And I cried. Because I couldn’t understand. A. Thing:

distdir-am: $(DISTFILES)
	test -d "$(distdir)" || mkdir "$(distdir)"
	@srcdirstrip=`echo "$(srcdir)" | sed 's/[].[^$$\\*]/\\\\&/g'`; \
	topsrcdirstrip=`echo "$(top_srcdir)" | sed 's/[].[^$$\\*]/\\\\&/g'`; \

Not something I wanted to do on a Friday evening.

Let’s go back to the diff and compare the lines where the error happened.

Good build

make  distdir-am
make[5]: Entering directory '/sandcastle/docker-io-usercont-sandcastle-prod-20210212-101851112961/widgets'
test -d "../anaconda-35.2/widgets" || mkdir "../anaconda-35.2/widgets"
 (cd src && make  top_distdir=../../anaconda-35.2 distdir=../../anaconda-35.2/widgets/src \
     am__remove_distdir=: am__skip_length_check=: am__skip_mode_fix=: distdir)

Bad build:

make  distdir-am
make[5]: Entering directory '/sandcastle/docker-io-usercont-sandcastle-prod-20210212-101851112961/widgets'
(CDPATH="${ZSH_VERSION+.}:" && cd . && /bin/sh /sandcastle/docker-io-usercont-sandcastle-prod-20210212-101715691597/missing autoheader)
/bin/sh: /sandcastle/docker-io-usercont-sandcastle-prod-20210212-101715691597/missing: No such file or directory
make[5]: *** [Makefile:430:] Error 127

(can you see it?)

I went through the makefile and realized the difference is that is being generated — that’s why the commands differ in the output. Since I already knew that, it wasn’t anything new — only a confirmation. When I removed config.h, I could regenerate it without a problem. What am I missing?

Step 3

One thing that puzzled me while looking at the generated makefiles was that paths were hardcoded and absolute, e.g.:

AUTOHEADER = ${SHELL} /sandcastle/docker-io-usercont-sandcastle-prod-20210212-101851112961/widgets/missing autoheader

And that’s when all the coffee kicked in. I looked at the error line, letter by letter:



Are you f kidding me?!


So, whenever config.h needs to be regenerated, the build would fail, because ./ and ./configure are executed in different sandbox environments. It means that automake will use former paths which are no longer valid once make release is being triggered.

Solution? Run make config.h after cloning the repo and hope it’s gonna work.

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