"www.GetIPv6.info decal" from Phil Wolff on Flickr

Hurricane Electric IPv6 Gateway on Raspbian for Raspberry Pi

Following an off-hand remark from a colleague at work, I decided I wanted to set up a Raspberry Pi as a Hurricane Electric IPv6 6in4 tunnel router. Most of the advice around (in particular, this post about setting up IPv6 on the Raspberry Pi Forums) related to earlier version of Raspbian, so I thought I’d bring it up-to-date.

I installed the latest available version of Raspbian Stretch Lite (2018-11-13) and transferred it to a MicroSD card. I added the file ssh to the boot volume and unmounted it. I then fitted it into my Raspberry Pi, and booted it. While it was booting, I set a static IPv4 address on my router ( for the Raspberry Pi, so I knew what IP address it would be on my network.

I logged into my Hurricane Electric (HE) account at tunnelbroker.net and created a new tunnel, specifying my public IP address, and selecting my closest HE endpoint. When the new tunnel was created, I went to the “Example Configurations” tab, and selected “Debian/Ubuntu” from the list of available OS options. I copied this configuration into my clipboard.

I SSH’d into the Pi, and gave it a basic config (changed the password, expanded the disk, turned off “predictable network names”, etc) and then rebooted it.

After this was done, I created a file in /etc/network/interfaces.d/he-ipv6 and pasted in the config from the HE website. I had to change the “local” line from the public IP I’d provided HE with, to the real IP address of this box. Note that any public IPs (that is, not 192.168.x.x addresses) in the config files and settings I’ve noted refer to documentation addressing (TEST-NET-2 and the IPv6 documentation address ranges)

auto he-ipv6
iface he-ipv6 inet6 v4tunnel
        address 2001:db8:123c:abd::2
        netmask 64
        ttl 255
        gateway 2001:db8:123c:abd::1

Next, I created a file in /etc/network/interfaces.d/eth0 and put the following configuration in, using the first IPv6 address in the “routed /64” range listed on the HE site:

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static
    netmask 24

iface eth0 inet6 static
    address 2001:db8:123d:abc::1
    netmask 64

Next, I disabled the DHCPd service by issuing systemctl stop dhcpcd.service Late edit (2019-01-22): Note, a colleague mentioned that this should have actually been systemctl stop dhcpcd.service && systemctl disable dhcpcd.service – good spot! Thanks!! This ensures that if, for some crazy reason, the router stops offering the right DHCP address to me, I can still access this box on this IP. Huzzah!

I accessed another host which had IPv6 access, and performed both a ping and an SSH attempt. Both worked. Fab. However, this now needs to be blocked, as we shouldn’t permit anything to be visible downstream from this gateway.

I’m using the Uncomplicated Firewall (ufw) which is a simple wrapper around IPTables. Let’s create our policy.

# First install the software
sudo apt update && sudo apt install ufw -y

# Permits inbound IPv4 SSH to this host - which should be internal only. 
# These rules allow tailored access in to our managed services
ufw allow in on eth0 app DNS
ufw allow in on eth0 app OpenSSH

# These rules accept all broadcast and multicast traffic
ufw allow in on eth0 to # Multicast addresses
ufw allow in on eth0 to # Global broadcast
ufw allow in on eth0 to # Local broadcast

# Alternatively, accept everything coming in on eth0
# If you do this one, you don't need the lines above
ufw allow in on eth0

# Setup the default rules - deny inbound and routed, permit outbound
ufw default deny incoming 
ufw default deny routed
ufw default allow outgoing

# Prevent inbound IPv6 to the network
# Also, log any drops so we can spot them if we have an issue
ufw route deny log from ::/0 to 2001:db8:123d:abc::/64

# Permit outbound IPv6 from the network
ufw route allow from 2001:db8:123d:abc::/64

# Start the firewall!
ufw enable

# Check the policy
ufw status verbose
ufw status numbered

Most of the documentation I found suggested running radvd for IPv6 address allocation. This basically just allocates on a random basis, and, as far as I can make out, each renewal gives the host a new IPv6 address. To make that work, I performed apt-get update && apt-get install radvd -y and then created this file as /etc/radvd.conf. If all you want is a floating IP address with no static assignment – this will do it…

interface eth0
    AdvSendAdvert on;
    MinRtrAdvInterval 3;
    MaxRtrAdvInterval 10;
    prefix 2001:db8:123d:abc::/64
        AdvOnLink on;
        AdvAutonomous on;
   route ::/0 {

However, this doesn’t give me the ability to statically assign IPv6 addresses to hosts. I found that a different IPv6 allocation method will do static addressing, based on your MAC address called SLAAC (note there are some privacy issues with this, but I’m OK with them for now…) In this mode assuming the prefix as before – 2001:db8:123d:abc:: and a MAC address of de:ad:be:ef:01:23, your IPv6 address will be something like: 2001:db8:123d:abc:dead:beff:feef:0123and this will be repeatably so – because you’re unlikely to change your MAC address (hopefully!!).

This SLAAC allocation mode is available in DNSMasq, which I’ve consumed before (in a Pi-Hole). To use this, I installed DNSMasq with apt-get update && apt-get install dnsmasq -y and then configured it as follows:

# DHCPv6 - Hurricane Electric Resolver and Google's
# IPv6 DHCP scope
dhcp-range=2001:db8:123d:abc::, slaac

I decided to move from using my router as a DHCP server, to using this same host, so expanded that config as follows, based on several posts, but mostly centred around the MAN page (I’m happy to have this DNSMasq config improved if you’ve got any suggestions ;) )

# Stuff for DNS resolution

# Global options

# Set these hosts as the DNS server for your network
# Hurricane Electric and Google

# My DNS servers are:
server=                # Cloudflare's DNS server
server=                # Google's DNS server

# IPv4 DHCP scope
# IPv6 DHCP scope
dhcp-range=2001:db8:123d:abc::, slaac

# Record the DHCP leases here

# DHCPv4 Router

So, that’s what I’m doing now! Hope it helps you!

Late edit (2019-01-22): In issue 129 of the “Awesome Self Hosted Newsletter“, I found a post called “My New Years Resolution: Learn IPv6“… which uses a pfSense box and a Hurricane Electric tunnel too. Fab!

Header image is “www.GetIPv6.info decal” by “Phil Wolff” on Flickr and is released under a CC-BY-SA license. Used with thanks!

“You can’t run multiple commands in sudo” – and how to work around this

At work, we share tips and tricks, and one of my colleagues recently called me out on the following stanza I posted:

I like this [ansible] one for Debian based systems:
  - name: "Apt update, Full-upgrade, autoremove, autoclean"
    become: yes
      upgrade: full
      update_cache: yes
      autoremove: yes
      autoclean: yes

And if you’re trying to figure out how to do that in Shell:
apt-get update && apt-get full-update -y && apt-get autoremove -y && apt-get autoclean -y

His response was “Surely you’re not logging into bash as root”. I said “I normally sudo -i as soon as I’ve logged in. I can’t recall offhand how one does a sudo for a string of command && command statements”

Well, as a result of this, I looked into it. Here’s one comment from the first Stack Overflow page I found:

You can’t run multiple commands from sudo – you always need to trick it into executing a shell which may accept multiple commands to run as parameters

So here are a few options on how to do that:

  1. sudo -s whoami \; whoami (link to answer)
  2. sudo sh -c "whoami ; whoami" (link to answer)
  3. But, my favourite is from this answer:

    An alternative using eval so avoiding use of a subshell: sudo -s eval 'whoami; whoami'

Why do I prefer the last one? Well, I already use eval for other purposes – mostly for starting my ssh-agent over SSH, like this: eval `ssh-agent` ; ssh-add

One to read/watch: IPsec and IKE Tutorial

Ever been told that IPsec is hard? Maybe you’ve seen it yourself? Well, Paul Wouters and Sowmini Varadhan recently co-delivered a talk at the NetDev conference, and it’s really good.

Sowmini’s and Paul’s slides are available here: https://www.files.netdevconf.org/d/a18e61e734714da59571/

A complete recording of the tutorial is here. Sowmini’s part of the tutorial (which starts first in the video) is quite technically complex, looking at specifically the way that Linux handles the packets through the kernel. I’ve focused more on Paul’s part of the tutorial (starting at 26m23s)… but my interest was piqued from 40m40s when he starts to actually show how “easy” configuration is. There are two quick run throughs of typical host-to-host IPsec and subnet-to-subnet IPsec tunnels.

A key message for me, which previously hadn’t been at all clear in IPsec using {free,libre,open}swan is that they refer to Left and Right as being one party and the other… but the node itself works out if it’s “left” or “right” so the *SAME CONFIG* can be used on both machines. GENIUS.

Also, when you’re looking at the config files, anything prefixed with an @ symbol is something that doesn’t need resolving to something else.

It’s well worth a check-out, and it’s inspired me to take another look at IPsec for my personal VPNs :)

I should note that towards the end, Paul tried to run a selection of demonstrations in Opportunistic Encryption (which basically is a way to enable encryption between two nodes, even if you don’t have a pre-established VPN with them). Because of issues with the conference wifi, plus the fact that what he’s demoing isn’t exactly production-grade yet, it doesn’t really work right, and much of the rest of the video (from around 1h10m) is him trying to show that working while attendees are running through the lab, and having conversations about those labs with the attendees.

TCPDump Made Easier Parody Book Cover, with the subtitle "Who actually understands all those switches?"

One to use: tcpdump101.com

I’m sure that anyone doing operational work has been asked at some point if you can run a “TCPDump” on something, or if you could get a “packet capture” – if you have, this tool (as spotted on the Check Point community sites) might help you!


Using simple drop-down fields for filters and options and using simple prompts, this tool tells you how to run each of the packet capturing commands for common firewall products (FortiGate, ASA, Check Point) and the more generic tcpdump tool (indicated by a Linux Penguin, but it runs on all major desktop and server OSs, as well as rooted Android devices).

Well worth a check out!

Experiments with USBIP on Raspberry Pi

At home, I have a server on which I run my VMs and store my content (MP3/OGG/FLAC files I have ripped from my CDs, Photos I’ve taken, etc.) and I want to record material from FreeSat to play back at home, except the server lives in my garage, and the satellite dish feeds into my Living Room. I bought a TeVii S660 USB FreeSat decoder, and tried to figure out what to do with it.

I previously stored the server near where the feed comes in, but the running fan was a bit annoying, so it got moved… but then I started thinking – what if I ran a Raspberry Pi to consume the media there.

I tried running OpenElec, and then LibreElec, and while both would see the device, and I could even occasionally get *content* out of it, I couldn’t write quick enough to the media devices attached to the RPi to actually record what I wanted to get from it. So, I resigned myself to the fact I wouldn’t be recording any of the Christmas Films… until I stumbled over usbip.

USBIP is a service which binds USB ports to a TCP port, and then lets you consume that USB port on another machine. I’ll discuss consuming the S660’s streams in another post, but the below DOES work :)

There are some caveats here. Because I’m using a Raspberry Pi, I can’t just bung on any old distribution, so I’m a bit limited here. I prefer Debian based images, so I’m going to artificially limit myself to these for now, but if I have any significant issues with these images, then I’ll have to bail on Debian based, and use something else.

  1. If I put on stock Raspbian Jessie, I can’t use usbip, because while ships its own kernel that has the right tools built-in (the usbip_host, usbip_core etc.), it doesn’t ship the right userland tools to manipulate it.
  2. If I’m using a Raspberry Pi 3, there’s no supported version of Ubuntu Server which ships for it. I can use a flavour (e.g. Ubuntu Mate), but that uses the Raspbian kernel, which, as I mentioned before, is not shipping the right userland tools.
  3. If I use a Raspberry Pi 2, then I can use Stock Ubuntu, which ships the right tooling. Now all I need to do is find a CAT5 cable, and some way to patch it through to my network…

Getting the Host stood up

I found most of my notes on this via a wiki entry at Github but essentially, it boils down to this:

On your host machine, (where the USB port is present), run

sudo apt-get install linux-tools-generic
sudo modprobe usbip_host
sudo usbipd -D

This confirms that your host can present the USB ports over the USBIP interface (there are caveats! I’ll cover them later!!).

You now need to find which ports you want to serve. Run this command to list the ports on your system:


You’ll get something like this back:

Bus 001 Device 004: ID 9022:d662 TeVii Technology Ltd.
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 0424:ec00 Standard Microsystems Corp. SMSC9512/9514 Fast Ethernet Adapter
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0424:9514 Standard Microsystems Corp. SMC9514 Hub
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

And then you need to find which port the device thinks it’s attached to. Run this to see how usbip sees the world:

usbip list -l

This will return:

- busid 1-1.1 (0424:ec00)
unknown vendor : unknown product (0424:ec00)
- busid 1-1.3 (9022:d662)
unknown vendor : unknown product (9022:d662)

We want to share the TeVii device, which has the ID 9022:d662, and we can see that this is present as busid 1-1.3, so we now we need to bind it to the usbip system, with this command:

usbip bind -b 1-1.3

OK, so now we’re presenting this to the system. Perhaps you might want to make it available on a reboot?

echo "usbip_host" >> /etc/modules

I also added @reboot /usr/bin/usbipd -D ; sleep 5 ; /usr/bin/usbip bind -b 1-1.3 to root’s crontab, but it should probably go into a systemd unit.

Getting the Guest stood up

All these actions are being performed as root. As before, let’s get the modules loaded in the kernel:

apt-get install linux-tools-generic
modprobe vhci-hcd

Now, we can try to attach the module over the wire. Let’s check what’s offered to us (this code example uses but this would be the static IP of your host):

usbip list -r

This hands up back the list of offered appliances:

Exportable USB devices
1-1.3: TeVii Technology Ltd. : unknown product (9022:d662)
: /sys/devices/platform/soc/3f980000.usb/usb1/1-1/1-1.3
: (Defined at Interface level) (00/00/00)
: 0 - Vendor Specific Class / unknown subclass / unknown protocol (ff/01/01)

So, now all we need to do is attach it:

usbip attach -r -b 1-1.3

Now I can consume the service from that device in tvheadend on my server. However, again, I need to make this persistent. So, let’s make sure the module is loaded on boot.

echo 'vhci-hcd' >> /etc/modules

And, finally, we need to attach the port on boot. Again, I’m using crontab, but should probably wrap this into a systemd service.

@reboot /usr/bin/usbip attach -r -b 1-1.3

And then I had an attached USB device across my network!

Unfortuately, the throughput was a bit too low (due to silly ethernet-over-power adaptors) to make it work the way I wanted… but theoretically, if I had proper patching done in this house, it’d be perfect! :)

Interestingly, the day I finished this post off (after it’d sat in drafts since December), I spotted that one of the articles in Linux Magazine is “USB over the network with USB/IP”. Just typical! :D

Running Google MusicManager for two profiles

I’ve previously made mention of my addiction to Google Play Music… but I was called out recently, and asked about the script I used at the time. I’m sorry to say that I have had some issues with it, and instead, have resorted to using X forwarding. Here’s how I do it.

I create a user account for that other person (note, GMM will only let you upload to 3 accounts using this method. For any more, you’ll need a virtual machine!).

I then create an SSH public/private key with no passphrase.

ssh-keygen -b 2048 -N “” -C “$(whoami)@localhost” -f ~/.ssh/gmm.id_rsa

I write the public key into that new user’s .ssh/authorized_keys, by running:

ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/gmm.id_rsa bloggsf@localhost

I will be prompted for the password of that account.

Finally, I create this script:

while ! ping -c 1 2>/dev/null >/dev/null ; do
  echo Waiting for network...

ssh -X bloggsf@localhost -i ~/.ssh/gmm.id_rsa /opt/google/musicmanager/google-musicmanager

This is then added to the startup tasks of my headless-but-running-a-desktop machine.

Building a Dual boot machine running Ubuntu 17.04 and Windows 10 with full-disk encryption

This post has been revised since it was initially published on 31st March due to errors found in the resulting build. It was also missing details on the shared data drive between the two machines, so has been amended to include that.

** WARNING ** This works for me – it might not for you!

The outcome of this build will leave you with the following:

Boot up, go through the VeraCrypt bootloader, enter a password for Windows, or press escape to load the Grub bootloader where you will boot (K|L|X|)Ubuntu(| Mate| Gnome).

The Windows environment will be encrypted with VeraCrypt, an open source Full Disk Encryption technology, while the Linux environment will be encrypted using Luks. The shared volume (between Windows and Linux) will be encrypted with VeraCrypt.

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT ANY WINDOWS 10 UPGRADES WILL FAIL TO APPLY AS IT WILL NOT RECOGNISE THE VERACRYPT FILE SYSTEM! To resolve this, decrypt the Windows volume, perform the upgrade, re-encrypt it, then transfer the new recovery ISO image to the boot volume, following the method below. Yes, this will take some time. No, you don’t need to decrypt the data volume. Yes, you can use that data volume to shunt the ISO image around.

Step 1:Create your partition table

My partition table, for a 320GB Disk looks (roughly) like this:

Partition 1: 20GB – Linux /Boot (ext2, plus space for ISO files for random booting)
Partition 2: 60GB – Windows C:\ (NTFS VeraCrypt)
Partition 3: 72GB – Linux Physical Volume (LVM PV, Luks Encrypted)
– logical volume 1: 16Gb Swap (Linux Swap)
– logical volume 2: 60Gb Linux (ext4)
Partition 4: 156GB – Shared Volume (NTFS, VeraCrypt)

I performed this using GParted in the Gnome Live image using the GParted. Some rational here:

  1. The first partition also allows me to add other ISOs if I want to boot them.
  2. I have 4GB RAM, this gives me some extra space to allow me to hibernate, but also… 4Gb. Ugh.
  3. I then split my Linux and Windows partitions into two equal parts.

Step 2: Use Cryptsetup to format the disk

The following steps need to be run as root.

sudo -i

Step 2a: Format the partitions as LUKS

cryptsetup luksFormat -y -v /dev/sda3

Step 2b: Open the LUKS volume

cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda3 lvm-pv

Step 2c: Create the LVM Physical Volume over the LUKS volume

vgcreate vg00 /dev/mapper/lvm-pv

Step 2d: Define the LVM Logical Volumes over the LVM Physical Volume

lvcreate -n lv00_swap -L 16G vg00       # Define 16GB Swap Space
lvcreate -n lv01_root -l +100%FREE vg00 # Define the rest of vg00 as /


Step 3: Install your Linux distribution.

Note that when you perform your install, when you get to the partitioning screen, select “Manual”, and then pick out the following volumes:

/dev/mapper/vg00-lv01_root = ext4 formatted, mount point: /
/dev/mapper/vg00-lv00_swap = swap
/dev/sda1 = ext2, format, mount point: /boot

Select the boot volume of /dev/sda. But wait, I hear you say, Windows has a well know history of nuking Grub partitions… Well, we’ll sort that in a bit…


Step 4: Make your machine actually able to boot

Go back to your terminal session.  It should still be logged in as root. We need to re-mount all the partitions…

Step 4a: Mount your volumes

mount /dev/mapper/vg00-lv01_root /target
mount /dev/sda1 /target/boot
for i in /dev /dev/pts /proc /sys /run; do sudo mount -B $i /target$i; done

Step 4b: Swap to the “Target” filesystem

chroot /target

Step 4c: Setup your volumes to prompt for cryptographic keys

echo "LinuxRoot UUID=`blkid | grep sda3 | cut -d\\\" -f2` none luks" > /etc/crypttab

Step 4d: Update the boot volume to use these changes

update-initramfs -u

Step 4e: Ensure Grub is also installed to the MBR for testing

grub-install --force /dev/sda1
chattr +i /boot/grub/i386-pc/core.img

The first part installs grub to the boot position, even though it doesn’t like it, and the second forces the core file to be unchangeable… I’m not exactly sure of the impact of this, but it’s the only way to do the next part of this process. The last bit makes sure that you’ve got the latest grub config files installed.

Step 5: Reboot and test

Just check to make sure the machine boots OK!

You should have a booting Ubuntu derivative with an encrypted file system. Awesome.

Now let’s install Windows!

Step 6: Install Windows and Veracrypt.

You should boot from your install media, when you get to the partition selector, there should only be a single NTFS partition for it to use. Use it.

Install the latest version of Veracrypt from https://veracrypt.codeplex.com/

Once it’s installed, go to System, Encrypt System Partition/Drive, “Normal” system encryption, Windows System Partition, Multi-Boot (accept the warning), Boot Drive “Yes”, Single Disk, “Non-Windows Boot Loader” – No, and then… let it go through all the rest of the steps. There will be one stage where it asks you to create a rescue disk. Just save it for later. Once the encryption settings are collected, it will do a test (which is basically just rebooting to the boot loader, having you put in your password and going back into Windows), and then let it start performing the encryption.

Once the encryption finishes, reboot the computer, enter the decryption password and test it boots to Windows OK. Then reboot it again and press escape instead of putting in the password. It will boot to your Ubuntu system.

So, there you have it. One Dual-Boot system with encrypted disks everywhere!

Step 7: Setting up the shared volume.

After you’ve got the Ubuntu and Windows volumes sorted out, next we need the shared data volume to be organised. You’ll need Veracrypt for Ubuntu. Use the following to install the Veracrypt package for Ubuntu:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:unit193/encryption
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install veracrypt

Once that’s installed, boot back into Windows and create a new volume – perhaps V: for Veracrypt, or E: for Encrypted – your choice, but make sure you create it using the same password that you used for the Windows partition.

Format this new volume with either NTFS or FAT32 so that you can mount it under either operating system. I chose NTFS.

Now, you need to go into Veracrypt’s Settings menu, and select “System Encryption Settings”. Tick “Cache pre-boot authentication password in driver memory” (be aware, this means that if your machine is compromised when powered up, the password could be recovered), then OK. This may prompt you to accept the UAC at this point.

Next, with the mounted volume selected, go to the “Favorites” menu, and choose “Add to System Favorites”. In the screen which comes up, select the box under “Global Settings” which says “Mount system favorite volumes when Windows starts (in the initial phase of the startup procedure)”. There will be a warning about passwords that appears. Click OK.

You may, at this point, want to move certain aspects of your Windows desktop (e.g. the “My Documents” location) to the new mounted drive.

On the Linux OS, become root, with sudo, and then add the following lines to your crontab:

@reboot mkdir -p /shared_storage 
@reboot veracrypt --text --non-interactive --fs-options=uid=1000,gid=1000,umask=0077 --password="YOURSUPERSECUREPASSWORD" /dev/sda4 /shared_storage

These assume that your login user’s ID is 1000 (you can check that by running the command “id” as your logged in user), that you want to use “/shared_storage” as the mount point (it stops Ubuntu treating it as a “Mountable Volume” if it’s not in your home directory and not in /mnt or /media). These options also mean that only that user (and root) can access any of the files in that partition (although, it is only you on this laptop… right?), which means you can safely use it for any files which check user permissions before allowing you to access them (e.g. SSH keys). I then set up a symbolic link to /home/MYUSERACCOUNT/Documents into the /shared_storage/Documents directory, and /home/MYUSERACCOUNT/.ssh into the /shared_storage/SSH_Keys directory.


The following list of resources helped me out when I was struggling with what to do next! They may not be canonical sources, but they helped.

  1. http://thesimplecomputer.info/full-disk-encryption-with-ubuntu – This is what got me started on this little journey!
  2. http://askubuntu.com/questions/161689/how-do-i-get-grub2-to-boot-a-truecrypt-encrypted-mbr – How to add the Veracrypt recovery disk to your Grub boot partition. Note, I do it slightly differently to this now.
  3. http://askubuntu.com/questions/711801/i-deleted-files-in-boot-now-cant-boot-linux – I may have done this. It tells you how to put all your important files back for booting purposes :)
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1yWbBIqh1o – Walk through of installing Veracrypt to Windows 10. I used this to see some of the terms after I’d already installed Veracrypt. I don’t quite follow the same route as him though.
  5. https://www.linux.com/blog/how-full-encrypt-your-linux-system-lvm-luks – Using LVM inside Luks for the full-Linux disk (this was why I’ve re-written this post)
  6. https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Dm-crypt/Encrypting_an_entire_system – Some details around how the Luks stuff all works

I may or may not have reinstalled Windows and Kubuntu about 20 times during this process, cursing myself for starting the whole damn process off in the first place!!!

Working with complicated template data UserData in Ansible

My new job means I’m currently building a lot of test boxes with Ansible, particularly OpenStack guests. This means I’m trying to script as much as possible without actually … getting my hands dirty with the actual “logging into it and running things” perspective.

This week, I hit a problem standing up a popular firewall vendor’s machine with Ansible, because I was trying to bypass the first-time-wizard… anyway, it wasn’t working, and I couldn’t figure out why. I talked to my colleague [mohclips] and he eventually told me that I needed to use a template, because what I was trying to do was too complicated.

But, damn him, I knew that wasn’t the answer :)

Anyway, I found this comment on a ticket, which lead me to the following… if you’re finding that your userdata: variable in the os_server module of Ansible isn’t working, you might need to wrap it up like this:

userdata: |
  {%- raw -%}#!/bin/bash
  # Kill script if the pipe fails
  set -euf -o pipefail
  # Write everything from this point on to Syslog
  echo " == Set admin credentials == "
  clish -c 'set user admin password-hash {% endraw -%}{{ default_password|password_hash('sha512') }}{%- raw -%}' -s
  {% endraw %}

Note that, if you have a space before your variable, use {% endraw -%} and if you’ve a space after it, use {%- raw %} as the hyphen means “ditch all the spaces before/after this command”.