[erlang-questions] Mysterious boot failure

Jon Watte jwatte@REDACTED
Wed Jul 6 22:05:22 CEST 2011

We're running a cluster of 11 Erlang nodes, running on R13B3 using Ubuntu
10.04 LTS 64-bit.
The application is installed in a subdirectory of the home directory of a
particular user. We start the application using nohup, and with stdio/stderr
re-direct to a log file.
We're seeing a mysterious crash in some cases (see below)

If we're logged in as the appropriate user, everything starts fine.
If we're logged in as root, and do "sudo -u username <start-command>" then
beam.smp crashes with "init terminating in do_boot".
Why is this? I can't figure out why it's crashing like this.

{no error logger present) error: "Error in process <0.2.0> with exit value:
init terminating in do_boot ()

Googling on this error shows only two other web resources; one an IRC chat
with basho, not getting an answer, and one a message on this mailing list,
also not getting an answer.
Reading the code, it seems as if the only way this will happen is if there
is an error, but the "Func" argument or "Reason" argument to
check_file_result is somehow not an atom. I don't, however, see how that
could be happening.
The other question is also why the boot script would not be
visible/available at that point. The particular user has no .bashrc or other
such init script.

The actual start script (with secrets sanitized) is:

    nohup erl +K true -noshell \
         -env ERL_MAX_PORTS 200500 \
         +W w +P 1001001 \
         -boot start_sasl \
         -cluster leader@REDACTED \
         -kernel inet_dist_listen_min 50000 inet_dist_listen_max 50009 \
         -name "$node@$hostname" -setcookie "some secret" \
         -callout svc_url '"http://service/%%.php"' \
         -s launcher -extra $role \
         </dev/null > "$logdir/$node-logfile.txt" 2>&1 &

Here's the crash-dump analysis (not very useful):

Slogan init terminating in do_boot ()
Node name 'mqnode@REDACTED'
Crashdump created on Wed Jul 6 10:23:58 2011
System version Erlang R13B03 (erts-5.7.4) [source] [64-bit] [smp:8:8] [rq:8]
[async-threads:0] [hipe] [kernel-poll:true]
Compiled Fri Apr 9 12:29:55 2010
Memory allocated 141146456 bytes
Atoms 5690
Processes 35
ETS tables 17
Funs 357

Americans might object: there is no way we would sacrifice our living
standards for the benefit of people in the rest of the world. Nevertheless,
whether we get there willingly or not, we shall soon have lower consumption
rates, because our present rates are unsustainable.
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