Machinery 1.17

Inspecting Ubuntu 14.04 Systems

The main feature of this minor release is the ability to inspect Ubuntu 14.04 and Docker Containers. No special configuration is required you just need to run the inspect or inspect-container command pointed at the Ubuntu host.

In order to add this functionality we had to teach Machinery a few new tricks to handle the upstart init system and the dpkg package manager.


Machinery can already find SysVinit and systemd services in a system. Even though Upstart is pretty much on it’s way out it was the third big player in the init system league and being able to parse it’s services is a great addition for Machinery’s code base.

In the case of Ubuntu 14.04 we were able to find the complete list of services by merging the SysV and Upstart services with the following commands:

# upstart services
/sbin/initctl show-config -e
# sysv services
/usr/sbin/service --status-all

The main takeaway for me on this topic was that there is no generic way to determine the default init system on a Linux distribution and that in some cases like in Ubuntu 14.04 and RHEL 6 they can be a mix of two.


Ubuntu is also the first distribution that Machinery can inspect that uses the dpkg package manager and we had to expand the packages, repositories, patterns, config-files, changed-managed-files and unmanaged-files scopes.

For the packages scope we get all the information from running dpkg -l. In order to differentiate rpm from deb packages we added the package_system attribute which can be “rpm” or “deb” respectively

When working on the repositories scope we were originally going to do the same but in the end differentiating by the tool used to install those packages proved to be a better approach. There are enough differences between zypper, yum and apt so we added the attribute repository_system which can have a value of “zypp”, “yum” and “apt” accordingly.

In the patterns scope we introduced a dependency to the “tasksel” command. When present in a system and if there are any tasks installed they get listed using the tasksel --list-tasks command.

The config-files and changed-managed-files scopes depend deeply on the information provided by the package. In order determine what has changed we rely on the checksums provided by the package maintainer. Unfortunately many packages don’t provide the checksums for every one of their files. This means that if a configuration or managed file that lacks it’s checksum was changed after being installed Machinery won’t be able to detect this change.


If you’ve installed Machinery as a package using zypper all you need to do is update it. (Builds on openSUSE Leap and SLE take longer to be available)

sudo zypper up machinery

If you’ve installed Machinery as a gem

gem update machinery-tool

Finally update all your system descriptions by running

 machinery upgrade-format --all

Learn more about your systems with Machinery!

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