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Manual Installation


Content:

This documentation goes into the details on how to set-up Semaphore when using these installation methods:
The Semaphore software-package is just a part of the whole system needed to successfully run Ansible with it.
The Python3- and Ansible-Execution-Environment are also very important!
NOTE: There are existing Ansible-Galaxy Roles that handle this setup-logic for you or can be used as a base-template for your own Ansible Role!

Service User

Semaphore does not need to be run as user root - so you shouldn't.
Benefits of using a service user:
  • Has its own user-config
  • Has its own environment
  • Processes easily identifiable
  • Gained system security
You can create a system user either manually by using adduser or using the ansible.builtin.user module.
In this documentation we will assume:
  • the service user creates is named semaphore
  • it has the shell /bin/bash set
  • its home directory is /home/semaphore

Troubleshooting

If the Ansible execution of Semaphore is failing - you will need to troubleshoot it in the context of the service user.
You have multiple options to do so:
  • Change your whole shell session to be in the user's context:
    sudo su --login semaphore
  • Run a single command in the user's context:
    sudo --login -u semaphore <command>

Python3

Ansible is build using the Python3 programming language.
So its clean setup is essential for Ansible to work correctly.
First - make sure the packages python3 and python3-pip are installed on your system!
You have multiple options to install required Python modules:
  • Installing them in the service user's context
  • Installing them in a service-specific Virtual Environment

Requirements

Either way - it is recommended to use a requirements.txt file to specify the modules that need to be installed.
We will assume the file /home/semaphore/requirements.txt is used.
Here is an example of its content:
ansible
# for common jinja-filters
netaddr
jmespath
# for common modules
pywinrm
passlib
requests
docker
NOTE: You should also update those requirements from time to time!
An option for doing this automatically is also shown in the service example below.

Modules in user context

Manually:
sudo --login -u semaphore python3 -m pip install --user --upgrade -r /home/semaphore/requirements.txt
Using Ansible:
- name: Install requirements
ansible.builtin.pip:
requirements: '/home/semaphore/requirements.txt'
extra_args: '--user --upgrade'
become_user: 'semaphore'

Modules in a virtualenv

We will assume the virtualenv is created at /home/semaphore/venv
Make sure the virtual environment is activated inside the Service! This is also shown in the service example below.
Manually:
sudo su --login semaphore
python3 -m pip install --user virtualenv
python3 -m vitualenv /home/semaphore/venv
# activate the context of the virtual environment
source /home/semaphore/venv/bin/activate
# verify we are using python3 from inside the venv
which python3
> /home/semaphore/venv/bin/python3
python3 -m pip install --upgrade -r /home/semaphore/requirements.txt
# disable the context to the virtual environment
deactivate
Using Ansible:
- name: Create virtual environment and install requirements into it
ansible.builtin.pip:
requirements: '/home/semaphore/requirements.txt'
virtualenv: '/home/semaphore/venv'
state: present # or 'latest' to upgrade the requirements

Troubleshooting

If you encounter Python3 issues when using a virtual environment, you will need to change into its context to troubleshoot them:
sudo su --login semaphore
source /home/semaphore/venv/bin/activate
# verify we are using python3 from inside the venv
which python3
> /home/semaphore/venv/bin/python3
# troubleshooting
deactivate
Sometimes a virtual environment also breaks on system upgrades. If this happens you might just remove the existing one and re-create it.

Ansible Collections & Roles

You might want to pre-install Ansible modules and roles, so they don't need to be installed every time a task runs!

Requirements

It is recommended to use a requirements.yml file to specify the modules that need to be installed.
We will assume the file /home/semaphore/requirements.yml is used.
Here is an example of its content:
---
collections:
- 'namespace.collection'
# for common collections:
- 'community.general'
- 'ansible.posix'
- 'community.mysql'
- 'community.crypto'
roles:
- src: 'namespace.role'
NOTE: You should also update those requirements from time to time!
An option for doing this automatically is also shown in the service example below.

Install in user-context

Manually:
sudo su --login semaphore
ansible-galaxy collection install --upgrade -r /home/semaphore/requirements.yml
ansible-galaxy role install --force -r /home/semaphore/requirements.yml

Install when using a virtualenv

Manually:
sudo su --login semaphore
source /home/semaphore/venv/bin/activate
# verify we are using python3 from inside the venv
which python3
> /home/semaphore/venv/bin/python3
ansible-galaxy collection install --upgrade -r /home/semaphore/requirements.yml
ansible-galaxy role install --force -r /home/semaphore/requirements.yml
deactivate

Reverse Proxy


Extended Systemd Service

Here is the basic template of the systemd service.
Add additional settings under their [PART]

Base

[Unit]
Description=Ansible Semaphore
Documentation=https://docs.ansible-semaphore.com/
Wants=network-online.target
After=network-online.target
ConditionPathExists=/usr/bin/semaphore
ConditionPathExists=/etc/semaphore/config.json
[Service]
ExecStart=/usr/bin/semaphore server --config /etc/semaphore/config.json
ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP $MAINPID
Restart=always
RestartSec=10s
[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Service user

[Service]
User=semaphore
Group=semaphore

Python Modules

In user-context

[Service]
# to auto-upgrade python modules at service startup
ExecStartPre=/bin/bash -c 'python3 -m pip install --upgrade --user -r /home/semaphore/requirements.txt'
# so the executables are found
Environment="PATH=/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin:/home/semaphore/.local/bin"
# set the correct python path. You can get the correct path with: python3 -c "import site; print(site.USER_SITE)"
Environment="PYTHONPATH=/home/semaphore/.local/lib/python3.10/site-packages"

In virtualenv

[Service]
# to auto-upgrade python modules at service startup
ExecStartPre=/bin/bash -c 'source /home/semaphore/venv/bin/activate \
&& python3 -m pip install --upgrade -r /home/semaphore/requirements.txt'
# REPLACE THE EXISTING 'ExecStart'
ExecStart=/bin/bash -c 'source /home/semaphore/venv/bin/activate \
&& /usr/bin/semaphore server --config /etc/semaphore/config.json'

Ansible Collections & Roles

If using Python3 in user-context

[Service]
# to auto-upgrade ansible collections and roles at service startup
ExecStartPre=/bin/bash -c 'ansible-galaxy collection install --upgrade -r /home/semaphore/requirements.yml'
ExecStartPre=/bin/bash -c 'ansible-galaxy role install --force -r /home/semaphore/requirements.yml'

If using Python3 in virtualenv

# to auto-upgrade ansible collections and roles at service startup
ExecStartPre=/bin/bash -c 'source /home/semaphore/venv/bin/activate \
&& ansible-galaxy collection install --upgrade -r /home/semaphore/requirements.yml \
&& ansible-galaxy role install --force -r /home/semaphore/requirements.yml'

Other use-cases

Using local MariaDB

[Unit]
Requires=mariadb.service

Using local Nginx

[Unit]
Wants=nginx.service

Sending logs to syslog

[Service]
StandardOutput=journal
StandardError=journal
SyslogIdentifier=semaphore

Full Examples

Python Modules in user-context

[Unit]
Description=Ansible Semaphore
Documentation=https://docs.ansible-semaphore.com/
Wants=network-online.target
After=network-online.target
ConditionPathExists=/usr/bin/semaphore
ConditionPathExists=/etc/semaphore/config.json
[Service]
User=semaphore
Group=semaphore
Restart=always
RestartSec=10s
Environment="PATH=/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin:~/.local/bin"
ExecStartPre=/bin/bash -c 'ansible-galaxy collection install --upgrade -r /home/semaphore/requirements.yml'
ExecStartPre=/bin/bash -c 'ansible-galaxy role install --force -r /home/semaphore/requirements.yml'
ExecStartPre=/bin/bash -c 'python3 -m pip install --upgrade --user -r /home/semaphore/requirements.txt'
ExecStart=/usr/bin/semaphore server --config /etc/semaphore/config.json
ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP $MAINPID
[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Python Modules in virtualenv

[Unit]
Description=Ansible Semaphore
Documentation=https://docs.ansible-semaphore.com/
Wants=network-online.target
After=network-online.target
ConditionPathExists=/usr/bin/semaphore
ConditionPathExists=/etc/semaphore/config.json
[Service]
User=semaphore
Group=semaphore
Restart=always
RestartSec=10s
ExecStartPre=/bin/bash -c 'source /home/semaphore/venv/bin/activate \
&& python3 -m pip install --upgrade -r /home/semaphore/requirements.txt'
ExecStartPre=/bin/bash -c 'source /home/semaphore/venv/bin/activate \
&& ansible-galaxy collection install --upgrade -r /home/semaphore/requirements.yml \
&& ansible-galaxy role install --force -r /home/semaphore/requirements.yml'
ExecStart=/bin/bash -c 'source /home/semaphore/venv/bin/activate \
&& /usr/bin/semaphore server --config /etc/semaphore/config.json'
ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP $MAINPID
[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Fixes

If you have a custom system language set - you might run into problems that can be resoled by updating the associated environmental variables:
[Service]
Environment=LANG="en_US.UTF-8"
Environment=LC_ALL="en_US.UTF-8"

Troubleshooting

If there is a problem while executing a task it might be an environmental issue with your setup - not an issue with Semaphore itself!
Please go through these steps to verify if the issue occurs outside Semaphore:
  • Change into the context of the user:
    sudo su --login semaphore
  • Change into the context of the virtualenv if you use one:
    source /home/semaphore/venv/bin/activate
    # verify we are using python3 from inside the venv
    which python3
    > /home/semaphore/venv/bin/python3
    # troubleshooting
    deactivate
  • Run the Ansible Playbook manually
    • If it fails => there is an issue with your environment
    • If it works:
      • Re-check your configuration inside Semaphore
      • It might be an issue with Semaphore