I want to automate installing Emacs packages with Cask, Puppet, and Vagrant.



Steps to reproduce

I can do this manually in Emacs on my Mac:

$ emacs
M-: (cask-install)
C-x C-c

This successfully installs my favorite cask packages, allowing me to use them in my .emacs.

I can also do this as an inline bash command:

$ emacs -q --eval "(progn (require 'cask \"~/.cask/cask.el\") (cask-initialize) (setq save-abbrevs nil) (cask-install) (kill-emacs))"

I can also do this inside Vagrant:

$ vagrant ssh
vagrant@precise64$ emacs -q --eval "(progn (require 'cask \"~/.cask/cask.el\") (cask-initialize) (setq save-abbrevs nil) (cask-install) (kill-emacs))"

I can even do this with sudo inside Vagrant, which will become helpful later, so that Puppet doesn' write my Emacs files as root.

vagrant@precise64$ /usr/bin/sudo -u vagrant /usr/bin/emacs -q --eval "(progn (require 'cask \"~/.cask/cask.el\") (cask-initialize) (setq save-abbrevs nil) (cask-install) (kill-emacs))"

However, when I try to execute the command from a Puppet script as exec { ... }, it fails for some reason.

command => "/usr/bin/sudo -u vagrant /usr/bin/emacs -q --eval \"(progn (require 'cask \\\"~/.cask/cask.el\\\") (cask-initialize) (setq save-abbrevs nil) (cask-install) (kill-emacs))\""


debug: Puppet::Type::Package::ProviderApt: Executing '/usr/bin/apt-cache policy emacs24'
debug: Exec[cask](provider=posix): Executing '/usr/bin/sudo -u vagrant /usr/bin/emacs -q --eval "(progn (require 'cask \"~/.cask/cask.el\") (cask-initialize) (setq save-abbrevs nil) (cask-install) (kill-emacs))"'
debug: Executing '/usr/bin/sudo -u vagrant /usr/bin/emacs -q --eval "(progn (require 'cask \"~/.cask/cask.el\") (cask-initialize) (setq save-abbrevs nil) (cask-install) (kill-emacs))"'
err: /Stage[main]//Exec[cask]: Failed to call refresh: /usr/bin/sudo -u vagrant /usr/bin/emacs -q --eval "(progn (require 'cask \"~/.cask/cask.el\") (cask-initialize) (setq save-abbrevs nil) (cask-install) (kill-emacs))" returned 1 instead of one of [0] at /tmp/vagrant-puppet-1/manifests/default.pp:210

I tried temporarily simplifying the command to just:

command => "/usr/bin/sudo -u vagrant /usr/bin/emacs -q --eval \"(kill-emacs)\""

But that fails as well.

Some more context

I'm writing a Vagrant configuration for a crazy development environment, with lots of programming languages and text editors. I plan to add packages for D, Dart, Go, Rust; and to configure nano and maybe R Studio. Since I'm encountering errors, I'm keeping my Vagrant setup small for now: git, Vim, and Emacs.

While working on the Puppet configuration for Vim, I discovered that some commands need special shell environment configurations, like ensuring that HOME is set to /home/vagrant. I tried this with the emacs command, but it's not enough.

I even tried supplying all of the environment variables from the normal vagrant user bash shell to the emacs command, but that didn't work either.

Burning questions

  • What does emacs -q --eval ... require that Puppet/sudo are not offering?
  • Can I supply more options to emacs and/or Puppet to get the failing command to print a more specific error message?


I'm using:

  • Cask 0.5.2
  • Emacs 24 on my Mac and in Vagrant
  • Ubuntu Precise Pangolin 12.04 x64
  • VirtualBox 4.3.6
  • Vagrant 1.4.3
  • Homebrew 0.9.5
  • Mac OS X 10.9.1 Mavericks

But I'm pretty sure the error is due to a misconfiguration on my part in manifests/default.pp Puppet script rather than any bug in the software stack.

Cross-post from Reddit.


Per steckerhalter's suggestion, I was able to run inline Emacs Lisp code from Puppet with --batch, so that an interactive user tty shell is no longer required:

command => "/usr/bin/sudo -u vagrant /usr/bin/emacs -q --batch --eval \"(progn (require 'cask \\\"~/.cask/cask.el\\\") (cask-initialize) (setq save-abbrevs nil) (cask-install) (kill-emacs))\""
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