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    Ongoing observations by End Point Dev people

    Riak Install on Debian Lenny

    Ethan Rowe

    By Ethan Rowe
    March 4, 2010

    I’m doing some comparative analysis of various distributed non-relational databases and consequently wrestled with the installation of Riak on a server running Debian Lenny.

    I relied upon the standard “erlang” debian package, which installs cleanly on a basically bare system without a hitch (as one would expect). However, the latest Riak’s “make” tasks fail to run; this is because the rebar script on which the make tasks rely chokes on various bad characters:

    riak@nosql-01:~/riak$ make all rel
    ./rebar compile
    ./rebar:2: syntax error before: PK
    ./rebar:11: illegal atom
    ./rebar:30: illegal atom
    ./rebar:72: illegal atom
    ./rebar:76: syntax error before: ��n16
    ./rebar:79: syntax error before: ','
    ./rebar:91: illegal integer
    ./rebar:149: illegal atom
    ./rebar:160: syntax error before: Za��ze
    ./rebar:172: illegal atom
    ./rebar:176: illegal atom
    escript: There were compilation errors.
    make: *** [compile] Error 127


    Ultimately, I came across this article describing issues getting Riak to install on Ubuntu 9.04, and ultimately determined that the Erlang version mentioned seemed to apply here. Following the article’s instructions for building Erlang from source worked out fine, and so far I’ve been able to start, ping, and stop the local Riak server without incident.

    Since a true investigation requires running these kinds of tools in a cluster, and that means automation of the installation/configuration is desirable, I’ve been scripting out the configuration steps (putting things into a configuration management tool like Puppet will come later when we’re farther along and closer to picking the right solution for the problem in question). So, here’s the script I’ve been running to build these things from my local machine (relying upon SSH); these are rough, a work in progress, and are not intended as examples of excellence, elegance, or beauty—​they simply get the job done (so far) for me and may help somebody else.

    ssh root@$hostname "
    # necessary for Erlang build
    apt-get install build-essential libncurses5-dev m4
    apt-get install openssl libssl-dev
    # standard from-source build
    mkdir erlang-build
    cd erlang-build
    wget http://ftp.sunet.se/pub/lang/erlang/download/$erlang_release.tar.gz
    tar xzf $erlang_release.tar.gz
    cd $erlang_release
    make install
    # put all of riak in a riak user
    useradd -m riak
    su -c 'wget http://bitbucket.org/basho/riak/downloads/$riak_release.tar.gz' - riak
    su -c 'tar xzf $riak_release.tar.gz' - riak
    su -c 'cd $riak_release && make all rel' - riak
    su -c 'mv $riak_release/rel riak' - riak

    (I have other scripts for preparing the box post-OS-install, but I don’t think they impact this particular part of the process.)

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