Automating setup with ansible-pull part-1

Every time that I do a clean install on my machine it takes a few hours till I get to point where I was before formatting it, install all packages, select themes, icons, fonts, install IDEs, extensions and so on. After doing it a few times I came to the conclusion that I would save time by spending time automating this chore, and as a result, I could toy a little more with my system and not worry about spending a weekend re-installing everything (which have happened more time that I'd like to remember).


So after a few attempts using python and bash I ended with many files and keep everything organized and concise turned out to be more tedious than the setup itself. So there comes Ansible. It is an enterprise-graded software used to automate tasks. It has A LOT OF features and it can be really helpful if you're a sysadmin but for now we're going to focus on Ansible Pull and Playbooks. As better described:

[Ansible-Pull] is used to up a remote copy of ansible on each managed node, each set to run via cron and update playbook source via a source repository. This inverts the default push architecture of Ansible into a pull architecture, which has near-limitless scaling potential.

Playbooks are Ansible’s configuration, deployment, and orchestration language. They can describe a policy you want your remote systems to enforce, or a set of steps in a general IT process.


The goal is to pull and run a playbook remotely using a git repository. The playbook will describe the tasks needed to setup our machine from scratch.

But first lets toy a bit a with playbooks locally with ansible-playbook, to do so we need to add localhost to ansible’s hosts list. Add it to /etc/ansible/hosts:


As an experiment we're going to write a asks to install vim. Currently, I'm using Fedora thus we going to use dnf modeule to install packages, but if you're using another distribution look for a equivalent module like apt module for Ubuntu.

The playbook to install is quite straightforward:

# main.yaml
- hosts: all
     - name: install vim
         name: vim
         state: latest

hosts: is required and it has to match our hosts otherwise the playbook won't run.

tasks: is the list of tasks that the playbook will perform, in this case will be dnf install vim.

To run a playbook use the command ansible-playbook commando to run main.yml direct from disk, do to so just run the following command:

sudo ansible-playbook --connection=local main.yml

After a few seconds, vim will be installed on your machine.

PLAY [all] *************************************************************

TASK [Gathering Facts] *************************************************
ok: [localhost]

TASK [install vim] *****************************************************
ok: [localhost]

PLAY RECAP *************************************************************
localhost                  : ok=2    changed=0    unreachable=0    failed=0

This is the first step, next part we shall create a more complex playbook and setup repository to run it remotely using ansible-pull.