Why am I Getting "Error opening terminal: unknown" when I Utilize the Shell Module in an Ansible Tower Job?

Solution Verified - Updated -


  • Ansible Tower >= 3.3


Attempting to launch a playbook that uses the shell module in an Ansible Tower job fails with the following error:

TASK [command] ***************************************************************** 16:35:09
fatal: [host1]: FAILED! => { "changed": true, "cmd": "/home/ops/test.sh", "delta": "0:00:00.005108", "end": "2017-09-22 16:35:10.318187", "failed": true, "rc": 1, "start": "2017-09-22 16:35:10.313079", "stderr": "Error opening terminal: unknown.", "stderr_lines": ["Error opening terminal: unknown."], "stdout": "", "stdout_lines": []}

Example task:

- hosts: all

    - shell: /tmp/mycommand


This problem can be avoided by explicitly setting a value for the TERM environment variable in the task of shell module:

- shell: /tmp/mycommand
    TERM: vt100

Root Cause

When Tower executes the shell module on the target host, the value of the TERM environment variable is set to dumb. But, some commands require that certain values be set to the TERM(For example: vt100).
In such a case, it is necessary to explicitly set the TERM environment variable.

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