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Read a JSON text into a variable in Ansible without parsing it

For one project I need to insert the content of a local file into another file on the remote system, and the first file happens to be JSON. The JSON file is in compact format and is supposed to stay this way. When Ansible reads the content of the file, it determines that the content is JSON, and parses the content into the variable - and along the way is uncompressing the format. Not what I want. To keep the file content as string, it is necessary to tell Ansible to handle this as string.

Restic backup

Was asked quite a few times how I do my backups with Restic.

For more than 10 years I was using “Duplicity” for backups, but in 2019 I changed to Restic. The main reason for the change was that Duplicity still can’t handle “Big Data”, as in: larger directories. In 2009 someone opened an issue on the Duplicity bugtracker, and this problem still exists as of today. For about two years I was shifting around the problem, excluding files, trying to make the sigfile smaller. But at some point I decided that it is enough and I need to change the tool.

Update openHAB Things configuration using Ansible

In my earlier openHAB blog posts I automated the installation of extensions and linking of Channels to Items. Another problem I’m facing is the configuration of items. Again, that’s very easy in the UI - if you are willing to click through the list of Items, and manually do all the steps.

Among other things I’m using the binding-yahooweather and the binding-ipp bindings, and the first one needs configuration before it can work properly. For the second one, it righly discovered a laser printer in our network, but occasionally when openHAB requests the status information, this spins up an internal disk in the printer. Therefore it is feasible to increase the time between checks - it’s just the number of outstanding print jobs anyway. Doesn’t matter if someone reacts 5 or 15 minutes later, if the problem was not discovered instantly.

Install openHAB2 bindings using Ansible

Recently I started looking into Home Automation, using a Raspberry Pi and the openHAB as platform. The website provides ready-to-go images based on Debian, named openHABian. Me being me, I decided to install the image, let it boot up for the first time, and then take it from there using Ansible as automation tool. That’s a bit more effort in the beginning, but ensures that I can always just wipe the SDcard, and start over from the beginning. Especially useful if I screw up at some point during testing.