“unknown error” during a consumer install operation can be caused by several underlying problems. The unknown aspect is unfortunately the result of a limitation of Puppet’s own tool. It will occasionally produce output that is not in the expected JSON format, particularly when reporting errors, and then Pulp cannot parse the output. This is a known bug in Puppet that is being worked on.

SSL Certificate Verification Fails for Consumer Install


Installing a module on a consumer results in an “unknown error”.

$ pulp-admin puppet consumer install run --consumer-id client2 -u puppetlabs/stdlib
This command may be exited via ctrl+c without affecting the request.

unknown error with module puppetlabs/stdlib

Operation executed, but no changes were made.


This can be caused by an SSL verification error on the client. If the repository is published over HTTPS and the puppet module install tool is not able to verify the server’s SSL certificate against a trusted CA, the puppet module install tool will return an error. Unfortunately, this is one of the cases where that tool offers to return JSON output but then fails to do so, and thus Pulp is not able to parse the error message. As soon as that behavior is fixed upstream, Pulp will pass the error message through instead of reporting “unknown error”.


You can verify that this is the source of the problem by running the following command on the consumer machine and looking for a similar error message about SSL. Adjust the “consumer_id” and “hostname” as appropriate.

$ sudo puppet module install --module_repository=http://consumer_id:.@hostname puppetlabs/stdlib
Preparing to install into /etc/puppet/modules ...
Downloading from http://consumer_id:.@hostname ...
Error: SSL_connect returned=1 errno=0 state=SSLv3 read server certificate B: certificate verify failed
Error: Try 'puppet help module install' for usage


Either don’t publish repositories over HTTPS, or make sure the puppet module install tool is able to verify the server’s SSL certificate with a trusted CA. Details on how to install a new trusted CA are outside the scope of this document.

Missing metadata.json file

If uploading a puppet module results in MissingMetadataFile error, one possible problem is that the tar.gz file being uploaded does not contain metadata.json file. Another possible problem is presence of more than one directory (Puppet module) inside the archive.


Modules must adhere to the 4.10+ metadata guidlines. Also ensure that an uploaded archive contains only one Puppet module.

Incorrect Puppet module metadata

If metadata for a Puppet module in a Pulp repository doesn’t match metadata in the metadata.json module, the tar.gz archive contains multiple Puppet modules. Ensure that an uploaded tar.gz file contains only one Puppet module.