p4dctl hangs on startup

Perforce has introduced a rather neat utility called p4dctl that assists with managing the various services (p4d, p4p, p4broker) that you might want to run on a linux machine. They even provide deb and rpm packages for it. Unfortunately, their RPM contains an init.d script that is incompatible with systemd, which is what comes with RHEL/CentOS >= 7. This may also be an issue in modern Debian based systems, but I haven’t tested it.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

[root@bg-perforce--proxy-d001 ~]# /etc/init.d/perforce-p4dctl start
Starting perforce-p4dctl (via systemctl):  
#Just hangs here forever

The issue is that their init.d script has a pidfile option in the LSB header that doesn’t point at a real file. The SysV compatilility functions of systemd uses this header to generate a wrapper systemd service that can be controlled using systemctl.

#	/etc/rc.d/init.d/perforce-p4dctl
#	Starts/stops Perforce related services
# chkconfig: 2345 80 20
# description: perforce-p4dctl supports multiple Perforce services on a single \
#              host and allows those services to be owned by different \
#              users while still providing root with overall control. \
#              see 'man p4dctl' for more information
# config: /etc/p4d.conf
# pidfile: /var/run/... (one for each managed service)

# Source function library.
. /etc/init.d/functions


As a result, systemctl waits for that pid file to be created indefinitely, as shown by journalctl:

Oct 13 21:12:52 bg-perforce--proxy-d001 systemd[1]: PID file /var/run/... (one for each managed service) not readable (yet?) after start.

Simply removing the # pidfile: line entirely and running systemctl daemon-reload allows the service to be started/stopped by systemd without any issues. I’ve already notified Perforce support of this problem, so hopefully I can convince them it’s an actual problem that needs to be fixed, otherwise there will probably be a lot of confused admins out there trying to use this on a modern RHEL/CentOS system for the first time.

Written on October 13, 2017