cobbler – The SECRET_KEY setting must not be empty.

When installing cobbler (in our case 2.6.11, but it might happen with other versions) from source, because they do not offer binary packages anymore, the web showed this error:

[Tue Oct 08 07:41:00.680646 2019] [wsgi:error] [pid 8770:tid 140654161590016] [remote 192.168.0.250:5793] mod_wsgi (pid=8770): Exception occurred processing WSGI script '/usr/local/share/cobbler/web/cobbler.wsgi'.
.....
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[Tue Oct 08 07:41:00.687544 2019] [wsgi:error] [pid 8770:tid 140654161590016] [remote 192.168.0.250:5793] ImproperlyConfigured: The SECRET_KEY setting must not be empty.

The solution is simply to add value to the variable SECRET_KEY in file “/usr/local/share/cobbler/web/settings.py” (this file might be in /usr/share/cobbler/web/settings.py)

root@srv:~# grep -n SECRET_KEY /usr/local/share/cobbler/web/settings.py
39:SECRET_KEY = ''

The 39th line put a randomly generated text. You may use openssl to generate the random text like:

root@srv:~# openssl rand -base64 32
NVb09/5TWmCcqfDBLsvyCppza9lJ5Eyb0HWW4HTlSfo=

Edit the cobbler web setting file and put the string there:

root@srv:~# grep SECRET_KEY /usr/local/share/cobbler/web/settings.py
SECRET_KEY = 'NVb09/5TWmCcqfDBLsvyCppza9lJ5Eyb0HWW4HTlSfo='

The whole output error in the apache logs

The error could be seen in Cobbler web installed in Ubuntu 16 when installing cobbler 2.6.11.

[Tue Oct 08 07:41:00.680646 2019] [wsgi:error] [pid 8770:tid 140654161590016] [remote 192.168.0.250:5793] mod_wsgi (pid=8770): Exception occurred processing WSGI script '/usr/local/share/cobbler/web/cobbler.wsgi'.
[Tue Oct 08 07:41:00.680724 2019] [wsgi:error] [pid 8770:tid 140654161590016] [remote 192.168.0.250:5793] Traceback (most recent call last):
[Tue Oct 08 07:41:00.680764 2019] [wsgi:error] [pid 8770:tid 140654161590016] [remote 192.168.0.250:5793]   File "/usr/local/share/cobbler/web/cobbler.wsgi", line 27, in application
[Tue Oct 08 07:41:00.681890 2019] [wsgi:error] [pid 8770:tid 140654161590016] [remote 192.168.0.250:5793]     return _application(environ, start_response)
[Tue Oct 08 07:41:00.682025 2019] [wsgi:error] [pid 8770:tid 140654161590016] [remote 192.168.0.250:5793]   File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/django/core/handlers/wsgi.py", line 170, in __call__
[Tue Oct 08 07:41:00.683222 2019] [wsgi:error] [pid 8770:tid 140654161590016] [remote 192.168.0.250:5793]     self.load_middleware()
[Tue Oct 08 07:41:00.683380 2019] [wsgi:error] [pid 8770:tid 140654161590016] [remote 192.168.0.250:5793]   File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/django/core/handlers/base.py", line 49, in load_middleware
[Tue Oct 08 07:41:00.685006 2019] [wsgi:error] [pid 8770:tid 140654161590016] [remote 192.168.0.250:5793]     for middleware_path in settings.MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES:
[Tue Oct 08 07:41:00.685168 2019] [wsgi:error] [pid 8770:tid 140654161590016] [remote 192.168.0.250:5793]   File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/django/conf/__init__.py", line 48, in __getattr__
[Tue Oct 08 07:41:00.686783 2019] [wsgi:error] [pid 8770:tid 140654161590016] [remote 192.168.0.250:5793]     self._setup(name)
[Tue Oct 08 07:41:00.687047 2019] [wsgi:error] [pid 8770:tid 140654161590016] [remote 192.168.0.250:5793]   File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/django/conf/__init__.py", line 44, in _setup
[Tue Oct 08 07:41:00.687111 2019] [wsgi:error] [pid 8770:tid 140654161590016] [remote 192.168.0.250:5793]     self._wrapped = Settings(settings_module)
[Tue Oct 08 07:41:00.687133 2019] [wsgi:error] [pid 8770:tid 140654161590016] [remote 192.168.0.250:5793]   File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/django/conf/__init__.py", line 113, in __init__
[Tue Oct 08 07:41:00.687472 2019] [wsgi:error] [pid 8770:tid 140654161590016] [remote 192.168.0.250:5793]     raise ImproperlyConfigured("The SECRET_KEY setting must not be empty.")
[Tue Oct 08 07:41:00.687544 2019] [wsgi:error] [pid 8770:tid 140654161590016] [remote 192.168.0.250:5793] ImproperlyConfigured: The SECRET_KEY setting must not be empty.

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