Jordan Brock

2nd Gen Accelerators, Rails and attachment_fu

File this one under WTF.

I’ve been working on an updated version of the Soil Quality website for a little while now, and recently needed to deploy the site to a staging server for testing. I ordered up a 1/4Gb Accelerator from Joyent, configured it, and deployed the app, just like I’ve done with 20+ other sites, and BOOM, straight into a brick wall.

I opened up the log files and saw this error:

** Daemonized, any open files are closed.  Look at /tmp/ and log/mongrel.8200.log for info.
** Starting Mongrel listening at
** Define INLINEDIR or HOME in your environment and try again

Wonderfully descriptive I know, but something I’d never run into before. So, fire the the google and it turns out it’s a common error, with a common fix: just put


into your config/environment.rb file, make sure the directory exists and that it’s writeable by the mongrel, restart, and away you go.

But of course, that didn’t fix it, did it.

Much hair pulling ensued. I finally enlisted the help of Darcy Laycock and together we managed to track the problem down to the attachment_fu plugin, which was causing the problem as the mongrel process booted. OK, so now we knew where the problem lay, but what was causing it.

It turned out to be the ImageScience image processor, or more specifically the way the attachment_fu plugin and ImageScience work together ON A 2ND GENERATION JOYENT ACCELERATOR – eg the ones that use pkgsrc. Didn’t seem to cause the problem on an ubuntu machine, nor on one of the older BlastWave based Accelerators. I’m not sure why as of yet, as I was more worried about getting some sleep last night when we managed to fix the problem.

And the fix? Basically, strip ImageScience out of attachment_fu. Remove


and remove “ImageScience” from this line

default_processors = %w(ImageScience Rmagick MiniMagick Gd2 CoreImage)

in this file


Like I said, I have no real idea why this is happening at the moment, but I’ll try and work it out and update this post if I get anywhere.

Once again, thanks to Darcy for A) being a sounding board, B) helping fix the problem and C) being up and available when I needed him :)