ERROR REPORT ... "Invalid -name given to erl,"


I’m attempting to troubleshoot an app locally that fails to start on

When running it in a Docker container, I get the following message:

“Invalid -name given to erl,”

Then the application exits.

Does someone know what can be the issue?

Many thanks in advance for any hint you may provide.

Francis Renaud

You’ve posted the error message:

Here’s the documentation for the -name option to erl.

Beyond that, you’re going to need to give folks more information to understand what’s going wrong.

  • what specific value is being passed there?
  • where did that value come from? Are you missing environment variables, etc?

Posting your Dockerfile can help answer some of those questions.


Thank you for taking the time to answer and for the pointer to the documentation.

The Dockerfile below is the one that was generated when I ran fly launch to deploy a simple LiveView app to

For some reason a wrong (empty) node name is passed to the erl command under the hood.

Does someone know where this node name is supposed to come from?

Here’s the Dockerfile

# instead of Alpine to avoid DNS resolution issues in production.
# This file is based on these images:
#   - - for the build image
#   - - for the release image
#   - - resource for finding needed packages
#   - Ex: hexpm/elixir:1.16.2-erlang-26.2.5-debian-bullseye-20240423-slim
ARG DEBIAN_VERSION=bullseye-20240423-slim


FROM ${BUILDER_IMAGE} as builder

# install build dependencies
RUN apt-get update -y && apt-get install -y build-essential git \
    && apt-get clean && rm -f /var/lib/apt/lists/*_*

# prepare build dir

# install hex + rebar
RUN mix local.hex --force && \
    mix local.rebar --force

# set build ENV
ENV MIX_ENV="prod"

# install mix dependencies
COPY mix.exs mix.lock ./
RUN mix deps.get --only $MIX_ENV
RUN mkdir config

# copy compile-time config files before we compile dependencies
# to ensure any relevant config change will trigger the dependencies
# to be re-compiled.
COPY config/config.exs config/${MIX_ENV}.exs config/
RUN mix deps.compile

COPY priv priv

COPY lib lib

COPY assets assets

# compile assets
RUN mix assets.deploy

# Compile the release
RUN mix compile

# Changes to config/runtime.exs don't require recompiling the code
COPY config/runtime.exs config/

COPY rel rel
RUN mix release

# start a new build stage so that the final image will only contain
# the compiled release and other runtime necessities

RUN apt-get update -y && apt-get install -y libstdc++6 openssl libncurses5 locales \
  && apt-get clean && rm -f /var/lib/apt/lists/*_*

# Set the locale
RUN sed -i '/en_US.UTF-8/s/^# //g' /etc/locale.gen && locale-gen


WORKDIR "/app"
RUN chown nobody /app

# set runner ENV
ENV MIX_ENV="prod"

# Only copy the final release from the build stage
COPY --from=builder --chown=nobody:root /app/_build/${MIX_ENV}/rel/inbubbles ./

USER nobody

CMD ["/app/bin/server"]

Many thanks!

I’m running into a similar issue and am also investigating. I am not sure whether the error I’m hitting locally is the same as the error I’m hitting on, because I’m getting zero information from

May 21, 2024 @ 23:54:07.391332364 Machine started in 487ms
May 21, 2024 @ 23:54:09.210436310 Runtime terminating during boot (terminating)
May 21, 2024 @ 23:54:09.384395360 Crash dump is being written to: erl_crash.dump...done
May 21, 2024 @ 23:54:09.465864450 e[32m INFOe[0m Main child exited normally with code: 1

Their support says there is no way for me to get erl_crash.dump.

I’ll update here if I find anything.

Setting FLY_APP_NAME, FLY_PRIVATE_IP, and FLY_IMAGE_REF allowed me to run the Docker image. It’s very unclear to me where RELEASE_NODE is even consumed. The only reference I could find in the Elixir source code has zero comments: elixir/lib/mix/lib/mix/tasks/release.init.ex at 1b6c31a0eb6ebba2590bae78b6413ab5b9145139 · elixir-lang/elixir · GitHub

UPDATE: I assume it’s being read here, inside of the start case in the script that mix release generates:

For a dev release I see it at _build/dev/rel/foo/bin/foo. There is a little bit of documentation here: mix release — Mix v1.16.3