How to fix "process apparently never started in ..." error in Jenkins pipeline?

I had this same problem and in my case, it was related to the -u <user> arg passed to the agent. In the end, changing my pipeline to use -u root fixed the problem.

In the original post, I notice a -u ubuntu was used to run the container:

docker run -t -d -u 1002:1006 -u ubuntu ... -e ******** cat

I was also using a custom user, one I've added when building the Docker image.

agent {
  docker {
    image "app:latest"
    args "-u someuser"
    alwaysPull false
    reuseNode true
steps {
  sh '''
    # DO STUFF

Starting the container locally using the same Jenkins commands works OK:

docker run -t -d -u 1000:1000 -u someuser app:image cat
docker top <hash> -eo pid,comm
docker exec -it <hash> ls  # DO STUFF

But in Jenkins, it fails with the same "process never started.." error:

$ docker run -t -d -u 1000:1000 -u someuser app:image cat
$ docker top <hash> -eo pid,comm
[Pipeline] {
[Pipeline] unstash
[Pipeline] sh
process apparently never started in /home/jenkins/agent/workspace/branch@tmp/durable-f5dfbb1c

For some reason, changing it to -u root worked.

agent {
  docker {
    image "app:latest"
    args "-u root"      # <=-----------
    alwaysPull false
    reuseNode true

The issue is caused by some breaking changes introduced in the Jenkins durable-task plugin v1.31.

Source: and

Solution: Upgrading the Jenkins durable-task plugin to v1.33 resolved the issue for us.

This error means the Jenkins process is stuck on some command.

Some suggestions:

  • Upgrade all of your plugins and re-try.
  • Make sure you've the right number of executors and jobs aren't stuck in the queue.
  • If you're pulling the image (not your local), try adding alwaysPull true (next line to image).
  • When using agent inside stage, remove the outer agent. See: JENKINS-63449.
  • Execute org.jenkinsci.plugins.durabletask.BourneShellScript.LAUNCH_DIAGNOSTICS=true in Jenkins's Script Console to debug.
  • When the process is stuck, SSH to Jenkins VM and run docker ps to see which command is running.
  • Run docker ps -a to see the latest failed runs. In my case it tried to run cat next to custom CMD command set by container (e.g. ansible-playbook cat), which was the invalid command. The cat command is used by design. To change entrypoint, please read JENKINS-51307.
  • If your container is still running, you can login to your Docker container by docker exec -it -u0 $(docker ps -ql) bash and run ps wuax to see what's doing.
  • Try removing some global variables (could be a bug), see: parallel jobs not starting with docker workflow.