Solved: PHP Imagick ‘unable to open image’ PDF

October 29, 2015

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I've recently stumbled across an issue where PHP Imagick can't open a PDF file despite the file being there and readable. This is using Mac OSX El Capitan with Homebrewed PHP5, Imagemagick, Ghostscript and the PHP55-imagick module. After a bit of searching I found the fix.

The following code was failing:

    $file = 'test.pdf';
    $im = new Imagick($file);

This was throwing the following error:

    Fatal error: Uncaught Exception 'ImagickException' with message 'unable to open image 'test.pdf': No such file or directory

After a bit of searching I was able to determine that Imagemagick was attempting to use Ghostscript's gs binary, which is found in /usr/local/bin. After checking the Apache variables in the output from <?php phpinfo(); ?> I found that this directory wasn't in Apache's $PATH variable.

I then looked around in /etc/apache2 but couldn't find anywhere to set this. After a bit of searching I found a link on Stack Overflow (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/6833939/path-environment-variable-for-apache2-on-mac) explaining that the PATH variable is set in the OSX Apache startup plist file, located at /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd.plist.

The solution is to add a node to the file adding the whole PATH environment variable. Open the /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd.plist file and add the path node and value:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
    <plist version="1.0">
        <dict>
            <key>Disabled</key>
            <true/>
            <key>Label</key>
            <string>org.apache.httpd</string>
            <key>EnvironmentVariables</key>
            <dict>
                <key>XPC_SERVICES_UNAVAILABLE</key>
                <string>1</string>
                <key>PATH</key>
                <string>/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/sbin:/usr/local/bin</string>
            </dict>
            <key>ProgramArguments</key>
            <array>
                <string>/usr/sbin/httpd</string>
                <string>-D</string>
                <string>FOREGROUND</string>
            </array>
            <key>OnDemand</key>
            <false/>
        </dict>
    </plist>

Save, restart apache with sudo apachectl restart and the problem should be solved.

I hope this helps someone else.