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How I fixed a "cb.apply is not a function" error while using Gitbook

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I regularly use Gitbook, a little Node.js software used to generate an ebook from a set of markdown files.

I use it for my ebooks. Today I was trying to generate a PDF, running gitbook pdf ., when I got a really weird error:

  ebook git:(master)  gitbook pdf .
      if (cb) cb.apply(this, arguments)

TypeError: cb.apply is not a function
    at /usr/local/lib/node_modules/gitbook-cli/node_modules/npm/node_modules/graceful-fs/polyfills.js:287:18

cb.apply is not a function. What does this even mean? And most importantly, why do I have this error now? I didn’t update the gitbook package recently, and I didn’t… Oh I think I updated the Node.js version I run. But I have no idea why this should be the problem. Maybe it is.

Anyway.. the error comes from the /usr/local/lib/node_modules/gitbook-cli/node_modules/npm/node_modules/graceful-fs/polyfills.js file. This is the graceful-js npm package, a “drop-in replacement for the built-in Node.js fs module, making various improvements”, installed over 33 million times a week.

One of those improvements seems to break my workflow, today!

I don’t have a lot of time free to find out why my Node.js version gives problems with this application I didn’t create and this library.

I opened the file /usr/local/lib/node_modules/gitbook-cli/node_modules/npm/node_modules/graceful-fs/polyfills.js, where the error comes from.

Here’s the function that gives the problem:

function statFix (orig) {
  if (!orig) return orig
  // Older versions of Node erroneously returned signed integers for
  // uid + gid.
  return function (target, cb) {
    return, target, function (er, stats) {
      if (!stats) return cb.apply(this, arguments)
      if (stats.uid < 0) stats.uid += 0x100000000
      if (stats.gid < 0) stats.gid += 0x100000000
      if (cb) cb.apply(this, arguments)

This seems to fix something in older version of Node.js.. it shouldn’t be needed for me.

I see it’s being used in lines 62-64 of the same file:

fs.stat = statFix(fs.stat)
fs.fstat = statFix(fs.fstat)
fs.lstat = statFix(fs.lstat)

I commented out those lines:

// fs.stat = statFix(fs.stat)
// fs.fstat = statFix(fs.fstat)
// fs.lstat = statFix(fs.lstat)

and everything worked fine, I was able to run the gitbook command again, and I got my nice PDF.

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