Wednesday Mar 14, 2012

Update Center Toolkit 2.3.5 Release

The Update Center project team is pleased to announce the release of version 2.3.5 of the toolkit. This release includes key fixes needed for GlassFish 3.1.2.

Developers can obtain the release on the download page and review the detailed list of changes in the release notes.

Tuesday May 25, 2010

Update Center Toolkit 2.3 Update 2 Release

The Update Center project team is pleased to announce the release of version 2.3 Update 2 of the toolkit.  Highlights of key issues addressed in this release include:

  • Desktop Notifier
    • Memory footprint reduction of background notifier process
    • Enhanced appearance of notifier balloon
  • Update Tool
    • View log file from GUI
  • Extra Tools
    • Improved error handling
  • Other
    • Support for HP-UX 11.23/11.31
    • Support JRockit JVM

Developers can obtain the release on the download page and review the detailed list of changes in the release notes.

Friday Jan 22, 2010

Update Center Toolkit 2.3 Update 1 Release

The Update Center project team is pleased to announce the release of version 2.3 Update 1 of the toolkit.  Highlights of key issues addressed in this release include:

  • Desktop Notifier
    • Always uses the latest available version of the toolkit when multiple images are present.
    • Continues to check for updates even when invalid images and repository access errors are encountered.
  • Compatibility
    • Update Tool GUI and Desktop Notifier are better prepared to handle incompatible images emerging with version 2.4 of the toolkit.
  • Java Bootstrap
    • No longer causes out of date catalog cache requiring "pkg refresh" as a workaround.
    • No longer overwrites existing publisher UUIDs.
    • Initialization property optin.usage.reporting has been retired.
  • pkg(5) Java API
    • Enables setting publisher UUID even when no UUID exists in the publisher configuration.
    • Automatically sets publisher UUID when not already set.
  • Other
    • makeimage developer tool works properly with file URLs on Mac OS X.
    • Various localization gaps addressed.

Developers can obtain the release on the download page and review the detailed list of changes in the release notes.

Wednesday Jan 06, 2010

Windows TCP Receive Window Auto-Tuning

 During the final testing for GlassFish v3 we ran into an interesting problem triggered by Vista's Receive Window Auto-Tuning feature. For details see Joe Di Pol's blog.

Thursday Dec 24, 2009

Update Center Toolkit 2.4 Build 44 Available


The Update Center 2 development team is please to announce the availability of build 44 (download) of the Update Center Toolkit. This is a significant biuld in that it brings in a new version of the pkg(5) software from OpenSolaris. It also resolves ? issues from the previous build.

Due to unresolved compilation problems, the Windows and AIX versions of this build are not available.  Also, the updates to the Java API for pkg(5) to support the new capabilities in this pkg(5) version have not yet been completed, so the Java API and the bootstrap capability it supports is also not available in this build. Both of these issues are expected to be resolved in the next build.

The updated  pkg(5) software is based on OpenSolaris build 129. It includes the following new features and characteristics:

  • A new catalog format, version 1, is used within repositories, within images, and to download catalogs from the server to the image. This new format enables more efficient catalog processing by including more information from package manifests into the catalog. It uses the JSON data format to store the data. 
  • The new catalog format includes the name of the publisher. The pkg(5) software now requires that the publisher(s) within a repository be named using a publisher.prefix property that can be set for a repository using either the pkgsend or pkg.depotd command. The name of the publisher within an image must match the name of the publisher in the repository.  The pkg(5) client software now enforces this.
  • A variation of the catalog format is also used to store information about packages that are installed into an image, replacing the files that were stored in the state/installed meta-data directory.
  • The meta-data areas for storing downloaded files in images and the content files in a repository have been modified to use a more efficient storage method that uses a one-level directory tree rather than a two level hierarchy. 
  • The software for evaluating a proposed update has been improved to make use of a boolean satisfy-ability problem solver. This resolves several defects in the way that package updates are calculated.
  • The pkg(5) software not uses Python 2.6 rather than Python 2.4. A minimized version of Python 2.6 is now included in the UC2 toolkit.
  • The list of publishers in an image is now completely ordered rather than having a preferred publisher and several other non-preferred publishers. This order is used for selecting which publisher to use when a package is available in multiple publishers. New options are available in pkg(1) for ordering publishers.
  • Publishers can now be made "sticky" or "non-sticky". The previous behavior was sticky. When a package is installed from a non-sticky publisher, updates to the package can come from any other publisher, not just from the publisher from which the package was originally installed.
  • Pkg(5) now supports "exclude" dependencies in packages. This type of dependency declares that two packages cannot be installed within an image at the same time.
  • The pkg(5) API now includes an interface for canceling a search operation.  The updatetool client should be able to use this API in the future.

When the new pkg(5) software is used on an image or a repository, the meta-data is automatically converted to the new format. After this conversion, the older pkg(5) software will no longer work with either an image or a repository.  A new image will not be recognized as an image by pkg(5) software from previous builds and previous UC2 Toolkit versions.  To deal with this situation, the updatetool, software update, and notification software is being modified to avoid automatically updating an image to the new format. These modifications are still underway, but in build 44, updatetool warns the user when it encounters an older image and gives the user an opportunity to choose whether the image will be updated.  This behavior may be changed in future builds.

The new pkg.depotd software requires modifications when operating a repository. Details on these modifications are provided in the draft release notes for 2.4.

There are some significant known regressions and limitations with this build:

  • The platform and Java API limitations are described above. (issue 1974 and issue 1858)
  • Updatetool does not automatically open the image from the current working directory (issue 1982)
  • For the most part, the updatetool software does not yet provide access to new features such as publisher ordering or non-sticky publishers.

Wednesday Dec 16, 2009

Updating Production Systems Using pkg(5)

As people get exposed to the notion of using the Image Packaging System to deliver their layered applications, they often ask us about the extent to which the pkg(5) system can be used to update production systems.  The following FAQ entry doesn't delve into a great amount of detail, but it attempts to explain the overall role of pkg(5) in this context and how the orchestration of inventorying and applying updates to large numbers of production systems is typically addressed by enterprise system management (ESM) tools - many of which integrate with underlying packaging systems.

FAQ: How can I use pkg(5) to update production systems?

Thursday Dec 10, 2009

Update Center Toolkit 2.4 Build 43 Available

The Update Center 2 development team is pleased to announce the availability of build 43 (download) of the Update Center Toolkit. This is a rather light build as it only resolves 6 issues beyond the previous build.

Monday Nov 30, 2009

Update Center Toolkit 2.4 Build 42 Available

The Update Center 2 development team is pleased to announce the availability of build 42 (download) of the Update Center Toolkit. This build resolves 13 issues beyond the previous build. This build is first build leading up to the 2.4 release to be announced on this blog. The 2.4 release plan calls for a product ready release in March of 2010. Feature highlights for the 2.4 release include:

  • Keeping apace with the OpenSolaris 2010.03 release of the pkg(5) software
  • Improving support for configuration logic and restart notifications as part of an install/update of a package
  • Reducing the memory footprint for the notifier while it is idle
  • Expanding platform support to include 64 bit Linux binaries and better Windows 7 support
  • Enhancing the updatetool interface to provide better accessibility support and faster component listings

As with previous releases, development builds are planned for every two weeks, with a slight pause during the end-of-year holidays.

Wednesday Nov 18, 2009

Update Center Toolkit 2.3 Release

The Update Center team is pleased to announce the availability of release 2.3 of the Update Center Toolkit. The focus for this release has been to improve the overall quality of the toolkit by reducing the bug backlog. This release also includes the following new features:

  • Support for the AIX operating system (command line only) and the Windows 7 operating system (user folder only)
  • A new version of pkg(5) that is aligned with OpenSolaris build 122. This version includes a new transport library based on libcURL.
  • Support for package icons in updatetool (see pkg.icon.24px)
  • Ability for updatetool to show only a few recent versions rather than all or one.
  • Support for an "excludedirs" capability in the makepkgs tool
  • Support for specifying a default ownership for files when using makepkgs
  • The copypkgs tool can copy packages to/from a pkg.depotd server
  • The HTML templates for pkg.depotd support showing only the most recent version of packages
  • Improved on-line help for the software update interface
  • Improved startup time for the software update interface when started from the notifier
  • Support for promoting new software applications via the software update interface

Downloads and release notes for the 2.3 release are now available as are updated screenshots of the graphical user interfaces.

This release will make its debut in the GlassFish v3 release that is scheduled for later this year.

Thursday Nov 12, 2009

GlassFish v3 Prelude Rolls Out Update Center Toolkit 2.2 Update 2

GlassFish v3 Prelude is the highest volume adopter of Update Center and the pkg(5) system on multiple OS platforms, but has been running with an older version of the Update Center Toolkit (2.0) since Prelude shipped a year ago.  Last week the GlassFish team pushed Update Center Toolkit 2.2 Update 2 to the Prelude repositories and we are starting to see significant uptake. With UC 2.2 Update 2 customers will see a more streamlined update experience as well as a number of other improvements.

In addition to updating the UC toolkit packages the Prelude team upgraded their repository runtimes resulting in an improved web UI for their repositories.

Friday Oct 02, 2009

Update Center Toolkit 2.3 Build 38 Available

The Update Center 2 development team is pleased to announce the availability of build 38 (download) of the Update Center Toolkit. This build resolves 25 issues beyond the previous build. This build is expected to be the final build for the 2.3 release.  When quality testing is completed and the go is given for the release, we'll rename this (or a respin if necessary) the 2.3 final release.

Tuesday Sep 29, 2009

2.4 Release Planning

As the Update Center Toolkit team wraps up the development of the 2.3 release, planning for the 2.4 release has started. There is now a 2.4 planning page on our development wiki with a draft schedule and ideas about major themes and features. If as a user you would like to provide input to this planning process, that input would be most welcome. Just send email to

One of the big changes that will be in 2.4 is the version of pkg(5) that will be shipped with OpenSolaris 2010.02, which includes changes in the way that the meta data is stored for an image.  These changes are expected to have a big improvement on performance along with better update planning through the SAT solver feature.

If you have filed issues against the toolkit and would like to express the need to have the issue resolved, please update the issue with that information on Issue Tracker. We will take that information into consideration when planning the next release.

Wednesday Sep 16, 2009

Using pkg(5) GlassFish v2.1 Packages

We don't offer a standalone distribution (download bundles + dedicated repos) for GlassFish v2.1, but we do produce and maintain v2.1 packages in support of GlassFish Web Space Server deployments (see my earlier post for background).   Although Web Space Server is currently the only distribution that embeds these packages, you can easily experiment with the packages by installing them from our layered collection development repository.  The beauty of the packaging system and our repositories is that it's quite simple to try out these and other packages:

  1. Download a copy of the Update Center Toolkit. Alternatively, if you're already on OpenSolaris or you already have the toolkit available with the pkg(1) CLI, move on to the next step.
  2. pkg image-create --user -p   ~/gfv2.1
  3. cd ~/gfv2.1
  4. pkg install glassfish2
  5. cd glassfish2
  6. ../ant/bin/ant -f setup.xml 
  7. bin/asadmin start-domain
  8. Access http://localhost:4848 and log in with admin / adminadmin

Voila!  That's it.

If you'd like to run the Update Tool GUI to further explore the other packages, execute "pkg install updatetool" and run "bin/updatetool".  Otherwise, you can execute "pkg list -a" to see the list of all packages that are available for installation on your platform. 

Tuesday Sep 15, 2009

Repository Analytics: Helping to make informed decisions

Over the past several months our Update Center project has been rounding out our overall pkg(5)-based content delivery solution by providing usage reports to adopting project teams: GlassFish Application Server v3, Web Space Server, Web Stack and soon, Message Queue.

You may be familiar with the term web analytics, defined as the "analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage" by Wikipedia. In the context of delivering content via network package repositories, the Update Center team has deployed the beginnings of a reporting solution that helps product teams improve their offerings by providing greater insight into how add-ons and updates are being adopted by end users.

Over the past several months, our toolkit project has:

  • Defined a database schema and deployed a MySQL database to manage the usage data
  • Developed and deployed scripts to tranform raw repository access log data and to load it into the database
  • Developed an overall dashboard and an initial series of product-specific reports
  • Started tweaking reports based on feedback from users

Project teams can currently obtain the following information via the reports:

  • Active unique installations (i.e. "active users")
  • Add-on (new) packages installed
  • Updated packages
  • Operating system usage
  • Client tool usage (Update Tool GUI, Software Update GUI, pkg(1) CLI, pkg(5) Java API)
  • Add-on activity by registered installations

Additionally, we report on the versions of the toolkit that are in use across all installations.  This information is a real boon to our toolkit development project in that it lets us make informed decisions about how much we invest in older versions.  It also helps us monitor the roll out of new releases of the toolkit.

Over the next several weeks we'll publish new blog entries that explain the reports and how projects are using them to improve their products and ultimately the experience of their users.

Update Center Toolkit 2.3 Build 37 Available

The Update Center 2 development team is pleased to announce the availability of build 37 (download) of the Update Center Toolkit. This build resolves 18 defects and contains 1 enhancements beyond the previous build.  The pkg(5) drop for this build is based on build 122 of OpenSolaris with some additional fixes. 

The next build, 38, is expected to be the final build for the 2.3 release.


News for projects adopting the multi-platform port of the Image Packaging System - aka pkg(5)


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