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.

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 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.

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.

Wednesday Jul 29, 2009

Open MQ 4.4 Adopts pkg(5) and the Update Center Toolkit

The Open MQ team has been busy preparing the initial promoted builds of their upcoming new minor feature release, Open MQ 4.4.  It's impressive that without any real prodding from our Update Center Toolkit team, the MQ team has pretty much of their own accord begun adopting pkg(5) and the Update Center Toolkit as the main delivery format for this next release.  The MQ team has produced a series of installer wrapped download bundles containing pre-installed pkg(5) images for their supported platforms and they are in the process of delivering a companion set of raw zip downloads using virtually the same underlying pre-installed pkg(5) images.  You can obtain their preliminary promoted builds of the installer-wrapped bundles from their MQ 4.4 release site.

Shape of the pkg(5)-based Open MQ Distribution

The Open MQ 4.4 builds currently consists of at least 9 pkg(5) packages containing content ranging from portable Java components of the core product to platform-specific components such as the optional C language client API. Platforms addressed by these preliminary builds include: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris and OpenSolaris.  Once AIX is supported by the Update Center project's port of the pkg(5) system in v2.3 of the toolkit, the Open MQ AIX bundle will likely migrate to using pkg(5) packages of their AIX install bundles.

Benefits of Sustainable, Modular Binary Packages

In addition to forming the basis of the MQ 4.4 distribution, these same pkg(5) packages are integrated into builds of the GlassFish v3 distribution. Thereby demonstrating the value of reusing the same modular binary packages across multiple product distributions.  Historically, the lack of formal packaging of raw zip and tar.gz bundles has made it difficult for development and sustaining teams to deliver and share the same updated binaries.  With the adoption of the pkg(5) system and the Update Center Toolkit, development and sustaining teams only need to deliver one set of updated packages that can be shared across multiple product distributions. 

Tuesday Jul 28, 2009

GlassFish v2.1 Packages: The Untold Story

GlassFish v3 garners a lot of attention in our Update Center 2 development project because of its relatively long history of adopting the Image Packaging System and the Update Center Toolkit for its layered, multi-platform distributions.  But there's also a story around the GlassFish Enterprise Server v2.1 release, Sun's premier Java Enterprise Edition 5  platform.

Rationale for Retrofitting Only Packages

Since the GlassFish v2 product offering already had a series of download and install bundles in unpackaged zip and self-extracting formats, it didn't make sense to retrofit those existing deliverables in pkg(5) format for multi-platform use and re-release the entire product distribution.  However, the GlassFish team and several product teams dependent on GlassFish saw an opportunity to make the GlassFish v2.1 product and follow-on support updates available as a series of pkg(5) packages that other products could incorporate into their own pkg(5)-based distributions.

For example, the Web Space Server product's dependency on GlassFish v2.1 was satisfied by including the GlassFish v2.1 pkg(5) packages in the Web Space Server package repositories.  Doing so yielded a soup-to-nut pkg(5)-based distribution of the Web Space Server + GlassFish v2.1 stack.  As part of their set of initial download and install bundles, the Web Space Server team produced a bundle containing GlassFish v2.1, its dependencies and Web Space Server pre-installed using the pkg(5) packages of these components.  Evaluators and customers of the Web Space Server product have benefited from this integrated initial install and ongoing update and add-on experience.

Packaging Kickstart

A special thanks to Christophe Ravel of the shared components team in the Sun middleware group for his instrumental work in getting the initial GlassFish v2.1 packages and their dependencies (including Message Queue, JavaDB and Ant) built for a variety of OS platforms and working with the GlassFish Sustaining team to integrate the package creation process into their existing build system.  Over much of this year, the GlassFish Sustaining team has been refreshing the pkg(5) packages as they've developed update releases for the GlassFish v2.1 product.  These updated packages of GlassFish v2.1 have been published to the Web Space Server support package repository for delivery to customers with support subscriptions. 

Based on his experience, Christophe published a presentation, Multi-platform IPS Packaging for Software Engineers, that is part of the Image Packaging System Best Practices the Update Center project offers to projects adopting pkg(5) for layered, multi-platform use.

Web Space Server Continues to Roll Out Updates and Add-ons

Back in Februrary the GlassFish Web Space Server team rolled out their 10.0 release of their new web portal product.  Following the GlassFish application server project, the Web Space Server team was the second major project team to adopt the Image Packaging System and the Update Center Toolkit for layered, multi-platform use. 

Deliveries Thus far

Since their initial release, the Web Space Server team has been busy rolling out:

  • 5 update releases consisting of updated packages published to support repositories that are accessible to customers with support subscriptions
  • GlassFish Enterprise Server 2.1 packages containing latest fixes for customers
  • More than 30 new add-on packages including many portlets and other extensions to the base platform

Additionally, the Web Space Server team has been aggressively staying on top of the Update Center Toolkit releases by publishing updated toolkit packages to both their release and support repositories.  Doing so ensures that their users get the latest toolkit fixes and features.  They are on v2.2 of the toolkit and will soon publish v2.2 Update 1.

A Satisfied Adopter

Based on more than 6 months of experience supporting their product in the field, James Falkner, a lead on the Web Space Server project, had this to say about the value of adopting the pkg(5) system and the Update Center Toolkit:

"The integration of the pkg(5) system and the Update Center Toolkit as part of the Web Space Server product offering has empowered our customers with out-of-the-box, easy to use tools for managing cross-platform Web Space Server deployments, which allows our product team to focus on delivering high quality releases and updates through an efficient pipeline. Specific benefits include:

    • Ease of rolling in external dependencies (e.g. GFv2.1+dependencies) simply by including the packages in the appropriate repository
    • Desktop notifier, which keeps our customers developing on desktops up-to-date
    • Cross-platform support for our cross-platform product
    • GUI + CLI for addressing many real world use cases
    • Usage metrics"

Closed Network Support: New Territory

Another area where the Web Space Server team is breaking new ground is by enabling customers with deployments that don't have access to the internet-based package repositories to obtain copies of the Web Space Server package repositories and run them locally to feed clients within the customers' closed networks.  More on this front in a future post.

GlassFish v3 Preview Adopts pkg(5) and the Update Center Toolkit

Sort of old news, but we needed to bring our Adoption Stories up to date with the most recent releases of products adopting the Update Center Toolkit.

Back in early June, the GlassFish team released GlassFish v3 Preview, the latest early access release of the Java Enterprise Edition 6 technologies and the new Java EE 6 Web Profile.  Because GlassFish v3 uses a microkernel architecture based on OSGi, developers can begin with the Java EE 6 Web Profile and use the Update Center to dynamically upgrade to the full Java EE 6 platform.

As an early adopter of the Image Packaging System and the cross-platform Update Center Toolkit, this is the GlassFish team's 3rd release of GlassFish that is wholly based on the Image Packaging System and incorporates the Update Center Toolkit.  The GlassFish v3 Preview release includes version 2.1 of the toolkit.

As with previous GFv3 releases, the Preview release offers both installer-wrapped and raw zip download bundles - both of which are based on pre-installed pkg(5) images.  As functionality is added to the GFv3 releases, we've witnessed more and more packages being added to the GFv3  release and contrib package repositories.  The current combined count is over 50 packages!

The GlassFish team has already integrated v2.2 of the toolkit into their promoted development builds of GFv3.  Looking forward, the team plans to leverage v2.3 of the toolkit with their next GFv3 release.

Tuesday Feb 24, 2009

Updated IzPack Installer for GlassFish v3 Prelude

Eduardo highlighted over on The Aquarium Julien Ponge's delivery of an updated GlassFish v3 Prelude install bundle based on the very latest version of the IzPack install framework. You may recall that Julien's v3 Prelude installer has a nice integration of the pkg(5) bootstrap. Several other interesting tidbits in Julien's post: \* Julien mentions the students' activity to further integrate IzPack and pkg(5). My understanding is that he would like to provide an immediate sense of updated components and a selection list of components during initial installation. That would be very nice! \* Sathyan's comment about the bootstrap hanging requires some follow-up. I've pinged Sathyan and cc'd our UC2 QA team. Since we have not experienced load issues on our external repositories, it's not clear to me what was causing the issue in Sathyan's case. I tried Julien's installer on the Mac and it worked for me too. Go figure.

Tuesday Feb 10, 2009

Web Space Server 10 Adopts Update Center

A major new product in the Sun GlassFish Portfolio is the Sun GlassFish Web Space Server 10. Web Space Server is Sun's next generation portal platform and we're excited because the Web Space Server team adopted Update Center 2.1 to package their software and deliver updates and add-ons to their customers. We'd like to thank the team for their hard work, and congratulate them on the Web Space Server 10 release.

Want to learn more about Update Center 2? Then check out our introductory screencast.

Monday Dec 08, 2008

Marriage of Convenience: IzPack Initial Install + pkg(5)

What do you get when you marry an easy-to-use, but powerful initial install application framework with the add-on and update management capabilities of the Image Packaging System?

Julien Ponge, one of the main developers of IzPack, a cross-platform open source installation framework, has successfully integrated a pre-release distribution of GlassFish V3 Prelude with IzPack.  This would be news in and of itself, but what is really cool is that since V3 is now packaged using the Image Packaging System technology (aka pkg(5) in techie terms), Julien has demonstrated an end-to-end install management solution for layered applications. The IzPack-based installer handles initial installation and overall removal of the application while the use of pkg(5) enables ongoing update and add-on management of the installation.

[Read More]

Thursday Oct 16, 2008

Update Center Toolkit 2.0 Release Candidate 4 (Build 15) Available

The Update Center 2 development team just promoted Release Candidate (RC) 4 of the multi-platform pkg(5) toolkit.  This build is near the last of a series of RC builds that are aligning with the release of the new GlassFish V3 Prelude application server release.  The FishCAT (GlassFish Community Acceptance Test) effort of V3 Prelude is finding some issues with the toolkit.  There's nothing like having real world users test the software.  In addition to bugs filed based on the FishCAT program, we've had some new bugs filed and a few last minute RFEs addressed for the Java API for pkg(5).  The GlassFish team has used this Java API to enable users of their web admin tool to manage updates and add-ons.

As a side note, the FishCAT effort has been pretty neat.  Even though our toolkit is just one part of the GlassFish V3 Prelude release, we've had the pleasure of working with a variety of people around the world that have encountered toolkit issues.  We feel pretty good about our record of jumping on their reported issues and quickly turning around workarounds and fixes.  It all goes to help the community spirit!

Here are some more key fixes in this build:

  • Good ole Windows Vista's User Access Control presented us with a surprise.  See Tom's post.  Chris Kasso came to the rescue by creating signed versions of our .exe wrappers and adding the appropriate manifest setting such that when a user is running with administrative privileges, the right things will happen.
  • We swatted a few more .app bundle issues on Mac OS X 10.4.  Due to the flakiness of how .app bundles are handled, Joe has had to implement some detestable workarounds.  10.5 has been much more stable and predictable.
  • Manpreet has improved some of the exception handling in the Update Tool GUI.  For example, due to some GlassFish V3 Prelude pre-release package repository issues, users were seeing some new exception traces displayed in the GUI.  Manpreet and Tom worked out an approach to present these newly observed exceptions in a more approrpriate manner.  Now the users will better understand that a repository server error occurred rather than thinking that the Update Tool GUI experienced an internal error.

Complete list of issues fixed in this build

Get the bits

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


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