Thursday May 28, 2009

Update Center Toolkit 2.2 Release

The Update Center team is pleased to announce the availability of release 2.2 of the Update Center Toolkit. This release includes the following major new features:

  • Software Update interface for simplifying the application of updates to multiple images and for finding out about new applications and add-ons to the applications that you already have,
  • Featured Software section in the Update Tool interface for informing the user about new applications and add-ons to existing applications,
  • An updated version of the pkg(5) software that provides the same capabilities as the version in OpenSolaris 2009.06,
  • Enhanced Update Tool interface that:
    • makes use of background threads to provide a more interactive experience, 
    • provides a package search interface,
    • provides URLs in the package overview with more information about each package, and
    • enhances the interface with right click menus, additional icons, and other ease of use features
  • Improved development tools for publishing packages and creating images with pre-installed packages, and
  • Support for SUSE Linux with KDE and OpenSolaris 2009.06.

A look at the new Software Update Interface:


Update Center Software Update Interface

Downloads and release notes for the 2.2 release are now available as are updated screenshots of the graphical user interfaces.

Monday May 11, 2009

Update Center Toolkit 2.2 Build 28 Available

The UC2 development team is pleased to announce the availability of build 28 of the Update Center Toolkit.  Coming only a week later, this build resolves 47 issues beyond what was available in the previous build.  The remaining builds will fix stopper bugs only as the team works towards delivery of the 2.2 release later this month. 

Tuesday May 05, 2009

Update Center Toolkit 2.2 Build 27 Available

The UC2 development team is pleased to announce the availability of build 27 of the Update Center Toolkit.  This build resolves 44 issues beyond what was available in the previous build. This was the last open build for the 2.2 release.  The remaining builds will fix stopper bugs only as the team works towards delivery of the 2.2 release later this month. 

Monday May 04, 2009

Rollback with pkg(5) User Images

Undo Icon Today, a colleague asked about how the Update Center 2 toolkit and the Image Packaging System handles rollback to a previous version of a user image.  He noticed that the Update Tool GUI doesn't seem to have an option to do this.  

Right now, one has to either:

  • Uninstall the package(s) that you don't want and reinstall the older version.  The older version is available in the GUI by using the View|Show All Versions menu choice.  From the command line, this can be done by specifying  some-package@previous.version on the install command after first uninstalling the current version. While not atomic, this has the same effect as a "patchrm" in SVR4.
  • If using a ZFS file system, run "zfs snapshot" on your image directory before doing the update.  If you don't like the update, you can rollback to the snapshot.
  • Create a backup of the image directory before doing the update.  Restore from the backup if you don't like the update.

A few notes:

  1. Currently there is no notion of an "update" defined in Update Center, i.e., all we have are installs of new versions of packages.  So if you install new versions of 3 packages yesterday and 2 packages today, there isn't any way to identify that as 2 "updates".  Rather, it is merely 5 installs of new package versions.  The operational history does record the operations that are done, so one would be able to figure out from the history that two "update" operations were done.  But there isn't anything in the GUI or CLI that takes advantage of this.
  2. From the CLI, installing an older version of a package doesn't downgrade the package.  So if you have version 2 of a package installed and you do "pkg install some-package@1", it will output a message saying that "No updates are available for the image". Technically, there isn't any reason why IPS can't calculate what it takes to go backward directly, although there could be some trickiness relative to dependency calculations, but so far there hasn't been emphasis on that.  This is primarily because the OpenSolaris team depends on ZFS for rollback of operating system updates.  So rollbacks of user image updates has not received as much attention. Eventually, I would like to see the CLI support something like a "pkg rollback" operation that would take a list of older package versions, and the result would be that the image software would be restored to that previous version of the packages.
  3. Uninstalling a package also requires uninstalling the packages that depend on it. So accomplishing the first option can be difficult when dependencies are involved. If there were a "pkg rollback" command, it could take care of this by possibly rolling back updates to the packages that depend on the one being rolled back.
  4. The second option requires root access, which generally is not required for user images. 
  5. When a rollback is done with the second and third option, all other history in that image not related to the update is also lost.  For example, with a database in the image, any updates that were made between the update and the rollback would be lost. Generally, when people think of patch backout with SVR4 packages, they assume that data changes made while the patch was there are not lost.  This actually presents problems sometimes if the patch allows new data structures to be introduced or causes data reformatting, and then the old code has to deal with the new data (and sometimes it can't).  These rollbacks are fool proof because they literally get you back to where you were, but that might not be where you want to be.

Sunday Apr 26, 2009

Update Center Toolkit 2.2 Build 26 Available

The UC2 development team is pleased to announce the availability of build 26 of the Update Center Toolkit.  New features in this build include:

  •  The Software Update UI is feature complete.  It is started by clicking on the notifier update notification balloon.   It can also be started from the command line by entering "updatetool -u".   See the screen shot below.
  • "Featured Software" is now feature complete. This capability enables the promotion and easy installation of software applications and add-ons from the Update Tool GUI and Software Update tool.
  • The search feature is available within the updatetool interface and is now also feature complete.

This build resolves 38 issues beyond what was available in the previous build.  Additionally build 111 of pkg(5) has been incorporated in this build.  This build fixes an array of pkg(5) issues.

The Software Update user interface provides a simply and streamlined method  to apply updates to multiple application images: 


Software Update UI


Monday Apr 06, 2009

Update Center Toolkit 2.2 Build 25 Available

The UC2 development team is pleased to announce the availability of build 25 of the pkg(5) toolkit.  New features in this build include:

  • the Software Update UI is available in preliminary form by entering "updatetool -u".  This UI is also launched when clicking on the notifier balloon. 
  • the feature software feature is available in preliminary form.  Look at the top of the left hand panel in updatetool. 
  • the search feature is available within the updatetool interface.  There is still some work to do on the layout, but the basic search functionality is there.

This build resolves 14 issues beyond what was available in the previous build.

Sunday Mar 15, 2009

Update Center Toolkit 2.2 Build 23 Available

The UC2 development team is pleased to announce the availability of build 23 of the pkg(5) toolkit.  New features in this build include:

  • a new drop of the pkg(5) software (see below)
  • a script for manifest file creation
  • a new threading model in the updatetool GUI to make it more responsive at startup and during network operations
  • refresh list is now in the right click menu

As with the previous build, there was quite a bit of bug fixing. This build resolves 36 issues beyond what was available in the previous build.

The new threading model in updatetool causes networks operations such as updating the catalog and retrieving manifests to be performed in a background thread.  This keeps the user interface active even though the program is waiting for data from the server. This change also changed the startup behavior of updatetool.  In the past, updatetool would check for updates on the selected image and display the available updates panel if any were available, and if not, it would display the available add-ons panel. This required quite a few network operations and results in updatetool starting slowly.  With the change, updatetool now display the summary panel for the image, and the user is able to select what detailed panel to display.

pkg(5) logoThe new drop of pkg(5) is based on revision 897 (Feb 20, 2009) of the pkg(5) repository gate. This is the first time that the pkg(5) software has been resynced with the gate in the 2.2 development cycle. This drop includes the following significant features and bug fixes over what was in 2.1:

  • Support for variants. A variant allows the creation of so-called "fat" packages that include binaries for both OpenSolaris x86 and SPARC.  When the package is installed, only the files for the desired architecture are downloaded and installed on the target. The variants feature can also be used for other features such as debug vs. non-debug.  The Update Center project intends to use this feature for operating system variants as well.
  • The pkg.depotd process can serve SSL/HTTPS directly (without an Apache front-end) if desired
  • The intent information that is sent to the server when manifests are requested now propertly includes information about the currently installed version of a package for an update.
  • The pkgsend command now supports publishing to a local disk repository without having to run pkg.depotd. To do this, use a file URL rather than an HTTP URL. One still cannot create a new repository without running pkg.depotd (that is coming later). 
  • Checking of pkgsend arguments has been improved.
  • The output from the Windows pkg(1) command now includes progress information.
  • When running on Windows, pkg(5) now correctly detects if a file is in use when deleting a package.

Tuesday Mar 10, 2009

Update Center Toolkit 2.2 Build 22 Available

The UC2 development team is pleased to announce the availability of build 22 of the pkg(5) toolkit.  New features in this build include:

  • the application images are now sorted in the left panel of updatetool
  • copypkgs now checks to make sure that the source repository was created using a sufficiently recent version of the pkg(5) software

Most of the work in this build was bug fixing. This build resolves 29 issues beyond what was available in the previous build.

Tuesday Feb 24, 2009

Removing a package from a pkg(5) repository

Since several people recently asked about how to remove a package from a pkg(5) repository, we describe the manual steps in this blog entry.
[Read More]

Tuesday Feb 10, 2009

Update Center Toolkit 2.2 Build 21 Available

The UC2 development team is pleased to announce the availability of build 21 of the pkg(5) toolkit.  New features in this build include:

  • Improvements to the packaging tools to no longer require recompilation of .py files after installation and to allow the archivepkgs command to only archive selected package versions
  • Support in the Java API for setting the name of the client that is using the API

This build resolves 18 issues beyond what was available in the build 20.

The  development plan for the 2.2 release continues to take shape. There is now a dedicated wiki page for 2.2 planning. As can be seen with this build announcement, one of the changes for the 2.2 release is that the development team has returned to producing a build every 2 weeks rather than 3 as was done with the 2.1 release.

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.

Sunday Feb 01, 2009

Update Center 2 Overview Screencast

This 15 minute screencast gives an overview of Update Center and shows the pkg(1) CLI and Update Tool from the Update Center 2.1 release.

Tuesday Jan 27, 2009

Update Center Toolkit 2.1 Release Available

The Update Center 2 development team has completed the development of the production ready version 2.1 of the multi-platform pkg(5) toolkit.  Previous posts have talked about the builds leading up to this and what features are in this release.  Full details about the release including release notes are on the project web site. The download page has links to the toolkit itself.

The significant new features in this release include:

  • Entitlement Stage 1 - This provides the ability to deploy repositories that have restricted access with client capabilities for accessing such repositories using SSL client certificates.
  • Updated pkg(5) - The updated pkg(5) software provides better support for data collection, image operational history, repository RSS feeds and HTML interface customization
  • Packaging and Image Assembly Tools - The pkg-extra-tools package includes custom ant tasks that can be used for package publishing and image assembly.
  • More Package Info Available in updatetool GUI - When a package is selected in updatetool, there are tabs for the list of files within the package, the package dependences, and the license information for the package.
  • updatetool GUI Refinements - This feature includes enhancements such as right button menus for images, better keyboard navigation, menu shortcuts and better error handling.
  • Identify Security Updates - Whan an updated package includes security fixes, the updates panel now highlights this.

The first product to ship with the 2.1 toolkit will be the commercial product being created by Project WebSynergy.

What's next for the Update Center 2 development team?  It's on to the development of the 2.2 minor release along with 2.1 update releases as necessary. Stay tuned for posts about details of what will be in these releases.


Update Center Toolkit 2.2 Build 20 Available

The UC2 development team is pleased to announce the availability of build 20 of the pkg(5) toolkit. This is the first publicly available build for the 2.2 release that is currently under development. New features in this build include:

  • Right click menu for the components in the component list panels of updatetool
  • "image-create" and progress tracking functionality in the Java API
  • Ability for copypkgs to copy into an empty repository directory
  • Zip file support in the package publishing tools (makepkgs, etc.)
This build resolves 11 issues beyond what was available in the 2.1 release.

Wednesday Dec 17, 2008

Update Center Toolkit 2.1 Build 18-RC1 Available

The Update Center 2 development team just promoted build 18-RC1 of the multi-platform pkg(5) toolkit. This build resolves 70 issues including the following features:

  • Update of pkg(5) that includes a new HTML front page for the repository server.  See the image below to see what it looks like.
  • Support for disabling authorities.  With this feature an authority can be disabled without having to delete it from the image.  Product images can include information about extra, disabled authorities that a user can simply enable when use of the authority is desired.
  • Better usage reporting. The intent header and the client name is now provided in repository request headers so that the information can be captured by the server.
  • Security related updates are now identified by the notifier.
  • The copypkgs command copies catalog and updatelog information so that a rebuild (--rebuild option on pkg.depotd) of the catalog is no longer necessary. This enables support for the RSS feed feature of the pkg(5) server.
Most of the effort for this build was in fixing bugs as we move towards getting ready to deliver the 2.1 release. The next build, B18-RC2 is for stopper fixes only and the result of that build is expected to be the 2.1 release.

Repository Configuration

With the new HTML front page for the repository server, a modification to the configuration of an existing repository is required. Within the repository data area, there is a cfg_cache file.  The icon and logo paths for the repository feed have changed from this:

[repository]
logo = pkg-block-logo.png
icon = pkg-block-icon.png

to this:

[repository]
logo = web/_themes/pkg-block-logo.png
icon = web/_themes/pkg-block-icon.png

Also, the description value is shown in the about page, so this should be filled in. This is in python configparser format, so values should be formatted in the style of RFC822. For example, if you have a multi-line description for your repository, you could format it this way in cfg_cache:

[repository]
description = This is an OpenSolaris package repository.  Note that
  usage of this repository is subject to the policies found <a
  href="http://www.opensolaris.org/os/tou/">here</a>.

Note the leading whitespace above, for continuation lines, is important as that is what tells configparser that it is part of the previous line.

Repository HTML Interface
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