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openSUSE Build Service Did It!

September 22nd, 2008 by

The openSUSE 11.1 beta 1 release marks a significant change for openSUSE. For the first time in 11 years, a SUSE release was not built in the SUSE internal AutoBuild service — openSUSE 11.1 beta 1 was built using the openSUSE Build Service!

AutoBuild was the first full automated system on this planet which built Linux distributions. It served us well, with reliable building of the SUSE distributions. It guaranteed that depending packages got rebuilt to avoid unexpected incompatibilities, and guaranteed that a build is reproducible by setting up a complete system for each package build. (This happens around 3,500 times per full distribution build and per architecture. This results in more than 10 thousand system installations for building a openSUSE distribution once!)

However, 11 years is a long time in the IT industry. New requirements are appearing and the openSUSE project in particular needed an open system, not limited to SUSE/Novell employees.

The openSUSE  Build Service is designed with all the good ideas from AutoBuild, but as a more transparent and distributable system. For example we invented the Product Definition lately, which describes all needed information describing all openSUSE media. The Build Service automatically creates needed packages and KIWI image build descriptions, and will create the openSUSE product flavours, like the ISO images, or installation source trees.

This functionality makes it easy to rebuild the entire distribution. Together with the functionality of Build Service interconnect it makes it even possible that you can rebuild the openSUSE distribution at home. Either by recompiling it completely, replacing only a few packages, or just adding one.

Projects like the Education project can use this to create their derived distribution more easily.

The current status is that some of this functionality needs still manual work. We will release a new version of the Build Service as soon as we have automated it fully and integrated it well.

It is now really transparent to see what state things are in, just by visiting the openSUSE:Factory project in Build Service. Everybody can also join in to fix stuff using the collaboration features.

All this new transparency, flexibility, and reliability of the OBS led to the situation that we currently also switch internally from AutoBuild to Build Service for building SUSE Linux Enterprise 11. This proves that this system is also good enough for Novell to rely on it. Even though we need to add some more functionality and fix some more bugs. ;)

Screenshot from the openSUSE Factory project page. You can see that the distribution needs further fixing to build all packages. ;)

openSUSE Factory Build Service

PS: Greetings to SUSE founder Burchard Steinbild, who implemented the first version of AutoBuild, which was the reason of the success of SUSE :)
Mobbles is very easy to pick up and play, and even easier if you have children who are familiar with games of its genre

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18 Responses to “openSUSE Build Service Did It!”

  1. benstein

    Very impressive! Congratulations.

  2. Anonymous

    THAT is cool ! :)

    I consider to create a multimedia (aka Packman) distribution. Are there any legal constraints from your side ?

  3. Duncan Mac-Vicar P.


    I’d say, edit the title s/OBS/openSUSE Build Service.

    OBS does not means much for other people once this news start to spread :-)

  4. Facundo Garat

    Congrats SuSE/openSUSE people!!!!… very great work for the best distro ever!!!!!!

  5. MartinMohring


    OBS is great as ever!

  6. R. J.

    I don’t really understand the the technical stuff. Does this mean that you can build your own image and then download it, or do you have to download everything then build it?

    Say for example, I download KDE Live CD and there is a lot I don’t want in it, for example, games and openoffice. Can I build a cd without that and then download that cd?

  7. j_engelh

    Let’s hope Ludwig Nussel’s lbuild does not fade out as a reason of this move.

  8. Ben

    Where is the 2.23/2.24 GNOME Build Service? All i see is 2.22 and 2.24 is set to be released tomorrow (9-24)

  9. David Strozzi

    Build Service did what? It laid a turd of a beta release that no can has boot on x86-64 boxes, as myself and many others have reported. Openoffice no can has work (I can’t open any existing files), k3b no can has work (requires libdvdread which does not exist), the list goes on. The birth pangs of a new middle east, as Condoleeza Rice said in August 2006……………..

    • Adrian

      You are right, but all these bugs are caused by content problems, like the broken binutils. The same problems would be there, if it would have been build with AutoBuild. Only fixing the packages is helping here ;)

      Btw, you can boot on x86_64 boxes, just the systems with own /boot partitions have problems.

      • David Strozzi

        I’m just a grumpy old beta tester. I guess there’s a lot of tumult I’e seen over the last few months, with kde4, OOo3, changes in the build system. Almost as bad as Wall St….

        • Anon

          if you are going to be grumpy testing beta’s then why are you testing them. Beta’s have problems, these things happen, why get all arrogant about it. It’s a fact of beta testing.

          Honestly sometimes I read posts during beta testing and it is like the twats beta testing expected it to be bug free and a final version.

  10. Anonymous

    You guys rock. More than ever. What you accomplished here is HUGE.

  11. Werner Schweizer

    I’m running openSuse 11.0.
    To try out KDE4.1 I added the repository “KDE4-Factory:Desktop”.
    But when I try to upgrade my KDE4 I get a lot of unresolved references to QT4.4.2
    which is not in the repository. How can it be that this repository isn’t consistent?
    Sure, I can get it from QT. But then, it is not a repository package with dependancy checking.
    Werner Schweizer