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openSUSE Kubic Moves in a New Direction

August 9th, 2018 by

Dear Community,

It has been more than a year since the openSUSE community started the Kubic Project, and it’s worth looking back over the last months and evaluating where we’ve succeeded, where we haven’t, and share with you all our plans for the future.

A stable base for the future

Much of our success has been in the area generally referred to as **MicroOS**, the part of the Kubic stack that provides a stable operating system that is **atomicly updated** for running containers.

Not only is Kubic MicroOS now a fully integrated part of the openSUSE Tumbleweed release process, but our Transactional Update stack has also been ported to regular openSUSE Tumbleweed and Leap.

Based on the community’s feedback, the new System Role has been further refined and now includes fully automated updates out of the box.

This collaboration is continuing, with many minor changes to the regular openSUSE installation process coming soon based on lessons learned with tuning the installation process in Kubic.

Reviewing our initial premise

We haven’t just been busy on the basesystem. Our efforts with Rootless Containers continue, and you can now use the “Docker-alternative” Podman CRI-O in both Kubic and regular openSUSE. But when considering the Initial Premise of the Kubic project, it’s probably safe to say we’re not where we hoped to be by now.

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Transactional Updates in openSUSE Leap 15

May 15th, 2018 by

This blog is part of a series of technical blogs leading up to the release of openSUSE Leap 15. All of the blogs provide a use case regarding openSUSE Leap and the packages available in the distribution. Happy reading.

Transactional Updates is one of the exciting new features available in the upcoming release of openSUSE Leap 15, which is scheduled to be officially released May 25.

Contributed by the Kubic Project, Transactional Updates provides openSUSE systems with a method of updating the operating system and its packages in an entirely ‘atomic’ way. Updates are either applied to the system all together in a single transaction, or not at all. This happens without influencing the running system. If an update fails, or if the successful update is deemed to be incompatible or otherwise incorrect, it can be discarded to immediately return the system to its previous functioning state.

This differs from existing alternatives that already exist in the open source world. Some users use a rather exorbitant approach of maintaining multiple versions of their system in multiple partitions on disk to switch between the partitions to address a fear of tampering with a perfectly running system.

This juggling approach works, but takes an exorbitant amount of disk storage and maintenance efforts. More modern approaches like using ostree and snap attempt to address these problems and bring atomic/transactional updates to their users. However, these solutions have unintended consequence as users, developers, and partnering software vendors all learn new ways of managing their systems and existing packages cannot be re-used, which require either repackging or conversion. All of this develops to a situation where adopters need to redesign their mindsets, systems, tools and company policies to work with these clever tools. These workarounds have some key flaws that Kubic’s Transactional Updates feature strives to avoid.

Under the hood, Transactional Updates are made simple. Utilising the same btrfs, snapper, and zypper technologies that are trusted defaults in openSUSE Leap, Transactional Updates do something very similar to the traditional snapshots and rollbacks in Leap. However, Transactional Updates it never touches the running system. Instead of patching the current system, the transactional-update tool creates a new snapshot. All of the operations required by the update are carried out into a snapshot that ensures the current system is untouched with no changes impacting the running system.

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Ruby, YaST, Plasma 5.12 Beta Get Updates in Tumbleweed

January 26th, 2018 by

openSUSE’s rolling distribution Tumbleweed received several snapshot of new software packages this past week.

A total of six snapshots arrived and brought new versions of Ruby, YaST, KDE’s Plasma 5.12 Beta and many others.

The latest snapshot, 20180124, switched the default for Ruby to version 2.5. Package improvements were made to the command line tool SUSEConnect 0.3.7. A change to cups-filters 1.19.0 in order to allow builds on systems without python2 was made with python3-cups rather than using python-cups. Enscript 1.6.6 fixed a handful of bugs and spec-cleaner 1.0.2 added groups for Rust and made the switch to pytest. Git, squid and perl-Encode also received minor updates in the snapshot.

The largest snapshot of the week was no doubt snapshot 20180122. The snapshot provided KDE Applications 17.12.1, Frameworks 5.42.0 and the beta version for KDE’s next  Long-Term-Support (LTS) release of Plasma 5.12. Tumbleweed users can tryout the new items in the 5.12 LTS like the new KDE Store, which brings a wide selection of addons. With the exception of updates to libgme, download manager uget and Oracle’s virtualbox, the release was primarily focused on the new versions from the KDE community. It is worth noting that virtualbox 5.2.6 fixed quite a few Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) and libgme 0.6.2 fixed crashes in nsfe emulator. Gamers should be happy.

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Future Tumbleweed Snapshot to Bring YaST Changes

January 9th, 2018 by

What you need to know about the new storage stack (storage-ng)

Changes to YaST are coming and people using openSUSE Tumbleweed will be the first to experience these planned changes in a snapshot that is expected to be released soon.

Those following the YaST Team blog may have been read about the implementation changes expected for libstorage-ng, which have been discussed for nearly two years. Libstorage is the component used by YaST; specially used in the installer, the partitioner and AutoYaST to access disks, partitions, LVM volumes and more.

This relatively low-level component has been a constant source of headaches for YaST developers for years, but all that effort is about to bear fruit. The original design has fundamental flaws that limited YaST in many ways and the YaST Team have been working to write a replacement for it: the libstorage-ng era has begun.

This document offers an incomplete but very illustrative view of the new things that libstorage-ng will allow in the future and the libstorage limitations it will allow to leave behind. For example, it already makes possible to install a fully encrypted system with no LVM using the automatic proposal and to handle much better filesystems placed directly on a disk without any partitioning. In the short future, it will allow to fully manage Btrfs multi-device filesystems, bcache and many other technologies that were impossible to accommodate into the old system.

What’s new, right here right now

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Tumbleweed Goes Astronomical

October 5th, 2017 by

Astronomers using openSUSE Tumbleweed received some major software enhancements in a snapshot this week and the four snapshots released also addressed some architecture issues and critical bug fixes.

The snapshots also brought new versions of the Linux Kernel, git, GNU Compiler Collection and mpg123.

The most recent snapshot to be released, snapshot 20171001, provided an update to the programming tool binutils 2.29.1. An update of the branch head of GNU Compiler Collection 7 disabled a patch to verify a test case. The network authentication protocol krb5 1.15.2 fixed a Key Distribution Center (KDC) Denial of Service (DoS) vulnerability caused by unset status strings; Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE-2017-11368).

Snapshot 20170929 updated ImageMagick 7.0.7.4 and fixed numerous memory leaks. The Linux Kernel was updated to version 4.13.4 and made several changes, which included fixes for PowerPC and S390. The KBD Project, which offers the package that helps with managing the Linux console, virtual terminals, keyboards and more, received an update to kbd 2.0.4. Git 2.14.2 provided various fixes for output correctness. An updated version of the Router Advertisement Daemon to radvd 2.17 added systemd service file. Several bugs were fixed with the update of php7 7.1.10 including bug 75093 that affected curl detection for OpenSSL, which was not detected. A proper fix for the xrpnt overflow problems were made for the MPEG Audio Player and decoder library mpg123 with version 1.25.7.

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Conference Talks Uploaded, Stream is Live

May 27th, 2017 by

This year’s openSUSE Conference has so far been a blast and the talks  from Day 1 of the conference have already been uploaded to the openSUSETV YouTube channel.

For the people who couldn’t make it to this year’s conference, they can watch the live stream of the conference at http://streaming.media.ccc.de/osc17/. There are two rooms (Galerie and Saal) being live streamed and recorded.

Starting out the conference, Matthias Kirschner, President of Free Software Foundation Europe, delivered a terrific keynote and gave several thought provoking questions about who will be the torchbearer for open-source software and questioned whether it is necessary to have a torchbearer since there are so many examples of success of open-source software.

Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of SaltStack, Thomas Hatch, gave a great keynote today and yesterday gave a talk about “My Move to SUSE.”

Thorsten Kukuk introduced openSUSE Kubic as a project under the openSUSE Project and Leap release manager Ludwig Nussel touched on the status of Leap; past, present and future.

Another great talk recommended for system administrators and developers from the  open-source community is Wolfgang Engel’s talk about SUSE Package Hub and how SUSE is bringing community packages to enterprise users.