[RFC] State of cobbler (universe)

Nish Aravamudan nish.aravamudan at canonical.com
Tue Jul 12 23:09:21 UTC 2016


So we are now (16.10) in sync with Debian, but that package is sadly
quite broken.  Tbh, the old package in Universe was also broken, just
for different reasons. The reason now is the Debian package has issues.

The package as currently done by Debian simply doesn't work. I'm not
sure it even works in the context of openstack/fuel in Debian (which is
the reason I think it's packaged the way it is in Debian based upon the
git logs); and if it does, it *only* works for fuel and no other

I see 4 ways forward:

1) We leave it broken in universe: it sucks, but no one is spending time
on it now, beyond filing bugs. There are well-established workarounds
(that I as an upstream developer of Cobbler have recommended): build
from source or use the community .deb packages.

In this case, I would rewrite any documentation we currently provide (I
think there are at least Ubuntu wiki pages) to not refer to our package
and to either guide users to build from git or use the Cobbler .deb

2) We fix it in Universe. I've started doing this, primarily by
backporting from upstream, but the list of fixes is growing quite large.
And where the fix isn't from upstream, I'm basically just undoing the
Debian packaging. I have sent some patches to Debian, and also asked for
clarification on the Debian packaging effort to the openstack list
(listed maintainer), as I think it's misguideded and leading to bad

3) We update Cobbler to the latest upstream (`uscan`/`uupdate` works),
which fixes a handful of bugs we have. I have fixes for the other open
Cobbler bugs and I think I could upstream most of them.

4) We blacklist Cobbler and stop carrying the package. I'm starting to
lean towards this approach, honestly. We should not be shipping this
package and should just drop it from the archive in the state it's in
(and I would almost suggest doing this in Xenial, but the package is so
broken there that it's the same as removing it -- no one I know has
gotten the 16.04 version to work, nor do I think they really could,
without basically rewriting parts of the Python source).

Thoughts/opinions/suggestions? I have used Cobbler heavily in the past,
and it can be a very powerful tool. I would like it to be easy to use
with Ubuntu, and am just not sure of the right way to go about that.


Nishanth Aravamudan
Ubuntu Server
Canonical Ltd

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