TurnKey Linux's take on Ubuntu appliance development: KISS

Carlos Ribeiro carribeiro at gmail.com
Mon Dec 7 12:56:26 GMT 2009

On Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 07:12, Alon Swartz <alon at turnkeylinux.org> wrote:

> Soren Hansen wrote:
> > On Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 06:33:22PM +0200, Alon Swartz wrote:
> >> TurnKey Linux has created 40 Ubuntu-based appliances so far and has
> >> many more in the works.
> >
> > The list certainly looks very impressive. Good job!
> >
> >> Our approach to appliance development is a bit different then those
> >> that have been discussed in the mailing list so far. We are strong
> >> believers in keeping everything as simple as possible. KISS and all
> >> that. Debian packages were never really designed for this sort of
> >> thing and trying to force them into that role raises the bar by making
> >> things overly complicated.
> >
> > Could you elaborate on this a little bit? Lots of different ideas have
> > been tossed back and forth on various mailing lists, IRC and other fora,
> > so I'm not completely sure what you mean Debian packages were not
> > designed for.
> What this means is that Debian packages were never designed for
> system-level integration. They're meant to be building blocks for a
> system administrator who then glues them together to integrate a
> production solution. An appliance is all about removing that last step.
> We're not competing with or displacing packages. We're just gluing them
> together to give the user a better starting point. The means selecting
> the components, configuring / integrating them to work together to
> provide the desired solution, and last but not least, testing the final
> result as a single unit.
> There's no elegant way to do that with packages / meta-packages
> precisely because they're not designed for this sort of thing. For
> example, according to the Debian Policy Manual a package is not allowed
> to edit configuration files of other packages.

Just wondering: in a way, it seems to me that a pre-packaged VM is much
closer to a custom distro than to a package. Sort of. Would it be possible
to include a few pre-packaged appliances as options in the standard CD

On the other hand, out of curiosity... In my opinion, it seems to be
relatively simple to build a meta-package that would just state all
dependencies, and put all customization/editing in a external script that
would then collect all information needed and customize the init scripts.
What is the problem with this approach?

I'm just asking because I think that a good solution for appliance
deployment and customization would be a terrific application for Ubuntu
server. I would gladly use it for my own projects. In fact, I'm already an
user of other solutions (Bitnami and Jumpbox) that follow a completely
different approach. A more "native" approach would be much better.

Thanks and keep up with the great work,

Carlos Ribeiro
Consultoria em Projetos
twitter: http://twitter.com/carribeiro
blog: http://rascunhosrotos.blogspot.com
mail: carribeiro at gmail.com
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