TurnKey Linux's take on Ubuntu appliance development: KISS

Alon Swartz alon at turnkeylinux.org
Tue Nov 17 16:33:22 GMT 2009

Hey folks,

TurnKey Linux has created 40 Ubuntu-based appliances so far and has many
more in the works. 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.

Incidentally, we've given some thought to getting the community more
involved with appliance development and recently released TKLPatch, a
simple way to customize and extend any appliance in the TurnKey Linux
virtual appliance library. However the mechanism is really extremely
simple and the approach (or something like it) should work for
non-TurnKey appliances.

Documentation: http://www.turnkeylinux.org/docs/tklpatch
Source code: http://github.com/turnkeylinux/tklpatch

New appliances can be built as patches to the closest starting point in
the library (e.g., TurnKey Core, LAMP, Django, Rails, Tomcat).

BTW, we're building out TurnKey Linux as a specialized extension of the
Ubuntu community that focuses on appliance development. Some people
confuse the project for a fork, but if you take a look at an appliance
under the hood you'll see it is pretty much a standard installation of
Ubuntu that has been customized for a particular usage scenario. We just
give users a better starting point. Like Ubuntu, TurnKey Linux is 100%
open source.

Anyhow, we've invested a ton of effort into figuring out all of the
issues and we'd like to invite any one interested in appliance
development to collaborate with us. Reinventing the wheel is such a poor
use of the community's resources.

Once we add an appliance to the project we assume the burden of
maintaining it at the appliance level with regular updates. This frees
you to focus on more interesting tasks (e.g., improving quality of
integration, software sub-components).

Alon Swartz

Website: http://www.turnkeylinux.org
Contact details: http://alonswartz.org

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