[ec2] [launchpad-net] replace ec2-ami-tools with euca2ools in ec2 images?

Mathias Gug mathiaz at ubuntu.com
Thu Sep 17 03:31:35 BST 2009

Hi Eric,

On Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 02:24:29PM -0700, Eric Hammond wrote:
> Scott Moser wrote:
> > As far as I can tell, we have the following options:
> > a.) drop ec2-ami-tools completely from the images
> >   remember that a simple 'apt-get install ec2-ami-tools' will still get
> >   them for you.

> For example, new users following one of the many tutorials on how to
> bundle an instance will try ec2-bundle-vol and may not know what to do
> when the command is not found. 

This could easily be solved by adding the ec2-* commands to the
command-not-found package [1]. The end user experience would look
something similar to:

mathiaz at mathiaz:~$ emacs
The program 'emacs' can be found in the following packages:
 * emacs22
 * emacs22-nox
 * emacs-snapshot
 * emacs-snapshot-nox
 * emacs22-gtk
 * jove
Try: sudo apt-get install <selected package>
emacs: command not found
mathiaz at mathiaz:~$ 

[1]: http://packages.ubuntu.com/karmic/command-not-found

> Other folks may be using a software
> infrastructure (RightScale?) which assumes that the AMI tools are
> installed to complete a "rebundle" button push on a web interface.

We can probably work with RightScale on fixing this on their side. This
is one of the reasons why we publish Alpha and Beta releases of the final
product so that third-party can test it and either report bugs or update
their systems and products to support the newer releases.
> The AMI tools are commonly used since rebundling is one of the primary
> paths new users take when they set up an environment on EC2, so it's
> convenient to have them installed.

Agreed. This should be the end user experience we should aim at: make it
as easy and straightforward as possible to rebundle an AMI.

> > > b.) add euca2ools to the images.
> > >   For those not aware, euca2ools provide an almost compatible
> command line
> > >   interface to that of the ec2-ami-tools and ec2-api-tools.
> Summary: I think AMI tools should be installed on the AMI.  I would lean
> towards Amazon's tools, but if the "main" issue is important to Ubuntu,

Yes - it is. It's sometimes impossible to have a good user experience
with open source softwares  (eg drivers for video cards). In that
exceptional use-case non-free alternatives can be provided in the
restricted (or multiverse) repository.

> it might be cool to help out an open source project by giving euca2ools
> a lot more users who can test and report bugs.  It just increases risk a
> bit in the short term.

If there is a software compliant with the Ubuntu's license policy [2]
and it provides most of the functionalities used by the majority of
users then its usage should be promoted by Ubuntu.

[2]: http://www.ubuntu.com/community/ubuntustory/licensing

Unfortunately Amazon's tools can't be part of main as they don't comply
with point 4. of [2]:

  Must not discriminate against persons, groups or against fields of
  endeavour. The license of software included in Ubuntu can not
  discriminate against anyone or any group of users and cannot restrict
  users from using the software for a particular field of endeavour - a
  business for example.

The question is whether euca2ools provides most of the EC2
functionalities used by the majority of EC2 users?

> If the euca2ools are installed, we should also install the (not yet
> existing?) package which creates symlinks for the ec2-* command names
> and we should make sure that an explicit install of the ec2-ami-tools
> overrides these symlinks (removes that package?).

Agreed. This can be achieved via the alternatives system in both
ec2-{ami,api}-tools and euca2ools packages.

Mathias Gug
Ubuntu Developer  http://www.ubuntu.com
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