A month in the archive – a view from the Ubuntu Server Team

Posted in Uncategorized on June 30th, 2008 by Dave Walker

The release of Intrepid Alpha1 closes a busy month with an archive teeming with merges and other syncs from Debian’s unstable repository. Here are some highlights from the Ubuntu Server Team:

amavisd-new brought to version 2.6.0

The main new feature is DKIM signing and verification. Further integration of DKIM within Ubuntu is being planned for Intrepid. Check out the specification to track progress and help out testing this new feature.

apache2 updated to 2.2.9

There were some bug reports about the worker and event mpm stability under high load. These issues should be fixed now. This new upload includes also a rewrite of the a2{en,dis}{mod,site} utilities used to manage the modules and sites that are enabled: support for wildcards in modules and site names as well as customization via environment variables have been added.

krb5 1.6 synced from Debian

The LDAP plugin for the MIT KDC has been packaged. An LDAP server can now be used to store the KDC database. That opens up interesting options used in combination with openldap syncrepl infrastructure.

libapache2-mod-perl2 and perl 5.10

Version 2.0.4 of libapache2-mod-perl2 brings support for perl 5.10. Just in time now that perl 5.10 is the default version in Intrepid.

libnss-ldap new upstream release

Beside a bug-fix release, the upload came with this interesting note:

An odd, but important, note from your maintainer…
Please look at the libnss-ldapd package, and if it fits your needs,
consider using it – it is much easier on you ldap server, but is still
missing a few items, which may make it still unusable for you.

On a related note, browsing through the openldap cvs shows a new overlay committed at the beginning of June in the slapd-module contrib directory: nssov. This code is based on the libnss-ldapd mentioned above. One of the goal for Intrepid is to package this new work. Your testing skills will be put to great benefits when this new feature lands in the archive.

sybase support in php5 re-enabled

It went away during the move to 5.2.6 – oops… It’s back now.

Stable Release Updates in hardy

openldap has been updated to version 2.4.9 in hardy. This version fixes a number of bugs including syncrepl issues, assertion errors, and segmentation faults found in previous versions of openldap. In a word: more reliable and replication that works well.

postgresql released a new bug-fix-only version: dapper (8.1.13), feisty (8.2.9), gutsy (8.2.9), hardy (8.3.3) and intrepid (8.3.3) have all been updated.

Mail server improvements for the Intrepid Ibex

Posted in Uncategorized on June 25th, 2008 by Dave Walker

Scott Kitterman, one of the Ubuntu Server mail experts, discussed during last UDS a couple of improvements that could be made in the mail server area during this release cycle. The outcome has been turned into blueprints so that we can track their progress through out the cycle.

DKIM support to amavisd-new by default

This blueprint aims at providing Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) verification and From based white listing support in the default amavisd-new configuration. It requires a small change in the default amavisd-new configuration and writing a couple of Main Inclusion Reports for the following packages:

  • libdigest-sha-perl
  • libnet-dns-perl
  • libcrypt-openssl-rsa-perl
  • libmail-dkim-perl

Support Clamav and Spamassassin in Main

Anti-virus scanning and spam detection are two important components in a mail server. For that we have clamav and spamassassin . This specification describes the steps needed to get these two packages moved into the main repository. One aspect deals with some changes required in the packaging of clamav. The other is to write a number of Main Inclusion Reports for various packages.

Want to help ?

An important part of the work described above involves writing Main Inclusion Reports. The process is described in the Ubuntu developer wiki and centers around writing a Main Inclusion Report about the package outlining security history, bug status and standard compliance.

Interested ? Then grab a package from the list mentionned in the specifications above and write up its Main Inclusion Report. And by october you’ll be able to say that you’ve contributed in shaping an intrepid mail server.


Server Team 20080624 meeting minutes

Posted in Ubuntu Server meeting minutes, Uncategorized on June 24th, 2008 by Dave Walker

Here are the minutes of the meeting. They can also be found online with the irc logs.

Ebox and augeas

mathiaz started a thread on the ebox-devel mailing list about using augeas in the backend code. Response has been positive so far and upstream developers will look into it.

On a related note, nxvl packaged augeas. He uploaded it to revu and is looking for comments.

text browser on the server cd

mathiaz sent a reply to the w3m thread on ubuntu-devel to announce the position of the ubuntu-server team. The thread is still active on the ubuntu-server mailing list but has drifted to the topic of server flavors.

Relocation of web pages from /var/www/ to /srv/www/

lukehasnoname put out a proposal for moving the default location of the RootDir in apache2 from /var/www to /srv/www. The main reason is to be compliant with the FHS. Objections were raised: increased delta with Debian, common knowledge about the location of the root directory, FHS doesn’t require any structure in /srv. It was suggested to take this proposal to the Debian maintainers and discuss it with them.

Intrepid Spec status

ScottK asked about the state of approval for specs. dendrobates answered it was working on them now and the list should be ready in the next few days. ScottK also ask for feedback on his server flavor spec.

Iso testing for 8.04.1

mathiaz reminded that the iso testing tracker has 8.04.1 candidates for the ubuntu-server isos. Testing is more than welcome in that area. He also added that isos for 8.10-alpha1 are being worked on, but nothing is ready for testing yet. Those interested in helping in iso-testing should register with the iso testing tracker.

MIR for Recommends

ScottK asked whether MIR for Recommends should be created. Starting from Intrepid, apt installs Recommends by default. However if packages are not available it won’t fail. The question is whether packages in main can recommend packages in universe. mathiaz suggested to send an email to ubuntu-devel to raise this issue as there wasn’t a clear answer given in the discussion.

Agree on next meeting date and time

Next meeting will be on Tuesday, July 1st at 15:00 UTC in #ubuntu-meeting.

Getting your own list of fine merges

Posted in Uncategorized on June 23rd, 2008 by Dave Walker

For those of you that wonder how I’ve put up the list of fine merges from the Ubuntu Server team, I’ll shed some light on the process I’ve followed. I’m not going through the list of hundreds of merges. Instead I’m reading the Ubuntu Server merge report which includes only packages relevant to the Ubuntu Server team.

This page is generated by a small python script that narrows down the list of merges to a set of packages related to the ubuntu-server team in launchpad. Moreover each merge has more details than the report pages generated by Merge-O-Matic: changelog entries from Ubuntu and Debian, diff statistics from the generated patches.

How-to get started

The script and the necessary bits are available in bzr.

To get started, you need to install the python-mako and python-magic packages:

sudo apt-get install python-mako python-magic

Then checkout the bzr branch:

bzr branch lp:~mathiaz/+junk/get-merges

Change your directory to the get-merges branch just created and generate your report:

cd get-merges/
./get_merges.py lp-id

After some minutes you should find a file named lp-id.html with a list of merges relevant to the LP id.

The list of packages relevant to the team is gathered from the LP id package report page (example: the ubuntu-server page). An additional list of package can be added via a local file named lp_id.list (there is an example file (ubuntu-server.list)  in the script directory). Files related to the merge (.patch and .diff.gz files) are downloaded from Merge-O-Matic and cached locally in the merges/ directory. The mako template engine is used to generate the final report. Have look at the style.css and get_merges.mako files in order to customize the output.

Hopefully this script will help the merging effort that the Ubuntu Developer team is currently doing. You can create your personal merge list and filter out packages you’re not interested in. And if you ever get down to an empty list, you can always ask Merge-O-Matic for more !

8 outstanding merges

Posted in Uncategorized on June 19th, 2008 by Dave Walker

As pointed out by Colin Watson in an email to ubuntu-devel-announce the Debian Import Freeze is coming soon. In particular he stated that:

all packages should have been merged from Debian at least once by this time. After 26 June, merging a package from Debian that hasn’t been merged since Hardy will require a freeze exception

Following last week post about merges related to the Ubuntu Server Team I’ve dived into the list of outstanding merges and come out with the following suggestions about merges that should be easy to do:

The Ubuntu Server Team roadmap has been updated and I’ve noticed that more than half of the suggested merges last week had been done – well done fellow Ubuntu developers !

Server Team 20080617 meeting minutes

Posted in Ubuntu Server meeting minutes, Uncategorized on June 17th, 2008 by Dave Walker

Here are the minutes of the meeting. They can also be found online with the irc logs.

Openldap 2.4 SRU

mathiaz announced that openldap 2.4.9 had been uploaded to hardy-proposed. Testing and reporting on the results is more then welcomed. He added that he’d like to get 2.4.10 in hardy as well, but that would have to wait for 2.4.10 to hit intrepid. zul also mentioned that three bug fixes from 2.4.10 are already included in the 2.4.9 sru uploaded to hardy.

mathiaz mentioned that the nss_ldapd feature discussed at UDS had been committed to upstream cvs. It should be available in 2.4.11. nijaba suggested that we should target 2.4.11 for inclusion in intrepid.

Ebox and Ubuntu centralize server administrator spec

nxvl wasn’t able to make it to the meeting. There was some discussion about using Augeas as a backend for ebox.

ACTION: mathiaz to send send an email to the ebox devs about augeas

Spec status/review

ScottK asked what was the status of specification approval for intrepid. dendrabates said he was still working on finalizing the list. ScottK listed some of the specs he wrote server-flavors, clamav-spamassassin-in-main, amavisd-dkim and waits for their approval to start implementing them.

Proposed ubuntu server team PPA

zul brought up the idea of having a PPA for the ubuntu-server team. mathiaz asked what it would be used for. zul said he’d see it used as a staging area for -proposed. mathiaz asked zul to ping him if he came across a package that would fit in an ubuntu-server ppa and not in a personal ppa.

text browser on the server cd

mathiaz highlighted the recent thread on -devel and -server about moving w3m out of the standard seed. After some discussion it became clear that the Server team would like to keep w3m installed by default on Ubuntu Server.

The discussion drifted to the topic on seed review. Once the -server seeds are created, -standard and -minimal should be reviewed to make sure that server related packages are not installed on desktop and vice-versa.

ACTION: mathiaz to send a reply to the thread with the position of the server team.

ACTION: dendrobates to review seeds wrt to the creation of the server seeds.

Agree on next meeting date and time

Next meeting will be on Tuesday, June 24th at 15:00 UTC in #ubuntu-meeting.

Fine merges from the Ubuntu Server Team

Posted in Uncategorized on June 12th, 2008 by Dave Walker

So you’ve started to work on some packaging issues ? Already have a couple of patches uploaded in Ubuntu ? Want to fine tune your knowledge in that area and wonder what this Merging buzz is all about ? I’ve read through the list of merges and selected a couple of them that should not be too difficult to do.

All related to the Ubuntu Server area here is a selection of fine merges from the universe repository:

If you run out of merges there are more listed on the Ubuntu Server Team roadmap. And if that resource gets also depleted there is the big list of merges with hundreds of them waiting for your packaging thirst – be warned though that some of these require advanced skills.

To help you during your quest I’d suggest to look at the Merging page which outlines the process to follow when doing a merge. If you ever get lost drop by the #ubuntu-motu IRC channel on Freenode – plenty of experienced developers are available to help you out.

Server Team 20080610 meeting minutes

Posted in Ubuntu Server meeting minutes, Uncategorized on June 11th, 2008 by Dave Walker

Here are the minutes of the meeting. They can also be found online with the irc logs.

Openldap 2.4 SRU

zul filed a bug to start an SRU for openldap 2.4.9 for hardy. The SRU was accepted by the SRU team. However there was some issues with the uploaded package which was rejected.

mathiaz added that openldap 2.4.10 had just been released – the changelog is rather short and consists of bug fixes only. There was some discussion whether 2.4.10 instead of 2.4.9 should be used for the SRU. As the SRU for 2.4.9 is already accepted, it was decided to go on with 2.4.9 and get 2.4.10 in hardy at a later time.

ACTION: zul to go ahead with 2.4.9 in hardy as an SRU.

Intrepid Specification Status

ScottK2 asked about giving a quick status on the specifications worked on. He’s been working on a Server Flavor spec, which is based around d-i to perform a minimal server install and then use FAI to further customize the install into a specific task (mail server for example). mathiaz added that he wrote 4 specs about network authentication and identity managment. kirkland finished his specs about encrypted directory, booting in degraded mode and swapfile in the installer.

kirkland has also been working on providing an online version of all the manpages available in Ubuntu. He plans to integrated this in his documentation search page.

nealmcb has been looking into the Ubuntu Centralized Server Administrator spec. mathiaz suggested to look into the Augeas project, which could be used as the backend to read and write configuration files. nealmcb wondered if ebox could integrate with this project.

ACTION: mathiaz to invite the ebox developer, nxvl and dan shearer to the meeting to discuss system adminstration framework.


mathiaz reminded that the development team is focusing on merges nowadays: there were 299 outstanding merges in main and 298 in universe. Anyone interested in packaging should have a look at these lists.

Intrepid Alpha 1

mathiaz reminded that Alpha 1 isos are been worked on and should be released on Thursday. Iso testing of the server images will be done during the next few days. Help in this area is greatly appreciated – coordination is done via the Iso testing tracker and in #ubuntu-testing on Freenode.

Agree on next meeting date and time

Next meeting will be on Tuesday, June 17th at 15:00 UTC in #ubuntu-meeting.

Server Team 20080604 meeting minutes

Posted in Ubuntu Server meeting minutes, Uncategorized on June 5th, 2008 by Dave Walker

Here are the minutes of the meeting. They can also be found online with the irc logs.

State of specifications

mathiaz reminded that the deadline for specifications is tomorrow (Thursday, June 5th) and that the approver should be set to dendrobates in LP. ScottK and neallmcb wondered if there was a list of blueprints targeted for intrepid somewhere. dendrobates said that such a list would be available next week under the ubuntu-server launchpad blueprints. Once the list is finalized mathiaz will add them to the Ubuntu Server Team Roadmap

Openldap 2.4.9 for 8.04.1

zul raised the issue of uploading openldap 2.4.9 to hardy as an SRU. 2.4.9 fixes a number of bugs after 2.4.7 was released (113 Fixed upstream bugs between 2.4.7 to 2.4.9). Moreover syncrepl is not usable in 2.4.7 and upstream advised us to not use 2.4.7 during UDS. slangasek stated that he would like to be able to weigh how many of these changes are critical, user-affecting bugs vs. fixes we could live without that may carry regressions. zul volunteered to classify the bugs to have a better view of what types of fixes have been included in 2.4.9 (syncrepl fixes, crashers, etc…). mathiaz and jdstrand also suggested to run the built-in test suite to catch regressions.

ACTION: zul to break down the list of bugs fixed in 2.4.9 by categories (syncrepl, crashers, etc…) and upload his package to his ppa.

Ubuntu Server Blog

mathiaz announced that he created an Ubuntu Server Blog as per the discussion during the Ubuntu Server community session at UDS. ScottK asked whether others developers would be able to contribute. mathiaz said he hoped so in the mid-term. But first he’d like to figure out an editorial policy.

There were some suggestions about the type of content that should end up on the blog:

  • minutes of the Server Team meeting.
  • updates on development work posted by developers.
  • demystify discussions that we all understand but leave our user-base with questions.

owh suggested that people can post contribution somewhere, that would then be reviewed before landing on the blog. mathiaz stated that such contributions and other suggestions about the Blog editorial policy should be emailed to him.

Webmin and ebox discussion on ubuntu-user

owh reported that there were some discussions on ubuntu-user about webmin and ebox. He asked why the Ubuntu Server team doesn’t recommend webmin. mathiaz answered that webmin gives to much power to the target users and tends to break existing configurations. webmin is a

web front end to edit configuration files. nealmcb added that ebox has a higher-level notion of what the user is probably trying to do, rather than being closely tied to config file syntax.


kees verified the new version of Limesurvey: unfortunately not all issues that he reported have been solved (or correctly solved) in the latest version. After some discussions, it was decided to run limesurvey on an isolated server hosted on the Ubuntu infrastructure.

Agree on next meeting date and time

mathiaz sent out a new proposal for the meeting. It was decided to move the meeting to Tuesday at 15:00 UTC.

Next meeting will be on Tuesday, June 10th at 15:00 UTC in #ubuntu-meeting.

A selection of Intrepid blueprints from the Ubuntu Server Team

Posted in Uncategorized on June 3rd, 2008 by Dave Walker

Now that UDS is over members of the Ubuntu Server Team are busy writing specifications (aka blueprints) about topics discussed during the summit. Specifications should be finalized by Thursday, June the 5th according to the Intrepid release schedule. Here is a non-exhaustive list of blueprints that are currently been written:

Encrypted ~/Private Directory in Each User’s Home

Dustin Kirkland has written a proposal to provide a default location for users to securely store sensitive data using filesystem encryption. The idea is to create a Private directory for each user and mounting it using ecryptfs at login. More details (such as PAM integration) can be found in the specification.

Kerberize Services in main

Mathias Gug outlines what could be done to improve kerberos integration for different services available in the main repository. The question of which kerberos implementation (MIT vs Heimdal) should be used is discussed and services that should support kerberos are listed.

Ubuntu Calendar Server

Chuck Short started a wiki page on Calendaring options available in Ubuntu. There a couple of packages available in universe (such as darwin calendar server, egroupware, obm, zimbra, and open-xchange). The goal of the specification is to find if one of them is suitable for inclusion into main.

Ubuntu Server Guide additions and updates

Adam Sommer has a list of specific sections in the Ubuntu Server Guide that should be worked on during the Intrepid release cycle. Windows Networking and network authentication with LDAP and Kerberos are the major targets. Plans to provide a pdf version of the guide are also discussed.

J2EE Support

Thierry Carrez looked into J2EE options that could be included in Intrepid. Tomcat, Geronimo, Glassfish and Jonas are amongst the projects that have been evaluated. A complete matrix is available in the wiki page.

This is just a selection of the blueprints worked on by members of the Ubuntu Server Team. Most of the specifications can be found on the ubuntu-server blueprint page in Launchpad.

These documents are still being worked on – now is the best time to read them, comment, suggest and send improvements (on the specification page or on the ubuntu-server mailing list). Make yourself hear now and there is a higher chance your ideas will be included in the next release of Ubuntu, the Intrepid Ibex !