BlueOnyx 5107R Beta

Posted by: mstauber Category: General

BlueOnyx 5107R is now available for Beta-testing.

During the last year we worked hard to have BlueOnyx ready for the next version of CentOS: CentOS 6.0. Since then much time has passed and only very recently and after a much longer delay than anticipated, CentOS 6.0 became available.

We have now reached a point, where BlueOnyx 5107R is (almost) ready for usage, but we feel that CentOS 6.0 is not at the same level. It's still missing half a year of security patches and will need more time to mature a little bit further.

But of course there are very solid alternatives to CentOS 6, such as Scientific Linux 6.0. It is another RHEL6 clone and is put together by Fermilab, CERN, and various other labs and universities around the world. Their goal is to have a RHEL compatible release, but they also add a few (optinal) extras for it which they need for their own various purposes. As far as we are concerned, it's as close to RHEL6 as it can get and we'd really wish that CentOS 6.0 was as mature as SL 6.0 and had such an excellent and proven track record with speedy releases for patches and updates.

All things considered, anything that runs on SL6 also runs on CentOS6 or RHEL6 without recompile.

Hence our BlueOnyx 5107R beta release is based on Scientific Linux 6.0. A CentOS 6.0 version will also be made available sometime down the road.

Where to get 5107R:

ISO image: The BlueOnyx 5107R ISO image can be downloaded from any of our download mirrors on the download page. The ISO is named BlueOnyx-5107R-SL-6.0-20110717-Beta-06.iso and you simply burn it to a CD and boot your server off it to format the hard disk(s) and to install BlueOnyx 5107R on Scientific Linux 6.0.

OS template: If you use Aventurin{e}, OpenVZ or another virtualization solution that uses OpenVZ, then you can get an OS template of BlueOnyx 5107R here. The latest OS template is named blueonyx-5107R-SL6.0-i386-BX04-20110716.tar.gz, but there is also a "bare metal" Scientific Linux 6.0 (without BlueOnyx pre-installed) in the same download directory. That one is named scientific-6.0-small-i386-SOL1-20110715.tar.gz. As usual with OS templates you simply put them in /vz/template/cache/ (without unpacking!) and can then create VPS's based off the templates in the usual way.

TAR-ball installer: We also released an updated TAR-ball installer, which allows you to install BlueOnyx 5107R on a 32-bit version of Scientific Linux 6, CentOS6 or RHEL6. Our TAR-ball installers are available here and the one for 5107R is named  BlueOnyx-5107R-SL6-CentOS6-RHEL6-i386-20110716.tar.gz. As usualy you just download it, extract the TAR-ball and then run the script that you find inside the extracted installer directory.

CMU: A new version of the Cobalt Migration Utility (CMU) has been released for BlueQuartz, too. It is available here. The primary purpose of it is to allow you to CMU-import sites on a BlueQuartz, which were exported on a BlueOnyx 5106R or 5107R. Like said: It's only needed on BlueQuartz in case you need to CMU-import BlueOnyx sites and users. All versions of BlueOnyx already come with the latest CMU, or can upgrade it via YUM.

So what's new in 5107R?

We didn't make 5107R as radically different from 5106R as we initially wanted to. For now we're keeping Sendmail and ProFTPd and didn't replace them with Postfix and VSFTPd as initially planned. Majordomo got replaced with Mailman, though and many of the daemons installed are also now available in newer versions than on the CentOS5 based BlueOnyx 5106R.

The most work was spent on making the GUI PHP-5.3 ready and doing a lot of minor fixes here and there. Many of these fixes will - in the comming weeks - also make their way "down" to BlueOnyx 5106R.

Here is a brief snapshot of changes that you can expect on 5107R:

OS related:

  • Kernel: 2.6.32
  • Sendmail: 8.14.4
  • Dovecot: 2.0.9
  • MailMan: 2.1.12
  • OpenSSH: 5.3p1
  • Apache: 2.2.15
  • PHP: 5.3.2
  • MySQL: 5.1.52
  • Perl: 5.10.1
  • Bind: 9.7.3
  • Tomcat: 6.0.24
  • Python: 2.6.6

BlueOnyx related:

  • IonCube Loader: 4.0.9
  • Zend Guard Loader: 5.5.0
  • Proftpd: 1.3.3e
  • phpSysInfo: 3.0.11
  • phpMyAdmin: 3.3.4
  • CGIWrap: 4.1

Most of the changes between 5106R and 5107R are not really obvious and mostly deal with compatability issues or are changes which the newer daemons, services and libraries kind of forced on us. While we worked on 5107R, many of the changes and impovements to it were more or less immediately backported to 5106R, too. And the bits and pices that were not yet backported, will be added to the 5106R code base during the next weeks.

For those interested in the nuts and bolts and details of all the changes, check the SVN summary page. Or for a less 'geeky' summary, check the rants and raves I posted during the development in our development blog.

So all in all: When you checkout BlueOnyx 5107R, you will probably be a bit underwhelmed because it looks and feels the same as 5106R at first glance and everything (well, almost!) is still where it used to be.

Why is it a Beta?

Quite frankly: It needs more testing. That never hurts.

BlueOnyx 5107R is probably more stable and more well rounded than BlueOnyx 5106R was at the time of its initial release more than two and a half years ago. Back then we needed a frenzy of hastened fixes and updates to iron out all the bugs that were still in the initial release.

That has cautioned me a bit declaring something "ready for productive usage". So I may be a bit too cautious here, but a bit more testing never hurts. There will be bugs. There may be things that we overlooked, or stuff that quite simply doesn't work 100% of the time. But whatever it is: We hope you find and report it, so that we can fix them as soon as possible.

If you find a bug, please let us know on the BlueOnyx mailing list.

PKGs for 5107R:

This surely will get asked, so I better answer this upfront: NO, you cannot use PKGs designed for 5106R on 5107R. They will not install, nor would it be wise to force their installation. Things will break and you can keep both pieces.

Just give the usual vendors some time to release 5107R versions of their PKGs.

But what happens with BlueOnyx 5106R?

Don't worry. We have split our code in SVN into two different groups: One that is identical between 5106R and 5107R and one group of modules that is OS dependent and must be different. This makes it a hell of a lot easier for us to maintain our code, as roughly 90% of it can be identical between 5106R and 5107R.

So BlueOnyx 5106R will be maintained for as long as CentOS5 will be supported by CentOS (March 31st, 2014). Whatever new features and fixes are added to 5107R will also find their way into 5106R, too. At least wherever possible.

If you are still using a CentOS4 based platform, please keep in mind that CentOS4 will reach end of life on March 31st, 2012, which is less than one year from now.

Closing comments:

In closing I want to thank everyone who has helped to make BlueOnyx the success that it has become in the last two and a half years since its initial release. BlueOnyx is now used on roughly 15.000 servers in 72 countries. That certainly wouldn't have been possible without the dedication and work of a lot of people, including you, the users of BlueOnyx, who are ever faithful to report the bugs, problems, issues and suggestions for improvements to us.

Many thanks to you all!

Jul 15, 2011 Category: General Posted by: mstauber
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