Unifying the JackRabbit and DeltaV baseline loads

For a while, we’ve used Ubuntu 8.04 as the baseline distribution for DeltaV. In the earlier days, it was easier to get some aspects of the load working, as we had a modern kernel and userspace to work from.

Ubuntu 10.04 has come out, and I am not sure I like it as much. It has some good features, but Canonical has been pushing Ubuntu into some not so great directions as of late, IMO. Not directly relevant for DeltaV, but the nVidia/nouveau driver bits is an example of what I consider ill-advised. Grub2 (which sort of … kind of … works) is another, directly relevant issue.

Basically, I realized our default load was causing us something of a larger set of problems on OS load than I had intended. It was harder to automate than we liked, and I couldn’t share much of the programmatic configuration code between the JackRabbit and DeltaV lines. That is, we wound up spending a great deal more time setting up the DeltaV, which is a simpler system in general.

So we decided to simplify this.

Now both JackRabbit and DeltaV will use Centos as the base and default OS install, or the official Redhat for people who require this.

There is little impact upon JackRabbit, as it supports Linux in general, Windows, and OpenSolaris, though the risk of lawsuits from patent holders believing their rights have been infringed might restrict that last option.

DeltaV is an appliance. So the OS really isn’t open to discussion in the sense that we will ship it pre-loaded/configured. Its there to supply a platform for people to use. You can get a DeltaV and install your own OS, but this will destroy the platform appliance nature of it. We won’t stop you, but there is a price for making choices like this, in that you lose much of the software stack goodness we’ve put in.

But this change drastically simplifies our other efforts.

Since our appliance bits live in their own tree anyway (/opt/scalable), the base OS rarely impacted things … but we found enough differences between userspace on the distros that we wound up coding some of these into our tools, in a defensive sense.

As noted, we are now using the same OS, same kernel across systems. Userspace tools are evolving, and the cli/web interface should be demo-able soon. But now we don’t have to worry about multiple distro platforms with fewer issues in moving back and forth between them.

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