SUSE Manager based on Fedora Spacewalk

SUSE announced the availability of SUSE manager. Having a closer look to it, one recognizes it is based on Fedora Spacewalk. It is a clone of the Red Hat Satellite.

A few weeks ago I was puzzled to see a post on the spacewalk-devel mailing list. SUSE was contributing some code. What the heck? Now it is clear, they are using Spacewalk as there source for its own product. Spacewalk is no longer just the upstream of RHN Satellite, but also a major tool for managing SLES systems.

The open source way
It is good practice to share knowledge and code between different distributions. SUSE profits from the work Red Hat has done before, and Red Hat profits from the contributions of SUSE. IMHO this is the right way how open source software should work.

The price tag
SUSE claims “SUSE Manager allows you to save up to 50 percent for Linux support”. Really?

Lets have a look to How to buy. The price is exactly the same as for RHN Satellite: USD 13,500. Really the same price tag? Lets dig deeper on features Click on Database support. One would read

"SUSE Manager provides a built-in Oracle XE database, but can also leverage existing 
Oracle 10g or 11g databases, to locally store all data related to the 
managed Linux servers."  

Means: With the free Oracle XE database delivered with SUSE you can manage just a few systems. If you want to manage more systems, you need to buy a very expensive Oracle License which, last least, doubles the price tag of SUSE Manager.

And Debian? There are some works going on, maybe I’m going to write soon about Spacewalk and what it can do for and with Debian.

Because SUSE was not in a hurry to release its new product, I can not understand why SUSE was not helping the Spacewalk project to get PostgreSQL production ready before releasing it. This would provide its customers (and the spacewalk community) a real benefit.

I hope that SUSE will sustainably contribute code to Spacewalk, it is now in the interest of users of both distributions.

Have fun!

Some impressive figures about Spacewalk and my two cents

Today, I saw a interessing post on the spacewalk-devel mailing list.

Lines of code
Spacewalk has 2,908,841 lines of code, created in estimated 843 person years. This means 843 developers are needed to rewrite Spacewalk from scratch in one year! That’s amazing.

Number of bugs fixed
As stated in the post, the Spacewalk-team fixed 1012 bugs in the year 2010. Some 1061 bugs are still due to be solved, the Spacewalk-team will not running out of work in 2011. See RHN Satellite bugs and Spacewalk bugs.

Contributions from outside Red Hat
96% of the contributions are from Red Hat people. Looks like my small contribution to the German translation is just about 0.0000001% ;-). Seriously: This should be improved. More people outside of Red Hat should contribute. How? A good way can be a better support for Debian based distributions as well as for SLES/OpenSUSE and other distributions. I think this would attracting more Red Hat outsiders.

Another important thing: Instead of mailing list posts, Fedora should release its advisories similar to Red Hat. This would enable people to have the errata in its Spacewalk servers. This would lead into more people interested in Spacewalk in the Fedora community.

The IRC communication stats can somehow be a bit problematic. Is it really needed to log all IRC traffic? Its was stated that 24.1% have been questions, the mail list post also disclosed which are the most aggressive persons and so on. Privacy? For myself: I’m probably going to change my real name nick to something else…

Missing numbers
It would be interesting how many people are subscribed to the spacewalk and spacewalk-devel mailing lists and the number of posts to these lists.

Major achievements in 2010
This is just my point of view…

– PostgreSQL support reached a point where it is ready for broad testing.
– spacewalk-repo-sync allows to directly sync with yum repos.
– Staging of content
– Support for eliminating duplicate system profiles
– Performance improvements (felt, not measured)

Did I had fun this year?
I had a lot of fun with Spacewalk, for sure. I did not challenged Spacewalk with all the stuff that I need @work with the RHN Satellite.

Will I have fun in 2011?
With Spacewalk of course, it is a cool project. If the Fedora project decides to publish Spacewalk-like erratas I’m pretty sure that France will have a problem to produce the amount of Champagne needed. If it comes down to the RHN Satellite: Due to severe bugs, I only can manage RHEL6 systems with some workarounds but I am confident that this will change soon.

In short: Yes I’ll having fun 🙂

Important RHN Satellite 5.4 bugs has been fixed

Red Hat recently released some bugfixes for the RHN-Satellite version 5.4. They needed approx. one month to develop a fix for those serious bugs.

If you upgraded to sat540 before those bugsfixes have been released you will have a crippled database. The errata provides a way how to fix it. It needs some time, but it works perfectly. For “my” satellites it was taking about 48h for both satellites, about 12h for the master and 36h for the slave satellite.

This time, Red Hat’s QA also made a good job, it is now working like expected. The developers had a hard time too, according to the git log they worked on weekends too.

If you are new to sat540 or upgrading to it, please ensure that you do NOT take any action before applying the errara!

Have fun! (This time REALLY for sure)

Pulp, what is it about it?

Thanks to Máirín’s posting I got aware of the Pulp project.

What is it? I had a brief look at it, it is a Red Hat sponsored project with a similar functionality like Spacewalk and RHN Satellite.

This brings me to the question: Is Pulp is intended to be a replacement of Spacewalk? It can make sense, it is written in Python as Cobbler is. Cobbler and Spacewalk are not really playing nice together. Spacewalk used Java, Perl and Python.

Anyway, Pulp seems to be in its early childhood, but it seems to be a really interesting project. What are the plans for the future? And what are the plans for Spacewalk and thus RHN Satellite?

Having fun? As soon as I get the time to install it and give Pulp a closer look….