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VDT Office Hours 03 August 2006


VDT 1.3.11

The VDT team released the latest version of the VDT distribution this week. This release is intended as a mid-point between OSG 0.4.1 and OSG 0.6.0. That is, it contains some of what is needed for OSG 0.6.0, but not everything. It is being released now because some members of the OSG community would benefit from some of the features becoming available now.

Full list of changes in VDT 1.3.11

Highlights of this release:

VDT 1.3.12: Planning for OSG 0.60

Tentative plans for VDT 1.3.12

Alain brought up the question to whether users would like to have smaller, faster VDT releases or stick with large, comprehensive updates. Most people agreed that it depends on how easily upgrades can happen.

The VDT team would also like to begin a dialog with its users about which supported platforms can be dropped. In particular, RedHat 7 and 9 will soon no longer receive updates and security fixes and thus, few installations may still have machines using these older operating systems. It should be noted that if VDT users need support for these platforms, we will seriously consider it.

There is a new option in the Generic Information Provider that allows one to probe GUMS. This, however, requires a pre-release of GUMS that is not part of the VDT. This will either be resolved with an update to VDT 1.3.11, or changes to VDT 1.3.12.

Upgrading VDT Installations

An ongoing problem with the VDT is the ability to reliably upgrade software components without disrupting the existing installation. For example, the Pacman system deletes setup scripts if any component fails during an installation, which is undesirable in an upgrade scenario. In addition, updates have usually required a fresh installation. There was some discussion between office hour attendees about whether the VDT should migrate operations to a new packaging system or what changes would need to be made to Pacman to make upgrading easier. Ruth Pordes brought up the point that the VDT will need to think about the trade-off between making progress with new software releases or converting to a suitable Pacman replacement, and that OSG has committed to using Pacman.

In the coming days, the VDT team will compose a document to them and the community understand the implications and challenges of allowing for seamless upgrades of software components. Information in this report will include known requirements of our users when upgrading and possible technical solutions. From this process, the VDT team will then turn to the community for feedback.

New Platform: PowerPC Debian

Charlie Peck from Earlham College brought up a request for the VDT to support a subset of client software packages using Bootable Cluster CD on PowerPC and x86. He would like to be able to interface with OSG for educational workshops on portable clusters.

The key task for adding support for this architecture would be to first get Globus to compile and Condor-G to run. This would bring most of the functionality needed by Charlie. Alain Roy believes that a full port would require roughly two weeks of work on the VDT's team part. There was discussion about bringing somebody in (possibly Eric Shook) to Madison to train with the VDT team to help with this effort.