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VDT Office Hours 17 July 2008


Reconsidering the VDT's design

Tim noted that the VDT is thinking about the big picture and considering changes to packaging and deployment. Packaging systems like RPM and Debian's deb files are being considered. There is are also plans under consideration to seperate binaries from their configuration, so that the VDT would install the binaries, then handle configuration. This is a work in progress, and the VDT team is looking for feedback on what is good and bad about the current situation and what other solutions the community would like considered.

Dan and Ed asked a number of questions. Would the VDT provide source packages, like srpms? This would be useful if a new version of a distribution was released with new libraries. A site could build and install from the source package and get going without needing to wait for official VDT binaries. Tim replied that this had not yet been considered. The VDT build system requires lots of infrastructure, including both Metronome and a large number of VDT specific tools which have not been packaged for distribution. The VDT could provide the source, but not necessarily the tools necessary to reproduce a given build. It's also not clear if the result would actual constitute a VDT install. But it an important thought to consider.

It was suggested that it might be good to provide RPMs for "mission critical services" installed by root, while sticking with Pacman for user tools.

The idea of hashing ideas out in person was brought up. Unfortunately the OSG is doing a proposal for restructuring, including possible proposing a pilot project, at the OSG blueprint meeting next week in Madison. As such there isn't much time in the near term.

It was noted that it is difficult to get useful information out of Pacman, compared to RPM. Tim noted that the VDT has replaced portions of Pacman's functionality in a number of areas, leaving Pacman unable to answer some questions. The VDT can tell you which package installed a given file using vdt-which-package, which is installed as part of the VDT-Core package. The VDT logs and internal backups include information about which files the VDT itself has modified during installs, but it cannot generate a report about which files have changed external to the VDT.

VDT team short handed next week

Tim let everyone know that the VDT is short handed over the next week. Team members will be busy with meetings, business trips, and vacations. There will likely not be office hours on the 24th.