Thursday, September 30, 2010

One-click WebYaST

Everyone familiar with SUSE Linux will definitely know or at least have heard about YaST (Yet another Setup Tool). It is one of the many unique features SUSE has over other Linux distributions and makes the otherwise tricky system configuration a snap. These configurations include hardware, network, services, security, and many more.

YaST has evolved over the years to include many different front-ends, such as those for GNOME, KDE, and text consoles (ncurses). The most recent addition is a web-based front-end called WebYaST. It simplifies remote system administration and configuration - you don't have to SSH into the system anymore, all you need is a web browser.

It is now easy to include WebYaST in your Studio appliances. Simply go to the appliance editor and select the Enable WebYaST option under the additional options section of the configuration tab (for SLE11 SP1, openSUSE 11.3 only):

This will modify your software selection to include the necessary WebYaST repositories and packages. Your software tab will then look something like this:

If you have the firewall configured, it will open up the default WebYaST port 54984. WebYaST will also be configured to auto-start on boot. You can run Testdrive to see it in action after building the appliance. Here's what the server boot looks like:

From there we can see that WebYaST started successfully. Now go to the networking tab in Testdrive and click Enable networking. This allows you to connect to directly to the WebYaST service running in your Testdrive session. The direct link can be found under the "Try out WebYaST" section of the Testdrive networking tab:

Note that the generated link only works on the computer that started the Testdrive session for security reasons (by bounding the connecting IP address), so you can't share it with others. The link will open a new page with a SSL security certificate warning which you can safely dismiss, and then you will see the WebYaST login page:

And here's what WebYaST looks like after logging in (use the system root account and password, which is root/linux by default):

Do bear in mind that WebYaST is relatively new, so it still has some rough edges. Give it a shot and let us know what you think!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Featured appliance - OpenMedia

OpenMedia is our featured appliance of the week. It is a desktop appliance specially configured for editing and recording audio/video.

The appliance includes Kdenlive, a powerful, free, and open-source multi-track video editor. The software is designed users ranging from basic video editing needs to semi-professional work, supporting a wide variety of codecs and formats. These include MPEG2, MP4, and h264 video; MP2, MP3 and AC3 audio; lossless video (SNOW, etc); free video (Ogg vorbis, etc). If you're looking for a video editing solution, this might just be it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Featured appliance - GNUmed Live

The featured appliance for this week belongs to Sebastian Hilbert. His GNUmed Live appliance makes it a snap to deploy GNUmed - a free, open source electronic medical record management software tailored for health care providers.

Created by a group of practicing doctors, programmers, and free software enthusiasts from around the world, GNUmed is great for health care service administration such as appointment management, document handling, patient management, etc. It also supports multiple languages and has built-in reporting facilities.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Featured appliance - BrowserBox

This week's featured appliance is BrowserBox created by Jacob. It is a great appliance for web developers and people who need to test websites in different browsers.

The appliance contains a whopping 22 versions of 12 different browsers, including the Android browser, Arora, Google Chrome, Epiphany, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Konqueror, Lynx, Opera and Safari.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Import KIWI and AutoYaST configurations easily

SUSE Studio offers nice user interface for configuring software appliances with many options. But what if you already had a configuration ready — for example a carefully tuned AutoYaST profile which your company uses for installing workstations? Or a KIWI configuration of your appliance exported from Studio (so that you could build that appliance on your machine) which you modified locally? Until now, there was no easy way how to apply it in Studio.

This is why we prepared a brand new KIWI and AutoYaST configuration import feature. If you enable it (more about that below), you can easily create an appliance based on your settings. Just go to your Studio home page, click the Create new appliance... button and select the Import icon instead of one of the templates.

Import icon

You can then upload your KIWI configuration or AutoYaST profile. Studio will automatically detect which one you used and create a new appliance with the configuration settings applied.

Supported settings

KIWI and AutoYaST imports support the following settings:

Setting KIWI AutoYaST
Name X
Architecture X (1)
Base system X (1)
Users X X
Repositories X X
Pacakges X X
Patterns X
Network settings X
Boot settings X
Build scripts X
Logos X
Background theming X
Overlay files X X

(1) The architecture and base system are selected by the user during the import. This information is not contained in the AutoYaST profile as the profiles are designed to be generic.

What about the settings Studio can’t import? In case of AutoYaST, we apply the unimported settings using AutoYaST itself when the appliance boots for the first time. You can edit the applied profile (with already imported settings stripped) in the Configuration → Scripts tab in the appliance configuration.

Enabling the imports

The KIWI and AutoYaST imports are still in beta — which means they aren’t enabled by default. To enable them, go to your profile page and click on the Enable experimental features button (this will give you access to all beta features we introduce).

As with all software still in beta, bugs are expected. If you’ll note anything not working as expected, let us know so we can look at the issue and fix it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

More secure SUSE Gallery

This week we introduced an important feature to SUSE Gallery — the appliance security summary. It is displayed for every published appliance and is designed to help you better understand what the appliance contains. This is useful for security reasons as you can easily see if the appliance contains any sources where undesirable code might slip in. It also provides a quick overview of the appliance’s contents.

Appliance security summary

The security summary will tell you if the appliance contains:

  • unofficial software sources (repositories)
  • custom software packages
  • overlay files (especially executable ones)
  • custom scripts that run after boot

Of course, the presence of any of these does not mean that the appliance is unsafe — many regular and completely safe appliances will have some yellow warning icons displayed in the summary. But it gives you some hints and more control. If you ever encounter any unsafe appliance, simply report it. We will take it down immediately and flag the appliance creator’s account accordingly.

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