B2 Software update - Excito's plans

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johannes
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B2 Software update - Excito's plans

Post by johannes » 27 Apr 2011, 03:44

Hi all,
First off, I want to say that I understand the criticism you let out in this thread. You all have valid points. Furthermore I want to emphasize the kind words and loyal support you have shown us over the years, and continue to show us, even in this thread (somewhat surprisingly).
We have also received emails from some of you to support@excito.com, now latest from Ubi where he clarifies how some of you feel and what you think needs to be done. So I will try to clear a few things up here:

Communication
One of the main issues here is probably that Excito didn’t communicate with you the past months or so. There are reasons behind this – we lost 50% of this company’s founders lately when PA and Tor decided to leave us, so I and Magnus got quite busy with day-to-day operations. I’m now responsible for development, but Tor has some big shoes to fill. This is straightening up as we go by, but anyways this is no excuse and this is not how we want to operate. So consider this point taken. And if you at any time feel we are missing something don’t hesitate to notify us. My direct contacts are in the footer below, anytime.

B2 updates
As I said before we recognize the need for updating the B2. It is not good that we are so far behind but let’s focus on the future and see what we can do:
We have been short on development resources but this is slowly improving now. Carl is currently working on a B3 upgrade with a few fixes and new features, and after that we decided to schedule the next B2 upgrade. We will then merge the B2 and B3 code base. Hence, B2 will get squeeze and all the (software) features B3 has today, difference will only be hardware related and some logos etc. This work is aimed to start in june, when the B3 2.3 release is done. The amount of work is not known but we aim for release in the third quarter this year. We hope for august but can’t promise. (However, we do promise to keep you updated.) I hope you can bare that long.
However, this upgrade will be as installer only, for technical reasons as I mentioned before. I don’t fully understand this myself, but I’ll tell what I know for those interested: Debian has changed parts of the apt system, for instance adding “breaks” in package handling. This makes it impossible to directly apt-get update from etch to squeeze. The only theoretical solution would be to go via lenny, reboot and then update from lenny to squeeze. However this poses too many risks, keep in mind that this _must_ work also for users who are scared of the command line. The matrix of possibilities to test before daring to release this is simply too large. Let me know if you need deeper details and I’ll have Carl explain.
So, this update will be installer only, but as you know you don’t have to wipe the disk. The installer has settings so you can just re-install the system partition. After recreating the users, everything is as it was before. I hope you can live with this. And after doing this change, updates for B2 will follow B3’s release path and will be a minor issue, both for you and for us.

So what do you say? Good or bad? Do you have other suggestions on what path we should take here?

With bubba love,
/Johannes

+46 734 071793 | johannes.book@excito.com | skype: johannes_book
/Johannes (Excito co-founder a long time ago, but now I'm just Johannes)

Binkem
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Re: B2 Softwareupdate

Post by Binkem » 27 Apr 2011, 04:06

Hi Johannes,

I am very glad that you have given an outline for the development of B2/B3 software. I am looking forward to the B2 update to squeeze. I'm not looking forward to having to reinstall my Bubba (I'm not sure I can remember all the extra packages and services I've installed over the years :? ), but the update will be worth the trouble I hope. It might be a good thing to make it possible for experienced users to update their Bubba's using the command-line update via Lenny, but this shouldn't delay your work on the normal update.

Martijn

johannes
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Re: B2 Softwareupdate

Post by johannes » 27 Apr 2011, 04:11

Hi Binkem,

Yes, this crossed my mind aswell, when we have the installer ready and all the B2 packages in the elvin repo (same repos as we now use only for B3) I guess a command-line update should be doable for people who know what they are doing, and perhaps we could help eachother to create a howto for this.
/Johannes (Excito co-founder a long time ago, but now I'm just Johannes)

RandomUsername
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Re: B2 Software update - Excito's plans

Post by RandomUsername » 27 Apr 2011, 09:53

Hi Johannes,

As one of the signatories to Ubi's email I am very grateful for this information. I'm also sorry you've suffered the loss of PA and Tor and I now understand things a little better. This is a great community and hope you remember we are all here to support each other. I hope in future if the going gets rough you don't keep it to yourself at the risk of alienating the community - I understand you're a private company but you're also an open-source community (a bit like Canonical I suppose).

Good news about the B2 update. I can live with an installer only update, I didn't realise you couldn't go from Etch to Squeeze so easily. @Binkem -

Code: Select all

dpkg --get-selections
:)

As ever, if you need beta testers or whatever, please shout.

Darren.

DanielM
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Re: B2 Software update - Excito's plans

Post by DanielM » 27 Apr 2011, 12:38

Thanks Johannes for answering and being straight. We all think the Bubba series are quite wonderful little thingies and we hang around here because we care. So just say if there's anything we can do!

/Daniel - a part of the community

Cheeseboy
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Re: B2 Software update - Excito's plans

Post by Cheeseboy » 27 Apr 2011, 14:24

Thank you for letting us know what's going on Johannes!
It is much appreciated.

gatto
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Re: B2 Software update - Excito's plans

Post by gatto » 27 Apr 2011, 19:57

So, these are awesome news!
I personally appreciate the effort of bringing B2 sw to the level of B3, this more than I hoped for, but this is probably the easiest solution for you to keep up to date. Thanks a lot

And of course, thanks for writing here and for giving to the community a roadmap for the release, even if subject to changes, it gives a strong feeling that this is being worked on.

So, thanks again, if you need some testers, my bubba 2 and I would be glad to help, and surely is a lot of people in this community, in which I'm new, that seems very active and positive.

All the luck to you, guys
ciao

johannes
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Re: B2 Software update - Excito's plans

Post by johannes » 28 Apr 2011, 02:56

Thanks a lot for you guys positive feedback, much appreciated! :)
/Johannes (Excito co-founder a long time ago, but now I'm just Johannes)

NisseJ
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Re: B2 Software update - Excito's plans

Post by NisseJ » 28 Apr 2011, 03:27

Thanks for the good info Johannes! :)

Im a happy owner of both a B3 since a month and a Bubba 2 since yesterday and they are really nice boxes. The only i miss from them is the ability to have forked-daapd on them so i can have my iMac turned off when i want to listen to music via the Airport express. That should save me a lot of electricity so that is my humble wish ;)

/Nisse

g__
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Re: B2 Software update - Excito's plans

Post by g__ » 03 May 2011, 13:40

Thank you for the update Johannes: I have a much better appreciation for your situation.

For those of us that aren't afraid of the command line, what can we do to help you? I would be happy to help in many ways. Would you be open to hosting community development projects? For example, a "hobbist's bubba distribution" or a "bleeding edge bubba distribution" where we could work side by side with each other and your development team. Your developers could pick and choose features from the community distribution to include in the next officially supported release.

My primary concern about experimenting with my bubba2 is loosing its services. It would be really helpful to have instructions [hosted on a wiki, for example] on how to:
  • de-brick a bubba, preferrably without loosing all data
  • debug bubba. (Does the bios support console on a serial port?)
  • setup qemu to faithfully test a bubba distribution on our desktops
  • manual upgrade (as previously suggested)
Those are my suggestions.. what are your thoughts Johannes? Everyone else?

kjellberg
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Re: B2 Software update - Excito's plans

Post by kjellberg » 04 May 2011, 02:25


johannes
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Re: B2 Software update - Excito's plans

Post by johannes » 04 May 2011, 04:37

@g__, yes, we have also went through the idea of helping out and opening up to community development, and we have decided to do so as soon as we have the internal power to support it. Our thoughts are:

- creating a well documented api for easier web application programming
- opening up our bug tracker
- hosting the repo publicly (we have started this by moving to github, but not went public with development code yet)

However, this needs some infrastructure and manpower from us, and right now we are too pressed to go forward with this. We'll keep you posted. Any ideas or suggestions here are welcome!

Regarding your questions:
> de-brick a bubba, preferrably without loosing all data
Just do a USB re-install? If only reinstalling the system partition, user data is intact. And if you want to fix minor issues (ssh lock-out etc.) this is easily done in rescue mode, no need for reinstalling.

> debug bubba. (Does the bios support console on a serial port?)
Serial port debus is on the wiki as mentioned by kjellberg

> setup qemu to faithfully test a bubba distribution on our desktops
We don't use this internally but run directly on B2/B3:s during development since this is easier to maintain.

> manual upgrade (as previously suggested)
Agreed, we'll do what we can to make a howto on this once the installer is done.
/Johannes (Excito co-founder a long time ago, but now I'm just Johannes)

wil
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Re: B2 Software update - Excito's plans

Post by wil » 04 May 2011, 07:04

kjellberg wrote:Debug bubba via serial port: http://wiki.excito.org/wiki/index.php/S ... cess_on_B3
And the right B2 picture is here: http://forum.excito.net/viewtopic.php?f ... ial#p12777

wil

manib
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Re: B2 Software update - Excito's plans

Post by manib » 04 May 2011, 15:39

Well Johannes,

this is s way much better then previous mumbo jumbo statements from Excito stuff about B2 upgrades.
In fact, this is all I want. :D
Simple explanation, auto criticism of non communications and clear statements that "B2 will get squeeze".

Now I'm thinking of buying B3 "for my second locations" at Christmas. :roll:

Thanx.

linuxtrap
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Re: B2 Software update - Excito's plans

Post by linuxtrap » 19 May 2011, 03:35

Hello Johannes

I'm one of many new B3 owners, and its already working hard. Just wanted to tell you I'm ready to do beta testing, and again its a great product.
To let the user be part of development is a great idea, and as you see we are ready.

PT

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