[Freedombox-discuss] Chef and Puppet experts?

FreedomBox-Discuss.NeoPhyte_Rep at OrdinaryAmerican.net FreedomBox-Discuss.NeoPhyte_Rep at OrdinaryAmerican.net
Fri Sep 9 18:05:16 UTC 2011

On Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 1:32 AM, Jonas Smedegaard - dr at jones.dk wrote:
> On 11-09-08 at 08:20pm, FreedomBox-Discuss.NeoPhyte_Rep at OrdinaryAmerican.net wrote:
>> On Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 7:14 PM, l.m.orchard at pobox.com wrote:
>> > On 9/8/11 9:15 PM, FreedomBox-Discuss.NeoPhyte_Rep at OrdinaryAmerican.net
>>  wrote:
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/puppet-chef-ease-transition-to-cloud-computing-09012011.html
>> >> Are there any Chef or Puppet experts here who can demonstrate the
>> >> configuration of a DreamPlug using either tool?
>> >
>> > Probably overkill for a DreamPlug.
>> Please enlighten me.  If the intent of the FreedomBox project is to
>> reliably set up a server, why would we not use a tool designed to
>> achieve that reliability.
> Because Chef and Puppet are tools to help do system administration, and
> the intent of this project is not only to set the server up, but keep it
> running *without* system administration.

I will definitely defer to the Chef and Puppet users on this, but it
is my lightly informed understanding (one presentation from one user
who teaches the use of Puppet for the League Of Professional System
Administrators (LOPSA) < lopsa.org >) that Puppet, at least, is
designed to keep the system in conformance to a described
configuration and take action if conformance is violated.

>> Also, what would you suggest the FreedomBox use that you would not
>> consider overkill.
> Debconf preseeding.
> For those not familiar with the term: Tell the Debian packages at
> install time how it should behave, and rely on the package to then
> maintain that behaviour also across updates/upgrades of that package.

It is my understanding that Puppet also maintains the configuration
across manual changes (attacks?).  I seem to remember it has a running
daemon for this purpose.  Again, I defer to actual users for a more
informed understanding.

> Yes, this needs more work to convince Debian package maintainers to make
> their packages more (pre)configurable.  But is way more reliable and
> sustainable on the long term!

Please support that last assertion, "... way more reliable and
sustainable ...".  I would like to understand your worldview better.

I can readily understand that there are Debian Developers who take
pride in their work and who might be motivated to work this issue.  On
the other hand, you've admitted, "... this needs more work ...".

I would like to suggest that since Chef and Puppet were created to
leverage the work of Administrators, they might be more motivated to
develop and share scripts and files that succeed in installing and
maintaining a stable system that requires minimal administration,
hopefully reducing it to zero in the long term.

I'm just trying to think through the means to the end of a system that
installs itself and maintains itself.  We've been trying to do
something similar for automobiles for more than one hundred years and
we still have Mechanics.

And don't ignore the possibility this may become a recruitment of
additional people that actual develop solutions to a subset of the
FreedomBox solution.  Who knows they may find Debconf preseeding a
nice addition to their toolkit and move it closer to a robust
solution.  (I can dream can't I?)

> For *development* phases of FreedomBox, it therefore makes sense to
> "cheat" and use some means of circumventing the too simplistic setup
> done by packages.  I recommend to use FAI for that, as it eases the
> later transition to proper Debian-packaged customization handling.
> Have a look at the [boxer] tool which supports FAI tweaks.
> [boxer]: http://git.emdebian.org/?p=upstream/boxer.git;a=blob;f=README

I enjoy examining tools that work issues like this.  Thank you for the pointer.

> Regards,
>  - Jonas
> --
>  * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
>  * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/
>  [x] quote me freely  [ ] ask before reusing  [ ] keep private


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