Symbolic 1.2.0 released \o/

Hey folks, after a lot of (hard) work and time, Symbolic 1.2.0 has finally been released 🙂
You can download it here.

There is a lot of improvements and new features, in particular we simplify installation and configuration, and delay our release to moving the application server container from jetty (shipped with grails) to a customized tomcat5 instance.

New features and fix:

  • Completed opensymbolic XML-RPC server functions
  • Completed Scripts execution
  • Added Kerberos Authentication
  • Database personalization moved in configuration file
  • RPMS Spec Changed
  • Application server container switched to Tomcat
  • Moving on OpenJDK as default JVM
  • Create a Plugin Management Execution
  • Multi Thread Symbolic Engine
  • Created Grails Plugin (Func Grails Plugin) to integrate Func Communication
  • Solved some minor bug fixes
  • Migration to fedorahosted
  • Updating documentation

We need tester, if you are interested to give feedback to us, you are welcome 😉


FUDCon – Brno 2008

I was in FUDCon (Fedora Users and Developers Conference) in Brno, from September 05th to 07th:

Day 1 – 05th September
I woke up at 5:20am (without alarm!! I don’t know how I did it!!), and I met Simone at 6:00am. We went together to Malpensa Airport, one of the worst Italian ones and, so far (in italian we say “è in culo ai lupi”).

After arrive to Malpensa and met Marco, we wait our flight (scheduled at 9:15), and arrived in Prague about at 11:00: Francesco was there, waiting for us (he arrived directly from Dublin). We rent a car and, after 2 hours trip we arrive in hotel.

The hotel was strange, it was more similar to an hostel than an hotel, except for the reception. The most strange stuff was the elevator…without internal doors. Rooms were nice, beds comfortable, IMO the only problem was the too small bath towel.

We arrive in university at 15:00, we caught tram and we asked to people about university, because we weren’t sure about direction, but nobody know anything about it. It was strange and a bit funny.

In university we met Gianluca and other guys I saw in Linux Tag, by the way, most of them there weren’t, in particular the German and French one.

The afternoon wasn’t hard because the hack meeting sessions ended before we arrived; in the evening we went to eat for dinner with Max. He brought us in a nice place he tried the day before.
We spoke about a lot of things, like  and we had a nice dinner.

We complete the Italian delegation when Ugolini Francesco arrived (after 9:00 pm) and we started an Italian ambassador meeting. I reported the actual organization status and a lot of thing we wish to organize, like release events, scheduled in November.
During all time, Francesco was very funny and we laughed a lot (especially about his love issues). 😀

Day 2 – 06th September
The second day was the most important FUDCon day because there was BarCamp.

I was a bit worried because I had to do a talk and:
a) it was my first talk in English language
b) My English sucks a bit

After Max introduction, all the speakers presented their topic and chose when they wish to speak about.

My talk was about Func (Fedora Unified Network Controller), an awesome software/Python API useful to manage a large network using bash or python scripts and designed to be a basis on new management applications. If you wish to get my slides, you can find here (PDF) and here (ODP).
Marco spoke about symbolic which is basically an open source func-frontend sponsored by byte-code and written in grails, characterized by a lot of features.

I attended the Spacewalk talk, by Miroslav Suchý which was interesting, because I saw spacewalk running, for the first time. Francesco Ugolini spoke about Fedora Localization, and Ambassador issues.

During his presentation there was an interested slide about organized events: EMEA rocks a lot with 39% of organized events, and I think its importance will increase next year.

As last speech, Czech people organized a “Czech crash course” (or survivor course). What amazing and funny session!! Here the video.

The social event was nice, the location was a bit hot but after dinner, we stayed outside restaurant and the temperature was better. About at 22:00, I went with a lot of people in the downtown and I made nice pictures about it.

Day 3

Last day Me, Marco, Simone and Francesco organized func & symbolic hacking session. While I showed func I’d got a couple of bug, one in func delegation and another in jboss module I wrote months ago.

Marco and Francesco worked on Symbolic RPM (they fix ACL to fix func call); Simone and Miroslav installed SpaceWalk.

In the afternoon we returned to Prague and we did a two hours trip in the city.

In conclusion I think Czech crew did a very well job. I think this FUDCon was nice and important because was the first FUDCon in EMEA zone.

If you are interested to see my photos, just come here.

Tech Day

Warm Up

Checking infrastructure

  • camera                                                                                  [   ok   ]
  • webcam… found two                                                            [   ok   ]
  • fedora ambassador polo                                                      [   ok   ]
  • laptop                                                                                    [   ok   ]
  • presentation….adjusted starting from here [   ok   ]
  • kobold + fedora 9 isos                                                          [   ok   ]
  • posters                                                                                  [   ok   ]

ready to go! 🙂


I don’t have time for a report, however Gianluca Varisco’s report is good and enought. In few words: nice event.

Here and here you can see photos from this event.

Symbolic #1 – Overview and Features

First Symbolic version was released on 22/04/08. It was first open source project I never managed, we got some problem to start and to make a stable version. Now I’m releasing (aka uploading on sourceforge) the 1.1.1. version. 🙂

I want to write a bit on this project on my blog (improvements, bugs, solutions and so on), but before I need to explain a bit few word about this project.

What’s symbolic?
Symbolic is a web application written with grails and is written as a front end of FUNC (Fedora Unified Network Controller). Symbolic goal is to resolve a big problem when unskilled administrators have to manage huge number of machines (virtual or host); FUNC has sexy design and is written really good, but is a python API, so require a substantive knowledge and is difficult to be used by unskilled people.

Which features actually are implemented?
Symbolic is written using Agile programming, so there are a lot of feature which are implemented and removed because testing fails. Actually there are these implemented features:

  • basic and LDAP authentication which support one or more LDAP servers
  • Virtual machine and cluster management: every machine can be inserted as virtual machine, host, guest and cluster; this characterization permit different action to different machine types (for example, virtual machines can be destroyed 😀 )
  • Every operation and machine can be tagged, in this way each users has a separated environment and control only granted machines.
  • Operations: any operation is a combination of a module (which corresponds to FUNC module) and functions with certain parameters. Parameters can be dynamic or fixed: inserted run time or chosed during operation creation (example, ping to an arbitrary host or ping to a fixed host).
  • Usability: we worked hard to improve usability and made application easy and simple to use by everyone (I agree, there is a lot of work in this direction)
  • Scripting: possibility to deploy simple scripts (only by administrator). Each user can launch it (if, of course, allowed).
  • Operation log, to see what operation was launched: each operation has different status, Success, Failed, Waiting, and so on…

Right now there is a dirty method to call FUNC, using command line; I’m writing (very slowly 😦 ) a FUNC extension to allow communication through network (now with XMLRPC but soon with socket). In this way FUNC provides a general interface which guarantee interdependency from back-end and front-end eliminating problems due different programming languages.

Who is working behind symbolic?

Francesco Crippa and Davide Panelli are project managers; me, Marco Mornati and Simone Pucci are developers, Samuele Storari is our Art Director. Last but not least, behind symbolic there is also FUNC community.

to be continued 😉

Update 15/06/08@09:53am
Symbolic 1.1.1 has been released, downland here. Grails 1.0.3 is required (RPM here).

PyCon 2 Live #2

Oggi la qualità dei talk è aumentata di molto. Devo ammettere che Google ha dimostrato un’ottima qualità e cura nella gestione dei talks: Brian Fitzpatrick ha tenuto un talk su come l’utente spesso non viene considerato durante lo sviluppo software, Alex Matelli ha parlato di Google Apps Engine. A differenza di Skype, che ha effettuato un investimento puramente monetario (senza curare molto la qualità dei talk), devo ammettere che da Google c’è veramente da imparare.

Il mio talk è filato via liscio, peccato che fosse in un orario un po’ sfigato (domenica pomeriggio dopo il coffee break) che ha contribuito in negativo ad una bassa affluenza. Per inciso, ho parlato di Func – Fedora Unified Network Controller (sul quale pubblicherò a breve un articolo), che è un sistema di API python, che permette il controllo agile di host su reti di larga scala.

Func and JBoss Module

Func (Fedora Unified Network Controller) is a revolutionary and sexy tool that allow you to administer hosts on large scale environments, using a secure communications through https. Func is written in python and is promoted and sponsorized by Red Hat.

Func is designed to implement a client-server model: there’s a single host master (certmaster) which register and exchange certificate with minions (clients). Certmaster can launch commands (ping, ps, netstat, and so on), get various information (hardware infos, nagios infos, xen virtual hosts infos, etc) on each or groups of clients. All commands are module and, thanks to module-driven design, is quite simple to write your own. You can find modules list here.

I wrote, with my byte-code colleagues, a simple module to monitor JBoss running instances, by retrieving information about active ones (port, name, bind address and pid), about problems (for example when two instances are started on the same bind address), and some little stuff (search).

You can execute command by using a single code line, for instance:

func "*" call jboss status
func "*" call jboss status

and so on…more information here.

This module has multple purposes: the first one is to add useful and new stuff and the second is to start something that connect Java and Linux world. In fact, at this moment, they too many separate (although SUN made java opensource, with too delay, IMHO), and, at the same time, Red Hat world and JBoss world.

Unfortunatly I’m not a jboss man, and I don’t have idea on possible stuff to be added (ATM I’m think to add a deployer but func need improvement to copyFile Module ;-))