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Google Gets Slack with Software Updates

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the showing-off-your-toys dept.

94

An anonymous reader writes "While Google's open source project titled 'Slack' was released over a year ago, last week's Australian Unix Users Group Conference marks the first time that Google has ever discussed the system in public. Corporate systems administrator Michael Still helped to illuminate a little bit about how Google uses Slack and how their network of computers fits together. From the article: '"Slack is a source deployment system and it's the way we install applications on servers," Still said, adding Slack is based around a centralized configuration repository which is then deployed onto selected machines in a "pull" method. Each of the "worker" machines asks for its new configuration regularly or when a manual command is run.'"

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94 comments

FP (-1, Offtopic)

rigelstar (243170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16474805)

Google is all over the news these days. They should go on vacation.

Re:FP (3, Funny)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 7 years ago | (#16474857)

Google is all over the news these days. They should go on vacation.

s/News/Slashdot is a little more accurate :)

Maybe Google bought OSTG when nobody was looking. Might help explain why Taco's omelet is a little heavy on the Google sauce lately.

Re:FP (3, Funny)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475259)

Might help explain why Taco's omelet is a little heavy on the Google sauce lately.


Thanks. All the bleach in the world isn't going to help me with that mental image.

Re:FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16475849)

You're just not drinking it fast enough.

Name infringement? (2, Informative)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16474821)

How closely is Google Slack, tied to Slackware? If it's not, why did they choose that name? The Slashdot icon and URL suggests this story has to do with Linux.

Re:Name infringement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16474933)

Umm, because Google runs on linux?

Re:Name infringement? (2, Informative)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#16474985)

i was thinking the same thing, but i dont think it's tied. from the project page [sundell.net] :
slack is a configuration management system designed to appeal to lazy admins (like me).

Re:Name infringement? (3, Insightful)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475091)

You mean... Google uses Slackware Linux? AH! I knew it! :-)

More seriously, re-read TFA summary: Google Slack is a configuration manager, and not necessarily Slackware-Linux-related. OTOH, The fact that the Google engineers used that adjective may be an hommage to the oldest surviving Linux distribution.

"Slack" is, after all, a perfectly valid ajective in the English language. Even though it has deep religious overtones for the Subgeniuses out there... This being said, Slackware is still, for me one of the best Linux distribution out there.

It may be an homage, true (5, Funny)

mister_jpeg (46354) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475743)

Or maybe the googadmins have a sense of humor.


Naming an automated package management/software update system after Slackware? That's cute.

Re:It may be an homage, true (1)

DarkShadeChaos (954173) | more than 7 years ago | (#16476185)

When I read this I said what, 'Google provides updates?'. Then, 'And they're getting slack with putting them out!'. Only drug-induced reasoning provides confusion like that... sigh Well I guess I better get over this damn cold so I don't have to drink anymore sizzurp. :-D

Re:Name infringement? (1)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 7 years ago | (#16480797)

You never know, Apple might be trying to trademark 'Slack'. In a few years, we might not be able to say it without paying...

Re:Name infringement? (1)

mnmn (145599) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485081)

Its not just slackware, there was a project to simplify slackware further called 'slack' IIRC. It died fast, but Slackware like its maintainer is still alive and kicking.

I'd love to see slackware get a major lease in life just like its two competitors in 1996, redhat and debian. Its a crowded market there now with arch linux, puppy and many other smaller and embedded distros getting in the 'simple' Linux market. Slackware is the single best distro for learning Linux, reminds me of minix even. Everthing else is either complicated or embedded.

Re:Name infringement? (1)

xnewxer (1015529) | more than 7 years ago | (#16500379)

Hi I'm a computer and linux newbie, on my first impression about slackware i agree with you. From a newbie viewside IT IS The BEST DISTRO. Eventhough i used my Slack box only for typing and mp3 :) Look forward for tips when i start to dig deeper. Glad to join the old clan.

Re:Name infringement? (2, Informative)

AslanTheMentat (896280) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475113)

"Slack" isn't a trademark first of all (AFAIK anyhow), but it may very well be something of an inside joke with some of the SubGeniues [wikipedia.org] that Google has working for them...

from the wikipedia article:
The central belief in the Church is the pursuit of Slack, which generally stands for the sense of freedom, independence, and original thinking that comes when you achieve your personal goals. The Church states that we are all born with Original Slack, but that Slack has been stolen from us by a worldwide conspiracy of normal people, or "pinks". The Church encourages originality and frowns on actions seen as pinkness, which happens when one bows down to authority and the accepted limits of society. Popular Church phrases supporting these goals are "The SubGenius Must Have Slack" and "Fuck 'Em If They Can't Take A Joke."
The Linux distribution Slackware is named for Slack.

Fnord!

Re:Name infringement? (0, Offtopic)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475955)

All hail Bob, and his evil alterego, whose name is spelled backwards, Bob! That's right, Bob is his own anti-Bob!

Hail Eris!!
All Hail Discordia!!!
Emperor Norton for President!!!!

As a somewhat sad and OT sidenote, if you aren't already aware, Robert Anton Wilson is dying and had been destitute, unable to pay his next month's rent. I know that others have helped out but I'm sure that no one is going to turn down any donations. You can find out more info on places like BoingBoing and the like.

Re:Name infringement? (1)

Tmack (593755) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475975)

The Linux distribution Slackware is named for Slack.

Not to mention the default screensaver of the flaming face of J. R. Bob Dobbs himself!

tm

Re:Name infringement? (3, Informative)

nsanders (208050) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475585)

It's an acronym

S.L.A.C.K. - Sysadmins' Lazy Auto-Configuration Kit

Re:Name infringement? (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16478163)

Maybe they can rename it to something with a weasel in it.

Here's the source code (5, Informative)

Benley (102665) | more than 7 years ago | (#16474825)

Before anybody says "Hey! Where's the source?!", let me just provide a link right now:

http://www.sundell.net/~alan/projects/slack/ [sundell.net]

Do me a favor and don't destroy sundell's server, or he's likely to hurt me :-P

Re:Here's the source code (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16474947)

i bet he can serve up a 28-47K archive pretty reliably

Re:Here's the source code (1)

ardran (90992) | more than 7 years ago | (#16474955)

sundell.net rate-limits http so the server should be ok. Hopefully. Game on, I suppose.

(This isn't alan, just another s.n user.)

Coral Cache (5, Informative)

dch24 (904899) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475025)

I doubt it will get too slashdotted, but just in case, this is the link with the downloads coming from coral cache:

Index of /~alan/projects/slack

[TXT] COPYING 13-Oct-2006 00:09 1k
[TXT] ChangeLog 13-Oct-2006 00:09 7k
[ ] slack-0.13.1.tar.gz [nyud.net] 08-Jan-2005 20:01 28k
[ ] slack-0.13.2.tar.gz [nyud.net] 09-Feb-2005 11:27 28k
[ ] slack-0.14.0.tar.gz [nyud.net] 13-Oct-2006 00:09 47k

Short Description:

slack is a configuration management system designed to appeal to lazy
admins (like me). It's an evolution from the usual "put files in some
central directory" that is faily common practice. It's descended from an
earlier system I also wrote, called "subsets", and uses a multi-stage
rsync to fix some of the problems I had there.

Basically, it's a glorified wrapper around rsync.

License:
See the file COPYING.

Getting slack:
http://www.sundell.net/~alan/projects/slack/ [sundell.net]

Documentation:
Not much, but there's some in doc/

Reporting problems:
Send an email to <sundell (at gmail.com)>. Probably want to put
"slack" in the subject and be patient for replies. :)

$Id: README,v 1.5 2006/09/25 21:35:22 alan Exp $

Too inefficient -- use Bittorrent like ROCKs does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16475601)

I've got a 40-node cluster. Installing with rsync would be absurd. It would completely swamp the GB network switches.
A much better solution is what the ROCKs cluster people do which is to use bittorrent to have all the installing nodes also serve up installed data. That way the more nodes I install at once the faster the install goes.

Re:Too inefficient -- use Bittorrent like ROCKs do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16475847)

Are you implying in all seriousness that BitTorrent would not swamp the network switches? Or am I being trolled here?

Re: bittorrent (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#16479783)

No, it wouldn't. Because you're going to rate limit it. :-)

But the real way to do this effectively is through UDP multicast, but few people are comfortable enough with that to create cool hacks with it unless it involves streaming media, which is a shame for us sysadmins who are stuck with unicast methods.

Re:Here's the source code (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475537)

So, let me guess, somebody asks "where's the source?" You respond "Search me!" They do, and find it?

zzz (-1, Troll)

SuperStretch (1005515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16474861)

This article isn't even interesting. There's a reason why the poster was anon. I'll waste my next 5 minutes waiting for the comment limit timer to run out

Makes sense (3, Interesting)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 7 years ago | (#16474911)

Google has what, 700,000 servers? I would imagine that along the way they would have found existing solutions inadequate. Now they are making a version of their tool available other developers.

Re:Makes sense (1, Funny)

doti (966971) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475103)

they are slack to update them all by hand

Re:Makes sense (1)

charlesnw (843045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475275)

Actually they have closer to 100,000. I posted about this earlier. I have it from googles mouth.

Re:Makes sense (1)

junk (33527) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475859)

I just saw your earlier post about the number of servers and I have to say... BWAHAHAHAHA!

A few I think that it's very unlikely that number is exact:

1) The number of servers being used at any given time is pretty transparent. Do you think the average Google engineer has a way to do an actual count? Google's implementation of GFS (http://labs.google.com/papers/gfs.html) indicates that a user doesn't really have an idea of what server their using at what time... or if they're even using the same servers they were the day before. The actual filesystem is distributed and mirrored.

2) With the kind of growth that Google is known for (building of new datacenters, new offices, etc. all the time) the number is probably rapidly growing. From the time the engineer heard that unmber to the time when he leaked it to you to the day you're posting this, who knows where it has gone.

3) For what were you interviewing? Production? Corporate IT? Engineering? QA? What servers were you talking about? Do you think these are all sitting in the same place being used for the same things?

While you may have heard a number, I doubt you heard anything realistic or that you thought enough about the context to put any real use to it.

Re:Makes sense (1)

junk (33527) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475927)

ps-congrats on the interview... too bad you you didn't get the job.

Re:Makes sense (2, Interesting)

charlesnw (843045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16477459)

1) The number of servers being used at any given time is pretty transparent. Do you think the average Google engineer has a way to do an actual count? Google's implementation of GFS (http://labs.google.com/papers/gfs.html) indicates that a user doesn't really have an idea of what server their using at what time... or if they're even using the same servers they were the day before. The actual filesystem is distributed and mirrored.
Well I imagine that accounting would have an accurate idea. And I was interviewing for a data center position. These people work with servers on a regular basis.
2) With the kind of growth that Google is known for (building of new datacenters, new offices, etc. all the time) the number is probably rapidly growing. From the time the engineer heard that unmber to the time when he leaked it to you to the day you're posting this, who knows where it has gone.
Very true. This was less then a year ago. But your right they do grow at a fair clip.
3) For what were you interviewing? Production? Corporate IT? Engineering? QA? What servers were you talking about? Do you think these are all sitting in the same place being used for the same things?
Corporate IT. I am not so stupid as to presume all the servers sit in place doing one thing. I work in a very large envrionment with multiple data centers and know that server counts are meaningless when you talk about things like virtualization etc.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16477479)

Do you think the average Google engineer has a way to do an actual count?

Why not? There's a database; it's a simple enough query to count the machines.

I just did it. There are over 10,000 of them.

Re:Makes sense (1)

51mon (566265) | more than 7 years ago | (#16477723)

mapreduce would presumably make it very easy to count Google's servers in near realtime.

Finally a program using "mapreduce" that I could write without my brain hurting.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16481395)

True, except the number of production servers is irrelevant here: slack is primarily used in the corp network, not the production network.

Re:Makes sense (-1, Troll)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 7 years ago | (#16476557)

Great, another "pkg" variant. No, wait, it's an "apt" variant. No, wait, it's a "yum" variant. No, wait, it's an "autoyast" variant, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

It's often a sing of overpaid Perl script kiddies that they tend to write their own versions of tools for which there are dozens already available and working, rather than perfecting one of the more robust and tested ones. I've had to clean up after that kind of mess. It's nice if Google's works well, but what features does it actually have that make it superior to any of dozens of other such systems used privately and publicly?

Re:Makes sense (1)

AoT (107216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16476659)

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it probably works really good on a large scale.

Re:Makes sense (3, Informative)

Benley (102665) | more than 7 years ago | (#16478045)

You (and most others here) are largely missing the point. Slack is not a replacement for apt or rpm. It's more comparable to something like cfengine, although it's only vaguely in the same universe because Slack is so much simpler. Here's what goes in a slack role:

  • a preinstall script
  • a set of files (config files, little scripts, etc)
  • a "fixfiles" script for setting permissions on the files before they're moved into place
  • a postinstall script

That's it. You don't tar it up, you don't make a package, you don't have to learn a special language to describe your changes, etc. Nothing fancy. I know those four items sound similar to what you can do with a package management system, and they are, but that's not what this is for. You don't put binaries (for example) in a Slack role - slack is for higher-level stuff like your customized config files. You *could* roll custom packages for your config files and whatnot, but that's a lot of work (relatively speaking).

Say I've got a slack role for my web server. In the preinstall script, I'd make sure the right packages are installed, so I'd do something like "apt-get install apache2". Then in the files section, I'd have etc/apache2/httpd.conf along with whatever other config files I use for my installation. In the postinstall script I could check to see if I've just installed new config files and restart apache if I have.

That's all there is to it - it's purposely extremely simple, to make it easier than just copying files from an existing server to a new one when you set one up. Laziness usually wins out (a law of human nature, not a statement about google sysadmins :-P), so if config management is too much work, it either has to be forced upon everybody or it won't be used. Additionally, since you don't do anything with the files and scripts you put in a slack role, you can trivially put your slack repository in Subversion or CVS or your revision control du jour, so getting people to use Slack has the nice side effect of also getting them to use revision control for their config files!

And yes, I use it on my personal server with two admins :-P

Re:Makes sense (1)

51mon (566265) | more than 7 years ago | (#16477911)

Depends how you look at the problem.

Microsoft have rather more than 700,000 getting updates automatically - although I'm not sure their model would be a good one to copy, when Google discover it doesn't work with a proxy server quite right, and you need a GUI on every box to run IE ;)

Even the Debian repositories update more than 700,000 machines. But then they use a wrapper around rsync as well.....

Indeed the article suggests that the GNU/Linux package solutions like Redhat RPM, and Debian debs, may be overengineered for their needs. Since they don't need to support multiple architectures (yet!), i.e. there problem is less taxing than the more general one facing GNU distro vendors and other OS vendors.

However I think minus several zillion points for reinventing the wheel, given what a nice selection of wheels already existed for this particular problem, which would have allows reuse of third party tools if nothing else. Still a lot of them charge per CPU licencing (ouch!).

Slackware (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16474931)

"I think SLackware sounds better than Microsoft" -- Pat.

Can't google come up with their own name?

--
Submit goats: http://www.historymatters.org.uk/output/page97.asp [historymatters.org.uk]

Sounds similar to our setup (5, Interesting)

nsanders (208050) | more than 7 years ago | (#16474939)

We run Ubuntu in my department and ended up building an in-house Apt repository/svn/rsync system to maintain all our machines. We also use custom scripts that monitor NFS shares to emergency push operations. Obviously our down side is that an entire .deb package must be rebuilt for each change, but it's nice to see Google's method isn't out of this world after all.

need real news (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16474963)

OMG! They have a server that holds the latest version and then the clients connects to the server and downloads the newest version. Who'd have guessed??

When is slashdot going to actually start posting news relevant for real nerds again?

Mod Parent Up; Not a troll (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16476251)

The parent is clearly not a troll, folks.

The distribution tarball is 28k. This is a tiny little one-man project that is little more than exactly what the parent said. There are 90234580928345 other dumb little rsync wrappers on sourceforge, many of which are MORE functional. Why focus on this one?

I'm not the only one who is getting sick and tired of everyone pulling out their e-penis at the slightest mention of Google and jerking vigorously. Nor am I the only one sick of half of all slashdot articles being nothing but spew from the Google spin machine.

Confusing title? (0, Troll)

Limburgher (523006) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475013)

I'm sure I'm not the only one who immediately thought of this [slackware.com] , am I?
I'd have chosen something else, even at the risk of it sounding ridiculous.
Like one of my projects [sf.net] , for example.

Re:Confusing title? (5, Informative)

ardran (90992) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475031)

FWIW, the name is an acronym: SLACK - Sysadmins' Lazy Auto-Configuration Kit

Re:Confusing title? (1)

Limburgher (523006) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475141)

I would have gone with something like Sensible Management Of Overhead Calms Headaches, or SMOOCH. ;)

Dobbs saves (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16475443)

How about LADA?

Lazy Authors Desperate Acronym. Also the name of car but never used in Software, unlike slack.

Bob talks to me, and he says:

Tell them to give the slack back or purchase a SubGenius church membership!


BTW, can I interest you in my new local file search tool called GOOG, an acronmy for GOOG OOOH OOOH GOOG which is inspired by the John Lennon song but modified to not offend JOOOS. Do Google have any Walruses on their hard drives? It finds Walruses better than anything else, for the love of Bob praise GOOG!

Re:Confusing title? (0, Redundant)

me.at.work (249034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475069)

You're not the only one who confused it with slackware, same here. Warmed my heart for a bit before I realised it wasn't the real slack [slackware.com] . :-(

Re:Confusing title? (1)

AslanTheMentat (896280) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475157)

Somewhat redundant (see post above), but slackware wasn't "there first". The Church of the Subgenius [wikipedia.org] was however... :)

open source ruined business for everybody (-1, Flamebait)

zitintheass (1005533) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475037)

even Google knows that, but they are not good example here, theyve got other (bad) reasons to participate

cmon, do you think there will be innovative new browsers and other programs ? nope, gpl should be illegal/banned and rs hanged (looser), every os project is just a loser project that wanted to strike back to the winning competitor from the agony raising a new gpl zombie

Re:open source ruined business for everybody (0, Flamebait)

SirTalon42 (751509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475265)

Awww! Poor 7 digiter is upset by OSS? Enjoy your Windows (you should probably not use the internet though, most versions of Windows uses FreeBSD's network stack)!

Re:open source ruined business for everybody (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475715)

what?

Re:open source ruined business for everybody (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16476117)

OK, this is old news to everyone except ^, but how is open source "bad for business"? It creates jobs for graphics designers and web designers, among others. And plus, there's more to software than what it'll do to the economy. Users have a lot to gain from using Linux. Gamers could use a less-bloated OS, and even complete newbs could benefit from an XP-like desktop that doesn't crash as much and has better packaging. For most people, it's about sticking it to the man, not the man sticking it to everyone else. Linux is about rebellion- it's about burning the Windows flag.
PS: The only person who deserves immediate death is... well, I can't really think of anyone immediately.

Re:open source ruined business for everybody (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16476859)

I've seen better trolls from 10 year olds. C'mon, at least call RMS a smelly pot smoking hippie socialist that thinks we should all live in communes and wear clothing made from fig leaves. Or something.

Whatever happened to finely crafted trolls and flamebait? I'm tellin ya, these young'uns... there's no pride in their ruthless barbs anymore.

I knew it! (4, Funny)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475215)

The SubGenius must have slack.
Google makes Slack.
Ergo,
Google is the corporate incarnation of 'Bob'!


... What? Someone had to say it!

Re:I knew it! (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16478183)

Yes, but
Bob smokes a pipe, and
Tobacco is Evil, and
Google Does No Evil, ergo
Google Is Not Bob.

Re:I knew it! (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16480199)

You pink. That's not tobacco in his pipe, it's frop!

Re:I knew it! (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482343)

Frop, eh? Did I write that it's tobacco in his pipe? Sigh, sometimes I wonder why I bother to write things at all...

Re:I knew it! (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 7 years ago | (#16478579)

It's perfect. We should start calling Google Bob. M$FT already had their chance with the name, so you don't have to worry about them..

Re:I knew it! (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16478933)

No. Actually, Google has been acting rather pink lately.

So its part of the Active Directory for Unix (0, Flamebait)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475261)

This sounds almost exactly like the Active Directory's ability to publish and/or assign software to Domain members.

Re:So its part of the Active Directory for Unix (4, Informative)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475723)

You mean OpenLDAP, Samba, Kerberos, Bind.
I can give you one better.

I use Mandriva Linux as my Domain Controllers and workstations.

With urpmi's parallel operation with SSH support is a Godsend. See my Secure Shell server is GSSAPI enabled (Kerberos.) Because of the fact every machine is authorized by LDAP, and authenticated by Kerberos, I can do this:

urpmi samba-server --auto --parallel dcs

This will install Samba on all Domain Controllers

urpmi gnumeric --auto --parallel all

This will install gnumeric on every machine in my Domain.

urpmi.update -a
urpmi --auto --auto-select --parallel all

This will update every machine I have in my Domain while resolving dependancies. There are problems with doing it this way. The big one is, under AD, updates can be pushed to offline machines. For this to work, all machiess must be online.

Also this does not update the urpmi catalogue synthesis.

Re:So its part of the Active Directory for Unix (1)

myz24 (256948) | more than 7 years ago | (#16476169)

Really? Have you truly ever gotten OpenLDAP, Samba, Kerberos and Bind (are you actually referring to winbind?) to act as a true Active Directory replacement? Were you able to use group policies? Distributed File System with replication? If you have please create a how-to and link me to it, I'm all ears (or is it eyes?).

Re:So its part of the Active Directory for Unix (2, Interesting)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#16476291)

No, its not possible. It's true (and I know) that OpenLDAP, Kerberos, Bind and a Network File system will give you a some of the functionality of the AD, if all you want is SSO and someway to centralize Automount settings and Printers. However doing DFS is not simple, pushing updates and revoking them is not as straight forward or robust, as the other poster pointed out and there is nothing like Group Policy.

This project seems to just provide another way to push applications to systems, presumably with the same limitation as any other, excepting maybe for Zen, where all your systems must be from the same vendor. It's from Google though so it must be gold.

Re:So its part of the Active Directory for Unix (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 7 years ago | (#16481937)

You do have to think "outside the box" its not simple. I'm easily findable of FreeNode's LDAP Channel. I try and use a combination of OpenLDAP, Bind, Kerberos, Samba, SSH, rsync, Apache with mod_auth_kerb, FreeRadius, OpenSwan, dhcpd

Re:So its part of the Active Directory for Unix (1)

passthecrackpipe (598773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16489861)

yes, and the weeks you need to actually set this all up together in an enterprise (read: supportable by larger groups of people) setting, plus the months you need to actually get it all stable, reliable, supportable, and just the way your business needs it (i.e. it integrates with lots of packages used in your enterprise) are *obviously* a much better investment of your time as opposed to doing something, well, more value-add for the people you work for. Like, solve real business problems. After all Active Directory can cost several hundreds of dollars!! and will take days!! to set up! integrating 11 different major services is much better because its Open Source!!!!

Believe me - I love open source - I run a team that looks after several hundred linux servers in a 24/7 operation. Wouldn't have it any other way. But even pretending that the flimsy, unintuitive, mashup of 11 different services is somehow better for your business then just installing AD is insane.

Re:So its part of the Active Directory for Unix (1)

feld (980784) | more than 7 years ago | (#16511847)

quit your god damn trolling and look at Fedora/RedHat Directory Services. He wasn't saying he was replacing Active Directory. Now on the other hand, FDS could possibly do that in the future. (in a non-Windows domain, to boot!)

Re:So its part of the Active Directory for Unix (1)

passthecrackpipe (598773) | more than 6 years ago | (#16537658)

not a troll, simple fact. I manager several hundred Linux servers, as well as a couple of windows servers. And yes, he was saying he was replacing AD, and no, he wasn't using FDS. Having said that, FDS still has a way to go before it is ready to replace AD.

Not new (5, Interesting)

HavokDevNull (99801) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475309)

Sounds very much like CFEngine http://www.cfengine.org/ [cfengine.org] with subversion?

Kinda similar to APT (3, Informative)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475419)

What they're describing there is like Debian's apt-get, or BSD's portage (also incorporated in Gentoo). Each of those technologies I listed are most commonly used to install packages from a common central repository over the internet (per distro). But, each of them can be configured to retrieve and install packages from a localized server. It's actually a very handy thing to have in large-scale networks because instead of installing and updating packages on each machine over the internet from a remote repository, you just update one machine from the internet and let all the rest of them update from it, thus cutting way back in internet usage and greatly reducing the time needed for the local machines to download and install updates.

Sounds like Slack is a simplified version of all of that.

Re:Kinda similar to APT (4, Informative)

nsanders (208050) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475637)

Some what. We use APT here in our department. One of the big changes from SLACK is that it doesn't require you to compile packages like RPMs or DEBs. We have a couple of very large applications that take up 1-3GB and it takes a very long time to rebuild the packages. Slack negates such a need.

Re:Kinda similar to APT (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475645)

Actually FreeBSD has a ports collection whereas Gentoo's implementation is called Portage. They are two similar, yet very different systems.

Re:Kinda similar to APT (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16479005)

And NetBSD created pkgsrc, which is now quite cross-platform ported out all over the place. To Solaris, Linux, Darwin, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, BSD/OS, Irix, AIX, Interix, DragonflyBSD, and OS/F. It's one heck of a nice arrangement if you run any/all of the above. Mirror one source repository (distfiles) locally and build packages on all your various boxes from one common build tree (which is CVS updatable.)

Re:Kinda similar to APT (2, Informative)

apachetoolbox (456499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475679)

For the record *BSD did NOT create the gentoo portage system.

FreeBSD = Ports Collection
Gentoo = Portage

BZZZT! (3, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475757)

What they're describing there is like Debian's apt-get, or BSD's portage (also incorporated in Gentoo).

Gentoo is not Ports. Ports is not Gentoo. Gentoo is inspired by BSD's ports, which is why the Gentoo package manager is named portage. But there are huge differences.

Last I checked, Ports was primarily a distribution system. Portage is a full-fledged package manager that happens to use source packages, and happens to have a file called "make.conf".

Each of those technologies I listed are most commonly used to install packages from a common central repository over the internet (per distro). But, each of them can be configured to retrieve and install packages from a localized server.

True, and they mention this. Gentoo's probably the closest, but their main motivation for rolling their own is to be able to go into a filesystem and tweak it, instead of having to tweak, build an RPM (or Deb, or whatever), download that to the target machine, etc etc.

It's also simultaneously a like cfengine, which is used to manage configurations. That is, it's not just for packages, but also for app configurations. That is, if your webserver goes down, hard, you can bring a new one up in an hour, 100% automated, and it will be configured the exact same way as the old one. If you need to add a new webserver to the cluster, same process. Want to change the config on a webserver? Test it on a local machine, then put the new httpd.conf on the Slack server, and watch all the frontend machines download it.

Personally, I think they should've at least looked into cfengine, but APT alone is not enough. Saying APT could do it is like saying you can write a webserver in assembly -- yes, you can, but why would you want to?

Re:BZZZT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16477043)

Actually the package manager is emerge (which is a fancy command line frontend for the portage base).

Emerge is a script of the Portage system (1)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 7 years ago | (#16480661)

Emerge is a python script that belongs to the portage ebuild. And portage is:

* sys-apps/portage
            Latest version available: 2.1.1
            Latest version installed: 2.1.1
            Size of downloaded files: 1,029 kB
            Homepage: http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/portage/index.xml [gentoo.org]
            Description: The Portage Package Management System. The primary package management and distribution system for Gentoo.
            License: GPL-2

equery files portage | grep emerge
/usr/bin/emerge
/usr/lib/portage/bin/emerge
/usr/lib/portage/bin/emerge-webrsync
/usr/lib/portage/pym/emergehelp.py
/usr/sbin/emerge-webrsync
/usr/share/man/man1/emerge.1.gz

Re:BZZZT! (3, Informative)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482865)

Personally, I think they should've at least looked into cfengine [...]

Maybe they did ? I looked into cfengine for automating our server configurations and my head asploded.

Then I experimenting with it for a few weeks, but I could never quite grok how it was supposed to work and always had the feeling that "this is as much work as managing all the systems manually anyway". It seems extremely capable, but it's very difficult to use if you want to do anything that's more trivial than pushing (or pulling) a bunch of files (for which some rsync fiddling is _vastly_ easier).

Re:BZZZT! (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#16490539)

Maybe. It didn't look that hard to me.

For one thing, it can just as easily use rsync to transfer files as its own protocol.

You may be right, but the fact that I don't see any mention of it except in Slashdot comments suggests that they didn't know about it, or dismissed it out of hand, not that they were attempting to write a replacement for it (even if they did). In fact, I'd imagine that if they were going to roll their own stuff anyway, it might be easier to write a cfengine wrapper than an rsync wrapper.

Re:Kinda similar to APT (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16476249)

BSD's portage

It's ports, not portage. Different system in quite a few fundamental ways.

Re:Kinda similar to APT (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16479039)

Also, it's FreeBSD ports. Not 'BSD Ports.' You have to look elsewhere if you want a general BSD package system.

( hint [netbsd.org] )

Re:Kinda similar to APT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16484031)

or BSD's portage (also incorporated in Gentoo)
BSD has ports and portage is the heart of Gentoo...

"a 'pull' method", it's the new push. (1)

agent (7471) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475589)

Think of the tug-O-war game in revenge of the nerds. You win, now play in the mud you dirty jocks.

Yah, sex for fun and profit!
http://www.messyfun.com/ [messyfun.com]

the Cult of Bob (1)

xtype2.5 (761755) | more than 7 years ago | (#16475627)

Bob says to get as much slack as you can!

radmind (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16475729)

As soon as I read this I immediately though of radmind [umich.edu] , which, by the vague descriptions seems to do exactly what is going on above. I encourage everyone to take a look!

CFengine (4, Insightful)

Pegasus (13291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16476553)

How exactly does this compare to CFengine [cfengine.org] ? From the short slack description it would seem like cfengine is a much more mature solution ...

how is that different/better than... (2, Interesting)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16476561)

There are a bunch of widely used systems like this: rdist, cfengine, fai, ... In what way is "Slack" supposed to be better? Or is this simply a case of NIH?

Also Obligatory... (1)

bbockholt (543469) | more than 7 years ago | (#16477409)

...deployed onto selected machines in a "pull" method.

So one machine says to the other, "Hey, give me some SLACK, will ya?"

Reply from Google: (1)

SFSouthpaw (797536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16478791)

"We're a busy company, give us some slack! Jeez!"

Hhmm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16481159)

Has everybody forgotten Dragonfly BSD or am I lost?

finallyy... (1)

slack_prad (942084) | more than 7 years ago | (#16481545)

I get to sue google
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