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Documentations > Developer Documentations > OSCAR Distribution Support

OSCAR Repositories Management


Now that OSCAR packages are implemented via binary packages, the management of binary package repositories becomes critical. The usage of repositories typically aims to: (i) enable an easy management of OSCAR installation/ un-installation (for instance using aptitude on Debian or yum on RPM based systems), and (ii) avoid the inclusion of binary packages in the SVN repository. Therefore this is beneficial for both OSCAR users and developers.

Unfortunately, the creation of binary packages repositories is completely different between the Debian and RPM world. As a result, it is not trivial to setup repositories for OSCAR since political choices need to be made to determine what repository organization should be used to provide both Debian packages and RPMs for OSCAR.

For the usage of such repositories, tools for package upload and validation are necessary (needed by developers). Some Linux distributions, such as Debian already provide such tools, but an integration effort is needed. Also note that the notion of validation is not more than checking the package to be sure the comply with some basic rules (which needs to be determined based on their binary package format). We also need developer tools for the creation of packages for OSCAR packages.

Users also need to have special tools for the usage of OSCAR repositories. For instance, tools for the creation of a local mirror of a given repository, based on a specific architecture and Linux distribution.

This document aims at clarifying the different possibilities for the creation of binary packages repositories, and also the selected solution. NOTE THAT THIS IS STILL ONGOING WORK, THE IMPLEMENTATION MAY STILL BE INCOMPLETE.



OSCAR is a set of tools aimed at deploying and configuring sets of machines. It is composed of proper tools (OSCAR core) depending on 3rd party softwares. OSCAR core plus software on which it depends compose the infrastructure of OSCAR (OSCAR base).

OSCAR packages (opkg)

OSCAR infrastructure can deploy regular RPM/deb packages but some softwares need to use specific services provided by OSCAR infrastructure: they are Opkg OSCAR packages ([Opkg]).

OSCAR Version

Until here OSCAR is distributed as a whole set of software, mixing OSCAR base and opkg. An OSCAR version refer to this frozen state of software, each with their proper version.

From OSCAR 6.0, OSCAR version refer to OSCAR core version. All other software (3rd party software + opkg) is linked to this version through RPM/deb dependency relations. For instance:

  • oscar-core package version is 6.0
  • oscar-core depends on systemimager version superior or equal to 4.1.3,
  • On a given Linux distribution, systemimager available version is 4.1.6. If I install,

oscar-core, systemimager version 4.1.6 will be installed. Case of OSCAR packages is exactly the contrary: they depend on a set of OSCAR version, for instance superior or equal to 6.1, equal to 6.0, inferior to 6.2, etc.

Concretely, major changes between OSCAR version 5.x and OSCAR 6.0 is that, in the first case, all relations between packages where ‘equal to’ while now we want to make plain use of other kind of relations : ‘greater than’, ‘less than’, etc.

The goal is to minimize links between OSCAR related software, and, given that, minimize work to maintain OSCAR on a big set of distributions, as OSCAR project has done until here.

Standard Debian Based Repositories

The Debian world typically assumes a repository is for a given version of the Debian distribution (e.g., Debian 4.0, Ubuntu 7.10). Therefore, for OSCAR, it means that the repository name is not driven by the OSCAR version but by the Debian version it is running on.

Moreover, binary packages for different architectures and distributions are stored in a single pool. Debian tools for the generation of meta-data repositories are actually in charge of figuring out which packages are for which Linux distribution and which architecture. In other terms, the repository meta-data tool is the smart tool for binary package repositories management on Debian systems.

All needed tools exist:

  • repository metadata building
  • package checking
  • package upload queue managing
  • repository mirroring


Minimize the work to maintain the repositories (only one repository per Linux distribution.


By default, only the latest version of OSCAR is available by default for a given Linux distribution. If we decide to support multiple OSCAR release, the common solution is too create a new namespace using a different package name. For instance, the oscar-core package for OSCAR-6 could be named oscar6-core. Of course, it implies extra work from the developers.

If a new version of OSCAR is available for a given Linux distribution, OSCAR developers have to pay attention to the update procedure associated to binary packages. For instance, if the database schema changes, developers have to provide a script that will updated automatically the database.

Standard RPM Based Repositories

Repositories for RPM are usually identified by a full “path”. For instance, is a repository for CentOS5 x86_64.

In other terms, the path of the repository is actually where semantic about the repository is stored. The tool for the creation of repository meta-data is actually pretty basic, simple.

Two options are therefore possible:

  • the OSCAR version appears in the path; in that case, OSCAR is more or less considered as a distribution,
  • the OSCAR does not appear in the path; OSCAR is not considered as a distribution. It implies a little bit more work from developers (more difficult to make the distinction between two OSCAR releases.


We can create a new repository for each OSCAR release, which simplifies the maintenance for a given OSCAR version.

No real need for update management (since repositories are separated, we can assume users will reinstall their system if they want to update OSCAR).


Multiplication of repositories which implies an increase of the complexity for their management.

Need to setup a repository for each new OSCAR release / Linux distribution / architecture.

Selected Solution


After discussion between developers, it seems that the solution that implies less effort is the creation of a repository per distribution and architecture (similar to the current architecture of the local OSCAR repositories). Another benefit of this approach is to enable the usage of OSCAR tools such as Packman, RAPT, and YUME.


WebORM allows the creation and the management of OSCAR repositories via a simple web-based user interface. WebORM is available in ‘pkgsrc/opkg/weborm

WebORM has been deployed at IU for experimentation (you need to have a OSCAR account):

TODO List (needs to be updated)

In order to ease the management of OSCAR repositories, a set of tools are needed:

  • tools for users
    • repository mirroring.

Online OSCAR Repositories

This is the list of currently available online OSCAR repositories: * Note that this repository is hosted at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in order to finalize and test tools for the management of OSCAR repositories. The creation of new accounts is limited and the machine can be removed at any time without notification.