Packages for Debian testing

Question

Is it possible to enable Debian package builds (mender-client, mender-connect, mender-configure, mender-artifact) also for the Debian testing (rolling) release (currently bookworm)?

Use Cases

Avoid Additional Release Upgrades

If someone starts a bigger project that is still a few months away from an initial release then it could make sense to start with Debian testing so that a release upgrade prior to the initial release can be avoided.

Continuous Integration for Debian Testing

OTA updates are very helpful to do continuous integration on a rolling release such as Debian testing.

Minimal Integration Latency

Make a robust Mender integration available on Debian the same day that Debian releases a new stable version.

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Hello @lueschem,

This is Lluís from the Mender team.

I an may rephrase your suggestion: to have a new APT repo from Mender based on debian/testing, like a new tab in here: Downloads | Mender documentation which has our master packages built for the next Debian release.

I see the value and the uses cases you point out are all good to support.

Maybe you are not aware, but there are community maintained Mender packages in the official Debian repositories. See for example mender-client package here: mender-client - Debian Package Tracker

Right now debian/testing there has our latest release. We use slightly different package recipes, but the core software will be the same so that should cover the use cases that you present.

To do it from our side as you suggest, we need to discuss this internally in the team. It would be one more distro to build, publish, maintain and we already 10 (2 Debian + 3 Ubuntu both for stable and experimental software).

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Hi @lluiscampos

Many thanks for your reply!

The “new tab” on the downloads page is exactly what would match my use cases.

I currently indeed use the community provided Debian package for mender-client. However, I am not sure if also mender-connect and mender-configure will make it into the official Debian repositories as their server side counterpart is only available for paying customers. For my use case mender-connect and mender-configure provide great value too.

As soon as current Debian testing becomes a stable version then the Mender provided packages have the huge advantage of being regularly updated. This is another reason why I tend to prefer the Mender provided packages over the community provided packages for my use case. The slightly different packaging also makes it a bit harder to switch back and forth between the community and the Mender provided packages. In any case I think it is good to have the community based packages too and I am planning to do another PR so that also the dbus interface can be used (currently the conf files are missing). Then it would even be possible to combine the community variant of mender-client with Mender provided mender-connect.

In the meantime I also found out that it is very easy to build mender-client, mender-connect and mender-configure thanks to the mender-dist-packages repository you are providing. Like this I could actually also bridge the gap for Debian bookworm by regularly building the bookworm packages on my own.

In any case the Raspberry Pi 2 and 4 are already successfully upgrading to Debian bookworm!

Bottom line: If you can easily enable the package builds for Debian testing - then this is great. If not - then I am happy to figure out a solution by myself.

Many thanks again for your help and your great work!

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Hello @lueschem,

I actually saw your contribution to the Debian package this morning :wink:

That is not correct, deviceconnect and deviceconfig are both open source. There are no official Debian packages only because there has been no initiative by the community (so far!).

That is totally correct and we are aware of!

We have some plans to unify a bit the work (see for example [MEN-2456] .deb dist i1 - Unify Debian package recipes - Northern.tech AS) but so far this has not been prioritized.

Nice to hear that someone from the outside can find it useful! As you can see there, we are building for many distros, and I am skeptical on adding even more. But I have some ideas that I will discuss internally so maybe in the near future we can get a debian/testing kind of distro too.

Lluís

2 Likes

In the meantime I have created a small GitHub actions build job to get the Mender packages built for Debian bookworm. A bit of patching was required for armhf. Currently I am using the standard Debian toolchain so the armhf packages will not be suitable for the Raspberry Pi Zero.

mender-client, mender-connect and mender-configure seem to work properly on Debian bookworm!

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