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Template Version: @(#)onepager.txt 1.31 07/08/08 SMI
This information is Copyright 2008 Sun Microsystems
1.1. Project/Component Working Name:
pkg(5): image packaging system
1.2. Name of Document Author/Supplier:
Stephen Hahn, Sun Microsystems,
on behalf of the pkg(5) project team
1.3. Date of This Document:
1.4. Name of Major Document Customer(s)/Consumer(s):
1.4.1. The Community you expect to review your project:
Install and Packaging CG
1.4.2. The ARC(s) you expect to review your project:
1.5. Email Aliases:
1.5.2. Responsible Engineer:
1.5.4. Interest List:
2. Project Summary
2.1. Project Description:
The image packaging system, pkg(5), is a portable software
packaging and delivery system intended to allow efficient,
observable, and controllable transitions between known
configurations of software content. pkg(5) will subsume the
functionality of the of the packaging and patching utilities
included in historical Solaris releases. A primary goal for
this project is to improve and extend the usability and
functionality of our packaging system.
The project includes a set of recommended changes to the
existing software groupings--the package definitions--in an
attempt to produce a more rational and flexible organization of
the current components.
2.2. Risks and Assumptions:
We intend to preserve the legacy packaging system functionality
to support compatibility of existing packages. We believe that,
if migration and compatibility practices are made available, the
provision of a new packaging mechanism will be followed by
We strongly believe that the refactoring and renaming of the
existing package graph is not achievable with reasonable cost
and duration with the existing packaging/patching/installation
software. We also believe compatibility with the existing graph
can be preserved, to support the earlier assumption about
preserving legacy package operations.
We also believe that, for the majority of the operating system's
development and deployment needs, binary software delivery is
preferred over source-based build delivery.
3. Business Summary
3.1. Problem Area:
Deficits in the current packaging, patching, and installation
tool set affect potentially all parties interacting with the
historical Solaris releases and successors. Such deficits
- lack of support for dependency-based retrieval during package
installation, from one or more network repositories,
- coarse and incorrect dependencies, limiting use for
construction of appliances or other specific-purpose systems,
- lack of versioning and control over change,
- forced interactivity,
- integration with virtualized systems, particularly patching
- reliance of the installer on hidden information, limiting
participation in system upgrade scenarios,
- lack of safety, specifically around package completeness and
alternate package contexts,
- high developer costs around package and patch creation and
- lack of support for unprivileged package and patch
- lack of awareness of ZFS and smf(5),
- late or no correctness checking, and
- minimal ease of use.
Additionally, the absence of a portable and efficient
cross-platform software delivery system places additional costs
upon teams that must deliver software for multiple platforms,
such as enterprise middleware vendors.
Distribution providers and software content providers have
requested substantial changes to the legacy packaging system.
The requested changes focus on reducing maintenance costs and
increasing development efficiencies.
Various customers of the historical Solaris release have asked
for substantial capabilities not present in the legacy packaging
Finally, multiplatform packaging capabilities are of interest to
a number of software content providers.
3.3. Business Justification:
See 3.1 and 3.2.
3.4. Competitive Analysis:
Every major operating system vendor--and most upcoming new
vendors--offers a form of networked software delivery and
updates. Well known companies with such technologies are
Microsoft, Red Hat, Apple, and Canonical; new companies include
rPath. Non-profit entities with equivalent technology include
the Debian Project.
3.5. Opportunity Window/Exposure:
In order for OpenSolaris-based systems to remain competitive in
software delivery functionality, Solaris 10 should be the last
Minor release with a packaging system that fails to meet the
needs stated in 3.1 and 3.2.
3.6. How will you know when you are done?:
In terms of basic capabilities, we can examine each component.
Project completion on the retrieval side can be measured by
achieving the capability of managing mixed content from a
variety of publishers, with potentially distinct entitlement
regimes. On the publication side, completion of the initial
project is reached once the goals around dependency and
correctness checking (and failure handling) are met for both the
server and the publication client. Finally, ease of use (or
familiarity) must match or exceed that of other leading
In terms of the product as a whole, we must be able to upgrade,
with some statement about limitations on fidelity, a system
installed using the legacy packaging components such that it can
be further updated using the image packaging system.
4. Technical Description:
pkg(5) is a network-oriented binary packaging system. Although
it will have on-disk representations for versioned packages, the
primary expected use for installation of software will be
between an intelligent client and one or more relatively simple
The project defines a client-server publication mechanism. The
publication client offers up transactions on packages. The
server evaluates transactions from the publication client.
Transations that are deemed to be complete and/or safe by the
server are then made available to the retrieval client.
The initial transport will be HTTP and HTTPS, protocols around
which most sites have developed mature access policies. Support
for most common HTTP/HTTPS load-balancing, redirection, and
proxying techniques will be implemented, making the system easy
to deploy in a variety of scenarios. Additional transports may
be investigated during the course of the project or as future
The project does not define a default mechanism for building
software as part of the packaging process. The project team
believes strongly that software builds are a separate function,
and probably also agrees that different kinds of software may
require different build techniques.
More controversially, the project, in an attempt to increase
system safety and to reduce developer burden, removes the notion
of arbitrary context scripting from packaging. (This removal
means that the legacy packaging system must remain on the system
for long-term compatibility.) Empirical evidence from the
prototype phase has so far borne out this decision.
4.2. Bug/RFE Number(s):
As an example of the kinds of defects and RFEs intended to be
resolved by this project, we present the following selection of
bug IDs from the past 15 years:
1105830 pkgadd and pkgrm should be able to handle dependency ordering
1149607 Package dependencies hidden within a cluster.
1165888 RFE: allow non-root users to install software using the package mechanis
1184238 patches should be fully managed by package utilites
1208431 pkgrm with no arguments defaults to all
1249015 pkgadd requires root access
4202113 pkginfo command is ridiculously slow
4240078 pkgadd should not allow an intel package to install on Sparc and visa-ve
4385316 RFE Support pkgadd of clusters
4480153 Improvements desired for pkg management
4762470 pkgadd: soft dependencies
4795539 pkgadd should check dependencies of all packages provided on the command
4847723 rem_drv in preremove scripts should have consistent usage model
4939605 grep-friendly pkgchk -l variant desired
5012345 request for tool to list package dependencies
6208580 pkgadd/pkgrm should be smarter about dependancies
6246595 Sun's package management needs improvement
6491381 Create audit log for packaging and patch commads
1181241 wants to split large binary across multiple floppies with pkgmk
will not be addressed by this proposal.
4.3. In Scope:
Package-service delivery and containment relationships.
Package installation behaviour in virtualized environments.
4.4. Out of Scope:
Specific operational scenarios for repositories operated by Sun
Provision of a GUI/BUI for package management.
Specific package contents and manifests.
pkg(5) will present a substantial set of new and modified interfaces
to the core system. In particular, documented definitions of
- retrieval client CLI,
- publication client CLI,
- administrative and server CLIs,
- client metadata representations,
- server metadata representations,
- retrieval and publication protocol operations,
- a dynamic language API to access packaging functions,
- an on-disk package format,
- package metadata conventions,
- available package constituents ("actions"), and
- package naming and versioning conventions,
will be presented as interfaces introduced by this project.
It is possible that some of the nominally private interfaces
associated with legacy packaging will be affected; at a minimum,
files previously delivered via legacy packaging will no longer
be tracked by the legacy system. This outcome could result in a
correctly functioning system that presents very differently in
terms of file-package membership when interrogated using the
legacy packaging API.
Various components of the project will be introduced at each
stability and/or commitment level. The components are being
engineered such that the public interfaces can be evolved
compatibly, once the initial development is complete. (In fact,
the prototype is expected to support this evolution during the
The components are currently implemented in Python
(PSARC/2005/532, PSARC/2005/555, PSARC/2006/666).
4.6. Doc Impact:
The project expects to provide reference manual pages for each
of the groups of interface identified above. Furthermore, the
project expects to provide a Developer's Guide to replace the
current Application Packager's Guide.
4.7. Admin/Config Impact:
Substantial new capabilities in software installation will
A related project to produce a package manipulation GUI is being
4.8. HA Impact:
None known; dependent on specific impacts of legacy packaging on
4.9. I18N/L10N Impact:
Commands will require localization, as will any publically
committed library or equivalent APIs.
4.10. Packaging & Delivery:
All package, cluster, and metacluster boundaries will be
examined in the course of the project.
The primary upgrade mechanism for operating systems using pkg(5)
will be achieved via pkg(5) components; this mechanism is
expected to replace the current standalone upgrade and
LiveUpgrade paths. The replacement is expected, in concert with
the SnapUpgrade project, to present capabilities that equal or
exceed those of LiveUpgrade.
4.11. Security Impact:
In the current implementation, the protocol is built atop access
to HTTP and/or HTTPS. Accordingly, the server side will
potentially listen on ports associated with those services.
The server and client side will require access to key and
certificate management interfaces.
A mechanism for signing repository catalogs and package
manifests will be a part of the publication interface. A
corresponding mechanism for verifying signed catalogs and
manifests will be implemented for the installation client.
These mechanisms will apply to both packages in a network
package repository and packages in their on-disk representation.
The project is dependent on SnapUpgrade for coherent collection,
organization, and activation of filesystem snapshots.
5. Reference Documents:
Project team members have written a number of informal essays on
various goals--problems to solve, outcomes to avoid, hopes to
realize--on aspects of the project:
- General observations:
- On testability and complexity costs with the current patching
- Eliminating scripting in a packaging system
- Keep software builds separate from software delivery:
- Keeping critical metadata back the packaging system, rather
than in the installer:
Related efforts in the Caiman project:
- Snap Upgrade,
- Distribution Constructor,
6. Resources and Schedule:
6.1. Projected Availability:
6.2. Cost of Effort:
Unable to estimate at present time.
6.4. Product Approval Committee requested information:
6.4.1. Consolidation or Component Name:
6.5. ARC review type:
6.6. ARC Exposure: open
6.6.1. Rationale: Part of OpenSolaris
7. Prototype Availability:
7.1. Prototype Availability:
Prototype exit criteria are: ability to support multiple transports,
some access control capability, constrained dependency support,
bulk of OpenSolaris-specific actions.
7.2. Prototype Cost:
Unable to estimate.