Sunday, March 01, 2009

SolView 0.46

I've uploaded a new version of SolView. This broadly corresponds to the version I talked about at LOSUG, with one new feature.

I've improved the Jumpstart Profile Builder by adding the ability to import an existing jumpstart profile. The idea is to use this as an initial customization of the set of installed packages that you can then modify further.

In practice, this didn't work out anything like as well as I wanted it to. One of the constraints I place upon the construction of a profile is that the package selection be self consistent: package dependencies must be satisfied. (Indeed, it was the desire to be able to construct such profiles that led to writing the profile builder in the first place.) However, most existing profiles have customizations that lead to unsatisfied package dependencies. Often, fixing up such profiles as they are imported ends up simply undoing all your customizations.

The current implementation is just a first pass, so I could improve it. For example, if it encounters a dependency error on import, it could ask you whether you want to keep the customization (and add or remove other packages as necessary) or ignore the customization. The problem is that this gets you into a horrible rats nest very quickly.

In practice, I find it easier to build a new profile based on an existing one by eye - looking at what I'm trying to add or remove and replicating that in the jumpstart profile builder.

So I'm tempted not to invest too much time on this feature. However, one thing I should be able to do relatively easily is to take the import code and use it to build a profile based on a straight list of packages. For example, this could be used to generate a jumpstart profile that would reproduce an existing installed system.

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