Launchpad Entry: other-foundations-n-disconnected-upgrade
Created: 24 April 2009
Packages affected: update-manager, msttcorefonts, flashplugin-nonfree
Allow users to upgrade Ubuntu releases without necessarily being able to contact http://changelogs.ubuntu.com/. In many environments (offline / firewalled / restricted) that isn't possible, but local mirrors may be available nonetheless.
At the moment, an Ubuntu system can only be (release) upgraded by using apt (advanced user) or the upgrade-manager (GUI / CLI). The upgrade-manager depends on a file hosted on changelogs.ubuntu.com called meta-release, to determine whether an upgrade is possible and locate the upgrade tool tarball.
This blueprint proposes that these files get moved onto normal mirrors so that a disconnected system with a complete mirror available (quite common in the developing world and corporate environments) can upgrade in a user-friendly manner.
Sorry, I couldn't be at UDS so here's why I called this:
My University has a nasty firewall and forces all port 80 to go via an NTLM-authenticating proxy, so we have to use hacks like cntlm and transparent proxying + cntlm + University proxies, etc.
This is (unfortunately) not an unusual situation in the corporate world. It's just a pity my university is so closed-minded, and I'll be getting out of there ASAP.
Many users with poor connectivity at home, mirror to a big hard drive at work and take thier mirror home.
This is all very nice for an advanced user like me, but we have a fair number of !poweruser Ubuntu users on campus. They complain that they can't upgrade their machines, even though we have a local mirror.
Things we do mitigate this:
We mirror (and mangle) the meta-release files from changelogs.ubuntu.com, and tell users to configure their machines to use them. This is non-optimal.
Our mirror has a virtualhost for changelogs.ubuntu.com so that users can do http_proxy=http://our.mirror/ update-manager Also non-optimal.
- Similar hacks for flashplugin and core fonts.
Walter is a user on a Local Only DSL Account. He has access to the national Ubuntu mirrors, but not Canonical in the UK. He can only upgrade with a CD or aptitude.
Thembi is a student at University where http access is firewalled and all students are required to use an NTLM proxy for web access. There is a really fast local mirror, but she can only upgrade with a CD or aptitude as update-manager can't connect to http://changelogs.ubuntu.com/.
- Joe is at a big corporation with heavy firewall rules. As above...
There are many situations where users can access a mirror, but not http://changelogs.ubuntu.com/ and where access to the mirror is more reliable.
Can we move meta-release et al. to the mirrors? What would this require?
Can those meta-release files point at the download tool without an absolute URL? (i.e. it can be grabbed from the current mirror)
I suppose update-manager would possibly need to poke archive.ubuntu.com too, if we don't trust the mirror to be up to date?
This can be tested with update-managers development update mode (-d), before the next Ubuntu version releases.
flashplugin and corefonts break offline upgrades. tumbleweed will see what can be done here.
- Add a preseedable proxy setting to flashplugin
- Central config file for such packages?
- Use the same http proxy as apt
- Con: this could be some apt-proxy that doesn't like non-debs
BoF agenda and discussion