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SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service 10: What’s New?



By: Alex_F

February 27, 2008 11:31 am

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By Axel Schmidt

Introduction

SLEPOS 10 features the actual SUSE LINUX enterprise-class POS solution based on the SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server, SLES 10 SP1 code base and is the next version of NLPOS 9, the Novell Linux Point Of Service 9 version based on SLES 9.

This document provides a short overview and introduction about the SLEPOS system environment with some useful information for NLPOS9 users, which plan to upgrade to SLEPOS 10.

Here is a short feature summary about SLEPOS taken from the SLEPOS 10 Release Notes:

  • KIWI has been integrated as the default image system.
  • YaST now provides Image Creator, a GUI front-end to KIWI for easy image building.
  • All packages now use FHS-compliant paths.
  • All code has been migrated to the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP1 code base.
  • The name of the product has been changed to SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service 10.
  • All YaST components are available in graphical QT mode or in text (ncurses) mode.
  • High Availability has significantly changed. Heartbeat was upgraded from version 1.2.3 to 2.0.8.

What’s new in SLEPOS 10

Now with YaST2 Image Creator image building is getting much easier, because package dependencies are resolved automatically. That improves time and efforts customizing POS images compared to the NLPOS 9 image builder “xscr”.

Figure 1: YaST2: Image Preparation Window

Click to view.

When building a SLEPOS image the first stage boot image specified with „Image Type”:

< Network Boot Image | Live ISO Image | USB Stick Image > is always build together with the selected POS image, e.g. the desktop image.

Within a customer system environment where a DHCP server is already available, now SLEPOS 10 provides the feature that the SLEPOS Branch Server does not need to provide his own DHCP server for the POS clients automated network installation. With this new feature – when enabled – POS clients achieve an IP address and the information from which TFTP server (Branch Server) the network boot image shall be loaded from an external DHCP server and the POS clients are registered in LDAP directory as usual.

SLEPOS 10 Images versus NLPOS 9 Images

The table below shows the available SLEPOS 10 image types versus NLPOS images.

SLEPOS Images Description
minimal correspond to the NLPOS minimal image
graphical replaces the NLPOS image types brower and java and provides the functionallity of the NLPOS browser image (JRE including the Firefox browser)
desktop correspond to the NLPOS desktop image
netboot correspond to the NLPOS netboot image (Image type: Network Boot Image)
usbboot new in SLEPOS 10 allows booting from USB device (Image type: USB Stick1 Image)
isoboot correspond to the NLPOS cdboot image
(Image type: Live ISO Image)

1 USB Flash Drive Image

Getting started with SLEPOS 10

The installation of the Admin-, Branch and Image building Server is straight forward. Compared with NLPOS9, the SLEPOS 10 media is no bootable CD and works as Add-On Product CD for the the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP1 installation media.

Here is a short description how to handle Add-On CDs, taken from the SLEPOS 10 Release Notes:

  1. Start installing SLES 10 SP 1 the usual way, until in the Installation Mode YaST asks you whether you want to install add-on products. Check Include Add-On Products from Separate Media and click Next.
  2. On page Add-On Product Installation, click Add. Choose CD and click Next. Insert SLEPOS 10 media into the optical drive as requested and then click Continue to confirm.
  3. The add-on media is now added. Click Next to proceed with the installation as usual, until you reach the Server Pattern Selection (YaST Package Manager).
  4. In the Server Pattern Selection window you have a simplified Pattern Selection menu (Admin, Branch or Image Server) with a Detailed Selection option. (In Detailed Selection you can combine different patterns or you can select single packages in the traditional YaST Package Manager mode).
  5. In the Server Pattern Selection window, several main patterns are provided that allow you to install the components of the SLEPOS system. Select the patterns according to the roles of the computer that you are installing:
    • SLEPOS Admin Server: Choose this pattern to install a SLEPOS Administration Server.
    • SLEPOS Branch Server: Choose this pattern to install a SLEPOS Branch Server.
    • SLEPOS Image Server: Choose this pattern to install a SLEPOS Image Server.
    • SLEPOS Image Descriptions: This pattern is a dependency for the SLEPOS Image Server and is installed automatically.
  1. Proceed with the installation as usual.

To configure the Admin and Branch Server SLEPOS uses the same pos command tools – posInitLdap.sh and posInitBranchserver.sh – which were also available in NLPOS9. For further information refer to the SLEPOS 10 Installation Guide.

posAdmin changes from NLPOS9 to SLEPOS10

When using the posAdmin tool to setup your LDAP directory on the Admin Server the following modifications of your existing NLPOS9 LDAP setup scripts are necessary:

SLEPOS 10 NLPOS 9
scWorkstationBaseName scWorkstationBasename
scDhcpExtern new in SLEPOS 10 for scLocation object

Preparation of your Image Building Server

Most of the NLPOS (SLEPOS) users are installing the POS image builder on the Admin Server too. To provide the installation DVDs/CDs for image building the advanced Linux user will copy the ISO images on the Admin Server and loop mount the ISOs to the location as specified in the Distribution.xml file.

Using poscopytool.pl – the POS CD copy tool – will handle the necessary configuration of the Distribution.xml file for you, when copying the SLED10 (SUSE LINUX Enterprise Desktop 10) and SLEPOS media.

Example: poscopytool.pl –source=/media/SLED10SP_001

When both installation medias are copied to your image building server, you will be ready to start “YaST2 Control Center / Miscellaneous / Image Creator” or just execute “/sbin/yast2 image-creator” from your root prompt. The Image Creator main window will launch and you are able to start image building with the image types which were provided by the SLEPOS installation media (minimal, graphical & desktop).

Figure 2: Image Creator Main Window

Click to view.

Example of the Distribution.xml file capable to build images from SLES or SLED:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!-- generated by poscdtool -->
<Distribution xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:noNamespaceSchemaLocation="/usr/shared/SLEPOS/Distribution.xsd" SchemaVersion="1" SchemaRevision="2">
   <ImageClass Name="sles-i386">
      <SourceList>
         <Source URI="/var/lib/SLEPOS/maintenance/sles-i386" Order="0"/>
         <Source URI="/var/lib/SLEPOS/dist/SLEPOS-10-CD-i386-CD1/" Order="1"/>
         <Source URI="/var/lib/SLEPOS/dist/SLES-10-SP1-DVD-i386-DVD1/" Order="2"/>
      </SourceList>
   </ImageClass>
   <ImageClass Name="sled-i386">
      <SourceList>
         <Source URI="/var/lib/SLEPOS/maintenance/sled-i386" Order="0"/>
         <Source URI="/var/lib/SLEPOS/dist/SLEPOS-10-CD-i386-CD1/" Order="1"/>
         <Source URI="/var/lib/SLEPOS/dist/SLED-10-SP1-DVD-i386-DVD1/" Order="2"/>
      </SourceList>
   </ImageClass>
</Distribution>

Building & Providing POS Images

To start image building with the Image Creator, you have to press the “Add” button on the main window, which leads to the following screen as shown below. Selecting one of the base templates and image types will create a copy of the SLEPOS image description below the path e.g. “/var/lib/SLEPOS/system/IBM-JavaPOS”.

Figure 3: Add a new Image Configuration

Click to view.

Pressing the “Next” button leads to the following figure.

Figure 4: Image Configuration Window

Click to view.

Selecting the “Change …” button will launch the YaST2 software selection window, where further packages can be added or removed from the initial package selection based on the pre-defined image template.

Figure 5: YaST2 Software Selection Window – Details …

Click to view.

Software selection with SLEPOS 10 is similiar like all other SUSE LINUX products. When you are done POS users and post install scripts can be added on the Image Configuration main window. To start the image creation process finally press the “Finish” button. After successful image creation the created netboot and POS image can be found below the path “/var/lib/SLEPOS/system/<Image Name>”.

Figure 6: Image Creation Succeeded

Click to view.

To enable the installation of the previously new build POS image, one has to copy the images and MD5 checksum file manually to the RSYNC location of the Administration Server (“/srv/SLEPOS”).

Example using the image name IBM-JavaPOS:

cd /var/lib/SLEPOS/system/images/IBM-JavaPOS/

cp IBM-JavaPOS.i686-1.0.0 		/srv/SLEPOS/image/IBM-JavaPOS-1.0.0
cp IBM-JavaPOS.i686-1.0.0.md5 /srv/SLEPOS/image/IBM-JavaPOS-1.0.0.md5

cp initrd-netboot-SLEPOS10.i686-3.0.14.gz 	/srv/SLEPOS/boot/initrd.gz
cp initrd-netboot-SLEPOS10.i686-3.0.14.kernel.2.6.16.46-0.12-default 
   /srv/SLEPOS/boot/linux

After performing the “possyncimages.pl” command on the Branch Server which synchronizes the latest images from the Administration Server to the Branch Server, the new build images, initrd & Linux kernel will be available below the TFTP root directory: /srv/tftpboot/< boot | image >

Don’t forget to update and to verify your LDAP configuration, that your new created POS image can be installed by the POS clients when performing a PXE boot. Below find a typical view of the LDAP based SLEPOS configuration of the central Administration Server, to activate the POS images of the TFTP root directory for the automated POS client installation. For further information refer to the SLEPOS 10 Administration Guide.

Figure 7: SLEPOS LDAP Example – Admin Server

Click to view.

Building Images with KIWI

Image can also be build with the CLI tool KIWI. The base directory for KIWI can be found at:

/usr/share/kiwi/image/SLEPOS

The example below demonstrates, that boot image customization can also be handled without creating a corresponding POS image, which is always done when using the Image Creator GUI.

To customize e.g. the network boot image just prepare a copy of the netboot-3 image:

cd /usr/share/kiwi/image/SLEPOS
cp -rf netboot-3.0.14	my_netboot-1.1.0
ln -s my_netboot-1.1.0  my_netboot-1

… prepare the image:

kiwi -p my_netboot-1 --root /tmp/mynetboot

… than create the image:

kiwi -c /tmp/mynetboot --destdir /tmp/mynetboot

The result can be found within the directory: “/tmp/mynetboot”

For further information please refer to the KIWI documentation.

Timezone, Keyboard & Locale Configuration

The Image Creator GUI will support the configuration of the timezone, keyboard and locale with the SLEPOS10 SP1 release. The configuration of these parameters is still possible within the config.xml file of the image.

Below find the correct syntax and sequence within the XML file, that Image Creator is able to provide these information for KIWI image building:

...
<preferences>
     <type boot="/usr/share/kiwi/image/SLEPOS/my_netboot-1"
             		filesystem="ext3">pxe</type>
                <version>3.0.14</version>
                <size unit="M">120</size>
                <packagemanager>zypper</packagemanager>
                <rpm-check-signatures>False</rpm-check-signatures>
                <rpm-force>True</rpm-force>
                <keytable>de-latin1-nodeadkeys</keytable>
                <timezone>Europe/Berlin</timezone>
                <locale>de_DE.UTF-8</locale>
                <defaultdestination>/var/lib/SLEPOS/system/images
				   </defaultdestination>
                <defaultroot>/var/lib/SLEPOS/system/chroot</defaultroot>
</preferences>

...

Paths & Locations changed from NLPOS9 to SLEPOS10

The main challenge for users which has worked before with NLPOS 9, is to get an overview about the new file paths and loactions of the SLEPOS 10 system environment to manage POS image building and image deployment, that POS clients install the proper OS image. The table below gives a complete overview of the NLPOS and SLEPOS directories and file paths.

Path Description
/var/lib/SLEPOS/Distribution.xml1 specifies the media installation order
NLPOS9 = “/opt/SLES/POS/system/
Distribution.xml”
/var/lib/SLEPOS/dist path to SLEPOS/SLES10 installation CD’s
/var/lib/SLEPOS/dist/SLES-10-SP1-DVD-i386-DVD1 directory name of the SLES10 SP1 DVD
/var/lib/SLEPOS/dist/SLEPOS-10-CD-i386-CD1 directory name of the SLEPOS10 CD1
/var/lib/SLEPOS/system/<Image Name> image configuration (description tree) location (which was copied and renamed from the base SLEPOS/KIWI image description by the YaST Image Creator)
/var/lib/SLEPOS/system/image/<Image Name> location of the resulting images built with Image Creator.
/usr/share/kiwi/image/SLEPOS SLEPOS base image configuration (e.g. desktop-3)
/srv/SLEPOS2 the RSYNC directory
NLPOS9 = “/opt/SLES/POS/rsync”
/srv/SLEPOS/boot NLPOS9 = “/opt/SLES/POS/rsync/boot”
location where the master boot images reside
/srv/SLEPOS/image NLPOS9 = “/opt/SLES/POS/rsync/image“
location where the master POS images reside
/srv/tftpboot/boot new location for /tftpboot/boot where the first stage boot image & Linux kernel reside
/srv/tftpboot/image new location for /tftpboot/image where the POS images reside
/srv/tftpboot/KIWI/CR symbolic link to
/srv/tftpboot/CR
new location for /tftpboot/CR where the CR config.<MAC Address> files reside
/srv/tftpboot/upload new location for /tftpboot/upload directory
/etc/SLEPOS/branchserver.conf /etc/opt/SLES/POS/branchserver.conf

1 Will be created and updated when using the poscopytool.pl.
2 Using possyncimages.pl all files located here were transferred to /srv/tftpboot.

Documentation & More Information

Path Description
/usr/share/doc/packages/kiwi/kiwi.pdf KIWI Documentation
/usr/share/doc/manual/slepos-install_en/SLEPOS-install_en.pdf SLEPOS 10 Installation Guide
/usr/share/doc/manual/slepos-admin_en/SLEPOS-admin_en.pdf SLEPOS 10 Administration Guide
http://www.novell.com/documentation/slepos10/index.html SLEPOS 10 Documentation
http://www.novell.com/documentation/nlpos9/index.html NLPOS 9 Documentation
http://www.novell.com/documentation/sles10/pdfdoc/heartbeat/heartbeat.pdf Heartbeat2 Documentation
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Categories: SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service, Technical Solutions

Disclaimer: As with everything else at SUSE Conversations, this content is definitely not supported by SUSE (so don't even think of calling Support if you try something and it blows up).  It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test, test, test before you do anything drastic with it.

1 Comment

  1. By:andre_brown

    Where can I find the SLEPOS 10 add-on media? I don’t see it in downloads.

    Things seem quiet in the Novel Retail arena.

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