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Thread: Tumbleweed snapshots - usage notes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Default Tumbleweed snapshots - usage notes

    Here are some notes I wrote for myself concerning tumbleweed snapshots. I'm posting them here in case they may be of use to others. It represents the minimum amount of info I need to reference in order to manage tumbleweed snapshots on my desktop. The potential audience is probably best described as any experienced Linux/UNIX admin who's used to a fair bit of DIY under the hood.


    Tumbleweed snapshots introduction

    Tumbleweed-snapshots is a layer of repo management software and an associated history of official-release snapshots that logically sits above the normal tumbleweed official-release repo. The name tumbleweed-snapshots is a little confusing because it overloads the meaning of two existing terms: tumbleweed, and snapshot, just remember tumbleweed-snapshots is a separate repo system.

    The tumbleweed-snapshots components are as follows:


    • Tumbleweed-snapshots history site: a mirror of recent official snapshots http://download.opensuse.org/history/
    • Tumbleweed-snapshots quality review website: http://review.tumbleweed.boombatower.com/
    • tumbleweed-cli: the package that installs the tumbleweed command for managing the installation of tumbleweed-snapshots.
    • Official openSUSE Tumbleweed release: source of releases mirrored to the history site.


    The advantage of tumbleweed-snapshots is that it provides the facility for you to choose any recent official-snapshot as the basis for your tumbleweed installation. This allows you to stand back from the official bleeding edge by choosing safer releases. It also enables you to wait out periods of instability. The quality of the Official Releases held with the tumbleweed-snapshots can be reviewed by consulting the related openSUSE Tumbleweed Review website which posts a number of metrics.


    Switching to the tumbleweed releases repositories

    The tumbleweed-cli package installs the tumbleweed command which is used to manage a installation that uses tumbleweed-snapshots. The package is part of the standard tumbleweed distribution and can be installed by yast or zypper (which ever you prefer).

    In order to use the tumbleweed-snapshot repos you need use the tumbleweed command to update your systems repos to point to the history site, this is accomplished by the init command:

    Code:
    tumbleweed init
    The init changes all the repo URL’s in /etc/zypp/repo.d/ that with begin with a reference to

    Code:
    http://download.opensuse.org/tumbleweed/
    to now be a reference to the snapshot history repos and includes a variable that will resolve to the snapshotVersion to actually use:

    Code:
    http://download.opensuse.org/history/$snapshotVersion/...
    The value of snapshotVersion is written to

    Code:
    /etc/zypp/vars.d/snapshotVersion
    Here’s the content of my current snapshotVersion file:

    Code:
    20181204
    The init command also changes the local name of the repo in /etc/zypp/repos.d/*.repo to include the date of the snapshot used for the initial init. Here’s the content of my current /etc/zypp/repos.d/repo-oss.repo

    Code:
    [repo-oss]
    name=repo-oss (20180917)
    enabled=1
    autorefresh=1
    baseurl=http://download.opensuse.org/history/$snapshotVersion/tumbleweed/repo/oss
    type=rpm-md
    keeppackages=0
    Note, the edit of the name field change is a one time thing done at init. Confusingly the name field in .repo won’t be updated if you use further commands to switch to different snapshots. So don’t worry if some of the feedback continues to refer to the original init snapshot date, even when you set it to a different one (the actual snapshot used is always the one listed in /etc/zypp/vars.d/snapshotVersion).

    After updating the repo’s you can then proceed to use the tumbleweed command to install any of the available tumbleweed-snapshots listed at the review website.

    Managing tumbleweed-snapshots

    After reviewing the history of snapshots at http://review.tumbleweed.boombatower.com/ , you can switch to a desired snapshot by issuing a tumbleweed switch command, for example:

    Code:
    tumbleweed switch 20181208
    The switch command sets the target for the next zypper ref and zypper dup by updating /etc/zypp/vars.d/snapshotVersion. Aside from this change, nothing is actually done until you manually do a refresh and distribution-upgrade, for example:

    Code:
    zypper ref 
    zypper dup
    You can combine the switch, ref, and dup steps by using the –install option with the switch, for example:

    Code:
    tumbleweed switch --install 20181208
    If you decide to abandon a switch before the install, you can revert the target version by issuing a revert command. Check whether the target is the correct by using tumbleweed status, for example:

    Code:
    tumbleweed status
    latest   : 20181224
    target   : 20181208
    installed: 20181204
    Revert to the desired/correct version by using tumbleweed revert, for example:

    Code:
    tumbleweed revert 20181204
    tumbleweed status
    latest   : 20181224
    target   : 20181204
    installed: 20181204
    If you actually completed and installed a switch, you can revert both the switch and install by using –install option with a revert, for example:

    Code:
    tumbleweed status
    latest   : 20181224
    target   : 20181208
    installed: 20181208
    
    tumbleweed revert --install 20181204
    Revert –install is equivalent of:

    Code:
    tumbleweed revert 20181204
    zypper ref 
    zypper dup
    The main difference between switch and revert is that each option attempts to correctly update the history of what has been switched and reverted. The history can be seen with:

    Code:
    tumbleweed history
    As far as I can tell, there doesn’t appear to be any technical implications if the history is incorrectly updated by using switch instead of update.

    Tumbleweed stability score

    The Tumbleweed Review website: http://review.tumbleweed.boombatower.com/ scores each official release. The scoring is done by some python code available here:

    See: https://github.com/boombatower/tumbl...r/src/score.py

    Without going into detail the score is roughly computed as follows
    score = 100 - ( bugs + emails + snapshot_score )

    where


    • bugs is number of reported bugs / 10
    • emails the number of thread references truncated to within the limits 3 to 25.
    • snapshot_score is a complicated counting/weighting of kernel and Mesa changes.


    A good score would result if there were few reported bugs, not much email, and the kernel or Mesa were not heavily modified.

    Releases status is determined by examining the score and release date according to the following short-circuit logic:
    • Pending: today - releaseDate < 7
    • Stable: score > 90
    • Moderate: score > 70
    • Unstable: otherwise


    External dependencies

    I use a few other repos outside the tumbleweed-snapshot system such as packman. I sometimes find that my tumbleweed-snapshot dependencies can be out of alignment with these external repos. This raises dependency conflicts which I normally resolving by:


    • electing not to update a package,
    • electing to upgrade a package ignoring dependency breakages,
    • or by waiting a few days in which case the problem may go away.


    Of course, such conflicts might be due to official tumbleweed changes, and not the fault of tumbleweed-snapshots.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Tumbleweed snapshots - usage notes

    Hello,

    Your post has been a great help with snapshots. There's one thing I can't find the answer to. A couple of years ago I downloaded and installed Tumbleweed from an ISO. I really loved it except for...the constant updates. I read about it and knew about the updates but I didn't realize how many it actually was. As if you haven't heard that 1,000 times.

    Then came snapshots. Absolutely brilliant! You can be nearly on the bleeding edge, stable and not updating and breaking things.

    I hopped off of the upgrade train on the 2019-12-28 snapshot.
    It's the "disk" part I don't understand.

    unique: 121 total: 62193 disk: 1.0GiB



    I'm wanting to switch to the 2020-01-16 snapshot because it has Darktable 3.0.
    I compiled it on Mageia but TW is a great way to monitor what's coming down the pipe.

    The 2020-01-16 snapshot says "disk: 2.4GiB".
    unique: 1474 total: 61758 disk: 2.4GiB

    It's here: https://review.tumbleweed.boombatowe...6/release.html

    I know I can download a TW ISO but I don't know if I can choose to download a ISO of the 99% stable 2020-01-16 snapshot.
    What does the disk information mean? Can I download the ISO or packages to install that particular snapshot?
    There's a lot of photographers looking for a stable, near cutting edge, up to date distro. They're mostly after the new Darktable and they want the updates as soon as possible. Some can compile but most can't. I think TW with snapshots is exactly what they need. They're mostly Windows users and they could jump ahead when new features come out. Darktable does have a Windows version but it's not as stable and many have problems.

    I want to make sure I give them correct information and get them going with as little hassle as possible.
    Snapshots is so simple. Install it, get it going and lock onto a snapshot. Switch to a new snapshot when needed.
    Brilliant!

    Thanks for the assistance.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Tumbleweed snapshots - usage notes

    Quote Originally Posted by jsmith64 View Post
    Hello,

    Your post has been a great help with snapshots. There's one thing I can't find the answer to. A couple of years ago I downloaded and installed Tumbleweed from an ISO. I really loved it except for...the constant updates. I read about it and knew about the updates but I didn't realize how many it actually was. As if you haven't heard that 1,000 times.

    Then came snapshots. Absolutely brilliant! You can be nearly on the bleeding edge, stable and not updating and breaking things.

    I hopped off of the upgrade train on the 2019-12-28 snapshot.
    It's the "disk" part I don't understand.

    unique: 121 total: 62193 disk: 1.0GiB



    I'm wanting to switch to the 2020-01-16 snapshot because it has Darktable 3.0.
    I compiled it on Mageia but TW is a great way to monitor what's coming down the pipe.

    The 2020-01-16 snapshot says "disk: 2.4GiB".
    unique: 1474 total: 61758 disk: 2.4GiB

    It's here: https://review.tumbleweed.boombatowe...6/release.html

    I know I can download a TW ISO but I don't know if I can choose to download a ISO of the 99% stable 2020-01-16 snapshot.
    What does the disk information mean? Can I download the ISO or packages to install that particular snapshot?
    There's a lot of photographers looking for a stable, near cutting edge, up to date distro. They're mostly after the new Darktable and they want the updates as soon as possible. Some can compile but most can't. I think TW with snapshots is exactly what they need. They're mostly Windows users and they could jump ahead when new features come out. Darktable does have a Windows version but it's not as stable and many have problems.

    I want to make sure I give them correct information and get them going with as little hassle as possible.
    Snapshots is so simple. Install it, get it going and lock onto a snapshot. Switch to a new snapshot when needed.
    Brilliant!

    Thanks for the assistance.
    I think (hope someone confirms) that disk is the total disk-space required by this snapshot (I guess it's more a measure of download space, because it will mostly be overwriting existing files). I hadn't really regarded the disk statistic as very interesting (I guess it might be if ISP data-caps are in force).

    I had intended to do more to integrate my notes with the official TW-snapshot help or wiki. But for some reason that escapes me, some time ago I switched to plain TW (no snapshots). It has proved reliable enough for my purposes, so I haven't returned to TW-Snapshots. But clearly the TW-Snapshots has a big role to play for for an examples such as the one you've stated. If anyone would like to pick up the ball and fold my notes into the official TW-Snapshot documentation, fell free.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Tumbleweed snapshots - usage notes

    Thank for the reply.

    If you go to the history where the dates for the snapshots are, it has all of the packages etc. I just thought there may be a way to make a particular ISO. This would be a great addition if there isn't currently a way to do it. Then people could pick a stable version based on user feedback and it'd be guaranteed to run as good as the other users say it did. Well, at least that's a good theory. As I said, I think some photographers would love TW and being able to instruct them to download a particular ISO to match their snapshot would be perfect.

    The snapshot history is all here:

    http://download.opensuse.org/history/

    I'm going to keep an eye out for methods of creating a ISO from a certain snapshot. Maybe someone will write a script or instructions on how to do it. I do believe you're correct about the disk info. I think it's the size of of changes from a base package list or something.


    I'm going to email someone and ask for more details. I'll report back.

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