NethServer 8: planning an evolution

Please stay ontopic: features for NS8
Discussion on Centos becoming a rolling release and stopping LTS from Dec 2021 can take place in the CentOS Stream topic

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I disagree with this choice of splitting.
Until CentOS Stream NethServer 8 was intended as founded on CentOS 8 and the extend of the product would be the support of the distro. Now think that Nethesis is quite puzzled for most of the development wasted on CentOS 8.
So here’s the thing: announcement, unless the words from Filippo who said something “Go for CentOS Stream” is already the announcement.
I had a project for bring into a company a suite of internet services (Mattermost, Zammad, NextCloud) and internal services (Zabbix). It would be a huge job for the organization an the sake of success (email as internal instrument was quite rejected) that should not last only 3-4 years to fully extend. So with Neth 7 would not be enough, and i were not worried on Neth 8.
But now i am. And managing by myself the new flavour of Armonk wild run is not interesting.

This is part of Neth 8. How it will be?

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I disagree. IMO the features that make NS, can perfectly / should be OS agnostic. The discussion what OS, (IMO at least with the same properties as CentOS Linux, with stability and 10 year support as the most important) can be done in the CentOS stream topic.

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I’m probably going to get shot by proposing this but, what about Ubuntu Server? It is based on Debian but I think they have long release support time. Debian would be best but if they change everything every two years it is kind of crazy.

@tessierp

Hi

Debian and Ubuntu both have 5yrs LTS.
Debian doesn’t change everything every two years…
Ubuntu has Snap - not really open source, and the snap store is NOT open source at all!
Uncontrollable “blobs” on your server?
And - Canonical - behind Ubuntu, is a corporation, just like Red Hat.
Why does Linux Mint - based of Ubuntu now for so many years - develop a fully running look alike based on Debian?

My 2 cents
Andy

Dont’ think so :grinning: also have a look at the above mentioned discussion:

IIUC this topic relates more to the what the future NS should be/do and a top level look on how. What is the place of a small business server in the furture?

@tessierp, from this perspective I’m curious why you decided (relative recently) to setup a Nethsever ?
Having gone trough this experience, what would be your needs say 4 years from now?

Gtrz Mark

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I would say, it is not because there is something available that you have to use it. It is there for those who want to use it. And I know people who like them and use them and are happy.

And in the strict sense of the term “not really open source” but freely available, you are right it is not open source but makes use of open source software and builds on it. The advantages of having a company supporting a project, it has more resources. For example, Google and Angular compared to Vue.JS. I guess that point depends on the perspective. Or C# and .NET CORE which is now fully open source but has a huge maintainer behind it, making it evolve very fast, Microsoft. They have the funds.

I’m not against Debian. I was just throwing out a question out there and see what people thought. We will not all reach a consensus on the first round. We are having this discussion to have all the points, collective understanding and hopefully take the best decision.

Just to be clear, it is not because I believe only corporations can do things right. I’m not totally for the style of economy we are running world wide. It is not sustainable. And the common argument that I hear, “well people would be lazy otherwise”, lazy people would be lazy anyways. Just look at the Open Source community, it is a great example of people doing work to help because they have a passion for it and love what they are doing, they are helping themselves and others at the same time, sharing knowledge. That is how progress is measured in my books. Not through a cartel of corporations controlling everything. But, because of the funds access it drives certain projects faster. I’m not closed to Debian and want to push Ubuntu only, I was merely exposing a thought and there is some sense into what you are saying, Ubuntu could die or the company could say, “Hey you need to pay!”. Probably best to go Debian.

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Hi Mark,

My needs are still very small compared to those who setup big systems. Nethserver, so far, has been awesome, offering packages to install and a very intuitive and easy to use UI and system. The community also has been super helpful, one of the best I have seen around especially in this type of industry where there is, at times, a lot of elitism and whenever someone new comes around asking questions that seem to make “no sense” to them or not with the right terminology, you just don’t get an answer.

So why did I decide to install Nethserver. Well this started a few months ago. I’ve been working in the IT industry for 20 years doing Software Development but was always interested in learning how to set my own things, just did get quite the chance or the time. With the pandemic, I really needed to get my own things setup. I decided to learn. One of the first drivers to set Nethserver was I got tired of always having to configure a new off the shelf router each time, not being able to import my previous configuration. It took time and not only that, the functionalities were very limited. So my first try was to install Nethserver as a Firewall / Router, DNS (of course) and VPN. The latter was very important. There were times I would want to get access to my network internally while I was away. I did experience some issues initially with an AD, it didn’t work out well, probably due to my lack of experience, tried to remove it but I realized it was not so easy to go back so I gave up on that.

A few months later, I changed my architecture a bit. I now use OPNSense as my firewall and Nethserver internally as a DNS server (I run a split-brain DNS setup). I also installed the AD which I use for a common user base for some services, right now just Dokuwiki. I have Zabbix installed to monitor the temperatures and health of my systems. I want to setup my own mail server to be a bit more independent from Google for some emails. Thinking of enabling web hosting for a personal project I’m working on and helping a friend test his web pages… There may be other things in the future. Nethserver has just been great. Like I said, super useful community, a lot of documentation, on its own this is worth a lot!!

For anything else, like setting a Plex server (which I did recently on a low powered CPU, actually embedded CPU, J1900), I installed Proxmox, created a Ubuntu Server VM and installed Plex on it. Proxmox is to be able to easily back it up. And it works well! I was amazed especially on a CPU like that and only 8 gigs of memory. I used Ubuntu because I knew that best but probably would try Debian in the future.

I am still learning. In fact I have a lot to learn still. So I guess my needs are, a good community with good support and basically just to have access to an easy to use Server you can add things to when you need just like you have right now. You are covering all the basics (and more) for me at this moment. And if I would need something, because of the community, it is just easy to initiate a conversation. So great job guys and as always thanks for the help and support.

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Another thing I forgot to mention is, I’m trying to just have a lab at home while installing services for my home. I already mentioned some of them and there is one I forgot. I am running Home Assistant in a VM on Proxmox. I was just thinking, maybe this could be a future package you could include. Docker can be installed on Nethserver so it could be an option. I mean I could do it myself but if you have a package there to install it automatically, why not. Although, inside Docker, it would only run Home Assistant core, not the full thing. Anyways… Just commenting since you asked for my needs @mark_nl. But I realize this is not really related to the main subject which is the choice of the OS. So I would conclude, with the limited information I have, Debian could be best because it is fully open source, no strings attached. And Ubuntu is based on it and I know Ubuntu best out of all the flavors of Linux out there. But I think the most important point is, it is completely Open Source.

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Hi

AFAIK, certain bits of Ubuntu force you to use Snap, like some part of ACME/LE…
So much for Open Source…

My 2 cents
Andy

The first step should be to install it manually and write down a how to at the Howto section at this forum. After some people tested it, somebody can create a package of it.

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I certainly don’t like to be forced. Good to know. Like I said, perhaps it makes less sense to use Ubuntu in that case. Ubuntu Server (the stripped down version) is a bit different so not sure if snaps are forced there too… Probably they are. Anyways, Debian is probably best if you don’t want to have to deal with a company who could change things or end a project, imposes certain things like snaps, etc.

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I’m pretty sure this is a matter of how the packagers/vendors of the software want to provide it, not something inherent to Ubuntu. Or you could always use a less-bloated client like acme.sh…

I did that on my QNAP system when I first tried months ago. It was Home Assistant Core only. Didn’t like it. So I installed the full thing now running on Proxmox.

I mentioned it as an option for those are are starting out.

Talking about this, I am curious, is there documentation on how packages for Nethserver are created?

Yes, there is a developer documentation:

Also I think @mrmarkuz, @giacomo, @stephdl and @davidep could hep if you have questions on building an own rpm.

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@tessierp
@m.traeumner

They can also give helpful pointers about adding to the Modules WIki, how the Module “appears” in Cockpit, and much more!

My 2 cents
Andy

Thanks for the info @Andy_Wismer @m.traeumner. I may try that when I get more time. Right now I’m still trying to get things setup… Working during the day, working on setting my new server environment sometimes at night, taking care of my son… No excuses but if I can help I’ll do it. But I cannot make any promises just yet. Just don’t want to create any expectations or promises I can’t make.

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@tessierp

Not creating expectations or pressure in any form.
Just providing pointers, so you can make your own free decision… :slight_smile:

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I know. I do like to help when I can. And I strongly believe in Open Source. The help anyone gives me I use that for myself and to help others around me as well. It is all in the spirit of sharing, that is how we evolve. The strength of collaboration.

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Interesting discussion :grinning:

Briefly thinking about the top-level how see two major directions:

  • containerized: every (group of) module(s) are distributed as (and run in) containers.
  • or (as is) run services in user-sessions.

In the end it can be a hybrite setup deploying them both…

I think it fair to say Docker dominates the container space, but it is not the only option. (LXC?)
For the running the services on the server as-is one could consider distro-agnostic packaging with more “sand-boxed” properties. Not being very familiar with them found 3 options:

  • Flattpack: most used to distribute desktop applications which kind of run sand-boxed. Developed by the gnome team
  • AppImage: most used to distribute complete user applications (such as games). Interesting to note is, it are actually iso (CD) files which get mounted and run sand-boxed.
  • Snappy: aimed to distribute server applications/services. On first sight it seem to be the best fit (if you aim at distro-agnostic packaging), As @Andy_Wismer mentioned above it does not have wide adoption outside the Ubuntu eco-system, and they are the main (sole?) developers of it. (I’m completely unfamiliar with snappy…)