10 years of Project-Builder !

Well, I think it’s worth to celebrate that milestone ! I’m now publishing officially the version 0.14.6 of project-builder.org for its 10th anniversary.

Everything started to solve an issue I had when I took over the maintenance of the MondoRescue project. It was very difficult in 2005 to consume the project. People had to download a tar file, follow a very succint recipe to build and install it and then being finally able to use it. The tool was supporting a lot of Linux distributions, but was difficult to use by these same distributions. So I started to build some shell scripts to help me deliver Linux distributions packages to solve that. I realized that I was duplicating stuff to address Fedora and RHEL, SuSE and SLES, Mandrake and Mandriva, … Even when building for other types such as Debian and Ubuntu or Gentoo. Typically all these distributions want a summary, a description, dependencies, changelog, … And I hate duplicating stuff. Also I realized I wasn’t the only one in need of this type of support. LinuxCOE, a peer project at HP was also in need of this, as well as many others.

So in 2007, I decided to rewrite my scripts in a more powerful language, perl (thanks Larry Wall ! and BTW I continue to find it way superior to a lot of younger ones, calling themselves more modern :-)). And version 0.5 was soon published as I used my vacation that year to code a lot for it.

It was way before I started to blog, and blog about it was among the first articles I decided to write. Of course, along the years, features have been developed, capabilities extended. I’m now able to generate project-builder.org it self and MondoRescue for 130 tuples of distributions. THat’s a proof this is possible, and that a tool like that can help achieving it.

10 years ago, I had to invent a configuration file format to support my needs. I wanted to have the least possible number of hard coded elements in project-builder.org. I created my own format, pretty simple mimicing the perl hash being: keyword param = value[,value]. At that time, YAML and JSON weren’t that popular, and I wasn’t aware of perl modules to support these, despite the fact they were existing, and my knowledge of CPAN wasn’t that accurate.
But at least I had inheritance mechanisms, and fucntions to deal with it, whch proved to be extremely useful to migrate.

So It’s now time, for the next 10 years to adopt a format, nearly as simple as mine, as easy to map to perl hashes as mine, and I chose YAML, benig lazy and finding it easier to manage manually (like mine was). Of course, this will have some consequences, as some old build environment don’t provide it so I may drop support for some very old distributions. If needed BTW something can be done as we have the source !! Version 0.15.1 is already in progress, and project-builder.org is now able to build itself, including in VMs or Docker containers for other distributions using that new format. And due to the mechanisms in place, I’ve kept easily all the features, just moving to a new format. I’ll start to work soon on migrating the conf files of MondoRescue to have another project working with that version. I’m also working in HPE with another team that is starting to use it as well, and I chose to adopt for them the new version to benefit from the way forward.

Finally, as I mentioned previously, the tool is now in use by the FOSSology project as well in the Linux Foundation build infrastructure. With the latest version 0.14.6, now FOSSology builds at least native packages for CentOS 7 on a CentOS 7 platform. Now we’ll work on the generation of packages for the other distributions the project want to support (which will be pretty easy now the infra is in place), in order to cover the topic during the Open Source Summit in Prague in October, providing I get approval to travel there (as I’m traveling quite a lot these days).

So happy birthday to project-builder.org and let’s start working on the next YAML based version, and help more projects adopt it !

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2 Responses to “10 years of Project-Builder !”

  1. Meet at DockerCon Europe | Bruno Cornec's Blog Says:

    […] All rights reversed « 10 years of Project-Builder ! […]

  2. Meet during the Open Source Summit in Prague | Bruno Cornec's Blog Says:

    […] I’ll be back in Prague (no problem as I love that city !) next week, to celebrate also the 10 years of project-builder.org, just after my week at DockerCon which is really starting today […]

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