OpenVZ Community: An interview with vzpkg2 and pkg-cacher creator Robert Nelson

Posted by dowdle on Sep 28, 2008 2:52 AM EDT; By Scott Dowdle
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An OS Template is what OpenVZ uses as install media so you may install a Linux distribution into a container... since you cannot use a traditional CD-ROM / DVD nor .iso disk image. An OS Template is a .tar.gz file that represents a somewhat stripped down version of an installed Linux distribution as you would find it installed on a disk filesystem. So, if you want to create a CentOS 5.2 i386 container, you need to find an CentOS 5.2 i386 OS Template.

There are a number of recipes on the OpenVZ wiki for building OS Templates for various Linux distributions but the general process takes several steps and is quite a bit of work. Any tool that can simplify the creation (and updating) of an OS Template is a welcome addition.

ML: You have added a number of features / capabilities to vzpkg. Could you give us an overview of what's new?

Robert: I think the most significant change over the stock version of vzpkg is the separation of the packager specific code from the higher level code. This allows scripts to be written to support other package managers like apt which is used on Debian and Ubuntu.

The other slightly less significant change is the introduction of the concept of a hierarchical structure to the template meta data. Information which is the same for all versions and platforms of a distribution need only be specified once. If there is a need for separate settings for a specific version it can be overridden by a file lower in the template meta data tree.

Also new packager-independent commands have been added for managing packages in installed containers.

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