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From Jason Dillon <ja...@planet57.com>
Subject Geronimo VM-appliance?
Date Mon, 15 Dec 2008 08:01:41 GMT
I've been playing around with VMWare, trying to optimize my  
virtualization configuration, and it occurred to me that folks who are  
savvy to the virtualization concept might benefit from having a linux 
+openjdk+geronimo appliance ready to "play with" perhaps another which  
is "ready for enterprise configuration".

 From an Apache POV its another distribution, specific to a  
virtualization tool, like VMWare, but users who already have the  
required tools installed, can basically download + install + run, and  
they have a functional environment...

IMO this is really nice as it drops a ton of evil platform issues (er  
ya *F*-windows) but also can resolve issues about which JDK did you  
install and did you configure your JAVA_HOME, blah, blah, blah.  There  
are a ton of problems a newbie might run into when trying to play  
around with Geronimo as we all know.

Granted, not everyone is going to have a virtualization environment  
setup, but some will I'm sure... probably even the more savvy users I  
would guess (and well we can probably give docs to explain how to  
setup some virt stuff too if needed).  But those who do, we can  
deliver them highly functionally images for "playing" or images  
tailored for enterprise consumption.  That might be one which is bare- 
minimum for folks that need a starting point to roll uber-custom  
configurations (perhaps with a nice build env setup already for them,  
primed with repo artifacts) or one for users that want to deploy  
clustered ejb+web applications, and then another for simple web apps.

Seems to me that the advantage here is that you can configure the  
server and provide simple admin+user documentation on a known  
quantity... that being the VM which we publish for them.  That VM  
*should* perform *approximately* the same on any non-virtual host  
configuration (assuming we craft the image correctly).  But, okay I'm  
no math genius, but from my perspective... lets say 10x users have a  
problem due to config stuff right now, maybe 1-2x might have a problem  
with the image (its damn easy to setup a VM-configuration these days,  
and also damn easy to install an image).

So, *assuming* that folks are savvy with VM-technology, it might very  
well be *easier* to provide a VM image pre-configured for their  
evaluation/exploration of Geronimo.

I don't really expect folks to use that image for production, but I  
would expect them to learn from then image to build their production  
environment, perhaps even copying the configuration from the image as  
a bootstrap (and I think we should provide docs on how to do that).   
Though for some folks, the image (say the simple webapp image) might  
work just fine.

I've seen a lot of mails about system dependent problems... windows  
especially, damn I hate that platform... but there are other problems  
too.  Like folks on Redhat who don't uninstall the crappy GNU java  
muck and manually install the sun/ibm JDK, etc.  So I'm not just  
hating on windows (though you and I both know I really, really,  
really... really hate it).

  * * *

Bottom line is that I think use of virtual machines is becoming more  
popular.  I think it would be beneficial to Geronimo if we provided  
one (or more) virtual machines images to showcase Geronimo's full  
power... and reduce the myriad of complications some initial users run  
into why running locally on their own systems.  And furthermore, we  
can provide more customized images which fully exploit the full power  
of the system, without having to go and complicate our build (create  
new assemblies, slowing down build/dev times, etc).

After writing all this, I think the only real issue is, since we are  
part of Apache and this would technically be considered  some sort of  
*release* artifact... who does including Linux (whatever distro) jive  
with the ASF legally?

I believe its a good idea... obviously or I would not have wasted the  
time to try and explain my thoughts to you.  But I'm unsure that the  
ASF can allow for such things, short of an ASF operating-system coming  
into existence (which I'm neither counting on, nor hope happens).   
Perhaps a separate sourceforge or code.google project might suite  
better for legal issues?

Anyways, seems like a good idea, I'd like to see it happen, its not  
that hard... what do you folks think?

--jason



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