v14.2 Core Release - Improvements to Confconsole, including easy Let's Encrypt SSL certs

Just shy of a year since our v14.1 release I am relieved to announce that Core v14.2 is finally ready for prime time!

It's been a while in the making, but v14.2 Core is now available for immediate launch in the cloud via the Hub. Amazon MarketPlace builds are on the way too, although no ETA at present. (Almost) all of the other builds (e.g. ISO, OVA, Xen, Proxmox etc.) can also be downloaded from the Core appliance page. Alternatively, all the currently appliance builds are available for direct download from one of our mirrors.

The highlights for this release include, a significant confconsole update, as well as new versions of TKLBAM and Webmin. It will also include a new OpenStack build courtesy of Tomas (from 'Home at Cloud').

Why just Core?

Unlike our last release, this one will be staged. We are releasing v14.2 Core independently, with others coming soon. The other appliances will be released in batches, as they are ready. I am hoping to release the first batch within weeks. I can't promise anything, but if you have a specific appliance that you'd really love to see a new version of, please comment below and I'll do my best to prioritise it's update and release. The more specific you can be about what you want/need, the better.

Confconsole - new and improved v1.0.0

Beyond, the staged nature of this release, the other most significant change in v14.2 is a major revamp of Confconsole (including some reasonable docs too). You can read all about Confconsole and the new v1.0.0 features in the docs here, but I have noted some highlights below.

Confconsole Advanced menu

The latest development has primarily been done by Anton Pyrogovsky and Stefan Davis. I had a fair bit of involvement in the Let's Encrypt component. But it wouldn't have been the same without community powerhouse; Ken Robinson. Ken kindly devoted a ton of time and effort to testing and feedback. Thanks to all of you, but especially you Ken! You rock man! :)

Confconsole v1.0.0 highlights

Let's Encrypt integration: You've been asking for it for ages, now here it is! We've finally integrated an easy way to get free Let's Encrypt SSL certificates and bundled it with TurnKey OOTB. Just fire up Confconsole from the commandline and look for it in the "Advanced" menu. Full docs are here.

Mail relay configuration: Another feature that has been asked for, is easy email SMTP relay configuration. Actually we've done one better. We have researched the available third party options and have concluded that SendinBlue are currently providing the best mix of features and value for money. So we've made SendinBlue config super simple! Just sign up for a free SendinBlue account and after a few keystrokes in Confconsole, and you're away! On the other hand, we don't like to lock anyone in, so alternate custom SMTP relay configuration is also straight forward. Again, look for it in the Confconsole "Advanced" menu. Full docs are here.

Other highlights: There's quite a bit of other added functionality, but particular highlights for me are the Regional Config and a super easy way to set the hostname. Developers may be interested in leveraging the new "plugins system" too.

TKLBAM update

TKLBAM hasn't had any major new features added, but it has had some love. The new release resolves a few edge case bugs and ensures it's functionality is more robust. Existing v14.x users can update with a simple 'apt-get update && apt-get install tklbam'.

Webmin update

As per usual, a new TurnKey release means a new Webmin update. So v14.2 comes with Webmin v1.831 pre-installed (from the TurnKey repository). There are a ton of bugfixes included since our last version (v1.780) but no fundamental changes beyond the addition of a new IPv6 Firewall module (not installed by default, but easily added via 'apt-get update && apt-get install webmin-firewall6'. For full details, please view the full Webmin changelog.

Similar to previous TurnKey releases, v14.0/v14.1 users can also upgrade to Webmin v1.831 if they wish. The detailed instructions in this comment (on GitHub) contain some redundancy for v14.1 users, but should still work. Please note that you will need to manually start Webmin after install: 'service webmin start'. Alternatively you may just reboot your server.

Missing buildtypes?!

Those of you paying attention, may notice that I noted that it "will" include a new improved OpenStack build. Also I didn't mention the OpenNode build at all. The story behind OpenNode is pretty straight forward. OpenNode has been a legacy product for some time now (superseded by NodeFabric). As it's now a legacy product, we have decided not to build v14.2 OpenNode images. We hope to support NodeFabric in the future, but unfortunately, we'll need to leave that for another day as it relies on our future TKLX incarnation.

OpenStack build needed some love

The story behind the currently missing OpenStack build is quite different. Obviously OpenStack is still in active development. But for our last 2 releases, our OpenStack build has been sub-optimal, to say the least! Due to the fact that none of us have OpenStack installed, the testing and maintenance has been a bit flaky. I have done some very basic testing from an OpenStack install nested within Proxmox. But OpenStack wasn't very stable for me, so it was far from ideal. I have put the call out a number of times and personally contacted past OpenStack users and developers and had little feedback, so until now, we've made do with what we had.

Meet an TurnKey OpenStack hero - Tomas from 'Home at Cloud'!

But then along came Tomas Vondra, sponsored by his employer; Home at Cloud! His employer liked the look of TurnKey and wanted to leverage our appliances on their hosting platform. However Tomas soon discovered that our existing OpenStack build (as noted above) was sadly lacking.

But not to be deterred; in the community spirit of open source, Tomas rolled up his sleeves and did some major reworking of our OpenStack build. He has managed to bring it more-or-less inline with the vanilla Debian OpenStack release. So in the very near future (after we do some last minute minor tweaks), we will have a shiny new OpenStack build. As per the Debian OpenStack release, it is in .qcow2 format. Qcow2 is a native KVM disk image format. As such, our new OpenStack build is primarily aimed at OpenStack implementations with a KVM virtualization backend.

Even though it's been primarily designed for (and tested on) KVM backed OpenStack, it should also work on Xen backed systems. Xen has supported the .qcow2 image format for quite some time now. Whilst I don't have a Xen system to double-check, as we use the default Debian kernel, so it should "just work"! Note that the Debian kernel includes relevant drivers so you should find it works best in "HVM" mode (technically "PV-on-HVM"). Failing that, you may be able to bend our Xen tarball release (designed for PV support) to fit. If you are running a Xen backed OpenStack cloud, please drop us a line and let us know how it works for you.

More updates coming soon

As hinted above, the OpenStack build should be just around the corner. I had hoped to release it at the same time as all the other builds. However, it needs a couple more tweaks and some last minute testing. I'll update this post when it's live. As for the other appliances, please watch this space. I will announce batches of new appliances via the blog as we publish them.

As per always, we love feedback; the good, the bad; and even the ugly (but please keep it constructive)! :) So please take the new release for a test drive and tell us what you think below in the comments. If you have any issues, please feel free to post in our forums. As per usual, please report bugs and feature requests on our Issue Tracker. Bonus brownie points if you can provide a workaround to a bug; or better still a pull request with the fixed code! :)

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Comments

maec's picture

Jeremy,

Is it just me or do the Core page build links still point to 14.1?

14.2 on AWS looks great -- thanks!

Mark

Jeremy Davis's picture

I'm sure that I had updated it to also show v14.2, but when I looked you were right! I've fixed it now so it shows both v14.1 & v14.2.
Erick Mungandi's picture

Hi Jeremy, When are we getting turnkey-lamp-14.2 and we going to have PHP7.x considering the performance gains in comparison with PHP5.6? Thank you Jeremy for providing this great server platform for us.
Jeremy Davis's picture

LAMP will be in the next (first) batch of appliances to be released. At this point I still need to do a ton of testing, but I am hoping to be posting a blog post announcement for the first batch (early?) next week. So stay tuned! :)

Regarding PHP 7.0; TurnKey v14.x is based on Debian Jessie (aka 8.x). Because we use native Debian packages whenever possible (security and stability come first), we are stuck with PHP v5.6 until we rebase on Debian Stretch (aka 9.x).

Although perhaps we will consider at least documenting how to update to PHP 7.0 for those interested? Or now we have the confconsole plugin system, perhaps we (or a motivated community member?) can go a step further and develop a confconsole plugin to install PHP 7.0!?

Regardless, the next release of Debian; codename Stretch, includes PHP 7.0 and is currently in "release candidate" stage (i.e. very close to stable release). As soon as I've finished the v14.2 release, I'll be switching focus to v15.0. V15.0 will be a rebase on Debian Stretch so will include PHP 7.0 by default.

I don't want to give any specific timelines (as they always blowout and cause frustration and disappointment) but you can be assured that we'll release v15.0 ASAP (as soon as it's ready or Stretch is stable; whichever comes last; most likely the former).

Simon Mayers's picture

You are very effort to make v14.2 core. Hope that it will well. Thanks for your share!
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