[IAEP] Fwd: [Server-devel] XSCE Release 5.1

Adam Holt holt at laptop.org
Sun Jul 27 21:10:22 EDT 2014

*This is just the beginning, but quite monumental work has been achieved
below by Tim Moody, George Hunt and Team here =)*

From: Tim Moody <tim at timmoody.com>
Date: Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 7:57 PM
Subject: [Server-devel] XSCE Release 5.1
To: xsce-devel at googlegroups.com, Internet In a Box Working Group <
iiab at sgvhak.org>, server-devel at lists.laptop.org

  On behalf of the many contributors to the School Server Community Edition
I am pleased to announce Release 5.1.

XSCE 5.1 has been tested on a variety of hardware platforms including OLPC
XO-4 laptops, 64 bit servers, and VBox VMs.

Please help with further testing.

To get started (assuming you have git setup) please follow the instructions
at https://github.com/XSCE/xsce/blob/master/docs/INSTALL.rst or the
instructions in the Release Notes.

The 5.1 release can be cloned by

git clone https://github.com/XSCE/xsce.git --branch release-5.1 --depth 1

or if you want the entire repository:

git clone https://github.com/XSCE/xsce.git
git checkout release-5.1

The release notes that follow are at

Release Notes for XSCE 5.1

Release 5.1 pursues two parallel goals, the addition of New Features and
Improvements to Existing Features.


In addition to being a web server, XSCE can now operate as a file server.
For this release /library/public is publicly shared by default, but another
directory can chosen by changing the variable {{ shared_dir }}. N.B. that
an XO does not have a samba-client installed by default.

The XO Visualization package, created by Martin Dluhos, draws graphs that
represent XO usage extrapolated from backup files on the server. There are
a number of ansible variables that can customize this package.

vnStat is another arrow in the management quiver that allows console-based
network traffic monitoring for analysis and trouble-shooting.

Customization and Administration

With 5.1 we begin a framework to make customizing installations easier.

   - Introduction of vars/local_vars.yml: variable values in this file will
   override the values in vars/default_vars.yml. A new git repo has also been
   created, https://github.com/XSCE/xsce-local, in which branches can be
   used to store variable settings for a particular deployment.
   - Conditional Install: we have begun to add install and enable flags for
   optional features. Hopefully this will be built out further in the next
   - Standard Admin User: Variables are in place to add an administrative
   user the name and password of which can be customized through
   local_vars.yml. There is also provision for a custom authorized_keys file
   which can be specified for a particular deployment.

for Fedora 20

A new rpm repo has been added with rpms for Fedora 20 at


The version of IIAB has been upgraded to include Full Text Search in the
wikipediae and in Open Street Maps.

Whitelist filtering and https filtering have been added.


Nine aggregate categores have been created to make a clearer delineation of
xsce features. Changes required by ansible 1.6. have also been implemented.

OpenVPN was in previous releases, but without sufficient customization to
make it easily implemented. This is now greatly improved and includes
support for 3g modems.

More localization and directory-driven content menus have been added.

To get started please install git and ansible and then issue as root:


git clone https://github.com/XSCE/xsce.git --depth 1 -b release-5.1

cd xsce


On an XO-4 the machine will reboot and it is necessary to execute
./runansible again.

Some services, such as samba and Authserver, do not become active until a


A testing checklist is at

The first step in automating testing is reflected in
https://github.com/XSCE/xsce-tests, which includes scripts that can be
loaded onto an XO client to perform basic smoke tests.

Please help test this and file bugs at


   - 64 bit Intel: tested on both VBox and physical machines.
   - XO-4: the install works, but it may be necessary to issue ./runansible
   more than once or use the runtags command to install in smaller steps.


   - Pathagar has a problem at source and is not installed by default.
   - On XO-4 it is sometimes necessary to reboot when network is configured
   and NetworkManager fails to restart.

Tim Moody

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Server-devel at lists.laptop.org
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