[Userops] Antonio Terceiro's DebConf talk on packaging free software web applications

Asheesh Laroia asheesh at sandstorm.io
Mon Aug 24 13:22:53 EDT 2015

I was super impressed by this talk.

One thing I realized today, a few days after seeing the talk (on Saturday)

I wonder if a lot of the config can be done, rather than by chef scripts
mutating files on-disk, by passing environment variables to the app. That
way, hopefully, the environment variables can store site-specific details,
similar to how Heroku describes "12 factor apps": http://12factor.net/

If that's unclear, let me know and I can try to say more. I'm curious what
you think, Antonio.

On Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 9:31 AM, Christopher Allan Webber <
cwebber at dustycloud.org> wrote:

> Hello all,
> If you haven't watched it, I highly recommend watching:
> http://gemmei.acc.umu.se/pub/debian-meetings/2015/debconf15/Packaging_the_free_software_web_for_the_end_user.webm
> There are some interesting parts of this talk:
>  - First of all, most of the concerns I have had about deploying on
>    existing distributions have been reflected in this talk!  (Oh okay,
>    it turns out that's no coincidence, Deb and I's FOSDEM talk was
>    mentioned in here.  But I think regardless, we're hitting peak
>    zeitgeist on what the problem domain is...)
>  - Several components were identified as not being totally covered by
>    existing packaging solutions, including deploying multiple instances
>    of applications and handling shared configuration variables.
>  - In the talk, the idea of an "application" as a layer above "packages"
>    is proposed... right on!
>  - There's an application being hacked on called shak that has both a
>    command line and a web user interface.  Cool!
>  - Under the hood, Shak uses Chef.  I think the idea of a scriptable
>    configuration management system is the right choice... I think some
>    issues with Chef were mentioned.
> As a side note, Shak appears very similar to a direction of things I was
> exploring before I went full-on Guix, when I was very interested in
> solutions involving keeping Debian and etc systems up to date.  I was
> working on a recipe system that was using s-expressions with Hy and then
> later Guile, I think partly because I ran into some of the issues
> mentioned with Chef when I tried doing things with Salt and other
> tools...
> Anyway, even though my focus has shifted to Guix, I think Debian is
> super important and will be for a long time, and I think multiple groups
> working on this stuff is important.  A lot of the ideas happening in
> Shak are the right ones, I think.
> Cool stuff!  Happy userops'ing everyone,
>  - Chris
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