Weekly and Daily Ubuntu image builds

We’ve been providing Ubuntu images in the Brightbox Cloud image library since we first launched, but what you might not know is that we provide weekly builds of current Ubuntu images and daily builds of the Ubuntu testing image too!

Our “official” Ubuntu images (currently Lucid, Natty, Oneiric and Precise) can be viewed with the brightbox-images tool:

$ brightbox-images list --type=official | grep Ubuntu

 id         owner      type      created_on  status  size   name                                    
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 img-wwgbb  brightbox  official  2012-05-01  public  769    Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 LTS server (i686)    
 img-alkg0  brightbox  official  2012-05-01  public  769    Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 LTS server (x86_64)  
 img-ipb1z  brightbox  official  2012-05-01  public  769    Ubuntu Natty 11.04 server (i686)        
 img-bj33p  brightbox  official  2012-05-01  public  1025   Ubuntu Natty 11.04 server (x86_64)      
 img-57v0y  brightbox  official  2012-05-01  public  1025   Ubuntu Oneiric 11.10 server (i686)      
 img-hsxaq  brightbox  official  2012-05-01  public  1025   Ubuntu Oneiric 11.10 server (x86_64)    
 img-at0ha  brightbox  official  2012-04-26  public  1025   Ubuntu Precise 12.04 LTS server (i686)  
 img-9h5cv  brightbox  official  2012-04-26  public  1025   Ubuntu Precise 12.04 LTS server (x86_64)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our weekly images are automatically registered by the build systems. They are built directly from the upstream package repositories using brightbox-builder - a derivative of the live-build system on Ubuntu - which is published in our main package archive on launchpad

They’re published to a separate account (acc-tqs4c) and whilst they are publicly available, they’re not marked as official and so don’t show up in the image list by default. To list them, use the --show-all option with the account selector:

$ brightbox-images list --account=acc-tqs4c --show-all | grep Ubuntu

 id         owner      type      created_on  status  size   name                                         
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 img-iag8z  acc-tqs4c  upload    2012-05-29  public  184    Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 LTS server (i686)         
 img-236c6  acc-tqs4c  upload    2012-05-29  public  187    Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 LTS server (x86_64)       
 img-461mo  acc-tqs4c  upload    2012-04-07  public  769    Ubuntu Maverick 10.10 server (i686)          
 img-tog3u  acc-tqs4c  upload    2012-04-07  public  1025   Ubuntu Maverick 10.10 server (x86_64)        
 img-zk9ns  acc-tqs4c  upload    2012-05-28  public  231    Ubuntu Natty 11.04 server (i686)             
 img-22inw  acc-tqs4c  upload    2012-05-28  public  236    Ubuntu Natty 11.04 server (x86_64)           
 img-ee176  acc-tqs4c  upload    2012-05-30  public  248    Ubuntu Oneiric 11.10 server (i686)           
 img-pgbts  acc-tqs4c  upload    2012-05-30  public  269    Ubuntu Oneiric 11.10 server (x86_64)         
 img-iq544  acc-tqs4c  upload    2012-05-30  public  252    Ubuntu Precise 12.04 LTS server (i686)       
 img-4crqv  acc-tqs4c  upload    2012-05-30  public  271    Ubuntu Precise 12.04 LTS server (x86_64)     
 img-qy6dp  acc-tqs4c  upload    2012-05-30  public  1281   Ubuntu Quantal 12.10 server (i686)           
 img-orqk4  acc-tqs4c  upload    2012-05-30  public  1281   Ubuntu Quantal 12.10 server (x86_64)         
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The images are registered weekly and the previous week’s images are marked as deprecated (which means they don’t show up in the listings but are still available to build servers if you know the identifier). After three months, the deprecated images are deleted.

The latest testing release of Ubuntu (currently Quantal Quetzal 12.10) is built on a daily basis.

We update the “official” images occasionally - usually when new releases of Ubuntu come out. They are taken from the weekly image and get a bit of testing to make sure they boot properly etc before they are made “official”. Older versions are deprecated and generally kept around as long as the distribution is supported.

The idea is that the official images are stable and their identifiers can be relied on not to change regularly, but the pre-installed packages may be out of date (and may require security updates). Much like the installation CDs.

On the other hand the weekly images have up-to-date packages and include the latest testing releases as well as the current stable versions. But the identifiers change regularly and they aren’t guaranteed to work (though the supported releases are tested upstream by Ubuntu of course, so you shouldn’t expect problems!)

If you want to hard code an image identifier in your build scripts, then you’re probably best using the official images; you just need to remember to apply any important updates once it’s booted!

However, if you want to get started quickly with a more recent image then the weekly image archive is your friend.

We’re working on arranging something similar for RPM based distros like Fedora and Centos, which we hope to announce in the next week or two.

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