Ubuntu 12.04 and Cloud Foundry

Well, it’s that fun Ubuntu release day again, and around the world, I’m sure there are parties aplenty…

I grabbed an ISO this morning (64-bit desktop version, natch), and quickly setup a new virtual machine to run on my Mac. A nice feature of VMware Fusion 4.0 is the “easy install” option which lets you rapidly pop in the basic information needed to setup the system, and the rest is taken care of for you.

In my case, I specified a user ID, selected that I wanted my home folder read/write shared into the VM, and then customised the machine to up the memory and add a CPU core. In a few minutes (my machine has an SSD…!) I had a new virtual machine, running full screen in a separate space on Mission Control. Fusion even took care of installing VMware Tools so it was able to do the file sharing, use the full screen resolution etc etc straight away.

So… first impressions? Much more slick than 11.10 which I was using on a daily basis until recently. In particular, the configuration options have been streamlined really nicely. I’m still struggling with discovery of applications in Unity but in general, it’s not bad at all.

Browsing through the available packages, I was interested to find that the Cloud Foundry tools are available in the default repositories:

Cloudfoundry client

That’s awesome! you can just run sudo apt-get install cloudfoundry-client and get the main tool for deploying apps and administering Cloud Foundry right from the repository using the regular apt method (actually this is simply a convenience package – under the covers it installs a package called ruby-vmc, which installs the vmc command-line Ruby gem… it’s nice that the Ubuntu guys have made it easier to discover, though).

So what’s the problem? Well – no big deal, but actually, if you want to keep up with Cloud Foundry as a developing platform, you might want to grab something slightly newer than what is available on tap in the repository. As I write this, the version of vmc available via the cloudfoundry-client package is 0.3.10 and the one we’re currently working with is at least 0.3.16.

My suggestion, therefore, is to do the following:

  1. Install rvm (Ruby Version Manager). That way, you can have different versions of Ruby itself installed, manage gems for the different versions independently, and also – importantly – not require root privileges to do your development work and install additional gems. A handy guide to installing rvm on Ubuntu is here, and it still works fine on 12.04. Just follow the commands shown in the Installing RVM and Installing Ruby sections and you should be all set and rocking ruby-1.9.2 on your new 12.04 setup.
    (I’m using rvm and JewelryBox to manage Ruby versions on OS X, incidentally. Great tools)
  2. Run either gem install vmc or gem install vmc --pre (the latter option will get you the very latest pre-release of vmc, if you like the bleeding edge). Note that, if you installed rvm and Ruby successfully, you should not need root permissions to install gems.
  3. There is no step 3 — vmc target http://api.cloudfoundry.com and then vmc login and you should be good to go. Looking for a sample app to deploy? You could take a look at the Sinatra example I added to the cloudfoundry-samples repository on Github last week…

It’s fantastic that Ubuntu is moving towards strong desktop / development environment support for Cloud Foundry.

Oh, there’s another story with Precise Pangolin,  too – you can rapidly install the server side pieces to build your own cloud using the Juju Charms which provide Cloud Foundry support. But… that’s a story for another post, in another time and place…. :-)

Update 15/05: I raised bug #998111 against Ubuntu to ask for the ruby-vmc package to be updated, in case you feel like tracking progress via Launchpad.

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3 responses to “Ubuntu 12.04 and Cloud Foundry

  1. You have inspired me Andy .. I acutally just finished doing this on my Mac today when I saw your post.. I still can’t correctly pronounce the OS, but it does look nice.

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