This time, there are a lot of visible changes in the new version m23 rock 13.1, which is ready just in time for the LinuxTag in Berlin: with "Fresh Blue" there is now a new theme for the m23 web interface and on the client side, Linux Mint 13 with its desktops Mate and Cinnamon was added.
And if this isn't already a reason to try / update m23, there are of course still a whole lot of other changes and improvements, including the option to install the m23 server on a Raspberry Pi or a new kernel including additional drivers.
The range of supported distributions has been extended by Linux Mint 13 (based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS). In contrast to Ubuntu, the standard desktop is not Unity but Mate, which is a continuation of Gnome 2 or the Cinnamon desktop, which offers a familiar working environment based on Gnome 3 (including a start menu). Apart from these advantages, Linux Mint 13 comes with extended multimedia capabilities.
But there is also something new for our Ubuntu users: The package sources list "precise+Xorg-updates" contains new graphic card drivers e.g. for current Intel graphic cards. Additionally, when installing Debian, Ubuntu and Linux Mint, now various further firmware packages are being installed to make special hardware run right away.
The m23 interface has gotten its first substantial "face lift" including the new theme "Fresh Blue" (which you can find under "Server settings" → "Select theme"). Aside from the complete rework / redesign, there is now the possibility to output the current client BASH script in every client's control center (for example for error analysis). Another innovation is the option to save the packages of a client as an offline package source and to save the list of packages installed on this client as a package selection at the same time. Using this option, the complete software status of a system can be "frozen" and installed independently from the original package source. While implementing this, we also changed the internal functions for the administration and creation of package sources over to the API 2.0 and reworked the package sources architect.
The support for Raspberry Pi as m23 server platform initially started as a "fun project", but now it runs so stable that you can use the "Pi" for smaller environments where you do not need to install or administer many m23 clients at once. To make this work, the m23 server had to be adapted to Debian Wheezy (which wasn't even released at that time), which turned out to be surprisingly easy. All but one of the adjustments are specific to Wheezy and not to the Raspberry Pi. Of course, there are some cutbacks with this minimal solution: The virtualisation does not work on the m23 Raspberry Pi server and the m23 development kit (MDK) can only be used with restrictions. The m23 functionalities accessible from the web interface are available as usual.
All you need to start right away is a Raspberry Pi (Model B), an SD card of (at least) 8 GB size and the m23 server image for use with the SD card. You can find out more in the installation guide.
"Under the hood" there has also happened a lot: For example the update of the m23 boot media which now use the Linux kernel 3.2.38 and BusyBox 1.21.0. At this place, there were also added several firmware packages. The m23 API 2.0 has been extended by several new classes, like the class Cm23Admin, which can administer the administrators of the m23 server (including the web interface theme of their choice), or the CObjectStorageManager, which saves PHP objects to make it possible that those can also be retained and restored outside a session. There are also some new HTML functions, some of which use AJAX. Aside from the interface and the m23 core functions, the MDK now contains menu items for the creation and the separate administration of release version and developer version, for choosing the active version and to merge both versions.
Of course, we have also fixed several bugs, two of which have already been incorporated as a regular update into the release version because of the separation between developer version and release version. One adjustment became necessary as the scripts in the Ubuntu LTS kernel packages have changed in a way which prevented an automatic installation. The other corrects the GPG signature of the m23 installation packages.
The new version is available as update via the m23 interface, via APT, as ISO to burn an m23 server installation CD, as preinstalled virtual machine and as Raspberry Pi image file (the last three can be found in the download section).