​SUSE Studio merges with Open Build Service

SUSE makes creating customized operating system images easier than ever with SUSE Studio Express.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

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When SUSE first introduced SUSE Studio in 2010, it was a radical change. You could build your own Linux distribution without being a Linux expert. Today, we use custom Linux images inside containers, virtual machines (VM), and every cloud worth its name every day. So SUSE is updating SUSE Studio by merging it with its Open Build Service (OBS) to create a better tool for bundling packages with Linux distributions to deliver customized Linux images. The new product's name will be SUSE Studio Express.

According to Andreas Jaeger, a SUSE project manager, this updated tool "can handle any kind of image." Jaeger explained, "The default engine for building images at SUSE is kiwi and is used in both SUSE Studio and OBS. We have decided to merge the two online services into a common solution."

The new SUSE Studio Express has the following features:

  • Collaboration on image building: You can do the usual clone, change, submit, and review cycle to update an image and send it back to the original owner. This also works for image templates that others use as a base.
  • Support for additional architectures: SUSE Studio only handled x86-64. With the SUSE Studio Express, you will build images for all SUSE architectures -- not only for Intel/AMD x86-64 but later also for ARM, Power, and IBM z Systems.
  • Open Development: The complete source code is available and the development team is blogging about their sprint reports. If you would like to contribute code to the new UI or add image templates, go ahead!
  • OBS will be more flexible: It will be able to support further imaging tool chains.
  • Image development can be done as part of distribution development: This way images can work directly at release of a product. In the future, this will allow us to support these images with maintenance updates. In addition, building of images for unreleased distributions will be possible.

Existing SUSE Studio users can export their existing kiwi files to SUSE Studio Express. Developers should keep in mind that the import might includes an update to newer versions of code, so you may need to update your configuration.

Work is continuing on SUSE Studio Express with more features to be added. One of these will enable you to upload your new, piping-hot images to public clouds. The development team is also working on better documentation to make it easier for developers to create just the right blend of programs for their custom Linux distribution.

Studio Express is in beta now. You can currently work on images using openSUSE Leap 42.3 or SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 SP3 for the foundation for your build. The program is expected to be ready for all users in the fourth quarter of 2017.

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