Final Report: SL7.5 upgrade (#458)

The work for this project was mostly very straightforward and followed the well-tested plan which uses the yummy tool to generate all the main package lists. As usual efforts were made to improve maintainability and reusability by moving long lists of packages from headers into package files.

Additional Work

Rolled in with the general work were the upgrades for various additional drivers and applications which require reboots as part of the installation process (e.g. nvidia, amdgpu pro, virtualbox). These were updated so that we would start the next semester in a good situation. Furthermore, the following saw particular attention:


The openafs client was upgraded to the new 1.8 series.

Python 3.4

The DICE python support has been massively overhauled as part of this project. We now have full support for 3.4 which is based upon packages provided in epel and those built by other schools (particularly Physics and Geosciences). A new header - dice/options/python.h - and two new package lists - dice/dice_sl75_python.rpms and dice/dice_sl75_scipy.rpms - have been added for managing the python environment. By default packages for python 2.7 and the entire scipy stack are installed on DICE machines. The dice/options/python3.h header can be used to enable support for python 3.4. Over 100 python packages were built for 3.4, in most cases this involved reworking of the specfile and fixing of the rather poorly specified dependencies.

Sadly this proved insufficient for most teaching requirements so various courses are using a conda environment for this semester. There is a project proposal to provide a fully-supported 3.6 envionment. The hope is that the work previously done to support 3.4 will reduce the amount of effort required to support 3.6.

R 3.5.0

The R package went from 3.4 to 3.5. This initially caused some problems as I wasn't aware of the need to rebuild ALL 260 R module packages to cope with the major version change. Thankfully, other than a few build-dependencies not being specified correctly, this did not pose any big problems. I was able to build the bulk of the packages using a single pkgforge job which ran overnight.

Software Collections

All the software collections were updated, rh-ruby25 was added and scl-rh-python35.h was removed.


The bulk of the work was done by early July which allowed a month of testing on develop machines before roll out to the stable desktop machines. We have previously had complaints from some teaching staff about office and lab machines being on different releases so we did them all at the same time immediately after the exam resits were completed. In case any late-finishing MSc students needed access to SL7.4 machines we held back those on level 9 of AT for an extra two weeks. This has worked well as it has given staff a full month in which to test coursework before the start of Semester 1.

Remaining Work

Most DICE servers still need to be upgraded to SL7.5. We don't expect there to be any big problems with this work as we have already upgraded the majority of the MPU servers.


This project took 67 hours.

-- StephenQuinney - 12 Sep 2018

Topic revision: r5 - 16 Oct 2018 - 14:18:25 - StephenQuinney
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platformCopyright © by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding TWiki? Send feedback
This Wiki uses Cookies