Final Report: Update Platform to SL7.6 (471)

LCFG Level

As with previous minor upgrades to SL7 the work to update the LCFG level headers and generate the new package lists was very straightforward. This has become easier through the ongoing work to move big package groups out of the headers into the package list files so that they can be managed using the yummy tool. To help avoid conflicts between package lists a number of new tests were added for the KVM RHEV and devtoolset package lists.

DICE Level

Adding support to the DICE level for a new minor platform is a much slower process that could benefit from further automation. There are complex dependencies between various headers and package lists which mean a lot of testing is required to avoid conflicts. As there are many complex package groups in these headers it takes a lot of effort to find and deal with all the packages which need updates. Checking all the LCFG profiles for all our DICE machines requires a lot of tedious work, moving as much as possible into headers and package lists makes this much easier.

Python 3

As part of this platform upgrade the version of Python 3 was upgraded to 3.6. This involved a huge amount of extra work but the benefit was that for this academic year we can support nearly all Python teaching requirements without additional conda environments.


This year we rolled out the platform upgrade to all desktops (both student lab and office) at the same time. This was in response to feedback from academics who wanted their desktops to always match the teaching environment. The desktops were upgraded early in the summer break as soon as possible after the end of board of examiners meetings, this gave as much time as possible for new coursework to be developed and tested.


The main part of this project was all straightforward and without problems. Future upgrade projects could benefit from further automation and more simplification of the DICE layer. The additional work to upgrade Python 3 was much more complex and time consuming, hopefully this will buy us enough time so we can stick with 3.6 until we do the next major platform upgrade.

Time Spent

This project took [XX] hours.

-- StephenQuinney - 28 Oct 2019

Topic revision: r1 - 28 Oct 2019 - 13:21:04 - StephenQuinney
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