Revision 2 as of 2009-11-20 17:48:05

Clear message


This should provide an overview of the issue/functionality/change proposed here. Focus here on what will actually be DONE, summarising that so that other people don't have to read the whole spec. See also CategorySpec for examples.

Release Note

This section should include a paragraph describing the end-user impact of this change. It is meant to be included in the release notes of the first release in which it is implemented. (Not all of these will actually be included in the release notes, at the release manager's discretion; but writing them is a useful exercise.)

It is mandatory.


This should cover the _why_: why is this change being proposed, what justifies it, where we see this justified.

User stories



You can have subsections that better describe specific parts of the issue.


This section should describe a plan of action (the "how") to implement the changes discussed. Could include subsections like:

UI Changes

Should cover changes required to the UI, or specific UI that is required to implement this

Code Changes

Code changes should include an overview of what needs to change, and in some cases even the specific details.



  • data migration, if any
  • redirects from old URLs to new ones, if any
  • how users will be pointed to the new way of doing things, if necessary.

Test/Demo Plan

It's important that we are able to test new features, and demonstrate them to users. Use this section to describe a short plan that anybody can follow that demonstrates the feature is working. This can then be used during testing, and to show off after release. Please add an entry to for tracking test coverage.

This need not be added or completed until the specification is nearing beta.

Unresolved issues

This should highlight any issues that should be addressed in further specifications, and not problems with the specification itself; since any specification with problems cannot be approved.

BoF agenda and discussion

The current method by which users can configure UEC/EC2 images is via 'user-data'. user-data that begins with #! is executed by the appropriate interpreter at S99 runlevel. This is a very effect method for customization but one that requires a fair amount of expertise to utilize.

It would be nice to provide a config file like syntax that would allow: - what mirrors to use / what additional repos to add - whether or not updates are installed on first boot - ssh private keys to use (allowing user to dictate them, rather than polling for random keys from ec2-console) - extra packages to install

Note: this differs from server-lucid-ec2-boothooks as this would provide only for specific/static function. [1] would provide a hook into the images that could allow for building this blueprint.

Problems with the status quo

  • writing shell scripts is complex, easy to screw up -- simple things should be simple
  • only 64k of user data can be passed
  • maintenance issues

Use cases

  • package installation (Ubuntu repositories) *simple*
    • including tasks
    • add specific apt repositories
  • package installation (custom repositories) *simple*
  • install latest updates *simple*
  • Pass more than 64k of user data
    • landscape (registration data)
    • puppet (bootstrap (certificate/private key, autoregistration))
    • rightscale (rightscripts)
    • other config mgmt system: cfengine, bcfg, spline, capistrano
  • Advertise specific features [don't know]
  • dynamic DNS
  • EBS mounting and snapshots *simple*
    • udev script mounting of volume based on metadata in the volume
  • ephemeral storage mounting
    • RAID *simple*
  • asynchronous notification that the instance is up and running:
    • email
    • jabber/XMPP
    • simpledb, sqs
    • rabbitmq (message queue)
    • submission to a url *simple-low priority*
  • run custom scripts
    • at what point in the boot process?
      • pass an upstart job
  • pass any type of credentials through user-data (AWS, certificates, keytabs, ssh keys)
    • security issues
    • all data should be kept as safe as possible
      • config option to set perms on said data


  • - as early as possible parses various souces of user data - acts on it

Implementation ideas

  • share syntax, semantics with d-i preseeding
  • use puppet - not a generic solution to the issue, requires infrastructure
  • Simple key/value pairs format, read by plugins
  • Core features: bootstrapping process -- package install, repository add
  • Section / key-value pair format where each section would get read by a specific plugin
  • Credentials transfer: use S3-backend "safe" storage
  • store scripts, data in S3, access via URL
    • runurl
    • runurl
    • runurl