Last CONFINE news of 2013

It's been more than half a year since my last post on CONFINE, which may give you an idea of the feverish months we've had at the project. We still are in that rush, but the Christmas days bring a little calm so I won't miss the chance of writing one last post for this year.

During the late summer Axel and I worked on the sliver deployment procedure to support user-provided overlays on top on fixed-size sliver images, which would later open the door to per-sliver resource reservations. I did some work on confine.disk-parted to allow automatic partition of node disk (a usual node admin gotcha), and there's been a lot of work on confine.sysupgrade which proved to be a hard bone. I hope we have time to implement safe node upgrade during the next year so these problems go away.

In October we had both the (successful!) project review by EC officers and the International Summit for Community Wireless Networks at Berlin (in the cool c-base), which kept us busy for a long time. After that we started working in earnest on automated testing, which is helping us enhance the quality of our software by unearthing bugs and pointing us at dark corners in the specs and implementation, specially in the REST API side which tests use via new client code (like Marc's ORM). We gave support (mainly mail-based, although we started working on some comprehensive guides) to first open call participants whose help in testing Community-Lab (and Wibed) with real experiments is invaluable.

All this late manual and automatic testing revealed some shortcomings in the architecture that we're working hard to iron out in spite of the project's advanced state. Besides resource reservations we have a clear split bewteen server and controller APIs, configurable API links to allow proxying caches and other HTTP magic, the removal of firmware configuration items from the API, and other changes to clean up the data model and make the REST API more efficient and usable.

It's been a very exciting year for me, and 2014 looks no less exciting with the incorporation of the second open call participants which will push the envelope of CONFINE not only on the technical and usability sides, but also on the social one. The year shall also see us in FOSDEM 2014 where CONFINE will be having a lightning talk and a stand full of community network members. See you there, and have a very happy new year!