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Debathena Trusty 14.04 Release Notes

On August 11 2014, IS&T released latest version of Debathena for the public cluster environment. This version is based on Ubuntu 14.04 ("Trusty").


The Unity Environment

As with the current release (Precise, 12.04), Ubuntu Trusty uses the Unity environment for desktop sessions. The environment is quite similar to the current release, with the primary change being that Ubuntu has removed support for "2D" sessions, instead requiring the use of a compositing window manager (Compiz) and various special effects in the user interface. This will be largely invisible, though you may notice subtle user interface changes. Functionality should not be effected, with the exception of screen locking, as described below.

Screen Locking

Unfortunately, Ubuntu has elected to replace the traditional GNOME Screensaver with the less functional Unity Screen Locker, and has elected to do so in a way that makes customization virtually impossible. Screen locking functionality is still available, however the lock screen looks very different, and the functionality to force-log-out a user who has been idle for over 20 minutes is nonexistent. We have a workaround for now (instructions on the login screen instruct the user to select "Switch User" from the menu at the top right), and we will continue to investigate more user-friendly alternatives.

For more information, see: How do I log someone out of a Debathena Trusty workstation?

Summary of Changes

  • The base operating system has been upgraded from Ubuntu 12.04 LTS ("Precise") to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS ("Trusty"). Like Ubuntu 12.04, this is a Long-Term Support (LTS) release, meaning that private workstation owners may continue running Debathena Trusty through April 2017. However, at this point, IS&T plans to upgrade the cluster environment to Ubuntu 16.04 in August of 2016.

End of support for Kerberos-enabled telnet and ftp

  • This release no longer provides Kerberos-enabled telnet and FTP clients, as they are no longer available upstream. We expect this to have a minimal impact, as IS&T has not maintained any public Kerberized telnet servers since 2011. However, it was still possible to use a Kerberos-aware FTP client to connect to Anyone still using Kerberized FTP is encourage to switch to SSH File Transfer (also known as "SFTP"), which is now the industry standard.
  • and users should read: End Of Life for Kerberized FTP (GSSAPI FTP)

Use of Evolution mail client actively discouraged

  • The "Evolution" mail client, once the standard on Athena, has become increasingly unreliable of late, and has now reached the point where IS&T does not have the resources to keep up with its various configuration quirks and bugs. Existing users of Evolution may continue to use it, but are encouraged to move to a more stable client like Thunderbird. New users are discouraged from using Evolution.

For Developers and Locker Maintainers

  • The default AFS sysname in the clusters will be amd64_ubuntu1404.
  • We have dropped support for the amd64_ubuntu910 and i386_ubuntu910 sysnames. These correspond to Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic), released in 2009. This release was never deployed to IS&T Athena Clusters.

For Private Workstation Owners

  • As with all Debathena releases, private workstation owners will need to perform their own upgrade. Upgrade instructions are available at Users upgrading from Precise (12.04) can upgrade straight to Trusty, but as always, we recommend you ensure you have a backup of your data before upgrading. IS&T provides CrashPlan to members of the MIT Community.
  • Before upgrading, ensure you have fully updated your workstation. In particular, due to Ubuntu bugs, having the devscripts-el, dpkg-dev-el, or debian-el packages installed can cause the upgrade to fail catastrophically. Anyone running debathena-workstation should ensure they have upgraded to debathena-debian-dev 0.7, and (if necessary) manually removed those 3 packages prior to upgrade (That is, ensure that your existing workstation has taken all pending software updates for its current version, before you attempt to upgrade it to a newer version).

As a reminder, IS&T no longer provides on-site support for private Athena workstations. Software upgrades, hardware upgrades, data migration, networking configuration, etc are the responsibility of the workstation owner or departmental IT staff. As of September 2009, IS&T does not charge any fees associated with private workstations.

Technical Changes

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

August 04, 2016

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