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Release Notes


This is a list of release notes for various releases, you should review these before upgrading as any potential problems and backward incompatible changes will be highlighted here.

  • TOC Placeholder {:toc}


1.1.3 - 2012/03/07

This is a release in the development series of mcollective. It features major new features and some bug fixes.

This release is for early adopters, production users should consider the 1.0.x series.


  • Add the ability to partition collectives into subcollectives for security and network traffic management
  • Add a exec wrapper for agents that provides unique environments and cwds in a thread safe manner as well as avoid zombie processes
  • Automatically pass Application options to rpcclient when options are not specifically provided
  • Reneame /usr/sbin/mc to /usr/bin/mco

Bug Fixes

  • Missing libdirs will not cause crashes anymore
  • Parse MCOLLECTIVE`EXTRA`OPTS correctly with multiple options
  • file``logger_ failures are handled better
  • Improve middleware communication in unreliable settings by adding timeouts around middleware operations

Backwards Compatibility

The configuration format has changed slightly to accomodate the concept of collective names and subcollectives.

In older releases the configuration was:

{% highlight ini %} topicprefix = /topic/mcollective {% endhighlight %}

This has to change to:

{% highlight ini %} topicprefix = /topic/ main_collective = mcollective collectives = mcollective {% endhighlight %}

When setup as above a old and new version will be compatible but as soon as you start configuring the new subcollective feature you will loose compatiblity between versions.

Various defaults apply, if you configure it with these exactly topic and collective names you can leave off the main``collective_ and collectives directives as the above settings would be their defaults


Date Description Ticket
2011/03/04 Rename /usr/sbin/mc to /usr/bin/mco 6578
2011/03/01 Wrap rpcclient in applications ensuring that options is always set 6308
2011/02/28 Make communicating with the middleware more robust by including send calls in timeouts 6505
2011/02/28 Create a wrapper to safely run shell commands avoiding zombies 6392
2011/02/19 Introduce Subcollectives for network partitioning 5967
2011/02/19 Improve error handling when parsing arguments in the rpc application 6388
2011/02/19 Fix error logging when file_logger creation fails 6387
2011/02/17 Correctly parse MCOLLECTIVE_EXTRA_OPTS in the new unified binary framework 6354
2011/02/15 Allow the signing key and Debian distribution to be customized 6321
2011/02/14 Remove inadvertently included package.ddl 6313
2011/02/14 Handle missing libdirs without crashing 6306


1.0.1 - 2011/02/16

Release Focus and Notes

This is a minor bug fix release.

Bugs Fixed

  • The YAML fact plugin failed to remove deleted facts from memory
  • The - character is now allowed in Fact names for the rpcutil agent
  • Machines that fali security validations were not reported correctly, they are now treated as having not responded at all
  • Timeouts on RPC requests were too aggressive and did not allow for slow networks

Backwards Compatibility

This release will be backward compatible with older releases.


Date Description Ticket
2011/02/02 Include full Apache 2 license text 6113
2011/01/29 The YAML fact plugin kept deleted facts in memory 6056
2012/01/04 Use the LSB based init script on SUSE 5762
2010/12/30 Allow - in fact names 5727
2010/12/29 Treat machines that fail security validation like ones that did not respond 5700
2010/12/25 Allow for network and fact source latency when calculating client timeout 5676
2010/12/25 Increase the rpcutil timeout to allow for slow facts 5679

1.1.2 - 2011/02/14

This is a release in the development series of mcollective. It features minor bug fixes and features.

This release is for early adopters, production users should consider the 1.0.x series.

Bug Fixes

  • The main fix in this release is a packaging bug in Debian systems that prevented both client and server from being installed on the same machine.
  • Backwards compatibility fix for fact filters that are empty strings


  • Registration plugins can now return nil which will skip that specific registration message. This will enable plugins to decide based on some node state if a message should be sent or not.


Date Description Ticket
2011/02/13 Surpress replies to SimpleRPC clients who did not request results 6305
2011/02/11 Fix Debian packaging error due to the same file in multiple packages 6276
2011/02/11 The application framework will now disconnect from the middleware for consistancy 6292
2011/02/11 Returning nil from a registration plugin will skip registration 6289
2011/02/11 Set loglevel to warn by default if not specified in the config file 6287
2011/02/10 Fix backward compatability with empty fact strings 6278

1.1.1 - 2011/02/02

This is a release in the development series of mcollective. It features major new features and numerous bug fixes. Please pay careful attention to the upgrading section as there is some changes that are not backward compatible.

This release is for early adopters, production users should consider the 1.0.x series.

AES+RSA Security Plugin

A new security plugin that encrypts the payloads, uniquely identify senders and secure replies from inspection by other people on the collective has been written. The plugin can re-use Puppet certificates and supports distributing of public keys if you wish.

This plugin and its deployment is very complex and it has a visible performance impact but we felt it was a often requested feature and so decided to implement it.

Full documentation for this plugin can be found in our docs, please read them very carefully should you choose to deploy this plugin.

Single Exeuctable Framework

In the past a lot of the CLI tools have behaved inconsistently as the mc scripts were mostly just written to serve immediate needs, we are starting a process of improving these scripts and making them more robust.

The first step is to create a new framework for CLI commands, we call these Single Executable Applications. A new executable called mc is being distributed with this release:

{% highlight console %} $ mc The Marionette Collective version 1.1.1

/usr/sbin/mc: command (options)

Known commands: rpc filemgr inventory facts ping find help {% endhighlight %}

{% highlight console %} $ mc help The Marionette Collection version 1.1.1

facts Reports on usage for a specific fact filemgr Generic File Manager Client find Find hosts matching criteria help Application list and RPC agent help inventory Shows an inventory for a given node ping Ping all nodes rpc Generic RPC agent client application {% endhighlight %}

{% highlight console %} $ mc rpc package status package=zsh Determining the amount of hosts matching filter for 2 seconds .... 51

  • [ ============================================================> ] 51 / 51 Properties: {:provider=>:yum, :release=>"3.el5", :arch=>"x86_64", :version=>"4.2.6", :epoch=>"0", :name=>"zsh", :ensure=>"4.2.6-3.el5"} {% endhighlight %}

You can see these commands behave just like their older counter parts but is more integrated and discovering available commands is much easier.

Agent help that was in the past available through mc-rpc --ah agentname is now available through mc help agentname and error reporting is short single line reports by default but by adding -v to the command line you can get full Ruby backtraces.

We've maintained backward compatibility by creating wrappers for all the old mc scripts but these might be deprecated in future.

These application live in the normal plugin directories and should make it much easier to distrubute plugins in future.

We will port the scripts for plugins to this framework and encourage you to do the same when writing new CLI tools. An example of a ported CLI can be seen in the filemgr agent.

Find the documentation for these plugins here.

Miscelaneous Improvements

The logging system has been refactored to not use a Signleton, logging messages are now simply:

{% highlight ruby %} MCollective::Log.notice("hello world") {% endhighlight %}

A backwards compatible wrapper exist to prevent existing code from breaking.

In some cases - like when using MCollective from within Rails - the STOMP gem would fail to decode the payloads. We've worked with the authors and a new release was made that makes this more robust but we've also enabled Base64 encoding on the Stomp connector for those who can't upgrade the Gem and who are running into this problem.

Bug Fixes

  • Machines that do not pass security checks are handled as having not responded so that these are listed in the usual stat for non responsive hosts
  • The - character is now allowed in Fact names by the DDL for rpcutil
  • Version 1.1.0 introduced a bug with reloading agents from disks using USR1 and mc-controller


  • New AES+RSA based security plugin was added
  • Create a new single executable framework and port several mc scripts
  • Security plugins have access to the callerid they are responding to
  • The logging methods have been improved by removing the use of Singletons
  • The STOMP connector can now Base64 encode all sent data to deal with en/decoding issues by the gem
  • The rpcutil agent has a new ping action
  • the mc ping client now supports standard filters
  • DDL documentation has been updated to show you can disable type validations in the DDL
  • Fact plugins can now force fact cache invalidation, the YAML plugin will immediately load new facts when mtime on the file change
  • Improve 1.0.0 compatibility for foo=/bar/ style fact matches at the expense of 1.1.0 compatibility


Upgrading should be mostly painless as most things are backward compatible.

We discovered that we broke backward compatibility with 1.0.0 and 0.4.x Fact filters. A filter in the form foo=/bar/ would be treated as an equality filter and not a regular expression.

This releases fixes this compatibility with older versions at the expense of compatibility with 1.1.0. If you are upgrading from 1.1.0 keep this in mind and plan accordingly, once you've upgraded a client its requests that contain these filters will not be correctly parsed on servers running 1.1.0.

The security plugins have changed slightly, if you wrote your own security plugin the interface to encodereply has changed slightly. All the bundled security plugins have been updated already and older ones will just keep working.


Date Description Ticket
2011/02/02 Load the DDL from disk once per printrpc call and not for every result 5958
2011/02/02 Include full Apache 2 license text 6113
2011/01/31 Create a new single executable application framework 5897
2011/01/30 Fix backward compatibility with old foo=/bar/ style fact searches 5985
2011/01/30 Documentation update to reflect correct default identity behavior 6073
2011/01/29 Let the YAML file force fact reloads when the files update 6057
2011/01/29 Add the ability for fact plugins to force fact invalidation 6057
2011/01/29 Document an approach to disable type validation in the DDL 6066
2011/01/19 Add basic filters to the mc-ping command 5933
2011/01/19 Add a ping action to the rpcutil agent 5937
2011/01/17 Allow MC::RPC#printrpc to print single results 5918
2011/01/16 Provide SimpleRPC style results when accessing the MC::Client results directly 5912
2011/01/11 Add an option to Base64 encode the STOMP payload 5815
2011/01/11 Fix a bug with forcing all facts to be strings 5832
2011/01/08 When using reload_agents or USR1 signal no agents would be reloaded 5808
2011/01/04 Use the LSB based init script on SUSE 5762
2011/01/04 Remove the use of a Singleton in the logging class 5749
2011/01/02 Add AES+RSA security plugin 5696
2010/12/31 Security plugins now have access to the callerid of the message they are replying to 5745
2010/12/30 Allow - in fact names 5727
2010/12/29 Treat machines that fail security validation like ones that did not respond 5700

1.1.0 - 2010/12/29

This is the first in a new development series, as such there will be rapid changes and new features. We cannot guarantee the changes will be backward compatible but we will as before try to keep these releases solid and production quality.

Production users who do not wish to have rapid change should use release 1.0.0.

This release focus mainly on getting all the community contributed code into a release and adressing some issues I had but wasn't comfortable fixing them late in the previous development series.

Please read these notes carefully we are removing some old functionality and changing some internals, you need to carefully review the text below.

Bug Fixes

  • The progress bar will now try hard to detect screen size and adjust itself, failing back to a dumb mode if it can't work it out.
  • rpcutil timeout was too short when considering slow facts and network latency


  • libdir can now be multiple directories specified with : seperation - Thanks to Richard Clamp
  • Logging is now pluggable, 3 logger types are supported - file, syslog and console. Thanks to Nicolas Szalay for the initial Syslog code
  • A new experimental ssh agent based security system. Thanks to Jordan Sissel
  • New fact matching operators <=, >=, <, >, !=, == and =~. Thanks to Mike Pountney
  • SimpleRPC fact_filter method can now take any valid fact string as input in addition to the old format
  • A message gets logged at startup showing mcollective version and logging level
  • The fact plugin format has been changed, simplified, made thread safe and global caching added. This breaks backward compatability with old fact sources
  • Creating options hashes has been simplified by adding a helper that creates them for you
  • Calculating the client timeout has been improved by including for latency and fact source slowness
  • Audit log lines are now on one line and include a ISO 8601 format date

Removed Functionality

  • The old MCOLLECTIVE_TIMEOUT and MCOLLECTIVE_DTIMEOUT were removed, a new MCOLLECTIVE_EXTRA_OPTS was added which should allow much more flexibility. Supply any command line options in this var


Upgrading should be easy the only backward incompatible change is the Facts format. If you only use the included YAML plugin the upgrade will just work if you use the packages. If you use either the facter or ohai plugins you will need to download new plugins from the community plugin page.

If you wrote your own Facts plugin you will need to change it a bit:

  • The old get_facts method should now be load_facts_from_source
  • The class for facts have to be in the form MCollective::Facts::Foo_facts and the filename should match

This is all, your facts can now be much simpler as threading and caching is handled in the base class.

You can place these new plugins into the plugindir before upgrading. The old mcollective will not use these plugins and the new one will not touch the old ones. This will allow for a clean rollback.

Once the new version is deployed you will immediately have caching on all fact types at 3000 seconds you can tune this using the fact_cache_time setting in the configuration file.


Date Description Ticket
2010/12/28 Adjust the logfile audit format to include local time and all on one line 5694
2010/12/26 Improve the SimpleRPC fact_filter helper to support new fact operators 5678
2010/12/25 Increase the rpcutil timeout to allow for slow facts 5679
2010/12/25 Allow for network and fact source latency when calculating client timeout 5676
2010/12/25 Remove MCOLLECTIVE_TIMEOUT and MCOLLECTIVE_DTIMEOUT environment vars in favour of MCOLLECTIVE_EXTRA_OPTS 5675
2010/12/25 Refactor the creation of the options hash so other tools don't need to know the internal formats 5672
2010/12/21 The fact plugin format has been changed and simplified, the base now provides caching and thread safety 5083
2010/12/20 Add parameters <=, >=, <, >, !=, == and =~ to fact selection 5084
2010/12/14 Add experimental sshkey security plugin 5085
2010/12/13 Log a startup message showing version and log level 5538
2010/12/13 Add a console logger 5537
2010/12/13 Logging is now plugable and a syslog plugin was provided 5082
2010/12/13 Allow libdir to be an array of directories for agents and ddl files 5253
2010/12/13 The progress bar will now intelligently figure out the terminal dimentions 5524

1.0.0 - 2010/12/13

Release Focus and Notes

This is a bug fix and minor improvement release.

We will maintain the 1.0.x branch as a stable supported branch. The features currently in the branch will be frozen and we'll only do bug fixes.

A new 1.1.x series of releases will be done where we will introduce new features. Once the 1.1.x code base reaches a mature point it will become the new stable release and so forth.

Bug Fixes

  • Settings like retry times were ignored in the Stomp connector
  • The default init script had incorrect LSB comments
  • The rpcutil DDL has better validation and will now match all facts

New Features and Enhancements

  • You can now send RPC requests to a subset of discovered nodes
  • SimpleRPC custom_request can now be used to create fire and forget requests
  • Clients can now cleanly disconnect from the middleware. Bundled clients have been updated. This should cause fewer exceptions in ActiveMQ logs
  • Rather than big exceptions many clients will now log errors only
  • mc-facts has been reworked to be a SimpleRPC client, this speeds it up significantly
  • Add get_config_item to rpcutil to retrieve a running config value from a server
  • YAML facts are now forced to be all strings and is thread safe
  • On RedHat based systems the requirement for the LSB packages has been removed

The first feature is a major new feature in SimpleRPC. If you expose a service redundantly on your network using MCollective you wouldn't always want to send requests to all the nodes providing the service. You can now limit the requests to an arbitrary amount using the new --limit-nodes option which will also take a percentage. A shortcut -1 has been added that is the equivelant to --limit-nodes 1

Backwards Compatibility

This release will be backward compatible with older releases.


Date Description Ticket
2010/12/04 Remove the LSB requirements for RedHat systems 5451
2010/11/23 Make the YAML fact source thread safe and force all facts to strings 5377
2010/11/23 Add get_config_item to rpcutil to retrieve a running config value from a server 5376
2010/11/20 Convert mc-facts into a SimpleRPC client 5371
2010/11/18 Added GPG signing to Rake packaging tasks (SIGNED=1) 5355
2010/11/17 Improve error messages from clients in the case of failure 5329
2010/11/17 Add helpers to disconnect from the middleware and update all bundled clients 5328
2010/11/16 Correct LSB provides and requires in default init script 5222
2010/11/16 Input validation on rpcutil has been improved to match all valid facts 5320
2010/11/16 Add the ability to limit the results to a subset of hosts 5306
2010/11/15 Add fire and forget mode to SimpleRPC custom_request 5305
2010/11/09 General connection settings to the Stomp connector was ignored 5245

0.4.10 - 2010/10/18

Release Focus and Notes

This is a bug fix and minor improvement release.

Bug Fixes

  • Multiple RPC proxy classes in the same script would not all share the same command line options
  • Ruby 1.9.x compatibility has been improved
  • A major bug in registration has been fixed, any exception in the registration logic would have resulted in a high CPU consuming loop

The last bug is a major issue it will result in the mcollectived consuming lots of CPU, updating to this version of MCollective is strongly suggested. Should you run into this problem on a large scale you can use mc-controller exit to exit all your mcollectived processes at the same time.

New Features and Enhancements

  • The PSK security plugin can now be configured to set the callerid to a few different values useful for cases where you want to do group based RPC Authorization for example.
  • Info logging has been minimised by demoting the 'not targetted at us' message to debug
  • Document the 'exit' option to mc-controller

Backwards Compatibility

This release will be backward compatible with older releases.


Date Description Ticket
2010/10/18 Document exit command to mc-controller 152
2010/10/13 Log messages that don't pass the filters at debug level 149
2010/10/03 Preserve options in cases where RPC::Client instances exist in the same program 148
2010/09/30 Add the ability to set different types of callerid in the PSK plugin 145
2010/09/30 Improve Ruby 1.9.x compatibility 142
2010/09/29 Improve error handling in registration to avoid high CPU usage loops 143

0.4.9 - 2010/09/21

Release Focus and Notes

This is a bug fix and minor improvement release.

Bug Fixes

  • Internal data structure related to Agent meta data has been fixed, no user impact from this
  • When using per-user config files the rpc-help.erb template could not be found
  • The log files will now rotate by default keeping 5 x 2MB files
  • The config were parsed multiple times in complex scripts, this has been eliminated
  • MCollective::RPC loaded a bunch of unneeded stuff into Object, this has been cleaned up
  • Various packaging related tweaks were done

New Features

  • We ship a new agent called rpcutil with the base system, you can use this agent to get inventory etc from your mcollectived. mc-inventory has been rewritten to use this agent and should serve as a good reference for what you can get from the agent.
  • The DDL now support :boolean style inputs, mc-rpc also turn true/false on the command line into booleans when needed

Backwards Compatibility

This release will be backward compatible with older releases.


Date Description Ticket
2010/09/20 Improve Debian packaging task 140
2010/09/20 Add :boolean type support to the DDL 138
2010/09/19 Refactor MCollective::RPC to add less unneeded stuff to Object 137
2010/09/18 Prevent duplicate config loading with multiple clients active 136
2010/09/18 Rotate the log file by default, keeping 5 x 2MB files 135
2010/09/18 Write a overview document detailing security of the collective 131
2010/09/18 Add MCollective.version, set it during packaging and include it in the rpcutil agent 134
2010/09/13 mc-inventory now use SimpleRPC and the rpcutil agent and display server stats 133
2010/09/13 Make the path to the rpc-help.erb configurable and set sane default 130
2010/09/13 Make the configfile used available in the Config class and add to rpcutil 132
2010/09/12 Rework internal statistics and add a rpcutil agent 129
2010/09/12 Fix internal memory structures related to agent meta data 128
2010/08/24 Update the OpenBSD port for changes in 0.4.8 tarball 125
2010/08/23 Fix indention/block error in M:R:Stats 124
2010/08/23 Fix permissions in the RPM for files in /etc 123
2010/08/23 Fix language in two error messages 122

0.4.8 - 2010/08/20

Release Focus and Notes

This is a bug fix and minor improvement release.

Bug Fixes

  • The RPM packages now require redhat-lsb since our RC scripts need it
  • The rake tasks do not attempt to build rpms on all platforms
  • Some plugin missing related exceptions are now handled gracefully
  • The Rakefile had a few warnings cleaned up

Notable New Features

  • Users can now have a ~/.mcollective file which will be preferred over over /etc/mcollective/client.cfg if it exists. You can still use --config to override.

  • The SSL Security plugin can now use "either YAML or Marshal for serialization":/reference/plugins/security_ssl.html#serialization_method, this means other programming languages can be used as clients. A sample Perl client is included in the ext directory. Marshal remains the default for backwards compatibilty

  • mc-inventory can now be used to create "custom reports using a small reporting DSL":/reference/ui/nodereports.html, this enable you to build custom reports listing all your machines and gives you access to facts, agents and classes lists.

  • The log level for the mcollectived can be adjusted during run time using the USR2 unix process signal.

Backwards Compatibility

This release will be backward compatible with older releases. If you choose to use YAML in the SSL plugin you need matching versions on the client.


Date Description Ticket
2010/08/19 Fix missing help template in debian packages 90
2010/08/18 Clean up some hardlink warnings in the Rakefile 117
2010/08/18 Include the website in the main repo and add a simple Rake task 118
2010/08/17 Handle exceptions for missing plugins better 115
2010/08/17 Add support for ~/.mcollective as a config file 114
2010/08/07 SSL security plugin can use either YAML or Marshal 94
2010/08/06 Multiple YAML files can now be used as fact source 112
2010/08/06 Allow log level to be adjusted at run time with USR2 113
2010/07/31 Add basic report scripting support to mc-inventory 111
2010/07/06 Removed 'rpm' from the default rake task 109
2010/07/06 Add redhat-lsb to the server RPM dependencies 108

0.4.7 - 2010/06/29

Release Focus and Notes

This is a bug fix and incremental improvement release focusing on small improvements in the DDL mostly.

Data Definition Language

We've extended the use of the DDL in the RPC client. We've integrated the DDL into printrpc helper. The output is dynamic showing field names in human readable format rather than hash dumps.

We're also using color to improve the display of the results, the color display can be disabled with the new color configuration option.

A "screencast of the DDL integration": and color usage has been recorded.

Bug Fixes

A serious issue has been fixed wrt complex agents. If you attempted to use multiple agents from the same script errors such as duplicate discovery results or simply not working.

The default fact source has been changed to Yaml, it was inadvertently set to Facter int he past.

Some previously unhandled exceptions are now being handled correctly and passed onto the clients as failed requests rather than no responses at all.

Backwards Compatibility

This release will be backward compatible with older releases. The change to Yaml fact source by default might impact you if you did not previously specify a fact source in the configuration files.


Date Description Ticket
2010/06/27 Change default factsource to Yaml 106
2010/06/27 Added VIM snippets to create DDLs and Agents 102
2010/06/26 DDL based help now works better with Symbols in in/output 105
2010/06/23 Whitespace at the end of config lines are now stripped 100
2010/06/22 printrpc will now inject some colors into results 99
2010/06/22 Recover from syntax and other errors in agents 98
2010/06/17 The agent a MC::RPC::Client is working on is now available 97
2010/06/17 Integrate the DDL with data display helpers like printrpc 92
2010/06/15 Avoid duplicate topic subscribes in complex clients 95
2010/06/15 Catch some unhandled exceptions in RPC Agents 96
2010/06/15 Fix missing help template file from RPM 90

0.4.6 - 2010/06/14

Release Focus and Notes

This release is a major feature release.

We're focusing mainly on the Stomp connector and on the SimpleRPC agents in this release though a few smaller additions were made.

Stomp Connector

We've historically been stuck just using Rubygem Stomp 1.1 due to multi threading bugs in the newer releases. All attempts to contact the authors failed. Recently though I had some luck and these issues are resolved in the RubyGem Stomp 1.1.6 release.

This means we can take advantage of a lot of new features such as connection pooling for failover/ha and also SSL TLS between nodes and ActiveMQ server.

See "Stomp Connector":/reference/plugins/connector_stomp.html for details.

RPC Agent Data Description Language

I've been working since around February on building introspection, automatically generated documentation and the ability for user interfaces to be auto generated for agents, even ones you write your self.

This feature is documented in "DDL":/simplerpc/ddl.html but a quick example of a DDL document might help make it clear:

CLI Utilities changes

  • mc-facts now take all the standard filters so you can make reports for just subsets of machines
  • A new utility mc-inventory has been added, it will show agents, facts and classes for a node
  • mc-rpc has a new option --agent-help that will use the DDL and display auto generated documentation for an agent.
  • mc-facts output is sorted for better readability

Backwards Compatibility

This release will be backward compatible with older releases, the new Stomp features though require the newer Ruby Gem.


Date Description Ticket
2010/06/12 Qualify the Process class to avoid clashes in the discovery agent 88
2010/06/12 Add mc-inventory which shows agents, classes and facts for a node 87
2010/06/11 mc-facts now supports standard filters 86
2010/06/11 Add connection pool retry options and ssl for connection 85
2010/06/11 Add support for specifying multiple stomp hosts for failover 84
2010/06/10 Tighten up handling of filters to avoid nil's getting into them 83
2010/06/09 Sort the mc-facts output to be more readable 82
2010/06/08 Fix deprecation warnings in newer Stomp gems 81

0.4.5 - 2010/06/03

Release Focus and Notes

This release is a major feature release.

The focus of this release is to finish up some of the more enterprise like features, we now have fine grained Authorization and Authentication and a new security model that uses SSL keys.

Security Plugin

Vladimir Vuksan contributed the base code of a new "SSL based security plugin":/reference/plugins/security_ssl.html . This plugin builds on the old PSK plugin but gives each client a unique certificate pair. The nodes all share a certificate and only store client public keys. This means that should one node be compromised it cannot be used to control the rest of the network.

Authorization Plugin

We've developed new hooks and plugins for SimpleRPC that enable you to write "fine grained authorization systems":/simplerpc/authorization.html . You can do authorization on every aspect of the request and you'll have access to the caller userid as provided by the security plugin. Combined with the above SSL plugin this can be used to build powerful and secure Authentication and Authorization systems.

A sample plugin can be found "here":

Enhancements for Web Development

Web apps doesn't tie in well with our discover, request, wait model. We've made it easier for web apps to maintain their own cached discovery data using the "Registration:/reference/plugins/registration.html system and then based on that do requests that would not require any discovery.

Fire and Forget requests

It is often desirable to just send a request and not wait for any reply. We've made it easy to do requests like this] with the addition of a new request parameter on the SimpleRPC client class.

Requests like this will not take any time to do discovery and you will not be able to get results back from the agents.

Reloading Agents

To make it a bit easier to manage daemons and agents you can now send the mcollectived a USR1 signal and it will re-read all it's agents from disk.

Backwards Compatibility

This release when used with the old style PSK plugin should be perfectly backward compatible with your existing agents. To use some of the newer features like authorization will require config and/or agent changes.


Date Description Ticket
2010/06/01 Improve the main discovery agent by adding facts and classes to its inventory action 79
2010/05/30 Add various helpers to get reports as text instead of printing them 43
2010/05/30 Add a custom_request method to call SimpleRPC agents with your own discovery 75
2010/05/30 Refactor RPC::Client to be more generic and easier to maintain 75
2010/05/29 Fix a small scoping issue in Security::Base 76
2010/05/25 Add option --no-progress to disable progress bar for SimpleRPC 74
2010/05/23 Add some missing dependencies to the RPMs 72
2010/05/22 Add an option :process_results to the client 71
2010/05/13 Fix help output that still shows old branding 70
2010/04/27 The supplied generic stompclient now accepts STOMP_PORT in the environment 68
2010/04/26 Add a SimpleRPC Client helper to reset filters 64
2010/04/26 Listen for signal USR1 and reload all agents from disk 65
2010/04/12 Add SimpleRPC Authorization support 63

0.4.4 - 2010/04/03

Release Focus and Notes

This release is mostly a bug fix release.

We've cleaned up the logs a bit so you'll see fewer exceptions logged, also if you have Rails + Puppet on a node the logs will stay in the standard format. We are handling some exceptions better which has improved stability of the registration system.

If you do some slow queries in your discovery agent you can bump the timeout up in the config using plugin.discovery.timeout.

All the scripts now use /usr/bin/env ruby rather than hardcoded paths to deal better with Ruby's in weird places.

Several other small annoyances was fixed or improved.


We've always had a tool that let you control a network of mcollective instances remotely, it lagged behind a bit with the core, we've fixed it up and documented it "here":/reference/basic/daemon.html . You can use it to reload agents from disk without restarting the daemon for example or get stats or shut down the entire mcollective network.

Backwards Compatibility

No changes that impacts backward compatibility has been made.


Date Description Ticket
2010/03/27 Make it easier to construct SimpleRPC requests to use with the standard client library 60
2010/03/27 Manipulating the filters via the helper methods will force rediscovery 59
2010/03/23 Prevent Activesupport when brought in by Facter from breaking our logs 57
2010/03/23 Clean up logging for messages not targeted at us 56
2010/03/19 Add exception handling to the registration base class 55
2010/03/03 Use /usr/bin/env ruby instead of hardcoded paths 54
2010/02/17 Improve mc-controller and document it 46
2010/02/08 Remove some close coupling with Stomp to easy creating of other connectors 49
2010/02/01 Made the discovery agent timeout configurable using plugin.discovery.timeout 48
2010/01/25 mc-controller now correctly loads/reloads agents. 45
2010/01/25 Building packages has been improved to ensure rdocs are always included 44

0.4.3 - 2010/01/24

Release Focus and Notes

This release fixes a few bugs and introduce a major new SimpleRPC feature for auditing requests.


We've created an "auditing framework for SimpleRPC":/simplerpc/auditing.html, each request gets passed to an audit plugin for processing. We ship one that simply logs to a file on each node and there's a "community plugin": that logs everything on a central logging host.

In future we might add auditing to the client libraries so requests will be logged where they are sent as well as auditing of replies being sent, this will be driven by requests from the community though.

New fail! method for SimpleRPC

Till now while writing agents you can use the fail method to set statusses in the reply, this however did not also raise exceptions and terminate execution of the agent immediately.

Often the existing behavior is required but it did lead to some awkward code when you did want to just exit the agent immediately as well as set a fail status. We've added a fail! method that works just like fail except it stops execution of your agent immediately.

Backwards Compatibility

No changes that impacts backward compatibility has been made.


Date Description Ticket
2010/01/23 Handle ctrl-c during discovery without showing exceptions to users 34
2010/01/21 Force all facts in the YAML fact source to be strings 41
2010/01/19 Add SimpleRPCAuditing audit logging to SimpleRPC clients and Agents
2010/01/18 The SRPM we provide will now build outside of the Rake environment 40
2010/01/18 Add a fail! method to RPC::Agent 37
2010/01/18 mc-rpc can now be used without supplying arguments 38
2010/01/18 Don't raise an error if no user/pass is given to the stomp connector, try unauthenticated mode 35
2010/01/17 Improve error message when Regex validation failed on SimpleRPC input 36

0.4.2 - 2010/01/14

Release Focus and Notes

This release fixes a few bugs, add some command line improvements and brings major changes to the Debian packaging.


Firstly we've had some amazing work done by Riccardo Setti to make us Debian packages that complies with Debian and Ubuntu policy, this release use these new packages. It has some unfortunate changes to file layout detailed below but overall I think it's a big win to get us in line with Distribution policies and standards.

The only major change is that in the past we used /usr/libexec/mcollective as the libdir, but Debian does not have this directory and it is not in the LFHS anymore so we now use /usr/share/mcollective/plugins as the lib dir. You need to move your plugins there and update both client and server configs.

The RedHat packages will move to this convention too in the next release since I think it's the better location and complies with LFHS.

Command Line Improvements

We've streamlined the command line a bit, nothings changed we've just added some flags.

The --with-class, --with-fact, --with-agent and --with-identity now all have a short form -C, -F, -A and -I respectively.

We've added a new filter option --with and a short form -W that combines --with-class and --with-fact into one filter type, use case would be:

{% highlight console %} % mc-find-hosts -W "/centreon/ country=de roles::dev_server/" {% endhighlight %}

This would find hosts with class regex matched /centreon/, class roles::dev_server and fact matching country=de. Hopefully this saves on some typing.

You can also now set the environment variables MCOLLECTIVE_TIMEOUT and MCOLLECTIVE_DTIMEOUT which saves you from typing --timeout and --discovery-timeout often, especially useful on very fast networks.

Other fixes and improvements

  • We've added the COPYING file to all the packages
  • We've made the init script more LSB compliant
  • A bug related to discovery in SimpleRPC was fixed

Backwards Compatibility

The only backwards issue is the Debian packages. They've been tested to upgrade cleanly but you need to change the config as above.


Date Description Ticket
2010/01/13 New packaging for Debian provided by Riccardo Setti 29
2010/01/07 Improved LSB compliance of the init script - thanks Riccardo Setti 32
2010/01/07 Multiple calls to SimpleRPC client would reset discovered hosts 31
2010/01/04 Timeouts can now be changed with MCOLLECTIVE_TIMEOUT and MCOLLECTIVE_DTIMEOUT environment vars 25
2010/01/04 Specify class and fact filters easier with the new -W or --with option 27
2010/01/04 Added COPYING file to RPMs and tarball 28
2010/01/04 Make shorter filter options -C, -I, -A and -F 26

0.4.1 - 2010/01/02

Release Focus and Notes

This is a bug fix release to address some shortcomings and issues found in Simple RPC.

The main issue is around handling of meta data in agents, the documented approach did not work, we've now solved this by adding a number of hooks into the processing of Simple RPC agents.

We've also made logging and config retrieval a bit easier in agents - and documented this.

You can now call the mc-rpc command a bit easier:

{% highlight console %} % mc-rpc --agent helloworld --action echo --argument msg="hello world" % mc-rpc helloworld echo msg="hello world" {% endhighlight %}

The 2 calls are the same, you can pass as many arguments in key=val pairs as needed at the end.

Backwards Compatibility

No issues with backward compatibility, should be a simple upgrade.


Date Description Ticket
2010/01/02 Added hooks to plug into the processing of requests, also enabled setting meta data and timeouts 14
2010/01/02 Created readers for @config and @logger in the SimpleRPC agent 23
2009/12/30 Don't send out any requests if no nodes were discovered 17
2009/12/30 Added :discovered and :discovered_nodes to client stats 20
2009/12/30 Add a empty_filter? helper to the RPC mixin 18
2009/12/30 Fix formatting bug with progress bar 21
2009/12/29 Simplify mc-rpc command line 16
2009/12/29 Fix layout issue when printing hosts that did not respond 15

0.4.0 - 2009/12/29

Release Focus and Notes

This release introduced a major new feature - Simple RPC - a framework for easily building clients and agents. More than that it's a set of conventions and standards that will help us build generic clients like web based ones capable of talking to all agents.

We think this feature is ready for wide use, it's well documented and we've done extensive testing. We'll be porting some of our own code over to it once this release is out and we do anticipate there might be some 0.4.x releases to round off a few issues that might remain. We do not currently have any open tickets against Simple RPC.

We've also added the ability to create more complex queries such as:

{% highlight console %} --with-class /dev_server/ --with-class /rails/ {% endhighlight %}

This does an AND operation on the puppet classes on the node and finds only nodes with both /dev_server/ AND /rails/ classes. This new functionality applies to all types of filter.

We've made the --with-class filters more generic in comments, documentation etc with an eye to be more usable in Chef and other Configuration Management environments.

Backwards Compatibility

Unfortunately introducing the new filtering methods has some backward compatibility issues, if you had clients/agents with code like:

{% highlight ruby %} options[:filter]["agent"] = "some agent" {% endhighlight %}

You should now change that to:

{% highlight ruby %} options[:filter]["agent"] << "some agent" {% endhighlight %}

As each filter is an array now. If you do not change the code it will still work as before but you will not be able to use the compound filtering feature on filter types that you've forced to be a string and there might be some other undesired side effects. We've tried though to at least not break old code, they just can't use the new features.

You were also able to test easily in the past if you're running unfiltered using something like:

{% highlight ruby %} if options[:filter] == {} {% endhighlight %}

Now that's much harder and we've added a helper to make this easier:

{% highlight ruby %} if MCollective::Util.empty_filter?(options[:filter]) {% endhighlight %}

This new method is compatible with both the old and new filter method so you can start using it before you finish the first issue mentioned here.

We've also made the class filter more generic, in the past you did class filters like this:

{% highlight ruby %} options[:filter]["puppet_class"] << /apache/ {% endhighlight %}

Now you have to adjust it to:

{% highlight ruby %} options[:filter]["cf_class"] << /apache/ {% endhighlight %}

Old code will keep working but you should change to this name for filters to be consistent with the rest of the code base.


Date Description Ticket
2009/12/28 Add support for other configuration management systems like chef in the --with-class filters 13
2009/12/28 Add a Util.empty``filter?_ to test for an empty filter
2009/12/27 Create a new client framework SimpleRPCIntroduction 6
2009/12/27 Add support for multiple filters of the same type 3

0.3.0 - 2009/12/17

Release Focus and Notes

Primarily a bug fix release. Only new feature is to allow the user to create MCollective::Util::* classes and put those in the plugins directory. This is useful for more complex agents and clients.

Backwards Compatibility

This release should not break any older code, if it does it's a bug.


Date Description Ticket
2009/12/16 Improvements for newer versions of Ruby where TERM signal was not handled 7
2009/12/07 MCollective::Util is now a module and plugins can drop in util classes in the plugin dir
2009/12/07 The Rakefile now works with rake provided on Debian 4 systems 2
2009/12/07 Improvements in the RC script for Debian and older Ubuntu systems 5

0.2.0 - 2009/12/02

Release Focus and Notes

First numbered release

Backwards Compatibility




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