This wiki is obsolete, see the NorduGrid web pages for up to date information.


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NOTE: This page is out of date and is kept for purely historical reasons.

The description of this script was retrieved semi-automatically with the command

pod2html debian2runtime | sed -e 's%<a name[^>]*>%%' -e 's%</a>%%' -e's%%%' -e 's%%%' from the KnowARC subversion repository where is can be accessed anonymously.

NAME - Prepares a NorduGrid runtime environment for a given Debian package

SYNOPSIS --runtimedir test --htmldir . bash


In grid computing, a particular exercise is to establish homogeneous software environments across institutional boundaries. It is not uncommon for grid jobs to bring their whole suite of programs with them, or to ship the more compatible source code and compile at their compute site. More recently, the Globus grid middleware started to support the shipping of complete images for virtual hosts on which to perform the computation. Is anybody wondering about bandwidth and latency here? The ARC grid middleware supports the alternative concept to have runtime environments specified that are provided by the individual site administrators. These remain permanently installed and are evaluated by the community of ARC users for their reliability. The installation is guided by instructions organised by a central registry at <a href="">

Debian packages are perfect runtime environments - except that these are not centrally installed. However, all information that is required for them to be installed is made available by the Debian package descriptions and the installation process is completely automated. This tool shall automate the preparation of a set of scripts that facilitate the installation.



Prints usage instructions.

--conf <string>

Expects the path to th arc configuration file to read out the runtime directory.

--runtimedir <string>

May be used to override the settings from arc.conf, e.g. for testing purposes.

--htmldir <string>

Specifies a directory into which to Write HTML pages that help to communicate the details about this runtime environment to the community. No file is written if this directory is not set

--prepend <string>

The name of the runtime environment has two components. One is the name of the package, the other is a path that gives some semantic ordering of the packages, much like the menu structure in Debian, which is a convenience of the ARC runtime environments. The prepend argument expects a string that is prepended to the name of the package. It defaults to "DEBIAN". That prefix should exist as a directory path within the $runtimedir.


Let us assume the scenario that we wish to inform the grid information system about the readily installed program "unzip". A simple grep in /etc/arc.conf will guide us to the location of files specifying runtime environments:

        $ grep runtimedir /etc/arc.conf

If this is the right directory for our purpose (we might be preparing the files for another machine), then we can go ahead and call as root

        # debian2runtime unzip

to see our destination directory created (default prefix is 'DEBIAN') which wil then contain a shell script named after the package and its version number

        $ ls /grid/runtime/config/DEBIAN

The presence of that script guides the information system

        $ ldapsearch -x -h -p 2135 -b 'mds-vo-name=local,o=grid' | grep runtime
        nordugrid-cluster-runtimeenvironment: DEBIAN/UNZIP-5.52-12

The script iself does not need to do anything, in principle. With the package being installed, everything should be just as it is for the user on its home machine. However, since by some error the package may not be already be available, the script first performs a respective check.

An upcoming feature of the script is the automated installation of a missing package with a call to "sudo aptitude install".

SEE ALSO - The NorduGrid home page - Grid Runtime Environment Registry - Wiki pages on ARC, Debian and all the rest - prepares and submits a job for the common tool “unzip”
debian2runtime Debian Package - A Debian package to install debian2runtime locally.


This software is copyright 2008 by Steffen Moeller and the University of Lübeck. It is distributed under the terms of the GNU Public License (GPL) version 2 or later. This work was supported by the EU project "KnowARC" (