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m23 rock 15.2 has been released. With m23 rock 15.2, Debian 8 Jessie has found its way into m23. For use on the clients, the distributions Linux Mint 17.2 Rafaela and Linux Mint 17.1 Rebecca have been added. The automated mirror selection will take care of a smooth client installation, even in case of an outage of the SourceForge servers. Security is another focus of this release, which brings an integrated firewall and extends access protection.

Debian 8 Jessie for m23 server and m23 clients

Debian 8 Jessie is the distro which will be installed if you use the m23 server installation ISO or the pre-configures VirtualBox appliance in this release.
The m23 server installation deb packages will still work with Debian 7 Wheezy, though. On m23 clients, Debian 8 is available now, too.

Debian 8, if used as m23 client distribution, offers a wide range of desktop environments: Mate (optionally in a minimized version, with only the essential packages installed), Cinnamon, Gnome, KDE, TDE, LXDE and Xfce.

systemd is now being used on m23 clients, replacing SysVinit. The clients now use grub 2 and language packages will be installed automatically.

Some smaller changes were necessary for using Debian 8 on the m23 clients: for example, the hardware detection routines had to be adapted, in order to prevent VirtualBox clients from being recognized as being running in VMWare (this is important for setting up the graphics mode). The package sources, for which a signed inRelease file is created automatically, had to be adapted, too.

Porting the m23 server to Debian 8 required changes, too. For example, switching to MySQLi API, Apache 2.4 and Squid 3 proved necessary. What had to stay is SysVinit, as there were problems caused by systemd during ISO installation.
More distributions

The development tasks for supporting the additional client distributions Linux Mint 17.2 Rafaela and Linux Mint 17.1 Rebecca have been pleasantly unspectacular. For the users, these bring many small improvements, such as updated versions of the Mate and Cinnamon desktop environments and of other Linux-Mint-specific tools.
Automated mirror selection to protect from server outages

Sometimes, server outages can't be avoided. Still, this is very annoying if the server providing the currently needed package sources is not available. Just recently, all SourceForge servers were down - but the m23 client packages are hosted there. This situation made it impossible for some of you to install new m23 clients during the outage. To prevent this annoyance from happening again, m23 now has an automated mirror selection, which tries to find a currently available server. This mode will not only be used for determining the package source of the client packages, but also for the base system archives download. The base system archives for any distribution you have used for your setup will now also be saved locally and verified by GPG signatures.

From this version on, the m23 server comes with a simple firewall, which, with default settings and after activation, will block any access (except for SSH) from outside the local network. The SSH server is also protected by Sshguard. The basic default firewall rules can be extended directly via the m23 interface, using the syntax of iptables commands.

Additionally, client ID and client IP will now be checked for a match when the current job script is being requested. The m23 server constitutes an exception for this concept, because, of course, it will still need to access all tasks (to be able to display the script's output).
Odds and ends
The dialog for choosing the client's distribution now displays a description of the selected desktop. The dialog for the creation of client images now uses the HTML API 2 which prevents your entries from being lost after an error message was shown. Also, the dialog now suggests a random network port for the transfer of the disk or partition image from the client to the m23 server. In the client recovery dialogs, a click on "No" (to cancel) now no longer leads to the client overview page, but to the control center of the corresponding client. The m23 server backup will now also save the settings for the firewall, openLDAP and BackupPC.

Downloads / Update

The latest version is available as an update via the m23 interface, via APT (Attention: package source server for m23-specific packages is now "". Setup instructions can be found in the installation guide.), as ISO file to burn the m23 server installation CD, as preinstalled virtual machine or as image file for RaspberryPi.

  m23 rock 15.2 released