Wednesday, December 23, 2009

erlrc and rpm

Two of the Dukes now work at OpenX, which is starting to dip its toe into the Erlang waters. They use CentOS so they agreed to fund porting framewerk and erlrc to rpm; previously I'd only used them with deb.

A bit of background: erlrc is a set of Erlang modules and shell scripts that are designed to be integrated into packaging hooks so that installation, upgrade, or removal of a package causes corresponding hot-code activity to happen inside registered Erlang VMs on the box. Since erlrc was designed to easily integrate with multiple package managers, getting it to work with rpm was mostly about me understanding rpm's package hooks model. The result is an experience like this,

% sudo yum -q -y install lyet
erlrc-start: Starting 'lyet': (erlang) started
% sudo yum -q -y remove lyet
erlrc-stop: Stopping 'lyet': (erlang) unloaded

i.e., installing an rpm causes a running Erlang VM on the box to hot-code load the new modules and start the associated application, and removing the rpm causes the associated application to be stopped and the corresponding modules to be hot-code unloaded.

If you use fw-template-erlang than the appropriate packaging hooks are added for you automatically, both for deb and now rpm. However even manual creation of rpm spec files is pretty easy:
  • erlrc-stop is called in %preun if the installation count indicates removal
  • erlrc-upgrade is called in %preun if the installation count indicates upgrade
  • erlrc-start is called in %posttrans
Also, the erlrc shell scripts want to know the previously installed version, so I call rpm -q in a %pretrans hook and save the result. Longer term, erlrc should probably ask the Erlang VM it is talking to what version is running to eliminate the need for this argument (I was a bit surprised that rpm doesn't provide this argument to the package hook like debian does; it seems very useful for creating version-specific upgrade fixes).

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