The new year has only just begun - and already, a new m23 version with many new features and (of course) some corrections is available! Among the highlights, you will find the "m23 remote administration service", the reactivation of openSUSE and Debian Lenny, the migration to new mirrors, support for arbitrary file systems and extended package manager settings (e.g. LibreOffice from Debian backports) in the package sources lists and a Java applet for accessing the "m23 VirtualBox OSE Console" directly from the m23 interface.

"on-demand" administration help

One key aspect is the new m23 remote administration service. The support of goos-habermann.de can help you to manage your m23 server and clients if you choose to use this service. For this purpose, the m23 server integrates an encrypted port forwarding, which goos-habermann.de can use to access your m23 server (only if registered and activated). You can activate this realtime administration when you need it. In addition, the new chat function integrated into the m23 interface provides a direct connection to the support of goos-habermann.de.

Download server migrations (and more)

The new m23 version had to make some structural adaptations due to changes on external servers.
openSUSE reactivated: The mirror, which was used for openSUSE is no longer available and was replaced by another mirror in the package sources list.
Debian Lenny reactivated: A similar problem was created by the restructuring of the SourceForge file release system (FRS), which creates an additional HTML page, if a file cannot be downloaded. This additional page was recognized by the m23 client as base system archive, which led to Debian Lenny not being able to install from the Debian packages. Instead, the client installation routine tried to unpack this erroneous base system archive, which obviously must fail.
Faster package downloads: The packages for m23 server and client have now moved to the SourceForge FRS servers. This is a big advantage, as download and installation now happen faster and the m23 community web page will not be blocked again because of too many downloads ;-).
Creation of xorg.conf more robust: The script m23-xorg.conf-generator.sh, which is responsible for the creation of the xorg.conf, now has a more robust routine, which performs a better check on the existence of VirtualBox guest addition packages and the ISO and downloads and installs them correctly.
New Trinity mirror: There is now an extra mirror for the Trinity Desktop Environment in the FRS.
Nagios plugins: To be able to spot failures of the SourceForge downloads faster, there are now two Nagios plugins to check for the base system archives (check_baseSysAvailability) and Debian mirrors (check_debSourceChecker) along with an example configuration (debSourceChecker.cfg). Of course, these plugins are not only interesting to m23 users ;-)

Extended package sources lists

The package sources lists were extended by further configuration options, where the file systems supported by the distribution can be indicated and the package manager can be configured individually.
Support for new file systems: Until lately, the file system ext3 - which is supported by all m23 distributions - was the least common denominator. As ext3 is not exactly up-to-date, we needed a solution, which allows a more individual and current selection of file systems per distribution. If an older distribution (for example one without support for ext4) is chosen after partitioning and formatting, there will now be an automatic conversion of the formatting to a supported file system.
Debian now also with LibreOffice: Another improvement allows to create configuration files, which can, for example, contain settings for the package manager of the distribution. The new package source "squeeze+libreoffice" uses this option by including the LibreOffice packages from the backports and rising their priority in order to allow a normal installation.

Interface improvements

The m23 interface has also undergone some improvements.
VNC applet: Specially for Java fans, the m23 interface now contains a signed Java applet, by use of which you can access the "m23 VirtualBox OSE console" directly from the browser (if the Java plugin is present and activated). Additionally, you'll find an easy way to sign your own Java applets in the script java-jar-signer.sh.
The small things: The m23 interface now lists special packages in a form easier to read. After the adding of a new client, a message is displayed saying that the client can now be booted via network (including different options), menu entries that were clicked on are now also displayed as clicked-on and the server update page now has a reload button to check if the update is still on the way.

Corrections and improvements

Beside the aforementioned download problems, further corrections and adjustments to m23 have been made.
Ubuntu specific: The integration of existing Ubuntu 11.10 and 12.04 systems is now possible. The SSL certificate check by wget was deactivated permanently, as, due to a bug, these Ubuntu versions do not accept the server certificate (even if the certificate is embedded).
openSUSE specific: The installation of openSUSE systems now again runs smoothly till the end. Packages have been changed, deleted or replaced by others, which disrupted the m23 installation routine. Cron is now explicitly deactivated during system installation, so that no further tasks will be fetched from the m23 server if another task is still running. XFCE will now be entered as standard desktop environment in the login manager when it is installed.
Package sources editor: Package sources lists may now contain quotation marks. Before, with every save, the quotation marks were doubled ;-)
DHCP management: Unnecessary entries of clients, which need not be booted via network, will now be deleted from the dhcpd.conf, which also allows a correct display of the network boot status. In addition to this, network booting can be (de)activated on the client status page.
Long-term SSL certificates: The SSL certificate of the m23 server is now valid for 10 years.

You can get the latest m23 version as update (via the m23 interface), via APT, as ISO to burn your own m23 server installation CD or as preinstalled virtual machine (the last two to be found in the download section).

Have fun!