Apertis 15.09 Release

15.09 is the current development distribution of Apertis, a Debian/Ubuntu derivative distribution geared towards the creation of product-specific images for ARM (ARMv7 using the hardfloat API) and Intel x86 (64/32-bit Intel) systems. Features which are planned for Apertis can be found on the Roadmap page.

What’s available in the distribution?

The software stack in 15.09 is comprised of the following technologies:

  • Linux 3.19
  • Graphical subsystem based on X.org X server 1.17.1 and Clutter 1.22.2 with full Multi-Touch support
  • Network management subsytem provided by ConnMan 1.27, BlueZ 4.101 and Ofono 1.14
  • Multimedia support provided by GStreamer 1.0
  • The Telepathy framework, with XMPP and SIP support
  • The Folks contact management framework
  • The Clutter port of the WebKit browser engine with support for WebGL

What’s new in the distribution?

  • Scaled down Apertis Images
  • Migration to WebKit2GTK+
  • AppArmor profiles tightened up
  • System services in their own cgroup
  • Newport (download manager) design review
  • Media and indexing updates
  • Automated test updates
  • Sensors and Actuators design
  • JSON testing with Walbottle
  • UI customisation design
  • Barkway (notifications service) design review
  • Documentation infrastructure improvements
  • Security design
  • Application-bundle design
  • Application communication designs

Release downloads

Apertis 15.09 images
Intel 32-bit
Intel 64-bit / Minnowboard MAX
  • Apertis 15.09 repositories:

 deb https://repositories.apertis.org/apertis/ 15.09 target development sdk hmi

  • Apertis 15.09 infrastructure tools:

For Debian Jessie based systems:

 deb https://repositories.apertis.org/debian/ jessie tools

For Ubuntu Trusty based systems:

 deb https://repositories.apertis.org/ubuntu/ trusty tools

Apertis 15.09 Release

This release builds on the Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid) as base distribution. The 15.09 release has been verified in the 15.09 test report. A later bug fix (#429) for webkit-clutter has been included and tested separately after test run, therefore released images have different versioning than the ones from test report.

Scaled down Apertis Images

During the 15.09 release a scaled down version of Apertis was created. The goal of this version is to show Apertis can be used in situations where no HMI is required and Apartis would run with a very low amount of resources to e.g. serve as a bridge between the automotive world and the wider internet.

A description explaining how this image was put together can be found on the ScaledDownApertisImage page.

Migration to WebKit2GTK+

The WebKit2GTK+ engine is feature complete and the package has been made available in the target section of Apertis. To try it out, install the webkit2gtk-testing package and run the GtkClutterLauncher test browser that ships with it. The API can be used by installing the libwebkit2gtk-4.0-dev package. Details can be found on the WebKit2 page, the code can be found in the git repository:


It is critical at this point that all developers and components using the WebKit Clutter engine try out the new packages to report issues and start planning their migration to the new engine.

AppArmor profiles tightened up

An effort has been started to audit and improve the AppArmor profiles for the various Apertis application bundles currently on git.apertis.org. For the 15.09 release, this involves ensuring that for every program started during boot has an AppArmor profile, the profile correctly allows the program’s normal activity and does not log “complaints” about actions which are not allowed by the profile. This is a prerequisite for having the program continue to work correctly when its profile is switched to enforcing mode.

After the 15.09 release, the plan is to continue with switching profiles to enforcing mode, so that they provide security for these programs. The application manager Canterbury will be the first to become enforcing, since this affects its ability to start application bundles correctly.

This partially addresses bugs , , , , , , , , and .

System services in their own cgroup

All activatable D-Bus system services in the 15.09 release are managed by systemd. Previously, the system dbus-daemon would have started those services directly, which meant that platform components such as systemd viewed them as logically part of dbus-daemon.

Services that were affected by this improvement include the pacrunner proxy auto-configuration service, the tcmmd traffic-shaping service, the chaiwala-btrfs-updater platform upgrade service, the wpa_supplicant wireless LAN service, the blueman Bluetooth UI used in SDK images, and the system download manager used by platform upgrades.

This means that each of the affected services runs in a cgroup (resource control group), which affects resource allocation: resources such as CPU time can be shared evenly between cgroups. Previously, the system dbus-daemon and all of the affected services were scheduled together, so they could potentially “starve” each other. In future, each of the affected services can also have its own resource consumption limits and other sandboxing measures set by systemd configuration, if required.

After the 15.09 release, this will be extended to cover per-user services as well as system services, and dbus-daemon will be reconfigured so that D-Bus services that are not properly managed by systemd will not be supported. This change will also allow the removal of a setuid executable, reducing the risk of security vulnerabilities.

Newport (download manager) design review

There has been an extended period of API and security review on the design of the Newport download manager, including a series of patches which rearchitect its D-Bus API.

Discussion about the Newport API and security review can be found on bugs and . The corresponding code changes have been reviewed, but could not be merged in time for the 15.09 freeze.

Media and indexing updates

Focus has been placed on updating, testing and fixing various bugs in the media and indexing software: libmediaart (2.0 transition), Tumbler, grilo, grilo-plugins, Tracker, and components of GLib. This has resulted in improved test cases and better alignment with the thumbnailing standards. The Apertis Media and Indexing design has been updated accordingly, to version 0.5.3.

Automated test updates

Many automated test-cases have been improved to be more reliable, and provide better diagnostics on failure.

The automated test-cases are now run in an environment that more closely reflects how programs are run on real devices, avoiding some situations where test results might not match whether a particular feature works in production.

Timeout behaviour has been improved: if a test does not finish within the time allowed, the automated test framework will terminate it, record it as a failure and move on to the next test. This avoids some error situations where a test that timed out would result in subsequent tests not being attempted.

The Tracker test cases have been ported from Bash to Python, which has improved reliability and test execution time.

Some additional test-cases have been added, including simple, fast checks for basic platform functionality.

Sensors and Actuators design

A new Sensors and Actuators design document has been produced, currently at version 0.2.2. This provides the basis for a full sensors and actuators API proposal in the next release — currently the overall use cases, design requirements, architecture and roadmap have been planned and reviewed. The API will allow application bundles to access sensor devices in the vehicle, to give them some input from their environment; and to have limited control of actuators (for example, seat adjustment) in a safe manner.

JSON testing with Walbottle

Improvements have been made to the core of Walbottle, a unit test generator for JSON data formats, to allow it to be used more for testing Apertis SDK libraries. Walbottle has been integrated with libthornbury, a UI utility library. Further improvements will be made to it after the 15.09 release, and it will be integrated with more libraries to improve test coverage further.

UI customisation design

The UI customisation design has been discussed and reviewed, and a plan for using CSS to customise the appearance of application UIs has been agreed. This involves using the mature CSS functionality from GTK+ to style Clutter widgets. Appropriate integration code has been written to allow this, including a demonstration application which shows how to use GTK+ CSS APIs with Clutter.

Discussion happened in bug #364.

Barkway (notifications service) design review

There has been ongoing review of the Barkway notifications service design, trying to determine the best approach for displaying notifications and dialogues from multiple applications and background services, and how best to integrate this with the planned Wayland compositor. Planning of this functionality will continue after the 15.09 release.

Documentation infrastructure improvements

Work is ongoing on hotdoc to make it fit the requirements for the Apertis documentation system, replacing gtk-doc, which does not support documenting JavaScript or Python APIs.

Multi-language output has been implemented: the tool now generates documentation for the original C API, plus JavaScript and Python bindings. Various libraries are being ported, with libclapton being used as a testbed, and changes to it due to land after the 15.09 release. Work has started on allowing hotdoc to document D-Bus interfaces using dbus-deviation.

The plan for 15.12 is to port all other Apertis modules to hotdoc.

Security design

The Security design document has been updated to define the relevant terms, document several aspects of the threat model and the security policies that result from it, update external references, and describe how polkit (formerly PolicyKit) is used in the Apertis system.

Application-bundle design

Work has continued on defining the structure of application bundles, application entry points and agents. A need for a multi-user-compatible structure for the on-disk layout of applications has been identified; a proposal for this is being written and will be published after the 15.09 release.

Application communication designs

Draft designs for interface discovery and data sharing have been added to the Apertis wiki. These provide generic “building blocks” for app-to-app communication. A draft design for handling points of interest is a new feature in its own right, and also acts as a case-study for a specific set of use-cases for app-to-app communication.

Concrete use-cases for content hand-over and sharing have also been collected for use in future designs.


Updated packages

During Q3 cycle, several activities have been carried out to be able to rebase Apertis against new upstream base (Ubuntu Vivid Vervet), updating the platform with new features and updated for bug and security fixes. A total of 195 packages have been modified out of 507 in target component; 143 packages out of 1106 in development component; and 70 out of 452 in SDK. In addition to base distribution, HMI packages have also been updated to their latest stable version.

OBS Build Projects

Shared Repositories

Repositories are found at:

 deb https://repositories.apertis.org/apertis/ 15.09 target development sdk hmi

To be able to access those, a temporary user/passwd has been created until properly publicly published: Username: apertis-dev Password: Apa8Uo1mIeNgie6u


Image daily builds, as well as release builds can be found at:


Use your Collabora credentials to access those until those get publicly published.

Image build tools can be found in the Apertis tools repositories. Note that a string is added to package version depending on the distribution suite based on. For example, if trusty system is to be used expect to install image-builder_7trusty1

Package Version
image-builder, image-tools 7
apertis-image-configs, apertis-image-scripts (*) 14
linaro-image-tools, python-linaro-image-tools 2012.09.1-1co38
parted, libparted0debian1 2.3-11ubuntu1co3
python-debian >=0.1.25

Test Framework

LAVA service at Collabora triggers test cases upon image builds, service is found at:


The list of available test cases, including those can be found here.

LAVA service packages are available in the Apertis tools repository. To be able to install it, please follow instructions

Known issues

  • Failing test: traffic-control-tcmmd (bug #327)
  • Failing test: apparmor-libreoffice (bug #331)
  • factory-reset-tool TC: flagcheck messages are hidden by Plymouth (bug #386)
  • Roller performance issues: Kinetic scrolling with MxKineticScrollView (and any roller widget, which uses it internally) may fail if the scroll view contains many child widgets (for example, over 100). A workaround is to reduce the number of child widgets; a more permanent fix is being worked on. (bug #401)
  • Boot chart failed to generate (bug #467)
  • Gstreamer-buffering: Videoplayer screen is transparent partially (bug #498)
  • tracker-indexing-mass-storage:Test fails (bug #500)
  • librest-unit: lastfm test failed in all platforms (bug #509)
  • apparmor-bluez-setup: Apparmor complaints found (bug #511)
  • apparmor-bluez-avrcp-volume: Apparmor complaints (bug #512)
  • apparmor-webkit-clutter: normal/malicious expected_underlying tests fail (bug #514)
  • apparmor-pulseaudio: several tests failed for ARM image only (bug #515)