Apertis 16.06 Release

16.06 is the current stable development release of Apertis, a Debian/Ubuntu derivative distribution geared towards the creation of product-specific images for ARM (ARMv7 using the hardfloat ABI) 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 16.06 is comprised of the following technologies:

  • Linux 4.4
  • Graphical subsystem based on Wayland 1.10.0 and Clutter 1.24.2 with full Multi-Touch support
  • Network management subsytem provided by ConnMan 1.32, BlueZ 5.37 and Ofono 1.17
  • Multimedia support provided by GStreamer
  • The Clutter port of the WebKit browser engine with support for WebGL
  • The GTK+ port of WebKit with enhancements from WebKit Clutter ported to it and a ClutterActor wrapper

What’s new in the distribution?

  • Application management improvements
  • Security design assessment
  • Implementation of Sensors and Actuators (Rhosydd)
  • Switch from X to Wayland by default on all images except SDK
  • Rebase of Apertis on the latest Ubuntu upstream release 16.04 (Xenial Xerus)
  • Webkit2GTK+ performance optimizations for Wayland
  • Webkit2GTK+ performance optimizations for WebGL
  • Updates to Apertis sites look & feel
  • Documentation portal
  • Application developer portal

Release downloads

Apertis 16.06 images
Intel 32-bit
Intel 64-bit / Minnowboard MAX

Apertis 16.06 repositories

 deb https://repositories.apertis.org/apertis/ 16.06 target helper-libs development sdk hmi

Apertis 16.06 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 16.06 Release

This Apertis release is based on top of Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial) release as its base distribution. Test results of the 16.06 release are available in the 16.06 test report.

Application management

Application Layout

Following on from the the Application Layout design work done in 16.03, the Ribchester subvolume manager now separates the read-only part of application bundles (/Applications, /usr/Applications) from the variable part (/var/Applications). As part of this layout change, bundle manipulation is done using atomic filesystem operations, so that power loss during app management does not result in corruption.

A new tool ribchester-bundle can be used to manipulate store application bundles during development and rapid prototyping. ribchester-bundle is not intended to be used in production: the same operations should be carried out directly from C code, rather than using this tool.

Work has begun on defining per-application-bundle metadata; this will continue in the 16.09 cycle.

Multi-user support

The Ribchester subvolume manager no longer creates directories owned or writeable by the user user ID representing the user, except for those directories solely intended for use by that specific user. If a different user ID runs an application bundle, Ribchester will correctly create a separate data directory for each user ID.

Automated tests

The Ribchester subvolume manager now has test coverage for common use cases when dealing with store application bundles: install, upgrade, remove, roll back and so on.

Security design

Several potential improvements to the Security concept design have been collected from other automotive projects’ security white papers, and will be incorporated into the concept designs in future releases if time permits. These include:

  • Document threat models with/without physical access

  • Revisit app-bundle packaging, signing, manifest and authentication plans

  • Describe security implications of dependency handling

  • Document why we don’t necessarily need to check app integrity on launch

  • Document why we need to verify files on removable storage while streaming

  • Mention privacy protection (resistance to spying) in Security concept design

  • Concept design for detecting and reporting potential attacks

  • Concept design: security vs. debugging

  • Concept design for content control

  • Mention CSP and other web security technologies in Security concept design

  • Concept design: security implications of expanding system storage onto SD card

  • Document security implications of crafted removable media (e.g. USB)

  • Specifically say that playlists, media etc. imported from removable devices must be distrusted

  • Discuss options for booting from USB

  • Security concept design: include qualitative references to desirable privacy goals

  • Concept designs: write about the need for security with very-long-term support

  • Security concept design: state general principles

  • Security concept design: describe the “rental car” use case

  • Document why we prefer to use D-Bus

  • Compare models for signing archive/container files

In addition, based on the same sources, some potential hardening work has been planned for future releases:

  • Document recommended compiler hardening options for TCB projects

  • Disable ptrace for users

  • Document the debug features that should (not) be turned off for production

  • Hard-code dbus-daemon to not offer TCP or ANONYMOUS auth

and some potential improvements to automated testing have been planned for future releases:

  • Add test to ensure /usr is read-only

  • Check and test kernel hardening options

  • New test: try to connect to session/system D-Bus without correct EXTERNAL auth, assert that we fail

  • New test: port-scan a target/development image, assert that no unexpected ports are open

Sensors and actuators

Rhosydd, an implementation of the non-vendor-specific and non-product-specific parts of the Sensors and Actuators concept design, is available in Apertis 16.06.


The 16.06 release includes Wayland support along with the WebKitWebClutterView actor for integration in Apertis applications. The dependency on the clutter-gtk library was removed by streamlining rendering and event handling. Several of the Apertis-specific APIs are also available, but this structural work caused some regressions. See the known issues section below for a list of regressions.

Wayland by default

Wayland is now the default graphic server for target and development images. Initially supported since late last year, Wayland is now the preferred option on all images, with the exception of the SDK.

Documentation portal

The design documentation has been moved out of the wiki into its own portal. Also, the files were converted to markdown format and moved to a git repository, explicitely setup for this purpose. This way, documentation updates and review are now handled using Differential in Phabricator, in the same way as source code. This has standardised and improved the review process and the traceability of changes.

Application developer portal

This is a portal focused on application developers for Apertis. Among other features, it contains guides and tutorials, which have been converted to markdown format and moved to git. The update and review process has been integrated into Phabricator, like the design documentation. It is an initial release of the application developer portal. The work continues to add more features and content. The source code is available here.

Updates to Apertis sites look & feel

During the cycle, Apertis websites were updated with a new visual and matching colors, to improve visual experience. This included the wiki, documentation and application developer portals.

In addition, the new visual is available for download form the marketing resources page.

Documentation improvements

HotDoc has been significantly improved during the 16.06 cycle. We are currently working on packaging these improvements, which will be available in 16.09.

The main improvements in this new version are:

  • Improved responsive theme, visible in HotDoc’s documentation linked above
  • Implementation of “smart indexes”, which mean HotDoc no longer requires symbols to be listed explicitly in the markdown pages
  • Implementation of autotools helpers, which make it easy to integrate HotDoc in our autotools-based projects, and no longer requires integrators to specify dependencies and installation rules for the HTML and Devhelp output


Continous integration improvements

Starting in 16.03 all the Apertis specific packages (for example, Mildenhall HMI) are automatically built in the Jenkins Continous Integration system upon changes in git and are submitted to OBS on success. During 16.06, this infrastructure was further improved and is now also applied to various non-Apertis specific packages which have Apertis modifications (for example, AppArmor, D-Bus, GLib, Gtk, Pulseaudio and systemd packaging).

Furthermore, on patch submission to Phabricator the same test builds are run to provide early feedback to both submitters and reviewers.

Updated packages

During this cycle, Apertis has been rebased on the latest Ubuntu 16.04 release (Xenial Xerus), updating the platform with new features as well as latest bug and security fixes.

The rebasing started in early March when the first Ubuntu 16.04 beta1 was released and continued through the cycle, with the biggest changes in late April after the final 16.04 release. The charts below show the timeline of changes in packages for the target, development and sdk repositories during the cycle.

![350px thumb left

Shared Repositories

Repositories are found at:

 deb https://repositories.apertis.org/apertis/ 16.06 target helper-libs development sdk hmi


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


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 8.1
apertis-image-configs, apertis-image-scripts (*) 17
linaro-image-tools, python-linaro-image-tools 2012.09.1-1co43
parted, libparted0debian1 2.3-11ubuntu1co3
python-debian >=0.1.25

Test Framework

Collabora’s LAVA service triggers test cases to be run when image builds succeed, the service is found at:


The list of available test cases, including manual and automated, can be found here.

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

Known issues

  • - Failed to get MxLauncher in AppArmor tests

  • - connman PAN connection fails with input/ouput error

  • - apparmor-webkit-clutter: Several tests failed

  • - Verify that Canterbury lockdown is working

  • - apparmor-libreoffice: libreoffice.normal.expected fails: ods_to_pdf: fail

  • - bluez-phone A2DP Profile ain’t working

  • - bluez-hfp test fail

  • - gstreamer buffering testcase fails if not run as the first testcase post flashing an image on target

  • - WebKit2GTK+: fullscreen video animation regressed with the move to Wayland and no clutter-gtk, needs reimplementation

  • - WebKit2GTK+: overriding of CSS for in-page elements needs reimplementation due to changes in upstream GTK+

  • - WebKit2GTK+: drag and drop is broken due to the change in how Clutter and GTK+ interact now

  • - gstreamer buffering testcase fails in SDK images