Apertis 18.12 Release

18.12 is the December 2018 stable development release of Apertis, a Debian/Ubuntu derivative distribution geared towards the creation of product-specific images for ARM (both the 32bit ARMv7 and 64-bit ARMv8 versions using the hardfloat ABI) and Intel x86-64 (64-bit) systems.

This Apertis release is based on top of the Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial) LTS release with several customizations. Test results of the 18.12 release are available in the 18.12 test report.

Release downloads

Apertis 18.12 images
Intel 64-bit
ARM 32-bit (U-Boot)
ARM 32-bit (MX6q Sabrelite)
ARM 64-bit (U-Boot)

The Intel minimal, target and development images are tested on the reference hardware (MinnowBoard MAX), but they can run on any UEFI-based x86-64 system. The sdk image is tested under VirtualBox.

Apertis 18.12 repositories

 $ deb https://repositories.apertis.org/apertis/ 18.12 target helper-libs development sdk hmi

New features

SDK Improvements

To get developers started even more quickly, the Apertis SDK images now provide cross-compilers and an armhf sysroot right out of the box. Developers no longer need to run the ade command to download it separately.

Base SDK

New product teams adopting Apertis may need a customized experience on their SDK, as the default Apertis SDK may contain tools that are not relevant for them and may lack some tools that they would like to use.

To provide them a better foundation for their customizations a reduced base SDK image recipe is now part of Apertis, shipping a somewhat bare-bones SDK environment for cross-compilation.


Devroots are somewhat similar to sysroots but address a different use-case: while sysroots are only meant for pure cross-compilation and remote debugging from the host, devroots are meant to target foreign architecture by emulating native compilation thanks to QEMU and systemd-nspawn. This is the most reliable way to build packages for foreign architecture, at the cost of a slight performance hit for larger projects.

While devroots are meant to be used on the Apertis SDK, they work just fine on any non-Apertis environment providing QEMU and systemd-nspawn.

See the devroot short guide for futher information about how to use them from the Apertis SDK.

Build and integration

Apertis NFS images for LAVA

In the past the LAVA first stage was using generic kernels and NFS roots which had been built manually in a non reproducible fashion. This also meant that hardware support could get out of sync with respect to what Apertis supported, as fixes didn’t automatically trickle to those components.

To ensure that things stay synchronized, Apertis now produces kernels and NFS roots based on Apertis itself for the LAVA first stage. Those images can be found at https://images.apertis.org/lava/nfs/.

Note that while a release is being developed, Lava jobs will run with an image that was generated at the previous release. Those NFS images are not limited to LAVA, they can also be installed on a local NFS server to boot any supported hardware via NFS.

Quality Assurance

Improvements to the test definitions

Until now, the tests definitions were hosted on this wiki, with the problems below:

  • The test description and their implementation are stored in different places and over the years slowly got out of sync. This is particularly true for automated tests, in which the test procedures on the wiki are duplicating the information already provided in the LAVA YAML test definitions.
  • Definitions are stored in a lax format not suitable for use by tools, so all the QA processes have to involve a massive amount of manual work that doesn’t scale with the Apertis growth.
  • Test cases only address the most current release, there is no way to have different test cases for different release branches
  • The wiki doesn’t offer a good review workflow as developer are used when working on git repositories on our GitLab instance

As the first step of a complete overhaul of the test handling process all the test case definitions, both manual and automated, have been converted to a stricter YAML format in the apertis-test-cases git repository. The YAML format is an extension of the LAVA format, so the testcase are immediately usable by LAVA.

The new rendered testcases can be seen at qa.apertis.org.

Testing on immutable rootfs, part 2

To continue the work started on Apertis 18.09, more tests were ported to work on immutable rootfs.

Since the high priority tests were already ported, some medium priority tests have been ported this quarter.

The focus was on testing minimal images and AppArmor features.

Design and documentation

Merging software update and OSTree documents

Two separate documents were covering the update and rollback system for Apertis:

  • the System updates and rollback strived to be generic and agnostic about the actual update technology
  • the OSTree resilient upgrades approach described how OSTree could be used to implement the features described in the first document. This document was private until now, and has been published.

Having these split in two had several issues:

  • readers may find the difference in purpose to be not obvious, wondering why we have two documents;
  • some readers may be only aware of the existence of one document but not the other;
  • the documents may get out of sync and not describe a coherent design.

Those documents are being merged into one for better readability and easier maintenance.

Technology Previews

Offline updates over USB Mass Storage devices

Albeit not part of this release, work has started to implement fully automatic system updates with rollback in case of errors on top of the OSTree work done in the past releases.

The apertis-update-manager component in the OSTree-based images to manage the update process and to provide a high level D-Bus interface for user interaction.

In this cycle only offline updates over USB Mass Storage devices have been implemented on the armhf images targeting the i.MX6 Sabrelite platform.

In the coming cycles online OTA updates are planned and support will be extended to all the other Apertis reference platforms.

Deprecations and ABI/API breaks


During this release cycle we have continued to mark obsolete or problematic APIs with the ABI break tag as a way to clear technical debt in future.

Phabricator code contribution workflow

The use of Phabricator Differential and git-phab for code contributions and reviews is deprecated in favour of the GitLab merge request workflow

For this release Apertis has fully switched to use the GitLab merge request workflow for all contributions, which is more integrated and smoother than the Phabricator Differential workflow. The documentation on the wiki has been updated: refer to the contribution process.

Test case definitions on the wiki

The definitions under QA/Test_Cases are now deprecated in favour of the YAML-based definitions in the apertis-test-cases repository, see the Improvements to the test definitions section.

Mildenhall UI framework

The Mildenhall UI toolkit is deprecated in favour of other UI toolkits such as GTK+, Qt, or HTML5-based solutions

From this release Apertis may no longer ship the Mildenhall UI toolkit nor any accompanying libraries, as the underlying Clutter library has been deprecated upstream for some years now.

Application framework

ribchester and canterbury are deprecated

From this release Canterbury and Ribchester are deprecated as is the Application Layout document in favour of Flatpak.


Development images

The development image type has been removed in favour of extending the target image type.

From this release Apertis will no longer ship development images. Users can pick the target images and manually install any needed package with apt. The inclusion of any specific tool to be shipped out-of-the-box on the target can be requested on Phabricator. The development ospack is still available, and it is used to generate sysroots for cross-compilation.


Apertis Docker registry

The Apertis Docker registry stores Docker images in order to provide a unified and easily reproducible build environment for developers and services.

As of today, this includes the apertis-image-builder, apertis-package-builder, apertis-testcases-builder and apertis-documentation-builder Docker images.

Apertis infrastructure tools

The Apertis Debian Stretch tools repository provides packages for git-phab, lqa, Debos and deps, LAVA v2, OBS 2.7, ostree-push and jenkins-job-builder:

 $ deb https://repositories.apertis.org/debian/ stretch tools


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


Image build tools can be found in the Apertis tools repositories.

Infrastructure overview

The Image build infrastructure document provides an overview of the image building process and the involved services.

Known issues

High (5)

  • The touchscreen displays connected to the i.MX6 Saberlite board isn’t functioning on the rev 1.2 boards

  • boot-no-crashes: boot-no-crashes test failed

  • OSTree fails to build working ostree images in SDK

  • LAVA-Phab bridge should post a comment once tests stop failing

  • Issue with dbus limits when executing test-dbus-daemon from dbus-installed-tests

Normal (95)

  • sanity-check: verify that a trivial PyGI and/or gjs GUI can run

  • connman shows incorrect Powered status for the bluetooth technology

  • telepathy-ring: Review and fix SMS test

  • property changed signal in org.bluez.Network1 is not emiting when PAN disconnects

  • apparmor-libreoffice: Several tests failed

  • Overhaul tests that require being run with AppArmor lockdown enabled to get started under Canterbury

  • cgroups-resource-control: blkio-weights tests failed

  • GStreamer playbin prioritises imxeglvivsink over clutterautovideosink

  • gupnp-services: test service failed

  • Crash when initialising egl on ARM target

  • Develop test case for out of screen events in Wayland images

  • Pulse Audio volume control doesn’t launch as a separate window on SDK

  • Test apps are failing in Liblightwood with the use of GTest

  • apparmor-tracker: underlying_tests failed

  • Fix Tracker testcase to not download media files from random HTTP user folders

  • VirtualBox display freezes when creating multiple notifications at once and interacting (hover and click) with them

  • Ribchester: deadlock when calling RemoveApp() right after RollBack()

  • tracker tests: Error creating thumbnails: No poster key found in metadata

  • mx6qsabrelite: linking issue with libgstimxeglvivsink.so and libgstimxvpu.so gstreamer plugins

  • libgles2-vivante-dev is not installable

  • gupnp-services tests test_service_browsing and test_service_introspection fail on target-arm image

  • arm-linux-gnueabihf-pkg-config does not work with sysroots installed by `ade`

  • Mismatching gvfs/gvfs-common and libatk1.0-0/libatk1.0-data package versions in the archive

  • Observing multiple service instances in all 17.06 SDK images

  • Containers fail to load on Gen4 host

  • gnutls depends on old abandoned package gmp4 due to licensing reasons

  • Preseed action is needed for Debos

  • Debos: allow to use partition number for ‘raw’ action

  • Debos: mountpoints which are mounted only in build time

  • Debos: option for kernel command parameters for ‘filesystem-deplay’ action

  • ribchester-core causes apparmor denies on non-btrfs minimal image

  • Debos: changes ‘resolv.conf’ during commands execution chroot

  • Volume Control application hangs on opening it

  • gupnp-services: browsing and introspection tests fail

  • sqlite: Many tests fail for target amd64, armhf and sdk

  • dbus-installed-tests: service failed because a timeout was exceeded

  • boot-no-crashes: ANOM_ABEND found in journalctl logs

  • tracker-indexing-mass-storage test case fails

  • do-branching fails at a late stage cloning OBS binary repos

  • A 2-3 second lag between the speakers is observed when a hfp connection is made over bluetooth

  • SDK hangs when trying to execute bluez-hfp testcase

  • OSTree testsuite hangs the gouda Jenkins build slave

  • Couldn’t install application: error seen when trying to install to target using ade

  • Ribchester mount unit depends on Btrfs

  • Eclipse Build is not working for HelloWorld App

  • Not able to create namespace for AppArmor container on `mx6qsabrelite` board

  • Seek/Pause option does not work correctly on YouTube

  • Failed unmounting /var bind mount error seen on shutting down an i.MX6/Minnowboard with Minimal ARM-32/AMD64 image

  • Apps like songs, artists etc are not offser correctly by the compositor window

  • Double tapping on any empty space in the songs app’s screen results in the compositor window hinding the left ribbon

  • Back button is hidden by the compositor window in apps like songs, artists etc

  • Ensure that the uploaded linux package version uniquely identifies a single commit

  • Canterbury needs to explicitly killed to relauch the Mildenhall compositor

  • Mildenhall compositor gets offset when we open an app like songs

  • cgroups-resource-control: cpu-shares test failed

  • gupnp-services: run-test test failed

  • tracker-indexing-local-storage: run-test test failed

  • apparmor-gstreamer1-0: run-test-sh test failed

  • apparmor-pulseaudio: run-test-pulseaudio test failed

  • apparmor-pulseaudio: pulseaudio.malicious.expected test failed

  • apparmor-pulseaudio: pulseaudio.normal.expected_underlying_tests test failed

  • apparmor-tracker: run-test-tracker test failed

  • apparmor-tracker: tracker.malicious.expected test failed

  • apparmor-tracker: tracker.malicious.expected_underlying_tests test failed

  • apparmor-tracker: tracker.normal.expected test failed

  • apparmor-tracker: tracker.normal.expected_underlying_tests test failed

  • apparmor-utils: aa-enforce-test test failed

  • kernel panic occurs when trying to boot an image on i.mx6 revision 1.2 board from LAVA

  • gupnp-services: test_service_introspection test failed

  • gupnp-services: test_service_browsing test failed

  • build failure in liblightwood-2 on 18.06 image

  • newport: newport test failed

  • lava: 12_apparmor-functional-demo test failed

  • apparmor-pulseaudio: pulseaudio.malicious.expected_underlying_tests test failed

  • didcot: didcot test failed

  • traprain: traprain test failed

  • “Setup Install to Target” option is not showing on eclipse

  • Ospacks ship a .gitignore file in the root directory

  • Ospacks ship an empty /script directory in the root directory

  • recipe for target ‘install’ failed error seen on executing the install to target using ade

  • rhosydd: rhosydd test failed

  • rhosydd: integration test failed

  • LAVA-Phab bridge should mark test failures as bugs

  • “su -” is not in working state

  • “pam-auth-update” generates wrong configuration with some additional packages

  • build-snapshot: allow to build packages without `autogen.sh` script

  • Wi-Fi search button is missing in wifi application

  • LAVA-Phab bridge does not report the release version or the board used of the tested image

  • traprain: gnome-desktop-testing test failed

  • apparmor-geoclue: run-test-geoclue test failed

  • create-abstract-sync-database: create-abstract-sync-database test failed

  • apparmor-pulseaudio: run-test-sh test failed

  • rfkill-toggle testcase fails

  • bluez-hfp testcase fails

  • ade tests failing on lava

Low (129)

  • Remove unnecessary folks package dependencies for automated tests

  • Not able to load heavy sites on GtkClutterLauncher

  • No connectivity Popup is not seen when the internet is disconnected.

  • Upstream: linux-tools-generic should depend on lsb-release

  • remove INSTALL, aclocal.m4 files from langtoft

  • Mildenhall compositor crops windows

  • Documentation is not available from the main folder

  • Power button appers to be disabled on target

  • apparmor-libreoffice: libreoffice.normal.expected fails: ods_to_pdf: fail [Bugzilla bug #331]

  • Network search pop-up isn’t coming up in wi-fi settings

  • Clutter_text_set_text API redraws entire clutterstage

  • libgrassmoor: executes tracker-control binary

  • mildenhall-settings: does not generate localization files from source

  • Videos are hidden when Eye is launched

  • Theme ,any F node which is a child of an E node is not working for Apertis widgets.

  • Video doesn’t play when toggling from full screen to detail view

  • Simulator screen is not in center but left aligned

  • Back option is missing as part of the tool tip

  • Unsupported launguage text is not shown on the page in GtkClutterLauncher

  • The video player window is split into 2 frames in default view

  • Horizontal scroll is not shown on GtkClutterLauncher

  • The background HMI is blank on clicking the button for Power OFF

  • Only half of the hmi is covered when opening gnome.org

  • Share links to facebook, twitter are nbt working in browser (GtkClutterLauncher)

  • Background video is not played in some website with GtkClutterLauncher

  • Interaction with PulseAudio not allowed by its AppArmor profile

  • Fix folks EDS tests to not be racy

  • shapwick reads /etc/nsswitch.conf and /etc/passwd, and writes /var/root/.cache/dconf/

  • Cannot open/view pdf documents in browser (GtkClutterLauncher)

  • Zoom in feature does not work on google maps

  • Printing hotdoc webpage directly results in misformatted document

  • Images for the video links are not shown in news.google.com on GtkClutterLauncher

  • Focus in launcher rollers broken because of copy/paste errors

  • beep audio decoder gives errors continously

  • If 2 drawers are activated, the most recent one hides behind the older one, instead of coming on top of older one.

  • Album Art Thumbnail missing in Thumb view in ARTIST Application

  • Unusable header in Traprain section in Devhelp

  • Clang package fails to install appropriate egg-info needed by hotdoc

  • gstreamer1-0-decode: Failed to load plugin warning

  • Canterbury messes up kerning when .desktop uses unicode chars

  • make check fails on libbredon package for wayland warnings

  • Cannot open links within website like yahoo.com

  • apparmor-folks: unable to link contacts to test unlinking

  • Compositor seems to hide the bottom menu of a webpage

  • Spacing issues between text and selection box in website like amazon

  • Content on a webpage doesn’t load in sync with the scroll bar

  • Resizing the window causes page corruption

  • Confirm dialog status updated before selecting the confirm option YES/NO

  • webview Y offset not considered to place, full screen video on youtube webpage

  • cgroups-resource-control: test network-cgroup-prio-class failed

  • GObject Generator link throws 404 error

  • GLib, GIO Reference Manual links are incorrectly swapped

  • folks: random tests fail

  • Album art is missing in one of the rows of the songs application

  • Canterbury entry-point launching hides global popups, but only sometimes

  • <abstractions/chaiwala-base> gives privileges that not every app-bundle should have

  • Segmentation fault when disposing test executable of mildenhall

  • The web runtime doesn’t set the related view when opening new windows

  • GtkClutterLauncher: Segfaults with mouse right-clicking

  • ribchester: gnome-desktop-testing test times out

  • canterbury: Most of the tests fail

  • Status bar is not getting updated with the current song/video being played

  • Compositor hides the other screens

  • Songs do not start playing from the beginning but instead start a little ahead

  • Roller problem in settings application

  • Variable roller is not working

  • In mildenhall, URL history speller implementation is incomplete.

  • MildenhallSelectionPopupItem doesn’t take ownership when set properties

  • libshoreham packaging bugs

  • libmildenhall-0-0 contains files that would conflict with a future libmildenhall-0-1

  • rhosydd-client crashes when displaying vehicle properties for mock backend

  • Rhosydd service crashes when client exits on some special usecases (Refer description for it)

  • MildenhallSelPopupItem model should be changed to accept only gchar * instead of MildenhallSelPopupItemIconDetail for icons

  • libbredon/seed uninstallable on target as they depend on libraries in :development

  • webview-test should be shipped in libbredon-0-tests instead of libbredon-0-1

  • bredon-0-launcher should be shipped in its own package, not in libbredon-0-1

  • virtual keyboard is not showing for password input field of any webpage

  • Steps like pattern is seen in the background in songs application

  • Avoid unconstrained dbus AppArmor rules in frome

  • Newport test fails on minimal images

  • connman: patch “Use ProtectSystem=true” rejected upstream

  • connman: patch “device: Don’t report EALREADY” not accepted upstream

  • webkit2GTK crash observed flicking on webview from other widget

  • Mildenhall should install themes in the standard xdg data dirs

  • Page rendering is not smooth in sites like www.yahoo.com

  • HTML5 demo video’s appear flipped when played on webkit2 based browser app

  • Render theme buttons are not updating with respect to different zoom levels

  • Rendering issue observed on websites like http://www.moneycontrol.com

  • Frampton application doesn’t load when we re-launch them after clicking the back button

  • Crash observed on webruntime framework

  • Crash observed on seed module when we accesing the D-Bus call method

  • introspectable support for GObject property, signal and methods

  • On multiple re-entries from settings to eye the compositor hangs

  • Segmentation fault occurs while exectuing webkit2gtk-aligned-scroll test case

  • zoom feature is not working as expected

  • Segmentation fault is observed on closing the mildenhall-compositor

  • Building cargo and rustc in 17.12 for Firefox Quantum 57.0

  • Blank screen seen on executing last-resort-message testcase

  • Inital Roller mappings are misaligned on the HMI

  • folks-metacontacts: folks-metacontacts-linking_sh.service failed

  • folks-alias-persistence: folks-alias-persistence_sh.service failed

  • folks-metacontacts-antilinking: folks-metacontacts-antilinking_sh.service failed

  • folks-search-contacts: folks-search-contacts_sh.service failed

  • apparmor-tracker: AssertionError: False is not true

  • apparmor-folks: Several tests fail

  • apparmor-gstreamer1.0: gstreamer1.0-decode: assertion failed

  • tracker-indexing-local-storage: AssertionError: False is not true

  • didcot: test_open_uri: assertion failed

  • traprain: sadt: error: cannot find debian/tests/control

  • canterbury: core-as-root and full-as-root tests failed

  • ribchester: Job for generated-test-case-ribchester.service canceled

  • apparmor-pulseaudio: pulseaudio.normal.expected_underlying_tests fails

  • webkit2gtk-drag-and-drop doesn’t work with touch

  • folks-alias-persistence: folks-alias-persistence test failed

  • folks-extended-info: folks-extended-info test failed

  • folks-metacontacts: folks-metacontacts-unlinking test failed

  • folks-metacontacts: folks-metacontacts-linking test failed

  • folks-metacontacts-antilinking: folks-metacontacts-antilinking test failed

  • folks-search: folks-search-contacts test failed

  • apparmor-folks: run-test-folks test failed

  • apparmor-folks: R1.13b_folks-metacontacts-unlinking test failed

  • apparmor-folks: R1.13b_folks-metacontacts-linking test failed

  • apparmor-folks: R1.13b_folks-alias-persistence test failed

  • apparmor-folks: R6.4.2_folks-metacontacts-antilinking test failed

  • frome: frome test failed

  • frome: gnome-desktop-testing test failed

  • libsoup: /usr/lib/libsoup2.4/installed-tests/libsoup/ssl-test test failed

  • folks-telepathy: folks-retrieve-contacts-telepathy test failed

  • apparmor-folks: R1.13b_folks-retrieve-contacts-telepathy test failed