Creating a local apt server

Certain roles such as Ruby and Golang offer the ability to use a backported version of the package so it's more up to date. The backports are built off of Debian testing without having to actually use the testing apt source.

What are some benefits of doing it this way?

A lot of other roles will compile from source but that's time demanding and error prone. A backported version of Ruby 2.1.x will apt install in about 5 seconds once you setup your local APT server once.


Compile it once into a proper package and use it as many times as you want.

It also makes your role future proof because you don't have to change anything once the next Debian version is officially released. From the role's point of view it's just installing an apt package using Ansible's apt module. It does not care where the apt server is located.

Picking a host for the repository

The first step is to decide where you want this server. It doesn't need to be literally local to your workstation. It's local in the context of it not being an official APT server to the world.

Popular options could be your Ansible controller inside of a container or a micro-size instance on the cloud depending on your requirements for availability.

Configuring a throw away build server

You could use your apt server but it's best to use a temporary host. I would just spin up a container.

In this example we're going to build Ruby 2.1.x. You will have to do this if you plan to use GitLab so it's a good idea to learn!

# inventory/hosts

# inventory/host_vars/yourbuildserver.yml

ruby_version: 'backport'

That tells the Ruby role to use the Backporter role as a dependency and that will kick off the entire build process for you.

Then run:

debops -l yourbuildserver

Expect it to take 5 to 15 minutes depending on how fast your server is. You only need to do this once.

Where are the packages?

Good question, they have been transferred to your Ansible controller in the secret/reprepro/includedeb/wheezy-backports/ directory.

At this point you can delete your build server.

Configuring the local APT server

Next up, we need to tell our server that it is an APT server.

# inventory/host_vars/youraptserver.yml

apt: 'youraptserver.{{ ansible_domain }}'

You must use your apt server's fully qualified domain name. Run hostname -f on the server to check its fully qualified domain name.

We're just about done, now you need to transfer the packages to your apt server:

debops -l youraptserver -t apt

Making your hosts aware

The last step is to make your hosts aware of the server.

Below I'm just assuming you want to make it aware to all of your containers and you have your containers inside of a [containers] group.

# inventory/group_vars/containers.yml

apt: 'youraptserver.{{ ansible_domain }}'

Then run:

debops -l containers

Using your shiny new package

Well, this part is easy. Just use the Ruby role on any host that is aware of your local apt server and it will install Ruby 2.1.x in about 5 seconds.

You do not need to set ruby_version: 'backport' on the hosts themselves. It will just use the default setting which is the apt package and now since your local apt server is setup and your host is aware, it will use the new backported version.