What is ‘Sympl’?

Sympl (pronounced ‘Simple’) is an open-source fork of Bytemark Symbiosis, which is a series of scripts and templates which allow you to automatically and efficiently configure your website and email a virtual or dedicated Linux server hosting running Debian.

The aim with Sympl is to retain the ease of use and backwards compatibility wherever possible with Symbiosis, whilst adding features and functionality you’d expect from a modern package, with a focus on security and maintainability.

Work is continuing at a good pace, and Sympl is now in public beta.

Sympl is ready for beta testing!

A huge amount of work has gone into it, and now Sympl is ready for beta testing.

As before, you shouldn’t run this in production (yet) but it should operate mostly the same as Symbiosis did.

With a fresh Debian 9 server, run these commands and you should end up with machine running Sympl:

wget -qO- http://mirror.mythic-beasts.com/mythic/support@mythic-beasts.com.gpg.key | apt-key add -

echo deb http://packages.mythic-beasts.com/mythic/ stretch-testing main > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/sympl_mythic-beasts.list

apt-get update

apt-get install --install-recommends sympl-core

If you run into any issues, please log them here or find me in #Sympl on freenode.

Sympl is now installable

After a good few evenings work reverse-engineering things and applying fixes, Sympl now builds and can be installed, however, it’s still very much in an alpha state, so it shouldn’t be used in a production environment!

If you are feeling adventurous, then you can install it on a clean (disposable) Debian Stretch Virtual Machine, by running the below as root:

[instructions removed as they are no longer needed]

To make it very clear, do not install this on a server you want to keep, and ensure you have full backups before you do!

Finally, note there are a few security bugs outstanding at present, but if you come across any problems, please log a new issue.

Next step: Automated testing!

The Roadmap

The initial focus will be to ensure I can get automatic builds working for Debian ‘Stretch’, allowing quick and easy changes without breaking any of the current features.

Once that has been completed, the existing command line functionality, packages and so on will be renamed and updated to use a new syntax wrapper, whilst keeping the old user-based names for compatibility.

At that point, I should be able to make the first public Beta release for Debian Stretch, and begin work on an updated version of the existing DNS features to allow usage of more modern DNS platforms as well as manual DNS configuration.

From there, the aim will be for a release on the new version of Debian ‘Buster’, followed by support for Ubuntu.

All of this is, of course, some time out but I plan to post updates here frequently.