January 10, 2012 | Stuart Martin

I can't tell you how good it feels to have GT 5.2.0 officially announced!! Well, actually, I can and I'm going to :-)

Back in the day when the Globus Toolkit's first few lines of code were written (same time I started at Argonne, no coincidence) in April 1997 (man, I've been doing this a long time), the toolkit used the common approach to building software written in C: configure, make, make install. This provided a pretty easy way to build the toolkit, but it was monolithic. It was not easy to build a single component or subset of the toolkit.

So, we looked into ways of "packaging" the toolkit to allow subsets to be built and installed. As well as provide GT binary packages too. RPM and Debian had existed for a few years, but apt and yum did not yet exist. Plus RPM didn't work on AIX, Solaris, HP-UX, IRIX, ... systems that we needed to support. Our conclusion was that a sufficient cross-platform packaging system didn't exist. Thus Grid Packaging Toolkit (GPT) was born and raised.

Over the years, apt and yum became the de-facto standard Linux packaging systems and the AIX, IRIX, HP-UX supercomputers went away. Meanwhile, the Globus Toolkit continued to use the homegrown GPT for GT 2,3,4 and 5.0. In the last few years, with some significant and mostly single handed effort from Mattias Ellert, GT packages did get transformed into native packages for a few RPM, Debian and Windows repos.

We knew that GT users wanted Globus native packages, and finally in early 2010, we were ready to jump in and make it happen. It took longer than expected, almost 2 years, but we're finally done. Included in GT 5.2.0 are native packages for Red Hat, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, Scientific Linux, and CentOS. GT 5.2 represents a significant leap ahead for Globus Toolkit usability. Undoubtedly, there will be some bug fixes and enhancements to do, but another overhaul of this magnitude may not be needed again (fingers crossed). We can now turn more of our attention back into improving the GT component software itself: GRAM, GridFTP, GSI, MyProxy, etc.

Hallelujah! Say it with me, Hallelujah!