Landscape Help > Installing packages
Managing packages is one of Landscape's most important and popular features. You can use Landscape to install, remove and upgrade packages on the machines tied to your Landscape account.
From installing a single package on one machine to applying security upgrades across hundreds of systems: Landscape makes the process easy.
When do updates become available?
Each client computer will update its package information from the repositories listed in /etc/apt/sources.list and /etc/apt/sources.list.d hourly. Whenever there are changes, this information is sent to the Landscape server.
Depending on the Alerts configuration, this is when a package related Alert is created and displayed in the Dashboard or sent via e-mail to an administrator.
Landscape uses smart for package management on the client side instead of apt.
In order to proceed with the steps outlined in this documentation, please make sure your machines are all reporting package information by first selecting them and then going to the Packages page. The "Available" and "Installed" columns should not be reporting empty values:
If those columns are empty, it means the client did not yet sent the package information to the server. This is quite common if the machine was just configured with landscape-client, for example, as it can take more than 1h for it to start uploading this information to the server. If, however, more time has passed, then please get in touch via the Feedback option in the left menu.
Package Management Page
The screenshot below depicts the main Package Management page, which is reached by first selecting the computers you want to work with and then clicking on the Packages icon in the lower toolbar.
This page has four main sections:
Search: here you can search for packages based on their name. This is where all install or remove operations start
Upgrades: this area allows you to request a general package upgrade, check unapproved activities (more on this later) and also has a link going directly to all available upgrades for the selected computers.
Security issues: here we have detailed information about all security issues affecting the selected computers, including USNs (Ubuntu Security Notice) and a link that automatically selects all available security upgrades.
Summary: a generic overview of the package state of all selected computers. No distinction is made here between security upgrades and regular upgrades: they are all treated as upgrades.
Installing a Package
In this example we are going to install a package in both machines. Let's select a popular imap/pop mail server called dovecot. So these are the steps:
Search for the dovecot package. Another page with all the search results is shown.
Package search is a substring search. For example, searching for dovec would also show dovecot, among many others.
- We see several hits in the result page. What we want are the pop3d and imapd packages. Clicking on the "plus" icon will select them for installation:
The "arrow" icon indicates a package upgrade or downgrade, depending on whether it is pointing up or down respectively. And the "minus" icon indicates a package removal
- There are several versions of these packages available. By default, Landscape will select the latest version available for each computer. If you want to install a specific version, please select it in the drop box.
- After clicking on "Apply" we get a new package activity which will request the selected computers to install the two packages we selected:
Note that this activity is in the "Undelivered" state. This means that it was queued and the server is now waiting for the clients to connect and fetch it. While it is in the "Undelivered" state, it can still be cancelled. This page can be reloaded to refresh the activity state. It takes usually one minute or two for the client o pick it up.
We could also opt to schedule this package installation to some date in the future. For example, it could be scheduled to 2010-01-10 at 23:50 by clicking on the scheduling icon and filling in this date:
If we now click on apply, we get an activity that is in the "Scheduled" state and will only be delivered to the clients when that time and date is reached. When that happens, it will become "Undelivered" until the clients pick it up:
The next state is "Delivered", when it can no longer be cancelled. It means the client got the activity and is now processing it. In the case of package activities, it is evaluating what has to be done, downloading packages, etc:
When an activity comes back to us in an "Unapproved" state, it means that the client machine decided that other packages needed to be included in order to comply with the initial request. In our case, dovecot-imapd and dovecot-pop3d require a few other packages to be installed due to dependencies. Since these other packages were not requested in the original order, Landscape decides it needs an explicit approval.
The administrator can now review the final package list and decide if he proceeds with the installation or not. Note that in some cases packages may even be removed in order to comply with the request, so this list should really be reviewed with care.
After reviewing the final list of packages that will be installed, we decide to proceed and approve the activity. It all starts over then with "Undelivered":
In the end, the packages will have been installed and the activity will be marked as "Succeeded". If we click on the small report icon next to the activity we will see the text result as if we were at the terminal typing the installation command and watching the output:
This concludes our example that shows how to install packages using Landscape. The highlights were:
- it all starts with searching for a package
- package activities can come back in an "Unapproved" state, requiring further inspection
- command output of the package activity can be inspected in Landscape
- it's possible to schedule package activities