Recently, while working with Canonical, the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu, an opportunity came up for us at MuleSoft to take on open-source community work to improve the Ubuntu Tomcat 6 package. Having spent several years administering the most popular Tomcat Internet Relay Chat channel, I’ve gathered lots of feedback from Tomcat users about what they had difficulty with, and the changes I had to offer turned into implementation work.
Since the Ubuntu Tomcat package is (currently) the same as the upstream Debian Tomcat package, the best approach was to apply my changes to the Debian source tree. After reviewing the changes with the Debian Tomcat package developers as well, the result is that I became a Debian Tomcat committer, and my changes are now applied to the Debian Tomcat 6 package! Most of the changes are improvements to the “tomcat6” init script, and I helped upgrade Tomcat to version 6.0.24. More details of the changes will follow in my next blog post.
For many years now I have been writing and maintaining my own Tomcat Linux init script because the init scripts from the various Linux distributions wouldn’t work the way I needed them to. Also, I spoke with too many others (both on the Tomcat IRC channel, and also via MuleSoft’s free Tomcat support) who had trouble with the init scripts that come with the distro-included Tomcat packages. These reasons prompted me to develop my own Tomcat init script and to develop Linux Tomcat packages for custom use.
MuleSoft is quite happy about these open-source Tomcat package improvements making it into both the Ubuntu and Debian distributions, and I’m equally happy to be working with both teams. A large number of Tomcat users (approximately half of the Linux installations in the world) will get these features, and any distribution based on the Debian package set may offer this new version of the Tomcat 6 package. The Linux distribution family chart shows which distributions that includes. That’s a lot of cats!