The Athena 10 project was officially merged with the Debathena project in March 2009. Please see the Debathena page for current information on the project.

Product Description

Athena 10, in a smaller and less expensive to maintain implementation, maintains service levels for existing customers and offers new customers the ability to install Athena on top of rather than instead of their present Ubuntu system.

Although all the functionality is available for Public Cluster deployment, the components are un-bundled and can be mixed and matched into packagings radically different from the collections that have historically been viewed as "the way Athena is".

Summary Status

  • 3/4/09 Project merged with SIPB Debathena Project
  • 3/4/09 "Beta" Milestone met with go-live of the Early Cluster release.
  • 1/13/09 "Cluster" Milestone met.
  • 12/12/08 "Feature Complete" Milestone met.
  • 8/15/08 "Preview Release" Milestone met.
  • 7/25/08 "Basic" Milestone met.
  • 6/30/08 "Core" Milestone met.
  • 3/18/08 "Infrastructure" milestone met.
  • 12/12/08 "Feature Complete" milestone met.

The customer face of Athena 10/Debathena is the Debathena Beta Web Site

Bugs/Issues with Athena 10 are tracked in the Athena 10 Jira

The issues are organized in a Top 10 punch list .

Bugs/Issues relevant to the broader debathena scope are tracked in the Debathena Trac

Third Party software policies and process are being reviewed in the document 3rd Party Software under Debathena

The detailed tasks and features are detailed in the Athena 10 Technical Plan .

The Preview tasks were also tracked in the Athena 10 Preview Sprint.

Project Goals

  • Inventory Athena use cases.
  • Identify obsolete functionality and retire it.
  • Maintain or improve service levels for the non-obsolete functionality.
  • Migrate more functionality off of MIT-maintained code.
  • Redo MIT-maintained functionality to reduce its size and maintenance cost.
  • Adopt a base operating system in closer alignment with current practice in the MIT Linux community. (Ubuntu replaces Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL))
  • Adopt applications and services in closer alignment with current practice in the MIT Linux community. (Applications, Services, and Device drivers of Ubuntu are more modern than what is in RHEL.
  • Improve security.
  • Modularize functionality to allow installation on top of pre-installed OS.
  • New: Form a collaboration with the Student Information Processing Board (SIPB) to leverage their modular DebAthena work, and to build a unified product going forward.

The Athena 10 Technical Plan contains the use case analysis of the Red Hat 4-based Athena version 9.4, the mapping of that functionality onto the Ubuntu base operating system, and the current status of the development work to produce the Athena 10 deliverables.


  • Software packages
    • Athena original software
    • Configurators for native or imported third party packages.
    • Self maintenace
  • Source repositories for software for which MIT is the upstream maintainer.
  • An automated update from Athena 9.4. DELETED to shrink project scope.
  • An installation system.
  • Release notes and documentation, particularly for aspects of Athena 9.4 which become desupported or supported in different ways.

These deliverables are further detailed in the Athena 10 Technical Plan Deliverables

Roll-out Plan

This plan is evolving and subject to change.

  • Infrastructure
    • A high availability apt repository for the Athena10 packages maintained by Athena Server Operations is required. This repository would replace the present AFS to ftp translator solution which does not scale to production requirements.
    • A high availability apt repository mirror for Ubuntu maintained by Athena Server Operations is required for production roll-out and ongling support of Athena10. (Isolates MIT from outages. Allows brief freezes if necessary.)
    • An IS&T supported implementation of the SIPB prototype is required for production roll-out of the CUPS-based Athena10 printing infrastructure.
    • A PXE-based installer for Cluster installs.
  • Documentation
    • PWOG updated to speak of Workstation vs Cluster instead of Public vs Private.
    • Release notes.
    • What is in Athena (which documents the few coarse grained packages/installers)
    • Ad copy on what is Athena 10.
    • How to install Athena 10 on your private machine.
    • How to install Athena 10 in the clusters. (Target audience: cluster services personnel.)
    • Cluster Services sysadmin doc. (How to change hostname/ip address, for example.)
  • Support
    • Person to perform validation and migration of upstream changes from dev to production apt repositories for both Ubuntu and debathena.


  • Athena Cluster Services Personnel who will install and maintain systems.
  • Athena Consultants who will field questions.
  • Academic Computing – will need service continuity, and input into long term direction.
  • Users of Athena General Use Clusters.
  • Users and maintainers of Private Athena Workstations.
  • Athena Server Operations.
  • MIT Training and Publications team, to assist with documentation.
  • Users of Third party Software, and Alex Prengel who maintains the third party software.

Lead Users

Mitigation of impact of delay from original August 2008 delivery.

With a best-efforts resourcing, an August 2008 roll-out proved unrealistic. That project plan also gave insufficient time for validation and refinement in collaboration with users. The revised timeline below addresses the following issues:

  • Incoming students will want something like Debathena. What can we give them?
  • Linux-based dialup will be in demand. How can this demand be met in advance of Athena 10?

Planned timeline

  • DONE July 2007 to January 2008: Pre-planning, and crafting of baseline functional specification.
    • Best efforts resourcing for project
    • Athena use case analysis.
    • Feature set determination.
    • Evaluate candidate baseline Linux distribution – possible successor to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.
  • DONE January 2008 Initiate collaboration with Debathena SIPB project.
  • DONE January 2008 Shift from best-efforts to scheduled resourcing.
  • DONE 3/18/08 February 2008 Create necessary development infrastructure.
  • DONE 6/30/08 January 2008 to 30 April 2008 Work to Core Milestone: The fundamental building blocks of the Athena environment are in place (AFS, login, incremental updates, etc).
  • DONE 7/25/08 January 2008 - 30 June 2008 Work to Basic Functionality Milestone: The high-profile Athena applications are in place (Firefox, email, etc.) Biggest scheduling issue: email clients.
  • DONE 8/15/08 January 2008 to: 15 August 2008 Work to Athena 10 Preview deliverable suitable for experimentation with by incoming freshmen.
  • DONE 1/13/09 15 August 2008 to 1 October 2008 Work to Cluster Milestone: Self-maintenance features and GNOME modifications necessary for cluster machine deployments are in place. The updater is complete. Biggest scheduling issue: The updater. (We decided to eliminate a legacy updater to reduce project scope. New biggest Scheduling issue: The comprehensive Cluster installer.
  • DONE 12/12/08 1 October 2008 - 1 November 2008 Work to Feature Complete Milestone: Remaining release features are completed except for rearchitected printing. System release notes are complete. Backward compatibility issues are substantially resolved. Biggest scheduling issue: The installer.
  • DONE 3/4/09 1 October 2008 - 1 November 2008 Beta testing.
  • 1 November 2008 - 1 December 2008 Work to Full Deployment Readiness Milestone: Early release is complete and Athena 10 is ready to be released to all cluster machines.
  • January 2009 - May 2009 Testing and refinement to make sure Athena 10 meets or exceeds expectations of Athena 9 users.
  • 1 July 2009 Full roll out to Athena Clusters.
  • 1 July 2009 - 15 October 2009 Follow-up, and confirmation that Athena 10 has successfully rolled out and replaces Athena 9.
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