New partner, Amahi 6.1 and the Ubuntu Alpha Zero release

Today we present you a few fantastic announcements: Amahi 6.1 release, a new Amahi Ready™ hardware partner, new app updates … and … the first, Alpha Zero, release of Amahi Ubuntu Edition! We’re excited about this!

App Store and Subscription Plans

First, an update on the transition from our former App Gallery to the Amahi App Store.  With all the feedback we got, we expect to more formally announce the App Store and it’s details soon. In the mean time, we started testing by adding a small one-click convenience fee to some of the more popular apps that the community feels would be worthwhile, generating revenue for the project. This is so far working well and we are getting both positive feedback and feedback on how to improve/tweak things.

We also started subscription plans, which have been well received. As it happens, one of the core team members (cpg) suffered a fire at home (no major casualties), now really coming to appreciate first-hand the need for off-site secure storage of critical files. Was this a message from above?

We are happy to report that after the initial spike in support load, this transition has been  successful and we thank you all for the great support shown! We look forward to improving features on these fronts soon!

New Amahi Ready™ Partner!

We’re constantly thinking of ways to create a successful ecosystem around Amahi. Today we’re happy to announce our newest Amahi Ready™ partner! / kosa crta / (“cosa cherta”) is a Croatian-region distributor of VIA Embedded ultra compact form factor, rugged and fan-less embedded systems. kosa crta recommends and ships Amahi Ready VIA M’SERV S2100 64-bit energy-efficient, large storage capacity, compact, low-noise mini server. Check out their special promotion to Amahi Facebook users! They have even created a few install videos.

Amahi 6.1

It’s been quite a while since our last blog post announcing Amahi 6.0. While we have been delinquent on the news,  there have been many developments within Amahi in a few areas! We have released Amahi 6.1 (technically, 6.1.1). If you have Amahi 6, the update is automatic by default, so you are probably enjoying this release already. Check out the Amahi 6.1 release notes. The big ticket items are stability fixes for the platform and apps, initial support for Ubuntu/Debian platform and right-to-left languages like Arabic (thanks to Abdulrhman Al-Khamees!) and Hebrew (Ashi Carmel!). Also included are Latvian (Ivo!), Croatian (Vladimir!) and updates to Russian and Finnish. Awesome job from the community!

Did Someone say Ubuntu?!?

We are also very happy to announce the amazing Alpha Zero release of Amahi Ubuntu Edition!

It’s been no secret that the desire for an Amahi Ubuntu Edition has been strong for a long time. Commitment was critical in the face of complexity. We slowly added support for Ubuntu for a while and now have Frans (aka eFfeM), a very dedicated developer who was willing to lead on this sizable task, taking time to understand the intricacies and leading it past the goal of an Alpha Zero release for testers!

A few people are rumored to be running Amahi 6 on Ubuntu in development mode and are starting to test the platform and even apps! If you like to test and report bugs, please install it and join us in debugging and improving it!

This has been a long road, and we have still quite a long road ahead. We’re calling it Alpha Zero for a reason :-)

Please join me in saying many thanks to the development team, especially to eFfeM, cale, SolaR and cpg for their contributions (if you see them in IRC give’em a hug or buy’em a beer)!

What’s up with Apps!? And the Express CD?

Our mothers used to say that “It’s the little things that make people happy” .. and we couldn’t agree more. Conversely, some little things are big when it comes to turn people off. When an app does not install or does not work well is a great turn off. This is a huge deal for Amahi, because we disappoint people when things do not work, and that makes them speak bad about their Amahi experience. It takes detailed attention from our contributors and our testmasters to validate and bulletproof apps.

Here is what we’re doing to be more efficient at validating apps: we keep track of failures and we try to tackle the top issues. We are working on automatic app testing, which will ease the job of the team and leverage the (so far dormant) tester program. Expect to hear some news on this front soon as we believe we have a lead for the tester program. By focusing the team we believe we can package and release apps faster.

What about the Express CD? Hmmm, yes … we produced one version (Alpha 1) that was a dud. It did not work well. We have another version in the works that is rumored to run well. Many thanks for the contributions in this area to Solomon (aka slm499) and Rod Waldren!

App Updates

We now have a few apps verified and live as one-click apps, like

  • A very very nice Tiny To Do app which is a slick and interactive to-do list manager
  • The all-new VNC (a remote desktop app), which works out of the box
  • The good old Gallery 2 and the brand new Gallery 3, the granddaddy’s of photo galleries
  • A nice file manager called eXtplorer
  • A crafty terminal emulator called MindTerm
  • Rnews, a nice RSS reader, for the power news users out there
  • .. and a hometown favorite … OpenVPN ALS, a web-based VPN (for experts only!)

Cheers and enjoy!

The Amahi Team

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Become a Cloud Ninja with Amahi 6 and Amahi Sync

The Amahi team is thrilled to announce Amahi 6 today!

We are also embarking in an adventure to make Amahi more successful and reach farther! We are going to offer 2 new premium accounts, with new services and support. We will make a few apps available in the Amahi App Store for a small convenience fee. About 2/3rds of the apps will remain as is, and the others would go for something like 99c to a few dollars, shared with the community and the app authors. Today we will start with our usual Free account, plus the new Pro and Ninja accounts :)

The first service we introduce is one that the community has been requesting for a while and we call Amahi Sync. Amahi Sync is an app that syncs files in designated shares on your HDA to a personal space online, one way from your HDA. It lets you easily backup, sync and share files in a network share, without installing any software in your client computers or other devices!

We are also introducing Server Alerts: a way to receive important notifications events related to your HDA. If you have logged in to your control panel recently, you may have seen the new alerts area! More on all this below. Back to Amahi 6!

Amahi 6.0: Reliability, Reliability, Reliability!

Amahi 6.0 brings a plethora of upgrades, reliability fixes and features, and better hardware support, courtesy of Fedora 14. Here are some of the highlights in this release (see the Amahi 6.0 release notes for all the details as well as the upgrade guide from Amahi 5/Fedora 12).

Application reliability. With HDAs distributed around the world, app installation could fail due to mirrors being down or unreachable (Sourceforge suffered a noticeable outage this past month). Amahi 6 uses a mirror system to minimize these errors down to zero. We are also in the process of building an even more robust mirror system (thanks to robbiet480 and smccloud for the efforts and server donations!).

Greyhole updates galore. The storage pooling technology in Amahi, Greyhole, is now at version 0.9. Greyhole has undergone tons of improvements and fixes, in part thanks to many in the community who really stressed it to the limits and exposed new issues. It also now uses a high-performance database as a back-end in Amahi 6, providing a 10X performance improvement in handling events!

Amahi 6.0 also introduces Anonymous/Guest share access, localize share names, and easy to manage webapp aliases (for the technical in you). It also supports (to a certain extent) upgrades from Amahi 5/Fedora 12! Check out the upgrade guide. Head on over to the Amahi 6.0 release notes for all the details!

So get your install on! Use the F14 DVD install for now, as the Express CD is being updated as we speak!

Online Synchronization, Server Alerts and Premium Plans!

The Amahi Sync and Server Alerts services (see screenshot of a server alert email to the right, below) join the very popular free VPN and dynamic DNS services, already providing reliable service for a long while.

Goal. These new plans and the recent Amahi Ready program for hardware vendors have the goal to take Amahi’s  success and extend it further and wider. In other words, we want to provide faster turn-around for features, perform rock-solid testing (we have built a small army of bots for app testing!), attract more apps (including non-open source apps), stimulate our contributors and testers (and manage the tester program properly) as well as provide professional support for these and newer services.

Many in the community have been very encouraging of this effort all along. We thank you for helping propel Amahi from a personal hobby, to the leading open source home server software used across 30+ countries and in 20+ languages.  And also having the coolest collection of media server apps and webapps!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on what services you would like to have the most. A small team of contributors have been testing Amahi Sync and we are implementing even more improvements immediately. We’re offering a 20% discount for those signing up in the next 4 weeks of this roll out!

Now what is this new Amahi Sync you ask? Amahi Sync monitors files in a share called Public (with further customizations coming soon) and it instantly synchronizes online under a subdomain of amahi.me. Amahi Sync is implemented via Amazon’s AWS services. Amahi Sync is meant for easy sharing by everyone in your network: anyone can put files in without needing to install software in client computers and devices as well as simple backup.

Quick FAQ for Amahi 6.0

  • I installed the Amahi 6 beta. Do i need to reinstall? Good news! NO need to reinstall! The update is automatic a few hours after the repos are updated, your HDA will have the latest bits!
  • Is the Express CD ready? Are all the apps ready? Nope, sorry. We are going to work on the apps and the express CD next!
  • What architectures are supported? 32bit and 64bit x86 architectures (ARM is not yet supported in Amahi 6)
  • Can I upgrade from Amahi 5: yes, with caution and patience. You don’t have to, however. Your Amahi 5 server will continue running for years if you let it run!
  • I need help installing Fedora 14! Check the Full Fedora 14 install guide, which was designed for Linux novices and WHS converts into the Amahi way. Thanks slim!

Special Thanks!

Considering how Amahi 6 got over 230 installs in just the beta, it would be hard to credit everyone who participated in Amahi 6, from ideas, to documentation, to bugfixes, to testing. However, we’d like to give a collective THANK YOU to all those who have contributed in any way, since Amahi 6 looks like a very solid release!

Cheers!

The Amahi Team

[Pics by steven depolo and Mykl Roventine]

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Meet the ECOPC N.1: Amahi pre-installed, 1000 likes on Facebook!

Today, as we’re going through what we hope is the last week of testing for Amahi 6, we’re happy to announce the Amahi Ready™ program for hardware vendors and our first partnership in this program, by way of Evo Technologies, a Korean manufacturer of eco-friendly computer systems.

This is the first partnership for an off-the-shelf system with Amahi pre-installed, something that has been in big demand among Amahi users.

So if you’ve wanted to buy Amahi pre-installed, Evo Technologies is shipping the first system worldwide today. Meet the ECOPC N.1!

Green. Silent. Small.
The N.1 uses 10~11W at idle, 16W at full CPU load with 2.5″ SSD (18W with 2.5″ HDD) and less than 1W at standby. It uses about 90% less power than standard PC. It saves on electric bills and reduces the environmental impact of CO2 emissions. The N.1 can be operated with a small fan, or totally fanless, therefore you don’t need to worry about a fan failing. No fan means no noise!

Facebook Likes, UPSs, FlexRAID and WOL, Wiki improvements

What an amazing few weeks we had. Amahi’s Facebook page has been abuzz with all sorts of suggestions and discussions. Everything from an energy saving feature, flexraid, UPS integration, and Wake-on-LAN (WOL) were discussed!

The Race to 1K and redesigned Facebook page!

The race to 1,000 Likes is on! Who do you know that could use Amahi? It’s our new goal here at Amahi, WE NEED 1,000 fans! So go out tell a friend or two, whether they have our platform installed or not, to jump on Facebook and Like us! So while you’re there check out the redesigned page! We like the increased fluidity of the page and how it feels more like a personal users page!

WOL, FlexRAID and UPS Integration

Amahi is all about variety and choice. Many people do not know much about using Wake-on-LAN (WOL). WOL is implemented for devices with DHCP leases and Static IPs, under Setup > Networking. This was introduced to Amahi last year, and you can “wake” devices remotely with it. Great for the highly resourceful user!

FlexRAID is a highly scalable and smart storage system currently in beta that turns independent hard drives of various sizes, makes, and models into storage pools and storage pools into storage clouds.

Amahi Energy Saver is a project to make devices more energy-efficient. This project got an update and has a determined leader (hi jackrock!) and looks like it will be nicely integrated with Amahi! It’s in alpha, however, we hope to take it a step further to make energy savings part of the Amahi platform.

Recently we’ve also had an update on how to integrate a UPS with Amahi. Ghuiber’s efforts are documented in the Amahi Wiki under UPS setup.

Wiki Upgrades

If you followed those wiki links above you will have no doubt noticed the huge improvements in how the wiki looks and feels, with great looking templates for code, links, and easy to use notices. The speed at which the wiki changes is quite remarkable! And the amount of spam we get now in it has been curbed down big time. Take a moment to thank people improving the wiki and especially our wiki czars, smystaki and bigfoot65, for making all these great documentation improvements possible!

You told us what you think

Our goal with Amahi is to provide an easy, reliable, and expandable software platform for all of you.  We’ve asked the Facebook followers this: “What do you use Amahi for?”,  the answers probably seem familiar to most of you:

  • Media Server
  • VPN Server
  • File Server
  • App Server

Cheers!

The Amahi Team

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Security advisory: shares could be writeable when not meant to

No sooner we called this week “bug week” in our recent post … we found a somewhat serious bug in Amahi, the first in years. That is not what we meant by bug week!

The bug in question is that under certain conditions, users who should not have write permissions to a share could potentially write to it. It was fixed within minutes of being reported and the fix is available for the Amahi 6 beta. Fortunately there is an easy work-around for everyone else.

Who is Affected

If you set permissions to per-user access control to shares, you could be affected. If you did not turn off global writeability to the share before enabling per-user share control, you are affected.

Here is how it may happen: When a share has the “All users” and “Writeable” selected (which is the default) and the admin wants to manage per-users permissions and to give some users either read-only or no permissions, All users is unchecked. If Writeable is not unchecked first, users can still write to the share.

Typically one would click on All users to unclick it, to show all the users to control their permissions individually, without clicking on Writeable. Then manage the different users permissions. In this situation, the share would still be writeable to all users.

The Workaround

Fortunately, there is an easy work-around: unclick Writeable to before clicking on All users to manage their permissions individually. So, if you were affected and you had per-user permissions, you do this:

  • check All users to enable all users access
  • uncheck Writeable and then check All users again. All should be good then!

We have released and tested a fix for the Amahi 6 Beta release. You can see the details of the bug in our bug tracker.

Thanks go to Jimmy Hosio for hunting down this issue and to Bogdan (aka megabitdragon) for very quickly helping verify the fix!

Cheers!

The Amahi Team

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The Drought is Nearly Over: Amahi 6 Beta, Torrent of app updates!

Amahi 6 Beta

Recently leaked reports reveal that Amahi 6 is in Beta, with an impending release!

Today we are happy to announce the newly-renamed Amahi 6 Beta for your testing pleasure. This is Platform and Base system only, VERY FEW APPS are available at this time.  We are shooting for a mid-February full release, after the beta testing. Early users report good things about the new pre-release bits and it should only be a little bit longer till release!

Grab a Fedora 14 DVD (not the live cd!), set this url http://f14.amahi.org as a repo and you are all set to kick the tires! Please report your findings and feedback in this forum thread.

We will have a bug week starting this Saturday February 5th. Reply in the forums, or come to the IRC channel with your  favorite fixes and bugs we just *must fix* in this release:) … A link to a bug in the bug tracker is required to participate :)  … We will report what’s new in Amahi 6 in the full release announcement but you can take a peek.

DLNA, FTP, Updates, Lots of New Apps

Amahi is becoming a media server powerhouse. Three weeks ago we released an update to the Amahi DLNA server app (now at v0.92.2), which brings stability fixes and enhanced compatibility with Samsung devices like TVs and settop boxes. Our community submitted these fixes upstream and were accepted right away!

Some other media oriented apps that are in beta still are getting some much-needed attention like MediaTomb (a transcoding DLNA server), PS3 Media Server (a PS3 centric DLNA server), CouchPotato, (an NZB downloader) and Sick Beard (a PVR for newsgroups).  We also have one cloud sharing app called Tonido. Media sharing is akey aspect of Amahi!

Did someone say FTP? We had avoided FTP (a legacy, but resilient, way to transfer files within your network) for the longest time, due to the fact that it’s not secure and that FTP over SSH is supported by many clients. However, you wanted FTP, so now we have two FTP servers apps available in beta thanks to the hard efforts of sabat and Solar_: vsftp and Proftp. Contact them in IRC or the forums to help test them.  Thanks to user ksjuggalo for help in packaging vsftpd!

More apps? Check out our pipeline of new apps …  how about Monitorix to monitor your network, and your HDA? Or how about Kmotion, a nifty home surveillance app. For the hardcore in you, if you do not want to miss a beat in IRC, how about having your own IRC bouncer with ZNC? Or a nifty app to check on the real-time health stats of your system, Linfo.

Migration

Kudos to the Community

Kudos to the community at this time where we had a large influx of new users from Windows Home Server. The team has trouble keeping up (and keeping you up-to-date!)  with everything going on in AmahiLand! We are recruiting to add to our awesome team a passionate community manager with great knack for communication to help us bring news in a concise and fun way to you faster. Interested? Get in touch with the team! (team at this domain …)

We recently have experienced more than triple the usual activity, related to Vail Fail. Lots of great feedback and some well deserved criticism on how to improve Amahi (we hear ya!). If you have spent any time in the Amahi IRC Channel, no doubt you’ve seen a lot of statements like “I’m new to Amahi and Linux, how do I…?” or, “I want to migrate my data from WHS Drive Extender to Amahi and Greyhole.”  These questions, as well as, features, apps, and support requests have generated a flurry of development and community activity. To support this we count with an outstanding community sharing their expertise in the IRC channel, in the wiki, and in the forums. Help is always readily available. So fear not, we few, we band of intrepid explorers in the wonders of the home server are here to aid the newly converted! Welcome fearless brethren, welcome! Special thanks to those new users who hang out in #amahi to help other new users with their expertise, this is very useful!

Amahi Edge!

We had bigger plans for what we used to call Amahi 6. Today we are renaming Amahi 6 to Amahi Edge. In addition of networking improvements and fixes that we have not merged in yet, Amahi Edge is the release with the elusive new dashboard, with more performance and efficiency, a new disk wizard, widgets, gadgets, and other whizzbang tech based on Ruby on Rails 3.0.

Cheers!

The Amahi Team.

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