The following post was authored by Thib Guicherd-Callin, LOCKSS Technical Manager.
The LOCKSS Program is pleased to announce that LOCKSS 2.0-alpha, the first prototype of its next-generation distributed digital preservation software suite, is now available for testing.
First things first: this is not LOCKSS 2.0, nor LOCKSS 2.0-beta. LOCKSS 2.0-alpha is a pre-production release demonstrating most but not all LOCKSS functionality, and is intended to generate feedback and bug reports as we continue making progress toward the final LOCKSS 2.0 release. In other words, the LOCKSS 2.0-alpha release is an invitation to preview the upcoming LOCKSS 2.0 system and contribute to its success.
So what is LOCKSS 2.0, the result of the two-year LAAWS re-architecture initiative, all about?
The principal outcome of this effort is to create a powerful LOCKSS-based platform that can be used to plug into existing digital preservation workflows, integrate with external systems, and build new content services. To achieve this goal, the LOCKSS software has to be turned inside out, into a suite of specialized components with RESTful APIs that can be combined together and assembled with other software services, in ways not previously possible with a monolithic software stack. This work was funded in large part by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
While this structural reorganization of the internal componentry may be thought of as being "behind the scenes" compared to the LOCKSS functionality you may be used to, this is not to say that the re-architecture initiative does not come with new features and added benefits for all.
First, the new LOCKSS components will be distributed as Docker containers, which means that they will be able to run on a variety of Linux operating systems out of the box, rather than the current "CentOS preferred" landscape. This expansion in the range of operating systems readily suitable to run the LOCKSS software will be welcome news to many IT organizations, who will become free to deploy the LOCKSS system on bare-metal or virtual machines with the Linux flavor of their choice. The LOCKSS 2.0-alpha release, for instance, comes with turn-key instructions for Arch Linux, CentOS 7, Debian 9, Fedora 28 or better, Oracle Linux 7, and Ubuntu 16.04 or better. In turn, this expanded range will increase the software diversity in the LOCKSS community, which is healthier for digital preservation.
For those using the LOCKSS system to preserve Web content, the LOCKSS 2.0 system will add new Web replay engines to the existing LOCKSS ServeContent component: Pywb (the state-of-the-art Web replay engine behind Webrecorder) and OpenWayback. Pywb is already fully integrated with the LOCKSS 2.0-alpha release, with OpenWayback following suit very soon.
We will have more to say over the next few months and we are excited to share this first milestone with the LOCKSS community. For now, we invite you to install and test LOCKSS 2.0-alpha and provide us with feedback.