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Support for DICE services on computing platforms

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All DICE services should, wherever practicable, be "supported" for access from the "current" version(s) of the following client platforms :-

  • the DICE Linux platform(s)
  • the base Linux distributions underpinning the above DICE Linux platforms
  • Ubuntu
  • the University's managed Windows platform
  • Windows
  • MacOS

It should be recognised that other client platforms are in use in the School, so services should, wherever practicable, be based on open standards and be developed to be platform agnostic.

Services developed for specific teaching course or research project needs may be exempt from this policy.

Some services will require middleware software to be installed on clients; eg Kerberos for Windows. Such software should usually only be mandated if it enhances the functionality of the client platform, rather than simply duplicating existing client functionality. Development meeting approval, as part of the normal project development process, will normally be required for mandating such software.

Definition of "supported" :-

  • The service should be developed to work against the client platform
  • Consideration should be given to supporting the native software of the client platform (eg Safari for MacOS access to web based services).
  • Updates to the service should be tested against the client platform
  • User documentation should be available for configuring the client platform to use the service
  • Any required client side software should be made available (and regularly updated)
  • In some cases it might not be practicable, or even possible, to configure a service to work as seamlessly on certain platforms as it does under the DICE platform. In these cases, compromise would be to produce and document an acceptable workaround.

Definition of "current version" :-

  • A table listing currently supported versions of each client platform will be regularly updated to reflect the needs of of the user base.
  • although development and testing will be against specific current versions, issues reported with other versions will be investigated.

This policy should be applied retrospectively, over a period of time (to be defined), to existing services. For those services which do not work "as is" for a client platform, it will usually be acceptable to develop and document workarounds pending the next reimplementation of the service; CEG will decide on a case by case basis based on likely user impact.

Good Working Practices :-

  • services should be based on open standards
  • for each service, maintain a table indicating which client platforms/versions have been tested and any known issues with specific client platforms/versions.
  • consideration should be given to packaging any required client software (eg middleware) using a native software packager, rather than simply providing tarballs with instructions.
  • services should be tested against new versions of supported platforms in order to flag any potential issues

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Supported client platform versions (as of March 2021)

  • DICE Scientific Linux 7
  • Redhat Linux 7 or 8 (and derivatives)
  • Ubuntu latest LTS and interim releases - currently 20.04 LTS, 20.10
  • Current University MDP (Windows 10)
  • Windows 10 and Windows 11
  • MacOS 10.15 Catalina and MacOS 11 Big Sur
  • Where appropriate - Apple iOS 12 and 14. (iOS 13 is no longer supported by Apple)
  • Where appropriate - Android Pie (9) and Android 10 (Android 11 isn't, yet, sufficiently available for us to test)
Last reviewed: 
11/03/2021

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