TurnKey Linux Virtual Appliance Library
|Source model||Open source|
|Kernel type||Monolithic (Linux)|
|License||Free software licenses|
The Turnkey Linux Virtual Appliance Library is a free open source project which has developed a range of Debian based pre-packaged server software appliances (aka virtual appliances). Turnkey appliances can be deployed as a virtual machine (a range of hypervisors are supported), in cloud computing infrastructures (including AWS and others) or installed in physical computers.
The project currently maintains over 100 virtual appliances, all freely licensed and each a ready-to-use solution optimized for ease of use, with daily automatic security updates and full backup capabilities built in. Each appliance is designed to "just work" with little configuration required.
They are packaged in several formats, optimized for several different virtualization platforms, in addition to two separate builds for installing onto physical media (to non-virtualized hard disk or USB from a hybrid ISO) or onto the Amazon EC2 cloud. 
- Virtual appliance: a ready-to-run Virtual Machine Appliance build types include:
- VMDK - "VM" in Turnkey Linux download mirrors - "default" for VirtualBox. Also includes VMware tools, and runs on KVM/QEMU
- OVF - as above, although especially for higher end VMware products such as ESX and vSphere
- Installable Live CD/USB: a hybrid ISO image which can be burned to either CD or USB and used to install on both bare metal (I.e., a non-virtualized physical machine) and virtual machines, including VMware, Xen, VirtualBox, and KVM. This image can also run live in non-persistent demo mode.
- Amazon Machine Image: provisioned on-demand via the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud.
Founded by engineers of an Israeli startup, the project was conceived in mid-2008 as a community-oriented open source project that would focus on helping users piece together turnkey solutions from open source components in the largest Linux distributions. According to one of TurnKey Linux's co-founders, the project was in part inspired by a desire to provide open source alternatives to proprietary virtual appliance vendors that would be aligned with user interests and could engage the community.
The project launched in September 2008 with three prototype appliances for Drupal, Joomla and LAMP, based on the Ubuntu 8.04.1 build. In the following months usability was improved and a dozen additional appliances were released including Ruby on Rails, MediaWiki and Django.
In October 2009, the project released 40 appliances based on Ubuntu 8.04.3 including 25 new additions to the virtual appliance library. The release included support for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, and a new Virtual Machine image format with OVF support.
Turnkey Linux was nominated for the SourceForge February 2012 Project of the Month
In August 2012, version 12.0 was released with the library increased to include over 100 appliances. This release also marked a move away from Ubuntu as the underlying Operating System to Debian 6.0 (aka Squeeze). This move was cited as being for various reasons, particularly security.
Early June 2013 saw a significant change of tack with the version 12.1 update release; built with the new "TKLDev" open build infrastructure. This release also included the first X86-64 builds. Later that same month, the Turnkey Linux custom application code was moved to GitHub which also included a tracker for appliances bug reports. As promised, in mid July Turnkey Linux released their image building appliance (TKLDev) as well as an additional separate GitHub account to house all the appliance specific code (used by TKLDev to build the appliances).
TurnKey's virtual appliances start life as a "stripped down" Debian bootstrap (versions previous to v12.0 based on Ubuntu.) To this is added the TurnKey Core, which includes all the common features for the project's virtual appliances, including:
- di-live: a live installer, derived from debian-installer.
- A configuration console: developed in Python for the project to allow users to perform basic configuration tasks (for example, networking configuration, reboots)
- An automatic mechanism that installs security patches on a daily basis.
- Web administration interface based on Webmin which includes a selection of generic add-on control and configuration modules.
- Web browser based shell
- TKLBAM (TurnKey Linux Backup And Migration) - a custom TKL backup/migration application/service that uses Duplicity as a backend. By default TKLBAM uses Amazon S3 for storage, but can also be configured to use any other storage medium supported by Duplicity. As of version 1.4 TKLBAM is available for non-TKL Linux OS.
The TurnKey Core has a footprint of approximately 110 MB, and is available as a separate download. Application software is installed on top of the Core, which typically increases the size of a virtual appliance up to approximately 160 MB. By downloading and installing the appliance package to the hard drive, it is intended by the developers that administrators would gain an easy method of setting up a dedicated server.
New software appliances, or customised appliances can be developed by forking the appropriate appliance build code on GitHub and then built using TKLDev. Additionally appliances can also be customized and extended using TKLPatch, a simple appliance modification mechanism.
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- "Introducing TKLDev - Turnkey's appliance development and build system in a box". Alon Swartz. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- "TurnKey 13 out, TKLBAM 1.4 now backup/restores any Linux system". Liraz Siri. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 8 July 20, 2014. Check date values in:
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- TKLBAM - Smart automated backup and restore
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- Turnkey Linux Appliance Build code repository
- TKLDev - Appliance Build Engine
- TKLPatch - a simple appliance customization mechanism
- Proffitt, Brian (February 15, 2010). "Virtual Appliances Offer Fast Sandboxes, Production Environments". ITWorld. Retrieved 24 February 2010.