Chameleon Changelog for March 2021

Dear Chameleon users,

We held back the changelog a day just so that you wouldn't think we were foolin' you with all of these updates we squeezed out in March! The theme here is "making things simpler" for you. Complexity is never really removed, just shifted, and that's one of the main goals of Chameleon at the end of the day: shifting complexity away from you so that you can spend more brain cycles on your own codes and ideas.

Get started with CHI-in-a-Box via the QuickStart Jupyter notebook. We continued to improve the documentation and user experience of CHI-in-a-Box, the packaging of Chameleon you can deploy at your own host institution. We now provide a QuickStart notebook, which guides you through the process of installing CHI-in-a-Box on a leased bare metal node on Chameleon. It's Chameleon on Chameleon! The appliance is in the form of an Jupyter Notebook tutorial, which walks you through the process of reserving the required resources and then configuring CHI-in-a-Box. At the end you'll have your own little Chameleon cloud! (A cloud of one node, which I suppose is technically the smallest cloud possible.)

Announcing Bring Your Own Device, in preview. We're happy to announce an early preview of a powerful new service that is included in CHI-in-a-Box. It allows you to enroll your own hardware into a Chameleon site and then manage your inventory and its availability (e.g., to support part-time availability of hardware) in one place. Check out the CHI-in-a-Box wiki for more information about how to enroll and update hardware via this preview service!

Simpler CLI usage from within your instances. Using the Chameleon CLI from within a node was always a bit tricky to set up, but got trickier when Chameleon supported federated authentication. We've now made the CLI automatically authenticate using the project the instance was launched under. This should make the CLI "just work"--no more wrangling RC files or fiddling with authentication parameters!

Add users to projects via email, finally. It's about time, right? Before, PIs had to add users to a Chameleon project by inputting the target user's username. It's now possible to additionally add users by inputting the email address tied to the user's account (this is visible from the user profile page.) Hope that makes things simpler for you PIs!

Jupyter upgraded to JupyterLab 3.0 release. We took some time to upgrade Chameleon's Jupyter interface this month and deployed the latest version of JupyterLab for all users. JupyterLab 3.0 adds several usability improvements, notably a built-in table of contents view and a streamlined Simple Interface, which make it easier to read and refer to larger Notebook documents, in particular if they are being shared via Trovi to other users. Please refer to the official release announcement if you're curious to find out more.

Finally, a quick note that we're deprecating the Ubuntu 16 appliance. Ubuntu 16 is leaving LTS at the end of this month and we already provide Ubuntu 18 and 20 appliances; please switch to those if you haven't already!

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