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· One min read
Kjeld Schouten-Lebbing

We're started the process of moving some more of the core parts of TrueCharts to our Enterprise train. These Apps are important for most of our users and should get the priority treatment the Enterprise Train is known for. This also means users would be required to reinstall these Apps and they will not be available in the stable train anymore. We're sorry for the added inconvenience, but we're quite certain that this choice is going to serve our users best in the long term.

Our plans for the Enterprise train are still going strong:

When we deem TrueNAS SCALE Apps "ready for production use", the Enterprise train will come with Paid support and much additional documentation for each of its Apps. Until that time, it will still be "just another train" and will contain Apps that are very important to the TrueCharts project as a whole.

· 2 min read
Kjeld Schouten-Lebbing

Happy 2023 everyone! We hope you had a great holiday season and are ready for a productive and successful 2023. As we start the new year, we wanted to announce that we have dropped support for TrueNAS SCALE 22.02 "Anglefish" completely and will only support TrueNAS SCALE 22.12 "BlueFin" moving forward.

Looking back at the past year, we are thrilled to see the tremendous growth of the TrueCharts project. In 2022, our Discord community grew from barely 1000 members to over 5200, and our project donations increased from just 50 euros a month to more than 250 euros a month. We also saw a significant increase in Github stars and the number of apps we offer.

As we look ahead to 2023, we have big plans for the TrueCharts project. Our goal is to reach 10,000 Discord members and offer 1000 apps by the end of the year. We also hope to increase our project donations to 500 euros per month and use these funds more proactively by offering bounties for much-wanted work on the project. Additionally, we will be putting more time and effort into (video) documentation and have almost completed a full refactor of our Common Chart.

Overall, we are excited for the opportunities and potential that 2023 holds for the TrueCharts project. Thank you for your continued support and we can't wait to see what the new year brings.

· 2 min read
Kjeld Schouten-Lebbing

We are excited to announce that we have completely reworked our "TrueTool" tool to improve its functionality and reliability.

For those unfamiliar with TrueTool, it is a tool that helps users with bulk-updating of Apps and provides easy access to "hidden" features of TrueNAS SCALE, such as enabling "apt" and "helm" commands.

With the latest update, TrueTool now contains multiple hotpatches that fix migration and backup issues on TrueNAS SCALE 22.12 "bluefin". It also includes improvements for slower systems with lots of Apps, as well as the removal of colors that were not looking nice in email output.

Many of these changes were made possible thanks to the HeavyScript project, which was started by former staff member "HeavyBullets" in 2022. The HeavyScript project has made numerous improvements to the original (then python-based) TrueTool code, and we have made sure to port as many of these changes back to TrueTool to ensure that all of our users can benefit from them.

Thanks to all these changes, TrueTool is now more reliable than ever and will continue to provide solid updates and backups for our users. We hope that you will find TrueTool to be an invaluable tool for managing your TrueNAS SCALE system as well.

· 2 min read
Kjeld Schouten-Lebbing

Hello TrueCharts community!

We wanted to share some updates with you regarding some changes we're making to how we communicate and present information on our website.

First and foremost, we have decided to move away from using short tweets for announcements and instead focus on more "complete" longer news posts on our website. We understand that tweets can be easy to miss and often do not provide enough context or information. By posting longer news updates on our website, we hope to provide a more comprehensive and clear understanding of what's going on with the TrueCharts project.

In addition to this, we have listened to your feedback and have decided to disable interstitial advertisements on our website. We understand that these can be disruptive and we want to prioritize a positive user experience for our community.

Finally, we wanted to let you know that we are hard at work on improving the documentation for our App on the website. This includes creating new index pages and bringing back security-scan pages to provide more in-depth information and resources for our users.

We hope these changes will improve the overall experience for our community and we appreciate your support and feedback. Thank you for being a part of the TrueCharts project!

· 2 min read
Kjeld Schouten-Lebbing

We are excited to finally be able to work with TrueNAS SCALE version 22.12 "BlueFin," however this version includes a new feature called "hostPath validation." This feature is designed to ensure the stability and security of TrueNAS SCALE systems by preventing the use of any datasets for apps where that dataset is also used for shares.

This safetycheck makes sure apps and sharing services (SMB, NFS, etc) do not use the same data. This is done to avoid permissions issues, as there are a lot of apps that change permissions without giving the user a warning, or just plain do not work with ACL's.

While this feature is an important security measure, it can also be a source of frustration for some users who may be using datasets for both apps and shares. If you are encountering issues with "hostPath validation", such as Apps being "stuck on deploying" after update, there are three potential solutions you can consider:

  1. Disable "hostPath validation." If you disable "hostPath validation," TrueCharts will not provide support on things that involve storage. If you disable "hostPath validation" and have an issue with the app, your configuration screenshots must not have any hostPath storage defined.
  1. Keeping "hostPath validation" enabled and disable shares on any datasets that are also used with apps. TrueCharts will continue to provide support for things that involve storage.
  1. Keeping "hostPath validation" enabled and keep shares enabled on any datasets that are also used with apps. Instead of hostPath, you can mount the dataset using the NFS option available on all TrueCharts apps.

The Option to disable "hostPath validation" can be found in Apps -> Settings -> Advanced Settings -> Enable Host Path Safety Checks

We hope these suggestions are helpful in resolving any issues you may be experiencing with "hostPath validation" on TrueNAS SCALE version 22.12 "BlueFin".

· 2 min read
Kjeld Schouten-Lebbing

We are excited to announce that we have recently made significant improvements to our continuous integration (CI) process, reducing the time it takes to process all of our apps from 12 hours to less than 20 minutes. This has been a major focus for us, as we understand the importance of fast feedback and iteration for our developers and users.

One of the key challenges we faced in improving the speed of our CI process was the use of Helm dependency update and Chart Releaser. These tools where essential for managing and releasing our chart packages, but they have no caching and can sometimes break the release pipeline when pushing back into the repository. To address these issue, we developed custom tooling replacing these generalised tools.

Our custom logic works by first checking the repository for any existing chart packages that have been updated since the last release. If any updates are found, we use a combination of caching and selective release processes to ensure that only the necessary chart packages are released and their dependencies updated, rather than releasing all packages every time. The caching and increased efficiency of the new tooling, helps to reduce the overall time required for the CI process and ensures that our release pipeline remains fast-and-stable.

We are confident that these improvements will significantly benefit our developers and users, and we look forward to continuing to optimize and streamline our CI process in the future.

· 2 min read
Kjeld Schouten-Lebbing

From the early stages of TrueNAS SCALE development, we’ve read many complaints about the fact docker-compose wasn’t supported by TrueNAS SCALE. It’s understandable, as it’s one of the most used docker deployment options for home users.

The TrueNAS SCALE community has figured out interesting ways to enable Docker-Compose. But this approaches all have a number of downsides:

  • It's not future proof, it can be nuked permanently and without warning, with any TrueNAS SCALE update.

  • It inherently breaks SCALE Applications and often even requires those to be disabled.

  • There is no support for this work-around.

To solve this problem, we’ve decided to take matters into our own hands. We are glad to finally announce our solution:

Docker-Compose Application for TrueNAS SCALE by TrueCharts

It’s designed from the ground up, to give users nearly the same experience as running Docker-Compose on the host system, and even contains some nice tweaks:

  • It’s fully backed by TrueNAS SCALE Applications, so it will survive updates.

  • There is a GUI option to input your Docker-Compose file, that will survive reboots.

  • Completely self-contained, and will not modify the default docker stack.

  • Fully compatible to run alongside other TrueNAS SCALE Applications, so you can easily migrate your Docker-Compose applications to TrueNAS SCALE Applications.

  • We are your support if the application does not work as advertised.

All with just one caveat:

  • The Docker-Compose command has to be executed from inside the container shell.

We based our solution on the official Docker-in-Docker container by Docker, with some added tooling to optimize it for single-container deployments. Perhaps most interestingly, the container has native access to /mnt, /root and /cluster, so you can work with your containers like you’re working on the host.

With this in place we hope that TrueNAS SCALE can finally start to fill the big shoes of solutions like Unraid and TrueNAS Core and give the community what they want, not just what they need!

· 2 min read
Kjeld Schouten-Lebbing

The last year we’ve grown at an ever-increasing pace, doubling code and users every few months. Some issues could be fixed quickly and easily, while other issues were vastly more complex. One of those issues happened to be the convoluted mess of different container sources.

These container sources all had different tag formats, rate limits, downtimes, and one even decided to start deleting tags, leading to applications breaking. This, obviously, was not the experience we wanted our users to have.

Therefore, we’ve spent the better part of December setting up our own container distribution system. The TrueCharts Container Repository, or TCCR in short. TCCR is a combination of containers we’ve fully built ourselves and containers we mirror, screen and re-tag into a standardized format. Doing this also allowed us to ensure all containers are available from multiple sources: GHCR, Quay and Dockerhub.

To achieve this, we’ve partnered with scarf.sh, which allows us to easily switch between container sources for our repository, while also giving us something new: metrics. We can finally see which containers are popular and which are not, but we can also see if there are people still using older versions of applications. This allows us to improve our decision-making process: which apps to work on and which older versions to keep supporting.

All of you have (under the hood), already been running TCCR and we’ve only had a handful of issues related to it. We’re happy to have created something that again, highlights us as the number 1 source for TrueNAS SCALE Applications.

· 3 min read
Kjeld Schouten-Lebbing

Enterprise storage does not need to be rigid and difficult. TrueNAS SCALE is scale-out storage and hyperconverged infrastructure that is also flexible. Key to that flexibility is the inclusion of Kubernetes for deploying containerized (e.g. docker) applications. Kubernetes allows single containers or pods of containers to be easily deployed on a unified infrastructure. A growing assortment of these applications are now preconfigured for easy deployment using a TrueNAS-enhanced implementation of Helm Charts.

Users and third parties can now build catalogs of application charts for deployment with the ease of an app store experience. These catalogs are like app stores for TrueNAS SCALE. iXsystems has been collaborating and sponsoring the team developing TrueCharts, the first and most comprehensive of these app stores. Best of all, the TrueCharts Apps are free and Open Source. TrueCharts offers a diverse set of easily-deployed applications for TrueNAS users, with more than 180 available apps to choose from. We’ve invited the TrueCharts team to write a guest blog to share the details.

TrueCharts

With streamlined Kubernetes support for its ”apps”, TrueNAS SCALE has made the big step of bringing Kubernetes to the masses while staying true to its Open Source philosophy by empowering the community to build their own apps and catalogs. This ability for users to pick their own favorite catalogs for apps has already proven to be popular. Meet TrueCharts, the first community apps catalog!

TrueCharts was built by the founders of a group who developed installation scripts for TrueNAS CORE, called “Jailman”. TrueCharts offers more than what Jailman was capable of: a flexible, user-friendly installer with a freedom of choice that users need and deserve!

Working as a completely independent project, the TrueCharts community has since invested an entire year carefully crafting tools that provide many of the awesome features that Kubernetes has to offer to the TrueNAS SCALE apps ecosystem. For example, all apps can be simply enabled with Traefik reverse proxy and Wireguard VPN capabilities. In addition to the official apps like Plex, Nextcloud, and Minio, TrueCharts adds a huge variety of apps including Vaultwarden, Handbrake, OpenLDAP, Photoprism, Pihole, Syncthing, and more.

TrueCharts was designed with one primary goal in mind: to serve as a solid framework for users who are new to Kubernetes while also exposing as many Kubernetes features as possible for experienced users. Where the official apps by iXsystems focus on easy deployment, TrueCharts focuses on those applications that need a bit more flexibility to customize the app for specific use cases and system environments. TrueCharts is managed from within the TrueNAS SCALE UI. Simply add the catalog and follow the Quick Start guides!

As the release of TrueNAS SCALE 22.02 “AngelFish” is getting closer and closer, the TrueCharts Team and iXsystems are already hard at work looking into a future of apps with high availability, dynamic scaling, and distributed storage. Want to know more about TrueCharts? Visit TrueCharts.org or come visit our great community: TrueCharts on Discord!

TrueCharts and TrueNAS = Endless Possibilities