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This is an old revision of the document!

NOTE: This page is a google translation of an old wikipedia page. It is old, outdated, and missing lots of information. Eventually, it should be a general “about” page for BlueOnyx, showing the history of how we got to the community we are all part of today. Please feel free to update/contribute to this page.

The original non-english source for this page is located at


BlueOnyx is an open source User Interface for virtual Webservers. BlueOnyx is built on top of the free CentOS or ScientificLinux operating system, which is binary compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

BlueOnyx allows a Linux novice to install, administer, and manage a Linux-based Web server. The administrator will use a browser to use configure the server, virtual websites, users, DNS, FTP, and email accounts. The user interface is available in English, German, Danish and Japanese.


Cobalt Networks, Inc.

Cobalt Networks Inc. launched in 1996 as a garage company with three employees (Mark Orr, Mark Wu, and Vivek Mehra). The objective was to develop an Internet server, the pre-configured and ready to plug in - could be put into operation in a few minutes - even by laymen. In March 1998, these efforts bore fruit with the launch of the Cobalt Qube 1)

This cube-shaped server was initially designed as a workgroup computer for small and medium-sized enterprises, because it offered both Web and Intranet services. In addition to Web, email, FTP, the Qube also supported the protocols SMB and AppleTalk to act as a domain controller in local networks.

After the Qube, a similar Server in 19“ construction and especially for Internet Service Providers was developed. This product was called RaQ. The raq had the groupware functionality removed. There was an opportunity to operate up to 250 domains per server.

There were multiple releases of both Qube and RaQ over the years. The latest version of Qube was the Qube 3 The latest version of the RaQ was the RaQ550.

Sun Cobalt

After Sun purchased Cobalt Networks Inc. for two billion dollars 2), development of the former cobalt Networks server products almost came to a complete standstill.

Despite statistics 3) that indicate over 3 million hostnames were hosted on cobalt servers in August 2002, Sun announced end of sale of cobalt RAQ and Qube in 2003 4)

Open Source

In July 2003, 5) Sun released the source code of the Qube 3 as open source and under a modified BSD license.

Project BlueQuartz

Immediately after the publication of the source code under the BSD License, we saw the launch of Project Blue Quartz. The objective was to provide both for the very popular in Japan Qube 3, and for the RaQ550 alternatives on the basis of the now free source code.

BlueQuartz initially used Fedora. In early 2004, the project changed to CentOS. During the early days, BlueQuartz had to deal with some problems, as the underlying architecture was sometimes quite poorly documented 6) had been, or detailed documentation later by former employees of Sun could be provided. TRANSLATION - CHECK ME

In addition, some commercial developers also used the combined source code of Sun and Blue Quartz, creating a competitive battle for users.

Added to this was the somewhat cumbersome procedure for installing Blue Quartz in its early phase. To do this, first had to install and customize the operating system. Then you launched an installer, the reconfigured the operating system, and conformed the components of the browser-based user interface installed.

In early 2005 Brian N. Smith of NuOnce Networks published a free Boot CD, providing both the configured operating system and BlueQuartz installed. Only then became BlueQuartz an increasingly growing acceptance and came first for all those in question, which had to replace a RaQ550 by more modern server hardware.

Commercial interaction during the development of BlueQuartz

In mid-2005 began the project of Project Blue Quartz (Hisao Shibuya) as the lead developer at Turbolinux, Inc. - a Japanese Linux distributor. There they developed on the basis of the published source code for the Sun RaQ550 and from the sources of the Blue Quartz Turbolinux Appliance Server 2.0, also called TLAS. TLAS 2.0 was released in March 2006 7)

Just as BlueQuartz had accelerated the development of TLAS, also an information flow in the reverse direction took place. Improvements to the commercial TLAS also found in the source code of Blue Quartz collection. This eventually drew a conflict of interest from, because the available free BlueQuartz was also fully developed and offered a similar functionality as the about 950 U.S. dollar TLAS 2.0 8)

Dissemination of BlueQuartz

First BlueQuartz has occurred mostly among former operators of RaQ550 servers spread - especially when it came to replace outdated Sun Cobalt hardware with new ones. However, over the time also met new users to that had been used no RaQ550 server. According to statistics ← evaluation of server log files of the central YUM repositories of April 2008 -.> (04/2008) of Project Blue Quartz run more than 135,000 Web servers worldwide with Blue Quartz (the numbers were counting Update operations collected and that may be representative).

The developers

The original Blue Quartz developers <ref> BlueQuartz: [ The Team] </ ref> Hisao Shibuya, Yutaka Yasuda and Makoto Oda end of 2006 joined Brian N. Smith of NuOnce Networks, Inc. and Michael Stauber from solar speed Ltd.. which will both offered since 2000 add-on software and services for Sun Cobalt server and its successor systems. The team by Taco Scargo, a former Sun Cobalt employees was further strengthened.

Further development

Although CentOS 5 was published in April 2007, found the part of the project management team BlueQuartz no serious efforts instead 9), BlueQuartz CentOS CentOS 4 according to port 5. Separate single developer advances in this direction found no support and little support 10)

Then split 11) the development team of Blue Quartz and under new line was an offshoot of the code - developed on CentOS 5 Base - under the name BlueOnyx includes many new features and was released on 31 December 2008 12)

While Hisao Shibuya, Yutaka Yasuda and Makoto Oda continue BlueQuartz maintain BlueQuartz by the departure has important developer and by competition with the successor BlueOnyx an increasingly heavier stand 13)

Basic Architecture


Developed by Cobalt Networks Inc. architecture called Sausalito. Essentially, Sausalito is modular and functions can be retrofitted via modules (eg third party) 14) 15)

Sausalito consists of the following components:

The user interface (UI)

The administration interface of Blue Quartz is programmed in PHP. Via so-called Skins or Themes Improve the look of the admin interface to customize. The UI runs on a customized Apache web server that is bound to a specific port (Port 81 - HTTP / Port 444 - HTTPS). This web server is running as an unprivileged user 'apache'. However, it allows authenticated users and privileged, certain narrowly defined functions on the underlying operating system with superuser (root) to run.

If an authenticated user - provided it has the appropriate rights - a change to the system before (for example, creates a new virtual website on), so Sausalito writes an entry in an internal database. This database is called CODB - or Cobalt Object Database.

CODB: Cobalt Object Database

The Cobalt Object Database is an object-oriented database for storing parameters, settings and data of the web server. Stored in the database objects belong to classes, within which one can define namespaces and content of XML schemas free. Can also be configured directly via XML schemas, what type of content in a particular namespace may be written within the class, and which group of users has write access to this class. A namespace for the type 'email address' has been defined may, for example, receive only content that matches a valid e-mail address. CODB takes the content storage for an examination of the data transmitted. So on the one hand checked whether the user is authorized for write access, and on the other hand, if the data to be saved corresponds to the expected type.

CCE: Cobalt Configuration Engine

CCE (Cobalt Configuration Engine) is the interface between the admin interface and CODB (Cobalt Object Database). It handles the authentication of users and compares them with the mechanisms for user management of the operating system. Also managed CCE database requests from the UI to read and write.

CCE consists of a demon, which constantly runs in the background, as well as a Client, which can be used as needed from the command line to perform administrative functions.

Configuration files

About configuration files to CCE can be configured so that it performs certain operations with superuser privileges when certain database fields created, changed or deleted. To perform such privileged operations, CCE starts by checking the authorization of the user a handler that performs this operation.


A handler is in Perl or programmed PHP script that can perform certain narrowly defined tasks on the file system of the server with superuser privileges. These scripts can be triggered for safety reasons only by CCE itself. Handlers are used, for example, to create a user or virtual websites, or adjust configuration files of the server.


Much like a handler Constructor is a programmed in Perl or PHP script, which performs certain tasks on the file system with superuser privileges. However, a constructor usually runs only once when starting the server, or at the start of the CCE daemon. Constructors are used for example to read and save these in the Cobalt Object Database information about the operating system and its configuration.

PHP and i18n

Since the communication between UI and CCE on a custom i18n module version of PHP is done, PHP is one of the few components on a Blue Quartz, that can only be conditionally update or replace them with newer versions. Otherwise, the communication between UI and CCE is interrupted under certain circumstances. If you want to still PHP version update a few jumps, a more recent installation of PHP in a separate directory is recommended.

Operating system

Generally, the source of Blue Quartz can easily be adapted so that it can run on any Linux or Unix derivative. For this purpose, only minor adjustments to the source code necessary to compile the source code as well as for the new platform. Since all the advanced features of the Blue Quartz surface are modular, you can not leave for managing virtual websites for example on their own based on BlueQuartz Projects Modules such as the mailing list management, user management or the module. This gives you a carefully planned and well framework for its own administration interface.


PKGs are special packages that allow - regardless of the update mechanism of the operating system - equip BlueQuartz with additional software. PKGs consist of files that have been packed with tar and gzip. Within a PKGs are RPMs, a list of files to be installed, as well as scripts that run when installing or uninstalling the PKGs.

After the release of the source code of the Qube 3 and the RaQ550 efforts were made from different companies and groups to build a similar solution based on this code. Not all were successful.


  • BlueOnyx development of BlueQuartz
  • Aventurine {e} Linux virtualization solution based on BlueQuartz.
  • Strongbolt Linux BlueQuartz + CentOS distribution for installation on original Sun Cobalt hardware.
  • Turbolinux Appliance Server 2.0 RaQ on Turbo Linux.
  • Netshaker BlueRack / Yasukawa Info. Systems, Inc. in Japanese, based on the RaQ550 code.
  • ClassCat Cute Server Appliance / ClassCat, Inc. Japanese, based on the RaQ550 code.
  • NetBSD on Cobalt servers, English, completely independent of the Linux project.


  • Renamed argon TLAS 2.0 pre-installed on Hardware.
  • Efinity F-560 RaQ to the FreeBSD base.
  • RaQDevil RaQ to the FreeBSD base.
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