openBalena Getting Started Windows Balena CLI

So going through the openBalena Getting Started, I’m curious why it mentioned the windows version of the Balena CLI at all. Am I crazy or does it seem to be pretty useless?

It can’t run the os configure, you have to download Ubuntu and run WSL to do that

When I tried to run balena deploy command to push the code to the application, I get “Docker seems to be unavailable. Is it installed and running?” So I assume I can’t run that without running a docker? Which isn’t mentioned anywhere in the getting started. Then the Docker for windows needs a pro windows license and the stupid computer I’m using has home *yuck I know

It just seems like this getting started document is one trainwreck after another if you are using a Windows computer, or did I just miss something?

Hi Cody, no unfortunately you aren’t going crazy. The windows CLI support is something we have been working hard on, but its not nearly at the level of the macOS or Linux versions largely due to not having as standard tools for commandline work across windows installs. The issue with os configure is that the windows OS is not able to read many of the linux file systems (ext3 and ext4) so the easiest way around that is to encourage use of WSL unforutnately.

Similarly balena deploy builds the docker images locally (rather than on the balenaCloud build servers) , so it needs a docker socket, the easiest way is to have that is to install docker on your laptop, but you could also have a server in your local network that would allow the CLI to build on it. In any case we should be more preemptive and mention that users need to have docker installed, especially in the openbalena context, since currently the CLI documentation assumes someone is using balenaCloud which assumes one will be pushing releases using balena push and only graduate to using balena deploy if they are power users needing to keep their builds on their own jenkins or build servers and aren’t comfortable with using our build servers.

Thanks for validating my craziness! Just working through the openBalena getting started it talks about the windows CLI, which seems a little pointless since you can’t complete the setup using the windows CLI.

I’m far from a power user, but I’ve been a balenaCloud user for a while. With time at home and who knows whats coming from project budget cuts I figured I’d try to learn some of the magic for the open source projects just in case I need to use it later on.

Thanks for the feedback, we really appreciate it! We have created some issues to track cleaning up this flow if you are interested in subscribing: https://github.com/balena-io/balena-cli/issues/1812 & https://github.com/balena-io/open-balena/issues/78. We’ll be sure to update you once those issues are closed as well.

Do keep us updated on what you build with openBalena, as we’re always keen to learn more about our users and how they are interacting with our tools.