OSGi Subsystems


Apache Aries Subsystems is the Reference Implementation of the OSGi Subsystems Specification, chapter 134 of the OSGi Enterprise specifications. The Aries 1.x components implement the 1.0 version of the Subsystem spec. Aries 2.x and newer implement the 1.1 version of OSGi Subsystems.

Getting started

This section shows the bundles to install to get the Subsystems implementation running in your favourite OSGi Framework.

The Aries Subsystem implementation uses the OSGi Coordination service, the OSGi Resolver service, the OSGi Repository service and integrates with the OSGi Configuration Admin service. Additional dependencies are the Aries Util bundle, the Equinox Region bundle and SLF4J for logging.

The following are downloadable links (from Maven central) that provide all the required components to get subsystems up and running with Apache Felix. Note that the Felix Framework distribution comes with OSGi Repository and Resolver implementations so these do not need to be added. (When running Aries Subsystems with another OSGi Framework these must be provided.)

After installing and starting all these components the Felix runtime looks like this:

g! lb
   ID|State      |Level|Name
    0|Active     |    0|System Bundle (5.4.0)|5.4.0
    1|Active     |    1|Apache Felix Bundle Repository (2.0.6)|2.0.6
    2|Active     |    1|Apache Felix Gogo Command (0.16.0)|0.16.0
    3|Active     |    1|Apache Felix Gogo Runtime (0.16.2)|0.16.2
    4|Active     |    1|Apache Felix Gogo Shell (0.10.0)|0.10.0
    5|Active     |    1|Apache Aries Subsystem API (2.0.6)|2.0.6
    6|Active     |    1|Apache Aries Subsystem Core (2.0.6)|2.0.6
    7|Active     |    1|Apache Aries Util (1.1.1)|1.1.1
    8|Active     |    1|Apache Felix Configuration Admin Service (1.8.8)|1.8.8
    9|Active     |    1|Apache Felix Coordinator Service (1.0.0)|1.0.0
   10|Resolved   |    1|Region Digraph (1.2.101.v20150831-1342)|1.2.101.v20150831-1342
   11|Active     |    1|slf4j-api (1.7.12)|1.7.12
   12|Resolved   |    1|slf4j-simple (1.7.12)|1.7.12
   13|Active     |    1|org.osgi.service.subsystem.region.context.0 (1.0.0)|1.0.0

The Region Digraph and slf4j-simple bundles are fragments, so they can not be started. You can see that the Subsystems implementation is operational as it created a synthesized bundle (13) to represent the root context. The subsystems implementation sometimes synthesizes a bundle to represent a subsystem. Whether or not this happens depends on the isolation model of a subsystem.

You can also see that the Subsystem service for the root subsystem has been registered by looking at the services registered by the Subsystem Core bundle (6):

g! inspect cap service 6
org.apache.aries.subsystem.core [6] provides:
service; org.osgi.service.subsystem.Subsystem, org.apache.aries.subsystem.AriesSubsystem with properties:
   org.apache.aries.subsystem.service.regions = [org.eclipse.equinox.region.kernel]
   subsystem.id = 0
   subsystem.state = ACTIVE
   subsystem.symbolicName = org.osgi.service.subsystem.root
   subsystem.type = osgi.subsystem.application
   subsystem.version = 1.0.0
   ... other properties and services

Each installed subsystem is represented by a serparate service.


The Apache Aries community provides a number of tools that facilitate working with OSGi Subsystems:

  • Subsystem Gogo Command - a Gogo command to work with subsystems, for more info see below.
  • esa-ant-task - an Ant task to create .esa archives.
  • eas-maven-plugin - a Maven plugin to create .esa archives.

Subsystem Gogo Command

https://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/aries/trunk/subsystem/subsystem-gogo-command contains a simple bundle with Gogo commands to control subsystems. This bundle can also be downloaded from Maven Central here.

After installing the gogo command bundle you can execute subsystem commands, for example:

g! subsystem:list
0   ACTIVE  org.osgi.service.subsystem.root 1.0.0

Use subsystem:install to install additional subsystems, for example one that is part of the subsystem-itests module:

g! subsystem:install file:/checkouts/aries/subsystem/subsystem-itests/target/feature1.esa
Subsystem successfully installed: org.apache.aries.subsystem.feature1; id: 1

This subsystem embeds another subsystem which automatically gets installed too. When you list all subsystems you can see both:

g! subsystem:list
0   ACTIVE  org.osgi.service.subsystem.root 1.0.0
1   INSTALLED   org.apache.aries.subsystem.feature1 1.0.0
2   INSTALLED   org.apache.aries.subsystem.feature2 1.0.0

Together, these subsystems contain 3 bundles:

g! lb
   ID|State      |Level|Name
    0|Active     |    0|System Bundle (5.0.1)
   16|Installed  |    1|TB3 (1.0.0)
   17|Installed  |    1|TB1 (1.0.0)
   18|Installed  |    1|TB2 (2.0.0)

Use subsystem:start to start a subsystem. This will start all its bundles and all the bundles of dependent subsystems. So the following single command, starts 3 bundles:

g! subsystem:start 1
g! lb
   ID|State      |Level|Name
    0|Active     |    0|System Bundle (5.0.1)
   16|Active     |    1|TB3 (1.0.0)
   17|Active     |    1|TB1 (1.0.0)
   18|Active     |    1|TB2 (2.0.0)

Subsystem gogo commands

The following commands are available from the subsystem-gogo-command bundle:

  • subsystem:install <url> - Install and resolve a subsystem.
  • subsystem:list <subsystemId> - List installed subsystems.
  • subsystem:start <subsystemId> - Start a subsystem and its dependencies.
  • subsystem:stop <subsystemId> - Stop a subsystem and its dependencies.
  • subsystem:uninstall <subsystemId> - Uninstall a subsystem and its dependencies.

Note that, following the OSGi Subsystem specification, dependent subsystems are only stopped and uninstalled when the last using subsystem is stopped/uninstalled.


The Aries Subsystems code base can be found at the following location: https://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/aries/trunk/subsystem