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Fedora Weekly News Issue 146

Welcome to Fedora Weekly News Issue 146 for the week ending October 5, 2008.


In this issue of FWN, Max Spevack covers the announcement of the beta for Fedora 10 (Cambridge) and reminds us of the upcoming Fedora Board IRC chat. Oisin Feeley provides another detailed look into Fedora development, covering the recent PATH:/sbin discussion, efforts to speed up Modprobe and MAKEDEV, announcement of the Fedora 10 early branch for developers, and more. Jason Taylor writes on documentation, including discussion on changing language codes in Fedora and the beginnings of an ongoing debate on how to properly document examples of system commands. Runa Bhattacharjee, writing for the translation project, provides detail on the Fedora 10 translation dates and summarizes the most recent meeting of the translation team. Nicu Buculei covers the release of the second issue of the art team excellent voice, Echo Monthly News, and Paul Frields' recent request for a remix logo, a secondary watermark for derivative spins. Finally, David Nalley brings us up-to-date on the latest security advisories for Fedora 8 and 9 issued this past week.

If you are interested in contributing to Fedora Weekly News, please see our 'join' page[1].

[1] http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/NewsProject/Join


In this section, we cover announcements from the Fedora Project.



Contributing Writer: Max Spevack

Fedora 10 (Cambridge) Beta

Jesse Keating announced[0] the release of Fedora 10 Beta. "Just on the heels of the Fedora Project's fifth anniversary, the Beta of Fedora Linux version 10 (code-named Cambridge) is now available."

Among the new, fun, and interesting features:

  • New NetworkManager with connection sharing
  • Improved printer handling
  • Remote virtualization and easier virt storage
  • Sectool, an auditing and security testing framework
  • RPM 4.6, the first big RPM change in several years

[0] http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-announce-list/2008-September/msg00016.html

Additionally, Jesse reported[1] "there was a small problem during image creation that led to the x86_64 Live KDE actually being the content for the x86_64 Live XFCE. I have recreated these images and updated the master mirror and the torrent server."

For full disclosure, here are the SHA1SUMs of each:

6f32b75c09838a407371aec211e1951d357baf03 *F10-Beta-x86_64-Live-KDE.iso 04195ea383229bdd356188e86ba8c39985118abb *F10-Beta-x86_64-Live-XFCE.iso

[1] http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-announce-list/2008-September/msg00017.html

Fedora Board IRC Meeting

Paul Frields reminded[2] everyone that "the Board is holding its monthly public meeting on Tuesday, 7 October 2008, at 1800 UTC on IRC Freenode."

The public is invited to do the following:

  • Join #fedora-board-meeting to see the Board's conversation. This channel is read-only for non-Board members.
  • Join #fedora-board-public to discuss topics and post questions. This channel is read/write for everyone.

The moderator will direct questions from the #fedora-board-public channel to the Board members at #fedora-board-meeting. This should limit confusion and ensure our logs are useful to everyone.

[2] http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-announce-list/2008-October/msg00000.html


In this section the people, personalities and debates on the @fedora-devel mailing list are summarized.

Contributing Writer: Oisin Feeley

PATH:/sbin Tab Confusion

Some time ago (2008-04-23) it was proposed[1] by Tom Callaway to append /sbin\ and /usr/sbin to the path of non-root users. The rationale was to make it easier for non-root users to use tools which are traditionally perceived as "administration" tools, for example ifconfig, parted and fdisk. A good overview of the problem was posted[2] by Behdad Esfahbod . An excellent compendium of objections to the proposal posted[3] by Enrico Scholz encapsulates most of the problems perceived at the time. Several prolonged discussions on the topic mostly centered[4] around alternate strategies which included moving binaries from /sbin to /bin, symlinking from one to the other directory, or setting up[5] sudo by default.

[1] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-April/msg01625.html

[2] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-April/msg01661.html

[3] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-April/msg01649.html

[4] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-April/msg01727.html

[5] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-April/msg01629.html

The case for moving many of the binaries was made[6] strongly by David Cantrell and arch-skeptic Ralf Corsepius voiced[7] a general objection that "[...] this discussion is as old as */sbin exists [... and I] consider both proposals to be populist propaganda." After much thrashing out of the issue the proposal was coalesced[8] in the Feature named "/sbin Sanity" and /usr/local/sbin:/usr/sbin:/sbin were appended to the PATH of normal users of Fedora 10. A related change suggested was to allow firstboot to configure sudo to grant the first created user all privileges but this feature is not present in Fedora 10 Beta.

With the release of Fedora 10 Beta some of the predicted daily inconveniences of the change have been realized[9]. Matt Miller (who had been consistently opposed to the change) reported that command-line completion was cluttered with multiple unwanted choices: "We've just made the command line a lot less user friendly for common use in exchange for an ugly fix to a small inconvenience." In a wryly humorous post he noted that due to wanting /etc/profile.d to continue working he could not simply set a static path. Stephen Smoogen joked[10] that Matt was the "[...] first systems administrator I have met in several years who hasn't had /usr/sbin:/sbin in their default path. You sure they didn't make you a manager and didn't tell you?" and added that "I think the chance for putting it back is still there.. if someone is willing to do the work on the hard but correct way? I think it was crickets the last couple of times when volunteers were asked for that." Nigel Jones was among several who asserted[11] that typing the full paths was what they preferred and Stephen admitted[12] that he had received some offlist ribbing and promised to mend his ways: "I am removing /sbin:/usr/sbin from my path and learning to type /usr/sbin for the commands I have 'shortcutted' over the years. Next I will be removing the bad habit of '/sbin/sudo bash' :)"

[6] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-April/msg01732.html

[7] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-April/msg01761.html

[8] http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/SbinSanity

[9] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00001.html

[10] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00003.html

[11] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00004.html

[12] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00181.html

Ville Skyttä and Matt Miller volunteered[13] to take up the burden of moving appropriate binaries out of /sbin and into /bin in order to help revert the change.

[13] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00003.html

Over on @fedora-desktop Rahul Sundaram suggested a kickstart snippet which would add the first user to the wheel group and add blanket permissions to the wheel group in /etc/sudoers . Colin Walters agreed[14] with the concept but wondered "[a]re we too far into the F10 process for this?"

[14] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-desktop-list/2008-October/msg00006.html

Speeding-up Modprobe and MAKEDEV

Inspired by Arjan van de Ven's five-second Asus EeePC boot and Mandriva's work on similar topics Jakub Jelinek posted[1] his patches to improve the speed of modprobe and MAKEDEV. He hoped that this sharing would result in more community experimentation. The first patch enables depmod -a to produce compact binary files which can be searched for aliases and dependencies more quickly than the standard text files, which are still also produced. The patch to MAKEDEV similarly reduces the size of the searched files, in this case config files, and improves the efficiency of an inner loop. The times appeared to be decreased by several orders of magnitude according to the sample figures posted by Jakub.

[1] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00043.html

Kyle McMartin was excited[2] and suggested that "[t]he biggest win by far for MAKEDEV is profiling the often hit devices, and prioritizing things. Dave Airlie moved a bunch of the cciss and other almost never-seen devices to be sourced last and ended up with a huge win." Bill Nottingham responded[3] that MAKEDEV ought not to be run at boot at all. Jakub Jelinek was not optimistic that the MAKEDEV patch would be applied upstream as he noted[4] that he had sent it upstream over ten months ago.

[2] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00046.html

[3] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00047.html

[4] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00054.html

Uniform Proxy Settings

The issue of constructing a uniform method of enforcing proxy settings for applications was raised[1] by Kulbir Saini. He complained "[w]henever I try a new version of Fedora, the first problem I face is setting the proxy. It seems for almost every application, I have to specify proxy at a different place."

[1] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00097.html

A reply by Simon Andrews recapped[2] previous debates on the topic by pointing out the twin problems of a lack of a common setting and the inability of many applications to update their proxy settings on the fly. Simon suggested that a localhost proxy could be forced on all applications if NetworkManager were to contain hooks to re-route local proxy requests either directly to the internet or via a secondary proxy. He admitted "this all feels a bit icky to me - but I can't think of a nicer way of doing this which doesn't require the cooperation of the authors of every proxy-aware application."

[2] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00159.html

Nicolas 'kwizart' Chauvet had also thought about the problem and made[3] some changes to libproxy which he hoped would solve the problem. Dan Winship wrote[4] a great post explaining that libproxy could adaptively use whichever backend was appropriate for the environment in which it was used and although it was not widely used by applications it looked set to become an integral part of GNOME.

[3] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00098.html

[4] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00185.html

After Colin Walters commented[5] that he would like to "[...] see the desktop standardize around libsoup[6] , for two primary reasons: 1) Mainloop integration 2) Hopefully forthcoming support for reading Firefox cookies [...]" a minor flamewar erupted when James Antill wondered "Why do "desktop people" keep proposing things that are _only_ acceptable in a monolithic desktop application?" with reference to the mainloop integration. This developed into a comparison[7] between future scenarios in which PackageKit overrode yum downloads in a desktop scenario versus the simplicity of using yum on the command line. James was scathing on the subject of ignoring actual users (whom he asserted prefer gnome-terminal) to "[...] 60+ year olds who don't, and are about to be a majority of our users RSN."

[5] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00188.html

[6] libsoup is a GNOME client/server library for HTTP used in evolution, seahorse and rhythmbox among others and is integral to the OnlineDesktop.

[7] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00201.html

Fedora 10 Early Branch Now Available

Jesse Keating announced[1] on 2008-10-01 that it was now possible for developers wishing to concentrate on stabilization to branch their packages. A link to request a branch was provided. In response to Jeroen van Meeuwen it was explained[2] that this was not mass-early-branching but was an attempt to satisfy two classes of maintainers: those that needed to continue future development and those that used the entire development cycle for the current release.

[1] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00083.html

[2] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00126.html

Michael Schwendt rejected[3] the idea as "[u]nconvincing and not helpful", citing increased bureaucracy as the main negative outcome and suggesting that a potential cascade of maintainers scrambling to branch and rebuild in response to early branches of dependencies would result.

[3] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00202.html

SELinux - Copying ISO Files

A paraliptic swipe at SELinux by Jon Masters asked[1] "[...] how is the *average* user supposed to [...] copy the content of /mnt over to e.g. /somewhere/fedora/9/i386 for NFS installs [?]" Dan Walsh was surprised[2] and responded "Why would the copy fail? cp should just work and set the files to the context of the destination directory. If this fails it is a bug." Jon conceded[3] that there was a bug and segued into a mini-rant on SELinux.

[1] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00140.html

[2] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00154.html

[3] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00203.html

Jesse Keating offered[4]: "The average user double clicks on the iso in Nautilus, which mounts it for them. Then they click/drag the fileset to where they want it and Nautilus copies it for them."

[4] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-devel-list/2008-October/msg00174.html


In this section, we cover the Fedora Documentation Project.


Contributing Writer: Jason Taylor

New Language Codes

There was some discussion[1] this week between the docs team and members of the translation team about changing the language codes in the Fedora documentation. The proposed change(s) would make the Fedora documentation, in this case the Release-Notes compatible with ISO naming standards.

[1] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-docs-list/2008-September/msg00097.html

Command Examples Documentation

Murray McAllister brought to light some discussion recently about how to properly document examples of system commands[1]. There was some interesting discussion on list about how to go about this and we look forward to a consensus in the near future.

[1] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-docs-list/2008-October/msg00008.html


This section covers the news surrounding the Fedora Translation (L10n) Project.


Contributing Writer: Runa Bhattacharjee

F10 Translation deadline revised to 21st October 2008

The software and documentation translation deadlines for Fedora 10 has been revised to 21st October 2008[1][2][3][4]. The decision was taken after a meeting last week between John Poelstra and the Translation and Documentation teams. Currently, the Fedora Translation and Documentation teams are finalizing the process of task scheduling in perspective of the main Fedora Release Engineering schedule which would be used for future Fedora releases as well.

[1] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-trans-list/2008-October/msg00019.html

[2] http://poelstra.fedorapeople.org/schedules/f-10/f-10-docs-tasks.html

[3] http://poelstra.fedorapeople.org/schedules/f-10/f-10-trans-tasks.html

[4] http://poelstra.fedorapeople.org/schedules/f-10/f-10-all-tasks.html

Fedora Translation Project meeting held

The fortnightly meeting of the Fedora Translation Project was held on 30th September 2008[5], chaired by Dimitris Glezos. Issues discussed included an update of the translation schedule revision and problems with publican documents on the status page. Additionally, Robert-André Mauchin raised a concern about identification of new translators for a language, being sponsored into the cvsl10n group.

[5] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-trans-list/2008-October/msg00017.html


In this section, we cover the Fedora Artwork Project.


Contributing Writer: Nicu Buculei

The latest news about Echo icons

Martin Sourada announced[1] on @fedora-art a new issue of the Echo Monthly News[2], a periodic publication outlining the development in the last month for the Echo icon set. We covered part of them in Fedora Weekly News, but for those interested in details, it is a good read, covering the following topics: "1. New Icons; 2. Updated Tutorials; 3. Guidelines Update; 4. Releases; 5. Echo Enabled in Rawhide as Default Icon Set;6. Icons We Need to Create for F10; 7. Roadmap Updates".

[1] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-art-list/2008-October/msg00021.html

[2] https://fedorahosted.org/echo-icon-theme/wiki/MonthlyNews/Issue2

Paul Frields asked for a logo graphic, a secondary wordkmark, on @fedora-art: "Having a secondary wordmark, a community-usable mark for derivative spins, will help drive more interest in Fedora", a process crossed with @fedora-marketing "I'll start a discussion about the wording for the mark on Fedora Marketing List which anyone should (as always) feel free to join". After receiving input from marketing and legal the name was settled to "fedora remix" and a wiki page[2] was created to hold the proposals. So far it has evolving proposals from Nicu Buculei, Mairin Duffy, Clint Savage and Jayme Ayres.

[1] https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-art-list/2008-September/msg00514.html

[2] https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/User:Pfrields/Secondary_trademark_design

Security Advisories

In this section, we cover Security Advisories from fedora-package-announce.


Contributing Writer: David Nalley

Fedora 9 Security Advisories

Fedora 8 Security Advisories