Fedora Weekly News Issue 167
Welcome to Fedora Weekly News Issue 167 for the week ending March 8th, 2009.
This week Announcements links to some helpful "Fedora Classroom IRC Logs" including one on using
mock. PlanetFedora big-ups several posts including David Lutterkort's explanation of how config file manipulation can be simplified using
XPath to query
Augeas. Marketing notes the latest meeting log. QualityAssurance reports that the last "Test Day" for Intel graphics chipsets was valuable and advertizes the next for XFCE. Developments summarizes the "Provenpackager Re-Seed" and watches as the "Mono Conflagration Jumps to Blog". Artwork listens to some ideas about a "Theme Song". Virtualization reports the Xen "dom0 Kernel: Better, Still not Ready" and KVM "Snapshot Support Discussed".
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In this section, we cover announcements from the Fedora Project.
Contributing Writer: Chris Tyler
Fedora Classroom IRC Logs
- Introduction to bash shell scripting - Scott McBrien
- Training & Tips for Fedora Ambassadors -- Max Spevack
- Fedora Trademarks -- Paul W. Frields
- Perl Basics -- Doran Barton
- Using the Windows cross-compiler - Richard Jones
- Introduction to mock, the chroot package builder -- Kevin Fenzi
March 21: Free Software Embedded/Hardware workshop in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.
March 23-29: LUGM OpenWeek  in Manipal, India.
March 25: Document Freedom Day in Kolkata, India.
March 26: Infotech Niagara Beta Awards in Buffalo, NY, USA.
March 26: Ithaca College EdTech Day in Ithaca, NY USA.
FUDCon Berlin 2009
FUDCon Berlin will be held from June 26 - 28 in Berlin, Germany.
In this section, we cover the highlights of Planet Fedora - an aggregation of blogs from Fedora contributors worldwide.
Contributing Writer: Adam Batkin
Joseph Smidt wrote about the massive number of users downloading Fedora. According to the statistics, around 100,000 new users have started using Fedora 10 since Fedora 9 (based on unique IPs checking in using
In this section, we cover the Fedora Marketing Project.
Contributing Writer: Kam Salisbury
Marketing Meeting Log for 2009-03-10
The meeting log of the 2009-03-10 Fedora Marketing Meeting was made available.
Fedora 11 Features 80% Complete or Better
The Fedora 11 Features List neared completion.
In this section, we cover the activities of the QA team.
Contributing Writer: Adam Williamson
This week's regular test day was on the Intel graphics card driver, particularly kernel mode setting. Kristian Høgsberg was the developer present. Several people showed up and provided valuable testing for the full set of test cases on various chips, giving a good overview of the current state of the driver in several situations. A follow-up event will be held before the release of Fedora 11 to check on the progress of fixes for the identified issues. Further testing in this area is still very helpful: the Wiki page contains full instructions on performing the range of tests, and the Results table is still available, so anyone with an Intel graphics adapter is encouraged to visit the Wiki page, perform the tests, and file bug reports as appropriate.
Next week will be special, as two test days are scheduled. A special test day is planned for Tuesday, on DeviceKit - the partial HAL replacement scheduled to be included in Fedora 11. Anyone can help with this testing, so please come along and help out at the test day! The regular test day will be on the Xfce desktop environment, particularly the new 4.6 release that will be part of Fedora 11. If Xfce is your desktop environment of choice, please come along and help make sure it'll be working properly in Fedora 11.
The DeviceKit test day will be held on Tuesday (2009-03-17) and the Xfce test day on Thursday (2009-03-19) in the #fedora-qa channel on Freenode IRC. Please come by to help make sure these features will be in shiny working order for Fedora 11!
The QA group weekly meeting was held on 2009-03-11. The full log is available. After a bracing discussion on how to send an apparently empty line to IRC, James Laska reported little progress in his work on making the Semantic test result reporting extension for mediawiki available as a package. He also deferred investigation of X.org test suites for next week. Adam Williamson noted that he had discussed one such suite, rendercheck, with Ben Skeggs, and he will make a package available either as a scratch build or in the official repository to be used in the upcoming nouveau Test Day. The group agreed to see if it might be useful for other graphics test events.
Jesse Keating and Will Woods reported that they had not had time to look at a method for identifying bugs caused by GCC 4.4 miscompilation issues. The group evaluated the response to the known bugs in this area, and decided that the responses suggested most issues would be resolved by fixes to GCC itself, and this should not cause major problems.
Adam Williamson reported that he and François Cami had spoken to the intel and radeon driver developers about holding test days for those graphics drivers, and were in the process of organizing both events.
Jesse Keating reported that a serious bug in squashfs in the Rawhide kernel was causing Rawhide installation to be impossible. This was to be fixed by a kernel update in the following day's Rawhide (which turned out indeed to be the case). He also reported that initial signing of packages for F11 was in progress in chunks, in order to ease the synchronization load for the mirroring system.
Jesse also reported that work on the substantial rewrite of Anaconda's storage code was in progress. The group agreed that this was quite close to the beta release, and that it seemed possible there could still be substantial problems in the code at the time the beta should be released, so discussed what kind of problems might be acceptable for a beta release and what might not. Despite some concern on the part of Will Woods, the group agreed to evaluate issues on a case-by-case basis, taking care to make sure all issues in this area were added to the beta release blocker bug so they would be evaluated.
The Bugzappers group weekly meeting was held on 2009-03-10. The full log is available. John Poelstra reminded the group to evaluate all bugs with regard to the Fedora 11 blocker ('F11Blocker') and Fedora 11 target ('F11Target') blocker bugs. He also announced that Monday 2009-03-16 will be a bug blocker day, for the maintainers, QA and release engineering groups to go over the list of blocker bugs.
The group agreed to require a short self-introduction email to fedora-test-list as the criterion for becoming a member of the fedorabugs group in FAS. Edward Kirk volunteered to write up this procedure into an SOP, as discussed at the previous meeting.
The group again discussed the Wiki re-design, particularly how the front page should be laid out and how the main information flow should work from there. Everyone agreed that it was important to keep the front page short and simple and lay out a clear linear path for potential new members to follow. The group agreed to wait for Adam Williamson to finish his combination of Edward Kirk's draft and Christopher Beland's draft, with reference to the ideas discussed in the meeting. The group also discussed the new Tracking page (since re-arranged to become Components and Triagers ), and agreed it was a good layout, but some of the content that had been merged into it should not have been. Adam Williamson suggested that the statistics be updated regularly and automatically via Brennan Ashton's metrics script.
The group discussed the potential new meeting time with reference to the availability matrix, but did not yet come to a decision.
The next QA weekly meeting will be held on 2009-03-18 at 1700 UTC (note changed time, in UTC reference frame) in #fedora-meeting, and the next Bugzappers weekly meeting on 2009-03-11 at 1500 UTC in #fedora-meeting.
Bugzappers Wiki Re-organization
Christopher Beland worked hard to revise several areas of the Wiki, including a new Tracking page which combined pages on active triagers, priority triage components, group goals and finding bugs. After feedback from Edward Kirk, John Poelstra and others, this was reduced simply to the Components and Triagers page, leaving the others separate for now. Christopher updated these pages also. Adam Williamson submitted his combined new front page draft for the group's review.
Advertising Triage Days
Christopher Beland pointed out that triage days are not advertised anywhere in the Wiki. Adam Williamson apologized and explained that this is because he is short on time at present as he is taking an internal Red Hat training course during his work days. He welcomed any help from the group in adding information about the triage day events to the Wiki.
Christopher Beland reported that he could not access the pages for Brennan Ashton's triage metrics reporting system. Brennan thanked him for the feedback and explained that there was a hardware issue on the server. John Poelstra suggested that the code for the metric system be hosted in the Bugzappers group's git repository.
In this section the people, personalities and debates on the @fedora-devel mailing list are summarized.
Contributing Writer: Oisin Feeley
Enhance Anaconda to Enable Repositories As Needed ?
Jud Craft reported that installing from the
Fedora 10 DVD with the
fedora-updates repository enabled resulted in a broken
NetworkManager due to a missing dependency on
libudev.so.0. Jud pointed out that although he could install the missing library from the DVD the situation would present a serious problem to anyone that tried "[...] a network install with updates [...] the result (a system without network access) can't be fixed without A) network access, or B) another Fedora image (also possibly requiring more network access)."
In answer to Jef Spaleta's questions Jud revealed that: "[libudev.so.0] doesn't seem to actually be installed by the stock F10 image. If I do a plain install (no updates), NetworkManager works fine. Running a `yum update' then pulls down all the updates, as well as `Install libudev0'. So at some point I suppose NetworkManager picked up a dependency on libudev0, but for some reason updating during the installation process doesn't pull this new package in." Kevin Kofler and Jesse Keating both pointed out that: "[T]he updates repo isn't the Everything repo. To really do a proper install with updates you have to enable both the Updates repo and the Everything repo." Kevin added that this was why the install from DVD with updates enabled was not an officially supported method.
Several people, including Thorsten Leemhuis, suggested that modifying the
anaconda installer to be aware of which repositories depend on each other would be useful. Jesse Keating was not averse to the idea as long as it could be done in a "[...] distro agnostic way. Avoiding hardcoded hacks specifically for Fedora is one of the goals of anaconda upstream."
Password Resets and Inactive Accounts
Many respondents posted that they had received the email notifications but had not needed to, or had not had time to, perform their password reset.
[Tom Lane] worried that forcing periodic password resets caused people to weaken security by writing down their passwords but Bruno Wolf III argued that a potentially bigger threat might be "[...] someone forging messages from Mike with deceptive URLs that trick people into changing their passwords using a hostile proxy. Doing things in the current manner is training people to get fooled." He added that cryptographically signing the reset messages was important.
Till Maas requested consistent titling of the password reset notification emails, suggested extending the grace period beyond two weeks and asked that the notification contains the information that the contents of the user's fedorapeople.org home would be moved.
Patrice Dumas asked why there was a password reset at all and was answered by Jesse Keating that it was "[...] the best way Infra has today to discover all the active and inactive accounts." In response Toshio Kuratomi pointed to an open ticket which nominally deals with how long accounts should be left open if passwords have expired but had become an investigation of how account inactivity can be determined.
After Mike McGrath explained that "[...] we've got thousands of contributors, relatively few of them actually commit to cvs. So we could go around to figure out how to make all of our various auth points report back but that's a lot of work. The account system is the only common point of entry for every contributor [...]" Christopher Aillon suggested: "So let's require to them to simply _log in_ to FAS to reset the timer (you need to do that to change passwords, anyway!)."
Mono Conflagration Jumps to Blog
Following the FESCo decision not to replace
banshee as the default media-player in
Fedora 11 some follow-up clarifications were made by parties to the discussion and the conflagration jumped between @fedora-devel and the personal blog of David Nielsen, the
Banshee ex-maintainer and perhaps the main force behind the Mono SIG.
Bill Nottingham put forward a concise time-line which attempted to show that the proposal had been handled in a straightforward and usual manner. Bill noted that the Desktop SIG had expressed a lack of enthusiasm early in the process and that the imminent beta-freeze meant that the decision had to be taken without further prolonged discussion.
AdamWilliamson suggested that because
Mono's Microsoft links worried many F/OSS developers it would have been a good idea to address such concerns: "[...] explicitly rather than just pretend they don't exist in your initial proposal (the word 'Mono' does not actually occur a single time in the initial version of the Wiki page you posted)."
A question put by Jóhann B. Guðmundsson wondered whether there was anything preventing the Mono SIG from creating their own Fedora spin in which
banshee was given pride of place as the default media-player. Rex Dieter confirmed that there were no obstacles on this path.
A proposal to adopt a Code of Conduct modeled upon Ubuntu's was made by Richard W.M. Jones. He also expressed regret that David was leaving Fedora and apparently moving to
Ubuntu as referenced by a blog entry. Reading the blog suggest that
Foresight Linux seems more to David's taste although one comment does point out that Ubuntu "[...] head community people have been calling for volunteers to increase the work surrounding Mono and have a huge love for banshee and Canonical isn’t anti-mono since some of their new job postings desire Mono as a skill."
Seth Vidal was among those who wondered specifically how such a code could be enforced and also where specifically the Fedora Project could be alleged to have engaged in misconduct on this issue. Reading David's blog seems to suggest both that any rudeness was privately exchanged and that his perception is that "[...] Mono isn't welcome in Fedora, and will always be a second class citizen[.]"
John J. McDonough posted that owners of major features should review the Beta release notes. Scott Radvan posted that the Security Guide would benefit from the scrutiny of any interested @fedora-devel readers.
A request by Ralf Corsepius for some definitions led Patrice Dumas to post that: "provenpackagers are people who can change all the packages with opened ACLs. Sponsors are the people who can accept new contributors in fedora." Further discussion led Michael Schwendt to voice a concern that non-responsive maintainers might be shielded from feedback if provenpackagers step in to update and upgrade packages. Kevin Kofler offered the non-responsive maintainer process as a way to rectify any problems with Bugzilla tickets being ignored.
In a separate thread MichelSalim asked about the preferred way to become a sponsor.
Closing Bugs NEXTRELEASE
Christoph Wickert requested that all maintainers (and especially Red Hat developers) would "[p]lease fix your bugs  in the release they were filed against instead of just closing them NEXTRELASE!"
When Rahul Sundaram responded that it depended on the seriousness of the bug and complexity of back-porting Daniel P. Berrange and Rakesh Pandit acknowledged that such complex cases might exist but that suggested that this was often a cop-out which could discourage users.
Jeremy Katz responded "[...] as the person who has apparently pissed you off this morning [...]" and described the case in point as much more complex than Christoph had claimed. It seemed that Christoph's ability to create
LiveCD images of
Fedora 11 using
Fedora 10 as the development platform had been stymied by changes to
syslinux. Jeremy added that even if this single change were reverted Christoph would need a newer
squashfs-tools and more.
Later Jeremy clarified that the combination of
mock were complicated by
SELinux but that this had been addressed by recent work.
One complication is that
Bodhi uses NEXTRELEASE even for updates to stable releases. After some confusion on this point LukeMacken posted that anyone wanting to change the behavior should file a ticket.
In this section, we cover the Fedora Artwork Project.
Contributing Writer: Nicu Buculei
Subodh Bhagat proposed a new artistic initiative: a Fedora theme song. Subodh asked: "Do we have something like a theme song for fedora? Either lyrics or a composition?" The intitiative was saluted by Konstantinos Antonakoglou: "Sounds great! I got some music skills (compose and play) too", Henrik Heigl: "I also think of ideas like a contest", Paul Frields: "I think song in general is a great idea. I'm a musician myself and an appreciator of songwriters", and Keiran Smith all of whom have experience in the field.
Artwork for the Beta Release
In preparation for the upcoming Beta release, Paolo Leoni started the work on a website banner by proposing two graphic concepts, a generic one and another based on the graphics for the Beta wallpaper image "The first is a non-themed version, while the second uses a part of Mo's wallpaper mockup." The general opinion was favourable to the themed version and after a few iterations, Máirín Duffy concluded with a final version, a graphic which all the Fedora enthusiast are invited to use on their blogs.
On a related note, Paul Frields reviewed the Art's Team release tasks and produced a short list "the listed splashes, headers and other art scheduled for March 27 includes" to check the status "Is the listed date of March 27 enough time to produce these various derivations?"
In this section, we cover discussion on the @et-mgmnt-tools-list, @fedora-xen-list, @libvirt-list and @ovirt-devel-list of Fedora virtualization technologies.
Contributing Writer: Dale Bewley
Enterprise Management Tools List
This section contains the discussion happening on the et-mgmt-tools list
New Release virt-manager 0.7.0
Virtual Machine Manager provides a graphical tool for administering virtual machines for
QEmu. Start, stop, add or remove virtual devices, connect to a graphical or serial console, and see resource usage statistics for existing VMs on local or remote machines. Uses
as the backend management API.
- Redesigned 'New Virtual Machine' wizard (Jeremy Perry, Tim Allen, Cole Robinson)
- Option to remove storage when deleting a virtual machine.
- File browser for libvirt storage pools and volumes, for use when attaching storage to a new or existing guest.
- Physical device assignment (PCI, USB) for existing virtual machines.
- Bug fixes and minor improvements.
New Release virtinst 0.4.3
virtinst is a module that helps build and install
libvirt based virtual machines. It currently supports
Xen virtual machines. Package includes several command line utilities, including
virt-install (build and install new VMs) and
virt-clone (clone an existing virtual machine).
This is largely a bug fix release.
Fedora Xen List
This section contains the discussion happening on the fedora-xen list.
dom0 Kernel: Better, Still Not Ready
Michael explained, "The current plan is to wait until basic
dom0 support makes it into the vanilla
kernel, which should happen for 2.6.30, and then decide if
dom0 can be enabled and if the patches for full
dom0 support can safely be added without affecting ordinary operation."
"At the moment there are still things that are broken such as
X support in some cases, and there are also Fedora patches that have been omitted because they were tricky to merge, so it is too early to start adding
dom0 support to official Fedora kernels."
Missing Hypervisor Capabilities Restored
This section contains the discussion happening on the libvir-list.
Snapshot Support Discussed
In an attempt to make it easier to backup
KVM windows guests, Matt McCowan created a checkpoint
virsh function. "Modelled on the
virDomainSave function it takes an optional script which it will execute (and pass the name of the domain as an argument) while the domain is paused, then resume the domain." Within this script, a backup of the guest domain could be created.
The patch was seen as too ad-hoc, and not accepted as-is.
Daniel Veillard commented "I think this can help administrators in a controlled situation, but I'm hoping a real snapshotting API will be possible at some point where
goes though the list of storage resources used by the domain and properly make a snapshot using a storage API or return an error if that's not possible."
Daniel P. Berrange described what he would like to see. "In terms of API I think I'd like to see snapshotting available as part of a more generic save/restore API. I tend to think of the current API as providing 'unmanaged save/restore'". Libvirt does not track saved images, so does not know if a snapshot is available to be started at the restart of
"Thus I think the first step towards a general snapshot facility would be to provide an API for 'managed save/restore' where we explicitly track saved images." "With this, you could configure
libvirtd, so that when starting up, it" would "see if the guest was suspended before the previous host shutdown, and if so, then restore from that saved image automatically. Or make it skip autostart completely, if any save images exist, and allow an admin defined initscript to do auto restore from the save image."
Memory Ballooning Support for QEMU
Daniel Berrange patched the
libvirt QEMU driver to fully support memory ballooning. "Memory ballooning allows you to have your guest dynamically change it’s memory usage by evicting unused memory during runtime. This is a useful feature because it reduces the impact your guest can have on memory usage of your host by giving up unused memory back to the host."