Fedora Weekly News Issue 164
Welcome to Fedora Weekly News Issue 164 for the week ending February 22nd, 2009.
This week Announcements showcases Fedora Unity respins of Fedora 10, PlanetFedora selects some great blog entries on how to tag audio streams in PulseAudio and use func, QualityAssurance explains how to participate in test days, Developments covers the "Fedora 11 Mass Rebuild", Translations describes the new "L10n Infrastructure Team", Artwork covers some pretty "Evolving Fedora 11 Artwork" and Virtualization examines attempts to bridge the gap between libvirt and host network interface configuration.
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In this section, we cover announcements from the Fedora Project.
Contributing Writer: Max Spevack
Your faithful correspondent announced that this year's European FUDCon will be held in Berlin from June 26 - 28, overlapping partially with LinuxTag. Everyone is encouraged to read the full announcement and to register for the event.
Ben Williams, whose wife knits incredible scarves with Tux on them, announced that a new set of Fedora 10 respins have been released by the Fedora Unity team, containing all updates through February 10.
Jesse Keating reminded the community that "due to a number of features, every package in Fedora 11 needs to be rebuilt." A wiki page has been created that package maintainers should look to for more information.
February 27 - March 1: FOSSMeet @ NITC in Calicut, India.
February 28: Fedora Round Table in Karlsruhe, Germany.
March 5-7: Computer Using Educators in Palm Springs, CA.
March 9: Florida Linux Show in Jacksonville, FL.
March 10-12: FOSE in Washington, DC.
March 13-15: Chemnitzer Linux Tage in Chemnitz, Germany.
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
Gary Benson announced that Zero has passed the Java SE 6 TCK, which means that OpenJDK in Fedora 10 for 32 and 64 bit PowerPC-based systems are now pretty much guaranteed to run anything you can throw at them.
Jef Spaleta wondered how popular Git was, and found some interesting statistics from GitHub. He also discovered that apparently some Canonical developers (the kernel folks) do used Git instead of Bzr.
Lennart Poettering explained how to "tag" audio streams so that Pulse Audio can automatically manage sound policy ("For example, starting in 0.9.15, we will automatically pause your media player while a phone call is going on").
In this section, we cover the activities of the QA team.
Contributing Writer: Adam Williamson
This week's regular test day was on 20 Second Startup. Harald Hoyer was the developer present, and there was a great turnout of 20 people contributing test results. Further results are still welcome from anyone - a full set of instructions for running tests is available on the Wiki page. As a result of the testing, Harald has made several modifications already that will help to optimize boot times for Fedora 11.
Next week's test day will be on the Crash Catcher feature planned for Fedora 11, which aims to make it easy for non-power uses to file useful reports when an application crashes. It will be held on Thursday (2009-02-26) in the #fedora-qa channel on Freenode IRC. Please drop by if you would like to help test this important new feature for Fedora 11 - no special equipment or expertise required!
The QA group weekly meeting was held on 2009-02-18. The full log is available. Will Woods gave a status report on the progress of the autoqa project, which is working on creating automated test scripts to run whenever certain events happen. The group agreed to create an autoqa component in the fedora-qa trac instance, and create a new mailing list for autoqa reports to be sent to (this will not be a discussion list). Adam Williamson, James Laska and Jóhann Guðmundsson then initiated a discussion about creating a short-term solution for more organized reporting and collection of test results. Follow up a mailing list discussion, a system created by the Laptop.org project, implemented as a Mediawiki plugin, was discussed. The group agreed that it seemed suited to the purpose, and James will propose it to the Infrastructure group, to see if they approve of the system, and whether they would prefer it to be added to the main Wiki or a special-purpose Wiki instance created just for this use. Finally, the group discussed the (then) upcoming test day, and agreed preparations were well in hand.
The Bugzappers group weekly meeting was held on 2009-02-17. The full log is available. A broad initial goal for the Bugzappers project was agreed: to stabilize the number of bugs in NEW (i.e. un-triaged) status on the components previously agreed to be the most significant. Brennan Ashton's metric reporting tool will be used to track this. Brennan demonstrated the current state of his tool on a small set of test data, to general approval. The group voted on Adam Williamson's proposal to have a stock signature appended to comments by members of the Bugzappers team in Bugzilla, both to identify the Bugzappers and to increase the visibility of the project. This was approved, and Matej Cepl will implement it using Greasemonkey, adding it to the Greasemonkey script already used by most Bugzappers.
The next QA weekly meeting will be held on 2009-02-25 at 1600 UTC in #fedora-qa, and the next Bugzappers weekly meeting on 2009-02-24 at 1700 UTC in #fedora-bugzappers.
Reporting bugs to Bugzilla
Christopher Beland encouraged testers to report bugs to Bugzilla as well as sending a mail about them to the test-list mailing list, and told the group that he had added some text to this effect to the QA group front page on the Wiki. Adam Williamson suggested that the text might be better placed on the Wiki page about how properly to report bugs, rather than the QA group front page.
Semantic - test reporting plugin for Mediawiki
Encouraging Rawhide testing
Mark McLoughlin made some suggestions about how to improve the ongoing quality and consistency of Rawhide, in order to make it possible for more people to test it. He suggested that a definition should be made of what should be expected to work in Rawhide all the time - e.g. basic installation, booting, network and a few core applications - and a RawhideBlocker tracker bug be created on Bugzilla to track bugs in Rawhide which breaks any of these functions, with the intention that those bugs be addressed as a matter of high priority.
In this section the people, personalities and debates on the @fedora-devel mailing list are summarized.
Contributing Writer: Oisin Feeley
Fedora 11 Mass Rebuild
Some complications resulting from the inconsistent application of Fedora Packaging Guidelines were manifested when the mass rebuild discussed last week(FWN#163) gained a more concrete shape. Jesse Keating posted a request that all maintainers would read the wiki page describing what needs to be done, especially the Maintainer Actions section.
The rebuild should kick-off this Monday (2009-02-23). The wiki page describes the relatively narrow timeframe in which maintainers can attempt their own rebuilds and the way in which they can avoid the auto-rebuild.
Concern was expressed by Tom Lane that the rebuilds were non-ordered. Jesse responded that ordered builds were "[...] generally only are necessary when bumping sonames or otherwise bootstrapping items. Given that neither of those apply for this rebuild, effort spent trying to order and chain builds would be effort wasted." Ralf Corsepius challenged this with the observation that
pkgconfig BuildRequires are added automatically. Ralf suggested the problem could be solved by "[...] checking which packages in current rawhide contain *.pc's but do not Provide nor Require pkgconfig(foo) and to rebuild them (in manually presorted order) in advance to the mass rebuild."
Jon Masters appreciated Jesse's work and worried that the rebuild might leave some statically built binaries using i386 instead of the promised i586 (see FWN#162). Subsequent rebuilds were suggested as a means to work around the problem but Jesse preferred to identify specific problems and stated: "I think the most I'd be willing to do would be a second build pass across the static packages. IMHO everything else should be left up to testing discovery and fixing the assumptions rather than hiding them."
Another approach was suggested by Conrad Meyer based on using
BuildRequires: *-static. When Ralf replied that this would not work because many packagers who had not used static subpackages Conrad pointed to the guidelines. Nicolas Mailhot ruefully responded that his experience with the fonts guidelines suggested that enforcement was necessary. Later discussion with Jakub Jelínek about the presence of
glibc-devel suggested that it will not be simple to apply this particular guideline to
gcc -static ceasing to behave as expected.
Virtual Provides for Login Managers
Following problems reported with booting to runlevel 5 by default with the
slim login-manager Chris Lumens suggested that "[...] all packages containing a login manager include a special Provides: that we can query on." This would allow
anaconda to determine whether a login-manager is installed without the difficulties of curating a list.
Patrice Dumas, and others, provided a good deal of feedback which seems to have led to a consensus that
Provides: service(graphical-login) will be added to all packages which provide a login manager.
An interesting sub-thread developed in which Colin Walters argued that adding display managers (other than
kdm should be strongly discouraged. This was met with a good deal of disagreement from Tom Callaway and Seth Vidal.
Colin explained that the ramifications of changing such an integral part of the OS were complex and that while anyone should be free to add such software it should also be "[...] within the rights of the people working on the desktop to close any bugs filed by people using something else WONTFIX." Jesse Keating and Seth Vidal seemed to agree that it should be possible for the Fedora Project do define specs to which login managers should conform.
The thread blossomed into several discussions. One focused on the technical challenges occasioned by the interaction of
ConsoleKit. Another saw Toshio Kuratomi and Colin debating the strategic merits of making it more or less easy for interested parties to add their software to the Fedora Project ecosystem.
Reducing the Number of (Dis)Charge Cycles for Laptop Batteries
A certain amount of excitement resulted when Brad Longo asked: "[...] if Fedora's power management tool has something built in so that when the battery reaches full charge, it will then discharge to lets say around 95% before beginning to charge again." The excitement arose from Brad's premise that "[...] leaving your laptop plugged in and charging with a full battery charge is harmful for the battery."
Several responses rejected the premise and pointed out that smart chargers implement trickle-mode charging. Matthew Garrett replied with some specific information about how laptop battery charging happens at a firmware-controlled threshold level. Matthew speculated that Brad wanted "[...] presumably an interface to modify that threshold. This is device specific. The tp_smapi driver (which is not in the kernel for exceedingly dull reasons) allows this to be configured on Thinkpads. I don't believe that we know how to on any other systems." Hans Ulrich Niedermann had an out-of-kernel module for
tm_smapi which was configurable via
Matthew Saltzman reported some experiences with
Windows setting the charge-threshold to 85% which is supposed to lengthen the battery life. Callum Lerwick referenced a Wikipedia article which claimes that the "[...] optimal storage charge for a Li-Ion is %40. Also, heat causes Li-Ion batteries to degenerate much faster, so if you're really worried about preserving your battery, don't leave it in the laptop while it's running. Yet another argument for less power usage. Less power, less heat, longer battery service life. Fewer toxic batteries going in to the land fill if you like that angle."
config.guess Reporting Incorrect Configuration Name ?
Panu Matilainen asked if it was a problem that the
config.guess script from
autotools no longer reported "redhat" as the manufacturer part of the configuration triplet. Panu referenced the documentation which suggests that "[...] the manufacturer part of the configuration name is the manufacturer of the CPU, not
OS vendor' so the former redhat' was always incorrect. I don't know the history behind the decision to stomp
redhat' in there to begin with nor why it was then dropped later on. But having gotten used to it, people occasionally think the unknown' (or `pc' for that matter) is a bug."
While Jakub Jelínek thought that providing the "redhat" string provided more information than "pc" or "unknown" Stepan Kaspal argued strongly that reverting to maintaining such a patch was wrong. He suggested that either upstream should be convinced to change the use of "manufacturer" or that the
%configure macro in the specfile could be used to explicitly avoid calling
From here on the thread became too technically detailed to summarize although it is relatively brief as of going to press. Those learned in the lore of autotools and cross-compilation will find much to gladden their hearts.
Build-time Trapping of Python Syntax Errors
Tim Waugh initiated verification that Python code can be parsed correctly: "[...] since we are already byte-compiling Python code at build time, it is no extra effort to verify that it can be parsed and fail if not."
Reaction was uniformly positive and when Panu Matilainen explained the simple errors which the byte compile would catch and suggested a simple method of determining affected packages Florian Festi took up the challenge.
YUM Plans for Transition to Fedora 12 i686 Architecture
When Paul Howarth asked: "Now that Fedora 11 x86_32 is going to be based on i586 packages rather than i386 packages, does it follow that yum's $basearch will change from i386 to i586 and hence repository directory layouts changing too, or will it stay at i386?" a brief discussion between Seth Vidal and Josh Boyer started with a discussion over whether repositories should be named after specific architectures.
Seth Vidal differentiated between
$basearch and explained: "The whole reason I liked used $arch was that it meant when fedora stopped producing a 586 compatible tree, we didn't stop any one else from making a 586 compat tree and having it available like secondary arches are." Jesse Keating explained that "i386" was a misnomer for the
x86 offering. Josh Boyer was unsure whether i586 would actually "go away" for Fedora 12. Dennis Gilmore was sure that it would and offered: "Anyone who wants to continue i586 support post F11 i look forward to talking to about setting up i586 as a secondary arch."
This section covers the news surrounding the Fedora Translation (L10n) Project.
Contributing Writer: Runa Bhattacharjee
L10n Infrastructure Team
In response to PaulFrields' call for putting in place an L10n Infrastructure team, FLSCo announced a 4 member team to oversee the Fedora Localization Project Infrastructure operations. The team includes DimitrisGlezos, DiegoZacarao, AsgeirFrimannsson and AnkitPatel.
Proposed L10n Infrastructure Plan for Fedora 11
Earlier, DimitrisGlezos had announced a proposed roadmap for the L10n Infrastructure for Fedora 11 Translation period. This included using Transifex version 0.5 for generation and display of statistics in place of Damned Lies and Transifex version 0.3 for submissions. A test interface of this setup is currently available at: http://publictest14.fedoraproject.org/tx/languages/
Sponsor Role for Translation Team Coordinators
FLSCo member NorikoMizumoto has requested all the coordinators for the existing Translation Teams to inform about their FAS account names so that they could be upgraded to the role of "Sponsor". This would help the new members in their team to be approved faster.
New Members in FLP
In this section, we cover the Fedora Artwork Project.
Contributing Writer: Nicu Buculei
Evolving Fedora 11 Artwork
Paul Frields expressed concern on @fedora-art about the artwork process and the Fedora 11 schedule: "The F11 Beta freeze arrives on March 10th, and it would be good to have a background ready somewhat before that so there's time to tweak it before the freeze[.]" In reply Máirín Duffy was confident: "I *think* we're going to be okay. I'll know by Monday whether or not we might have an issue." and called for a work session over the week-end "I am going to cram this weekend and try to iterate on what we've got. If anyone's with me, pop in #fedora-art this weekend :)"
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 Options for Guest Cloning
Cole Robinson posted a patch to enable
"build a guest around an existing disk image, skipping the OS install step."
a patch for
virt-clone which allows for cloning from an XML file
"rather than require the use of a guest defined on the current connection."
Obtaining Guest IP Address from the Host
Thomas Mackell inquired about a way to obtain the IP address of a guest that was easier than logging into it and running
ifconfig. Cole Robinson pointed out
 which is a collection of utilities for interrogating
KVM guests. Tools included are
Fedora Virtualization List
This section contains the discussion happening on the fedora-virt list.
Fedora Virt Status Update
Qemu Packaging and noarch BIOS Firmware
The process  of building BIOS firmwares to support architecturally diverse guests on architecturally diverse hosts
is very involved and repetitive. Glauber Costa learned of changes coming to Koji which could simplify the process by allowing for bundled BIOS images to be built as "
noarch" RPMs. These would be readily available to hosts on any architecture in the repository. Save for some "second class citizens" in the repo.
Fedora Xen List
This section contains the discussion happening on the fedora-xen list.
dom0 Kernel Experimentation Continues
Michael Young continued to help others experiment with the nacent dom0 support in the
and posted another RPM. There are still significant problems precluding its use for anything beyond testing.
This section contains the discussion happening on the libvir-list.
Support for Snapshot Volumes
Nick Moffitt asked "Is there any interface to
libvirtd that allows it to create volumes that are snapshots of existing volumes?"
Daniel P. Berrange pointed out this feature was recently added to
"Basically when creating a storage volume, you just need to pass information about the backing storage volume. It'll thus create a volume which is a snapshot of this backing store."
netcf Network Interface Configuration Library
David Lutterkort has been working on the disconnect between
and host network interface configuration for some time.
(See FWN#159 "Configuring Host Interfaces RFC")
"After talking with Dan Williams, who is working in
", it became clear to David that solving this problem "is also
useful for NM and would help them with handling system-wide interface
configuration." David then began work on
Mark McLoughlin complimented the work and updated the shared network interface feature page. The goal of this feature in development is to "Enable guest virtual machines to share a physical network interface (NIC) with other guests and the host operating system. This allows guests to independently appear on the same network as the host machine."