Archive | February 2, 2007

Fedora Board Q&A

Thanks again to BU staff and to gregdek for making this happen.

Reviewing other SotU speeches, Max Spevak presented the Fedora State of the Union. The Axis of Evil: Redmond, RIAA/MPAA and any reasonable large technology company located on the isle of Man. 2nd: a voucher program: one badge entitles one to one FUDPub drink. 3rd: a large budgetary expenditure with no clear goal and no endpoint. “We shall send a Fedora Hacker to the moon.”

What’s my job at RedHat: To oversee all the moving parts of Fedora. Community building whenever we can. External community strong than it was. Internal community building within RedHat: part of the effort is educating what Fedora is within RedHat. Sometimes it appears to run slower in-house than the outer community would wish. Transparency has been another big deal. Working hard to make that better. Private e-mail and chats still happen. The Fedora Board is a big part of that.

Big round of applause for Thorsten Leeman (sp?), leader of Fedora Extras.

Review of last year’s goal:

1. External commits to Fedora Core: moved Core into Extras and renamed it Core. Success!
2. “Fedora Media Project” – Thomas Chung, Fedora Weekly News
3. Fedora Ship-It project: volunteers burning media and mailing it at their own expenses.
4. Fedora Infrastructure: a wild ride. Eliot Lee made that all happen a year ago. He’s moved on to Lulu. Dennis Warren, Mike McGrath, Warren Togami and… missed it.. kept the project running, MM starts working for RH next week.

Results: Punji can build an image customizable to thei needs of the consumers. “Throw some RPMs at it, it dep-solves everything and you get the image you want.” may be too optimistic. Let the KDE group own of the community image of KDE-Fedora?

“I think of Fedora as the conscience of RedHat.”

OLPC Rocks!

Yeah, I’m not the first to notice this. The specs, details and pictures are available in a lot of places, better than I could summarize. Interesting things I got out of the presentation: lots of Python (yeah!), this is a great example of dogfooding (discovering useless ticking of kernel that eats CPU power, heats data centers and leads to global warming) in this case means little kids stuck pedaling, and that brings it home for the OLPC developers. The code they will be turning back into the Fedora, Red Hat and Open Source communities will run faster and cooler. They’ve pushed dbus further than before, turning a lot of poor “loop until something happens” code into subscribe-and-notify messages. They’re cleaning up sloppy dependencies where everthing needs Perl (their example, don’t flame me) but hardly use it for everything.

The display is cool. 1900×800 in hi-resolution monochrome for outdoor use, Those 1900 black pixels become individual red, green or blue pixels for a lower resolution backlight color display. Very clever. They replaced the most expensive individual unit in a laptop with, well, a $50 most expensive unit in the OLPC.

It’s an elegant machine.

Tag: fudconboston2007

What we’re doing with Fedora Seven

Arbitrary division between Core and Extras. Decision to move everything into one build system, one compose system, one distribution. Many reasons: spread out the load, many eyes -> shallow bugs. If anyone can create a “spin” of Fedora. Red Hat does a good job of engineering the core, the build, the methodology. By enabling Fedora to be accessible to many, specialists can turn Fedora to their uses.

1. Getting source code control merged.
2. Getting packaging standards up-to-date. For example, SysVInit, conditional builds depend on files that haven’t existed forever.
3. Adding new features to the build systems. Currently using Plague. (ref. Jessie’s talk this morning)
4. Punji – “anyone can compose a Fedora distribution”

New feature: simple ways to customize a distribution. Punji only lets you pick packages. This is more parameters: ex. start some services by default. Changing the default desktop. Could be done now with a Kickstart file, but that’s an ugly post-build solution.

Fedora Update System: Luke Mecken (?) is working on this. In-house, developer pushes a fix, with a short description, what bugs are fixed, etc. Depends on internal build system at Red Hat. Hope to target Fedora, Extras, and EPEL (Extra Products for Enterprise Linux).

User-oriented features: wireless support. Next-gen wireless support “DeviceScape.” (whole list on the wiki). Nuevo device support. nVidia support a licensing issue – only 2-D freely distributable. Nuevo project is reverse-engineering 3-D support.

Fast-user switching, he says “about time, Windows has had this for years.”

Lots of little fixes: noisy apps the wake up the kernel 10 times a second, startup stuff that times out waiting for hardware you don’t have. A “tickless” kernel. R&R 1.2: from the community. Online detection of device installation and removal, rotation and resizing.

KVM virtualization, which Jeremy talks about later.

Q&A: how about a Migration Wizard that notices that you’ve got FireFox and Thunderbird on your NTFS partition and offers to migrate the settings to Linux? (A: Hmm. NTFS may be an issue, but the code is out there.) How about full disk encryption for laptops (partial answer: no, portions only: home, swap, data, using ecryptfs.) Q: Version numbers: will we ever see 10?

Project Smolt: instrumenting what applications are used. Very sensitive to privacy issues. The LHCP is a larger-scoped project for building databases of hardware compatibility.

SysVInit replacement: there’s a horse race with several competitors. Opinions about what’s what appear to be all over the map. A replacement has to be compatible, support thrd-party packages and broken init scripts, and maintain LSB compatibility. Q whether LSB compatibility is met for init scripts and discussions on their vagueness.

How close is the Core-Extra merge? In process, targetted for Test 2.

Q: on the build system, which dissolved into indecipherable acronyms.

Tag: fedoraboston2007

SELinux Modules

Dan Walsh of Red Hat talks about SETroubleshooter that translates the gobbledegook error messages from SELinux and better explain what the issues are. Tool audit2allow generates the SELinux macro language (audit2allow’s been around for a while). audit2allwo -M builds a module and prompts the user the commands needed to incorporate it: a te file for type enforcement, a pp ‘policy package’ that contains the policy and a compiler that generates a .mod file.

Package selinux-policy-devel provides the tools to generate a new policy that can confine an application . Policygentool takes a ModuleNane and an Executable as parameters. Dan used the smart card daemon as an example. He used the tool and generated a basic template, started the service, viewed the logs, added in the policies needed to support the behaviors of the tool and re-generated the module. “Lather, rinse, repeat.”

There’s a package on the FC6 called policycoreutils-gui which I think is called system-configure-selinux (Dan didn’t have it installed) that will let you do much of this without working from the command windows.

Tag: fudconboston2007


Bryan Clark shows how Mugshot is linked to digg and and his blog and picasa and flickr and google video and yahoo video and… whew! Live client for Linux and Windows. See what your friends are doing, posting, reading, playing music. Mugshot can be the overarching links of IM, email, digg, and more. With a centralized server, you could open a VM on a foreign machine and have it bring down your web presence environment. Primarily they are working on client. Server is open sourced, but not well documented. They are supporting 5000 users on two boxes and believe they can scale. Sarbannes-Oxley and other regs would require a lot of corporate users to work on something inside their firewall or with auditing. Will be interesting to see how it grows.

Tag: fudconboston2007

Fedora Core Release Engineering

Jessie Keating, F13 (’cause his keyboard goes up to 13). Fedora Release Engineering. Very open topic – how its done, how he’d like to get it done. New build system trying to get open-sourced from RedHat, replacing Plague.

His job: marshall package collection and keep them working. “DistFC7” is a package collection of everything in FC6 plus Extras. “Rawhide” nightly build. Regularly, create a freeze. Tags are fairly inexpensive, so “F7Test1” is easy to apply. Spin off freeze, run intensive tests on that tag. Different “spins” or collections of tests are done for each frozen tag: desktop, server, KDE “spins” are coordinated by Jessie. Questions remain on how to triage failed builds – what qualifies as a showstopper.

Pungi” builds a distribution from a manifest, based on multiple languages and architectures. Reads from core repositories, extras, locals, finds the “best” module, resolves all of the dependencies to build a tree of source. Hands off the anaconda tools, build-install, that actually creates images. Next step involves sorting the many package dependencies to create a package order that would allow install from CD1, CD2, CD3. There’s a magic XML file called “comps” that is a combination of experience, black magic and wild guesses. Then, making ISO file systems requires its own black magic as there are a lot of obscure flags that differ depending on the target of i386, PPC, 64-bit and so forth.

Needed: post-build validation before handing things off to QA. Bloat is an issue: a 9-CD, 2DVD distro is hostile, expecially to bandwidth-expensive. Would like to create some different images that don’t include the kitchen sink: “desktop” that’s a browser, chat, email, etc. “server” is a base set plus a set of optional servers. “KDE” spin. Would like to be able to add additional recipies, like an “Eclipse” spin that has a fully-configured install with all the dev tools ready to go. Need help with fine-tuning the manifest. Sorting through the (many bizarrely-named) hardware packages. Need help with “comps” – how to overlay the different issues of dependencies and choices, mandatory, default and priorites.

I never knew how sausage was made 😉

Oh, and then there’s the issue of updates…

Tag: fudconboston2007

I’m Blogging This…

Live from FUDCon Boston 2007 at Boston University’s Photonics Center. Wifi provided by the Fedora group, beautiful facilities. The Unconference format got presenters to do a 2-minute elevator pitch for their sessions. We took a break and voted on the sessions we wanted to attend, and the organizers shuffled the large and small rooms and time slots and I’m sitting in the first sesion on Mugshot.

Got to see a neat piece of hardware presented by an foaf as we got coffee. The Pepper Pad is a lightweight Linux-based, AMD Geode-based handheld Etch-A-Sketch sized device with full video capabilities, wireless networking, USB, and lots of features. It’s based off Fedora Core 4 with their own yum repositories. Nice form factor, major cuteness factor.

Tag: fudconboston2007

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