= Fedora Weekly News Issue 106 =
Welcome to Fedora Weekly News Issue 106 for the week of October 15th.
In AskFedora we have "Mobile Phone Internet Dialer" and "Just
To join or give us your feedback, please visit
2. Ask Fedora
1. Mobile Phone Internet Dialer
2. "Just" Thanks
3. Planet Fedora
1. What Fedora 8 feature am I excited about today?
2. Codec Buddy in Fedora 8
3. Frozen for Fedora 8. Brace for impact!
1. Distrowatch on Fedora Artwork
2. Ohio Linux Fest Follow up
3. The Linux Foundation's desktop Linux survey
1. Rawhide Now Friendly To Babies
2. Ensuring SELinux Contexts Track Changed Executable Locations
3. SELinux Wipes Smile Off GDM Facegreeter
4. Proprietary GoogleEarth Craps Out
5. Provides Or Obsoletes?
6. Deploying Noarch Builds To Specific Arches
7. Bootable USB Stick Containing LiveCD ISO (PPC)
8. Opinions Canvassed On Firefox Interaction With Compiz
9. Mock Rebuild Status
10. Two Mass Branches
6. Advisory Board
1. Fedora Board Recap
1. Developing Open Fonts
1. Release Note Deadline
10. Security Week
1. Firefox Security Update
11. Advisories and Updates
1. Fedora 7 Security Advisories
2. Fedora Core 6 Security Advisories
12. Events and Meetings
1. Fedora Board Meeting Minutes 2007-10-16
2. Fedora Ambassadors Meeting 2007-MM-DD
3. Fedora Documentation Steering Committee 2007-10-12
4. Fedora Engineering Steering Committee Meeting 2007-10-18
5. Fedora Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux Meeting 2007-10-21
6. Fedora Infrastructure Meeting (Log) 2007-10-18
7. Fedora Localization Meeting 2007-10-16
8. Fedora Marketing Meeting 2007-MM-DD
9. Fedora Packaging Committee Meeting 2007-MM-DD
10. Fedora Release Engineering Meeting 2007-MM-DD
== Announcements ==
In this section, we cover announcements from Fedora Project.
Contributing Writer: ThomasChung
No Official Announcement was made for this week.
== Ask Fedora ==
In this section, we answer general questions from Fedora community.
Send your questions to askfedora AT fedoraproject.org
and Fedora News
Team will bring you answers from the Fedora Developers and
Contributors to selected number of questions every week as part of our
weekly news report. Please indicate if you do not wish your name
and/or email address to be published.
Contributing Writer: RahulSundaram
=== Mobile Phone Internet Dialer ===
''Balaji Kumar <kkc_balaji AT rediffmail.com> : I am C.Balaji, A
Fedora user and promoter(chosen by myself to be) for past 3 years. i
am in remote area of India. so i can have internet access only through
gsm phones gprs modem.the connection provider was from airtel. almost
35 friends of mine were having internet access only with this type of
connection but i cant connect to internet without windows through my
mobile. i found an application called gprs easy connect for linux
which support many phones. I believe without internet linux will be
boring. also it must provide every way to connect to internet. so if
you add that 6 mb program as default for fedora that would be more
interesting so that more than 1000 people in my own town will have
access to internet in linux platform. Since I am being a open source
promoter i can assure them with most useful tool to connect to the
Taking a quick look at this software, it is under the GPL license
which is acceptable for Fedora and I have added it to the wishlist.
It is however too late for us to evaluating this software and go
through the process of integrating and testing it in time for Fedora 8
but we can look into this before the subsequent release. Note that,
due to space constraints, only the main software packages is available
in the Live images. The rest of the software will be available in the
Fedora online software repository.
=== "Just" Thanks ===
''Don Smith <dmsmith AT tru.eastlink.ca> : I just wanted to say thank
you to all the developers that work on Fedora. I recently installed
Fedora 7 on my Toshiba laptop that came with Vista pre-installed. I'm
NOT a Vista fan. I'm am totally impressed with Fedora 7 and feel it is
miles ahead of Vista. Fedora 7 is excellent!. Thanks for the great
work folks! ''
== Planet Fedora ==
In this section, we cover a highlight of Planet Fedora - an
aggregation of blogs from world wide Fedora contributors.
Contributing Writers: ThomasChung
=== What Fedora 8 feature am I excited about today? ===
Jesse Keating points out in his blog,
"Working wireless out of the box. Intel 4965 firmware is in, works
well, and NetworkManager rewrite leaves me with some pretty damn good
software to manage it."
=== Codec Buddy in Fedora 8 ===
RahulSundaram points out in his blog
"Codec Buddy (Codeina) is the wrapper in Fedora 8 which helps educate
the users on the advantage of open formats or optionally install
multimedia codecs when you click on any multimedia content that is not
supported by Fedora out of the box. To know more about how codec buddy
works and see some screenshots, take a look at the codeina page."
=== Frozen for Fedora 8. Brace for impact! ===
WillWoods points out in his blog
"Hoorj. So, yeah, we are definitely frozen for F8. Now comes the time
when I spend every day staring at the blocker list and poking the bugs
there (and the people responsible for them) and trying to make them
die. The bugs, not the people."
== Marketing ==
In this section, we cover Fedora Marketing Project.
Contributing Writer: ThomasChung
=== Distrowatch on Fedora Artwork ===
RahulSundaram reports in fedora-marketing-list
"The Fedora project has been on the forefront of these initiatives,
which resulted in some of the most eye-catching desktop art and themes
available in any distribution. How do they do it? Learn more in this
interview with Fedora art team lead Máirín Duffy"
=== Ohio Linux Fest Follow up ===
KarlieRobinson reports in fedora-marketing-list,
"Sorry it's been so long getting it published. It's been a really
crazy couple of weeks around here. Todd's article about the Fest."
=== The Linux Foundation's desktop Linux survey ===
RahulSundaram reports in fedora-marketing-list,
"The survey will take only few minutes of your time, and your feedback is
essential in helping us to focus our development efforts and accelerate
the global adoption of Linux desktops and clients. For example, past
surveys highlighted the need to address printing and wireless issues, so
we set up focused workgroups and conferences to help developers and
vendors work out common solutions to these requirements."
== Developments ==
In this section, we cover the problems/solutions, people/personalities, and
ups/downs of the endless discussions on Fedora Developments.
Contributing Writer: OisinFeeley
=== Rawhide Now Friendly To Babies ===
A proposal to change the way in which the release cycle is managed
was posted as an RFC by JesseKeating. The intent of the proposal
was to shorten the amount of time during which developers are unable
to share code due to "freezes" of the always-current development CVS
(known as "rawhide"). A freeze is the temporary removal of the ability
of contributors to check-in newly built packages. This is necessary
to obtain a stable aggregation of packages as a release. The proposal
would see the renaming of "Test1 - Test3, Final" as "Alpha, Beta,
Release Candidate, Final" with no rawhide freeze for "Alpha".
Substantial early feedback from HansdeGoede and ThorstenLeemhuis
welcomed the discussion but challenged many of the assumptions. Hans
declared himself in favor of the current model of early mass
branching but avoiding adding the extra overhead of contributors
having to ask release-engineering to pull specific builds from this
branch into the release.
Jesse responded to Hans objections from the perspective of development
ceasing for a release once the request candidate (RC) is being
composed and that from that point development work should be in
preparing material for the updates-testing repository for that
release, or if there were a compelling reason then release-engineering
would upon request move the update from the branch into the RC. Hans
thanked Jesse for this explanation but returned to his central
objection that maintainers were the people with the expertise (rather
than release-engineering) to decide whether their package should enter
the RC, or stay in the branch. He also argued that there were only
two exit points from Jesse's proposed algorithm: the release branch;
or the devel branch. Hans on his part split the decision into three
parts: benign simple fixes (release branch); non-disruptive updates
(updates-testing); next development cycle. Hans rhetorically wondered
"Isn't our new slogan "freedom is a feature", then I say no to a small
club making the decisions, thats an autocracy. I say power to the
people (power to the maintainers)."
Hans' objection to the bottleneck was answered by MikeMcGrath with a
request for suggestions of who could make the decision about whether
the build would go down any of these paths. Hans argued again for
leaving the decision in the hands of the actual maintainer and when
NicolasMailhot expressed the opinion that "[the maintainer will
always put his package before the distro as a whole" suggested that he
might start looking for another community. Nicolas thought that it
was just a description of human behavior and pointed to the Linux
kernel development model. MikeMcGrath and JefSpaleta also tried
to defend the necessity of a single release-engineering team
co-ordinating the changes. Jef drew the analogy of writers and editors
to attempt to point out that conflicting priorities do not equate to
ill-will, malice or disregard.
Separately JesseKeating responded that there was evidence that
broken trees would result if release-engineering were not there to
check that individual maintainers' decisions were sane for the whole
tree. Jesse also acknowledged that while there were many excellent
maintainers capable of these decisions there were many that only had
the time to do a blanket "build for new upstream release". He argued
that there were three exit points and added that he would be happy to
see more people added to the release-engineering team.
Hans made a detailed reply in which he argued for the greater
trusting of maintainers, with several examples from his own expertise.
He suggested that if there automated checks for the disappearance of
Provides: for packages and consequent tagging of the package requiring
the maintainer to explain the problem or fix it before it can be
pushed. Hans also objected to Jesse's use of the phrase "joe random
builder". A response from JesseKeating detailed the constraints
under which the build process and release-engineering is working,
apologized for any offense taken by the phrase, and emphasized that a
knowledge of, and facility with, package building did not necessarily
translate into appreciating the details of the release process. Jesse
agreed that while Hans' hypothetical automated checking was a good
idea he simply "lacked the bandwidth" to do anything more than he was
doing right now. MikeMcGrath suggested that Hans produce a
ThorstenLeemhuis was also appreciative of Jesse's effort to
address this problem and raised some fresh issues. Thorsten argued
for more frequent test releases, while acknowledging the potential
impact on mirrors. He also commented that there was a lack of users
testing rawhide because of the perception that "rawhide eats babies."
Thorsten sketched out a potential release schedule which would lead to
more stable rawhide in the five weeks before a release. He also
suggested better documentation of ways in which testers can smoothly
transition from rawhide to a stable release. While Jesse was
doubtful that mirrors would be willing or able to cope with rapid
cycling of test releases he agreed that getting test-releases out
earlier was necessary, but should be achieved by ensuring that the
tree was more stable. A detailed discussion of potential release
The issue of being able to upgrade was addressed when RahulSundaram
pointed to the wiki page about updating from one release to another
and Thorsten added information about running the YumShell in
=== Ensuring SELinux Contexts Track Changed Executable Locations ===
On October 13th DanielWalsh posted a heads-up to maintainers to the
effect that if the location of an executable had changed then they
needed to ensure that the SELinux context was correctly reset. Failure
to do this could result in a security vulnerability.
ArjanvandeVen wished that the build system could notice this sort
of thing and send warning emails to which JesseKeating responded
with a "patches accepted" link.
A suggestion was made by KarelZak that it would be better to
maintain a default SELinux label in a similar manner to file
attributes, e.g. ''%attr(4755,root,root) %selinux(foo_t) /bin/foo''.
LubomirKundrak agreed that this was "more
elegant and maintainable than restorecon in scriptlets".
Skepticism was expressed by TomasMraz about the ability to update
file_contexts to prevent loss on the next filesystem relabel and Karel
responded with the suggestion of using more policies and using a
label database. GianlucaSforna and ChristopherBrown both suggested
that having non-experts (w.r.t. SELinux) muck about with contexts in
spec files would not scale well and introduced unwanted complexity.
=== SELinux Wipes Smile Off GDM Facegreeter ===
LouisGarcia asked why GDM did not display a picture when he
apparently had followed the correct steps of placing it in the About
Me "capplet" and had a ''.face'' file in his ~.
A first stab at the problem was taken by BastienNocera when he
suggested checking the permissions of the ''.face'' and home
directory. DavidZeuthen pointed out that this shouldn't be a problem
because the master GDM process runs as root and pipes the faces to the
GDM greeter, but KostasGeorgiou added a twist when he pointed out
that the home could be mounted over the network and that root would
thus not necessarily have access.
When Louis added the information that he was seeing an AVC denial
''SELinux is preventing /usr/sbin/gdm-binary (xdm_t) "read" to
(home_root_t)'' he was asked by LubomirKundrak whether he was
logged-in as root. Lubomir also requested the location of the picture
and asked if he had tried to run ''restorecon'' (to reset the security
 See DanielWalsh's excellent article
Louis clarified that he was not "running as root" and listed the
extended attributes of the ''.face'' file. DanielWalsh suspected
that the file was not in the usual home directory because it had a
context of ''home_root_t'' instead of ''user_home_t''.
investigation showed that Louis whole home directory needed to have
the file contexts restored with ''restorecon -R -v /home''.
=== Proprietary GoogleEarth Craps Out ===
A query was posted by ThomasBaker as to whether anyone had run
GoogleEarth successfully on Fedora 8. He observed that it hung
randomly without passing the server login.
Initial suspicion focused on the hardware but LubomirKundrak
pointed out that hangs occurred for both ''fglrx'' (ATI's
closed-source driver) and Intel's driver. He suggested the alternative
explanation of it being a "pile of proprietary crap", a suggestion
that was not challenged. BenjaminLewis acknowledged that his own
kind provision of an ''strace'' was possibly not of too much use as
both ''fglrx'' and ''GoogleEarth'' were proprietary, but
the instability seemed to parallel the introduction of the
DaveAirlie was torn between blaming ''glibc'' or bits of
asked if anyone could narrow down when it last worked. He then went
ahead and pulled in the latest Fedora 7 glibc into a directory on his
Fedora 8 box and ran the GoogleEarth binary against this older
library with ''LD_LIBRARY_PATH=.:/home/airlied/test/lib
/home/airlied/test/lib//ld-2.6.so ./googleearth-bin'', thus confirming
that the problem appeared to be in ''glibc''.
A response from JakubJelinek identified a bug in GoogleEarth and
also one in ''glibc'' itself.
DouglasMcClendon raised the question of who was working on
providing an alternative by packaging NASA's ''worldwind'' and also
wondering if ''KMarble'' could run on GNOME. KevinKofler answered
that it should run if Qt4 was installed but cautioned that "It doesn't
have all that fancy 3D stuff though".
=== Provides Or Obsoletes? ===
SteveDickson asked for help in using ''Provides:'' and
''Obsoletes:'' in a specfile to resolve file conflicts on a common
configuration file. The problem arose in the specific context of
renaming ''libgssapi-0.11-2.fc8'' to
Because Steve had provided an extract from his specfile and also a
cut-and-paste of the error from the command line he quickly received
multiple answers helpfully pointing out that his error consisted in
trying to install (using ''yum -ihv <packagename>.rpm'') instead of
upgrading (using ''yum -Uhv <packagename>.rpm''). DanielBerrange
pointed out that the install would attempt to proceed in parallel
resulting in a clash on files.
Steve confirmed to JosVos that this was indeed the problem.
MichaelSchwendt was sharp-eyed enough to notice that the NVR of
the package was not sufficient because the presence of a %dist tag
would throw out the comparison. LubomirKundrak expressed strong
agreement and requested that ''Obsoletes:'' tags should _never_
contain "<=". JosVos suggested that just comparing the Versions and
leaving out the Release would be a minimal improvement. In an aside
Jos also wondered why ''gaim'' had been obsoleted by
''gaim < 999:1'' instead of simply obsoleting gaim. MichaelSchwendt
replied that versioned obsoletes kept the door open for
re-introducing a package with the name.
Closing off the thread, SteveDickson thanked everyone for their
help and posted his now fixed specfile.
=== Deploying Noarch Builds To Specific Arches ===
A report of a problem in building a package dependent on IcedTea(an
unencumbered hybrid of Sun's OpenJDK and GNU Classpath) was
posted by DeepakBhole. Deepak noted that Koji allowed "Noarch"
to be chosen and attempted to build the package for x86, x86_64 and
also ppc. The problem was that IcedTea itself only exists for x86 and
x86_64, resulting a failed build on ppc.
AndrewHaley's immediate interest was in finding out why the failure
was happening, and a short exchange with AnthonyGreen explored
whether using ecj would allow the building of IcedTea on ppc, but
the conclusion was to simply avoid the problem: "Just don't
BuildRequire icedtea and all is good."
The recommendation offered by JesseKeating was to use
"ExclusiveArch: i386 x86_64" in the spec and to comment this. Deepak
objected that this would fail to produce packages for the ppc
architecture which could run on it in interpreted mode. AndrewHaley
referenced an IRC discussion in which Deepak had explained the
problem as a disjunction between Fedora policy (allowing building
noarch with IcedTea and shipping all archs) and what the buildsystem
allows. He suggested that the policy be adjusted to fit the
A slightly separate issue was raised by CaolanMcNamara when he
showed that IcedTea generated by default bytecode which was targeted
to a later version than 'gij' can handle. AndrewHaley responded
that it was essential that all packages built with IcedTea use
''-target 1.5'' and this needed to be Fedora policy. JasonTibbitts
asked for someone to write packaging guidelines concerning Java.
The situation was re-assessed by JesseKeating who summed up with
the information that it was not possible to build all packages with
IcedTea at present. Instead everything could and should be built with
'gcj'. These packages then have the possibility to run using either
IcedTea(on selected architectures) or 'gcj'.
=== Bootable USB Stick Containing LiveCD ISO (PPC) ===
The ability to automagically set up a USB stick (containing the
contents of the LiveCD ISO) as a boot device was announced by
JarodWilson. He cautioned that it currently only worked on PPC
Macintoshes and required some manual repartitioning and specification
within Open Firmware.
RalfErtzinger suggested that hard coding the device name into the
script was a bad idea and Jarod agreed and changed this detail.
The script is available for testing and Jarod subsequently
reported booting a MacMini successfully with it.
=== Opinions Canvassed On Firefox Interaction With Compiz ===
The recent acquisition of improved notifications by Firefox had led
JesseKeating to become irritated at the automatic rotation of the
compiz desktop to the cube face containing the Firefox window whenever
an URL was clicked. Jesse modestly admitted to being "strange at
times" and wondered whether other users agreed with him that it would
be nicer not to do this. Instead he suggested that a pulsing Firefox
icon should appear on each face and only when it was clicked would the
face containing Firefox be rotated into view.
The bug number was requested by ChuckAnderson and supplied by EmmanuelSeyman.
Although RalfErtzinger was not using ''compiz'' he had recently
noticed behavior which also irritated him: the foregrounding of
Firefox whenever he clicked a link in another application. JohnDennis
agreed and wanted this behavior off by default.
DavidZeuthen added that when using Metacity workspaces would be
ruined by Firefox jumping into them, but noted the existence of a
patch and Jesse answered that he had built Metacity with the patch
and it would be in Fedora 8.
A further post from KevinKofler wondered what would happen with KWin
and RoddClarkson opened a new can of worms by suggesting that
behaviors should be consistent across desktop managers.
=== Mock Rebuild Status ===
MattDomsch's regular posting of the results of rebuilding Fedora in
Mock (for x86_64) contained a list of 199 packages which had failed
to build. Matt thanked Spot (TomCallaway) for fixing approximately one
hundred and fifty PERL packages. He also pointed out that the version
of Mock in which the builds had been done was MichaelBrown's
pre-release of version 0.8.
PanuMatilainen spotted a fairly simple problem a missing "Requires"
which had caused one of his packages to fail and IgnacioVazquezAbrams
was puzzled as to why one of his packages which used an
"ExclusiveArch: i386" was showing up in the list.
=== Two Mass Branches ===
On Thursday October 18th JesseKeating announced the first mass
branch for Fedora 8 (see discussion in this same FWN#106 "Rawhide Now
Friendly To Babies".) He stated that CVS commits would be disabled
until he announced their re-opening. The next day an announcement of
the re-opening of CVS carried the additional information that the
operation had stalled due to a failure to request all the branches
Later the same day (Friday 19th) Jesse announced that he was ready
for another go and that CVS was again going to be disabled during the
procedure. On Saturday 20th Jesse followed up with the information
that all was going well, albeit a little slowly. He noted that this
was the first trial of using PackageDB completely for branching and
that some areas had been identified as likely candidates for speeding
things up. Meanwhile Jesse unreasonably snatched a few hours of the
weekend to do some housework.
A suggestion was made that the CVS error message during this
period should be changed to something a bit more informative.
== Advisory Board ==
In this section, we cover discussion in Fedora Advisory Board.
Contributing Writer: MichaelLarabel
=== Fedora Board Recap ===
JohnPoelstra has recapped their recent Fedora Board meeting.
Discussed at this meeting were licensing concerns for SPEC files, the
Google start page in Fedora 8, and the future of PowerPC support. Red
Hat Legal had chimed in on the SPEC file licensing and has stated
these files needed to build RPMs should be as open and licensed just
like everything else. The SPEC files should be licensed the same as
the package itself or in "something extremely permissive". The Google
start page is progressing, but no agreement has yet been signed. The
PowerPC ISOs for Fedora 8 will be released in the same fashion as
previous Fedora releases, but for future releases, the PowerPC support
will be dependent upon the Fedora PPC developer community.
== Fonts ==
In this section, we cover discussion in Fedora Fonts.
Contributing Writer: MichaelLarabel
=== Developing Open Fonts ===
After the creation of the fedora-fonts-list, AnneWilson has asked
how to start creating a new free font based upon her favorite
closed-source font. This question was answered by checking out some
resources such as the Open Font Library Wiki and Font Forge
== Translation ==
This section, we cover the news surrounding the Fedora Translation
Contributing Writer: JasonMatthewTaylor
=== Release Note Deadline ===
Well, it's here. The deadline for translation of the Fedora Core 8
release notes is 22-Oct-2007 at 2359. Translations at or greater than
90% complete will be included, there will also be a zero-day build for
those that are close but are still working.
== Infrastructure ==
In this section, we cover the Fedora Infrastructure Project.
Contributing Writer: JasonMatthewTaylor
=== Moin ===
So after much discussion this week about what to do about Moin (the
wiki software) as its performance has been somewhat lacking the
infrastructure team came up with a temporary fix. MikeMcGrath and
MattDomsch came up with a patch that backgrounds the email
notification so the wiki isn't waiting on the email, it just saves and
then the email subsystem takes care of its end. While this is a
temporary fix (until ToshioKuratomi completes a database backend) it
seems to be doing the trick. Thanks guys from all the wiki users!
== Security Week ==
In this section, we highlight the security stories from the week in Fedora.
Contributing Writer: JoshBressers
=== Firefox Security Update ===
This week was consumed with the Firefox security update. A security
update of Firefox will result in the release of Firefox, Seamonkey,
and Thunderbird. This is of course a great deal of work for all the
involved parties. Those programs are rather complex and much can go
wrong along the way. On the plus side though, we have gotten rather
good at dealing with these updates in RHEL and Fedora. All the
interesting bits can be found here:
== Advisories and Updates ==
In this section, we cover Security Advisories and Package Updates from
Contributing Writer: ThomasChung
=== Fedora 7 Security Advisories ===
* tk-8.4.13-6.fc7 -
* openssl-0.9.8b-15.fc7 -
=== Fedora Core 6 Security Advisories ===
* openssh-4.3p2-25.fc6 -
* util-linux-2.13-0.49.fc6 -
* hplip-1.7.4a-3.fc6 -
* openssl-0.9.8b-15.fc6 -
== Events and Meetings ==
In this section, we cover event reports and meeting summaries from
Contributing Writer: ThomasChung
=== Fedora Board Meeting Minutes 2007-10-16 ===
=== Fedora Ambassadors Meeting 2007-MM-DD ===
* No Report
=== Fedora Documentation Steering Committee 2007-10-12 ===
=== Fedora Engineering Steering Committee Meeting 2007-10-18 ===
=== Fedora Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux Meeting 2007-10-21 ===
=== Fedora Infrastructure Meeting (Log) 2007-10-18 ===
=== Fedora Localization Meeting 2007-10-16 ===
=== Fedora Marketing Meeting 2007-MM-DD ===
* No Report
=== Fedora Packaging Committee Meeting 2007-MM-DD ===
* No Report
=== Fedora Release Engineering Meeting 2007-MM-DD ===
* No Report