Fedora Weekly News Issue 160
Welcome to Fedora Weekly News Issue 160 for the week ending January
Announcements notes upcoming events and deadlines for Fedora 11.
PlanetFedora picks up on some communication problems in "General" and
shares "How To" information on disabling the system bell. Developments
rounds up some "Fedora 11 Release Activity" and synopsizes the debate
around a "Minimalist Root Login to X?". Infrastructure is back with some
essential information on "Fedora Security Policy". Artwork shares the
"Fedora 11 Release Banner". SecurityAdvisories provides a handy list of
essential updates. Virtualization explains "QEMU VM Channel Support". We
are pleased to have an AskFedora Q&A covering the advisability of using
the "Ext4 Filesystem on Solid State Disks". Keep sending your questions!
If you are interested in contributing to Fedora Weekly News, please see
our 'join' page. We welcome reader feedback:
FWN Editorial Team: Pascal Calarco, Oisin Feeley, Huzaifa Sidhpurwala
== Table of Contents ==
1.1.1 Technical Announcements
1.1.2 Fedora 11
1.1.3 Upcoming Events
1.2 Planet Fedora
1.3.1 NFS Mounts and Caching DNS Nameserver Problem
1.3.2 Fedora 11 Alpha Release Activities
1.3.3 Minimalist Root Login to X ?
1.3.4 Fedora Geo Spin for USB Key and LiveCD
1.3.5 Draft Guidelines for Approving provenpackagers
1.3.6 Cloning of Bug Reports ?
1.4.1 Why Puppet uses config instead of configs
1.4.2 Fedora Security Policy
1.4.3 Alpha Release Readiness
1.5.1 Fedora 11 Release Banner
1.5.2 Artwork for the Education SIG
1.5.3 Wallpaper Survey
1.6 Security Advisories
1.6.1 Fedora 10 Security Advisories
1.6.2 Fedora 9 Security Advisories
1.7.1 Enterprise Management Tools List
22.214.171.124 Improved Device Configuration Support in
1.7.2 Fedora Virtualization List
126.96.36.199 Fedora 11 Virtualization Features
188.8.131.52 Weekly Status Report
184.108.40.206 New Virtualization Wiki Pages
1.7.3 Libvirt List
220.127.116.11 QEMU VM Channel Support
1.8 Ask Fedora
1.8.1 Ext4 Filesystem on Solid State Disks
== Announcements ==
In this section, we cover announcements from the Fedora Project.
Contributing Writer: Max Spevack
=== Technical Announcements ===
John Palmieri (on behalf of Luke Macken and Mairin Duffy) announced
the Moksha Project and the Fedora Community Project. They have been
consolidating "the Fedora Infrastructure bits under one unified user
interface", and have "decided to split the efforts into two projects."
"Moksha is a platform for creating real-time collaborative web
it simple to create rich applications that can acquire, manipulate, and
visualize data from external services."
"Fedora Community aims at being a portal interface for Fedora Project
members to collaborate within and find information about the diverse
Fedora universe. It is created from applications built on top of the
Moksha platform. Fedora Community is assembled from a wide-ranging set
of modules that integrates existing Fedora Infrastructure components
such as koji, bodhi, FAS, and PkgDB."
Tom "Spot" Callaway announced that the Fedora Packaging Committee has
made some changes to the packaging guidelines. For details, read the
full announcement linked below.
=== Fedora 11 ===
The Fedora 11 Alpha freeze has passed, and "we still have a few
feature pages in need of an update. Several have not been updated for a
month or more," according to John Poelstra. If these pages are not
updated by January 28th, FESCo will be asked to drop the features from
=== Upcoming Events ===
Fedora will have a presence at several events in the next few weeks.
Feel free to join us,
February 6 - 8: Free and Open Source Developers European Meeting
February 20 - 22: Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE)
Also, people are encouraged to register for Fedora or JBoss.org
speaking slots at LinuxTag 2009.
== Planet Fedora ==
In this section, we cover the highlights of Planet Fedora - an
aggregation of blogs from Fedora contributors worldwide.
Contributing Writer: Adam Batkin
=== General ===
Thorsten Leemhuis expressed some concern over important communication
and decisions taking place over synchronous/real-time mediums (like IRC
or conferences like FUDcon) without the ability for people unable to
attend to participate. Michael DeHaan agreed and used a personal
example of trying to maintain software that runs on EL-4 through Fedora
11 to explain the importance. "I have to use the old libraries and
mostly only get to see new releases as things that break API
compatibility or bring new bugs...I care about the environment more than
the technology." Michael continued, "While many developers see Fedora is
about technology, as a mostly "upstream" guy, the joy I find in it is
really just about collaboration and working with people all over the
Jef Spaleta continued a disagreement with Mark Shuttleworth over the
fact that Canonical has yet to open source some of the community-related
components of Launchpad.
Dave Jones mentioned an upcoming change to the p4-clockmod driver.
"It no longer exports a cpufreq interface to sysfs. This will no doubt
have some people complaining that they can no longer change their CPU
frequency. The thing is, they never could." He then explains why such a
feature ever existed.
Harish Pillay compared the new White House website copyright
policy with that of a number of nations.
Sebastian Dziallas and the Fedora Education SIG announced the
preview of an unbranded Education Remix. "As this is still based on F10,
the main purpose is to gather feedback concerning the spin for F11."
Michael DeHaan wrote about some of the advancements being made in
order to support the provisioning of large datacenters and large-scale
virtualization setups under Fedora.
Máirín Duffy showed off some new mockups of screens for the Fedora
=== How-To ===
James Morris explained how to work around an issue where MacBooks
have trouble talking to projectors over the VGA output.
John Poelstra started an interesting thread[3,4,5,6,7,8] (only some
of which was serious) about disabling the system bell. Who knew that
such an ancient component (a relic of computers from decades ago when
soundcards had yet to be invented) could be so interesting?
Tom Waugh described how to transfer e-mail and addresses from
Evolution to Thunderbird
=== Events ===
Fedora Infinity Day 2009, at Presidency University, Dhaka
Lots of videos[2,3] of various Fedora and Red Hat events
== Developments ==
In this section the people, personalities and debates on the
@fedora-devel mailing list are summarized.
Contributing Writer: Oisin Feeley
=== NFS Mounts and Caching DNS Nameserver Problem ===
An update on problems with NFS mounts was posted by Warren Togami. It
was decided that nfs-utils will revert to its pre 2009-01-14 behavior.
=== Fedora 11 Alpha Release Activities ===
There was a flurry of activity related to the Fedora 11 Alpha release
(scheduled for 2009-02-03). Denis Leroy inquired on 2009-01-21
what had happened to the freeze, originally scheduled for the previous
day, and whether all builds in rawhide were queued until after the
freeze. Mamoru Tasaka responded with a link to Jesse Keating's
explanation that the freeze is a non-blocking freeze which allows
targeted fixes to be made. Tom Lane wanted an "all-clear signal that
the alpha tag has been made and we can go back to breaking rawhide ;-)"
Jesse created  the alpha tag and apologized for slacking on it. He
suggested that if many dependencies were going to be broken by Tom's
mysql-5.1 push that Tom should ask for a koji tag specifically to land
it and build all the deps for it before moving it into rawhide
itself.Josh Boyer demonstrated how the Koji command-line can be used
to answer queries about what tags are present:
$koji list-tags | grep f11-alpha
$koji list-tag-inheritance f11-alpha
Rahul Sundaram requested that knowledgeable folks would help build
the Release Notes for Fedora 11 by adding relevant information to the
wiki. After Rahul got the ball rolling, with some information on the use
of ext4 as the default filesystem, the experimental provision of the
btrfs filesystem and more, Richard W.M. Jones added information on the
MinGW windows cross-compiler and Todd Zullinger added information about
The 2009-01-23 Rawhide Report contained some large lists of broken
dependencies which were pounced on by the respective developers. As the
majority were due to the new MySQL mentioned above Jesse Keating
asked why his advice to use a special tag had been ignored. Tom Lane
replied that there had been no objections when he mooted the idea a week
ago and that a non-standard tag would cause more work for affected
developers than the current rebuilds. Jesse re-iterated his request
to "[p]lease consider using it in the future if you're going to break
such a wide array of packages."
Richard W.M. Jones reported problems using yum on Rawhide. Tom
London suggested and Richard W.M. Jones confirmed that reverting to
sqlite-3.6.7-1.fc11.x86.64 fixed the problems. It transpired that
there was indeed an SQLite bug which was quickly fixed by Panu
=== Minimalist Root Login to X ? ===
Warren Togami suggested "mak[ing] root logins from GDM a stripped
down desktop with only a terminal and a menu with only configuration
tools [and making the desktop] ugly and with a very obvious note
explaining why [users] shouldn't be logged in as root."
"Nodata" was among those who wondered if Warren's use cases "[...]
where /home filesystem is full and logins fail, or /home is remote and
inaccessible[...]" were anything other than odd edge cases. Jeff Spaleta
and Chris Adams expanded upon this line of thought: "[...] if /home
is full, can users really not log in? If that is the case, that's broke
and should be fixed. The user should be able to log in and remove
The impetus for this discussion may have been another thread which
asserted that the denial of root login via GDM on Fedora 10 systems made
it too difficult to maintain said systems. The thread yielded good
examples by Jud Craft and Dave Airlie of arguments that such
modifications merely penalized experienced users and failed to enhance
security as the users could just login as root on the console anyway. As
an aside Benjamin LaHaise brought up the issue that Ctrl+Alt+F2 no
longer worked. DanHorák explained that "F2-6 are blocked when you
have getty running on vt1 (/etc/event.d/tty1 is the same tty[2-6]) and
Xorg server runs on vt1 too (gdm runs with --force-active-vt) Then there
are messages like `unable to switch vt' in /var/log/Xorg.log. [Such
behavior] requires manual editing of at least /etc/event.d/tty1, it
should not happen in default setups." Nicolas Mailhot suggested an
imperfect upgrade as another possible cause. A further nugget of
information revealed in the thread was as Fedora 10 had implemented
hiddenmenu as a default in grub it was best to hold down any key once
the BIOS had finished the POST routine. Jesse Keating suggested the
shift key as it typically had no bindings either in BIOS or grub. Andrew
Haley pointed out that many of the recent changes were breaking
established use patterns. Kevin Kofler and Christopher Wickert
suggested that anyone who wished to revert to the previous
status should just edit /etc/pam.d/gdm to comment out
auth required pam_succeed_if.so user != root quiet
Back in the later thread which sought to deal with some of the
difficulties raised above Tom `spot' Callaway suggested: "A `Rescue
Mode' in GDM which goes to a root session with minimal apps, marked as
"Rescue Mode", rather than a root X login (even though it does need root
credentials)." Lyos Gemini Norezel preferred that "[...] the root
login should use the user selected interface (gnome, kde, xfce, etc)"
but Matthew Woehlke emphasized the maintenance benefits of choosing
a single Desktop Environment and forcing that as the safe root login.
Variations on this topic have been covered previously in FWN#133 and
=== Fedora Geo Spin for USB Key and LiveCD ===
Yaakov Nemoy announced a "[...] respin of Fedora with packages for
doing OSM and cartography installed out of the box, or included on a
LiveCD and/or LiveUSB. For OSM people, the primary advantage is a live
usb stick that can be used at mapping parties to save time cono/guring
user computers to do mapping. The USB stick can then be brought home,
and the user can continue doing mapping there."
 Open Street Mapping http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenStreetMap
=== Draft Guidelines for Approving provenpackagers ===
Jesse Keating drafted a definition of `provenpackager' (see
FWN#151[2)]. Alex Lancaster was worried that too many hoops would
mean that maintainers such as himself would lose motivation to continue
As a subsidiary concern Alex was worried that there were still some
packages not being opened up. KevinKofler assured Alex that he would
become a `provenpackager' based up his sterling work and Jesse
confirmed that this redefinition and re-seeding of the
`provenpackager' group was in part to address such concerns.
=== Cloning of Bug Reports ? ===
Jóhann B. Guðmundsson asked for input, in the form of suggestions and
votes, as to whether Bug Hunters (which later seemed to mean testers,
but not triagers) should file a separate bug entry for each of: past
supported release, current release and rawhide or just annotate a bug
for one of the former with a note that it was present in the others.
There was general agreement that mailing list votes were ineffective and
Kevin Kofler objected to the tack taken by Jóhann which seemed to
assume an authority over a decision which would affect not just QA,
testing and triage teams but also packagers and maintainers. It
appeared that the matter would be elevated to FESCo for a decision
but as of going to press this had not happened.
Mark McLoughlin suggested a more flexible policy and warned that
"[...] you can be sure you'll have maintainers who haven't read or
replied to this thread waking up and getting annoyed that they've 3x bug
reports to deal with :-)"
Jesse Keating argued that the multiple bug-entry option was
preferable on four heads: 1) that bugs may have different causes in
their releases; 2) users of past releases will not be helped by closing
bugs on rawhide; 3) bodhi updates are not pushed at the same time; 4)
maintainers are the only people with the knowledge to make such a call.
== Infrastructure ==
This section contains the discussion happening on the
Contributing Writer: Huzaifa Sidhpurwala
=== Why Puppet Uses config Instead of configs ===
susmit shannigrahi asked on the @fedora-infrastructure-list asked
why, in the fedora-infrastructure implementation of puppet when we add a
new file, in the .pp file the path is written as puppet:///config where
as the actual path of the file is in the configs directory. To this
Jeroen van Meeuwen answered  by saying that the [config] fileserver
mount may point to /path/to/configs which may allow this discrepancy to
=== Fedora Security Policy ===
Mike McGrath wrote on the @fedora-infrastructure-list about the
proposed Fedora Security Policy. Mike asked that he would like everyone
in the sysadmin-* group to be compliant with this policy.
On this thread several people commented about changes they would propose
in iptables & 
=== Alpha Release Readiness ===
John Poelstra wrote  on the @fedora-infrastructure-list about the
Alpha Release Readiness meeting on the 3rd Feb 2009. Mike McGrath
replied that he will be attending the meeting on the behalf of the
== Artwork ==
In this section, we cover the Fedora Artwork Project.
Contributing Writer: Nicu Buculei
=== Fedora 11 Release Banner ===
With the Alpha release of the upcoming Fedora 11 approaching fast, Paolo
Leoni created a banner to be used on various websites for the
announcement "Since we are still in a initial session for the official
F11 theme, I've used a simple image to point the birth of a new fedora
=== Artwork for the Education SIG ===
Following a request from Sebastian Dziallas for updated graphics for
the Education SIG, Maria Leandro posted a couple of very cute
graphics, with one of them being the favorite of the team. She still
to add some improvements, incorporating the feedback received.
=== Wallpaper Survey ===
Máirín Duffy reported on @fedora-art about the results of an informal
survey she ran on her blog about the wallpapers used by various
people "So far as I've been able to read through them, they seem to fit
into 3 categories: #1 stick with the default (distro default or desktop
env default) or flat solid color #2 personalized no matter what (photos
they took themselves or photos of family members) or a photo of an
interest hobby (racecars, bikes, hometown, etc) #3 beautiful pictures of
nature, usually with some depth". Máirín is trying to use this data so
the Art Team can come with more useful wallpapers "we should think about
these wallpapers that folks are actually using and try to create
something that they will like having as their desktop background as much
== Security Advisories ==
In this section, we cover Security Advisories from
Contributing Writer: David Nalley
=== Fedora 10 Security Advisories ===
* mumbles-0.4-9.fc10 -
* moodle-1.9.3-5.fc10 -
* uw-imap-2007e-1.fc10 -
* DevIL-1.7.5-2.fc10 -
* ntp-4.2.4p6-1.fc10 -
* nessus-libraries-2.2.11-1.fc10 -
* libnasl-2.2.11-3.fc10 -
* nessus-core-2.2.11-1.fc10 -
* tor-0.2.0.33-1.fc10 -
=== Fedora 9 Security Advisories ===
* amarok-1.4.10-2.fc9 -
* moodle-1.9.3-5.fc9 -
* DevIL-1.7.5-2.fc9 -
* uw-imap-2007e-1.fc9 -
* ntp-4.2.4p6-1.fc9 -
* tor-0.2.0.33-1.fc9 -
* libnasl-2.2.11-3.fc9 -
* nessus-core-2.2.11-1.fc9 -
* nessus-libraries-2.2.11-1.fc9 -
== Virtualization ==
In this section, we cover discussion on the @et-mgmnt-tools-list,
@fedora-xen-list, @libvirt-list and @ovirt-devel-list of Fedora
Contributing Writer: Dale Bewley
=== Enterprise Management Tools List ===
This section contains the discussion happening on the et-mgmt-tools list
==== Improved Device Configuration Support in virt-manager ====
Cole Robinson posted several device related enhancements to
* Support for listing, viewing details of, and removing VM
* Add hardware wizard for sound devices
* Support for specifing the model when adding a network device
=== Fedora Virtualization List ===
This section contains the discussion happening on the fedora-virt list.
==== Fedora 11 Virtualization Features ====
Mark McLoughlin announced the virtualization features in development
for Fedora 11.
Define a mapping of SASL authentication into the VNC protocol, and
implement it for QEMU and GTK-VNC, providing strongly authenticated,
securely encrypted remote access of virtual guest consoles.
* KVM PCI Device Assignment
Assign PCI devices from your KVM host machine to guest virtual
machines. A common example is assigning a network card to a guest.
* KVM and QEMU Merge
Combine the image:Echo-package-16px.pngkvm and
image:Echo-package-16px.pngqemu packages into a single package.
==== Weekly Status Report ====
Mark McLoughlin "started sending out a 'Fedora Virtualization status
report' to folks at Red Hat to keep people informed about what's going
on." Mark also forwarded the report to @fedora-virt. The report
identified 186 open bugs, and included information for effectively
monitoring the package commits on the @fedora-virt-main list.
==== New Virtualization Wiki Pages ====
Mark McLoughlin has been busy revising existing, creating new, and
archiving old Fedora Virtualization wiki pages. You can help.
=== Libvirt List ===
This section contains the discussion happening on the libvir-list.
==== QEMU VM Channel Support ====
Richard W.M. Jones proposed adding support for
image:Echo-package-16px.pngqemu vmchannels to
image:Echo-package-16px.pnglibvirt. A vmchannel is a "communication
channel between [a VM] host and various agents that are running inside a
VM guest." Richard did note that "One problem is that it is
As far as Daniel P. Berrange knew "this support is not yet merged in
upstream QEMU and the syntax is still being debated." This made Daniel
"wary of committing to support it in libvirt" at this time.
The fact that it is a feature only for QEMU did not concern Daniel,
saying "I've no problem adding vmchannel support to libvirt even if its
only [implemented] for QEMU/KVM. If applications/users of it find that
they really badly need it for image:Echo-package-16px.pngxen too, then
someone will step up to [implement] it."
== 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.
=== Ext4 Filesystem on Solid State Disks ===
A question on Ext4, that has already been made the default in the
development tree headed for Fedora 11 was answered by Eric Sandeen, Red
Hat ext4 and XFS filesytems developer.
Contributing Writer: Eric Sandeen
Francesco Frassinelli wrote: "I've read that in F11 ext4 will be the
default filesystem. What about ext4 on solid state disk? Many websites
and bloggers say that it's better to use ext2 because of the journaling,
but in some kind of operation (like applying upgrades) it's sooo slow.
Could we'll use ext4 on our ssd without compromising their life? TBH I
haven't tested ext4 on ssd yet, though we do have some in the lab, I
just haven't done it."
Eric Sandeen replied: "By default ext4 still journals pretty much the
same as ext3 does, so if you want to minimize writes to your flash, it
should not be significantly better than ext3 in that respect. However,
there is a patch to ext4 (merged soon if not already) to allow it to run
in a no-journal mode, so that may be a good option."
Thorsten Leemhuis added: "FYI, it was merged for 2.6.29"