Fedora Weekly News Issue 164
Welcome to Fedora Weekly News Issue 164 for the week ending February
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
If you are interested in contributing to Fedora Weekly News, please see
our 'join' page. We welcome reader feedback: fedora-news-list(a)redhat.com
FWN Editorial Team: Pascal Calarco, Oisin Feeley, Huzaifa Sidhpurwala
-- Announcements --
In this section, we cover announcements from the Fedora Project.
Contributing Writer: Max Spevack
--- General ---
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
Peter Gordon announced that an update to rb_libtorrent includes a
soname bump that impacts other packages.
--- Upcoming Events ---
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.
-- 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 ---
Michael DeHaan discussed various Linux system configuration applets
and some ideas how to unify/integrate them. On an unrelated note, he
also wrote about HTML Slidey: Slide Shows in XHTML.
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.
Daniel Walsh explained, some SELinux history, voodoo and how to
rebuild bits of the policy RPMs.
Jeremy Katz reviewed the book Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug and
how that applies to web usability.
Red Hat Magazine spotlighted Func, which "makes it easy to write
commands across large numbers of machines remotely and securely".
Ankur Sinha wrote an article about the history of Fedora and its
four core values.
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.
Roland Wolters announced that RPM Fusion ("a merge of several
former Fedora 3rd party repositories providing licence/patent
problematic packages") has entered the testing state.
Ryan Lerch described how to "Create a Lightbulb Icon that follows
the tango! guidelines".
Jack Aboutboul wrote about what can be done to rejuvinate Fedora
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").
Seth Vidal described how to adapt to the change to SHA256 checksums
in yum/createrepo on EL5.
--- Events ---
Francesco Crippa posted some photos from FOSDEM 2009.
-- QualityAssurance --
In this section, we cover the activities of the QA team.
Contributing Writer: Adam Williamson
--- Test Days ---
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!
--- Weekly meetings ---
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.
--- Wiki re-organization ---
Adam Williamson announced that the first phase of the Wiki
re-organization project was complete, with the new front page and 'how
to join in' page for the QA Wiki space put into place.
--- 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 ---
James Laska sent in a report on Semantic, the Laptop.org
Mediawiki extension for managing test reports.
--- 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.
-- Developments --
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
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
libc.a in glibc-devel suggested that it will not be simple to apply
this particular guideline to glibc without gcc -static ceasing to behave
--- Virtual Provides for Login Managers ---
Following problems reported with booting to runlevel 5 by default
with the slim login-manager [Lumens] sugges:ted 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 gdm and 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 GDM, PAM,
gnome-keyring, NetworkManager and 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
--- 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 /etc/sysconfig.
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
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 config.guess. 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
--- 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
Seth Vidal differentiated between $arch and $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."
-- Translation --
This section covers the news surrounding the Fedora Translation (L10n)
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:
AsgeirFrimannsson suggested an alternative approach to use the new
Django supported version of Damned Lies for statistics and to also test
its possible utilisation for translation submission.
--- 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 ---
Peter Belko (Slovak), Seyyed Mohsen Saeedi (Persian), Jorge Izaac
Zavaleta Escalante (Spanish), and Victor Lopez (Spanish) joined
the Fedora Translation Project last week,
-- Artwork --
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 the meantime [[Paolo Leoni and Thomas Kole experimented with an
alternate concept based on world maps, navigation and ships.
-- 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
---- New Options for Guest Cloning ----
Cole Robinson posted a patch to enable virt-install to "build a guest
around an existing disk image, skipping the OS install step." Cole also
posted 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
---- 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 image:Echo-package-16px.pngvirt-mem which is a
collection of utilities for interrogating KVM guests. Tools included are
virt-uname, virt-dmesg, virt-ps, and virt-ifconfig.
--- Fedora Virtualization List ---
This section contains the discussion happening on the fedora-virt list.
---- Fedora Virt Status Update ----
Mark McLoughlin posted two  very detailed weekly status reports
since the last FWN Virtualization beat. Each one is full of details on
the latest bugs and developments in the field.
---- 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 image:Echo-package-16px.pngkernel and posted another
RPM. There are still significant problems precluding its use for
anything beyond testing.
--- Libvirt List ---
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
image:Echo-package-16px.pnglibvirt 0.6.0. "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
---- netcf Network Interface Configuration Library ----
David Lutterkort has been working on the disconnect between
image:Echo-package-16px.pnglibvirt and host network interface
configuration for some time. (See FWN#159 "Configuring Host Interfaces
RFC")  "After talking with Dan Williams, who is working in
image:Echo-package-16px.pngNetworkManager", 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 netcf
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."
-- End FWN #164 --
Fedora Ambassador, Indiana USA