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Archive for August, 2008

openSUSE’s MirrorBrain and a New Lizard in China

August 29th, 2008 by

Do you know openSUSE’s MirrorBrain?  I have been working on it for over a year now. It is a mirror framework which is open source and can be used by anyone.

The other day, I received the following sentiment:

I fully appreciate your work. In my view openSUSE has the best managed download mirroring in place! Only few come close!

It was the admin of one our our mirrors who wrote this. A large one, which does mirror more than 100 projects other than openSUSE.

It is nice to see (and important for us) if mirror admins are happy. Mirrors are crucial to get openSUSE out to you. Without mirrors, we are nothing. Our little download server could not serve you on its own. download.opensuse.org receives 15.000.000 to 40.000.000 requests on a normal day. But together with the friendly organizations that mirror us, we have been serving at least 25-30 gigabytes per second (!) to you at peak times.

A lot happens behind the scene to make sure that openSUSE is continuously and easily available. If you never actually notice anything about it, then it only means we are doing well!

For instance, I am always searching new mirrors. One of the biggest recent achievements was that Coly Li, our Chinese friend, installed the first “real openSUSE” mirror in China: http://www.lizardsource.cn/. In China mainland, there are already several sites that mirror opensuse, now lizardsource.cn is the first opensuse specific mirror and the largest openSUSE mirror so far.

When talking to Coly about the situation in China, he provided the following insight:
(explanatory comment: GFW refers to the censorship system, nicknamed Great Firewall of China)

Our motivation is:

1) international internet connection is slow from China mainland, no matter GFW exists
2) Most of universities and institutes use CERNET, they can not connect to international internet directly.
3) South China and North China use different public internet networks, inter-connections is very slow.

There are several opensuse mirrors in China already, but they are 1) limited to a small group of people, or 2) slow for non-charge users, or 3) out of maintenance.

lizardsource.cn can be accessed from both universities, institutes, south China, north China. The download speed within China mainland is much faster, people from universities observed 200KBytes persec. That’s the advantage and importance of lizardsource.cn.

Some other mirrors I could acquire last month (good ones) were in Nicaragua, South Africa, Indonesia, Poland, Latvia and other countries.

On the more invisible side, last week I have extended the mirror framework so that it can run in multiple instances on one machine; this may open up some interesting applications later, because we could run a separate redirector for separate file trees, with a different set of mirrors.

Gerard Fàrras, one of our GSoC students, is working on incorporation of a metalink client into YaST/zypper. Once that is implemented, it will make our package installer much much more robust against all sorts of network issues. A working prototype exists!

Currently, I am researching on a somewhat complicated idea to achieve a more fine-grained mirror selection scheme. More on that later maybe.

The outdated wiki pages that list mirrors need to be replaced by real-time lists generated from the mirror database. I don’t know when I/we get around to do this. If anyone would like to hack on a web frontend for the mirror database (I am picturing a TurboGears app that integrates with the existing Python mirror toolbox), contribution would be most welcome; let me know if you are interested!

See http://mirrorbrain.org for more info about the framework we use. Info for site operators interested in mirroring us is to be found here.

openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 36

August 28th, 2008 by

news    Issue #36 of openSUSE Weekly News is now out!
In this week’s issue:

  • Hack Week III
  • openSUSE Election Committee Founded
  • openSUSE at Utah Open Source Conference
  • T&T: Accelerate your build speed with Icecream
  • linux.com: A video tour of openSUSE 11 (with KDE 4 desktop)

openSUSE at Utah Open Source Conference

August 25th, 2008 by

See the openSUSE Project at the Utah Open Source Conference this week!

The Utah Open Source Conference is going on August 28 through August 30 at the Salt Lake Community College. The openSUSE Project will be hosting a table to show off the latest and greatest in openSUSE, and Novell and openSUSE also will have several speakers/talks on the agenda including:

As part of Hack Week, we’ll also have a room set aside for Hack Week III participants, so you can watch the hacking in real time.

The schedule runs from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. local time Thursday and Friday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. See the full schedule on the UTOSC Web site: http://2008.utosc.com/speaker/schedule/, and the events and activities here: http://2008.utosc.com/pages/events/.

We’re also looking for more volunteers for the openSUSE booth at the show. Please contact Zonker if you’re interested.

openSUSE Election Committee Founded

August 24th, 2008 by

We now have founded an openSUSE Election Committee consisting of:

  • Claes Backstrom (Community)
  • Andrew Wafaa (Community)
  • Marko Jung (Novell)
  • Vincent Untz (Novell, deputy)

The openSUSE election committee will organize and oversee the first openSUSE Board election, the board has authorized it to decide any open questions on the elections. Members of the committee have agreed to refrain from standing for the election to ensure a fair and impartial process.

The openSUSE board consists of four selected members (two Novell employees, two non-Novell employees) and the Novell appointed chairperson.

For details of the Board election, see http://en.opensuse.org/Board_Election/2008.

The Election Committee will soon write their own announcements about the elections.  You can reach them via election-officials@opensuse.org.

If you like to vote for the new board, please apply as member, details are available in the wiki.

On behalf of the current board, I’d like to thank the committee members for stepping up and look forward to a good election,

Andreas

openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 35

August 22nd, 2008 by
news

Issue #35 of openSUSE Weekly News is now out!

In this week’s issue:

  • openSUSE 11.1 Alpha2 is available
  • Hack Week III is almost here!
  • openSUSE to add SELinux Basic Enablement in 11.1
  • Masim Sugianto: Linux Distribution Popularity Across the Globe

Hack Week III is almost upon us!

August 22nd, 2008 by

Hack Week III is almost upon us! Novell is once again sponsoring Hack Week, from August 25th through August 29th, and we want the openSUSE community to be in on it!

What’s Hack Week? Hack Week is a chance for Novell’s developers to work on Innovation Time Off (ITO) projects, uninterrupted by normal hacking duties. This helps provide an opportunity for Novell’s developers to work on innovative new projects they might not normally be able to work on. Since most of the projects developed during Hack Week are open source, this also benefits the community by providing new code.

During Hack Week, developers can work on any project of interest. So far Hack Week has spawned a number of impressive projects and improvements, such as Debian package support in the openSUSE Build Service, Tasque, Giver, and many others.

For HW3, we’re encouraging members of the openSUSE community to get involved as well, either by working on their own Hack Week projects, or by collaborating with Novell developers to create or enhance open source projects. To post your ideas or see what others are working on, visit ideas.opensuse.org. We’ll have awards for several Hack Week projects, including best overall project, and the coveted First Penguin Award.

As part of the effort to expand Hack Week outside of Novell, we’re bringing several community members to Novell offices to work with Novell developers on HW3 projects, and we’ll be hosting a Hack Week room at the Utah Open Source Conference next week, August 28 through August 30. For questions or comments on Hack Week, please contact Andreas Jaeger.

Last Call for openSUSE Survey

August 21st, 2008 by

Don’t miss to participate at this year’s openSUSE survey and tell us how you use openSUSE, what’s good or not so good about it or what you’d like to see in future releases. In seeing how you’re using your computer we can improve openSUSE to match better your needs. The results will be published shortly after the end of the survey here – the page of our usability experts where already some other surveys and information with regards of usability are displayed.

The survey will be online till Aug 31st and we raffle under all participants some openSUSE t-shirts and caps. So, don’t miss the survey and have a lot of fun!

openSUSE to Add SELinux Basic Enablement in 11.1

August 20th, 2008 by

We have exciting news for security enthusiasts, experts, and paranoid people!

Beginning with openSUSE 11.1, SUSE users will have an additional option regarding security frameworks. In addition to AppArmor, we will be adding SELinux capabilities in openSUSE 11.1, which will allow users to enable SELinux in openSUSE if they wish.

While our customer experience shows that AppArmor is the best solution for the vast majority of users, applications, and use cases, we want to give all of our users the ability to choose the security framework that’s appropriate for their respective environments and needs.

(more…)

openSUSE at FrOSCon!

August 18th, 2008 by

Join the openSUSE Project this weekend, Saturday August 23, and Sunday August 24, at third annual FrOSCon. FrOSCon is a two day conference on Free Software and Open Source, taking place at the Fachhochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg in Sankt Augustin near the cities of Bonn and Cologne.

Come to the openSUSE booth to meet other openSUSE community members, and get your own copy of the openSUSE 11.0 DVD if you don’t have one already! You can also catch Marko Jung’s talk on his concept of a trust system for the openSUSE Build Service on Sunday, at 11:15 a.m. in lecture room HS5.

In addition to the openSUSE-related activities, the whole conference program features many highlights. On Saturday, Andrew S. Tanenbaum will give a keynote on “Minix 3 – A Reliable and Secure Operating System”, held at 12:45 in HS1 Tanenbaum is a professor of computer science at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. He became famous as developer of the system Minix. In 1992 he caused a sensation by criticizing Linux as an obsolete operating system.

On the second day of the conference, PHP inventor Rasmus Lerdorf will give his keynote titled “Simple is hard.” Lerdorf will talk about the trouble of finding a simple solution and the increasing affinity to comlexity which causes problems in performance, scalability, and security.

If you’d like to help with the openSUSE booth at FrOSCon, we’re still looking for additional volunteers. Please contact Marko Jung.

openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 34

August 18th, 2008 by
news

Issue #34 of openSUSE Weekly News is now out!

In this week’s issue:

  • Announcing ENOS 2008
  • Join the openSUSE Proofreading Team
  • Announcing Hack Week III
  • openSUSE TV