We are pleased to announce our new openSUSE Weekly News 161.
Table of Contents
- Hackweek VI
- Status Updates
- In the Community
- New/Updated Applications @ openSUSE
- Security Updates
- Kernel Review
- Tips and Tricks
- Planet SUSE
- openSUSE Forums
- On the Web
We are pleased to announce our 161 issue of the openSUSE Weekly News.
You can also read this issue in other formats. Just click here.
Enjoy the reading :-)
Counter for openSUSE 11.4
Apart from being a tasty Bavarian bread-snack, Bretzn is a code-name for a collection of
technology aimed at solving a problem which has existed in software development for a very
long time: “How do you get your applications to your users?”
Screenshots of the Bretzn plugin interface This is particularly a question for the many
developers of applications that are not part of a project like GNOME or KDE. These developers
must either provide binaries for a range of distributions themselves or hope that distribution
volunteers will do the packaging for them. Don’t they all dream of a better solution?
In the open source community, we already have many individual bits of this dream in place.
We have of course our powerful here
(scroll to the comments) Nokia might be interested in adding support for other
platforms like Windows and Mac OS X too! Moreover, we have the Open Collaboration Services
(OCS) which allows for the easy, socially networked publishing of packages both to and from
central software download sites such as openDesktop.org and KDE-Apps.org as well as
application stores like Meego/Maemo and we have many powerful integrated development
environments such as Qt Creator, KDevelop and Eclipse.
Until now these technologies and tools made up mostly isolated islands and it seemed an
obvious choice to try bridging them. A project aiming to do just this began in August 2010 and
was first publicly announced by Frank Karlitschek at the openSuse Conference in Nuremberg in late
October: Project Bretzn would make it possible, with a few clicks, to publish software
projects directly from the IDE – and it would all happen before the end of the year!
Connecting the Dots
Figure 1. The openSUSE application manager
Project Bretzn, then, is not a single piece of software, but rather an attempt to fill in
the holes which exist in what is already there. As it stands, the project has produced two
core pieces of software:
A thin client in the shape of a Qt Creator plugin, accessed through the Tools menu
in the IDE. The plugin lets you perform all the actions required to get data sent to the
various build services and publishing sites, by contacting the server part, which then
distributes the information to the appropriate places. The implementation of this also
prompted amending the Attica library with new features. As some will already know, Attica Figure 1, “The openSUSE application manager”is a full featured implementation of a OCS client library
built by KDE which is now officially included in the MeeGo platform. The Qt Creator
plugin is developed so that it is based on a thin library to make its functionality
easily portable to other IDE’s like Anjuta or Eclipse – consider this an invite!
A server library, designed to plug into the OCS reference server implementation as
published by the Social Desktop
project. This is the part of the system which draws the lines between the
dots: It contacts any number of build services that you request your software to be
built on and when you request it, it publishes the packages resulting of those build
jobs on the distribution sites and services. The publishing system requires only of the
remote sites that they implement the content module part of OCS, which many places
Figure 2. Ubuntu Software Centre (from wikipedia)
Moreover, work on a KDE client to download and install applications has started at the
recent openSUSE Bretzn sprint in Nuremberg. The screenshot in this article shows a first
prototype. And at the Cross-distribution meeting on an application installer, just before the Bretzn
sprint was held, it was decided the GNOME desktop will receive a client most likely based on
Ubuntu’s Software center. Figure 1, “The openSUSE application manager”
Most importantly, all this has the distinction of being open: not only is the source code
for the software above freely available as you would expect, but the web API created as the
communications layer between those two components is free and open, and indeed a part of the
Open Collaboration Services specification as of version 1.6.
The best software is that which gets out of your way to let you do your work, and Bretzn
was designed with this in mind. What this means is that when you are ready to publish your
software, you call up the tool and enter the required information only once. If the same
information is required for multiple publishing sites, the plugin will take care of that. The
source archive is created for you when you select which folder contains your source code, and
you only need to select the targets you wish to build for to get binaries for your application
for all the platforms.
Even with the build services, building the binary packages does take a while. So, Bretzn
was designed to not require you to follow this all the time, but rather as a system in which
you create the build jobs, and then simply close the plugin and let the build service do its
magic while you continue working on other things.
When publishing the software, you will normally have to give notice to many people and
organizations if you wish for that knowledge to be spread. Through Bretzn, this information
can be pushed to these people as the publishing happens. Information can be shared through the
social networking features of the Open Collaboration Services on the sites the application is
published to. For example, users may be subscribed to updates about a single application, or
to activities performed by a friend, which are for example the publishing of
Who build it?
The project is a collaboration between h i v e 01,
Open-SLX and Nokia, and specifically it has been the task of Sebastian Kugler, Dan Leinir
Turthra Jensen and Frank Karlitschek to get the project working. Over the last four months,
they have been working tirelessly to construct the bridges which make up the Bretzn project,
both in software by writing the code, and socially by speaking with a lot of people about the
goals of the project to find out just what is needed, as well as making those whose systems
Bretzn bridges aware of what they have been doing. Part of the latter was being involved with
the Cross-distribution meeting on an application installer.
And, It Is Available Right Now
Though the majority of the code has been developed in the open, the various bits of code
have now been officially released:
We invite you, the developers of the world, to use the results of this project and bring
your software to the world directly from Qt Creator and help us bring this to other IDE’s like
Eclipse but also vim and Emacs. And finally: Since all of this software is released under free
licenses, the team further invites you to join the development of the Bretzn components
themselves – not only in their current incarnations, but also to add functionality like
Facebook, identi.ca, blogger and Twitter plugins to spread the word there.
Work on an Application Installer to access the application has also started in the Bretzn sprint we recently had at the openSUSE offices in Nuremberg.
Find the code and packages here:
You find more information about Bretzn on the
Bretzn opendesktop.org website!
article contributed by Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen
We will be updating our certificates for *.opensuse.org and *.suse.de today, sometime
between 19:00 and 22:00 UTC. We will be upgrading to a 2048 bit certificate, which will
provide better security for the site. We are also switching to a different vendor who can
provide us more efficient support. We plan on chaining the certificate up to the Entrust root
It is possible that a small portion of the community may experience some issues with this
switch. Specifically, any system previous to SUSE 10 may not have the Entrust CA in its system
certificate store. For these systems, utilities such as wget may present an error when trying
to pull a resource from opensuse.org over an SSL connection. The solution is to either run
wget with the “–no-check-certificate” option or to add the Entrust root to the system
certificate store (found in /etc/ssl/certs). Browsers and cURL use their own certificate store
and should not be affected by this switch, even on older systems.
If anyone discovers an issue after we make the switch, please contact
I have been using KVM a lot,
but never took time to understand how kvm works. I used some time from this hackweek to get
rid of that regret.
Virtual Machine eXtensions instructions allow trap-and-emulate virtualization. And KVM
exposes VMX in a convenient way to userspace in Linux. Virtual Machine Monitors(VMM) like
qemu-kvm use the KVM API exposed by linux to
emulate virtualize software.
x86_64 processors boot in real-mode. In this mode it can
use only 16-bit addresses, ie., upto 1MByte RAM. The execution would begin at physical address
0xFFFFFFF0. Then the software has to switch to protected mode
where protection and paging is possible. Paging is optional, but almost all OSes use demand
paging extensively. Now 4 GBytes of linear address space is used. And then CPU can be switched
to long mode i.e., 64-bit mode. Paging should be disabled in
32-bit mode, before switching to long mode. There are also other modes of operation like
virtual-8086 mode to allow executing legacy real-mode
software from protected mode, SMM for OS transparent
execution of OEM specific code.
I had limited time and very very limited skill at hand. So aiming for the sky was not an
option. Hence wrote a very simple VMM that directly starts
the guest at address 0H, in 32-bit protected mode with paging disabled. And supports only insb
and outsb as the only form of interaction possible for the guest. The guest is a simple
static linked 32-bit program that doesn’t use any library, and linked to start from
0×0. The guest simply reads a byte using insb and sends byte+1 back via outsb. The guest would
halt, when it gets the, “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything“. The VMM
reads the byte value to pass to the guest from stdin and prints its response in stdout.
The KVM API is really very easy to understand and use. But some knowledge of the
processor was required to make use of it. Intel manuals helped there. I don’t have good
understanding of things yet, but something is better than nothing.
I was occupied by quite a lot of things in life and work in the recent past. So I wasn’t
really planning to participate and make this a real hackweek.
Also a National holiday for Republic day of India, bang in the middle of the week prevents this hackweek from
being a long hackweek! But seeing videos of my colleagues
from various parts of world having fun, I couldn’t resist and decided to go for the virtual hackweek. I thank my employer for giving me this protected hackweek, and let me learn/do things protected from
Figure 3. LiveView Device
Last week we had a Hackweek at Novell. I decided to do something rather unusual for me –
to hack a device. I bought one of these nifty LiveView Figure 3, “LiveView Device” devices made by Sony Ericsson, which are basically an intelligent watch
that can connect to your mobile phone using Bluetooth. Unfortunately, it turned out to be
rather unusable with Android devices (lots of Bluetooth disconnects), but supposedly a
firmware update is on its way. After I saw that, I was somehow disappointed but I thought
there must be a way how to reverse engineer a protocol and try to connect the device to my
computer. I started to look around on the Internet and found a great blog by Andrew de Quincey. What was even more cool was
that Andrew already did most of the job and wrote some code in Python. All I had to do is to
wrap it into classes to make it more general and thus customizable. So what’s next? My dream
is to create a custom open-source firmware and flash the device. I hope I can achieve this
with help of hardware wizards from our Prague
hackerspace. The source code is available from gitorious as usual. Do you think that
Hackweek lasted only until Friday for me? Well, not really, keep reading … :-)
It’s been a long time since I was in touch with Enlightenment, back in the young days I
used it as my first alternative Desktop Environment on Windows, before actually daring to
switch to Linux.
Today I hear that version 1.0.0 of the core libraries have been released. Reason enough
to actually look into this again. So 1 hour, many build failures and successes later, I have
the entire core-stack built in my obs repository home:dimstar:Enlightenment. The window
manager Enlightenment itself is not yet released as full release, but the latest snapshot
can be found in my repo as well.
But that’s it so far: all core libraries are built. Nothing more. I did not even have
time to test them yet.
If you feel adventurous, go, add the repository obs://home:dimstar:Enlightenment to your
system (published for openSUSE 11.3 and Factory) and start playing with all of the things,
starting with the window manager, which should generally pull in the rest. What should be
zypper ar obs://home:dimstar:Enlightenment Enlightenment zypper in enlightenment
This will add my home repository to your catalog list and install enlightenment
including dependencies. One logout later, you should see Enlightenment as a new session type
in your *DM.
Have a lot of fun and share your experiences… I will test it after I get some
I just pushed a new osc feature to git master which allows you to edit a submit
action. Use case: suppose you review a request (which has at least one submit action) and
you find a small typo (for instance in the spec file) but except the typo everything is
fine. So instead of declining the request you can fix the typo, create a new request
(which contains the fix + the original changes), accept the newly created request and
supersede the original request (that’s basically what osc does behind the scenes).
# request with id 80 needs a small fix marcus@linux:~> osc rq show 80 –edit Request: #80 submit: home:Admin/foo -> home:foobar/dest delete: home:foobar/xxx Message: deletes package xxx and fixes dest. State: new 2011-01-30T15:04:03 Admin Comment: <no comment> A /tmp/osc_editsrr2iDcI/test.spec A /tmp/osc_editsrr2iDcI/src.tar.bz2 At revision 1. Checked out package ‘foo.home_Admin’ to /tmp/osc_editsrr2iDcI. \\ Started a new shell (/bin/bash). Please fix the package and close the shell afterwards. marcus@linux:/tmp/osc_editsrr2iDcI> # fix it and commit changes marcus@linux:/tmp/osc_editsrr2iDcI> exit exit Request: #None submit: home:Admin:branches:REQUEST_80/foo.home_Admin(cleanup) -> \\ home:foobar/dest delete: home:foobar/xxx Message: <no message> d(i)ff/(a)ccept/(b)uildstatus/(e)dit/(s)kip/(c)ancel > a -m “accepted request and \\ applied small fix” Supersede original request? (y|N) y marcus@linux:~>
By the way you can also do it manually (osc rq clone <id>; osc co <clone
project>; fix package(s) and commit changes; create a new request, accept it and
supersede original request).
Build Service Statistics. Statistics can found at Buildservice
Some time ago a openSUSE user mentioned to me if we had synapse available for openSUSE or
what was required to have it around. I took a look into it and asked some advice in
#opensuse-gnome regarding the availability of libzeitgeist which is one of the
requirements to build this piece of software.
Some time ago Federico Quintero has posted a message on
the opensuse-gnome mailing list regarding his work on the Zeitgeist stack. The rest of the
dependencies for this package are provided by my work on the availability of Ubuntu’s
software on openSUSE. From my work I took dee and libappindicator and builded a test package of synapse on home:ketheriel:ayatana. This package is here until I see this dependencies hit
factory on time (libzeitgeist, dee and libappindicator). If anyone wants to test it out,
I’m not sure of the functionality that should be present on this vala application, but
for the time being I’ve disabled the Application Indicator on the build (needs hammering
on the linking). I’ll take a closer look once I have some more free time. So far this
should be working only for openSUSE Factory and openSUSE 11.4 milestones.
Synapse is a semantic file launcher (pretty much the same as hitting ALT+F2 on a GNOME
session) with some crazy looks and a battalion of plugins. Once the dependencies are ok,
I’ll maintain this package and push it to the GNOME:Apps repository.
Yes, more people can have some of this cool shiny stuff. There is a but, and this is
from upstream – it is still in development so you may loose a kitten or bunny, maybe even
both ;-) So come and join the fun and try it out, I’ve not generated a single .ymp
file yet so click on your version of Geeko
Off-late we have been working quite aggressively on improving our exchange
connectivity using Exchange Web
Services . Some evolution hackers sat together during GUADEC 2010 and discussed
on the focus areas which our community users as well as corporates would be interested in.
Exchange Web Services was on top of the list and David Woodhouse kick-started the work at
the same time! The development went on in David’s repo – http://git.infradead.org/evolution-ews.git and you can watch out the progress
The festival season has started for evolution exchange and we have evolution showing
the folders, mails and meetings using Exchange Web Services. We currently just have the
read-only support for mailer and calendar at the moment and we are working towards
providing a complete support for calendar, mails and contacts.
Its always very nice to thanks all the contributors. Thanks to David Woodhouse who
kick-started it, Michael meeks he is always there :) , Johnny, Bharath Acharya, Akhil
Laddha, Chen, Fridrich who has been constantly getting it to compile on Windows…
There are more developers getting involved now and thanks to the organizations for
supporting the development!! We are looking forward to deliver the package by the
beginning of May 2011 for all the users.. One would be able to use EWS connector with
Evolution version 2.32 onwards..
I’ve neglected this indicator since the first day because it drove me into package
dependencies that aren’t used in openSUSE (we use YaST and not system-tools-backends and
The documentation of Unity suggests that if no indicators are present, Unity will use
the notifications from GNOME. This is very interesting, but from the debugging I’ve done
from the Unity Panel, I’ve found it it scans the indicators directory and loads whatever
it finds there. So it will eventually find something. One of the coolest features in Unity
Indicators and the one I’m currently working on, is ‘appmenu-gtk’ which removes the menu
from GTK+ applications and displays it on the unity-panel. This is interesting and the
behavior is actually a bit different from OSX. The window buttons are also placed very
close to this indicator.
If we have such feature enabled, I suppose the panel will always pick up at least one
indicator which might endanger the fallback to GNOME notification area. I’ve tested this
yet (unity isn’t launched properly yet), but if this happens, it will be wise to have the
whole stack of indicators. This explains why I had to build also this clock indicator
despite it’s wicked dependencies (liboost, not used on openSUSE).
This is how it looks and minimal functionality is already enabled, though
configurations aren’t because I haven’t implemented the whole backend, a nd if this
indicators are to reach Factory (which depends mainly on the patching on GTK+ and GDK
Pixbuf), there is the need to pass this packages through SUSE Security Team. If the
indicators are only to live on GNOME:Ayatana, then we skip this process (running this
package dependencies through SUSE Security Team).
Here’s how it looks the current stack of indicators (there’s a couple more packaged,
but I’m not using them at the moment, ex: nm-applet patched, indicator-network and
Within the next days, I will I will make a 1 click installer and run a BETA phase for
It’s been a while and there was nothing special to report, KDE SC 4.5 just worked. In
the meantime KDE SC 4.6 was released and openSUSE offers it in KDF as well as KR46 repos. Big
thanks to everybody who is involved in establishing and maintaining those repos – openSUSE
really profits a lot from the (openSUSE-)KDE community that makes it possible to provide
such a nice and updated KDE distro.
Those updating from KDE 4.4 which came with openSUSE 11.3 to 4.6 – please save your
plasma* files from ~/.kde4/share/config in case plasma crashes after the update.
Submitting them to Novell’s bugzilla would be much appreciated in order to get those
crashes fixed for openSUSE 11.4. The same applies to all other issues that come up when
updating KDE 4.4 to 4.6, e.g. kdepim-related.
KDE SC 4.6
KDE 4.6 has some nice fixes, among them bko
bug 163707 which prevented KDE from restoring the resolution set in
systemsettings on login. This is especially important to openSUSE users since sax2 is gone
and display settings moved into the desktop environment. Plasma seems to become more
stable with every release – in fact I did not have any major issues with it since ages and
bug fixing is pretty fast as well. Dolphin does also not suffer from buggy dbus packages
anymore and with the latest strigi packages I do not encounter any crashes on close or
when hovering certain files which did crash dolphin before. Thanks to remur_030 who helped
the strigi people tracking the latter down for .msi files and thereby found and fixed some
general issue in strigi which could cause crashes.
The desktop search does still not justify its name though since basics are still
missing, e.g. context given for search results as all other desktop searches do and kerry
+ beagle already did years ago. The feature was shown some months ago but is not as such available in KDE 4.6 –
thus even in KDE 4.6 all the user gets is a replacement of kfind + tagging which needs a
huge database for that simple task.
On top of that there are still issues with virtuoso-t hogging the CPU,
its database never decreasing in size but only increasing, even if you remove folders from
the “to be indexed”-list and the systray-tool used to suspend the indexing vanished as
well decreasing transparency to the user of an app which potentially keeps your hard disk
and CPU busy.
Yes, I know there is always a shortage of manpower but IMHO if an app fails to provide
the very basic features regarding the functionality its name advertises, it will not gain
any acceptance among users and since every xth user is also a developer it will not
attract developers either. Thus the extent of this manpower shortage is self-imposed in
case of nepomuk aka desktop search.
I think its a bit unfortunate that strigi is always blamed for anything related to the
desktop search in KDE although it is just the tool that is used by nepomuk and its usage
is up to nepomuk and not strigi itself, i.e. when to start hammering the hard disk, how to
handle the results within a database, what results to display when searching, giving the
user control and information regarding its activities etc. From my experience strigi devs
are quite responsive regarding bugs and questions – although their websites are all pretty
much outdated. :)
For openSUSE 11.4 there is still one major mystery bug to solve for openSUSE 32-bit
NVIDIA users which get several
apps crashing since they updated to KDE >= 4.5.
Power-management got worse in KDE 4.6, regressions such as not disabling
powermanagement on desktops and thus suspending the display every 10 minutes, the
brigtness slider not representing 100% of the brightness supported by the notebook and it
still messes with the brightness the user has set. All these were reported some weeks ago
already. Let’s hope that KDE SC 4.6.1 fixes those since that seems to be the version that
openSUSE 11.4 will ship.
Further having a presentation-scheme (no suspend, no dimming etc.) is kind of useless
with KDE 4.6 since it will change to the next scheme if the battery hits any limit. Thus
you have to permanently watch the status and switch back to the presentation-scheme to be
save of a suspending notebook while you watch a movie within the presentation or during
some longer discussion which leads to you not moving the mouse for some minutes.
Ignoring the scheme the user manually set does indeed make sense but only for the last
5% of your battery and in order to avoid the notebook just turning off because there was
no power left.
openSUSE 11.4 milestones also features a powermanagement bug that makes your hard disk
suspend every few minutes, confirmed but no fix so far.
For openSUSE 11.4 we are currently testing
kpackagekit/apper as a replacement for the unmaintained kupdateapplet.
Kpackagekit works ok but it seems that its zypper backend could need some improvements.
And the next version of kpackagekit which will be called apper features monochrome systray
icons which is fine, but the “security patch available” signal is just a tiny red dot
which is hardly visible, especially if your eye-sight is not the best or you are suffering
red-green colour blindness. So most issues with kpackagekit are not actually kpackagekit’s
fault but either backend-related or touching artists’ taste.
Another application to test is the
phonon-backend to be used in openSUSE 11.4 by default. Should we stay with xine
whose backend is apparently unmaintained but has served most users well, switch to the
vlc-backend or maybe use the gstreamer-backend?
Trying to play some file with amarok and the gstreamer-backend brings up some dialogue
(/usr/lib/gst-install-plugins-helper) that asks whether it should search for some package,
I guess codecs. If one clicks on “search” kpackagekit opens up and claims instantly that
“Getting what provides” finished but does not do anything. This is on 11.3 plus KDE 4.6
from KDF, so let’s hope it works better on 11.4.
The vlc-backend consumes the double amount of CPU for playing the same mp3 via amarok.
8% instead of 4% might not be that much in absolute terms but a 100% waste nonetheless and
especially on mobile devices everything that wastes battery should be avoided. Further
there seem to be issues playing video via vlc, some apps like dragonplayer.
And finally there is of course the always present issue of KDE-PIM. openSUSE 11.4 will
ship kdepim 4.4.10 which needs testing. There is especially one annoying bug which makes kontact
crash when logging in if the last view before logging out was kmail. So let’s
hope this can be fixed before 11.4 gets released.
I was really looking forward to KDE-PIM 4.6 since IMAP-support seems a lot better with
akonadi, at least for my use-cases which include suspending/resuming. The latter makes
KDE-PIM 4.4′s imap slave fail and not recover which works fine with KDE-PIM 4.6. You can
get regularly updated packages for the latter off openSUSE’s UNSTABLE KDE repo.
Please help testing KDE SC 4.6 from the openSUSE repos in order to make it shine in
openSUSE 11.4. Feedback can go to the related wiki pages or straight to
Features with highest vote, but no one has been assigned to yet.
We are looking for volunteers to implement.
“Network installation could be improved by running package download and package
installation in parallel.”
“I wanted to open a fate feature about this when I first heard of plymouth, but
really makes me think we should go this way.
Ray’s comment starting with “Every flicker and mode change in the boot
process takes away from the whole experience.” is especially interesting. Is it
okay to track the “don’t show grub by default” here?”
“An easy way to remove Software!
For example: you installed an application with “1-click install” (which
will install all the packages that you need), there should be an easy way (also with 1
click) to remove what you have installed with that 1-click operation… in another
words: an “1-click Uninstall” to remove installed software (dependencies and
“We need a replacement for sax2 in 11.3, as a safety measure for when auto
configuration fails to detect certain monitors/keyboards/mice. (…)”
“We need a feedback about packages that are preferred by users and actively
used. Debian already has a tool named Popularity contest (popcon) (…)”
“Idea from community member Raúl García. Same concept as MSI packages for
Windows but exploiting the One Click Install concept of openSUSE (and therefore
inheriting the simplicity, code and security. (…)”
“The YaST Qt package manager should provide as much information in the
“Installation Summary” view as zypper, esp the overall download size to expect
and how much disk space will be freed/used after performing the operation.”
“The YaST2 sw_single dialog for conflicts, vendor change, architecture change
etc. is very scary for many users.
The dialog asks the user to select one of usually three offered solutions for each
problem without giving much help. This is a cause for many complaints, and contributes
to myths of RPM dependency hell still existing today. (…)”
Features newly requested last week. Please vote and/or comment
if you get interested.
is very annoying that when, install opensuse in Spanish and try to search anything
in firefox search bar the results was in English
must be a way to they form automatically during the installation
pypy is (almost) fully compatible to python 2.5 but it can execute your unmodified
Python code 5-15 times faster than the standard cPython.
For benefits see here: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/PyPyStack
It takes more than 1 hour to build on a fast machine ….so providing a nice rpm
package would make sense
pypy has been around for a very long time but only now it has a 64 bit JIT
openSuSE distributes the package wodim instead of the package cdrtools. The reason
this happens is a claim of the Debian maintainers that the present license of the
package cdrtools is incompatible with GPL.
However, even if it were the case, it does not make a good reason to exclude
cdrtools from openSuSE.
Broadcom has released opensource drivers for some of new Wireless cards. That
could be nice to get those cards working out of box in opensuse 11.4 for snupported
bcm/b43 devices I read that this will be included into 2.6.37 but I cannot find it in
For more info:
It will hopefully provide decent open-source performance for opensuse 11.4 users
with AMD 5xxx series graphics cards.
Statistics for openSUSE 11.4 in openFATE
The Testing Core Team IRC meeting was held Jan. 31, 2011 at 18:00 UTC. The next one
will be on the Monday following the release of 11.4 RC1 at 18:00 UTC.
In our meeting, we discussed our experiences with 11.4 M6 and discussed bugs that we
have encountered. We also discussed how to improve the openQA testing to catch problems
that would interfere with installation; however, this will always be problematic. For
example, the x86_64 DVD from Build 1034 turned out to be too large to burn to a standard
single-layer DVD. At the time of the decision to release that buid as 11.4 M6, the testing
process was working on Build 1033, which did not have this problem.
My personal set of bugs were mostly due yo problems with software other than 11.4 M6.
The NET install CD failed to boot after installation on a VirtualBox VM, but the KDE Live
CD installed OK on that same VM. The problem was with VirtualBox 4.0.0 (4.0.2 works fine).
I also have one system that uses the i915 graphics driver that boots with a garbled
screen, but it works with the “nomodeset” boot option. That is a kernel problem, not with
openSUSE 11.4 and the bug report was placed at http://bugzilla.kernel.org..
It is extremely important to test M6 so that as many bugs as possible are found and
fixed. Remember that your hardware may have problems not seen by other testers. Remember
that it is essential to report the bugs, otherwise thay may not be fixed by the final
release of 11.4.
Sascha Manns: Poll for our Weekly News Translators
The last Poll was for our Readers. Now the next Poll is for our Translators.
As shown in http://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:Weekly_news_contribute we have different
possibilities for our Translators to create own Translations:
XML Source (You get the Sourcecode and you use it to create any other Format like
XML with using QT Linguist r Lokalize (Then you use the english Stylesheets. You
just translate the *.po Files and after translation it goes to the English XMLs and we
create a native Issue for you)
Mediawiki: You want to have a Version in the en.o.o Wiki and translate it from there
to any other Format like Mediawiki
HTML/news.opensuse.org: You use the HTML File to translate
XML/Docbook: You want to have a own Space with own Stylesheets and want to publish
into HTML or PDF.
The poll is placed there: https://connect.opensuse.org/pg/polls/read/saigkill/11690/what-is-your-prefered-input-format
Please vote and help clarifying…
I’m pleased to announce the relaunch of the german openSUSE Weekly News.
If you’re interested in knowing more, just click there.
We are using an Etherpad Clone for preparing the News. We are happy if many people want to
working with us.
Annoncing the first virtual launch party
Dear folk, we are organizing a special event for the openSUSE 11.4 launch, and you’re
invited. Virtually all of you can participate, and increase the success of it. And spend a
Too soon? Not really, we are in the process to organize also pre-release party, certainly
for the RC1 and RC2 launch. So you can practice before the real event. Prepare your
environment, and dress your avatars with decent clothes, and gadgets.
We will do our best to welcome you in english, french & greek.
If you want you can also anwser our short pool we are looking about help.
On secondlife.com, go to area macedonia. at 183,213,21 coordinates Or fire the search
engine, and look after Geekos group, then join that group
During 3 days March 9 10 & 11 2011 Party start at 16:00 UTC ( 8am SL time)
Join our special place build for that event and let’s get
Wall of pictures
11.4 installations movies
open minded discussions
Your guests would be myself (tigerfoot) & Morgane Marquis. A team of excellent dj’s as
Lillith from Australia, Esquievel from USA, Stefanos from France, or our great Greeks
Hey not so long ago I was kicked by H! Because it’s a place where people have also fun, and we want to talk with them
about the freedom & openSUSE. Did you never attempt to realize something that has not been
made yet? Just to have a lot of fun! The full explanation Here.
To access that 3D virtual world, you need a recent computer 1.5Ghz or +, and good internet
access >3500/300bps, and a 3D enabled graphics cards like radeon HD4xxx or more, Nvidia
Geforce >9600, Intel > i945 & Intel Extreme.
To be continued
In the next weeks, I will publish an more technical article about how to get 3D world
viewer installed on your openSUSE. And we are just finishing the picture gallery about that
project which should be online next week (due to FOSDEM) this week-end.
Stay tuned !
The openSUSE Weekly News are available as livestream or podcast in German. You can hear it
or download it on Radiotux.
Grab them, while they are still hot!
The ride might still be a bit bumpy as the whole OpenStack development is very Ubuntu
centric, and thus some of the dependencies, especially to old versions of python stuff are
tricky to find. However, first results look promising.
I’ll update here soon with some short hints on how to configure and use the whole lot.
Thanks go to my colleagues Christian Berendt and Andre Nähring at B1 Systems GmbH who have
been tireless in testing packages and reporting packaging bugs and other problems. Thanks also
to Gregory Haskins with whom I started the packaging effort early in december.
To view the security announcements in full, or to receive them as soon as they’re released,
refer to the openSUSE
Security Announce mailing list.
Future distributions will use a consistent, predictable scheme to
name network interfaces, using names such as “em1″ and “pci2#1″ instead of “eth0″ and “eth1″
to provide more transparency for server administrators. As various new kernels have recently
been introduced, the Kernel Log will provide an overview of the most important Stable and
Longterm kernel series.
years, Matt Domsch has advocated solutions which provide reliable and predictable
network port names – in systems with multiple network sockets, the driver loading sequence and
hardware response times influence whether a certain port will be called eth0 or eth1. Now, the
Dell technology strategist and DKMS contributor seems to have taken a big step towards his
goal. On his blog, Domsch, who also
contributes to the Fedora project, explains that Fedora 15 – expected in May – will use a
device naming scheme that he helped develop, in which udev accesses “biosdevname”, a program
mainly developed by Dell employees, to allocate network device names. The developer says that
other distributions are also likely to adopt this solution.
This naming scheme will make udev allocate the device name “em1” to the
motherboard’s first network port, “em” being short for “embedded”;
network cards will be named according to the pattern “pci<slot>#<port>”
(such as pci2#1), which should always make the ports on a network card accessible under the
same name as long as the card, or a substitute, is inserted in the same slot. The
sub-functions of network cards that can be partitioned (NPAR) and the sub-functions of cards
with SR-IOV virtualisation support are given an added underscore and a number. As before, vlan
functions are separated by a dot, and aliases by a colon.
When allocating names, biosdevname accesses the information available in PCI firmware
specification 3.1; if this information is unavailable, it will try to retrieve values using
smbios. This is designed to match the numbers behind the “em” with those printed
on the housing or board – and considerably help network admins with their cabling, especially
on servers with a large number of network sockets. If biosdevname can’t retrieve any
information this way, the program uses the PCI IRQ routing table and will allocate the numbers
according to the card’s position in the device hierarchy. Biosdevname doesn’t handle USB
network interfaces, which will continue to be given such names as “eth0”.
Recently, I ran into an rp_filter change for all Kernels after 2.6.31. So read along for
an explanation of both the sysctl change and a practical example of rp_filter usage.
Lets say you had the following entry in your
net.ipv4.conf.all.rp_filter = 1
with the intention of turning on reverse path filtering for all interfaces. Well you didn’t get your wish- rp_filter
remained disabled if you are running a Kernel older than 2.6.31.
This could come as a suprise if you upgrade your Kernel and have a system relying on
rp_filter being disabled or enabled (e.g. multicast routing, multi-homed servers). If you have
a single-homed unicast server setups this change will probably go unnoticed however.
The fix was implemented upstream in v2.6.31 and the basic issue was that each individual interface has an rp_filter
setting which defaulted to 0 and the interface setting overrides the “all interface setting”
since they were AND’d together.
Rares Aioanei: kernel weekly news 05.02.2011
Rares gives us this week a great Kernel Review. Thanks Rares :-)
Takeaway: Once you begin to know your way around the LibreOffice suite, you can add a
few advanced techniques to your repertoire. Jack Wallen offers five tips to get you started.
In a recent post, I introduced LibreOffice and shared some pointers to help ease the
transition from Microsoft Office to this newly forked piece of software. After you get your
bearings with these tools, you may want to expand your LibreOffice prowess and become a
power user. How do you do that? You learn some advanced techniques. Here are five tricks
that will get you up to power-user speed fairly quickly. (…)
The script command is part of the util-linux-ng package
and so should be available already installed in any distribution, or you should be able to
easily add it.
What’s script ?
From his man page:
“Script makes a typescript of everything printed on your terminal. It is useful for
students who need a hardcopy record of an interactive session as proof of an assignment, as
the type script file can be printed out later with lpr.” (…)
The read command is designed to read and then use in the script input from the user. The
input that is provided by the user is stored as a variable. This is a builtin variable that
will store one line of input from the user in one or more variables. The read command is
valuable as it is a major way to input information into a shell script. Lines are read into
the script with standard input and split via the $IFS variable. This stands for internal
field separator. The first word is assigned the first variable, the second word the second
variable, etc. (…)
Start learning how to develop for the Android platform with the Android Development 101
video series. In this first episode, Chris L. Bennett demonstrates how to create a
traditional Hello World application. (…)
By a very definition, it seems that working for the Linux desktop is like shooting darts
in the dark. Obviously, one would not be able to see where the dart goes, neither if you are
hitting the target. However you are definitively hitting something, but you do not seem to
In comparison, the Linux desktop aiming at the end user seems to fall under this category.
The bigger question will always be, who are we trying to satisfy through our Linux product?
Given the vastness of reach that Linux has on thousands of coders, the Linux desktop project
is bound to receive a great array of views, ideas and currents of thought that will lead the
Linux desktop from one place to the other. Believing that coming together in order to work on
a particular project is hard for me. However, projects such as KDE 4 have shown great strength
in coming together and creating something revolutionary and beautiful. Other efforts to make
the Linux desktop a reality have also come together in order to create similar results to what
KDE did. Gnome has followed in the footsteps of KDE and has also gathered its
community-enthusiasts and created the new Gnome 3 iteration.
However, the Linux desktop is still immature–I do not say this with malice–in the sense
that projects that aim towards a goal seem to center their understanding of what the Linux
desktop is in a less opened environment to which they could gather to and understand what it
is that simple, non-tech savy people understand about the way we have made their graphical
environments. I am referring to what the voice of users has to say about the way THEY use
their computers as opposed to what we Linux Desktop thinkers believe is good for them.
For example, if I am not mistaken, KDE 4 was an aim that grew deep in the KDE community
overtime, believing that their product KDE 3 was outdated and needed to be revamped. All over
the internet there were calls for change and some even ventured to creating new ideas about
the way KDE 4 was going to be. I remember seeing new icons at the Oxygen Icons website which
promised to deliver a new way of interaction with the desktop through their plasma desktop. I
was dazzled by the beautiful icons created in order to show the newness of approach that KDE 4
was going to take. It took icons to make people excited over the project. Gnome followed a
similar path. Seeing that KDE 4 has so drastically changed the aspect of its default desktop,
it decided to launch their newest major revision, Gnome 3. Their approach came from
often-unloved Gnome Shell. Brainstormers created a new way to interact with the desktop based
on a combination of very active desktops and windows as well as an ease of access to files and
While all this speaks to the minds of users that projects such as Gnome and KDE did their
best in adapting to changing times, the old problem also became apparent. The community effort
derived into personal effort, which in turn made it seem as if these projects were put on the
shoulders of the few who could make ideas come true through their code as opposed to asking
the people, like the rest of us, what WE think of their creation. I am a document developer,
and I do not appreciate it when people tell me that my earnest efforts do not fit their life.
I become unhappy and probably bitter since all my work was worth nothing in the eyes of users.
But alas, this is something that happens in man development teams. It is part of the process
to let a rough stone roll down the hill until it becomes smooth. However, efforts coming from
KDE and Gnome, although being amazingly written do not seem to tackle non-tech users as well
as it does for them, why? because the rest of us are unable to code but they are. We do not
have a voice because no one asks us what we think.
Did KDE 4 and Gnome 3 ever conducted surveys to people in order to understand their
interaction with computers? Do these two projects ever reach out to the community (non Linux
users) in order to find out their needs? If they did, it was little. I hereby advocate a
stronger case for the unheard, for the ones who will be placed these great tools in our hands.
To these two amazing projects I say, be great listeners, seek out opportunities to understand
the rest of us. Do not be like the people in this video giving out a Christmas present that
only fits some.
Let’s shoot our darts with the lights on. :D
When I was last time in Germany, Leinir told me about an event called Global Game Jam. I
liked its idea very much – 48-hour game coding marathon. I was amused when a couple of days
later (just one day before the event took place) my friends Split, Lokiman and Frem told me
about the Prague chapter called Game Jam Prague and invited me to join them. We decided to go
there under the name they already used for a couple of their projects – Hyperbolic Magnetism
The event started on Friday evening. When we arrived, the place was already full of other
teams preparing their stuff. This was very different from other (mostly open-source related)
events I attend where I usually know at least a few people. Here, I knew no one except my
team! :-) At around 6pm we were given a topic that should be somehow present in our game –
Extinction. I was very surprised that we were able to brainstorm over 15 ideas in less than
half an hour. Later we discarded most of them (because they were too obvious or too complex)
and we ended up with two.
We agreed that for idea one to be successful we would need to create nice graphics and
because none of us was confident enough, we decided to pick the another one where simple
graphics would suffice. So we started to work on a game with the working title “Nations”. The
idea was really simple: you have a couple of nations, represented by triangles (people) moving
inside the circle (border). Each nation expands in time and when the circles start to overlap,
triangles inside the intersection start to fight together. Moreover, if the nation is big
enough, it starts to produce A-bombs which are then launched at other nations. Your task is to
maintain balance between the nations, so none of them is completely destroyed. This is
achieved by applying positive or negative force on some places of the game area. Positive
force causes affected triangles to reproduce more, negative force causes the affected
triangles to disappear. We implemented basic behaviour of the game mechanics and went to sleep
on Saturday morning.
We met again on Saturday evening and we coded and tweaked and coded and tweaked … It was a
long way, but at some point (I guess it must have been something around Sunday 4AM) we
realised we want to change the whole game logic completely. How about we had only two types of
nations – green controlled by the user and cyan ones by AI? What if player could decide to
split the nation into two halves or join two nations into a bigger one? Bigger nation of
course produces A-bombs faster, but is also easier to target. We replaced most of the code and
I started to work on an AI, which suddenly became necessary. We worked until Sunday noon when
we were finally satisfied with the result. In the meanwhile Split composed a great music track
and we quickly hacked game menu, intro screen and other cosmetic stuff. That’s how it looked
in the end:
I’ll attach the gameplay video to give you even better idea how the game is played:
At the end of the event all contestants judged the produced games and the first three
places were announced – check the list for all other games and the result. The first team also
got a very nice pacman-themed cake (which was also very tasty, thanks for sharing!). Although
we didn’t make it into the Top 3, I think it was a great success for us. We tried something
completely new and we also met a lot of interesting people (one of them being Antonin, author
of the legendary TotalFinder). I also hope that we’d be able to finish the game and publish it
into Apple App Store (and probably later into Android Market).
Finally I present you the photo of amazing Hyperbolic Magnetism shortly after we submitted
our game at the end of the 48-hour session. :-)
See you next year!
openSUSE has a release cycle of 8 months, i.e. a new version every eight months, and each version is supported for 24 months. There are numerous reasons to have it this way, but there are equally numerous situations where one would like to have an LTS (Long Term Support) version, like servers. This thread shows the demand is there for at least some of us. It also appears that some efforts to come to an LTS version of openSUSE have already been made.
A returning issue: problems in another OS require the use of install media, which causes loss of the bootloader, that manages booting the installed operating systems, so no openSUSE. This user had a crash in XP, that made him land in a continuous loop, with no OS available at all. This one is not solved yet, but it’s going there…
From the title an insider would expect an openSUSE Factory or openSUSE 11.4 Milestone 5 user, since those have kernel 2.6.37. Neither of those is true, the kernel was installed from a repo, that was added during a one-click procedure from a non-supported repo. Read how this is found out by the thread starter and the other contributors.
This week’s subforum:
Looking for something other than support
This is the place in the forums where people ask for things like hardware advice, open source software equivalents for proprietary ones, community members’ thoughts on their plans, or “will openSUSE run well on my ….”. Sometimes the replies are quite straight forward, other times we see lively discussions.
Several developers approached me and asked for more time to port their applications. So
we extend the deadline of the contest to 31. of march. Everybody has one more month to port
a KDE or Qt application to Symbian or MeeGo. Remember that you can win 10.000,- so please
consider to make your KDE or Qt application ready for mobile.
You find more informatiuon in the original contest announcement: http://blog.karlitschek.de/2010/12/qtest-mobile-app-port-contest-launched.html
Please make sure that you also provide binaries for you applications. This makes is a
lot easier for the jury to test you application. Have fun and good luck.
Yesterday our vigilant operations guys detected a targeted attack against some of our
developer infrastructure. The attack resulted in an exploit of several SourceForge.net
servers, and we have proactively shut down a handful of developer centric services to
safeguard data and protect the majority of our services.
Our immediate priorities are to prevent further exposure and ensure data integrity.
We’ve had all hands on deck working on identifying the exploit vector or vectors,
eliminating them, and are now focusing on verifying data integrity and restoring the
The problem was initially discovered on the servers that host CVS but our analysis
indicates that several other machines were involved, and while we believe we’ve determined
the extent of the attack, we are verifying all of our other services and data.
As a short term response, we’ve taken down the following services to prevent any
ViewVC (web based code browsing)
New Release upload capability
Interactive Shell services
Once the immediate response to this attack is over, we will be providing a much more
detailed account of what’s happened, and what specific actions we are taking to prevent
Despite earlier reports that very few if any new features would likely be seen in The
Document Foundation’s first LibreOffice release, the influx of new developers allowed
much more work to be done. In fact, it was even released ahead of schedule. So, what kind of
new goodies might one find? (…)
Recent meetings held among the RedHat, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Mandriva, and
Mageia communities has resulted in an informal agreement on an architecture for a common app
installer API. Yet the dream of a universal GNU/Linux app-store may be much farther off.
Word of the app-installer meetings at OpenSUSE’s Nuremberg, Germany, offices
earlier this month emerged last week in a blog
post by OpenDesktop.org’s Frank Karlitschek on Jan. 24. This was followed by
a more detailed Jan. 26 report on the meetings by Swapnil Bhartiya in Muktware.
On Jan. 31, LinuxInsider’s Katherine Noyes sampled the Linux blogs and forums for feedback, and found general support for a
common app installer, but with plenty of observers predicting doom for the project. The more
distant dream of a common app-store for Linux, which was not formally discussed at the main
Nuremberg meetings, seemed even more far-fetched to many, though many others deem it a
Having a common installer — and ultimately, a universal app store — should help
attract new users and third-party developers to desktop Linux, goes the general consensus.
It would help to cushion the fragmentation of the desktop Linux market while easing the pain
of dealing with the complexity of most package managers. Yet, many other attempts at unified
standards among Linux communities have ended in failure, note skeptics.
It was quite a day for Sony portable fans. Earlier today (well, technically yesterday)
Engadget posted about some hands-on experience with the Xperia Play, aka the
Playstation Phone. It sure looks real to me. Engadget is being coy about where this unit
came from but post author Richard Lai says he’s been using it as his primary phone for
a few days now, with generally good results.
No ‘official’ games are available for it, but Lai loaded up some emulators and
mapped the hardware buttons to emulator controls and had a go. This isn’t final
hardware but for an early look it seems promising enough. (…)
IPv4 is dead. Long Live IPv6.
Early this morning, the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) announced that
it had been allocated two /8 address blocks from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
(IANA ). Those two blocks,
39/8 and 106/8, were the last unallocated blocks in the IANA free pool of IPv4 address
available to Regional Internet Registries (RIR). With the allocation, the final days of IPv4
have moved closer as the number of available addresses that can be allocated will dwindle.
On January 26th of this year, KDE
released version 4.6.0 of its Plasma Workspaces, Applications, and Development
Platform. While many major versions of KDE have focused on features, 4.5 was mostly a
stabilizing release, fixing thousands of bugs. The 4.6 release is all about polish. It is
the icing on the cake for KDE 4, adding speed, visual enhancements, and increased hardware
Faceted Browsing for Dolphin – Pressing Ctrl+F in
Dolphin used to open Kfind, a search interface that used various Linux/Unix search tools
such as “find” and “locate” to get you the files you wanted. In KDE 4.6, you can open the
search interface within Dolphin and find indexed files quickly and easily. The addition of a
filter side bar also allows you to find exactly the types of files you want, giving you
options for file type, creation date, and even rating. (…)
In my previous report about journaling filesystem benchmarking using dbench, I observed
that a properly-tuned system using XFS, with the deadline I/O scheduler, beat both Linux’s
ext3 and IBM’s JFS. A lot has changed in the three years since I posted that report, so it’s
time to do a new round of tests. Many bug fixes, improved kernel lock management, and two
new filesystem (btrfs and ext4) bring some new configurations to test.
Once again, I’ll provide raw numbers, but the emphasis of this report lies in the
relative performance of the filesystems under various loads and configurations. To this end,
I have normalized the charted data, and eliminated the raw numbers on the Y-axes. Those who
wish to run similar tests on their own systems can download a tarball containing the testing
scripts; I’ll provide the link to the tarball at the end of this report. (…)
I’m usually big on milestones — anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, etc. But it wasn’t
until I was going to bed last night that it hit me: It’s been a year since I left Novell and
started working for myself full-time. Here’s how it’s going so far… (read on if you’re
interested, but this is mostly full of personal stuff so feel free to skip down to some of
the more interesting stuff on technology if you like…)
My last day with Novell was January 31st, 2010. Pretty much exactly two years after I
started with the company (February 1st, 2008). I put in notice about two weeks before that,
but had been considering quitting long before. I’m not going to go into a lot of backstory
here, but the long and short of it was that after two years the job was not what I wanted to
be doing. Some jobs you can do whether your heart is in them or not (I worked at a car seat
factory for three and a half years, and I don’t think my heart was ever in that…), but
community management is something that you need to be all-in for. (…)
On September 28, 2010, LibreOffice was announced as a fork of the OpenOffice.org office
suite. In the weeks since then, there have been promises of innovation and change from
LibreOffice, and an attempt at dignified silence from OpenOffice.org.
However, it was only last week that the two rivals released their 3.3 versions, and
users had the chance to see whether the differences in the culture of the projects made any
difference in the code. (…)
It’s been nearly a year since the last major release of Firefox — version 3.6 — and
development of the Firefox 4 seems to have slowed down a bit, with the planned release of
late 2010 getting set back to February 2011.
Much of this development has been wrapped up in adding HTML 5 features to the open
source browser, so the delay, while not greeted with much enthusiasm amongst Firefox users,
hasn’t created a lot of fussing, either.
Nor has it slowed down the development of the vast array of extensions available for
Firefox, as developers find new and creative ways to view and interact with the web every
day. Extensions are one of Firefox’s most powerful feature sets, since their ease-of-use and
extensibility enables users to build exactly the kind of browser they need. With more than
5,000 add-ons available, there’s a lot of customization options to chose from, and some of
them have to be better than others.
So, which ones do you simply need to have? That will be the focus of this series, which
will review the best Firefox extensions in several categories, then round up the most
popular Firefox extensions of all as of the end of 2010. The categories are built around
Mozilla’s own classifications, but grouped together in ways we think makes more sense.
We thank for this Issue:
We thank for this Issue:
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