We are pleased to announce our issue 172 of openSUSE Weekly News.
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- Status Updates
- In the Community
- Games Corner
- Security Updates
- Kernel Review
- Tips and Tricks
- Planet SUSE
- openSUSE Forums
- On the Web
We are pleased to announce our 172nd issue of the openSUSE Weekly News.
You can also read this issue in other formats here.
Enjoy reading :-)
Evergreen needs you! To make a version for 11.2 also released and to guarantee the quality
of evergreen, we’re searching developers, packagers and also marketing people who are
interested in creating a LTS-version of your favourite Linux-distro, openSUSE.
See what Wolfgang Rosenauer, lead developer of Evergreen is saying about this:
License: GFDL 1.2
We had way too many server downtimes during the last month in our infrastructure. These
were caused by an unreliable login proxy. We have now developed and setup a new login proxy
and use it for the following sites:
We hope that this new proxy is working reliably now.Ã½ The new proxy is open source and
source code can be found on gitorious.org.
A future version of the openSUSE Build Service (OBS) (not 2.3) will come with this proxy as
authentication mechanism as well.
For the openSUSE Build Service, another change is that we switched to apache and the
passenger module on our productive system, following the new default of OBS 2.3. This should
also fix some cases of invalid http answers.
In short, we have changed some key parts of our infrastructure and introduced a new login
proxy, so there might still be some pitfalls. But we have it under our control now and can
debug and even fix any issue with it. In case of problems, please speak up on the
opensuse-buildservice mailing list.
Your make-OBS-stable-team, Michael SchrÃ¶der, Stephan Kulow and Adrian SchrÃ¶ter
License: GFDL 1.2
Build Service Statistics.Â Statistics can found at Buildservice
Iâ€™ve just noticed that I havenâ€™t written about Evergreen here since the
beginning. I actually did post at least one status update on our list but I think it would
be good to give some information to a wider audience (hoping that this blog is read by
In general we are in good shape. Up to now we have released around 55 source updates.
You can find the list here. So looking back that means that we were able to update almost everything
including desktop applications which was not clear in the beginning how that would work
out. Also the Packman team decided to support Evergreen by keeping the Essentials
repository available. Unfortunately it is not quite usable at the moment since it contains
RPM packages signed with keys not supported by the RPM version in 11.1 which means zypper
refuses to install those.
Another milestone is that it seems we will also support 11.2 when it runs out of
Novellâ€™s maintenance on May 12th, 2011. Another community member agreed to lead the
effort. More details on that to come soon.
But not everything is working perfectly fine though. Besides some rare cases where
community members submitted packages to Evergreen/11.1 all the backporting/packaging work
up to now was done by myself. At some points in time I was quite on the limit of my time
for the project and there is no redundancy if something bad happens to me. We really need
more people contributing to Evergreen. That said it would be really nice if maintainers
(especially community maintainers) would prepare updates for 11.1 as well. Obviously there
is no obligation in doing so but I somehow think that in some cases they are just missing
the fact that Evergreen exists at all.
So if anyone out there has interest in helping maintaining 11.1 and/or 11.2 please
contact us through our mailinglist or contact me directly.
openSUSE GNOME team has been busy polishing GNOME 3.0 packages for openSUSE 11.4 but
here they are, for your pleasure
Everything is explained at : http://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:GNOME_3.0 including :
how to install GNOME 3 using 1-click install from your favorite Web
how to switch from my previous repository (home:fcrozat:gnome3, which will be soon
phased out) to the new repository. This is important to continue receiving updates,
for instance, if you installed live image on your system.
A new live image will be available shortly, based on this new repository (but this
will be for another blog post).
In the past week, we have been working on both GNOME:STABLE:3.0 repository and on
creating a GNOME 3 Promo DVD, based on this live image, but with more content on it
(LibreOffice, Banshee 2.0, etc..). Because of this, image size has increased a bit
Good news too, we fixed KMS issues with some Radeon cards people reported when using
live image (problem was fixed once the image was installed).
This new image (1.1.0) is now based on GNOME:STABLE:3.0 repository and contains all
security and bugfix updates for openSUSE 11.4.
To download the image, go to http://www.gnome.org/getting-gnome/
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?
We need a replacement for sax2 in 11.3, as a safety measure for when auto
configuration fails to detect certain monitors/keyboards/mice. (…)
Every single bug or feature that anyone has developed for GRUB 0.97 has been
rejected by the upstream project in favor of using GRUB 2. There has been resisitence in
the distribution community to switching boot loaders, but this stalemate isn’t
going to go away. The code itself isn’t well written or well maintained. Adding a
new feature involves jumping through a lot of hoops that may or may not work even if you
manage to work around all the runtime limitations. For example, a fs implementation has
a static buffer it can use for memory management. It’s only 32k. For complex file
systems, or even a simple journaled file system, we run into problems (like the reiserfs
taking forever to load bug) because we don’t have enough memory to do block mapping
for the journal so it needs to scan it for every metadata read. (Yeah, really.)
We need a feedback about packages that are preferred by users and actively used. Debian already has a tool named Popularity contest (popcon)
* reusing popcon will give us results that are directly comparable with Debian and Ubuntu
* packagers team can take care of the package
* we need a configuration dialog in YaST that is visible enough
* we need a server infrastructure on opensuse.org. (There are certain privacy issues, see Debian FAQ for details)
Features newly requested last week. Please vote and/or comment if you get interested.
Ubuntu has a very neat and useful implementation of encryption for users. Using ecryptfs they allow for each user to have his/her data encrypted without requiring one master password being entered at boot time. It is unlocked along with your regular login making it entirely seamless.
It would be nice to see similar functionality easily available when creating users in openSUSE.
I’ve recently had a need for a system-wide equalizer. Since I’m already running Suse 11.4 and pulse I looked around a bit and the pulseaudio equalizer seems to fit the bill. I found the repository for 64-bit here:http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/jenewton/openSUSE_11.4/x86_64/
and the git site here:http://gitorious.org/pulseaudio-equalizer.
Unfortunately the repository has a older version of pulse than I have installed currently.
Please consider this a request for updated pulse rpms that contain the equalizer.
lsinitrd, lsmod, lspci, lspcmcia are located in /sbin and so only root can access them.
The ‘ls’ prefix indicates that these programs only list some information which should be accessible by all users.
lsusb is in %_bindir (=/usr/bin).
If you were consequently lsusb also would have to be in /sbin or /usr/sbin …
(…) The current functionality is a bug and I have long ago reported it as such. Disks are addressed by logical sectors this millenium. It’s a bug to show an obsolete, not-convertible unit. serves no purpose unit. The fix to that bug is to show the relevant unit.
Statistics for openSUSE distribution in openFATE
Here’s a short note as to the status of some recent activity in the
the kernel is at the 2.6.38 release level tracking the upstream stable 2.6.38
lxde (and its sub-packages) was added
calibre was added
other smaller packages were added
KDE update seems stable and working. It’s in the openSUSE:Tumbleweed:KDE repo if
anyone wants to test it out now. I’ll be working next few weeks to merge this into the
main openSUSE:Tumbleweed repo as my bandwidth allows.
There is a GNOME 3.0 Tumbleweed repo at openSUSE:Tumbleweed:GNOME. It’s properly
building right now, but the same caveats remain for the main GNOME 3.0 repo (i.e.
network manager issues with KDE, and other minor stuff), so I can’t merge it to the
main openSUSE:Tumbleweed repo just yet. I’ll wait for these changes to settle down,
but if you want, feel free to try out the repo for your GNOME 3.0 systems running
Tumbleweed. I’ll keep it up to date as the changes merge into the main GNOME 3.0
artwork questions were raised with one proposed logo already sent in. More to come
in this area hopefully soon.
There were a few “version downgrades” that happened as the upstream project
release number was changed to reflect the basesystem release number correctly. This
will probably continue to happen as this change is propagated throughout the openSUSE
build system to fix up these errors by the various developers. You can safely ignore
them when they happen.
As always, if anyone knows of any packages they wish to see added to Tumbleweed,
please let me know.
I’m part of this year’s openSUSE Conference program committee, in order to bring in some
of my experience with organizing the awesome FOSDEM
I grew up in a small military town of Mirnij in the northwestern part of Russia. After
school I went to study â€œSecurity of the telecommunications systemsâ€ in Saint Petersburg, but
Iâ€™ve never been a diligent student and left the University after 3 courses. After some time,
life brought me to Germany, where I found a job in SUSE/Novell, and where I work and to this
day. I play the violin, love European literature and classical music. Iâ€™m married to a
wonderful woman in world and I have a very smart and sweet son Alex :)
The openSUSE Weekly News are available as livestream or podcast in German. You can hear it
or download it on http://saigkill.homelinux.net/podcasts.
The weekend 9th-10th of April 2011, openSUSE community was at Openfest 2011 at TEI
Piraeus spreading the word about openSUSE project. We had a booth, in the main room of the
The Section provides the Game of the Week, and Updates in the Game Repository
Check out the ultimate in fan-created Mario goodness: Super Mario Brothers X. This game
combines elements from every Mario game ever made into one, and the result is a lot of fun.
While the level design is far from perfect you shouldnâ€™t miss out on this free download for
Whether you know it or not, you want to play new 2D Mario levels. Nintendo takes its dear
sweet time putting such levels out, so if you need something to hold you over until the
inevitable release of New Super Mario Brothers Wii 2, I highly recommend you check out this
unofficial fan-built game. Itâ€™s free, so you have nothing to lose by trying it out. You might
even find things here you like better than Nintendoâ€™s own projects. (…)
Editors Note: The refered Site http://www.supermariobrothers.org/ has Flash Games too. So it is useable on Linux
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.
|Date:||Mon, 18 Apr 2011 11:00:00 +0000|
|Affected Products:||openSUSE 11.2|
|Vulnerability Type:||local privilege escalation, remote denial of service|
|Date:||Mon, 18 Apr 2011 15:00:00 +0000|
|Affected Products:||openSUSE 11.2 openSUSE 11.3 openSUSE 11.4 SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 SP1 SUSE
Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 SP4
|Vulnerability Type:||openSUSE 11.2 openSUSE 11.3 openSUSE 11.4 SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 SP1 SUSE
Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 SP4
Dissatisfied with the Qemu code, the developers have created a simple
emulation tool for KVM. The latest drivers for Intel graphics chips improve the kernel’s support
for the video components of various current processors; a wealth of new long-term and stable
kernels fix bugs and security holes.
In late March, Pekka Enberg announced on the LKML the development of a native KVM tool. This tool emulates some of
the hardware components that guest systems access during operation; in KVM virtualisation, this
task is nowadays mostly handled by a QEMU derivative, created and maintained as part of the KVM
project. The KVM code within the kernel works in close co-operation with this emulation code,
ensuring that the required processor resources are allocated; however, a few hardware components
such as the interrupt controller are emulated by the KVM kernel code itself, because this
considerably enhances performance.
In his email, Enberg writes that his aim was to create a light-weight and clean KVM
emulation implementation that can boot Linux guests. The developer said that the tool is
â€œ[...] just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like QEMU [...]â€ â€“ a play on
the words Linus Torvalds used in his first email about the development of Linux. (..)
Today, there are open source Linux drivers for all major Wi-Fi
chips, which was unimaginable five years ago. The constant pressure for open source drivers
has thus paid off, and this may also work in other areas in the long term.
â€œBuy a Centrino notebook, and then the Wi-Fi chipset will work with Linuxâ€.
Five years ago, such simplifications were more common because a lot of the Wi-Fi components
either did not run on Linux or took a lot of tweaking, say, with Ndiswrapper and Driverloader
to get the NDIS drivers intended for use with Windows to run on Linux. Internet forums
contained thousands of comments on these issues, and people repeatedly said that the Linux
kernel needed a stable API for external drivers; otherwise, manufacturers would never offer
proper Linux drivers for Wi-Fi hardware.
We now know that such a step was not necessary, for all major manufacturers of Wi-Fi
hardware for PCs and notebooks are currently working on open source drivers maintained within
work on the Linux kernel.
Rares finished his this weekly review from the Kernel.
So things have sadly not continued to calm down even further. We had
more commits in -rc4 than we had in -rc3, and I sincerely hope that
upward trend doesn’t continue.
That said, so far the only thing that has really caused problems this
release cycle has been the block layer plugging changes, and as of
-rc4 the issues we had with MD should hopefully now be behind us. So
we’re making progress on that front too.
The plugging code still seems to trigger some issue with what looks
like an infinite stream of disk-change notifications on CD-ROMs – but
Jens is hopefully going to squish that problem soon. In the meantime,
you can avoid the problem by either running SMP or having preemption
Other than that? We may have a bit more commits than in -rc3, but it
hasn’t been _too_ bad. There’s certainly nothing overly exciting:
aside from the block/MD fixups, we’ve got some filesystem updates
(btrfs, cifs and ubifs) and some driver updates (the largest chunk of
which is actually a duplicate driver removal). USB, some KMS, nothing
Shortlog appended for the curious. (…)
A new longterm 188.8.131.52 kernel has been released. This release contains
security fixes and all 2.6.34 users are encouraged to update. This
continues the 2.6.34 stable series under the new “longterm” name.
Some time ago I made guest posting on Go2Linux.org site comparing Open Source Office applications. That time I complained that it was not obvious for me how to automatically number pages in the document using some of text processors reviewed there. Have you ever faced this issue? Hope this time I will open the secrets of three different packages and show you how to solve this issue. (…)
Now and then, office-type documents need to be converted. The latex users have always been able to produce a variety of formats from the command line, but for the OpenOffice/LibreOffice users, manual labor has been the solution. That changes with unoconv. Now you can convert to most file formats directly from the command line.
Unoconv is handy for many tasks. I commonly use it to convert all documents in a directory to PDFs, or MS Office compatible formats for clients. The beauty of it is that these previously tedious tasks are now one-liners. (…)
Editor’s note: unoconv packages for openSUSE can be found in OBS.
Everybody knows openSUSE offers a great desktop experience; but its also a perfect fit for
servers! Go download the Installation
DVD (or use one of the manufactured
DVDs) and weâ€™ll see how easy YaST makes it to setup a variety of specialized
During the course of a normal installation, the opportunity to add servers is slightly
hidden. The last step before an actual installation is the Installation Overview. At this
point, you can see a list of selected software patterns. Either click the â€œSoftwareâ€ header,
or click â€œSoftwareâ€¦â€ on the â€œChangeâ€¦â€ menu. At this point, you will be presented with a list
of available software patterns, including the Server Functions patterns: simply check off
any servers you would like to install and click â€œOKâ€ to return to your normal installation!
License: GFDL 1.2
I have upgraded my home PC to Intel i5-2500K CPU (Sandy Bridge family). The CPU has a
new integrated graphics core (Intel HD 3000) and it works out-of-box in openSUSE-11.4
including 3D and composition. The only problem I noticed are broken popup menus and buttons
in title bars in KDE. Esp. broken popups are very annoying as they are hardly usable, see
Fortunately Intel has released updated X driver version 2.15 which fixes this problem.
Here is a step by step how to install the updated driver in openSUSE 11.4.
packagesudo zypper in xorg-x11-server-sdk
archivetar xfjv xf86-video-intel-2.15.0.tar.bz2
Now compile the
driver:cd xf86-video-intel-2.15.0./configure –prefix=/usr –libdir=/usr/lib64make
(If you have installed 32-bit system then use /usr/lib path in the second
Install the driver (will overwrite the files from RPM
package)sudo make install
Restart the X server (simply relogin to a new session)
Voila, now your system should use the new driver and the artifacts in the KDE popups
should be gone!
Maybe someone can pack the driver into a RPM package in the openSUSE build service, but
for me this solution is sufficient…
Well, so far weâ€™ve learnt about storing data (either â€œflatâ€ in file, or as an object which Python does in pickles which are also data in files, but with some structure) but we donâ€™t know anything about storing the code we are typing. This means that we need to go through the tedium of typing stuff in all the time (or cutting and pasting I guess). It is especially tedious when we mistype something.
In order to do some more complex things in Python we really need to be able to store our code somewhere so that typing mistakes we make donâ€™t mean we have to re-type the whole kit and kaboodle. We could, if we really wanted to, open a file from within our Python prompt and write code to the file (as a flat file):
>>> f.write(“print ‘This is some python code stored in a file'”)
>>> import textfile
This is some python code stored in a file
What has happened here is that weâ€™ve open()ed a file called â€˜textfile.pyâ€™ (again, weâ€™ve taken the chance that there isnâ€™t already such a file, because open()ing it would delete the existing contents). Weâ€™ve then written the following to the file: print â€˜This is some python code stored in a fileâ€™ (…)
In general, MySQL is quite fast at restoring data, but I observed that while restoring 20gb of backup its taking more than the usual time. This can happen when you donâ€™t have enough memory or if key_buffer_size is not set high enough, then it can take very long time to re-index the data. In CentOS 5.2 server with 6gb of RAM, I noticed key_buffer_size is set to just 800M which is very low. You should set it at least 20-25% of total RAM. After increasing the value to 2gb, MySQL is able to reload data quite fast.
Though this does trick for me but there are other helpful suggestions also which you can try/check to speed up your backup/restore process, few are as follows: (…)
In the first IPv6 for Linux crash course, we covered some of the bare basics of IPv6 on Linux. Today we’re going to learn how to use routable IPv6 addresses, some iptables rules to keep our experimentation from leaking out into the world, and about implementing DNS in IPv6.
You can perform all these tests on any two Linux PCs on your LAN without getting in the way of your normal IPv4 activities. Just remember to undo everything that you don’t want to be permanent when you’re finished. Save time and hassle by having SSH set up on all your PCs; then you can park yourself comfortably in one place and run most of these tests over SSH sessions and never get up, except at healthy intervals to prevent embolisms and joint seizures. (…)
This guide explains how you can install and use KVM for creating and running virtual machines on an OpenSUSE 11.4 server. I will show how to create image-based virtual machines and also virtual machines that use a logical volume (LVM). KVM is short for Kernel-based Virtual Machine and makes use of hardware virtualization, i.e., you need a CPU that supports hardware virtualization, e.g. Intel VT or AMD-V. (…)
What happens when you pair the award-winning image- and appliance-building tool SUSE Studio with the market leader in cloud computing, Amazon Web Services? An ISV or developer’s dream come true! We are proud to announce one-click deployment to Amazon EC2 directly from SUSE Studio. Novell has made it simple to create, test, and deploy your application image or appliance to EC2, providing a complete end-to-end solution for building and deploying cloud images. (…)
Back in June 2005, I noticed that we were lacking some â€œtarballs dueâ€ mails
for the GNOME 2.11 release cycle and I sent a small mail
to get this fixed. This is how I got trapped: after this mail got read by Mark McLoughlin, he suggested I could replace
him on the GNOME release team. A few years later, in September 2007, Elijah chose to pass
his GNOME release manager hat to me. And now, in April 2011, it’s time for me to
pass the baton: Luca Ferretti is replacing
me on the release team (he joined as a trainee in the past few months), and my good friend
Frederic Peters becomes the new GNOME release
One of the problems I often face is keeping my productive system I use for work, separate
from my development environment with broken versions of programs and loads of extra packages
For a while my solution was to create virtual machines in VirtualBox – which works great but has a very high
overhead for the task. Especially when I am away from my desktop and only have my slightly
underpowered laptop (no VT-x extensions, only 2GB RAM), running an entire virtualized system
just to try out some packaging changes was painful.
So in part 1 I detailed my search for something that would allow my development and
productive environments to coexist on the same machine, and how I discovered schroot.
Schroot is a
“chroot manager” – it allows configuring chroots so that users on the system can run shells
and processes in them, and it takes care of all the setup/tear down I described at the end of
my previous post. It is a part of the Debian buildtools, for building Debian packages in a
safe and repeatable environment, just like openSUSE uses build.
This message hit the forums, announcing the release of GNOME 3.0, also known as GNOME SHELL about two weeks ago. Like me, lots of users were curious about GNOME 3 on openSUSE, since we already were able to see the preview in openSUSE 11.4. So we all went out into the repos, waiting for packages to appear, and they did. This is where the happy part of the story ends for the moment. Dependency errors all over the place, if one ignored them, a desktopless system was one of the reported results. The GNOME Team made clear, that the packages are not ready for upgrading yet, so the Forums Team put out a warning message, visible to all forums users and visitors. It’s strongly advised to wait for the OK sign by the GNOME Team, before using the GNOME STABLE 3.0 repo, since there’s still some development going on to make sure we all can have smooth upgrade to GNOME 3.0. The good part is, that GNOME 3.0 LiveCD’s, based on openSUSE 11.4 have been released. Impressions for those seem to be positive.
Less than a month after release of openSUSE 11.4, this user wants to run a newer kernel to get the maximum out of his new hardware. The first page of replies already shows the famous “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” phrase, but the thread’s starter gets a lot of good advice, where it’s pointed out that he/she is pretty much on his/her own when going for the “latest and greatest” of all kernels. It doesn’t have to be that way though: switch to the Tumbleweed repos. They serve the latest stable packages concerning kernel etc. Packman also has separate Tumbleweed repos for 11.4. Please find more about Tumbleweed below, and in previous versions of the openSUSE Weekly News.
You installed openSUSE 11.4, and looking for newer kernel, latest, yet stable developments? Tumbleweed is there for you. A quote from the openSUSE Portal page: “The Tumbleweed project aims to provide a rolling updates version of openSUSE containing the latest stable versions instead of relying on rigid periodic release cycles. The project does this for users that want the newest, but stable software. The difference to Factory is that Factory is bleeding edge, often experimental, not yet stabilized software that needs more work to become useful. Tumbleweed is newest stable and ready for daily use.”. This thread has a very nice HOWTO by our administrator swerdna. Check it out, if the above has risen your curiosity.
Linux has a name out there, when it comes to the security part. This thread is opened by a user who thinks he hit a linux security issue, since he can run shell scripts/installers from a USB device. He found out that some script even runs without having the executable flag on, and is worried about being able to install things without having root permissions. Nice explanations about how things work, about what happens if an ordinary user runs installers and about linux security in general. Very interesting read.
A jury has found that in using Linux on its back-end servers, Google has infringed a patent held by a small Texas-based company and must pay $5m in damages.
In 2006, Bedrock Computer Technologies sued Google and several other outfits â€“ including Yahoo!, Amazon.com, PayPal, and AOL â€“ claiming they infringed on a patent filed in January 1997. The patent describes “a method and apparatus for performing storage and retrieval…that uses the hashing technique with the external chaining method for collision resolution”, and the accusation is that companies infringed by using various versions of the Linux kernel on their servers.
At least some of those sued were using Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) on the back-end. Google apparently uses its own version of Linux across its famously distributed infrastructure.
You know I’m considering ditching Gnome for good, especially after sampling the latest
version, Gnome 3. While the Fallback Mode
offers some solace, it’s a far cry from the fully usable desktop that I want and need. It’s
also a manifestation of a disturbing trend of equating power computing with the touch-screen
nonsense of inferior mobile computing, but more about later.
I’m looking at all kinds of alternatives. The most prominent one is KDE4, which
has turned great with version 4.6. Featured in Pardus 2011 and openSUSE 11.4,
it’s a streamlined, well-packaged environment that can almost turn a Gnome head around,
back to the glory days when KDE reigned supreme. But there’s another project you may
want to test, and it’s called Trinity KDE.
“What I was proud of was that I used very few parts to build a computer that could actually speak words on a screen and type words on a keyboard and run a programming language that could play games. And I did all this myself” â€“ Steve Wozniak
For some users computer games are little more than “the things I do when I should be working”, a soothing distraction or a waste of time and space. For others games are a matter of life and death, the bane of partners, the be all and end all of computing, and the reason why we bother. So the addicts are pleased to go out and buy an XBox, a Nintendo or a PlayStation 3 rather than a full-blown computer, and are happy to play the night away.
The best games are a learning experience, an exercise in strategic thinking, memory retention, what-if scenarios and problem solving â€“ not unlike programming itself. Each piece in a game like chess has a limited number of moves, yet the game itself is a world of possibilities, and like a chess player, a programmer has to think ahead, so it isn’t really surprising that many coders approach programming as if it was a game of chess, and are also gamers. (…)
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