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openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 178 is out!

June 4th, 2011 by

We are pleased to announce our new openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 178.

openSUSE Weekly News

178 Edition

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Published:
2011-06-04

We are pleased to announce our 178th issue of the openSUSE Weekly News.

You can also read this issue in other formats here.

Enjoy reading :-)

Header PictureAnnouncements

In a little over a week it will be World
IPv6 day
. This day is meant to call attention to the fact that IPv4 addresses have
run out and the web has to move on to IPv6. openSUSE will be part of this initiative, joining
the ranks of Google, Yahoo and Facebook in making sure its infrastructure is IPv6 capable on
June 8th.

IPv4 and IPv6

An IP address is the ‘address’ of a device connected to the web. Be it a web server,
smartphone, laptop or printer – if they are on a network, they need an address. Using these
addresses computers can make sure packets arrive at the right place. The human-readable
addresses like http://openbuildservice.org are translated at your provider to an IP address
through a name server. Currently, the web runs on ‘IPv4′. IPv4 provides 4 blocks of 3 numbers
or 32 bits, adding up to a little over 4 billion addresses. With many households having many
Internet-capable devices these days this is not enough. The successor of IPv4, IPv6, offers
128 bits (in decimal a 3 with 38 zeroes) and is thus a lot more ready for the future.

Since the beginning of this year, the Internet
Assigned Numbers Authority
which hands out IP addresses to providers to assign to
devices, is out of IPv4 addresses. The Asian/Pacific “RIR” (Regional Internet registries) ran
out on April 15. Most local providers and the other regional registries still have a small
pool of unassigned IP numbers. Unfortunately, with the quickly growing number of devices and
the world population increasing its access to the Internet, especially providers in the
quickly growing developing countries, the days of the iconic IPv4 numbering system is
numbered.

Separation of worlds

However, IPv4 and IPv6 offer separate worlds. An IPv4 server can not talk to an IPv6
client and the other way around. Many users still have IPv4 only routers and modems at home
and can’t even join the IPv6 world if they wanted to. This is especially true for older
routers and modems – like those in countries which adopted the web early, like in Europe and
the US. As most users there already have Internet, the need for new addresses is less dire.
This has limited the uptake of IPv6 by the web, especially since offering both IPv4 and IPv6
can result in problems for IPv4 only users. So major providers and users like Facebook and
Google, Amazon and the many other important sites on the web don’t offer IPv6 connectivity
yet. Meanwhile, in China, India and other quickly developing countries, things are decidedly
different. IPv6 will be crucial if China is to connect it’s vast population to the web. If
everyone in South America wants a smartphone, a netbook and a desktop – IPv4 won’t cut it. So
there, IPv6 services are quickly coming up.

We have to take steps to ensure we don’t create a gap between the quickly developing
countries and the West. This means making sure our infrastructure is ready for IPv6! This is
what World IPv6 Day is all about. On that day, major websites and providers around the world
will test out their IPv6 infrastructure and make sure they are available for everyone.

We’ll be ready

The openSUSE sysadmin
team is working hard to bring IPv6 services up. They started a few weeks ago and plan to be
ready on June 8th, the World IPv6 day. On that day, all external servers will be reachable via
both IPv4 and IPv6. This includes our wiki, forums, news, documentation and of course OBS.

If you want to help out, there are a few things you can do. First of all, you can check
the participants
dashboard
to see how we are doing. Furthermore, you can check if you and your provider are IPv6 ready and if you
are, visit our servers and see for yourself!

License: GFDL 1.2

Milestone 1, the first step towards the upcoming openSUSE 12.1 release, is now available.
It is the first milestone, hence far from stable, but the images are now finally building, so
we have a good starting point for further development.

Many updates, systemd still optional

With over 800 updates, including minor and major updates, the current milestone is ready
for some serious testing. This iteration already sees some major upgrades taking place, with
the kernel moving on to 2.6.39 and GNOME to 3.0. In addition we have popular GNOME
applications like Evolution, Eye of GNOME and others all synchronized, and KDE’s Plasma
Desktop coming along nicely with a minor version upgrade to 4.6.3. You will also find upgrades
to GCC, glibc, Perl, Python, and the RPM package manager. Much work has also been put into the
much-lauded systemd which has now been upgraded to version 26.

You can read some info on the progress in this recent blog on progress in
Factory
by Andreas Jaeger.

Helping out easier than ever!

As expected from a development release, there is still a lot of work to do, so your input
at this early stage will be a huge help in making the final release into the beautifully
polished work that we aim for. openSUSE 12.1 Milestone 1 has a list of most annoying bugs
here
, please add issues you find and help fix them. As Will Stephenson recently
blogged
, fixing an issue is a matter of BURPing on
build.opensuse.org! Find a how-to here.

So run, don’t crawl, to your nearest downloader and see for yourself what the next version
of openSUSE has in store for you at our download center.

License: GFDL 1.2

The openSUSE Conference 2011 has been announced and already we’re getting some strong
proposals for topics to cover during our conference.  It’s not too late for you to send in
your proposal or even suggest ideas that others can take on!

Goal of the Conference

The RWX3 theme says it all..  Its about collaboration.  Its about you.  And its about what
we, as a Project, can do for ourselves and for the world.That means we are *NOT* going to be
sitting around for four days listening to folks drone all day long while we stare at slide
presentations.  It means we all get to roll up our sleeves and jump right into it.  Sure there
will be some ‘slide presentation’ sessions (and you can bet we’re going to have some great
ones) but the focus will be on hands on and plenty of BoF (Birds of a
Feather)
 sessions where we can all make a direct contribution to the things that
impact the Project and FOSS.And speaking of FOSS, as always, not everything we do is only to
benefit openSUSE Project. The Project itself has a strong goal of creating and supporting
initiatives that have a much wider scope.  So, if you’ve got a great software or community
project you’ve been working on and need the backing of a larger community of contributors,
this is the conference you want to bring your initiative to!

How to submit a CFP

If you have something to share, want to teach a workshop or need to solicit input from
others on a subject, you can send a talk proposal to the openSUSE Conference paper committee.
Following the guidelines & tips for speakers you can submit a paper on the openSUSE Conference website.

Stay tuned for our upcoming articles detailing some of the sessions the Conference Program
Team is reviewing.

License: GFDL 1.2

Header PictureGoogle Summer of Code

The update this week brings us the system data gathering module along with some
sub-modules for various information to be gathered for the system.

The concept envisioned is something like this: there will be a ‘gather.d/’ folder, where
programs can install their own relevant data gathering modules. At the moment, we have these:
lsmod, uname, release, cpu-model, amount of RAM and video card model.

These small modules parse the relevant data from the corresponding locations and all the
data gets put together in a dictionary by gather.py. We opted for this version because we can
use the dictionary to export the data as JSON, or ini-style, or whatever feels appropriate.
Also, because of this, the data will be easily parseable for the maintainers who read our bug
reports.

As usual, you can find the code here: https://github.com/mihneadb/Suse-Bug-Reporter

Will get back to you next week! (last week with exams).

Mihnea DB

This is my second report about my gsoc project, well what is new: This week I occupied my
self with augeas, it is the first time I try to use and expand an already existing library and
utility. Even thought Augeas is very well documented and the people in their community are
very helpful, i had some problems combining my thoughts and ideas with the existing code,
because i was trying to find out the best way to avoid code duplication etc. That was at least
at the start, now at the end of the week I can say that I am more familiar with the Augeas API
and this will certainly help me in the coming weeks.

As long as it concerns the actual merging procedure, i began coding an implementation i
have thought. Unfortunately, the approach i used was not sufficient generalized to work with
all the configuration files. Therefor i had, to erase most of the coding i did these days.
However, from every negative thing comes a positive, in this case, I was able to find a better
solution that rise some new problems, however i hope I will be able to find out an answer for
them in the following days and implement the right code.

Finally, a merge tool command was added in augtool that is able to use the aug_merge
command i added in the library, the particular command will accept a source and a dest
tree/path and will then try to combine them according to the flags that i will add as
enumeration. The final conclusion I must speed up things a bit  cause there are unexpected
problems that may occur at the implementation at any time.

This week I’ve been focusing on implementing the tabbed interface for Entomologist so that
trackers are separated out into individual tabs. There are a few things still left to complete
(primarily deletion of a tracker) but they do work!. I’d planned to also add the statistics
element to the User Interface but I’ve not been able to move on to that and the work required
to get statistics from a bug tracker will be more than I thought. This is why I’d added a
second week to this specific part of my UI work as I knew that there is a potential for
problems to arise. Once this work is completed I will then implement a “New Comment” interface
that is a separate window from the main UI that allows a user to view past comments and upload
new comments (The current expanded panel will remain as a “quick view” mode for past
comments).

The current timeline for the project can be found here.

This work will conclude hopefully by the end of next week as I would really like to start
working on the TODO list as soon as possible and as highlighted in the timeline, hopefully
iCal support can be added so that Entomologist can manage TODO lists of bugs with a wide
variety of different Calendars.

The main things that have tripped me up this week is getting lost in MainWindow.cpp as it
is quite a large file to focus on and sometimes things that should be obvious weren’t quite so
obvious.

I’ll update this post with screenshots of the changes once I’ve managed to finish the Look
and Feel changes for the Tabs.

here’s a small summary of the 2nd (coding) week. Thisweek I spent most of my time with
working on an OO-style classfor doing http requests:

  • it’s possible to switch the http(s) implementation without touching anylibrary
    code

  • supports response validation (if a schema was specified for the request)

Currently I’m still working on the “remote models”:

  • decided to use lxml.objectify:

    • goal is to encapsulate the xml logic solely into the object itself

    • example
      workflow:

      prj = RemoteProject(‘some_name’)
      prj.title = ‘dummy’
      prj.description = ‘foo bar’
      repo =prj.add_repository(name=’openSUSE_Factory’)
      repo.add_path(project=’openSUSE:Factory’,
      repository=’standard’)
      repo.add_arch(‘i586′)
      # change arch to x86_64
      repo.arch[0] = ‘x86_64′repo.save()

Minor stuff:

  • decided to use the “logging” module: this way we can easily add “debug” and “info”
    etc. messages and it’s up tothe “client” which messages it wants to display (I’m not
    talking aboutthe messages which are displayed when “osc up” is called or something
    likethat)

Header PictureStatus Updates

Header PictureDistribution

This week saw the release of the first milestone of openSUSE 12.1 and work on factory is
continuing, I’ve found the following changes important:

GNU C Library (glibc) 2.13

We’ve updated glibc from version 2.11 to 2.13 which brings many bug fixes and AFAIK no
major breakages to packages. The package itself got cleaned up a little bit as well, so
please report any problems.

GO Programming Language

Factory now contains a compiler for the GO language which is “is an expressive,
concurrent, garbage collected systems programming language that is type safe and memory
safe.”. More details about GO are available on the openSUSE Wiki, the devel
project with additional packages is devel:languages:go.

Packaging: Source Processing

The usage of _service files in Factory confused many packagers and resulted in broken packages
so that these will be deprecated. As a replacement, Adrian implemented now a new source processing
method and asks for testers
.

Packaging: Adding useful Provides to cups
drivers

Vincent “updated python-cups to a new version, and it is now shippingfiles to
automatically add Provides tag to packages that are shippingcups drivers.”. This allows
desktop packages to install the right printer driver – or users to do it via zypper.
Packages with cups drivers just need to add a “BuildRequires: python-cups”.

Open Build Service Improvement

The “My Work” view has been
updated to better show packages that are in review state and need your review. I suggest
everybody to check out the page and cleanup your list.

Multiple Buildroots with osc

If you like to use more than one build at the same time, there are several options like
pointed out on the opensuse-packaging mailing list:

  • Use of the environment variable OSC_BUILD_ROOT to define a build root.

  • Editing of the osc config file ~/.oscrc and setting build-root to contain the
    variables %(repo), %(arch),  %(project) or %(package).

Correction on auto-legal build service check

Jürgen corrected my report from last
week: He would love to see the checks for auto-legal moved and welcomes any help.

Thanks

Thanks for the words of encouragement to my first blog post. I’ll try to continue this
series. If there’s anything you think should be added to it, please contact me via email at
aj at opensuse dot org.

License: GFDL 1.2

Team Reports

Header PictureBuild Service Team

Sometime ago Gabriel asked me if I could give him help with the Banshee repositories
for openSUSE; This repositories have many users hanging around and some packages are
enabled on other projects, which makes them somehow sensible to deep changes.

Today I’ve pushed to openSUSE:Factory Banshee 2.0.1 (latest stable release) and a few
packages which live in the Banshee repository. I’ve also submitted a deletion request to
ipod-sharp which is no longer maintained and was replaced in the past for libgpod.

I’ve fixed the pending issues I’ve seen on the Banshee repository and Banshee 2.0.1
and disabled SLE 11 builds (not requiring all the dependencies). The repository serves now
the following platforms (banshee and banshee-community-extensions):

  • SLE 11 SP1;

  • openSUSE 11.3;

  • openSUSE 11.4;

  • openSUSE Factory;

  • openSUSE Tumbleweed (new).

On Banshee:Unstable (which should hold the unstable releases, currently 2.1.0) I’ll be
introducing some changes during the next days which will feature:

  • Package being renamed to ‘banshee’, thus dropping the current banshee-1;

  • Migration to pkgconfig() calls for >= 1130;

  • Packages banshee and banshee-core get merged into banshee (currently banshee had
    only 4 documentation files);

  • New sub-package banshee-common to hold all the architecture independent files
    (ex: text files, icons, etc);

  • A few cleanups on the spec file for unsupported platforms (SLE11 and SLE11SP1
    do not meet the requirements for this version and superior).

Once this is implemented and tested I will look into Banshee:Alpha and see the best
way to start building daily/weekly snapshots using the OBS magic available and some magic
tricks hidden in Dimstar’s sleeve which kindly accepted my request to give me a hand on
such evil task.

In the future, on the next stable release (2.2.0), I’ll move the changes from
Banshee:Unstable to Banshee and hopefully change the development repository to Banshee (as
if Factory has the latest stable release it makes no sense in having Banshee’s development
repository in Banshee:Unstable) and synch all at once.

Users subscribed to Banshee:Unstable repository might see some turbulence during the
next days, while users subscribing now through the 1-Click installer will already be
installing Banshee with the changes described above.

License: GFDL 1.2

Build Service Statistics. Statistics can found at Buildservice

Header PictureGNOME Team

Like many of you, I split my time between two excellent browsers: Firefox and Chrome. Neither feels really all so native in GNOME3 —although Firefox, as it mimics GTK+2 by default, fits in just a little
better. Every time I started Chrome, however, I felt a bit frustrated with how much of a
sore thumb it stuck out and decided to do something about it.

Notes:

  • Chrome’s theming isn’t too flexible, so the
    tabs are probably about as close as they’re going to get.

  • Due to a bug in Chrome, custom scrollbars do not work in iframes. I have made a
    workaround (thanks to CSS :not() magic) so that you still will have scrollbars
    whenever iframes need them. (This matters quite a bit for some web apps, such as
    Google Mail.)

  • There’s a bug in some builds of Chromium that prevent it from accessing the Chrome Web
    Store. The issue tracker mentions some work-around, and future builds openSUSE builds
    of Chromium will have the fix soon.

  • I’ve released the git repos of each on github: adwaita-chrome and adwaita-chrome-scrollbar

Unfortunately, I haven’t spent the time to make Firefox fit in a little better. It
would take a bit more effort. Hopefully the Firefox GTK+3 port is coming along nicely? (:

(Alternatively, someone would score some huge hero points by making Adwaita for GTK+2
resemble the GTK+3 version, instead of Clearlooks. This would also make other GTK+2 theme
using apps fit in a bit better too, such as LibreOffice.)

Header PictureKDE Team

Tonight I’ll board a sleeper train which will get me to Randa, Switzerland by tomorrow
morning. I’m travelling to that small village in the Swiss Alps to participate in the Platform11 sprint.

What is this platform11 sprint about? (Randa’s trainstation only has 2 platforms, one
towards Zermatt, one towards Visp. That’s probably not it.) The wiki page about the sprint
makes it more clear, however:

To examine the current state and near future of the KDE Platform (kdelibs and
kdebase-runtime), particularly as it relates to the growing usage of it in new contexts such
as mobile or on Windows and MacOS and its traditional usage as a set of conveniences and
consistency creators for KDE application development.

The sprint will aim to create an actionable, multi-year roadmap for kdelibs and
kdebase-runtime and will examine issues of modularity, topicality and the inherent dichotomy
between the KDE Platform as an application development framework (similar to Qt) and as a
stand-alone platform to target (similar to, e.g. Windows, MacOS, etc.)

To me, this sprint marks an interesting point in the lifecycle of KDE 4, as we are now
rethinking the structure of our platform.

Platform or Frameworks?

Last week, we had an interesting discussion wether the development libraries KDE software
bases upon are called a platform or frameworks. I personally prefer to think of it in terms of
frameworks, because that has a less exclusive nature to it. A platform sounds very much
monolithic, while frameworks give a modular impression — and indeed, one of the goals of the
Platform 11 sprint is modularity of our “platform”.

Plasma Active and Platform11

One of the goals for me for participating in Platform 11 is to make our development
frameworks more suitable for building non-desktop systems. There have already been efforts
that work into this direction for quite some time (the platform build-time profiles come to
mind, or recent work on libplasma2), but we haven’t yet had a focused meeting where we sat
together to discuss our platform as a whole. That will likely mean a bit of restructuring in
our libraries, deprecating some overly old stuff, and examining where we’re lacking a
consistent API for modern needs. Geolocation comes to mind here, and rumours are that there’s an exile-kiwi coming
with plans to Randa.

Last night, during dinner Kim asked me what I’m looking forward to in Randa other than
technical and community bits. My answer was “watching the mountains”. As I’m living in the
Netherlands, mountains are not a normal thing in sight, and the magnitude of those Swiss Alps
keeps astonishing me. I’m also looking forward to those idle moments staring at the
mountains.

(What? We’re back to tacky K-Names? Don’t worry, just using the K to reminisce us of
our roots. :-)) The Platform 11 sprint in Randa is now in full swing, while relatively
little code is being written by the 24-ish people here (and the occasional visitors from
one of the other 3.5 sprints happening in the same building, at the same time), we’re
very, very busy. It’s basically work until collapse, sleep and start again. Kevin is
applying his kanban magic to manage the sprint and get everybody focused and
synched. Kanban Magic means that we’re using a wall
and a lot of post-it notes with tasks and topics on them, and we move those post its
through different stages indicated by swimming lanes on the wall, froom waiting through
design, review to done. The first note has just passed the review stage and is now in done
state: our first accomplishment. :-)

As we’re working on issues central to how we all (KDE and Qt hackers) develop, I’m
sure you’re impatiently waiting for results to pour onto the Internet. While our first
focus is on personal interaction and using the facetime and “high personal bandwidth” to
solve hard problems, you can get at least an overall impression of the direction of our
work, as we’re tracking our results on the wiki.

What is really good and healthy to see is the number of different stakeholders
(sometimes represented by the same person wearing multiple hats). This way we can make
‘reasonably sure’ that we take different point of views into account, and find solutions
that work for us all. One might expect that this results in endless discussions, but in
practise, most of us are on the same page, and where we’re not, we’re taking the time to
sync up and see how much common ground we have, and how we can take advantage of that.
There are people from up and downstream, from subcommmunities and companies, and people
that all have different stakes in the KDE platforms and frameworks.

A big thanks goes to those who made this sprint possible: first of course to all the
participants who are focused, motivated and working hard to produce good results. Then of
course to Mario and his excellent team of volunteers who make sure we’re fed, warm, safe
and taken care of. There is a number of sponsors without which this sprint would not have
been possible, those are the Raiffeisen bank, Swisscom and openSUSE who generously chipped
in to get us all together for a focused meeting to improve our foundations. Thanks to you
all! We are certainly justifying the energy, passion and resources made available to us by
working very hard to produce good results!

I’m at the Platform 11 sprint at Randa. We are here to discuss and shape the future of the KDE platform. It’s
the first meeting of this kind sinceTrysil five years ago. Four people who were at Trysil also made it to Randa,
including a respectable dinosaur, but it’s great to also have new and very new faces around.

Randa is a great location. It’s a small village in the south of Switzerland, in the
middle of the mountains. The Swiss railroad system did an impressive job of bringing us to
Randa on a steep and winding track. Now we are surrounded by thousands of meters of
mountains, and there is snow and glaciers, but no escape. Perfect time to focus on the KDE
platform.

Yesterday we did a brainstorming and collection of topics to discuss, and started to
go into projects in smaller breakout groups. A Kanban board keeps us on track and moving.
There is a lot to discuss, but it’s already pretty clear, that there is a solid base of
consensus on many of the core questions, how to make kdelibs more modular, how to better
seperate and define the framework and the platform, how to lower the barrier for
application developers. We will need to do lots of additional work to sort out details and
find the best solutions to the key questions, but that’s what we are here for. So I’m
looking forward to the next few days, and all the results we’ll create.

Header PictureopenFATE Team

Top voted Features

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
reading

http://fedoramagazine.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/interview-fedora-10s-better-startup/

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?

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)

Recently requested features

Features newly requested last week. Please vote and/or comment if you get interested.

There doesn’t appear to be much support for the AFP protocol in the distribution.

Wishes:

- allow dolphin to mount afp://

- package afpfs-ng

BSD has a issetugid() syscall that allows programs and libraries to reliably determine whether they were started in a setuid context:

http://www.manpagez.com/man/2/issetugid/

This or a similar syscall would be valuable on Linux too, especially in the advent of fscaps where the traditional uid != euid check doesn’t work anymore.

yast2-sound is very usable for everybody who have a sound-card but when it is installed it add a joystick config option that I think is not useful for most of the users and nowadays most of the sound card dont have joystick input so I think we can separate yast2-sound from joystick. It will reduce the number of option in the yast control panel too.

SUSE used blogd to separate kernel and user log messages during boot. With systemd now everything is written to the kernel ring buffer. We should separate those again.

https://honk.sigxcpu.org/piki/projects/ppm/

Prepaid-manager-applet (ppm) is an applet for the GNOME Desktop that allows you to check and top up the balance of GSM mobile prepaid SIM cards.

Looks like a nice small tool.

//news.opensuse.org/2010/10/26/from-the-developer-to-the-user-and-back-announcing-project-bretzn/

Purpose:

  1. Make it easy for developers to release an application

  2. Make it easy for developers to market and for users to learn about that application

  3. Make it easy for users to install the application

Project Bretzn consists of three parts: the
building of the package, the
publishing of the application, the
marketing to the users and the
feedback cycle back to the developer. (…)

Using LightDM as the default Display Manager for Gnome, KDE and XFCE we will be reducing possible Display Manager issues to just 1 source.
Ubuntu is already using it and others distro will probably follow this idea.

KDE/Qt LightDM is already in progree:

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=OTUxNg

Now Packcage manager starts slowly if I have many repos, because it downloads many small files one by one with same delay. So downloading repositories data in paralel will speed up starting of package manager.

Feature Statistics

Statistics for openSUSE distribution in openFATE

Header PictureOpenOffice/LibreOffice Team

Today we released 3.4.0,
there is a great list of new features, specific to LibreOffice available (expertly assembled by Marc Pere and others). Each should
also be credited so some of the depth of the (code) developer community is apparent, this
is of course in addition to our extensive credits page (kept up to date by a
volunteer of course). This is the first major release containing code from many of our new
volunteers which is exciting. Of course, there are some great improvements there, I like
the named range / data-pilot work that makes it easy to extend the data range you’re
working on without manually editing perhaps ten data-pilots depending on it but there are
a load more. Some of the changes are invisible, and/or behind the scenes – so I thought
I’d expand on them here.

Header PictureTesting Team

With the release of openSUSE 12.1 MS1, it is time to start testing.

The Testing Core Team will have an IRC meeting at 17:00 UTC, June 6 on our usual
channel. At this writing, the only agenda item is our experiences with MS1.

Header PictureTranslation Team

Header PictureIn the Community

Postings from the Community

LGM was a quite useful chance to meet people. Jon Cruz from Inkscape I met the first time, which was a nice
experience. His remarks on the Cairo API for ICC support at the end of the OpenICC round
table where interesting and I hope we can continue with that hot toppic. As well I meet
Richard Hughes the author of colord and GCM. We could
settle on a specification for file based colour device configuration exchange of CMS/CMF’s
and discuss desktop colour servers, which was quite interesting. My talk was about “Connecting Device Calibration to ICC Profiles“.

With many more people I could exchange ideas and make plans. Among them where Oliver
Berten, the author of SwatchBooker,ý Peter Linell and Jean Ghali from Scribus and many more. To my surprise
Boudewijn Rempt from Krita pointed out that OpenGTL‘s shiva can handle more than three colour
channels. I would love to get support for that in Oyranos.

The whole atmosphere at LGM was great and Louis and the LGM organisation team did great
in preparing culinary and cultural program highlights additional to a wonderful conference.
As time for coding was somewhat short, some slight improvement could be coding & buffet.
This would be a nice experience instead of the well known coding and pizza.

I found the town of Montreal to be a surprisingly friendly place. People from so many
cultural background where smiling in the streets, of course always with a arm’s length
distance, which is quite unusual in Europe. (…)

openSUSE for your Ears

The openSUSE Weekly News are available as podcast in German. You can hear it or download
it on http://saigkill.homelinux.net/podcasts.

Contributors

Header PictureNew/Updated Applications @ openSUSE

Originally I wanted to have most packages ready for Montreal. But it was good to not
announce them. Now they are slowly rolling out.

Today came the basICColor_Offset_2009 package 1.1.1 shortly after OpenICC Data package
1.2.0
. Both form now a fairly distributable and stable usable set of ICC profiles
with completely free licenses.

ICC Examin had some issues in the CinePaint plugin. So I decided to first fix that and as
well finish the started ICC v4 support in ICC Examin. Most of that should work already in
git.

Just in case you’re wondering what this article is about, check
out the SMB Traffic
Analyzer project
to get more information.

The team is proud to release SMB Traffic Analyzer version
1.2.5
. Among numerous changes and enhancements, this release brings a huge documentation update on
webSMBTA
, thanks to Benjamin of the SMBTA team. In smbtaquery, we had a bug that caused the “from..to” and “since” time modifiers
on functions not to work (bso#8169). Furthermore, this release fixes an error condition on
smbtad which we encountered during the SambaXP conference, when a directory was created that
already existed. Packages for Gentoo Linux and openSUSE should be available very soon, and
with release 1.2.5, we’ve sub-packaged webSMBTA. The “one click install” optioný for openSUSE
will install all required repositories such as rails3 to run webSMBTA from the apache
webserver. We have added installation instructions to the source tarball.

SMB Traffic Analyzer 1.2.5 makes changes to the database being used
by SMBTA
. We provide an upgrade path from
whichever version of SMBTA you are coming from. Just run “smbtaquery -C” and follow the
instructions.

Checkout the SMB Traffic
Analyzer homepage
to get more information and download options.

Header PictureGames Corner

The Section provides the Game of the Week, and Updates in the Game Repository

The response we got for our feature on rarely known commercial applications for Linux was simply overwhelming and some of those who enjoyed the
article wanted us to do a similar feature on commercial games available for Linux. So here is
it, a very neat collection of paid games for Linux worth exploring. (…)

Header PictureSecurity Updates

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.

Header PictureKernel Review

Yay! Let the bikeshed painting discussions about version numbering
begin (or at least re-start).

I decided to just bite the bullet, and call the next version 3.0. It
will get released close enough to the 20-year mark, which is excuse
enough for me, although honestly, the real reason is just that I can
no longe rcomfortably count as high as 40.

The whole renumbering was discussed at last years Kernel Summit, and
there was a plan to take it up this year too. But let’s face it -
what’s the point of being in charge if you can’t pick the bike shed
color without holding a referendum on it? So I’m just going all
alpha-male, and just renumbering it. You’ll like it. (…)

Rares Aioanei gives a short Overview about the Kernel changes.

Header PictureTips and Tricks

For Desktop Users

With all the hype around Unity and Gnome 3, KDE fans might be having a lousy time and
feel ignored. We are bored with those two anyway ;-). Its time for a change. KDE fans
rejoice!! KDE has many very cool and useful widgets which you can add on your KDE desktop or
in your taskbar. Lets have a look at the top 5 widgets. (…)

KDE is a free and open source desktop workspace,
application suite, and development environment for Unix-like operating systems such as
Linux. Its applications are also available for Mac OS X and Windows. One of the
most impressive features of KDE is its flexibility. You can customize KDE to look and feel
however you want.

The KDE workspace is a unique experience not found with any other desktop environment or
operating system.
It is called Plasma and is fully integrated with a widget system and is easily themeable.
When you first install KDE, it will already look beautiful, but half of the fun of a free
and open source workspace is tweaking. These are simple customizations you can do to make
your KDE desktop truly yours. (…)

For Commandline/Script Newbies

term_color.sh

This simple script can be run in a tty to that you can change the color to be more easily read. Note that the tty uses 8 colors so you will not get the most beautiful output. The 8 colors are; black, white, red, blue,green, yellow, magenta, and cyan. (perform as normal user not root)

You do not want to mess up your root account so use a test account to try this. (…)

For Developers and Programmers

Database programmers and administrators often need to design SQL queries against database structures with which they’re not intimately familiar. By using a visual query designer, programmers and admins can cut down on coding errors and save time. FOSS tool phpMyAdmin offers a simple builder that can help anyone design MySQL queries. Here’s how to get started designing basic queries visually in phpMyAdmin.

(…)

Malcolm Lewis sent me a link to one of his failing packages, with the idea to bring the
next post for this series (which has had a too long break already). So Malcolm: Thank you
for the heads up and here we go with another hopefully helpful solution to one of brp error
(brp actually stands for Build Root Policy)

So, just like before, we have a look at the error, including the specific code parts
raising the errors:

I: Statement might be overflowing a buffer in strncat. Common mistake:

BAD: strncat(buffer,charptr,sizeof(buffer)) is wrong, it takes the left over size as
3rd argument

GOOD: strncat(buffer,charptr,sizeof(buffer)-strlen(buffer)-1)

Ok, so the error is very helpful with even telling us what is a bad use of strncat and
what a good use of it would look like. For completeness, let’s see what the compiler itself
reports on this error:

In function ‘strncat’,

inlined from ‘gtkui_icmp_redir’ at ec_gtk_mitm.c:173:14:

/usr/include/bits/string3.h:152:3: warning: call to __builtin___strncat_chk might
overflow destination buffer [enabled by default]

Let’s see what
man 3 strncat
tells us about the usage of strncat.

Synopsis

#include char *strcat(char *dest, const char *src); char *strncat(char *dest, const
char *src, size_t n);

Description

The strcat() function appends the src string to the dest string overwriting the ‘\0′
character at the end of dest, and then adds a terminating ‘\0′ character. The strings may
not overlap, and the dest string must have enough space for the result.

The strncat() function is similar, except that it will use at most n characters from
src. Since the result is always terminated with ‘\0′, at most n+1 characters are written.

The package suggested by Malcolm contains this code (snipped
together):

#define PARAMS_LEN 50 static char params[PARAMS_LEN];
strncat(params, gtk_entry_get_text(GTK_ENTRY(entry1)), PARAMS_LEN);
strncat(params, “/”, PARAMS_LEN);
strncat(params, gtk_entry_get_text(GTK_ENTRY(entry2)), PARAMS_LEN);

This is not an uncommon error at all. We create a buffer, 50 chars long, we concatenate
text into the buffer and specify a max length of PARAMS_LEN. What is not taken into account
here is that the string in params is getting longer, and we do not account for this when
adding text to it. And additionally the leading \0 is ignored as well.

Translating the BRP Result’s suggestion stating how we should write this code, we will
result in
this:

#define PARAMS_LEN 50 static char params[PARAMS_LEN];
strncat(params, gtk_entry_get_text(GTK_ENTRY(entry1)), sizeof(params)-strlen(params)-1);
strncat(params, “/”, sizeof(params)-strlen(params)-1);
strncat(params, gtk_entry_get_text(GTK_ENTRY(entry2)), sizeof(params)-strlen(params)-1);

sizeof(params) is what we had there before, and equals to PARAMS_LEN. But we now also
take into account that we already do have some characters stored in params and also account
for a trailing NULL byte.

And with this simple fix, the error vanished.

For System Administrators

It had been months since I had an weired issue with the embedded audio controller of my
Gigabyte motherboard.

Plugin the headphones on the front panel of my box didn’t mute the output to the
speakers, which nullified the purpose of having headphones.

I long thought that it was some hardware issue that I would have to sort some day by
opening the box and checking the connections.

Yesterday, I decided to solve it for good and I started to google… and found out that it
was a pure software issue!

The culprit sounded to be some unproper settings of the ALSA module and this Ubuntu guide just saved
me.

I carefully followed the steps and it appeared that for my Gigabyte GA-790FXTA-UD5, it was necessaryýto this line:

add options snd-hda-intel model=3stack-hp

to

/etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

Ok, it did not go so smoothly as I picked out randomly models from the list until I find
the right one (I had no idea of what was embbeded on my board). I hope this may help, as I
have quite a lot of people with similar issues with all kinds of vendors.

Editors Note:openSUSE Users should use /etc/modprobe.d/50-sound.conf
instead.

Header PicturePlanet SUSE

Everything changes, so do our packages. But change needs to be explained in order to
become relevant. Regarding packaging, this involves the art of writing good changelog entries.
Here is an example from an otherwise very capable packager:

Spec files updates:

  • Changes in License.

  • Updates in Group:, Summary: and %description entries.

  • Updates in %build section for lib64 compilation.

  • Minor other updates.

More often, a reviewer stumbles upon those classics:

  • Fixed build

  • Fixed dependencies

  • Changed license to $FOO

These lines surely took some time to write but they explain only what was changed, not
why. The ‘what’ is easily visible from the diff of the old and new package version (kindly
provided by the Open Build Service), but it’s the ‘why’ that matters. Your benevolent Factory
review team kindly overlooks such insignificant matters most of the time, but you may leave
your users baffled. Changelogs usually serve a purpose, for the package reviewer it’s ‘Why
should I take the time to look at this at all and why does it belong into Factory?’. For the
user it’s simply, ‘Dang, yet another update, why’s that for?’. You better provide some good
answers for those questions or your carefully crafted fix may remain misjudged. As a reference
you may use guides that others have written. They’re mostly about VCS commit messages, but
it’s the same thing:

Happy changelog writing!

Header PictureOn the Web

Announcements

REDWOOD SHORES, CA–(Marketwire – Jun 1, 2011) – “With today’s proposal to contribute the OpenOffice.org code to The Apache Software Foundation’s Incubator, Oracle continues to demonstrate its commitment to the developer and open source communities. Donating OpenOffice.org to Apache gives this popular consumer software a mature, open, and well established infrastructure to continue well into the future. The Apache Software Foundation’s model makes it possible for commercial and individual volunteer contributors to collaborate on open source product development.” — Luke Kowalski, vice president, Oracle Corporate Architecture Group. (…)

Reports

(Note: This post is about Plasma Active, a community
collaboration to bring KDE software to consumer devices. To learn more about Plasma Active,
read this blog post.)

We’ve been a bit quiet lately around the Plasma Active farm. This is mostly due to us
being rather busy, both with technical as well as organizational tasks. On the technology
front, things continue to plow forward at a very brisk pace with Contour shaping up with every
passing day and libplasma2 (a big part of the Plasma Quick track) zipping ahead nicely.

Organizationally, we’re learning new lessons every day as to how to best coordinate
efforts between companies currently involved and reaching out to ones that should be
involved. Basyskom sent a bunch of people to
the recent MeeGo conf, and the response was fantastic, including some bloggerswriting about the demo that was on offer.

There’s also been some learning-as-we-grow happening that has hampered outbound
communication somewhat. For some of the people involved, this is their very first open
source experience. For others, this is their first foray into the interesting world of
devices. While it is terrific to expand our merry band of freedom makers, it also has meant
some learning curves.

Amongst all that, code is getting written, the user experience design continues to
mature and new operating system images are being spun. All is good in the land of technical
progress. Marco is hanging out at my place for a couple days prior to the upcoming Platform
11 meeting (which starts Wednesday) and we’re getting some work done at a nice pace.

Today we’re working on Share-Like-Connect and building integration points in Contour for
it.I am, however, behind on posting news about new Active Apps as well, which I’m going to
remedy in a moment.

(Note: This post is about Plasma Active, a community
collaboration to bring KDE software to consumer devices. To learn more about Plasma Active,
read this blog post.)

What is an Active App? It’s a project built with Qt and/or KDE libraries that fits into
the spirit and use cases of Plasma Active. That means it needs to be touch friendly,
preferably present the user interface with QtQuick, have a nice separation between data and
visualization where appropriate and integrate well with the platform.

In the Plasma Active meta-project, which includes things like Contour and live OS
images, we’re building up a small army of such apps in the hopes that those projects can
learn from each other and us from them. It will also help ensure that when someone goes to
use a Plasma Active device, they don’t just have the Contour user experience but also a host
of useful stand-alone applications as well.

I announced our first Active App a couple weeks back: Calligra. Today, we add another to the
books: Marble!Marble has already had a
mobile version for some time, and since mapping is very important functionality for devices
you carry around with you it was only natural for Plasma Active to meet Marble.

There is a project going on right now to provide a QtQuick interface to Marble, and we
will be including this effort in the live images as it matures.

Couple of days back, we reported that how a Fedora system running KDE SC4 was used for Animation production in BBC’s Doctor Who Series.

Here is yet another instance where Linux systems are being used for production in entertainment industry. This time Rockstar games, who gave the world Grand Theft Auto series used Linux systems (OpenSUSE/SUSE Linux) in rendering real life facial expressions to the characters in their game L.A. Noire (released on May 17th). Again, KDE is used as the desktop environment. Though I am not able to identify which software (not seems to be native) is being run on the system. (…)

Forget the networked printer. The cloud printer is coming

Most PC users have used a networked printer at one time or other. Soon, printing documents over the Internet may become just as commonplace. Especially if Google has its way.

Google’s long-awaited Cloud Print service was unveiled as a beta earlier this year. The service allows users to setup a printer and then print to it over the internet. This includes being able to print from a mobile device to a remote internet-connected PC anywhere in the world. (…)

A freelance researcher named Efim Bushmanov has created a site named “skype-open-source” and says that he
is reverse engineering the VoIP service Skype “to make skype open source”. Skype’s
proprietary protocols have allowed the company to maintain control over its peer-to-peer
voice and video communications network and have been the subject of various types of
research over the years.

Bushmanov is not taking a clean room approach, where a researcher examines the network
inputs and outputs of the software. He has instead opted for the potentially riskier process
of modifying the Skype binary files to remove autoupdate, obfuscation and
anti-debugging measures. Bushmanov may also be taking a risk by redistributing these
modified files; they are easier to decompile and it is easier to trace and log what the code
does, but they are still Skype’s intellectual property.

Among major technology companies, Google open sources many of its own projects at a prolific rate, and now the company has announced that it is open sourcing WebRTC, an open technology for voice and video on the web. The code and API are available here. WebRTC is a free, open project that enables web browsers with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple Javascript APIs. According to Google: “This first release of WebRTC is mainly targeted at the browser community. It enables browser vendors to integrate the components required for rich communication into their web browsers.” (…)

Reviews and Essays

Identi.ca has been buzzing with ‘project Harmony’ discussions lately. Harmony aims to be the ‘Creative Commons’ of Copyright Assignment Agreements (CAAs). A CAA is basically a contract you sign where you give away ownership of your code, and some free software projects already allow or even demand this for contributions. The Free Software Foundation itself, for example, requires a CAA.

Essentially, they want to own the code so they can sue anyone who doesn’t abide by the GPL licence (and upgrade to newer versions of the GPL). Other projects have non-mandatory CAAs for similar reasons. I’m not convinced you really need a CAA, however. Several projects including Linux itself have sued copyright violators successfully without it and you can have a ‘GPLv3+’ licence if you want to move to a newer GPL in the future. But in case of a charitable institution, I guess it probably doesn’t hurt.

(…)

I want to preface this entry by stating something very important to me and my world. I am a writer. Not just a writer of technical documentation, how-tos, and other sundry articles, but a writer of fiction. I currently have three published books (you can find them in both paperback and ebook format on Amazon and Barnes & Noble) and, I get the argument on both sides of the DRM fence.

What’s DRM? Simple. Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a term for access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders to limit the use of digital content and devices. In other words, I have created a piece of digital content and I want to ensure it is clear who the holder of the copyright is, but also that I get paid for the content I have created. (…)

From the ‘That Makes No Sense’ files:

Oracle announced this AM that it was giving the OpenOffice.org open source project to Apache. The effort has already been endorsed by IBM as well.

To me this move makes no sense at all.

Oracle and Sun before them, messed up the OpenOffice.org community which is what eventually led to the LibreOffice fork. Oracle earlier this year finally admitted that it was the right thing to do to give OpenOffice back to the community, and hey now they’ve decided that Apache is the right community. (…)

Calling all writers — do you have a book you want to publish as an eBook? Ready to
self-publish? Maybe you just want to provide some documentation in EPUB formats? Whether you
want to publish prose, poems, or help the world RTFM, Sigil can help tame the text and massage it
into the industry standard EPUB format.

What’s Sigil? It’s a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) ebook editor that’s open
source (GPLv3) and runs on Linux. Which makes it perfect for our needs. (…)

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First published on: http://saigkill.homelinux.net


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One Response to “openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 178 is out!”

  1. RGB

    Not all the people think that OOo going to Apache is a bad idea. I understand the interest Novell have on TDF, but showing here just the “I think is bad” side is not an honest move…
    Many of us think that OOo going to the Apache Foundation, even if a late move, could be *really* good for FOSS ecosystem.
    Just google for it: you will find LOTS of different opinions, and most of them are NOT as negative as the opinion quoted here. As a matter of fact, that blog is one of the very few that it is completely against it…
    The rest of the weekly news is really good, as it always is, but I find this we-all-hate-OOo thing really disappointing.