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openSUSE Welcomes its GSoC 2014 students

May 26th, 2014 by

openSUSE welcomes Google Summer of Code 2014 participants. Thanks to Google, openSUSE has an excellent number of slots and an equally excellent number of mentors and students for Google Summer of Code 2014. Throughuout the summer, students participanting in this program will code for openSUSE and its sister organizations ownCloud, MATE and Zorp and help them move forward. The best part of GSoC is that most of the code written by students will go upstream and will benefit openSUSE in general also. Along with this, we have an equally good range of projects that will improve the existing openSUSE architecture.

The list of successful students are :

  1. Travel Support Program application –     Karthik Senthil
  2. Playlist Functionality for ownCloud Music App –    Volkan
  3. ownCloud Calendar Application in angularJS –    Raghu Nayyar
  4. openSUSE GSOC ideas: Cool live flash –    Zsolt Peter Basak
  5. Open Source Event Manager (OSEM): Refactor user management model –  Stella Rouzi
  6. Open Source Event Manager (OSEM): Implemention Organizer Dashboard –    cbruckmayer
  7. MATE: Port from deprecated GStreamer 0.10 –    Michal Ratajsky
  8. Integrate Snapper Snapshot browsing into openSUSE Desktop tools –  Oguz Kayral
  9. Implement an application-level LBaaS driver for Zorp –    Péter Vörös
  10. Extend Git-Review to support BitBucket –    xystushi
  11. Event Splash page for Visitors In Open Source Event Manager Application. –    Gopesh Tulsyan
  12. ePub support in Atril (MATE) –    Avishkar gupta
  13. Add Snapshot management API to libvirt Xenlight driver –    David Kiarie
  14. Improving the functionality of the extensions system in Caja  – Alexandervdm

In the following weeks we will talk a lot more about these projects and get to know these students well.

Lets brew some code now.

Jean-Daniel Dodin a.k.a shares his experiences on how to manage a Personal Web Server with openSUSE

May 14th, 2014 by

Hello :-)

I want to share my experience in managing a personal hosted web server with openSUSE.

Two points, first.

  • I’m not a computer professional, but an openSUSE addict since 1996;
  • I will describe the use of hosted server, that is one that is not in your home, but somewhere in the cloud, but is still a hardware machine reserved to your own usage.

 

Why should I need my own server?

There are two main reasons.

  • The first is fun. It’s fun to use openSUSE Linux to manage a server. It’s fun to ba able to say to friends “I have my own web site, I can manage one for you if you want”. It’s fun to be able to setup the computer to fit your precise needs, without having to cope with shared hosting never having the good php version or refusing ssh access. It’s fun to learn how to manage such a frightening beast, it’s fun to reach a new knowledge level.
  • The second is friendliness and sharing. Nowadays, the cloud is everything. Internet is the key. Families are spread all over the world as are friends. To be able to share data, that is images, videos, comments, technical notes is essential. Managing it’s own server is the most effective way to do so.

Why a hosted server?

The first thing one try to do is manage it’s own server at home. It’s easy, most of the time any old hardware do the job -my first one was a 386 laptop with broken screen- (yes, a server do not need screen).

But one will pretty fast notice that the DSL line is not the best internet connection for this use. DSL is usually named “ADSL”, the “A” being for “Asymmetrical”. The speed of the data is approx 10,000 for downloading and only 1,000 for uploading (the real unit do not matter), that’s why it’s so difficult to send photos to a friend. So each time somebody wants to get something from your server at home, he will have to wait forever.

An other reason is cost. It’s not so cheap to have at home a computer running 7/7 and 24/24. Even is you can find a place where the noise is not a problem, power consumption is not that cheap. The simpler computer is like letting a bulb on all the time and my mother kept saying to me “please, switch off the light” :-).

I can’t know for you, but in France, where I live, hosting providers are really cheap. My own provider price list varies largely depending on the moment. Last year one could borrow a server for as low as $3 a month, just when I write it’s $8 for the smaller one. The one I use now cost me approximately $35 a month but have 4 processors, 8 threads, 2Tb Hard drive and 24Gb ram, that is much more than my desktop computer!

And for this price, I have 100Mbits symmetrical network, a fixed IP and a professional staff to maintain the hardware.

The drawback is that I have to manage the software myself entirely, but it’s exactly why I wanted a server so no complain on that :-).

Last word: When I say hosted, I don’t mean it’s you that have to provide the hardware. The hardware is property of the provider and maintained by him.

What do I need on my server?

Before doing anything in the life, one have to ask himself “why”? Same for a server. Right now I use my server to host my photo collection (more than 30,000 photos), my videos (much less in number, but very heavy in size), my personal wiki with all my technical notes and a blog. Also my personal mail server that I find to be more reliable than many professional ones. All this do not take more than 100Gb disk space, so there is a lot of free space where I can backup some data for friends or Linux groups I work with.

What is the real task?

I try to write down all what I do, let only to remember it myself! Of course it’s not very well organized, but my wiki page lists this, and I plan to discuss this with you now and in the future. Not being a professional, many things I do are not that good or not that smart. I always accept constructive criticisms and tips, and will be glad to receive them.

Partition and large disk

  • VirtualBoxHost
  • VirtualBoxGuest
  • Kimsufi-kernel-and-boot-setup-3 (old pages Kimsufi-kernel-and-boot-setup-2)
  • OpenSUSE-small-server_basics-3 (old pages OpenSUSE-small-server_basics-2 OpenSUSE-small-server_basics)
  • User creation/move/data move
  • Hostname
  • Communicating-with-the-server-3
  • Installing-ntp-2
  • MySQL-2
  • Installing-Apache
  • Installing-ftp
  • Remote-access-VNC
  • Remote-access-NX
  • Postfix-configure-2
  • Dovecot-configure-2
  • Configure Squirrel webmail (June 2011)
  • Install Piwigo
  • Archive mails in a way one can read the archives
  • Display server’s logs
  • Reinstal a Kimsufi server
  • install php scripts
  • Passphrase autentication with ssh
  • Complete backup of a server
  • EditCron

What I wont cover

As you see in this list, I use VirtualBox. This mean I use virtual server on my own server. I only begun to do so after several years of work, so I wont -yet- discuss this option here, I didn’t remove this item from the list, because I may at some point talk about it, incidentally.

The beginning: partitioning and installing

Partitioning

Installation on a hosted server is not as easy as on a local machine, because you don’t have any DVD access. The way you can access your computer depends on the provider. Mine gives the client a large choice of Linux distributions (among other systems), including openSUSE, and can deliver the server with a basic install and ssh access. One have also a rescue access (similar to openSUSE rescue access) to the server in case the machine do not boot anymore, but this is as friendly as is the rescue disk, better not have to use it too often.

Along the years, I have tested many partitioning schemes, and turn back to the simplest. Fact is on a remote server it’s difficult to manage several installations, like one do with dualboots –you don’t have access to a boot menu!

You can have one or two disks, the goal of two disks being to use raid 1 -my provider offers free change of damaged hardware- but one have to reconstruct it’s own raid. Using half the disk size as raid is pretty expensive, and simply having two disks for raid usually makes you shift to an other price list. I simply do not see any real reason to use raid on such server. After all if my personal server is out of business for some hours, nobody will notice (or nearly), We will see later than I use an other server as a backup.

So simple partitioning. On my own server I had problems with the default (provider) partitioning –yast didn’t like it- but I could reinstall the system and choose a simple configuration:

/dev/sda1 20Gb /
/dev/sda2 512Mb swap
/dev/sda3 1,8Tb /home

Notice I have a very small swap. I probably could have simply avoided to use swap (with 24Gb ram!), but I have this as default and kept it and it’s used by some application (496Kb), I don’t know why.

Actual system size is very low, so the 20Gb root size is much more than necessary, but like this the risk to have /tmp or /usr grow excessively is smaller and with 2Tb total size, why discuss?

Installation

Each provider have it’s own install interface, like any Linux distribution do, so I wont speak about it and say what is the result when, finally, you get the ssh prompt :-),

My provider provides a specific Kernel, also available as “net boot”. This is very interesting, because it’s always patched against all the problems, and, after all, you have never to change hardware on a hosted computer, and so one can reboot it’s server against net boot in case something go wrong. But the usual way is to boot normally, the hardware being provided with the kernel installed in /boot.

But, believe it or not, I was years before noticing the kernel was NOT part of default openSUSE install by the provider! It simply added manually the provider disk image. During these years I simply thought the hardware was not standard and that was the reason openSUSE couldn’t boot. I know today it’s wrong, because I had to use the standard kernel to make use of virtualization.

That said, I urge you to use the provider’s kernel if it exists, because it’s much more convenient and simplify eventual problems with the providers maintenance staff.

To get rid of the provider kernel I had to remove the /etc/grub.d/06-something-providersname config file and install the default kernel with YaST. Configure the boot system with YaST and reboot. The file in grubd is only used if it’s executable, so “chmod a-x” is enough to make it unavailable (and easily recovered if necessary).

Test and retest!

Before going to use the server in production, test it as long as necessary, two or three months not being ridiculous. Chance is you will reinstall several times during this period and it’s always better to have as few as possible work to do again. Don’t forget any critical error may need to use the recovery console or reinstall the system.

Write down the exact partition scheme. It can happen that reinstalling with the exact same partitions makes you able to recover at least the data untouched. Not sure, just a guess…

Works tricks

On my server the initial installation was extremely small, may be smaller than the minimal server install openSUSE gives. For sure, no YaST! You are lucky if you have zypper! May be you only have rpm!

So first things to install is zypper (you may have anyway some way to download rpm files, see providers help), then “zypper in yast”,

There having ncurse YaST is extremely handy, but yast2 (graphic) is much more, so it’s a good idea to install a minimum graphic system, then use “ssh -Y root@yourdomain.yourtld” to have yast2 displayed locally.

The basics

Fixed IP

With the server you must have a fixed IP. This mean you have an IP of your own. This may be the case -or not- for your home network. It means also you have to take double care of what you do, because you sign all your passage with your IP. This also mean most server in the net will trust you better exactly for the same reason, they know you.

Using certificates is an all other thing I wont discuss now.

Update

The very first thing you have to do is update your system. The first install is always from initial data and a server have to be uptodate. As soon as you have zypper, do a “zypper ref & zypper up”, Be prepared to see things shine, you get a semi-professional bandwith, at least. Mine is 100Mb symetrical, pretty pleasant.

Having an automatic update through yast is challenged. A professional server manager may not like it (always fearing an update break his system), but on your case, I beg you may be weeks before connection as root on the server and updating is important, so go for it.

Installs software

Don’t forget to install and launch sshd! Else at the first reboot you will have no mean to log in your server!

Depending of your initial install you will probably have to install a lot of things. My provider installed a very minimal system. I had to install nearly all by hand. Begin to install all the meaningful YaST modules (search for yast in software install). I had yast (mandatory!), but not yast2 (no gui) when using “ssh -X -C” to connect then yast2 is much friendlier. Notice that ssh -X seems to need a minimal X install. I use to install xfce4 (but not to run it at boot).
I didn’t write down all what I installed. A short list is probably: mc, w3m, yast2-gtk and qt, vsftpd (ftp), dovecot (mail imap/pop3), mrtg (http statistics), inn (news server), mailman (list server), spamassassin (spam fighter), apache2, ntp (time sync), tightVNC (remote admin). X and xfce may be useful some day. You even may have to install vim if you get only minimal vi.
Don’t forget to activate the necessary services in YaST, system, services (run levels).
Using patterns is friendly, but for example I ended with libreoffice and Gimp, not really necessary on a web server :-) (don’t forget eventually to remove them :-).

Firewall

Do you need a firewall is an other controversial question. Your server is alone in it’s network, not  a gateway. Unused ports are by the way closed. Open ports are managed par the application that listen. But Firewall is said to manage better than other applications things like attacks. It may also block things done by your others users (you will soon have to host friends). So may be better have a firewall.

Default openSUSE firewall is SuSEFirewall2. Most options are setup with the YaST2 module.
The main error to avoid is to launch the firewall before having setup the ssh opening – doing so you will lose the connection to the server…
Test the firewall: http://www.auditmypc.com/firewall-test.asp (but from the tested computer).
Add as allowed:
dovecot

  • smtp (postfix)
  • http (apache)
  • https
  • VNC
  • vsftp

X11 forwarding

To be able to use graphical applications is sometime mandatory. The easiest way is to allow X1 forwarding. This makes graphical apps to display right in your local console.

To allow X11 forwarding to work on modern distributions, you have to add

X11Forwarding yes
#X11UseLocalhost no
AddressFamily inet

to “/etc/ssh/sshd_config”.

then log in with “ssh -X -C [-p <port>] url

Notice: I keep the “X11UseLocalhost no” in the list (but not activated thanks to #) because it’s often given as a working solution. But I was said that the problem is an obscure IPV6 problem and that “AddressFamily inet” instruct ssh to use IPV4 and is much more secure, so better use it.

To be continued. On the next article, we will discuss how to configure the server, give it a name, communicate with it, setup mysql (in fact mariadb) and finally apache :-).


Article Contributed by Jean-Daniel Dodin

openSUSE participates in GSoC 2014

March 4th, 2014 by

GSoC 2014: First Steps

openSUSE is part of yet another Google Summer of Code. After a rocking ride in last year’s edition, our Geeko’s are gearing up for another awesome program. This year promises to be more special, as Google is celebrating its 10th anniversary of the program.

About the Program:

Google Summer of Code (commonly called as GSoC) is an annual program conducted by Google which pays students code to write code for open source organizations. It is one of the most best ways for organizations such as openSUSE to get some quality work done, and gain long term contributors. In the last edition, we had 10 students complete their projects and gain recognition within the community.

openSUSE and GSoC:

Last year, we collaborated with ownCloud, Balabit(makers of syslog-ng) and Hedgewars under a common umbrella. It worked very well for all of us. This year, we are collaborating with ownCloud, Zorp(a Gateway technology by Balabit) and the MATE desktop along with the bucket load of awesome projects from openSUSE itself. Our mentors are quite enthusiastic, and recognize the role played by GSoC in moving the community forward.

For Students:

If you are a student who wants to participate under openSUSE, and ‘have a lot of fun’, do check out our ideas page and guidelines. As always, the key is to start early and to interact with mentors and the community at large. Fixing bugs and working on Proof of Concepts is a good way to start.

Student application period opens on 10th March, and continues till March 21.

Contact:

You can find out all about our GSoC programme on the wiki or contact the GSoC team for further questions
Manu Gupta
Saurabh Sood

You can reach the community at our Mailing List and on #opensuse-project on IRC (Freenode).

This article has been contributed by Saurabh Sood

Board Report – Travel Sponsorship Programme

December 3rd, 2012 by

Summarizing the Travel Support Program


The openSUSE Travel Support Program aims to support contributors representing openSUSE at events, conferences and hack-fests with their travel and hotel costs. The program pays up to 80% of the travel and/or hotel costs for contributors who could not afford going to these events otherwise. In turn the contributors make a worthy contribution at the event and report back to the openSUSE community about what they did.

The Travel Committee also decides on travel support for openSUSE events like the openSUSE Conference and the openSUSE Summit.

Current Committee includes

  •  Kostas Koudaras (ambassador event planning)
  •  Izabel Valverde (finance & planning)
  •  Agustin Benito Bethencourt (openSUSE Team Lead at SUSE)

Results

The Travel Support Team has till now sponsored various conferences including FOSDEM, Cerea Fair, Solutions Linux, COSCUP, Indiana Linux Fest, Linux Tag, SELF, Libre Office Graphic Meeting and loads of others. Along with this, the Travel Committee also handles sponsorship handling for openSUSE Summit and openSUSE Conference which in itself are very tedious tasks.

Numbers 

  • TSP : 15
  • Summit :  11
  • openSUSE Conference : 21

A total of 37 sponsorships were given out this year.

What we need you to do?

If you think you need a sponsorship, then APPLY For it. However there are a few rules, which you have to keep in mind. So if you are thinking of applying, have a look at here

 

 

openSUSE Conference 2012: Call For Papers still Open

July 18th, 2012 by

By Frederic CrozatYour opportunity to impact the openSUSE conference in Prague, held October 20 – 23, 2012, through a presentation, leading a BoF session, or running a workshop is quickly fading away. The Call For Papers closes on July 30. Submit your proposal here.

With the conference still a few months away we already have over 100 registered participants and the event promises to be another great community gathering. This is your chance to provide feedback, help steer the project, and introduce your ideas in a face to face setting to a large active group of the community. As with last year’s conference we anticipate sessions covering non technical and technical topics alike. Therefore, it is time to get those fingers moving to express you great ideas and submit your proposal for the conference. Don’t miss out!

The review committee is very much looking forward to a busy time of planning the schedule and sorting through a large number of proposals after the July 30th CFP close. We are striving to send notifications to proposal submitters in the middle of August. This should provide you with plenty of time to plan your travel. Thanks to our sponsors we also have a travel assistance program that you may be able to take advantage of.

The conference site if being updated frequently, thus check back often and submit your proposal prior to July 30.

Using BTRFS on openSUSE 12.1

January 23rd, 2012 by

This article is contributed by Kamila Součkova

Introduction

As the btrfs wiki says: “Btrfs is a new copy on write filesystem for Linux aimed at implementing advanced features while focusing on fault tolerance, repair and easy administration.” Although under heavy development, it has become stable enough for personal use, and there are plenty of reasons to try it. What distinguishes it from earlier filesystems is that it has been designed with scalability and robustness in mind: it can handle huge files (up to 16EiB — a lot!), it can pack lots of files and directories efficiently, has built-in error detection methods (checksums of data and metadata), support for transparent compression, integrated multiple devices support (RAID-0, RAID-1 and RAID-10 so far) and more — see here for a more complete list.

In this how-to I will focus on one particularly neat feature: snapshots. Btrfs allows you to make read-only or writable snapshots of the state of your filesystem without wasting space with redundant data. Together with YaST’s Snapper module, this makes tracking FS changes and undoing undesired modifications a breeze.

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openSUSE Edu Li-f-e 12.1 out now!

January 1st, 2012 by

Announcement by Jigish Gohil

openSUSE Education team is proud to present another edition of openSUSE-Edu Li-f-e (Linux for Education) based on openSUSE 12.1. Li-f-e comes loaded with everything that students, parents, teachers and system admins of educational institutions may need.

Softwares for mathematics, chemistry, astronomy etc, servers like KIWI-LTSP, Fedena school ERP, Moodle course management etc., full multimedia, graphics, office suite, many popular programming languages including AMP stack, java, C, C++, python, ruby, latest stable Gnome and KDE desktop environments and lot more is packed in this release. More about softwares included here.

Geeko goodies

To know more about openSUSE Education project, file bugs, request enhancements, participate, or to get in touch with us visit Education Portal.

Create live USB stick or DVD with this image. About 15GB disk space and 1GB RAM is required for installation, more is better. Please note that we release 32bit image only, for users with RAM 4G or more install and use kernel-pae package.

Hosted at sourceforge.net

Direct Download | md5sum

Hosted at opensuse-education.org

Direct Download | new metalink | old metalink | md5sum | torrent

Use download manager or Metalink client such as aria2c for most efficient way to download.

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
Happy holidays…

openSUSE 12.1 Reveiew by Terence Lam

December 30th, 2011 by

This review is written by Terence Lam a student from Singapore sharing his experiences with openSUSE

In this review, I will install openSUSE 12.1, try out GNOME and KDE and also give a brief overview of advanced tools like YaST and have a look at ownCloud.

DVD Installer

The installer supports a large number of languages and had options that can be used both by beginners as well as advanced users. The YaST partitioner supports a large number of users. Keeping ext4 as the default filesystem, the installer also suggested using btrfs as the default filesystem for installation. One thing that caught my eye was the selection of the passwords, openSUSE recommends you to use strong passwords and by default it supports SHA256. The overview panel had a lot of options to customize my installation starting from my bootloader to software selection to networks. All in all, the installer maintains a healthy tradeoff between simplicity and flexibility.

KDE Desktop Environment

The KDE Desktop environment really enhanced my openSUSE experience. It contains many tools and features that could increase productivity. One of the most interesting features was the activity manager. It pushed multi-tasking to the next level by customising the desktop according to the tasks. Besides that, Dolphin , Amarok, KMail and KDE PIM provided a tight integration with the desktop. Visual settings could be easily customised. The softwares included with openSUSE by default was already sufficient for normal use. However, after firing up Apper, i was surprised by the numerous number of application choices. KDE can be a good place for anyone who needs a tightly integrated, feature rich environment. KDE is very much extensible with all its plasmoids and application plugins and a user can integrate his desktop with identica, twitter, facebook etc and other zillions of internet services. Localisation and Input methods were pretty annoying for me and I had to manually install IBus to solve it.

GNOME Desktop Environment

The GNOME desktop environment gave me a very simplistic feel. The interface was more application-oriented than task-oriented and it was not very easy multi-tasking. There are not many visual effects and the interface can only be minimally customised. I am sure that the GNOME desktop environment would definitely be appealing to users who seek simplicity. First time GNOME shell users may find the interface a little hard to use, but after getting used to the interface, it’s not hard at all. Apart from that, Gnome shell does not seem to be suited for netbooks as many of the windows sizes are quite and can hardly be scaled. Applications and online services integration with the desktop was not too bad, but I feel that i could have been better integrated with the panel. However, accessibility settings could be accessed directly from the top panel. I could not find any software centre, which is really a pity as openSUSE has a wide range of application choices. Setting localisation and input methods was as equally annoying as my experience with KDE. One thing I liked a lot was Gnome extensions, which brought out the real customisability power in gnome, it made minor but powerful tweaks to the interface. In all, I feel that Gnome’s simple interface coupled up with gnome extensions is really awesome and even advanced users would like it.

Snapper

Snapper is really one useful piece of software. Even though there were a few hiccups when using snapper, but it was relatively easy to use from both the GUI as well as the command line. It supports quite a number of features like comparing two snapshot,s mounting snapshots, etc… Problems that users face like accidentally deleting files, system crashing, etc… all can be solved by using snapper. Snapper is definitely a software that every openSUSE user should make use of and try.

Systemd



openSUSE introduced systemd as the new framework for booting up and managing your services. After reading up on it, I realised how good it is. At startup, only those important services like security would be started. Other services would only be started on demand later on is needed. This makes bootup much faster. Systemd has quite a bit of flexibility that system administrators can make use of like socket and dbus-activation. Systemd also make the operating system more stable by closely monitoring and controlling services. For example, if any important service is ended, systemd would try to re start is. The old system would just let it go undetected. The new “.service” files also provides more functionality and flexibility as compared to the old shell scripts. Even though developers are encouraged to port init scipts to systemd, but systemd is also backward compatible with the old init scripts. openSUSE users also have the option to fallback to the old SystemV init daemon if they prefer it. Even though it is more work to port the old init scripts to Sytemd, but the power brought upon by systemd is really something that should not be missed.

YaST

I could find almost every type of configuration available. From the boot loader to network services, all could be found in the YaST control panel. Configuring settings was not very hard either. It’s really a very valuable resource for both normal users and system administrators.

webYaST


webYaST was awesome. I was able to access almost all of the configurations available for my machine through my browser. I could even check out on system resoruces, or applying gupdates. I’m sure that system administrators would love this feature.

OwnCloud

OwnCloud was a really good feature. It’s the first time I see a tool that can help me set up a cloud service on a webserver of my choice. Configuring it with miralll was not hard at all. Not only does OwnCloud improve privacy, it also contains many useful features like calendar, contacts, etc…

systemd – boot faster and cleaner with openSUSE 12.1

December 22nd, 2011 by

openSUSE 12.1 features systemd as a replacement for the System V init daemon. systemd provides a new and improved way of booting up your system and managing services. It comes with many new features like socket and dbus-activation, use of cgroups (control groups) and aggressive parallelization capabilities which leads to a faster boot-up of the system. Systemd also introduces a number of new features and tools for sysadmins. This article will explain what systemd does, how it does it and how to take advantage of the new possibilities it offers.
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openSUSE participates in Google Code-in

November 18th, 2011 by

Introducing people to the world of free and open source software (FOSS) has always been a priority for the openSUSE project. We’re not only doing so for new users with our distribution (did you get 12.1 yet?) or for new contributors with our project, we also frequently participate in programs like Googles Summer of Code or Code in. Those programs have introduced a lot of new contributors to both openSUSE and the FOSS community. So with pride we announce that, after a successful participation in Google Summer of Code this year, openSUSE will also participate in Google Code-in.
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