openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 157 is out!

8. Jan 2011 | Sascha Manns | No License

We are pleased to announce our new openSUSE Weekly News.

openSUSE Weekly News

openSUSE Weekly News Team

157 Edition

Published: 2011-01-08

Table of Contents

Announcements Board Election 2010 Status Updates

Distribution SUSE Studio Team Report In the Community

Postings from the Community Welcome new openSUSE Members Events & Meetings openSUSE for your Ears Communication Contributors New/Updated Applications @ openSUSE Security Updates Kernel Review Tips and Tricks

For Desktop Users For Commandline/Script Newbies For System Administrators Planet SUSE On the Web

Announcements Reports Reviews and Essays LOL Credits Feedback Translations


We are pleased to announce our 157 issue of the openSUSE Weekly News.

The openSUSE Weekly News Team wishes all readers a good year 2011.

You can also read this issue in other formats. Just click here.

Enjoy the reading :-)

Header PictureAnnouncements

** openSUSE finished 2010 big **

Figure 1. By somenametoforget at Flickr

![By somenametoforget at Flickr](/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/somenametoforget3-e1293654145463.jpg)

Since the openSUSE Conference in Nuremberg in October, the openSUSE community has been extremely active. New projects announced there have had progress, others have emerged. One example of the latter would be Project Tumbleweed, aiming to create a rolling-release repository for openSUSE. Going in the opposite direction is Project Evergreen – the Evergreen developers want to provide longer-term support for older openSUSE releases for a core set of packages. And there is the new Virtualization:Cloud project, where a team got together to create a cloud software repository. Finally, we can’t forget to mention the new GNOME:Atayana project, bringing Unity to openSUSE! And those are new just since our last conference! Read on to learn more about these four projects.


Tumbleweed, recently announced by kernel hacker and openSUSE contributor Greg Kroah-Hartman, is something you could probably only pull off realistically in openSUSE. While openSUSE is a fixed-schedule release project (with a release every 8 months), we provide newer stable packages for a variety of things on the openSUSE Build Service (OBS). OBS, which we use to build our own distribution but also to provide packages for many other distributions, can provide newer packages for older openSUSE versions. And it makes it easy: using the web interface or the command-line client, our packagers select the older versions as build targets and OBS builds each package on a fresh Virtual Machine. This ensures ABI compatibility and stability are preserved – thus OBS is perfect for back porting. Or forward-porting! This is what project Tumbleweed aims to take advantage of – a new project is created on OBS under the name Tumbleweed, and maintainers just say “hey, this package is a stable release, it seems to work – good for Tumbleweed”. click. Done.

The goal of the Tumbleweed project is to create a ‘rolling release’ version of openSUSE. A rolling release distribution (like Arch Linux or Gentoo) always offers the latest stable versions of a package as updates so that when a new release of any upstream software surfaces, users actually don’t have to do a distribution upgrade. The packages will simply be part of the usual updates. You could see openSUSE Factory, our development tree, as a rolling release distribution – but there is a crucial difference. Tumbleweed only offers stable packages – where Factory often tracks upstream developments like beta and rc releases of the kernel, GNOME or other projects. Compared to Factory, Tumbleweed should be more stable and dependable. Compared to just sticking with the normal openSUSE updates, Tumbleweed has the advantage that your OS is always up to date and new releases of your distro become less interesting – you essentially have them when they are released. The potential downside is a slightly larger risk of breakage – as all Tumbleweed users update on different schedules, conflicts might arise, and Tumbleweed can’t go through the same testing as a normal openSUSE release.


If you want to test out Tumbleweed, just go and add the Tumbleweed Repository as a repo to openSUSE 11.3: //

Then run:

$ zypper dup

and enjoy your newly updated kernel, samba, and other packages!

Tumbleweed aims to use the 11.3 repo above as a testing ground, and provide a full rolling release for the openSUSE 11.4 release. It seems many packagers have joined the initiative and while some had some concerns, the plan is to simply try this and see how it goes.

Greg notes: “Tumbleweed is ready for testing by users who are currently running openSUSE 11.3 and are comfortable handling updated packages that don’t always upgrade properly at times. If you are used to running FACTORY on a machine, running Tumbleweed would be very easy right now. Please note that there might be problems with some package upgrades at times as we work out the development workflow, but it is usable for a number of users.”

Currently, besides Greg, a number of other developers who are maintaining packages in a format that is usable by Tumbleweed are involved. This includes Jiri Slaby for the kernel, Takashi Iwai for git, the samba team for samba, and lots of other developers who are just maintaining and updating their packages like always.

Future of Tumbleweed

The plan plan is to work out the proper development work flow during the time up to the 11.4 openSUSE release, and once that is out, have Tumbleweed be usable by anyone who wants to have the latest stable releases in a rolling fashion. Until the 11.4 release, a number of processes have to be figured out:

  • base library upgrades

  • major subsystem upgrades

  • general repository maintenance (whole copy of 11.4, or just pointers to existing 11.4 packages?)

  • development notification of updated packages to be included in Tumbleweed

Getting involved

The openSUSE-factory mailing list is the best way to get involved, or just email Greg directly if you have any questions or want to help out. If you are a package maintainer, please let him know if you want him to add your packages to the Tumbleweed repository now by either doing a normal submit request to the openSUSE:Tumbleweed repository like is done for FACTORY, or by emailing and letting him know what repository and package he should link directly into Tumbleweed, both work flows are currently being used quite successfully.

Figure 2. By mr.Mac2009 on Flickr

![By mr.Mac2009 on Flickr](/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/4145944314_e12040f6cf_z.jpg)


So Tumbleweed is bleeding edge, which is great if you’re a developer or enthusiast who wants to keep your system up to date. On the other end of the scale, stability and long term support, another project has surfaced in openSUSE over the last weeks: Project Evergreen. Project Evergreen is about the opposite of Tumbleweed: take a stable release and maintain it with security updates for a longer time than openSUSE usually does. At this point, Evergreen is in its infancy and still needs quite a lot of details to be sorted out. The first goal would be to support openSUSE 11.1 which went out of official support on Januari 1st. The team aims to keep 11.1 alive as long as possible – something which depends on the number of contributors. A goal would be reach a lifetime of 3 years but it’s unclear if that is possible for 11.1 already. The team initially wants to concentrate on providing support for the most important components like the kernel and other low-level software, mostly server packages as desktop users usually prefer more recent software. This will allow system admins who for example do not have physical access to their servers to delay the risky upgrade of their OS by another year or so.

Currently the team is investigating what’s needed to take over the full maintenance and how to prepare and distribute the updates to the users. The issue is that OBS doesn’t currently support the patch creation work flow and so they cannot use the usual procedures and techniques to get patches to the users yet. Moreover, this is a difficult and very long-term commitment – it is important to have a serious team to be able to pull this off. There is a lot of work ahead, so help would be appreciated. Join the Evergreen mailinglist if you want to get involved!

Figure 3. by misterfreak on Flickr

![by misterfreak on Flickr](/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/3065448236_fcf08f7c69_z.jpg)

Green clouds are forming

In openSUSE a team formed with the goal to set up repo for cloud computing related software. One of the first pieces is the Eucalyptus cloud infrastructure and it’s dependencies. The vision is to enable openSUSE to be a cloud infrastructure platform that allows you to set up your cloud quickly and easily.

The OBS development project has already been set up under the name Virtualization:Cloud and can be found here.

The Eucalyptus packages releaesd by the Eucalyptus project work just fine with openSUSE. However, the packages provided by Eucalyptus, create the problem that the latest version of Eucalyptus is only available on the latest version of openSUSE; based on the time of release of the latest version of Eucalyptus. Developers Stephen Shaw and Alexandre Duarte Rogoski worked on packaging Eucalyptus in OBS with the goal to support a wider range of openSUSE versions. About two months ago, Robert Schweikert also got involved. The team worked together on varioues issues and the Eucalyptus packages are now ready for general consumption. After installing from the Cloud repository, one can get a Eucalyptus cloud up and running following the admin guide from the Eucalyptus page.

The creation of an Appliance build and SUSE Studio integration will take a bit longer. Robert is working on some automation and is waiting for a YaST module, to be contributed to the effort by the YaST team, for some basic network configuration. He expects that by late January this will be finished. After integration and setup work is completed the current KIWI documentation found here will be updated to refelect the latest state of the art. Following the update of the KIWI example work for Studio support and SUSE Studio template creation is planned.

Robert is also looking at packaging openNebula. One of the openNebula developers recently posted to the openSUSE packaging mailing list and expressed interest in seeing it packaged. There are plenty of other candidates out there which deserve packaging – if you’re interested in helping out, send a message to the openSUSE packaging mailing list or contact one of the involved team members (see the project page in OBS).

Figure 4. Integration with Banshee

![Integration with Banshee](/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Ayatana-Screenshot-3.png)

Atayana in OBS

Last but not least, just 2 days before the year ended, Nelson Marques announced the new GNOME:Ayatana Build Service project. More information is already available on the GNOME Ayatana wiki page. Nelson has been working on patching and packaging the Indicators from Ubuntu’s Unity project for openSUSE for a while now and has decided it was time to announce it more publicly (worth a read!).

Nelson: “The main goal is to provide openSUSE users a broader choice in Desktop software. In this case, to provide the software developed by Canonical’s Ayatana Project (et all). openSUSE users will benefit of this software (partially or fully enabled) without the need of changing their platform. In my humble opinion this is the role of a distribution, to distribute Free Software!”

**Ubuntu patches going to GNOME **

For a full functional implementation of Ayatana software packages it is required to patch other applications and libraries (from infrastructure like gtk+ and gdk-pixbuf to applications like empathy, evolution, etc). So far many of these patches have been submited upstream by Ubuntu contributors, some have not. Honoring the openSUSE tradition of working with upstream, Vincent Untz and Dominique “Dimstar” Leuenberger, two of the main GNOME maintainers in openSUSE are pushing to get them all submitted, accepted and integrated in GNOME. Vincent noted: “Upstream should be always more feature rich”.

Meanwhile, Novell’s Banshee multimedia player (which will be Ubuntu’s default player in their next release) offers excellent integration with the new Indicators as you can see on the screenshot, after enabling a single extension available in the Banshee Community Extensions package.

**Availability **

The GNOME:Ayatana packages will be available officially starting from the openSUSE 11.4 release in March. According to Marques: “11.4 will be an awesome distribution and the last and greatest GNOME2 release of all time. I would like to offer the latest versions of the Ayatana packages whenever possible. I want to encourage openSUSE users to move to 11.4 and drive the best GNOME2 platform with a wider choice of desktop packages to meet their needs. It’s a huge task, even backed up by the awesome experience and know-how of the openSUSE GNOME team, there’s not enough time to provide a release for older openSUSE versions with the same quality. If any openSUSE contributor wants to take on the task of backporting the repository to older releases, I’ll be available to help as much as my free time allows. Nevertheless, with the release of GNOME3 much will change, and I believe most users will swap to GNOME3 when it becomes available due to the major improvements present. With the best GNOME2 implementation, the availability of GNOME3 in the near future (thanks to either Tumbleweed or GNOME OBS repositories!) and a wider choice of desktop software, I have no doubts 11.4 will be the coolest openSUSE release ever!”

Figure 5. The communication indicator

![The communication indicator](/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Ayatana-Screenshot-2.png)

Marques, who confessed he never survived to more than 2 hours on a Ubuntu Desktop, also stated: “I plan to run a open BETA phase during the last cycle/milestone of Factory for all the ‘bleeding edge’ daring users willing to try the Ayatana packages out. I don’t know the full extents of the functionality on these indicators, I hope I get some feedback from our users to see if I can enable all the possible features without deviating too much from upstream. I have no plans or interest in making any of these packages default on GNOME, however and I would always oppose such action. openSUSE offers one of the strongest and most solid GNOME implementations (for which we have to thank the GNOME Team), I would like to keep it that way. GNOME upstream is my choice for Desktop computing needs.”

Malcom Lewis, another openSUSE GNOME Team contributor, showed interest in developing an openSUSE Unity spin in SUSE Studio. Like openSUSE did with shipping Smeegol well before MeeGo 1.0 got released, this way users can test Ayatana before Ubuntu’s release and provide feedback upstream. If you want to help out or provide feedback, contact nmarques, vuntz or dimstar on the opensuse-gnome irc channel!


There seems to be a breath of fresh air going through openSUSE. New projects are started, recently started projects seem to be humming along quite nicely (project Bretzn, for example, is heading for a developer meeting at the SUSE offices in January). All of these are of course looking for help – and you can easily find those involved on either IRC or mailing lists if you’re interested in helping out. So, if you want to make a difference, openSUSE is the place to do it. Pick something interesting and start changing the world with us!

Thanks for writing and input (in random order):

  • Izabel Valverde

  • Helen South

  • Jos Poortvliet

  • Greg Kroah-Hartman

  • Alexandre Duarte Rogoski

  • Robert Schweikert

  • Pascal Bleser

  • Nelson Marques

Sources: OMG!SUSE

Putting our Accessibility Heads Together

Accessibility has become an important selling point in getting computing solutions into many organizations. Organizations are faced with legislations and regulations that require their environments be accessible and they take it into account when looking for a solution that fits their needs. For government organizations, software that doesn’t live up to certain accessibility standards is simply not an option.

Let’s just be frank here. While the openSUSE community cares about accessibility as much as anyone else does in FOSS, we haven’t done that well in delivering the best accessible solution. There are various people who look at the situation in their own corners and try to make the best of it. Andrew Wafaa highlighted some of the challenges in two recent articles.

Meanwhile openSUSE presents a very unique advantage that hasn’t been leveraged yet. With DBUS, the GNOME and KDE communities have worked together to leverage GNOME’s long-standing applications to work well on KDE. As openSUSE is a major distribution that provides support equally to GNOME and KDE, we have a distinct opportunity to provide the best integration of KDE and GNOME with accessibility. Thus offering prospective users and organizations a real choice on a distro that is known for its stability and support.

So what’s the problem?

Well, its a variety of things. And most certainly not because no one cares.

While other distributions have formal accessibility teams, we don’t. And we don’t advocate for that. After all, one has to realize that a11y doesn’t mean accessibility for people with special needs. It means accessibility for all regardless of what your needs are. And that means that accessibility issues should be raised in mainstream conversations, not segregated off to some corner where no one else knows what’s going on. Therefore, if there’s a problem in openSUSE-GNOME accessibility, it should be discussed on that team’s thread. If there’s a problem with the installer, it should be discussed on the Factory mailing list, and so on. While, philosophically, we still believe in this, in practice, it hasn’t been a perfect world. We ended up being like a bunch of loose chickens running around without any real concerted effort. And this is a shame because over the years, we’ve had many great accessibility experts both in the community and on staff at Novell.

So what’s the solution?

Put our heads together!

At this point in time, we still aren’t going to put together a formal mailing list and such, but we do have an #opensuse-a11y channel that has recently begun to grow in population. Its a place where we all can kind of chat and keep tabs with each other about what’s going on while still focusing on our primary areas of work around the Project.

On Thursday, 13 January 2011, at 17:00 UTC, we’re going to have a meeting. We’re not going to use a formal agenda at this time but rather more like a kvetching where we’ll talk about our views of what we see as the obstacles. From there, we hope to have a better and bigger picture and develop an idea of how we can go forth collectively and individually in our accessibility work.

If you’ve had some interest in accessibility and have some thoughts or want to learn what others are saying, we invite you to join us. We’ll be giving out free virtual coffee and hot chocolate throughout the meeting. :-)

Board Election 2010

Election Commitee: Board Election 2010

The phase 1 (campaign phase) of the Board Election 2010 started on January 5th and candidates have unveiled their election manifestos.

Even if you aren’t eligible to vote, we strongly recommend you to read carefully the thoughts and commitments of the candidates and write an endorsement on the bottom of the candidate’s Platform when you think he is appropriate person for the Board.

You can read all the election manifestos from candidates here.

Header PictureStatus Updates

Header PictureDistribution

Important Links

Header PictureSUSE Studio

Lenz Grimmer: Updated Drupal 7 appliances to version 7.0 final

Congratulations to the Drupal community for getting version 7.0 released! This is a major mile stone and an excellent reason to celebrate! If you want to give Drupal 7 a try without having to install anything, I’ve now updated my Drupal 7 appliances on SuSE Studio to the latest release. The appliance is based on openSUSE Linux 11.3 and is available in two variants:

  • A text-mode only appliance to which you connect using your local web browser via the network.

  • A GUI version that starts up the Firefox browser in a minimalistic GNOME desktop to perform the installation locally. Remote network access is available, too.

The database backend is phpMyAdmin has been added to support web-based administration of the MySQL server. You can access it via //localhost/phpMyAdmin/. I also added drush, the Drupal command line shell and scripting interface and some additional packages (yast2-http-server, bind-utils, php5-ctype, patch). I also bumped up the appliance’s version number to 7.0.0, to match the version number of Drupal included.

The appliance is available in various formats:

  • A live raw disk image, ready to be written to an USB stick or flash drive

  • A live ISO image, to be burned on a CD or used in a virtual machine

  • A hard disk image, to be dumped on a hard disk drive

  • Various virtual disk formats, e.g. OVF, VMWare/VirtualBox/KVM and Xen

Please see the installation instructions provided on the download pages for details on how to use the various image formats.

So congratulations to the Drupal developer community for reaching this goal and thanks to SuSE/Novell/Attachmate for providing the infrastructure for creating such appliances. I also would like to especially thank Richard Bos for the testing and many suggestions for improvement of these appliances!

Team Report

Header PictureKDE Team

Raymond Wooninck: openSUSE KDE:Unstable:SC repo becomes Trunk again !

A little warning to those that have switched over to the KDE:Unstable:SC repo. The target is that either tonight or tomorrow a new Trunk snapshot will be loaded in this repo. That would mean that the Unstable becomes unstable again.

I have already been building a number of snapshots based on the opened KDE 4.7 trunk and have to admit that things are still looking very stable and even kdebindings is compiling well :-) But this might of course change from the moment that KDE 4.6 has been released and the focus shifts to the newer 4.7 release.

I will keep you posted on the developments around this repository, but this would be the moment to switch over to KDE:Distro:Factory if you want to get the RC1, RC2 and KDE 4.6 final version for your openSUSE system. Currently it contains RC1, but this would change in the next few days once RC2 is released.

Header PictureMarketing Team

** Pascal Bleser: Review of openSUSE Trademark Guidelines **

Bryen just opened an interesting feature request about a review of the current openSUSE trademark guidelines (#311039).

The current state of things is that Novell owns the openSUSE and openSUSE related trademarks (which include things like the openSUSE name and the openSUSE branding). While at some point I would love to see those trademarks go into the ownership of the openSUSE foundation (but let’s first actually have that foundation ;)), it is better to keep them with Novell until we have a properly working and funded foundation, because owning trademarks is also an obligation to enforce them. And that potentially means legal enforcement as well.

As the trademarks are owned and enforced by Novell, permissions to use trademarked material must be sent to Novell (<[](>, actually), but in practice, Novell’s legal team has been delegating the responsibility of evaluating such requests to the openSUSE board.

Nevertheless, the board has to take decisions within a certain framework. Part of that framework, obviously, are a few legal aspects, but more prominently, it is what is currently defined in the openSUSE Trademark Guidelines document.

Bryen’s feature request (which is essentially filed as such because openFATE gives us a good tool for transparency and collecting feedback) is precisely about that point: let’s take a step back and rethink our trademark guidelines.

The task isn’t as simple as it might sound, of course, as we have to find a good balance between a few, most probably contradictory things:

  • make the rules short and simple: the simpler they are, the easier to grasp and the less daunting to approach

  • enable derivatives of openSUSE: yes, we’d love to see more and more derivative works based on openSUSE (but the current guidelines, which the board has to abide by, do not really reflect that)

  • prevent abuse

Which is why we’d love to hear from YOU what you believe are genuinely good use cases that we want to enable and support and what you believe would be cases of abuse, especially if you have been involved or have been pondering about making a derivative of openSUSE or, more generally, use the openSUSE trademarks in one way or another.

To do so, just click here, log in with your openSUSE account, and give us constructive feedback. Thanks !

Header PictureopenFATE Team

Top voted Features

**Features with highest vote, but no one has been assigned to yet. We are looking for volunteers to implement. **

** Run download and install in parallel (Score: 331) **

“Network installation could be improved by running package download and package installation in parallel.”

** Look at plymouth for splash during boot (Score: 159) **

“I wanted to open a fate feature about this when I first heard of plymouth, but reading // 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?”

** 1-click uninstall (Score: 123) **

“An easy way to remove Software!

For example: you installed an application with “1-click install” (which will install all the packages that you need), there should be an easy way (also with 1 click) to remove what you have installed with that 1-click operation… in another words: an “1-click Uninstall” to remove installed software (dependencies and packages included).”

** Replacement for Sax2 (Score: 96) **

“We need a replacement for sax2 in 11.3, as a safety measure for when auto configuration fails to detect certain monitors/keyboards/mice. (…)”

** Popularity contest (Score: 76) **

“We need a feedback about packages that are preferred by users and actively used. Debian already has a tool named Popularity contest (popcon) (…)”

** YaST-Qt: More informative “Installation Summary” (Score: 60) **

“The YaST Qt package manager should provide as much information in the “Installation Summary” view as zypper, esp the overall download size to expect and how much disk space will be freed/used after performing the operation.”

** Off-Line one click install (MSI for Linux) (Score: 57) **

“Idea from community member Raúl García. Same concept as MSI packages for Windows but exploiting the One Click Install concept of openSUSE (and therefore inheriting the simplicity, code and security. (…)”

Recently requested features

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

** add pyudev, the python bindings for libudev, as a package **

it would be nice to have the python-bindings for libudev as a package in the opensuse distribution.


they work very well and are under quite active development.

** Ability to list reiser4 partitions in Yast partitoner **

Ability to list reiser4 partitions in Yast partitoner

I have a kernel installed [1] which handles this type of partition but yast cant see or manipulate it in any way.[1]

// //

** How to simplify partitioning during install for people who are new to Linux **

Currently, you have to know a thing or two about partitioning if you want to install openSUSE. I’ve found that it’s possible to simplify the partitioning process by suggesting two frequently used configurations alongside the advanced partitioning system that is currently used by the installer. (…)

** Add “Enable/disable numlock at startup” option to installer and YaST **

Related thread:

Some people who don’t have a QWERTY layout can’t use the numbers on the top of the keyboard. I’m an AZERTY user so I have to hold Shift to use the numbers on top of the keyboard. Therefore I usually prefer using the numpad, but that isn’t possible if the numlock is switched off. Auto-enabling numlock at startup would be a huge time-saver. (…)

** Add Link to Documentation Site **

The official documentation seems to be not very known in the openSUSE world. To make it more visible, I would suggest the following improvements:

  • Add a link // to the welcome screen (SUSEgreeter?) of a fresh installation

  • Include // to the list of pre-installed bookmarks in Firefox, Konqueror, …

  • Maybe add an icon on the desktop which refers to the above link.

** Add the new ZFS file system Kernel module **

This is very cool, ZFS will be available on Linux in a few days and it will have decent performance.



** Support of Mp3-konvert in KDE / Dolphin **

Its a longt time ago, you can convert an Audio CD very easy into mp3 Files. You just type audiocd:/ in dolphin or konqueror and copy the mp3 Files to your Hard disk. Its much more easy than in Windows. (…)

** GPS devices **

It woul be nice to update, control and use my TomTom without the need for a Winbox.

** Support different linux installations in grub **

When you update your kernel via Suse updater, the entries for different linux installations in grub disappear. Just the Suse and the Windows (!) entries are preserved. (…)

** let partitioner create faster RAID **

Both mkfs.ext[234] and mkfs.xfs have options to tune the filesystem for striped RAID (i.e. RAID0/RAID10), so it would be nice if yast2/disk could make use of it.

The options are

-E stride=x -E stripe-width=y and -d sunit=x,swidth=y

notice that units of above sizes may vary.

There are several sites out there describing how to choose the proper values for x and y, e.g.


** Update to Eclipse 3.6.1 **

Update from Eclipse 3.4 from OpenSuse 11.3 to Eclipse 3.6.1 is desirable.

** Review of openSUSE Trademark Guidelines **

This feature request is meant to collect the comments of the community at large The current guidlines can be found here


The openSUSE Board will review comments posted here along with concerns and considerations collected elsewhere and find ways to strengthen/clarify the guidelines.

Please review the current guidelines and post comments on language. (Giving specific language change suggestions is helpful) and if you have specific cases where current guidelines have been a problem, please post here as well.

** Remote Desktop **

In example like xrdp, but with better services with i.e. german keyboards and supplying with sound and videos.

Most ThinClients can connect to ICA Xen-Desktop-Server and Windows-RDP-Protokoll. It should be also an option, than to use Microsoft Server 2003/2008 for enterprises.

** switch to a UEFI-ready bootloader by default **

While reading a review of a Sandy Bridge motherboard in Anandtech it was pointed that upcoming intel motherboards will ship with a UEFI firmware instead of a BIOS. While reading the documentation for UEFI firmware I noticed that the bootloader has to be a UEFI application. In order to support this new hardware we need a bootloader that supports UEFI booting, GRUB legacy as far as I know doesn’t support this. I think it’s time to retire GRUB legacy and use GRUB2, elilo or rEFIt (though this one is a long shot).

** Old-repositories handling during upgrade (inst_upgrade_urls) needs rewriting **

See more in Bug #556469

** Autoredirect to specify language version wiki **

Can make autoredirect from to As in (for me it’s autoredirect to

** Remove Windows Local Installer **

The local installer which starts up when a windows user loads the openSUSE DVD, allowing installation to be started from a running windows OS, IS an absolute disaster.

Did I say it was an absolute disaster?

Oh yes, I did say that. Either remove it or include a unmistakable warning, that using it is likely to lead to disaster and that installation is best done by booting from the DVD.

Feature Statistics

Statistics for openSUSE 11.4 in openFATE

Header PictureTranslation Team

Header PictureIn the Community

Postings from the Community

**Kostas Koudaras: …And a happy new year **


2011 Finally came, I wish you all a healthy overall year although this new years dawn found me ill with a cold and fever, as a result of recklessly insisting on riding a motorcycle at -2 C. From the start I sense that this year will be a hard working one. 3 days ago I opened my eyes from fever and I found last years jobs awaiting. I lost the deadline I gave to my self for releasing the openSUSE Weekly news. I didn’t shared the articles for translation to the people and I had left my candidacy for the board without a candidate amongst other things that I had to do. I was in panic for about 2 seconds, I confess that no matter what I do I hate not completing the jobs I took over. Two seconds later I tried to concentrate, I chilled out and let things role. Thank God I have good people around me helping me, so I finished all the works around the Greek community, I even found the time to organize some new things like a very interesting event that we will announce in the next few days.

Other than that I made some work with my candidacy, I prepared my Board election platform and started make some planning for my campaign. I still have lots of hard work to do. The other candidates are really interesting people and all of them have contributed a lot to the project. It is going to be a hard race and this is good because it will be interesting to the end. I believe that no matter the results, openSUSE community will be the final winner.

Welcome new openSUSE Members

** Christian Dengler (the-chris) **

Very active in the Build Service, Bugzilla and in the Maintanance Team.

Events & Meetings


You can find more informations on other events at: openSUSE News/Events. - Local Events

openSUSE for your Ears

The openSUSE Weekly News are available as livestream or podcast in German. You can hear it or download it on Radiotux.



Header PictureNew/Updated Applications @ openSUSE

Sankar P: Introducing Sqlite-Commander - Curses Client for your SQLite Database

I am happy to introduce to you, my recent nighttime hack “Sqlite-Commander - A Curses client for your SQLite Database”.

While I was working in a project involving sqlite, I wanted to check the contents of a sqlite database. The command line sqlite client involves too much of typing for viewing records. The sqlite viewers that I found were not very keyboard friendly. There was a firefox extension which looked good but I felt it is too clumsy to launch that application. Also, I wanted a tool that will read SQLite tables over ssh without requiring much bandwidth. I could not find any CUI client for SQLite and I felt it may be useful to write one, atleast for my satisfying my needs. So, here we have Sqlite-Commander. The name is inspired from an awesome piece of software Midnight-Commander written by Miguel De Icaza.

Figure 6. Screenshot



  • Shows the list of tables in the left pane.

  • Allows you to navigate the list of tables using arrow keys.

  • Shows the first 30 records for the selected table in the right pane

  • Non-printable columns are shown with a ???

  • Maximum of 30 characters are displayed per column. Column data exceeding this length are shown with “…”


  • It is not a full-fledged SQLite client with rich features. It is like an enriched version of cat for working with sqlite. I don’t intend to make a release, as I am not sure if this will be useful for anyone other than people who work with SQLite and can use only a terminal/ssh. If there are enough users, I will enhance and make it a full-fledged product. So drop me a mail if you are interested in this project.

  • It should be fairly straight-forward to implement connectivity to any database (MySQL, Oracle, etc.) such that we can have a generic SQL NCurses client. It will be a good exercise for someone who wants to know C#.

  • Add a scroll bar and show more than 30 columns. Should be moderate/easy to implement.

  • Add a dialog box to execute any random SQL statement. Should be fairly trivial to implement.

  • Create Events such that pressing Enter on the records list will pass the currently selected record to a custom script/command. Useful ?

  • Copy selections of records to clipboard. Easy to implement.

  • Handle tablenames with special characters.


Credits are due for the awesome mono-ncurses interface authors (Miguel and Co.) If you are looking to writing some terminal application I can heartily recommend that mono-ncurses is the best library you will ever get. Before beginning this application, I evaluated a few options (like Python etc.) and nothing comes close to being as easy to use as mono-ncurses. Also, special thanks to VIM and git, two of the most productive tools ever invented.

Pascal Bleser: MPlayer and smplayer update

I’ve just updated the MPlayer and smplayer in the Packman repository to their latest respective development revisions.

I also enabled rtmpdump, mpg123 and mpcdec support. MPlayer changed the way it handles closed captions in a recent revision, as it now takes an option to the -subcc parameter to select which channel to use.

Because of that, I also had to update the (brilliant) smplayer GUI frontend for mplayer in order to support that change.

Needless to say, if you encounter any issue, please report it by email to packman with the domain

Packman: FrostWire

FrostWire is a gnutella client written in Java. It supports a number of advanced features like ultrapeers (like FastTrack’s supernodes), automatic download retries, freeloader punishment, etc. FrostWire is a fork of the very popular LimeWire Gnutella client.

Holger Hetterich: SMB Traffic Analyzer 1.2.1 released

The team is happy to announce the release of SMB Traffic Analyzer (SMBTA in the following) version 1.2.1. This is a very important release, as many fixes have been done for the build, making both smbtad and smbtatools much more portable. Also, the build has been adapted to work with libraries that are not installed at the usual places on the system (bnc#654930).

On the feature side, we have two really cool things to say. First off, we are introducing rrddriver with this release. It is an interface to rrdtool, and allows to build a round robin database from the data smbtad is receiving, in real time. Having data in a rrdtool database allows you to create all the fancy graphics SMBTA was missing until today (bnc#655149).

Figure 7. An example graph of network throughput, created with rrdtool by using rrddriver.

![An example graph of network throughput, created with rrdtool by using rrddriver.](//

And then we have all tools Figure 7, “An example graph of network throughput, created with rrdtool by using rrddriver.” being able to run over a unix domain socket, including rrddriver. This is a further step to make the setup and configuration of SMBTA easier, as well as more efficient (bnc#654073) and helps us in our effort to build appliances for SMBTA.

Smbtad was leaking memory when either smbtamonitor or rrddriver was connected to it, and run over 24 hours, now this is fixed (bnc#656120). Both rrddriver and smbtamonitor have been using too much CPU time, this has been fixed with bnc#656011. The smbtatorture tool, most likely interesting to those who are developing SMBTA, has been completely documented (bnc#653769).

A short “howto” section has been added to the documentation, that aims to describe the simplest possible setup for SMBTA. The idea is that users get a clue what to do and are able to adapt it to their environment. The documentation on building SMBTA has been updated with important details on how to build SMBTA in more complex environments and rrddriver has been completely documented (bnc#651147).

Finally, I come back as to why this is an important release as I said in the beginning of this article. Due to the efforts done for version 1.2.1 SMBTA will now build on Solaris 10, and a side effect is that SMBTA has become much more portable during that sessions. Many thanks to those who are interested in a Solaris build, the result was an essentially needed contribution to SMBTA! A side effect of this is that we can offer a download for the Fedora 13 distribution.

You can download SMB Traffic Analyzer from the Download Page.

For more information about SMB Traffic Analyzer, check it’s homepage.

You can find other interesting Packages at:

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.

SUSE Security Announcement: Linux kernel (SUSE-SA:2011:001)

Table 1. Security Announce
Package: **kernel**
Announcement ID: SUSE-SA:2011:001
Date: Mon, 03 Jan 2011 15:00:00 +0000
Affected Products: openSUSE 11.3
Vulnerability Type: local privilege escalation, remote denial of service

SUSE Security Announcement: Linux kernel (SUSE-SA:2011:002)

Table 2. Security Announce
Package: **kernel**
Announcement ID: SUSE-SA:2011:002
Date: Mon, 03 Jan 2011 15:00:00 +0000
Affected Products: openSUSE 11.2
Vulnerability Type: potential local privilege escalation

SUSE Security Announcement: Mozilla (SUSE-SA:2011:003)

Table 3. Security Announce
Package: **MozillaFirefox,MozillaThunderbird,Seamonkey **
Announcement ID: SUSE-SA:2011:003
Date: Wed, 05 Jan 2011 10:00:00 +0000
Affected Products: openSUSE 11.1
openSUSE 11.2
openSUSE 11.3

Header PictureKernel Review

** Linux User and Developer/Jon Masters: The kernel column #96 with Jon Masters – 2010 in review **

**2010 was another exciting year for the Linux kernel and its community. Over the course of four kernel releases and many tens of thousands of mailing list messages, over one thousand individual developers (some working alone, some working for corporations) contributed two new architectures, several new file systems, and drivers for key hardware in the form of the Nouveau Nvidia driver (produced independently of Nvidia) and an open source Broadcom driver for its recent Wi-Fi chips. Of course, many more features were added, too… **

Along the way, we also had two huge flame wars, several major security holes (one of which had been around for many years) were fixed, and many regressions were tracked and squashed. But if the year had to be summarised in a word, that word would be scalability. 2010 saw work on almost every aspect of the kernel – from Nick Piggin’s VFS (virtual file system) scalability patches to Arnd Bergmann’s BKL (Big Kernel Lock) removal work, and countless other efforts in between. You will see that recurring theme in the following month-by-month summary. If you’d like to see some more figures to accompany this timeline, visit the Linux Foundation website ( Their annual kernel report focuses on overall numbers, not on individual features as we do here. (…)

** h-online/Thorsten Leemhuis: What’s new in Linux 2.6.37 **

After about eleven weeks of development, Linus Torvalds has released the Linux kernel 2.6.37. The new version of the main development line has many improvements. Advances in the Ext4 file system mean it should be able to compete with XFS on larger systems and new discard functions can inform slow SSDs of vacant areas, without negatively affecting performance.

This kernel also sees the first parts of the support for operation as a Xen host (Dom0). LZO compression will speed the transition into and out of hibernation and after years of work, almost all areas of the kernel are now without the Big Kernel Lock (BKL). Hundreds of new and revised drivers improve hardware support. New examples are the support for fast USB 3.0 disk with USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) and various drivers for wireless hardware from Atheros, Broadcom and Realtek. The new kernel also has an audio loopback driver, extensions to deal with the Apple Magic Trackpad and support for 4 KByte logical sectors on hard drives.

The following Kernel Log offers an overview of these and many further new features of Linux 2.6.37. These changes will eventually impact all Linux users as Linux distributions adopt the 2.6.37 kernel, or subsequent point releases, and make these improvements available to end users. At the end of this article, the Kernel Log will also take a peek at the advances that might make it into 2.6.38. (…)

** Softpedia/Marius Nestor: Linux Kernel 2.6.37 Is Available for Download **

Eariler today, January 5th, none other than Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux, proudly announced the release of Linux kernel 2.6.37.

Among the new features includes in Linux kernel 2.6.37 we can mention support for PPP over the IPv4 protocol, lots of enhancements to various important file systems, such as EXT4, XFS and Btrfs, support for I/O throttling, Perf probe improvements, and a Ceph-based network block device. (…)

Header PictureTips and Tricks

For Desktop Users

** PC Plus/Graham Morrison: Multi Boot Linux From USB **

Running Linux from a USB stick is a fun and sometimes useful distraction. It can be handy if you want to try another distribution, for example, but can’t commit to the drive space. Or perhaps your netbook insists on running Windows while your heart hankers for Ubuntu. But running a single, monogamous distribution can be a little limiting, and there’s only one reason why you can’t squeeze a few more alongside on any decent-sized USB stick: it used to be quite a difficult process. (…)

For Commandline/Script Newbies

** IBM Developerworks/Ian Shields: Learn Linux, 101: Runlevels, shutdown, and reboot **

Learn to shut down or reboot your Linux system, warn users that the system is going down, and switch to a more or less restrictive runlevel. You can use the material in this article to study for the LPI 101 exam for Linux system administrator certification, or just to learn about shutting down, rebooting, and changing runlevels.


In this article, learn to shut down or reboot your Linux system, warn users that the system is going down, and switch to single-user mode or a more or less restrictive runlevel. Learn to:

  • Set the default runlevel

  • Change between runlevels

  • Change to single-user mode

  • Shut down or reboot the system from the command line

  • Alert users about major system events, including switching to another runlevel

  • Terminate processes properly

Unless otherwise noted, the examples in this article use a Fedora 8 system with a 2.6.26 kernel. The upstart examples use Fedora 13 with a 2.6.34 kernel, or Ubuntu 10.10 with a 2.6.35 kernel. Your results on other systems may differ.

This article helps you prepare for Objective 101.3 in Topic 101 of the Linux Professional Institute’s Junior Level Administration (LPIC-1) exam 101. The objective has a weight of 3. (…)

** Recording User Activity with a Script **

Using Variables in Scripts

The purpose of this script is to log the commands and output of a user so you have an accurate record of all activity. One problem that you find if you depend upon logs with users and sudo is that sudo will not log the stdout nor the stderr. (…)

OpenHelp: The explicit vim command list

Open Help gives us a great Overview and Reference Table for using vim.

For System Administrators

** HowtoForge/Falko Timme: Virtualization With KVM On An OpenSUSE 11.3 Server **

This guide explains how you can install and use KVM for creating and running virtual machines on an OpenSUSE 11.3 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. (…)

OpenHelp/garrot: How to change the priority of a Linux process

The Linux Kernel will take care of the time each process, will have to use the processor, but you can change that, by changing the priority.

When is this needed?, well usually never, but if you have a not to fast PC, and you are compiling something, and at the same time having a video conferencing, you may want to increase the priority of your video conference applications, while reducing the priority of the program compiling your software. (…)

Header PicturePlanet SUSE

Andres Silva: New openSUSE Build Service Interface

For some time now, I have been reviewing some of the interaction that one is to use when working with openSUSE’s Build Service system. I believe it is one of the most useful tools that openSUSE has created because it encourages collaboration between programmers and users. It provides a powerful tool to package applications.

However, I have noted that the interface could be changed a little in order to reflect a more active form of interacting with one’s package information. I created some preliminary and simple images that could potentially become what openSUSE Build Service could look like.

My emphasis is on at-a-glance information. Currently, as users enter OBS, they are greeted with little information about what they are working on and only see information about other packages being worked on . Probably this could change, focusing on what a particular user has on OBS is more important to that user than other packages from across OBS, which can come in second. (…)

Kai-Uwe Behrmann: Speeding up CompICC

As we (well, mostly other people than me) were dealing with a rather obscure micro-controller when hacking our laser projector in brmlab, the only datasheet we have found has been in Chinese. This is quite often the case with obscure China-made parts (including event stuff like LEDs) and it’s annoying to deal with.

As powerful as the net-color spec for CompIcc and Oyranos are, they are currently slow. It takes Compiz around 11 seconds to show a usable desktop. For a colour geek like me no problem. Especially with a wide gamut display the startup delay is less of a pain then over saturated colours. The weak points I could figure out is that Compiz sends several _NET_DESKTOP_GEOMETRY events. I tried to blacklist some events and fiddle with _NET_DESKTOP_GEOMETRY, but that gave errors in other places. After using the nvidia-settings panel the new monitors where not initialised by the CompIcc plugin. So I decided to speed up the remainder. That is Oyranos and some stuff inside the plugin itself.

First with many profiles installed Oyranos spends more time on greping through them to find implicit matches. The search for implicit matches occurs after the explicit search. So assigning a ICC profile to a monitor device would already help.

One of my monitors uses a lcms generated on the fly profile. That is much slower than the implicit search. So I decided to cache the on the fly profile. Its now in ~/.local/share/color/icc/devices/Monitor. Thats especially nice as it has a beautiful name on disk. Manufacturer-Model-Serial_edid.icc . The _edid sequence says, it is automatic generated. To look up the newly created profile, it has the meta tag with the EDID infos embedded. For the next start its a implicit profile and thats faster.

The next bottleneck is colour conversion. CompIcc uses a texture lookup with 64 cubic grid points. These are 262144 pixel or 1.5MB in memory per monitor. Of course the 64 grid could be reduced, but at the expense of precision. Thats not so nice on the desktop. As the transformation happens at start time 3 times per monitor, it appears as a good idea to cache this expensive texture. Its written to a Oyranos pixel array and cached with a Oyranos in memory hash table. The lookup is several times faster than the computation in lcms.

Well these two changes made CompIcc start now in five seconds or maybe four. Without my many profiles, startup in git takes around three seconds.

Further a on disk cache could help eliminate the texture computation. That would be around one second for my two monitors. The implicit search could be reduced by caching a list on disk for previously parsed ICC profiles. But that is always fragile without a proper md5 hash. And I am not sure if reading and hashing is actual the most expensive part during the implicit search. But after all a abstracted on disk cache would be great in Oyranos. Lets see when I come around that.

Kai Uwe Behrmann: Oyranos Colour Management LiveCD

On Oyranos’ download area on SourceForge is now a CD Live media available for 64-bit computers. It contains many colour management tools as available from openSUSE’s Build Service.

  • littleCMS - widely used colour converter

  • ArgyllCMS -1.3.0, dispcalGUI - cross platform colour management

  • Oyranos - colour management system

  • Compiz ICC colour server - or short CompIcc

  • kolor manager - in KDE’s system settings panel

  • ICC Examin - profile viewer

  • Xcm/QCmsEvents - Xorg colour management event observer

  • CinePaint - with net-color and other patches

  • Scribus 1.3.8 - Layoutprogramm

  • Cmyktool, Photoprint - imaging software

  • SampleICC, IccXML - ICC sample implementation

  • Nvidia drivers … and more.

The CD should start on not too old nvidia graphics card hardware. Other systems are currently not support due to the requirement of a stable OpenGL driver with GPU Shader support for Compiz and CompIcc.


Once the live media runs, the desktop should appear colour managed. The trayicon, with the little horse shoe in it, should be coloured to show the colour server is correcting the the desktop. CompIcc is colour managing each monitor separately and acts on hotplug appropriately. Currently is no monitor ICC profile pre installed on the CD. So it must be generated on the fly. The colorimetry data comes from the monitor itself and contains the colour primaries, a white point and a single gamma value. This is enough to let strange primaries appear more natural, or detect a wide gamut monitor and compensate for its possibly very strong saturation.

Figure 8. kolor-manager device profile selection

![kolor-manager device profile selection](//

To change the monitor profile one can use kolor-manager Figure 8, “kolor-manager device profile selection” from KDE’s systemsettings panel. It contains as well policies and default profile selection. These settings are stored in a per user database. To see that CompIcc is working one might select the CIE*XYZ profile, with its headroom and gamma of 1.0 the monitor appearance should change dramatically. But thats only visible when the “Show only device related ICC profiles” box is deactivated.

On the desktop are three example images just for having some wide gamut media available. The two tiff files are raw camera developed images with a custom ICC profile assigned. The restaurant JPEG is in AdobeRGB as typical for some cameras. All are tagged with the respective profiles and can be loaded into the installed image tools. PhotoPrint is a very sensible application and Scribus of course. To show the whole image gamut on a wide gamut monitor only CinePaint can communicate with CompIcc to get a own hole in the screen to colour correct to the native screen colours. All other applications see sRGB as monitor colour space. Thats visible by again assigning a CIE*XYZ while CinePaint has opened a image. It will not be affected as it does not check monitor profile switching.

The advantages of complete desktop colour correct are:

  • wallpapers and movies look like indented

  • shopping via internet is more reliable colour wise

  • content on different brand of monitor look more uniform

  • wide gamut displays become useable

  • non colour managed applications fall back reasonable to sRGB

Hope you can start the media. For ATI cards one further version is planed and maybe for other cards, like intel graphics, a separate version can follow.

Wolfgang Rosenauer: openSUSE project “Evergreen”

Following up on my previous blogpost I would like to give a small update on what happened so far about a longer supported (open)SUSE release.

We had a longer discussion on the mailing list if an openSLES (a’la CentOS) or “openSUSE LTS” would be the better or easier solution. There are pros and cons for both while the required infrastructure differs a lot. I’m not diving into details here though. While I would find a SLES clone appealing I’m not in the position to drive such an effort. I also do not think that having both makes sense and therefore I decided to go on with the other approach for now trying to extend the lifetime of an existing openSUSE release.

People in the community came up with the project name Evergreen and I think that matches what we try to build pretty well. I proposed to give the whole effort a trial with openSUSE 11.1 which went unsupported with the new year. At the moment we still have organizational and technical issues and most likely won’t be able to utilize all the update features (deltarpms, zypp patches) but still we will try to deliver updates from a certain update repository. Because of the holiday season we couldn’t figure out the details yet but hopefully will get it sorted out in time. Stay tuned for further detailed information here and on the mailing lists.

Please note that this effort is in experimental state still and didn’t attract that many contributors yet unfortunately. So at the moment it’s still unclear if we will be able to deliver as we would like to.

If you are interested in this project feel free to join our (current) project list.

OMG!SUSE! team: Hey slacker! Get back to work with LibreOffice on openSUSE

In a previous post I mentioned a “spat with Oracle” regarding the Hudson project. Since the acquisition of Sun Microsystems Oracle hasn’t made many friends in the open source community, the most notable conflict occurring within the The disagreements between the Open Office community and Oracle led to the creation of the LibreOffice project, the founding of The Document Foundation and the “subsequent mass exodus away from to LibreOffice”.

At first glance you might not think that this is a big deal, but LibreOffice is a big win for users! With the project’s inception, LibreOffice incorporated some of the “go-oo” changes which add better interoperability and polish to the Linux office mainstay. The LibreOffice project is poised to improve the suite with much better speed and efficiency than ever before.

Figure 9. LibreOffice on 11.3

![LibreOffice on 11.3](//

Thanks to some great work by the LibreOffice hackers associated with the openSUSE Figure 9, “LibreOffice on 11.3” project, LibreOffice is packaged and ready for you to enjoy on openSUSE 11.3.


Michal Hrusecky: openSUSE Paste screenshooting script

This post will be really quick. As you may know, openSUSE Paste already supports pasting images. But I found out, that some people don’t use it because they’ve got some other pastebin nicelly integrated. So to help them out, I created simple script that can help them. It is currently available in openSUSE:Contrib repository. You can install it, package name is susepaste-screenshot. When you run it, it will let you click on any window and then it will paste image of that window. It will also show you the link for your paste (in new X window) and copy it to you clipboard. I know that it is not prettiest thing you ever seen, but it works. For nicer GUI, ask for openSUSE Paste support upstream of your favourite pasting tool ;-)

btw. If you prefer not to install it manually, you can get it from gitorious, but that way, you’ll have to deal with dependencies by yourself ;-)

OMG!SUSE! team: The incredible improvement of the Linux desktop, with 224 lines

Over the last months significant work has been done on the Linux Kernel to improve performance under heavy load in various user cases – including common desktop scenario’s. This started after the 2.6.35 release of the kernel (openSUSE 11.3 contains 2.6.34) with the VM-scalability patches by Nick Piggin. Nick’s improvements help desktop interactivity during heavy disk usage, for example when you are copying large files or when Ktorrent is writing a lot of data. These patches have had a hard time getting into the kernel, even though Master Tux (Linus Torvalds) himself was very happy about the improvements – it was complicated code. But most if not all of the improvements will make it into openSUSE 11.4. And it turned out there was some low-hanging fruit as well.


A few weeks back, SUSE kernel hacker Mike Galbraith released the third version of a patch, only 224 new lines of code but greatly increasing the performance of the desktop under load. Some tests performed by Mike Galbraith showed that this patch can drop the maximum latency, the time needed to switch between tasks, by over ten times, and the average latency of the desktop by about 60 times. Just when you thought that your 4 year PC was old and you had to buy a new one… A patch shows up that could make such old hardware reasonably performance again!

Linus Torvalds himself was again happily surprised that it is possible to change so much with so little code., as he mentioned in an email. Testers around the world are echoing his statement. The code has been tested on various systems, from cutting edge systems to small net-books and it seems to work similar everywhere.

One of the major problems we all Linux users had was the responsiveness of our desktop interface. Regardless of the GUI we used (mo matter if it’s GNOME/KDE/XFCE/LXDE or anything else) transferring many large files or upgrading our system or making any other disk operations, made our environment too slow and this was not good at all, especially for professionals where time is actually money.

This patch automatically creates task groups per user session, limiting the impact of some heavy processes running on the background on desktop interactivity. It’s amazing how something so simple can bring so admirable results!

Many Linux users that don’t use ‘high class’ technology will be very happy with the way things are getting better with this patch, on the other hand users with cutting edge systems will get even more addicted to the boost of speed that their Linux desktop will gain. Having the ability to get more things done in less time will also affect the FOSS community since it will probably bring even more people to Gnu/Linux. It will also affect software engineers and everyone else around it. And hopefully more improvements will be done in the future. We will propably see this 224 lines of the code on the forthcoming 2.6.37 kernel. Project Tumbleweed or the Kernel:Stable buildservice repository are probably your best bets to get this quickly – otherwise you can of course wait for the next release of openSUSE in March 2011!

Header PictureOn the Web


** KDE News/Sebastian Kügler: 4.6 RC2 Available, Last Chance to Test **

“KDE’s release team has rolled another set of 4.6 tarballs for us all to test and report problems: 4.6 RC2 This is the last test release leading up to 4.6.0, which is planned for 26th January.”


** Harald Sitter: Phonon Loves Codecs **

As the Phonon team is hard at work to prepare for the release of Phonon 4.4.4, the GStreamer backend has seen some awesome improvements these past few days.

Not only will it be the second backend to support the experimental video capturing features introduced with Phonon 4.4.3 but has also seen tremendous improvements with regards to stability. But most importantly of all it got improved codec installation support.

If you ever found yourself looking for a way to play that mov video a friend sent you, then you will love Phonon GStreamer 4.4.4. Whenever it can not play a file because a media plugin is missing, it will now try to get it semi-automatically. Check out the screencast: //

This gives user experience quite a boost, so I am most certain that Linux distributions will pick this up and integrate it nicely with their package management systems.

In the video KPackageKit is handling the plugin lookup and installation, so both Fedora and Kubuntu should have this awesome feature in their next releases.

Have fun…

** ZDNET/Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Browser Wars - Internet Explorer loses and Firefox wins in Europe **

It wasn’t that long ago that your choice of Web browsers were Internet Explorer (IE) and, ah, uh, a sadly out of date Netscape Navigator or the then obscure Opera. IE was the Web browser, but then along came Firefox in 2004, and everything changed. Today, IE may finally be on its way to losing its market-share leadership position to Firefox.


According to a pair of research firms, StatCounter and Net Application, IE is sinking fast, while Google’s Chrome is gaining rapidly at IE’s expense.

By Net Application’s Web browser reckoning, IE’s market-share has dropped to 57.1%, an all-time low. Chrome’s market-share, in the meantime, has climbed above 10% for the first time. Apple’s Safari is also showing strong gains by reaching the 5.9% mark. (…)

**InformationWeek/Elizabeth Montalbano: NASA Open Source Architecture Wins Apache Support **

A NASA-led project has won the full support of the Apache Software Foundation, bolstering development efforts around Java-based middleware that uses metadata to foster cross-platform collaboration.

Apache has deemed the Object Oriented Data Technology (OODT) architecture, originally developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a Top Level Project, according to the space agency. This means it is one of a handful of the foundation’s open source projects to receive project management and resource support. (…)

Reviews and Essays

** Everyday Linux How2s: KDE SC 4.6 RC1 – Another Look **

A few weeks ago, I put up a post about the first beta release of KDE SC 4.6. Unfortunately, due to a number of bugs, I’ve had to revert back to 4.5 on a couple of machines. One because there seemed to be a regression in graphics performance on the Intel based chipset I had on one machine. The other, because I decided to move from openSuse back to Kubuntu, which I might say was a pleasant surprise in terms of polish and stability. Anyway, back to the story at hand … Having now installed KDE SC 4.6 RC1 on my main desktop machine, running Kubuntu, it seems to be playing quite nicely. Here are my impressions of this latest pre-release of KDE SC 4.6.

kdepim and akonadi

As I have stated in my previous post, the only really earth shattering thing in this release is (was) the porting of the KDEPIM suite of applications to Akonadi. This was left out of the 4.5 release due to too many bugs. Well, it seems that it will be left out of the 4.6 release as well, due to migration issues with large data sets. This is interesting, as I had a number of issues with Kmail 2.0 when testing the beta release. I’d checked on to see if others had experienced these issues and filed a bug in relation to the main issue I was having. I don’t know if my email store of a few thousand emails on my IMAP server would fall into the category of a “large dataset” and if the bugs I was experiencing were the same bugs that have held back the release. However, I’m glad they’ve delayed again until these bugs are finally sorted out. However, this does potentially move this release from “unspectacular” to “borderline uninteresting”. I just can’t see any new features that I can really get excited about. (…)

** Linuxaria: 7 Classic game on Linux **

One thing I found very interesting about Linux is the ability to have a whole series of classic games already present on your distribution, and therefore easy to install.

What do I mean as classic game ?

Games released prior to 2000 on Amiga or perhaps on other operating systems and now ported to Linux. Follow me in this series of old games (as a concept), but always enjoyable and funny. (…)

** h-online/Dj Walker-Morgan: The H Year: 2010’s Wins, Fails and Mehs **

Welcome to The H’s look back at 2010. We’ve broken down the events of the year by what The H thinks was full of win, who was getting on the failboat and what made us just say “ Meh ”. From the corporate giants and how they handled open source and the community to the battle to be the best browser, and from the best new open source to the worst mis-steps in the community.


** FSFE’s year 2010 - a letter from the President **

We have had an eventful year, and a good one. In the following text you will find background links to our various activities. Please take this opportunity to get a much more complete picture of our present and future work for Free Software

Awards and recognition for FSFE’s work

We celebrated not one, but two awards this year. In May, FSFE received the Theodor Heuss Medal. During a grand ceremony with numerous German political luminaries in Stuttgart in May, Ludwig Heuss, Director of the Theodor Heuss Foundation, praised FSFE’s work for freedom in the information society:

“Free Software Foundation Europe receives the Theodor Heuss Medal 2010 because it competently contributes to creating new rules for social, political and legal conditions for digital freedom through Free Software.”

A week earlier, on the 28th of April, FSFE’s founding President Georg Greve was awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz) in recognition of his great achievements in promoting Free Software with FSFE. To our knowledge, this is the first time that any country in the world bestows such an honour on any Free Software activist. This is a well-deserved reward for many years of hard work. Congratulations, Georg! (…)

** Hartley: Switching to Linux (For the Right Reasons) **

Why are you using Linux on your desktop?

Before answering this question, consider the advantages and disadvantages and then come back full circle to your own motivation for using Linux. Nearly every week, I find my news feeds filled with the usual generic articles describing rather vanilla reasons for using Linux on the desktop.

Why do I have a problem with this? Perhaps because the reasons often being shared are just echoes of other opinions that clearly aren’t that of the author. Instead, we are reading the thoughts and ideas of many articles since past. (…)

** Consortiuminfo/Andy Updegrove: Attachmate and the SUSE Linux Project: What’s Next? **

Over the last few months, I’ve frequently pointed out the vulnerability of important open source projects that are supported and controlled by corporate sponsors, rather than hosted by independent foundations funded by corporate sponsors. One of the examples I’ve given is SUSE Linux, which has been hosted and primarily supported by Novell since that company acquired SuSE Linux AG in 2003. Novell, as you know, is expected to be acquired by a company called Attachmate a few weeks from now, assuming approval of the transaction by the Novell stockholders and by German competition regulators.

Recently, the future of the SUSE Linux Project (as compared to the Novell commercial Linux distribution based on the work of that project) has become rather murky, as reported by Pamela Jones, at Groklaw. Apparently, Novell is facilitating some sort of spin out of the Project, which is good but peculiar news.

Why peculiar? Because when a company is subject to an agreement of sale, one of the requirements the buyer imposes during the sale-pending period is that the seller cannot engage in any transactions outside of the ordinary course of business without the consent of the acquiror. This makes sense, because once the buyer has committed to a price, it doesn’t want the value of any of the assets it is purchasing to fall. That means that one would expect that Novell would at minimum be abstaining from taking any action in connection with any effort to move the project out and into an independent entity. (…)

** Miguel de Icaza: Open Source Contribution Etiquette **

Some developers, when faced with fixing, or adding a feature to an open source project are under the mistaken impression that the first step before any fixing takes place, or before adding a new feature takes place is to make the code “easier for them” to work on.

“Easier for them” usually is a combination of renaming methods, fields, properties, locals; Refactoring of methods, classes; Gratuitous split of code in different files, or merging of code into a single file; Reorganization by alphabetical order, or functional order, or grouping functions closer to each other, or having helper methods first, or helper methods last. Changing indentation, aligning variables, or parameters or dozen other smaller changes.

This is not how you contribute to an open source project. (…)

** Groklaw/Pamela Jones: How to Tell When an Open Source Foundation Isn’t About You - Updated 2Xs **

Stephen Walli, now technical director of the Outercurve Foundation, has written a guest post for OStatic, The Rise of Open Source Software Foundations. I guess he thinks Outercurve is one. He explains why Microsoft set up the foundation in the first place, which I have wondered about for quite a while. His article also reminded me that I promised to explain what bothered me so much about the recent OpenSUSE Project meeting on December 15th. We’re still working on the Comes v. Microsoft exhibits, but I need to take a break. So here goes. I will use the OpenSUSE Foundation discussion to show you why it’s so important, if you are setting up a foundation, to set it up right in the beginning, and why you absolutely must have a lawyer to protect your interests. It’s not good if only the corporate entity’s guys know what bylaws are and how to set up corporate structures, and the community is relying on them to explain it. Your interests are not identical. Not by a long shot. (…)

**Softpedia: Best Windows Games and Apps That Run Under Linux **

**The following article was created to inform our readers about popular native Windows games and applications which install and run under Linux-based operating systems, with the help of the Wine software. **


We have recently discovered that many people have no idea that games such as the popular World of Warcraft, Call of Duty or Left 4 Dead work flawlessly under Linux. Therefore, we’ve decided to make a list with all of them.

While most of the following games work flawlessly, other will require some special configuration from the user. Also, a couple of the listed applications and games will have minor issues. (…)

** MakeUseOf/Dave Drager: The Best Linux Web Server Software (& Apache Alternatives) **

Since the protocol that runs the world wide web – the HTTP protocol – is open and viewable to the entire world, anyone with the programming knowledge is able to write their own web server. In fact Wikipedia lists over 60 web servers and those are only the ones released to the public. So which is the best one that you should run on your Linux server?

To be able to determine the ‘best’ one we need to look at several factors. Ultimately it depends on what your end goal is since some web servers are geared towards a kind of client, others for speed and others for security. The main factors we are going to look at are reliability, speed, security and ease of use.

A lot of web servers will make claims to being the “king” of one or more of these factors. However I believe the proof is in the pudding and if you look at actual web server usage across the internet you get a better idea of the wisdom of the crowds. Netcraft has been keeping track of web server types, hostnames and other data since 1995 and is a great way to see what the current trends are in web server usage.

Here is their web server usage survey up until December 2010:

Figure 10. Server Survey

![Server Survey](//

Of the top Figure 10, “Server Survey”web servers in current use, Microsoft’s web server IIS is the only pure-Windows one. Apache by and large is the most widely used web server software based on the number of users. It is also good to note that it is cross-platform and will run on both Windows and Linux systems. (…)


** Kostas Koudaras: First Joke of the year: If Operating Systems Ran The Airlines **

The first joke of the year :-)

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