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openSUSE Weekly News, 159 is out!

January 22nd, 2011 by

We are pleased to announce our new openSUSE Weekly News.

openSUSE Weekly News

openSUSE Weekly News

159 Edition

Published: 2011-01-22


We are pleased to announce our 159 issue of the openSUSE Weekly News.

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

Enjoy the reading :-)

Counter for openSUSE 11.4

Header PictureAnnouncements

openSUSE Build Service (OBS) has a problem. It is horrible powerful, but no one knows. Or
no one knows how to make use of it in short.

Our documentation exists only in the wiki so far. While the wiki is still and will remain
as a documentation resource, several of us OBS users and developers think we need something
more structured and edited. A real book in short, which you can read to get an entire

Therefore we started to create the infrastructure to write such books, it is part of the
openSUSE documentation project. This means the documentation is written in docbook and hosted
in svn.

The docbook code get currently generated into html once a day. There are currently two
books set up, one as reference
and one as best practice

The great thing about docbook is that we can put also instance specific content inside,
for example chapters or paragraphs which are only valid for build.opensuse.org or for
build.meego.com for example. We can generate specific books out of this common source

So far the only article which really exists in these books is the how to to join book
writing. So come, provide patches or create an account on berlios for direct submission
permissions. It is not needed currently that you need to know OBS perfectly, it is enough to
know something in some area. We will improve it afterwards.

Don’t care about the current structure either a lot atm. We will rethink about it once we
have more content.

Please read also the current preface which defines the goals of these books.

Also the license of these books is the same as the license of the texts in the openSUSE
wiki (GFDL). This means we can copy all text parts from the wiki to the book and vice versa.

And of course, come to the opensuse-buildservice mailing list for discussing any of the articles, goals or
suggestions. Nothing is in stone :)

Header PictureHackweek VI

Last year I did not have much time to spend on non work related projects in Hackweek,
because we took the opportunity and replaced some internal systems, when people were not using
them. It will be different this year and I’ve decided to spend some time on Gammu.

The plan is to implement support for Symbian phones. It is one of frequently requested
features and thanks to Series60-remote I can as well see way how to implement it. Current plan
is to add support for their applet, with possible extending it in future and adding some
features which it lacks.

You can comment this feature in openFATE or Gammu bug tracker.

Hackweek VI will take place January 24th – 28th, 2011.

Hackweek is one of Novell’s biggest ways of giving back to the openSUSE community – by
providing developers the opportunity to spend their paid work week contributing to free and
open source software instead of their assigned projects. Hackweek V produced an amazing
variety of projects, including froxlor (server
management panel), a donor management
for Shelterbox, a GUI client for SUSE Studio, and hundreds more. Prior Hackweeks have
spawned projects that are now desktop Linux mainstays, like Tasque and Giver.

Hackweek VI features the theme “Engineering Cloud” and
allows developers to get their hands on related projects. In order to support that approach,
we are providing access to a few select cloud providers and a setup where you can deploy cloud
infrastructure software (e.g. Eucalyptus). Your favorite hack-project may or may not relate to
that theme, it may well be experimental, as long as it is Linux- or SUSE-related.

As in previous years, we will be using openFATE to track your ideas and coordinate with others that might want to join a
project. Make sure to check out all ideas listed in the Hack
Week VI
product category.

We also plan to nominate the 3 best projects that relate to the “Engineering Cloud” theme
and hand out Amazon gift vouchers. For your project to be considered we ask you to:

  • submit your idea until Friday Jan 21st at openFATE (opens Jan, 13)

  • provide a introductory video of your project on Monday, Jan, 24th

  • wrap up and do a final video submission no later than Friday, Feb 4th

As usual, Novell extends the invitation to openSUSE Community contributors. Participating
Novell locations also try to provide a “hackspace”, some comfy place to meet, work together
and snack.

Finally, we are trying to spread the word via #hackweek6 on twitter
and look forward to hear about your updates there. For more information, follow up on the
Hackweek Portal at http://en.opensuse.org/Portal:Hackweek,
and have fun!

Header PictureStatus Updates

Header PictureBuild Service Team

Build Service Statistics. Statistics can found at Buildservice

Header PictureGNOME Team

Screenshot using Radiance Light Theme and default Ubuntu indicator layout.

Some brief updates about the ongoing work towards bringing Ayatana Project software into

  1. Software Updates

    Canonical recently released a batch of updates which bring new functionality
    (Indicators seem to respond faster now) and very nice improvements, some of them
    contributed by down-streamers. From my humble experience I would risk to claim that
    Canonical is doing an excellent job as an upstreamer. I’ve updated all packages to the
    latest versions. This allowed to remove some patches.

  2. Unity

    Unity is now one step closer. For Unity I’ve started to package Compiz git
    snapshots from the correct branches pointed by Unity documentation. This brought
    something new to me, cmake. I’ve done this very slowly, reading some docs meanwhile
    about cmake. My packaging around Compiz is mainly based on OBS X11:Compiz repository,
    so pretty much all the credits should be for the original project Packagers which done
    an awesome job. Currently I’m missing only 3 packages to test Unity. Recently with
    kernel and mesa updates some issues around ATI hardware seem to have fixed for
    openSUSE Factory users, which enabled in my case FireGL, therefore I can test properly
    Unity now and check for the integration into openSUSE.

    Unity by default uses the Ayatana’s Indicators, and if they are not present, it
    will fallback to GNOME’s applets. This is very nice and I’m thankful Canonical made it
    this way. This brings non-Ubuntu users the Unity experience at almost no trouble,
    since there isn’t actually much patching required to implement Unity.

  3. GNOME:Ayatana Repository

    GNOME:Ayatana Repository will be populated during the next two weeks with the
    latest changes and will provide for the time being the Ayatana’s Indicators and Unity.
    I am currently working around libappindicator stack and it’s Indicators. Currently I’m
    testing the patches required on the GTK+ stack and this is pretty much the last
    barrier before going into #STAGE2, polishing and populating GNOME:Ayatana.

    It’s not decided yet what packages are going to present on Factory. My wish is to
    push only Unity into Factory and it’s dependencies, this might not happen for 11.4 as
    I’m not sure about the freeze schedules and it might be too late already, but since
    we’re depending on Compiz upstream, we’ll see what happens. Even if Unity isn’t going
    to be available on Factory, I’m sure we can use KIWI or SUSE Studio to release a small
    openSUSE Unity Spin.

    I’ve also decided that I (typo: previously would) wouldn’t like to see Unity available by openSUSE before the official
    release from Ubuntu, for which I wish all the success.

    Since the very early start that I’ve been using pkg-config as much as I can.
    According to some information that I collected previously, this would be great for
    cross-distribution build. Depending on the time and work done, I might make the
    necessary modifications and enable cross-distribution building on this project, thus,
    making it available for other RPM distributions supported by OBS. This will require a
    bit of testing before, so it will be work to be done after 11.4 is released and during
    it’s lifecycle. Maybe by the time of openSUSE 12 gets released, we will have this
    project also available for other RPM based distributions. I have no knowledge on
    Debian packaging, but Ubuntu ships this software and Debian probably has it also
    available so… that won’t be a problem.

  4. Artwork

    I am providing on GNOME:Ayatana Ubuntu’s Light Themes (Ambiance and Radiance) and
    offering a patched version of Metacity that renders those themes perfectly. I’m not
    changing the original colors from the themes or modifying them in any way. So they
    might be a bit more of orange and not green.

    I’ve contacted some people to ask if they would be willing to donate some artwork
    to make a small package with Wallpapers, some have answered yes, so I will make a
    small package with a couple of wallpapers for the traditional resolutions and
    distribute it alongside with this software as optional as always.

  5. GTK2, GTK3 and QT

    Implementation of GTK3 will be done within the next days, as I am also considering
    enabling QT support for KDE users (Indicators only for now).

    That’s pretty much the result of the last days of work… more news to come in the
    nearby future.

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.

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

“I wanted to open a fate feature about this when I first heard of plymouth, but
http://fedoramagazine.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/interview-fedora-10s-better-startup/ really
makes me think we should go this way.

Ray’s comment starting with “Every flicker and mode change in the boot
process takes away from the whole experience.” is especially interesting. Is it okay
to track the “don’t show grub by default” here?”

“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

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

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

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

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

“The YaST2 sw_single dialog for conflicts, vendor change, architecture change
etc. is very scary for many users.

The dialog asks the user to select one of usually three offered solutions for each
problem without giving much help. This is a cause for many complaints, and contributes to
myths of RPM dependency hell still existing today. (…)”

Recently requested features

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

Tumbleweed related as opposed to 11.4 related.

Fedora has this really nice tool called Akmod or Automatic Kernel Module, which builds
kmods on boot when you load into a new kernel that doesn’t have kmods or to use the
openSUSE term kmps. As we now have a rolling release in openSUSE: Tumbleweed this kind of
functionality is more important than ever. Unless there are plans for rebuilding the kmps
for Tumbleweed each time there is a new kernel. Which doesn’t seem to be the case
with the Nvidia kmp only supporting up to 2.6.34 series.

Enable simple Share and Dropbox folders by default on each account.

Home network filesharing should be easy for the home user. Ubuntu does this very
elegantly, with simple sharing and permission management. Current tools in most distros
are very confusing to the point of being nearly unusable, including OpenSUSE. I recommend
cloning the samba etc. technique as used in Ubuntu/Kubuntu.

YaST can’t change MAC-address. Now, for change this address need do ifconfig eth0
hw ether 00:00:00:11:22:33. Think, it’s not SUSE-way.

Change MAC-address may be simple. With YaST.

What about changing the Default-Theme to SuSE-Elegant from Cristian Rodriguez? See
http://kde-look.org/content/show.php/SuSE+Elegant?content=117251 + the there mentioned
links for the look.

At least providing a package for simple change of the various
grub/boot/kdm/kde-screens would be neat.

One of the first things I do after installing openSUSE is disabling the system bell by
adding this to ~/.inputrc:

set bell-style none

Its volume is needlessly high. The bell scares the hell outta me whenever it creeps up
because I backspaced too much on the command line.

My suggestion: disable the system bell by default, unless no sound card is

To get the new xfce 4.8 into openSUSE for 11.4.

There are four different ways to track the number of failed logins and react to this:
faillog, pam_tally, pam_tally2, pam_faillock. They are all incompatible together and
pretty hard next to impossible to configure.

Goal: Write one new module “pam_faillog”, which replaces all of them. Should
be able to read all current databases, supports all features together but uses advanced
PAM functionality to make configuration very easy.

The module depends on correct behavior of calling application, which means we need
some checks if application behaves correct and maybe fix them.

Most famous Linux distributions are compile Mesa and x-server with

Feature Statistics

Statistics for openSUSE 11.4 in openFATE

Header PictureTesting Team

The next Testing Core Team IRC meeting has not been scheduled, but I expect it to Jan.
31, 2011 if M6 is released next week.

A number of problems still need to be fixed before M6 can be released. Stephan Kulow
lists them as:

blocking issues (for M6):

  • /etc/mtab still is not right (broken by yast during installation

  • Artwork is a bad mixture and this is the last milestone (bnc#665439)

  • kernel on i586 still acting up (bnc#660464)

minor issues (for M6):

  • the progress bar of the live cd is not moving between 16-92% (bnc#665413)

  • the live cd does not boot into the kernel (kexec broken?)

  • the kde live cd runs slowly

Header PictureTranslation Team

Header PictureIn the Community

Postings from the Community

We’re going to have lunch together to celebrate the release of KDE 4.6 :D

Come and join us! It’s going to be fun for sure ;-)

Date/Time: 29th of January at 2:00pm

Place: Fass C/Rodríguez Marín 84. Mapa

(paralela al Paseo de la Castellana, a la altura del Santiago Bernabéu)

<Metro> Concha Espina

If you’re coming, please add your name to http://community.kde.org/Promo/ReleaseParties/4.6#Madrid

PS: Thanks a lot for this poster, Eugene and Nuno :D

On a more personal note, next week I’ll attend Linux Conf Australia! Luckily the bad weather around Brisbane has not made it
impossible for the conference to go ahead as scheduled. I am finalizing my registration
right now and travel has been arranged. I’ll be there with Graham Lauder, openoffice.org’s
contact in New Zealand and openSUSE fan. We’ll man a booth at the Open Day on Saturday where
anyone can look us up and learn more about openSUSE.

So any openSUSE users and contributors in the area: come look us up!

Oh and for everyone with a blog or other site: here you can find openSUSE 11.4 counters!

These days the Greek openSUSE community took over most of my time since some of the hard
working members are University students and it is examination season here in Greece and so I
had to give them less or no work at all and someone should replace them so that no community
work will fall back. For this week we made it and we still hold on as planned. We just
released the Greek edition of Weekly
. Unfortunately I feel I left back a bit my work at the marketing team but I
will catch up ;-) . …But on the other hand this week I had the opportunity to start
writing a Greek article about Project
that got my attention and I had some ideas about we can promote it. I
got in touch with Wolfgang Rosenauer
about it so that I can take his personal opinion and some directions about it and with
Stratos Zolotas from the Greek Community that makes some bug-testing in 2 desktops and a
server for the Evergreen project. It is a really interesting project and is another thing
that shows the free will of the people in the openSUSE community to create and develop their
own community projects. That last goes to those who believe that the openSUSE community is a
corporate slave…

Another thing I made this week is becoming an even more active openSUSE contributor by
entering the Greek Localization team and even making a BerliOS account. To be honest with you this was
not my original intention for now but it came up due to my will to translate the WebYaST user
manual. I am really excited with that work because is far more exciting than I was
expecting. Of course I still have some difficulties but it is like a new toy for me and I
spend a lot of my time with it the past 2 days.

I also joined the openSUSE connect .
I am from those few people that don’t like Facebook, that is why I have no account there and
as Stathis told me this is the ‘Lizard Facebook’ without the farm game and all the other
annoying applications. Well I thing I liked it… I am now try to find ways to make it a
useful tool so that we will start being productive and creative with it. I would suggest to
all of you to give it a look.

Other than that there are the elections part… I found out many things about people
through all that procedure. I got the idea that many people thought that I would give up
everything I do in order to support my campaign. I hope I prove all of them wrong.
Understand that nothing in life will change dramatically after the elections are over. As I
said many times before, I prefer acting more than everything else and my positions are
written in my election
. Sometimes doing nothing is also an action.

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

No, I’m not talking about this board
I’m talking about the cool project by GNOME afficianado Lucas
The Board. There
is a little gotcha with the packages – it is for openSUSE Factory/11.4 only at the moment. I
need to work on backporting some of the shiny dependencies to 11.3.

Things aren’t 100%, as I need to do a tiny bit of cleaning up with the packages, but it
works pretty well for a 0.1.0 release ;-) (…)

“cclive is a command line video extraction utility similar to clive but focuses on
low requirements. Its features are few and essential. cclive is intended for users who
prefer lightweight and ‘snappy’ programs. It was written in C and depends on
libcurl. cclive sports much of the same features but some compromises were made along the
way to keep the prerequisites low.

After some delay which wasn’t on our plan, we’re happy to announce SMB Traffic Analyzer
(called SMBTA in the following) version 1.2.2, bringing a whole bunch of new features and
bugfixes to the table. First off, you might not believe it but SMBTA actually received some
artwork, as we already reported here. :) Version 1.2.2
includes those graphics as well as the SVG source. Thank you Sirko!

SMBTA was installed on completely different systems than Linux during the past months. In
some cases, things could have been much easier if required libraries could have come included
with SMBTA. So we did for sqlite. If shared sqlite objects are found, and are of version 3.7.0
or newer, those will be used, otherwise SMBTA will compile the 3.7.4 Amalgamation build of sqlite, that is
included with both smbtad and smbtatools (bnc#662186). By
specifying an environment variable, the user can also force an amalgamation build, even if
shared libraries are available. Since the amalgamation build of sqlite is basically sqlite in
a single c file, most compilers can employ optimization much better compared to a usual sqlite

We are in the process of addressing possibilities to make SMBTA more than just output it’s
results to a text mode terminal.

Figure 1. A run of ‘global, top 10 files rw’, and it’s HTML output

A run of 'global, top 10 files rw', and it's HTML output

The decision was taken to drive the output of smbtaquery – the main program used to query
the database of SMBTA – with XML, a move that allows us maximum flexibility. The smbtaquery
program therefore produces XML by default and employs the XSLT processor xsltproc of the libxslt
to convert the output to HTML or ASCII text automatically.Figure 1, “A run of ‘global, top 10 files rw’, and it’s HTML output”

Snipped of the “usage” function output in HTML All functions of smbtaquery are supported
in both formats. SMBTA includes style sheets to produce the output and the user can choose the
prefered output format on the command line. HTML support in smbtaquery forms the core of our
plans to create a web based user interface for SMBTA (bnc#659326).

Figure 2. Snipped of the “usage” function output in HTML

Snipped of the "usage" function output in HTML

SMBTA 1.2.2 extends 128Bit AES encryption for the whole software suite. All tools, smbtad,
and the module are now able to talk encrypted to each other. With former versions this has
only been possible from the VFS module to smbtad. To support the end user, smbtaquery has been
extended to generate 128 bit keys for usage with smbtad. The smbtad daemon supports two
different keys, to allow a different group of users running the smbtatools (bnc#599644). A long standing issue finally resolved. Figure 2, “Snipped of the “usage” function output in HTML”

A lot of effort moved into our test suite – smbtatorture -, in order to enhance the SMBTA
Stresstest appliance
. First off, a smbtatorture process now creates directories, and
filenames that make some more sense then the ones used before (which were just generated out
of the user name and a number), to produce much more realistic looking results (bnc#653618). Furthermore, we worked on having support for multiple
instances of smbtatorture on the same shares. A small control server has been created,
“smbtatorturesrv“, distributing unique filenames to make
sure that no smbtatorture process chooses the same file name than one of the others running on
the network. smbtatorturesrv is internet socket networked, therefore smbtatorture processes
can connect from anywhere to it.

Figure 3. Snipped of the SMBTA-Guide. We will work on getting more illustrations into where it
makes sense.

Snipped of the SMBTA-Guide. We will work on getting more illustrations into where it makes sense.

This program will be extended to make up a controlling instance for the connecting
smbtatorture processes, showing statistics and healthiness information. We will implement the
features introduced with 1.2.2 in the upcoming version of the SMBTA
. Figure 3, “Snipped of the SMBTA-Guide. We will work on getting more illustrations into where it
makes sense.”

On the documentation, probably the most irrelevant part of
:) , it has been completely reviewed and many design changes have been
made. Everything about encryption has been taken out, and formed into a separate new chapter,
addressing how encryption works in all parts of the software suite. All new features of
smbtatorture and smbtatorturesrv have been documented. We have added descriptive illustration
and diagrams to the documentation. (bnc#664823). And of
course we updated the online version
of this document

Oh wait, the openSUSE’s BuildService
already consumed SMB Traffic Analyzer 1.2.2. We will submit packages to openSUSE Factory and
Tumbleweed in the next days.

You can download SMB Traffic Analyzer on the Download Page. To get more info about SMB Traffic Analyzer, visit it’s home

I’m happy to announce that LibreOffice 3.3 rc4 packages are available for openSUSE in the Build Service LibreOffice:Unstable project. They are based on the libreoffice- release. Please, look for more details about the openSUSE
LibreOffice build on the wiki page.

The packages are based on LibreOffice release candidate sources. Though, they include some
addons from the old Go-oo project. They have not passed
full QA round yet and might include even serious bugs. Therefore they are not intended for
data-critical usage. A good practice is to archive any
important data before an use, …

As usual, we kindly ask any interested beta testers to try the package and report bugs against the product
LibreOffice .

Known Bugs:

  • some packages were not renamed, .e.g. OpenOffice_org-thesaurus, …; they are not built from the main LibO
    sources; I will do soon.

  • SLED10 build is not available; need more love

More known Bugs:

Other information and plans:

First, I am sorry that I did not announce two older builds. I published rc2 build just
before Christmas and the announce was forgot in the hurry. There were problems with building
rc3. It was ready only one day before rc4, so it did not make sense to announce it.

There still might be some openSUSE-specific bugs that
would need to be fixed. I hope that they do not break the base function but… I will continue
with producing newer builds with more fixes from the stable libreoffice-3-3 branch. I will
move the packages to a stable project once we finish testing of all the SUSE-specific addons.
It should happen within the next few weeks.

Please be patient and thanks for understanding.

Header PictureSecurity Updates

To view the security announcements in full, or to receive them as soon as they’re released,
refer to the openSUSE
Security Announce
mailing list.

Header PictureKernel Review

Hello world, and welcome to the first edition of KWN for 2011! Long talk is no fun, so
let’s jump into it!

We start this week’s news with Dan Williams, who has a pull requests for .38 regarding the
async_tx tree

Hi Linus, please pull from:

git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/djbw/async_tx.git next

...to receive:

1/ An overhaul of the amba-pl08x driver by Russell who caught a lot of
issues in this experimental driver that really should have been caught
before the initial merge.

2/ A collection of small updates and fixes across fsldma, dma40,
intel-mid, and iop-adma.

All but the last two amba-pl08x patches have appeared in a -next


-Dave Airlie has some drm fixes, fixes that are described as follows

Hi everyone,

The for-linus branch of the btrfs-unstable git tree:

git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/mason/btrfs-unstable.git for-linus

Has our collection of features and fixes for 2.6.38-rc1.  The git tree
is actually against 2.6.36 and these commits have been tested against
.36, .37 and Linus' current git.  There's no particular reason for the
.36 part, other than it's what one of my build boxes was running.

The highlights this time around are LZO compression from Li Zefan and a
large collection of multi-device fixes from Miao Xie.  Liubo kicked in
the start of our forced-readonly support, which will be the building
block for ripping out a big collection of BUG_ONs and replacing them
with kinder gentler error messages.

Li Zefan also added readonly snapshot support, and I'll have the
corresponding btrfs-progs changes integrated this week.

This pull does have a duplicate for the btrfs ctree.c build fix that
Linus already has in his tree.  Git merge seems to do magic on this one,
it applies without doing a duplicate #include.

, also we have a infiniband-related request from Roland Dreier and , last but not least,
it’s Al Viro again with autofs cleanups and fixes.

– Still in the updates/pull requests zone, here’s a list :

  • Kukjin Kim – linux-samsung tree

  • Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo – perf/urgent

  • Greg Ungerer – m68knommu

  • Michal Simek – arch/microblaze fixes for 2.6.38

  • James Bottomley – PARISC fixes for 2.6.38-rc1

  • John W. Linville – fixes for the wireless tree, aimed @ .38

  • Guenter Roeck – hwmon changes for 2.6.38 and

  • ACPICA patches by Len Brown for 2.6.38-merge . (…)

Header PictureTips and Tricks

For Desktop Users

I wrote about webilder earlier which will give you stunning random wallpapers for your
linux desktop from flickr. I have a habit of allowing the number of files, screenshots and
documents in my desktop to go on a large number. Once they reach a critical number, I get
around to cleaning the files. But because I have so many files, the beautiful wallpapers are
sometimes not shown clearly. I felt there should be a way to toggle showing the files in
Desktop and it turned out there is a way.

  • Step 1: Launch gnome-keybinding-properties

  • Step 2: Click on the “Add” button in the bottom and in the resulting
    dialog, type “Hide Desktop Icons” for the Name field and for the command

    gconftool-2 -s --type boolean /apps/nautilus/preferences/show_desktop false
  • Step 3: Create another keybinding by clicking the “Add” button and
    this time create a “Show Desktop Icons” item. The command for this will

    gconftool-2 -s --type boolean /apps/nautilus/preferences/show_desktop true
  • Step 4: Set custom keyboard shortcuts for these two commands. I have used Alt+F11
    and Alt+F12 in my case.


Update: You can just use the following command and
have only one keyboard shortcut as well. Thanks to the anonymous commenter who provided
the tip (please guys, leave your name when commenting :)) gconftool-2 –toggle

Now you can toggle (show/hide) your desktop icons at a keystroke and enjoy your clean

For openSUSE users constantly on the go, the security of your network traffic at random
airport/coffee shop/university wireless hotspots can become a big issue. Even with WPA2 or
WEP encryption, your traffic can still be insecure and visible to the owner of the hotspot
if left unencrypted. For some sites you can try to be sure to always use their HTTPS
versions, but you’ve got to trust that the site owner has implemented their encryption
properly and aren’t inadvertantly leaking your data to third party observers of

If you’re fortunate enough to have an ISP that offers VPN service, such as Sonic.net,
you can use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to encrypt all of your traffic between you and
the end-point of the VPN.


You can also use independent VPN providers like SuperVPN, but you should be certain
you can trust them.

Below is a step-by-step screenshot guide for using IPSec-based VPN with NetworkManager
under GNOME and KDE4. (…)

As many know, I have a few Android devices, and I know a lot of other openSUSE fans out
there also have robot powered devices. I decided the other day to try something during my
lunch break – create a widget to show how many days left till 11.4’s release.

Yeah I know it isn’t an earth shattering application, but I’m not a code monkey, so any
working code I generate is a serious plus for me ;-)

So my lunchtime project was inspired by the efforts of someone at Ubuntu who was doing
the same for their Natty release. I used this tutorial to help get me going. I now present
to you oSRCD – the openSUSE Release CountDown.

It isn’t perfect, but it is a start, so if there is anyone that is a bit more able in
the ways of Android programming or artwork then please join in :-)

You can grab the source code from github or the .apk for manual install. And as it’s a
mobile app here’s the QR code: (…)

For Commandline/Script Newbies

“Under Linux there are graphical user interfaces (GUIs), where you can point and click and drag, and hopefully get work done terminalwithout first reading lots of documentation. The traditional Unix environment is a CLI (command line interface), where you type commands to tell the computer what to do. That is faster and more powerful, but requires finding out what the commands are.”man intro

Find in this post a list of some useful commands for this week.

Download a file and uncompress it while it downloads

$wget http://URL/FILE.tar.gz -O - | tar xfz -

If you play loto, try this command to generate the 6 numbers :

$echo $(shuf -n 6 -i 1-49 | sort -n)

To get the CPU temperature continuously on the desktop

$while :; do acpi -t | osd_cat -p bottom ; sleep 1; done &

Search for large files and show size and location.

$find . -size +100000k -exec du -h {} \;

Get a random Command

$ls /usr/bin | shuf -n 1

This is useful if you want to explore various random commands.

More commands :

Bash logger :Log everything from a bash script to a file

$script /tmp/log.txt

Using NMAP to check if a port is open or close

$nmap -oG - -T4 -p22 -v | grep ssh

Get the IP of the host your coming from when logged in remotely

$echo ${SSH_CLIENT%% *}

For Developers and Programmers

Last week’s column introduced Linux Control Groups (or cgroups), a feature initially developed to limit resource usage in the Linux kernel. But it can do much more, including tweak memory, bandwidth and CPU usage of system processes as well as deny access to system resources. This week, let’s delve a bit deeper and actually set up and manage a cgroup. (…)

This series of articles explores how to use Python to create scripts for the GNOME desktop, the screenlets framework, and Nautilus to deliver a highly productive environment. Scripts on the desktop enable drag-and-drop functionality and quick access to the information and services you commonly use. In this installment, learn how to build a desktop application using the screenlets widget toolkit. (…)

For System Administrators

Wow, this article and especially one of its comments saved my day.

My computer crashed and one of the VMware machine hosted on it could not start anymore

“Cannot open the disk ‘path of vmdk’ or one of the snapshot disks it depends on.
Reason: the specific virtual disk needs repair.

Checking on the VMware forums, I quickly found the command that was supposed to help

$ vmware-vdiskmanager -R /path/to/disk.vmdk
The virtual disk, '/path/to/disk.vmdk', is corrupted but the repair process has failed.

Damned ! I almost resigned restoring the last backup and loosing a week of work when, by
chance, I found the article mentioned above.

As recommended, I downloaded the Virtual Disk Development Kit 1.2 from VMware, untared
it and still doubtfully launched

$ ./bin64/vmware-vdiskmanager -R /path/to/disk.vmdk
The virtual disk, '/path/to/disk.vmdk', was corrupted and has been  successfully repaired.

Saved! Thanks so much to the guys. I would have never thought about trying it, I wonder
how they could find it.

But how is it possible that the utility coming with vmware workstation 7.1 such so much
and is not on par with other versions ? (…)

Today I wondered again, why my KVM guests get only 800×600 display resolution, even
though the framebuffer console is configured for 1024×768. While most of the time this does
not matter for testing, it does once you want to evalutate desktop environments or such in a

I checked the xorg log file and found, that the Cirrus card emulation apparently has no
DDC channel implemented, thus cannot detect the monitor and then X.org falls back to a plain
SVGA monitor. From the

Using default hsync range of 31.50-37.90 kHz
Using default vrefresh range of 50.00-70.00 Hz

Simply setting those ranges to something reasonable (I got my values from “hwinfo –monitor“) helps quite a lot. Put this into

  HorizSync   31 - 61
  VertRefresh 50 - 90

and you get a much more usable 1024×768 resolution.

git is great for bisecting regressions (or finding a fix in a series of commits) – but
compiling the kernel can take ages, especially if you have to do it on an Atom, and with the
configuration of your favorite distribution…

Now finally I created a perl script for reducing the default config to the set of
modules that are currently actually loaded. Reduces kernel compilation times on a quad core
machine from 56 minutes to 6 for a standard SLED kernel Guess it’s even more difference on
this !@#$%

  # cd /var/tmp/linux-2.6                    or wherever your git tree is located
  # gunzip </proc/config.gz >.config         to get the current configuration
  # make oldconfig                           to add new options for current kernel
  # ~/linux-adaptconfig.pl >.config.new      to remove all not required options
  # mv .config.new .config
  # make oldconfig                           to be on the save side...
  # make -j5                                 build, mother*beep*, build :-)

Yes, it’s a hack. No, it’s certainly not perfect. But it might be exactly what you had
been waiting for. I waited long enough to actually write it myself…

Awk has always been for me a source of great hatred and love, isan incredibly powerful
command with which it is possible to build real programs.

In this article I will give you 6 examples ready for use with your preferred terminal.

AWK is a data driven programming language designed for processing text-based data,
either in files or data streams. It is an example of a programming language that extensively
uses the string datatype, associative arrays (that is, arrays indexed by key strings), and
regular expressions. (…)

The German company rh-tec offers free IPv6 internet connections for people that already
have T-DSL. Configuring such a connection on openSUSE 11.3 is not as straight forward as
with IPv4. It’s not hard either if you know where to put the settings though.

  1. start the yast2 DSL module

  2. follow the instructions of the wizard to set up a new PPPoE device. Enter your
    user name and password at the provider screen.

  3. At the “Connection Parameters” screen uncheck “Automatically Retrieve DNS”. Enter
    an arbitrary IPv4 address as first DNS server (yast doesn’t accept IPv6 there yet, bug

  4. finish the wizard and leave yast

  5. open /etc/sysconfig/network/providers/provider0 (or whatever name was chosen by
    yast) in an editor

  6. change DNS1 and DNS2 to the actual IPv6 addresses of your provider’s name

  7. add the following line to the

    PPPD_OPTIONS="noip +ipv6 ipv6cp-accept-local"
  8. save and quit

  9. Done! You may now use cinternet or qinternet to dial in and enjoy the (rather
    empty) IPv6 internet.

Header PicturePlanet SUSE

A couple of months ago at open-slx, when we (like so many times before and after) talked
about how we can make the lives of Linux users easier, an idea was sparked. While there’s huge
amounts of content out there, it struck us that there’s still a large number of people not
being too well served when searching Google to get answers to your questions. This poses some
problems though: First of all, most of the information is not in English. This poses an extra
barrier for some, who might not be as fluent in English as we developers usually are. Then,
the content is hard to verify: How do I *know* that the information given there makes sense?
Maybe it will just delete all my erotic movies? ;) So the problem is that there’s little
content for the German end-user audience, which is hard to verify. So a team consisting of
openSUSE community members and open-slx employees led by my colleague Rupert Horstkötter has
set out to fix this problem. They looked into existing solutions to these problem, and found
that what is currently running as ubuntuusers.de comes closest to the solution we have in
mind. We got in contact with the team at ubuntuusers.de, and they were enthusiastic about the
idea and willing to make it happen. A good start.

Then comes the real work of course. We’ve worked out a concept that allows us to provide a
modern support tool for our users, which builds on two pillars: information and interaction.
The concept we come up with puts this into three different tools: a wiki as knowledgebase, a
forum to discuss articles, questions and to get in contact with other people, and a blog
aggregation (Planet) which collects news about developments in openSUSE and howtos for
specific topics. In order to accomplish this gargantuan task, we’ve asked for help in the
openSUSE community. People were immediately enthusiastic about the idea, and started chipping
in, helping to review and improve lots of articles.

Over the past few months, we have reviewed about 2000 articles from the existing
ubuntuusers.de knowledgebase, prioritizing 500 of
them, and adapted the articles to modern standards and that they apply to openSUSE. These 500
articles form the foundation for the knowledgebase we created for the open-slx community
platform. We’ve also set up a webforum users
can use to communicate and ask further questions, and we’ve put up a blog aggregator.

So, if you’re a German-speaking user (or future user :)) of openSUSE, hop over to
community.open-slx.de and see for yourself whether this new platform fits your needs (and if
it doesn’t, let us know what we can improve). You can find the official announcement here.


In the last days I’ve been leaving my full attention to Compiz and the famous glib main
loop. I’ve made a small perl script to compare my local builds with the ones available on
launchpad… nothing too fancy, but it seems to work. During the last days Canonical updated a
lot of software.

I’ve decided to start updating the on my test repository to the newer versions. A couple
of new packages are required as dependencies (the most impressive one is utouch-evemu, which
is a part of Canonical’s Multitouch uTouch stack).

The number of updates is quite impressive, the number of patches (even on some new
updates) is equally impressive… I’ve just realized that GTK+-2.0 has been subjected of a
couple of fun patches and gobject-introspection is becoming mind crushing… Either way, the
work continues, and unfortunately for me I was planning to do a small open beta phase for
Factory users soon… but all this changes will require much more work and a lot of packages
will have dependency lists updated.

The next days free time will be spent around this massive update, I am sure it will pay
off. If anyone is using my test repository on my home project, expect some turbulence during
the next days. Since I’m on this, I’m already starting to enable GTK3 wherever I can do it in
a safe way, nevertheless, it’s just to speed work for the time being, as much things are

Back in October, at the openSUSE
, many people were interested in the whole app store/market place/software
center topic for openSUSE: we had a session about that, and several hallway discussion. There
is no big surprise here, since it’s a hot topic for various OS
distributors, and not just our free distributions. Of course, being lazy people, we
discussed what we could re-use to minimize our work; the software center used in Ubuntu and the
app-install work that Richard
did a while ago came to our minds.

And then we thought: Hrm, why do this in our corner? Everybody is doing this in a corner.
Let’s see if we can work together!

Obvious idea, right? But on the other hand, everybody is generally all for collaboration,
but when it comes to do the work, it’s easier to hack in a corner. So we didn’t exactly know
what to expect: is this something that can really happen, or is this just a blue-sky dream? I
decided to give it a try.

In the past couple of months, I chatted with people from various distributions to organize
a cross-distribution meeting. I first talked to Michael (Ubuntu), and Richard
(Fedora) who were both enthusiastic about the idea. I met Stefano (Debian) at an event in Toulouse, and we had a great chat
about many topics; that lead me to ask him if we could help find some Debian people interested
in this. I discussed with Michael (Mageia)
to find out the relevant people in Mageia, and a few people were interested in the topic. And
of course, I knew the right openSUSE people ;-) So after a few weeks, it turned out there was
great interest from Debian, Fedora, Mageia, openSUSE and Ubuntu, with people willing to attend
such a meeting. I then sent out a mail to distributions@fd.o, to open this up to other distributions.

Fast-forward a bit, and here we are today: I’m flying to Nuremberg in a few hours to
attend this cross-distro meeting on application installer, that will occur in the next three
days with a group of 14 people. The goals are to see where and how we can work together on the
end-user experience as well as on the application metadata that we want to provide. It might
all sound easy, but the fact is that with all distributions building its own packages, on its
own infrastructure, with different metadata and different users who could create more
metadata, we’re currently not set to share anything, which is a shame. This meeting will help
us decide where we can mutualize our efforts to provide the best end-user experience possible
for everyone.

Three days is a short time for a topic like this, and we obviously won’t do everything
we’d love to. But I’m optimistic about the result :-)

Thanks to Novell for hosting and sponsoring a few attendees, to Canonical and Red Hat for
sending people on their own budget, to Debian for helping sponsoring a last-minute attendee,
and also to some attendees who didn’t need sponsorship at all!

I just heard from Vincent that the Cross-distro app
meeting organized by openSUSE is in full swing.

Cross distribution Appstore Sprint

As Vincent wrote in his blog, the idea came up at the openSUSE conference. We should work on getting
distributions on the same page when it comes to a Linux Appstore technology. Appstore API’s
have been in development for ages on linux so we have a strong base. The as the Open
Collaboration Services
we currently have on freedesktop.org are inspired by the
GetHotNewStuff technology which was developed by Josef Spillner many years ago – KDE and GNOME
have used this to deliver wallpapers and scripts to their users. After GHNS, two possible
successors were developed – OCS, started by Frank Karlitschek, seems the de-facto standard
now. It was adopted by Maemo and now by MeeGo for their appstore, openoffice.org supports it
and of course the family of opendesktop.org series
of sites including the popular gtk-apps.org, qt-apps.org, GNOME- and KDE-look.org are all
accessible from this API.

At the cross-distro appinstaller meeting which started this morning people from several
distributions including Red Hat, Mandriva and Debian are discussing together how Linux should
tackle this. Can we agree on a common technology shared between distributions and Desktops?
Hopefully we can bring together the work on app
by Richard, the Software Center tech from Ubuntu and
FD.o’s Open Collaboration Services in a way that benefits all.

I had a quick phone call with Frank who told me the meeting is very constructive and he
hopes that the major distributions can agree on some kind of standard by the end of this week.
That would be pretty awesome! The appstore sprint aims to bring people on the same page and
will be followed by a Bretzn sprint for openSUSE.

Bretzn Sprint

At the Bretzn sprint (also sponsored by openSUSE) the goal is to get something done: work
on appstore integration in openSUSE, as well as smoothen the process of building and
distributing an application for developers. Bretzn, first announced at the openSUSE conference in October, is almost ready for its
first release. At the sprint, Pavol Rusnak, who developed a web based openSUSE Games store,
will also be present – I hope he can make sure we also have a web-accessible store for

While it is unsure if the work on Bretzn and the openSUSE appstore will make it into
openSUSE 11.4, it is clear that openSUSE is pushing innovation and standardization in the
Linux market. Not going all alone, but thinking and caring about the larger ecosystem – I
think that is what separates a real community effort from a company pushing a corporate
agenda. Bringing the right people with the right skills and the right ideas together is what
these sprints are all about – I’m happy to have helped make it possible. And less happy that I
couldn’t be there myself, there is little in the world of Free Software that gives me more
energy than being at a developer sprint!

I’d like to thank Frank and Vincent for organizing, as well as all the attendees for
attending and I look forward to their blogs and news.o.o article ;-)

Good luck and Rock the Boat!

I’m chewing on something for a couple of weeks now and I think I need to tell you before
my jaw turns into dust. It’s about the openSUSE
and what’s happening with it. I’m heavily involved in the project. Since
over 10 years I get paid by my employer to work in that project and I spend a lot of my spare
time on it. It’s a huge part of my life, both personal and professional and I love it! I love
the people, I love how the project is set up and I love all the cool results we produce
together. But since a couple of weeks, I couldn’t really pin down if there was a single cause,
what it was or when, I was in misery about it. It’s only yesterday that while talking to a
fellow openSUSE Board member that I
realized what really causes my grief. All of the sudden this project went from “Hey dude, let’s do cool things together” to “I
have this and that opinion and I’m going to stick it to you!
”. The whole project
went from collaboration to politics in a blink. Now I’m sure all of you tin foil hat wearing
people out there will start to spin this as result of some single event, whatever fits your
agenda best, but I assure you it’s not. Sometime in the last couple of weeks this tipped over
and we started to have discussions about all aspects of the theory of politics, we argue about
human rights or quotes from Mahatma Gandhi, people put up motions for the powers that be, the
structure and people are questioned to the last extent, alliances are forged, opportunities
are seized to get even and a lot of distrust is spreading around.

And there are two answers so far I have heard. One is that people say that this is normal.
Because we as open source project always ask for equal rights, democracy and all these other
crazy liberal ideas and that now we reap what we sow:
. So however you are involved in this, like me for instance that stood up
and took responsibility for nasty things nobody else wants to do, you have asked for this and
now got what was coming to you. Don’t be a crybaby now, bitch!

The other answer I see to this from the members of our project is to be passive. YAWN politics… I want to code, draw, write, fix, test. Politics are
not of my interest and I don’t want to get involved. You idiots can fight this out, I just
work on my stuff while you’re doing that. So however you are involved in this, like me for
instance that stood up and took responsibility for nasty things nobody else wants to do, you
have asked for this and now got what was coming to you. Don’t look at
me, not interested!

Both are equally destructive and neglect the reason all of us are here. We are here for
one thing: FUN! Yes, remember please why you have came to the
openSUSE Project. Because it’s fun to use the software for any purpose you want. Because it’s
great to study how the software works, and change it to make it do what you wish. Because it’s
cool to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor. Because it’s a great feeling to
give the whole community a chance to benefit from your work. You know what’s wrong with us? We
have forgot to Have a lot of fun!

Can all of you who love openSUSE please go to a console, open an xterm, gnome-terminal or
a konsole, do a cat /etc/motd and think about the output
for a while?

Then pull yourself together and stop doing what is robbing ALL OF US of the reason we are
here! If you want to push through your agenda, don’t! If you want to stick it to the man,
don’t! If you want to insist on all of your given rights, don’t! If you want to be pigheaded,
don’t. If you want to be serious, don’t!

Instead, remember to Have a lot of fun!

Header PictureopenSUSE Forums

Without a proper functioning bootloader there’s no running operating system. Sometimes the bootloader gets damaged, misconfigured, or the install of another distro disables openSUSE’s GRUB as the system’s bootloader. Many times Parted Magic, a free LiveCD utility, is suggested to repair GRUB issues, also in this thread. But it’s not as simple as booting from the Parted CD and fixing it……..

These days, most distros give lots of options to users to keep their systems up to date, or up to “bleeding edge”. Now what, if you want your system to go back to the state right after the install was done, i.e. bring all packages back to the distro’s version? This thread shows quite some different replies on how to get this done.

Many of us have a third party driver packages installed for optimal use of our video cards. These drivers create kernel modules (the driver) and some symbolic link(s) for Xorg, the display server. Here’s a member that decided to upgrade to kernel- and Xorg-versions from other than default repos.

This week’s subforum:

In Applications we have a subforum dedicated to individual applications. This varies from questions about importing music folders in Amarok to installing third party, even commercial, software on openSUSE. Some threads in fact contain little howto’s by users who let us know about their succesful attempts to get software working.

Header PictureOn the Web

Call for participation

We are proud to officially open the call for papers for Texas Linux Fest 2011, scheduled for April 2 at the Hilton Austin hotel in downtown Austin, Texas.

Texas Linux Fest 2011 is the second annual Linux and open source software event for Texas and the surrounding region. We are assembling a one day program for the business and home Linux user, and for the experienced developer and newcomer alike. (…)


Mozilla has the finish line for Firefox 4 in sight: Beta 9 was just released and the
first builds of Beta 10 have been posted to the company’s FTP server. There are just over
100 blocking bugs left and there isn’t much that will change until the final release will be
available sometime in February or March. Time to check how fast this new browser is. The
first article of this series focuses on JavaScript performance.

It has been almost 9 months since Firefox 4 was first announced and Mozilla has covered
a lot of ground and has overcome significant obstacles to come up with a competitive browser
that returns to what has made Firefox great: A fast and nimble browser with features that
are setting the standard for everyone else. One key requirement for Firefox 4 was to catch
up with its rivals as it was clear early last year that 3.6.x wasn’t up to the task anymore.
Before we are looking at Firefox 4′ features, we will have a look at its performance
capability. Firefox 4 Beta 10-pre is pretty darn close to the final version and should give
us a good idea how the browser stacks up. (…)

Reviews and Essays

openSUSE community manager, Jos Poortvliet, talks about the latest in openSUSE projects and developments since the successful openSUSE Conference last October…

Since the openSUSE Conference in Nuremberg in October, the openSUSE community has been
extremely active. New projects announced there have progressed, and others have emerged. One
example of the latter would be the announcement of Project Tumbleweed by kernel hacker and
openSUSE contributor Greg Kroah-Hartman. The goal of this 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 in updates so that when a new
release surfaces, users actually don’t have to do an upgrade!

Tumbleweed is something you could probably only pull off in openSUSE. While openSUSE is
a fixed-schedule release project (with a release every 8th), we provide newer stable
packages for a variety of things on the openSUSE Build Service (OBS). OBS warrants an
article on its own – a rather unique project (a tutorial for which featured in last month’s
magazine). We use it to build our distribution, but also packages for other distributions,
including Fedora, CentOS, Mandriva, Debian, Ubuntu and – seriously – Windows support is
under development. Hence the OBS mainframes handle the building of over 100,000 packages
from 25,000 users working on 15,000 different projects. OBS can provide newer packages for
older openSUSE versions because it is easy: from the web interface our packagers just select
the older versions and OBS takes care of it – it’s really that easy. OBS accomplishes this
by starting a fresh virtual machine (of the chosen distro and version) for each package that
has to be built. It then installs all build dependencies and builds the package. Any errors
are relayed back to the packager via the web (or command-line) interface. And OBS can take
code directly out of CVS/SVN/Git and has built-in live CD generation (so yes, an automatic
daily live CD of Git GNOME can be accomplished with ease). It’s unique and free software, so
OBS is used by a variety of other projects, including VLC and MeeGo. (…)

As the first of several opinion pieces exploring current issues in KDE, we offer you a video of Aaron Seigo explaining how KDE’s success as a community producing all kinds of software led to outgrowing our old name, the “K Desktop Environment”, what KDE means now and why it matters.

Aaron Seigo on KDE Branding (Ogg Theora version)

A little over a year ago, an article was published on the Dot titled ‘Repositioning the KDE Brand’. The article publicized the outcome of a process within KDE to make sense of the relationship between the community and its products, and to reach a durable solution regarding the terms that should be used to refer to both. (…)

There are lots of graphics software applications out there. Photoshop is the big dog on
the block and many professional artists, cartoonists, and film makers use it for a variety
of tasks. There are also graphics applications that rival Photoshop and do just about as
much as Photoshop but a t a lower cost. It all depends on the job you’re tackling and how
many digital tools you require.

I’ve found that The Gimp does just about all I
need when producing my comic features. And the costs is much less than Photoshop. Gimp is
free. And because I use Linux, The Gimp already comes pre-installed.
When you install Linux, Gimp is right there ready to go to work for you.

Gimp has all the neat little filters, bells, and whistles that all the other graphics
software apps have. I use ‘em all, but one filter, specifically, comes in quite handy when
drawing cartoons. (…)

Header PictureCredits

We thank for this Issue:

Header PictureAcknowledgements

We thank for this Issue:

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Do you have comments on any of the things mentioned in this article? Then head right over to
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Header PictureTranslations

openSUSE Weekly News is translated into many languages. Issue
159 is available in:

Coming soon:

You can follow the status of the translation there.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “openSUSE Weekly News, 159 is out!”

  1. gumb

    There’s a mix-up with one of the links. The title for the piece
    Linux User & Developer/Jos Poortvliet:The openSUSE column #96 with Jos Poortvliet
    currently points to the KDE promo video on YouTube.