openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 161 is out!

5. Feb 2011 | Sascha Manns | No License

We are pleased to announce our new openSUSE Weekly News 161.


openSUSE Weekly News

### openSUSE Weekly News Team

161 Edition

Published: 2011-02-05

Table of Contents

Announcements Hackweek VI Status Updates

Distribution Team Report In the Community

Postings from the Community 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 Developers and Programmers Planet SUSE openSUSE Forums On the Web

Announcements Reports Reviews and Essays Credits Acknowledgements Feedback Translations


We are pleased to announce our 161 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

Bretzn results released into the wild

Apart from being a tasty Bavarian bread-snack, Bretzn is a code-name for a collection of technology aimed at solving a problem which has existed in software development for a very long time: “How do you get your applications to your users?”

Screenshots of the Bretzn plugin interface This is particularly a question for the many developers of applications that are not part of a project like GNOME or KDE. These developers must either provide binaries for a range of distributions themselves or hope that distribution volunteers will do the packaging for them. Don’t they all dream of a better solution?

In the open source community, we already have many individual bits of this dream in place. We have of course our powerful here (scroll to the comments) Nokia might be interested in adding support for other platforms like Windows and Mac OS X too! Moreover, we have the Open Collaboration Services (OCS) which allows for the easy, socially networked publishing of packages both to and from central software download sites such as and as well as application stores like Meego/Maemo and we have many powerful integrated development environments such as Qt Creator, KDevelop and Eclipse.

Until now these technologies and tools made up mostly isolated islands and it seemed an obvious choice to try bridging them. A project aiming to do just this began in August 2010 and was first publicly announced by Frank Karlitschek at the openSuse Conference in Nuremberg in late October: Project Bretzn would make it possible, with a few clicks, to publish software projects directly from the IDE – and it would all happen before the end of the year!

Connecting the Dots

Figure 1. The openSUSE application manager

The openSUSE application manager

Project Bretzn, then, is not a single piece of software, but rather an attempt to fill in the holes which exist in what is already there. As it stands, the project has produced two core pieces of software:

  • A thin client in the shape of a Qt Creator plugin, accessed through the Tools menu in the IDE. The plugin lets you perform all the actions required to get data sent to the various build services and publishing sites, by contacting the server part, which then distributes the information to the appropriate places. The implementation of this also prompted amending the Attica library with new features. As some will already know, Attica Figure 1, “The openSUSE application manager”is a full featured implementation of a OCS client library built by KDE which is now officially included in the MeeGo platform. The Qt Creator plugin is developed so that it is based on a thin library to make its functionality easily portable to other IDE’s like Anjuta or Eclipse – consider this an invite!

  • A server library, designed to plug into the OCS reference server implementation as published by the Social Desktop project. This is the part of the system which draws the lines between the dots: It contacts any number of build services that you request your software to be built on and when you request it, it publishes the packages resulting of those build jobs on the distribution sites and services. The publishing system requires only of the remote sites that they implement the content module part of OCS, which many places already do.

Figure 2. Ubuntu Software Centre (from wikipedia)

Ubuntu Software Centre (from wikipedia)

Moreover, work on a KDE client to download and install applications has started at the recent openSUSE Bretzn sprint in Nuremberg. The screenshot in this article shows a first prototype. And at the Cross-distribution meeting on an application installer, just before the Bretzn sprint was held, it was decided the GNOME desktop will receive a client most likely based on Ubuntu’s Software center. Figure 1, “The openSUSE application manager”

Most importantly, all this has the distinction of being open: not only is the source code for the software above freely available as you would expect, but the web API created as the communications layer between those two components is free and open, and indeed a part of the Open Collaboration Services specification as of version 1.6.

**Publishing Renewed **

The best software is that which gets out of your way to let you do your work, and Bretzn was designed with this in mind. What this means is that when you are ready to publish your software, you call up the tool and enter the required information only once. If the same information is required for multiple publishing sites, the plugin will take care of that. The source archive is created for you when you select which folder contains your source code, and you only need to select the targets you wish to build for to get binaries for your application for all the platforms.

Even with the build services, building the binary packages does take a while. So, Bretzn was designed to not require you to follow this all the time, but rather as a system in which you create the build jobs, and then simply close the plugin and let the build service do its magic while you continue working on other things.

When publishing the software, you will normally have to give notice to many people and organizations if you wish for that knowledge to be spread. Through Bretzn, this information can be pushed to these people as the publishing happens. Information can be shared through the social networking features of the Open Collaboration Services on the sites the application is published to. For example, users may be subscribed to updates about a single application, or to activities performed by a friend, which are for example the publishing of applications.

**Who build it? **

The project is a collaboration between h i v e 01, Open-SLX and Nokia, and specifically it has been the task of Sebastian Kugler, Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen and Frank Karlitschek to get the project working. Over the last four months, they have been working tirelessly to construct the bridges which make up the Bretzn project, both in software by writing the code, and socially by speaking with a lot of people about the goals of the project to find out just what is needed, as well as making those whose systems Bretzn bridges aware of what they have been doing. Part of the latter was being involved with the Cross-distribution meeting on an application installer.

**And, It Is Available Right Now **

Though the majority of the code has been developed in the open, the various bits of code have now been officially released:

  • The new version of LibAttica required for the tools was released

  • The Qt Creator plugin has been released

  • The OCS library extension has been released and is available

We invite you, the developers of the world, to use the results of this project and bring your software to the world directly from Qt Creator and help us bring this to other IDE’s like Eclipse but also vim and Emacs. And finally: Since all of this software is released under free licenses, the team further invites you to join the development of the Bretzn components themselves – not only in their current incarnations, but also to add functionality like Facebook,, blogger and Twitter plugins to spread the word there.

Work on an Application Installer to access the application has also started in the Bretzn sprint we recently had at the openSUSE offices in Nuremberg.

View the Video

Find the code and packages here:

You find more information about Bretzn on the Bretzn website!

article contributed by Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen

New SSL Certificates

We will be updating our certificates for * and * today, sometime between 19:00 and 22:00 UTC. We will be upgrading to a 2048 bit certificate, which will provide better security for the site. We are also switching to a different vendor who can provide us more efficient support. We plan on chaining the certificate up to the Entrust root CA.

It is possible that a small portion of the community may experience some issues with this switch. Specifically, any system previous to SUSE 10 may not have the Entrust CA in its system certificate store. For these systems, utilities such as wget may present an error when trying to pull a resource from over an SSL connection. The solution is to either run wget with the “–no-check-certificate” option or to add the Entrust root to the system certificate store (found in /etc/ssl/certs). Browsers and cURL use their own certificate store and should not be affected by this switch, even on older systems.

If anyone discovers an issue after we make the switch, please contact <[](>.

Header PictureHackweek VI

Nikanth Karthikesan: Real hackweek, protected hackweek and long hackweek

I have been using KVM a lot, but never took time to understand how kvm works. I used some time from this hackweek to get rid of that regret.

Virtual Machine eXtensions instructions allow trap-and-emulate virtualization. And KVM exposes VMX in a convenient way to userspace in Linux. Virtual Machine Monitors(VMM) like qemu-kvm use the KVM API exposed by linux to emulate virtualize software.

x86_64 processors boot in real-mode. In this mode it can use only 16-bit addresses, ie., upto 1MByte RAM. The execution would begin at physical address 0xFFFFFFF0. Then the software has to switch to protected mode where protection and paging is possible. Paging is optional, but almost all OSes use demand paging extensively. Now 4 GBytes of linear address space is used. And then CPU can be switched to long mode i.e., 64-bit mode. Paging should be disabled in 32-bit mode, before switching to long mode. There are also other modes of operation like virtual-8086 mode to allow executing legacy real-mode software from protected mode, SMM for OS transparent execution of OEM specific code.

I had limited time and very very limited skill at hand. So aiming for the sky was not an option. Hence wrote a very simple VMM that directly starts the guest at address 0H, in 32-bit protected mode with paging disabled. And supports only insb and outsb as the only form of interaction possible for the guest. The guest is a simple static linked 32-bit program that doesn’t use any library, and linked to start from 0x0. The guest simply reads a byte using insb and sends byte+1 back via outsb. The guest would halt, when it gets the, “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”. The VMM reads the byte value to pass to the guest from stdin and prints its response in stdout.

The KVM API is really very easy to understand and use. But some knowledge of the processor was required to make use of it. Intel manuals helped there. I don’t have good understanding of things yet, but something is better than nothing.

I was occupied by quite a lot of things in life and work in the recent past. So I wasn’t really planning to participate and make this a real hackweek. Also a National holiday for Republic day of India, bang in the middle of the week prevents this hackweek from being a long hackweek! But seeing videos of my colleagues from various parts of world having fun, I couldn’t resist and decided to go for the virtual hackweek. I thank my employer for giving me this protected hackweek, and let me learn/do things protected from everyday work.

Pavol Rusnak: Novell Hackweek #6

Figure 3. LiveView Device

LiveView Device

Last week we had a Hackweek at Novell. I decided to do something rather unusual for me – to hack a device. I bought one of these nifty LiveView Figure 3, “LiveView Device” devices made by Sony Ericsson, which are basically an intelligent watch that can connect to your mobile phone using Bluetooth. Unfortunately, it turned out to be rather unusable with Android devices (lots of Bluetooth disconnects), but supposedly a firmware update is on its way. After I saw that, I was somehow disappointed but I thought there must be a way how to reverse engineer a protocol and try to connect the device to my computer. I started to look around on the Internet and found a great blog by Andrew de Quincey. What was even more cool was that Andrew already did most of the job and wrote some code in Python. All I had to do is to wrap it into classes to make it more general and thus customizable. So what’s next? My dream is to create a custom open-source firmware and flash the device. I hope I can achieve this with help of hardware wizards from our Prague hackerspace. The source code is available from gitorious as usual. Do you think that Hackweek lasted only until Friday for me? Well, not really, keep reading … :-)

Header PictureStatus Updates

Header PictureDistribution

** Dominique Leuenberger: Enlightenment 1.0.0 for openSUSE **

It’s been a long time since I was in touch with Enlightenment, back in the young days I used it as my first alternative Desktop Environment on Windows, before actually daring to switch to Linux.

Today I hear that version 1.0.0 of the core libraries have been released. Reason enough to actually look into this again. So 1 hour, many build failures and successes later, I have the entire core-stack built in my obs repository home:dimstar:Enlightenment. The window manager Enlightenment itself is not yet released as full release, but the latest snapshot can be found in my repo as well.

But that’s it so far: all core libraries are built. Nothing more. I did not even have time to test them yet.

If you feel adventurous, go, add the repository obs://home:dimstar:Enlightenment to your system (published for openSUSE 11.3 and Factory) and start playing with all of the things, starting with the window manager, which should generally pull in the rest. What should be required (as root)

zypper ar obs://home:dimstar:Enlightenment Enlightenment
zypper in enlightenment

This will add my home repository to your catalog list and install enlightenment including dependencies. One logout later, you should see Enlightenment as a new session type in your *DM.

Have a lot of fun and share your experiences… I will test it after I get some sleep.

Important Links

Team Report

Header PictureBuild Service Team

** Marcus Hüwe: new osc feature to edit a request **

I just pushed a new osc feature to git master which allows you to edit a submit action. Use case: suppose you review a request (which has at least one submit action) and you find a small typo (for instance in the spec file) but except the typo everything is fine. So instead of declining the request you can fix the typo, create a new request (which contains the fix + the original changes), accept the newly created request and supersede the original request (that’s basically what osc does behind the scenes).


    # request with id 80 needs a small fix
    marcus@linux:~> osc rq show 80 –edit
    Request: #80

    submit:       home:Admin/foo  -> home:foobar/dest
    delete:       home:foobar/xxx

    deletes package xxx and fixes dest.

    State:   new        2011-01-30T15:04:03 Admin
    Comment: <no comment>
    A    /tmp/osc_editsrr2iDcI/test.spec
    A    /tmp/osc_editsrr2iDcI/src.tar.bz2
    At revision 1.
    Checked out package ‘foo.home_Admin’ to /tmp/osc_editsrr2iDcI. \\
    Started a new shell (/bin/bash).
    Please fix the package and close the shell afterwards.
    marcus@linux:/tmp/osc_editsrr2iDcI> # fix it and commit changes
    marcus@linux:/tmp/osc_editsrr2iDcI> exit
    Request: #None

    submit:       home:Admin:branches:REQUEST_80/foo.home_Admin(cleanup) -> \\ 
    delete:        home:foobar/xxx

    <no message>
    d(i)ff/(a)ccept/(b)uildstatus/(e)dit/(s)kip/(c)ancel > a -m “accepted request and \\ 
    applied small fix”
    Supersede original request? (y|N) y

By the way you can also do it manually (osc rq clone ; osc co ; fix package(s) and commit changes; create a new request, accept it and supersede original request).

Build Service Statistics. Statistics can found at Buildservice

Header PictureGNOME Team

** Nelson Marques: Synapse – Semantic Launcher for GNOME **

Some time ago a openSUSE user mentioned to me if we had synapse available for openSUSE or what was required to have it around. I took a look into it and asked some advice in #opensuse-gnome regarding the availability of libzeitgeist which is one of the requirements to build this piece of software.

Some time ago Federico Quintero has posted a message on the opensuse-gnome mailing list regarding his work on the Zeitgeist stack. The rest of the dependencies for this package are provided by my work on the availability of Ubuntu’s software on openSUSE. From my work I took dee and libappindicator and builded a test package of synapse on home:ketheriel:ayatana. This package is here until I see this dependencies hit factory on time (libzeitgeist, dee and libappindicator). If anyone wants to test it out, go ahead.


I’m not sure of the functionality that should be present on this vala application, but for the time being I’ve disabled the Application Indicator on the build (needs hammering on the linking). I’ll take a closer look once I have some more free time. So far this should be working only for openSUSE Factory and openSUSE 11.4 milestones.

Synapse is a semantic file launcher (pretty much the same as hitting ALT+F2 on a GNOME session) with some crazy looks and a battalion of plugins. Once the dependencies are ok, I’ll maintain this package and push it to the GNOME:Apps repository.

** Andrew Wafaa: More Board For More Geeko **

I have packaged up the latest and greatest release ( of the-board from Lucas Rocha. If’ you want a bit more background have a look at my previous post.

I also said that it was for 11.4/Factory only and that 11.3 was a WIP. Well the progress is complete (with huge help from Frederic Crozat, and his great GNOME3 repo).

Yes, more people can have some of this cool shiny stuff. There is a but, and this is from upstream - it is still in development so you may loose a kitten or bunny, maybe even both ;-) So come and join the fun and try it out, I’ve not generated a single .ymp file yet so click on your version of Geeko

** Chenthill P.: Lightening up Evolution with Exchange Web Services **

Off-late we have been working quite aggressively on improving our exchange connectivity using Exchange Web Services . Some evolution hackers sat together during GUADEC 2010 and discussed on the focus areas which our community users as well as corporates would be interested in. Exchange Web Services was on top of the list and David Woodhouse kick-started the work at the same time! The development went on in David’s repo - // and you can watch out the progress there..


The festival season has started for evolution exchange and we have evolution showing the folders, mails and meetings using Exchange Web Services. We currently just have the read-only support for mailer and calendar at the moment and we are working towards providing a complete support for calendar, mails and contacts.

Its always very nice to thanks all the contributors. Thanks to David Woodhouse who kick-started it, Michael meeks he is always there :) , Johnny, Bharath Acharya, Akhil Laddha, Chen, Fridrich who has been constantly getting it to compile on Windows…

There are more developers getting involved now and thanks to the organizations for supporting the development!! We are looking forward to deliver the package by the beginning of May 2011 for all the users.. One would be able to use EWS connector with Evolution version 2.32 onwards..

** Nelson Marques: A simple clock indicator (indicator-datetime) **


I’ve neglected this indicator since the first day because it drove me into package dependencies that aren’t used in openSUSE (we use YaST and not system-tools-backends and friends).

The documentation of Unity suggests that if no indicators are present, Unity will use the notifications from GNOME. This is very interesting, but from the debugging I’ve done from the Unity Panel, I’ve found it it scans the indicators directory and loads whatever it finds there. So it will eventually find something. One of the coolest features in Unity Indicators and the one I’m currently working on, is ‘appmenu-gtk’ which removes the menu from GTK+ applications and displays it on the unity-panel. This is interesting and the behavior is actually a bit different from OSX. The window buttons are also placed very close to this indicator.

If we have such feature enabled, I suppose the panel will always pick up at least one indicator which might endanger the fallback to GNOME notification area. I’ve tested this yet (unity isn’t launched properly yet), but if this happens, it will be wise to have the whole stack of indicators. This explains why I had to build also this clock indicator despite it’s wicked dependencies (liboost, not used on openSUSE).

This is how it looks and minimal functionality is already enabled, though configurations aren’t because I haven’t implemented the whole backend, a nd if this indicators are to reach Factory (which depends mainly on the patching on GTK+ and GDK Pixbuf), there is the need to pass this packages through SUSE Security Team. If the indicators are only to live on GNOME:Ayatana, then we skip this process (running this package dependencies through SUSE Security Team).

Here’s how it looks the current stack of indicators (there’s a couple more packaged, but I’m not using them at the moment, ex: nm-applet patched, indicator-network and friends).

Within the next days, I will I will make a 1 click installer and run a BETA phase for the Indicators/GNOME2.

Header PictureKDE Team

** KDE at openSUSE: openSUSE 11.4 KDE-testing **

It’s been a while and there was nothing special to report, KDE SC 4.5 just worked. In the meantime KDE SC 4.6 was released and openSUSE offers it in KDF as well as KR46 repos. Big thanks to everybody who is involved in establishing and maintaining those repos – openSUSE really profits a lot from the (openSUSE-)KDE community that makes it possible to provide such a nice and updated KDE distro.

Those updating from KDE 4.4 which came with openSUSE 11.3 to 4.6 – please save your plasma* files from ~/.kde4/share/config in case plasma crashes after the update. Submitting them to Novell’s bugzilla would be much appreciated in order to get those crashes fixed for openSUSE 11.4. The same applies to all other issues that come up when updating KDE 4.4 to 4.6, e.g. kdepim-related.

KDE SC 4.6

KDE 4.6 has some nice fixes, among them bko bug 163707 which prevented KDE from restoring the resolution set in systemsettings on login. This is especially important to openSUSE users since sax2 is gone and display settings moved into the desktop environment. Plasma seems to become more stable with every release – in fact I did not have any major issues with it since ages and bug fixing is pretty fast as well. Dolphin does also not suffer from buggy dbus packages anymore and with the latest strigi packages I do not encounter any crashes on close or when hovering certain files which did crash dolphin before. Thanks to remur_030 who helped the strigi people tracking the latter down for .msi files and thereby found and fixed some general issue in strigi which could cause crashes.

**Desktop search **

The desktop search does still not justify its name though since basics are still missing, e.g. context given for search results as all other desktop searches do and kerry + beagle already did years ago. The feature was shown some months ago but is not as such available in KDE 4.6 – thus even in KDE 4.6 all the user gets is a replacement of kfind + tagging which needs a huge database for that simple task.

On top of that there are still issues with virtuoso-t hogging the CPU, its database never decreasing in size but only increasing, even if you remove folders from the “to be indexed”-list and the systray-tool used to suspend the indexing vanished as well decreasing transparency to the user of an app which potentially keeps your hard disk and CPU busy.

Yes, I know there is always a shortage of manpower but IMHO if an app fails to provide the very basic features regarding the functionality its name advertises, it will not gain any acceptance among users and since every xth user is also a developer it will not attract developers either. Thus the extent of this manpower shortage is self-imposed in case of nepomuk aka desktop search.

I think its a bit unfortunate that strigi is always blamed for anything related to the desktop search in KDE although it is just the tool that is used by nepomuk and its usage is up to nepomuk and not strigi itself, i.e. when to start hammering the hard disk, how to handle the results within a database, what results to display when searching, giving the user control and information regarding its activities etc. From my experience strigi devs are quite responsive regarding bugs and questions – although their websites are all pretty much outdated. :)

For openSUSE 11.4 there is still one major mystery bug to solve for openSUSE 32-bit NVIDIA users which get several apps crashing since they updated to KDE >= 4.5.


Power-management got worse in KDE 4.6, regressions such as not disabling powermanagement on desktops and thus suspending the display every 10 minutes, the brigtness slider not representing 100% of the brightness supported by the notebook and it still messes with the brightness the user has set. All these were reported some weeks ago already. Let’s hope that KDE SC 4.6.1 fixes those since that seems to be the version that openSUSE 11.4 will ship.

Further having a presentation-scheme (no suspend, no dimming etc.) is kind of useless with KDE 4.6 since it will change to the next scheme if the battery hits any limit. Thus you have to permanently watch the status and switch back to the presentation-scheme to be save of a suspending notebook while you watch a movie within the presentation or during some longer discussion which leads to you not moving the mouse for some minutes.

Ignoring the scheme the user manually set does indeed make sense but only for the last 5% of your battery and in order to avoid the notebook just turning off because there was no power left.

openSUSE 11.4 milestones also features a powermanagement bug that makes your hard disk suspend every few minutes, confirmed but no fix so far.


For openSUSE 11.4 we are currently testing kpackagekit/apper as a replacement for the unmaintained kupdateapplet. Kpackagekit works ok but it seems that its zypper backend could need some improvements. And the next version of kpackagekit which will be called apper features monochrome systray icons which is fine, but the “security patch available” signal is just a tiny red dot which is hardly visible, especially if your eye-sight is not the best or you are suffering red-green colour blindness. So most issues with kpackagekit are not actually kpackagekit’s fault but either backend-related or touching artists’ taste.


Another application to test is the phonon-backend to be used in openSUSE 11.4 by default. Should we stay with xine whose backend is apparently unmaintained but has served most users well, switch to the vlc-backend or maybe use the gstreamer-backend?

Trying to play some file with amarok and the gstreamer-backend brings up some dialogue (/usr/lib/gst-install-plugins-helper) that asks whether it should search for some package, I guess codecs. If one clicks on “search” kpackagekit opens up and claims instantly that “Getting what provides” finished but does not do anything. This is on 11.3 plus KDE 4.6 from KDF, so let’s hope it works better on 11.4.

The vlc-backend consumes the double amount of CPU for playing the same mp3 via amarok. 8% instead of 4% might not be that much in absolute terms but a 100% waste nonetheless and especially on mobile devices everything that wastes battery should be avoided. Further there seem to be issues playing video via vlc, some apps like dragonplayer.

**KDE-PIM **

And finally there is of course the always present issue of KDE-PIM. openSUSE 11.4 will ship kdepim 4.4.10 which needs testing. There is especially one annoying bug which makes kontact crash when logging in if the last view before logging out was kmail. So let’s hope this can be fixed before 11.4 gets released.

I was really looking forward to KDE-PIM 4.6 since IMAP-support seems a lot better with akonadi, at least for my use-cases which include suspending/resuming. The latter makes KDE-PIM 4.4′s imap slave fail and not recover which works fine with KDE-PIM 4.6. You can get regularly updated packages for the latter off openSUSE’s UNSTABLE KDE repo.

**Help testing **

Please help testing KDE SC 4.6 from the openSUSE repos in order to make it shine in openSUSE 11.4. Feedback can go to the related wiki pages or straight to opensuse-kde@.

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: 337) **

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

** Look at plymouth for splash during boot (Score: 171) **

“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: 137) **

“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: 113) **

“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: 87) **

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

** Off-Line one click install (MSI for Linux) (Score: 71) **

“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. (…)”

** YaST-Qt: More informative “Installation Summary” (Score: 67) **

“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.”

** Less scary yast conflict dialogs (Score: 53) **

“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.

** Firefox search engine multi-language **

is very annoying that when, install opensuse in Spanish and try to search anything in firefox search bar the results was in English

must be a way to they form automatically during the installation

** add pypy - a faster python implementation **

pypy is (almost) fully compatible to python 2.5 but it can execute your unmodified Python code 5-15 times faster than the standard cPython.

For benefits see here: //

It takes more than 1 hour to build on a fast machine ….so providing a nice rpm package would make sense

pypy has been around for a very long time but only now it has a 64 bit JIT compiler

** original cdrtools **

openSuSE distributes the package wodim instead of the package cdrtools. The reason this happens is a claim of the Debian maintainers that the present license of the package cdrtools is incompatible with GPL.

However, even if it were the case, it does not make a good reason to exclude cdrtools from openSuSE.

** Include brcm80211 driver into openSUSE 11.4 **

Broadcom has released opensource drivers for some of new Wireless cards. That could be nice to get those cards working out of box in opensuse 11.4 for snupported bcm/b43 devices I read that this will be included into 2.6.37 but I cannot find it in milestone 6

For more info:



** xf86-video-ati 6.14.0 for opensuse 11.4 **

It will hopefully provide decent open-source performance for opensuse 11.4 users with AMD 5xxx series graphics cards.


Feature Statistics

Statistics for openSUSE 11.4 in openFATE

Header PictureTesting Team

** Larry Finger: Weekly News for February 5 **

The Testing Core Team IRC meeting was held Jan. 31, 2011 at 18:00 UTC. The next one will be on the Monday following the release of 11.4 RC1 at 18:00 UTC.

In our meeting, we discussed our experiences with 11.4 M6 and discussed bugs that we have encountered. We also discussed how to improve the openQA testing to catch problems that would interfere with installation; however, this will always be problematic. For example, the x86_64 DVD from Build 1034 turned out to be too large to burn to a standard single-layer DVD. At the time of the decision to release that buid as 11.4 M6, the testing process was working on Build 1033, which did not have this problem.

My personal set of bugs were mostly due yo problems with software other than 11.4 M6. The NET install CD failed to boot after installation on a VirtualBox VM, but the KDE Live CD installed OK on that same VM. The problem was with VirtualBox 4.0.0 (4.0.2 works fine). I also have one system that uses the i915 graphics driver that boots with a garbled screen, but it works with the “nomodeset” boot option. That is a kernel problem, not with openSUSE 11.4 and the bug report was placed at //

It is extremely important to test M6 so that as many bugs as possible are found and fixed. Remember that your hardware may have problems not seen by other testers. Remember that it is essential to report the bugs, otherwise thay may not be fixed by the final release of 11.4.

Header PictureTranslation Team

Header PictureWeekly News Team

Sascha Manns: Poll for our Weekly News Translators

The last Poll was for our Readers. Now the next Poll is for our Translators.

As shown in // we have different possibilities for our Translators to create own Translations:

  • XML Source (You get the Sourcecode and you use it to create any other Format like Mediawiki)

  • XML with using QT Linguist r Lokalize (Then you use the english Stylesheets. You just translate the *.po Files and after translation it goes to the English XMLs and we create a native Issue for you)

  • Mediawiki: You want to have a Version in the en.o.o Wiki and translate it from there to any other Format like Mediawiki

  • HTML/ You use the HTML File to translate

  • XML/Docbook: You want to have a own Space with own Stylesheets and want to publish into HTML or PDF.

The poll is placed there:

Please vote and help clarifying…

Sascha Manns: German Weekly News relaunched

I’m pleased to announce the relaunch of the german openSUSE Weekly News.

If you’re interested in knowing more, just click there.

We are using an Etherpad Clone for preparing the News. We are happy if many people want to working with us.

Header PictureIn the Community

Postings from the Community

Bruno Friedmann: Join us for the first virtual launch party openSUSE 11.4

Annoncing the first virtual launch party

Dear folk, we are organizing a special event for the openSUSE 11.4 launch, and you’re invited. Virtually all of you can participate, and increase the success of it. And spend a good time.

Too soon? Not really, we are in the process to organize also pre-release party, certainly for the RC1 and RC2 launch. So you can practice before the real event. Prepare your environment, and dress your avatars with decent clothes, and gadgets.

We will do our best to welcome you in english, french & greek.

If you want you can also anwser our short pool we are looking about help.


On, go to area macedonia. at 183,213,21 coordinates Or fire the search engine, and look after Geekos group, then join that group

**When? **

During 3 days March 9 10 & 11 2011 Party start at 16:00 UTC ( 8am SL time)


Join our special place build for that event and let’s get

  • Dance party

  • Free drink

  • Goodies

  • Wall of pictures

  • 11.4 installations movies

  • open minded discussions

  • Experience exchange


Your guests would be myself (tigerfoot) & Morgane Marquis. A team of excellent dj’s as Lillith from Australia, Esquievel from USA, Stefanos from France, or our great Greeks neighbors.


Hey not so long ago I was kicked by H! Because it’s a place where people have also fun, and we want to talk with them about the freedom & openSUSE. Did you never attempt to realize something that has not been made yet? Just to have a lot of fun! The full explanation Here.


To access that 3D virtual world, you need a recent computer 1.5Ghz or +, and good internet access >3500/300bps, and a 3D enabled graphics cards like radeon HD4xxx or more, Nvidia Geforce >9600, Intel > i945 & Intel Extreme.

To be continued

In the next weeks, I will publish an more technical article about how to get 3D world viewer installed on your openSUSE. And we are just finishing the picture gallery about that project which should be online next week (due to FOSDEM) this week-end.

Stay tuned !

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

Stefan Seyfried: OpenStack “bexar” packages for openSUSE and SLES11SP1 are ready

Shortly after the OpenStack “bexar” (spoken “bear”) release was ready, my packages finished building and are available at the isv:B1-Systems:OpenStack Build Service repo.

Grab them, while they are still hot!

The ride might still be a bit bumpy as the whole OpenStack development is very Ubuntu centric, and thus some of the dependencies, especially to old versions of python stuff are tricky to find. However, first results look promising.

I’ll update here soon with some short hints on how to configure and use the whole lot.

Thanks go to my colleagues Christian Berendt and Andre Nähring at B1 Systems GmbH who have been tireless in testing packages and reporting packaging bugs and other problems. Thanks also to Gregory Haskins with whom I started the packaging effort early in december.

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

** h-online/Thorsten Lemmhuis: Kernel Log: Consistent names for network interfaces **

Future distributions will use a consistent, predictable scheme to name network interfaces, using names such as “em1” and “pci2#1” instead of “eth0” and “eth1” to provide more transparency for server administrators. As various new kernels have recently been introduced, the Kernel Log will provide an overview of the most important Stable and Longterm kernel series.

For years, Matt Domsch has advocated solutions which provide reliable and predictable network port names – in systems with multiple network sockets, the driver loading sequence and hardware response times influence whether a certain port will be called eth0 or eth1. Now, the Dell technology strategist and DKMS contributor seems to have taken a big step towards his goal. On his blog, Domsch, who also contributes to the Fedora project, explains that Fedora 15 – expected in May – will use a device naming scheme that he helped develop, in which udev accesses “biosdevname”, a program mainly developed by Dell employees, to allocate network device names. The developer says that other distributions are also likely to adopt this solution.

This naming scheme will make udev allocate the device name “em1” to the motherboard’s first network port, “em” being short for “embedded”; network cards will be named according to the pattern “pci#” (such as pci2#1), which should always make the ports on a network card accessible under the same name as long as the card, or a substitute, is inserted in the same slot. The sub-functions of network cards that can be partitioned (NPAR) and the sub-functions of cards with SR-IOV virtualisation support are given an added underscore and a number. As before, vlan functions are separated by a dot, and aliases by a colon.

When allocating names, biosdevname accesses the information available in PCI firmware specification 3.1; if this information is unavailable, it will try to retrieve values using smbios. This is designed to match the numbers behind the “em” with those printed on the housing or board – and considerably help network admins with their cabling, especially on servers with a large number of network sockets. If biosdevname can’t retrieve any information this way, the program uses the PCI IRQ routing table and will allocate the numbers according to the card’s position in the device hierarchy. Biosdevname doesn’t handle USB network interfaces, which will continue to be given such names as “eth0”.

Brandon Philips: reverse path filter (rp_filter) by example

Recently, I ran into an rp_filter change for all Kernels after 2.6.31. So read along for an explanation of both the sysctl change and a practical example of rp_filter usage.

Lets say you had the following entry in your /etc/sysctl.conf

net.ipv4.conf.all.rp_filter = 1

with the intention of turning on reverse path filtering for all interfaces. Well you didn’t get your wish- rp_filter remained disabled if you are running a Kernel older than 2.6.31.

This could come as a suprise if you upgrade your Kernel and have a system relying on rp_filter being disabled or enabled (e.g. multicast routing, multi-homed servers). If you have a single-homed unicast server setups this change will probably go unnoticed however.

The fix was implemented upstream in v2.6.31 and the basic issue was that each individual interface has an rp_filter setting which defaulted to 0 and the interface setting overrides the “all interface setting” since they were AND’d together.

Rares Aioanei: kernel weekly news 05.02.2011

Rares gives us this week a great Kernel Review. Thanks Rares :-)

Header PictureTips and Tricks

For Desktop Users

Tech Republic/Jack Wallen: Five power tips for LibreOffice users

Takeaway: Once you begin to know your way around the LibreOffice suite, you can add a few advanced techniques to your repertoire. Jack Wallen offers five tips to get you started.

In a recent post, I introduced LibreOffice and shared some pointers to help ease the transition from Microsoft Office to this newly forked piece of software. After you get your bearings with these tools, you may want to expand your LibreOffice prowess and become a power user. How do you do that? You learn some advanced techniques. Here are five tricks that will get you up to power-user speed fairly quickly. (…)

For Commandline/Script Newbies

** Linuxaria: Record your terminal with Script **

The script command is part of the util-linux-ng package and so should be available already installed in any distribution, or you should be able to easily add it.

What’s script ?

From his man page:

“Script makes a typescript of everything printed on your terminal. It is useful for students who need a hardcopy record of an interactive session as proof of an assignment, as the type script file can be printed out later with lpr.” (…)

** Collecting User Input in a Bash Shell Script **

The read command is designed to read and then use in the script input from the user. The input that is provided by the user is stored as a variable. This is a builtin variable that will store one line of input from the user in one or more variables. The read command is valuable as it is a major way to input information into a shell script. Lines are read into the script with standard input and split via the $IFS variable. This stands for internal field separator. The first word is assigned the first variable, the second word the second variable, etc. (…)

For Developers and Programmers

** Android Development 101: ‘Hello World’ in Four Minutes Flat **

Start learning how to develop for the Android platform with the Android Development 101 video series. In this first episode, Chris L. Bennett demonstrates how to create a traditional Hello World application. (…)

Header PicturePlanet SUSE

** Andres Silva: Where is the Linux Desktop’s Aim? **

By a very definition, it seems that working for the Linux desktop is like shooting darts in the dark. Obviously, one would not be able to see where the dart goes, neither if you are hitting the target. However you are definitively hitting something, but you do not seem to know what.

In comparison, the Linux desktop aiming at the end user seems to fall under this category. The bigger question will always be, who are we trying to satisfy through our Linux product? Given the vastness of reach that Linux has on thousands of coders, the Linux desktop project is bound to receive a great array of views, ideas and currents of thought that will lead the Linux desktop from one place to the other. Believing that coming together in order to work on a particular project is hard for me. However, projects such as KDE 4 have shown great strength in coming together and creating something revolutionary and beautiful. Other efforts to make the Linux desktop a reality have also come together in order to create similar results to what KDE did. Gnome has followed in the footsteps of KDE and has also gathered its community-enthusiasts and created the new Gnome 3 iteration.

However, the Linux desktop is still immature–I do not say this with malice–in the sense that projects that aim towards a goal seem to center their understanding of what the Linux desktop is in a less opened environment to which they could gather to and understand what it is that simple, non-tech savy people understand about the way we have made their graphical environments. I am referring to what the voice of users has to say about the way THEY use their computers as opposed to what we Linux Desktop thinkers believe is good for them.

For example, if I am not mistaken, KDE 4 was an aim that grew deep in the KDE community overtime, believing that their product KDE 3 was outdated and needed to be revamped. All over the internet there were calls for change and some even ventured to creating new ideas about the way KDE 4 was going to be. I remember seeing new icons at the Oxygen Icons website which promised to deliver a new way of interaction with the desktop through their plasma desktop. I was dazzled by the beautiful icons created in order to show the newness of approach that KDE 4 was going to take. It took icons to make people excited over the project. Gnome followed a similar path. Seeing that KDE 4 has so drastically changed the aspect of its default desktop, it decided to launch their newest major revision, Gnome 3. Their approach came from often-unloved Gnome Shell. Brainstormers created a new way to interact with the desktop based on a combination of very active desktops and windows as well as an ease of access to files and applications.

While all this speaks to the minds of users that projects such as Gnome and KDE did their best in adapting to changing times, the old problem also became apparent. The community effort derived into personal effort, which in turn made it seem as if these projects were put on the shoulders of the few who could make ideas come true through their code as opposed to asking the people, like the rest of us, what WE think of their creation. I am a document developer, and I do not appreciate it when people tell me that my earnest efforts do not fit their life. I become unhappy and probably bitter since all my work was worth nothing in the eyes of users. But alas, this is something that happens in man development teams. It is part of the process to let a rough stone roll down the hill until it becomes smooth. However, efforts coming from KDE and Gnome, although being amazingly written do not seem to tackle non-tech users as well as it does for them, why? because the rest of us are unable to code but they are. We do not have a voice because no one asks us what we think.

Did KDE 4 and Gnome 3 ever conducted surveys to people in order to understand their interaction with computers? Do these two projects ever reach out to the community (non Linux users) in order to find out their needs? If they did, it was little. I hereby advocate a stronger case for the unheard, for the ones who will be placed these great tools in our hands. To these two amazing projects I say, be great listeners, seek out opportunities to understand the rest of us. Do not be like the people in this video giving out a Christmas present that only fits some.

Let’s shoot our darts with the lights on. :D

Pavol Rusnak: Game Jam Prague 2011

When I was last time in Germany, Leinir told me about an event called Global Game Jam. I liked its idea very much – 48-hour game coding marathon. I was amused when a couple of days later (just one day before the event took place) my friends Split, Lokiman and Frem told me about the Prague chapter called Game Jam Prague and invited me to join them. We decided to go there under the name they already used for a couple of their projects – Hyperbolic Magnetism aka @hypmag.

The event started on Friday evening. When we arrived, the place was already full of other teams preparing their stuff. This was very different from other (mostly open-source related) events I attend where I usually know at least a few people. Here, I knew no one except my team! :-) At around 6pm we were given a topic that should be somehow present in our game – Extinction. I was very surprised that we were able to brainstorm over 15 ideas in less than half an hour. Later we discarded most of them (because they were too obvious or too complex) and we ended up with two.

We agreed that for idea one to be successful we would need to create nice graphics and because none of us was confident enough, we decided to pick the another one where simple graphics would suffice. So we started to work on a game with the working title “Nations”. The idea was really simple: you have a couple of nations, represented by triangles (people) moving inside the circle (border). Each nation expands in time and when the circles start to overlap, triangles inside the intersection start to fight together. Moreover, if the nation is big enough, it starts to produce A-bombs which are then launched at other nations. Your task is to maintain balance between the nations, so none of them is completely destroyed. This is achieved by applying positive or negative force on some places of the game area. Positive force causes affected triangles to reproduce more, negative force causes the affected triangles to disappear. We implemented basic behaviour of the game mechanics and went to sleep on Saturday morning.

We met again on Saturday evening and we coded and tweaked and coded and tweaked … It was a long way, but at some point (I guess it must have been something around Sunday 4AM) we realised we want to change the whole game logic completely. How about we had only two types of nations – green controlled by the user and cyan ones by AI? What if player could decide to split the nation into two halves or join two nations into a bigger one? Bigger nation of course produces A-bombs faster, but is also easier to target. We replaced most of the code and I started to work on an AI, which suddenly became necessary. We worked until Sunday noon when we were finally satisfied with the result. In the meanwhile Split composed a great music track and we quickly hacked game menu, intro screen and other cosmetic stuff. That’s how it looked in the end:

I’ll attach the gameplay video to give you even better idea how the game is played:


At the end of the event all contestants judged the produced games and the first three places were announced – check the list for all other games and the result. The first team also got a very nice pacman-themed cake (which was also very tasty, thanks for sharing!). Although we didn’t make it into the Top 3, I think it was a great success for us. We tried something completely new and we also met a lot of interesting people (one of them being Antonin, author of the legendary TotalFinder). I also hope that we’d be able to finish the game and publish it into Apple App Store (and probably later into Android Market).


Finally I present you the photo of amazing Hyperbolic Magnetism shortly after we submitted our game at the end of the 48-hour session. :-)

See you next year!

Header PictureopenSUSE Forums

A free LTS version of openSUSE would top my linux wish list

  openSUSE has a release cycle of 8 months, i.e. a new version every eight months, and each version is supported for 24 months. There are numerous reasons to have it this way, but there are equally numerous situations where one would like to have an LTS (Long Term Support) version, like servers. This thread shows the demand is there for at least some of us. It also appears that some efforts to come to an LTS version of openSUSE have already been made. 

System failure (dual boot with XP)

  A returning issue: problems in another OS require the use of install media, which causes loss of the bootloader, that manages booting the installed operating systems, so no openSUSE. This user had a crash in XP, that made him land in a continuous loop, with no OS available at all. This one is not solved yet, but it's going there...

Kernel 2.6.37 won’t boot

  From the title an insider would expect an openSUSE Factory or openSUSE 11.4 Milestone 5 user, since those have kernel 2.6.37. Neither of those is true, the kernel was installed from a repo, that was added during a one-click procedure from a non-supported repo. Read how this is found out by the thread starter and the other contributors.

This week’s subforum: Looking for something other than support

  This is the place in the forums where people ask for things like hardware advice, open source software equivalents for proprietary ones, community members' thoughts on their plans, or "will openSUSE run well on my ....". Sometimes the replies are quite straight forward, other times we see lively discussions. 

Header PictureOn the Web


** Frank Karlitscheck: Contest deadline extended **

Several developers approached me and asked for more time to port their applications. So we extend the deadline of the contest to 31. of march. Everybody has one more month to port a KDE or Qt application to Symbian or MeeGo. Remember that you can win 10.000,- so please consider to make your KDE or Qt application ready for mobile.

You find more informatiuon in the original contest announcement: //

Please make sure that you also provide binaries for you applications. This makes is a lot easier for the jury to test you application. Have fun and good luck.

** Sourceforge: attack **

Yesterday our vigilant operations guys detected a targeted attack against some of our developer infrastructure. The attack resulted in an exploit of several servers, and we have proactively shut down a handful of developer centric services to safeguard data and protect the majority of our services.

Our immediate priorities are to prevent further exposure and ensure data integrity. We’ve had all hands on deck working on identifying the exploit vector or vectors, eliminating them, and are now focusing on verifying data integrity and restoring the impacted services.

The problem was initially discovered on the servers that host CVS but our analysis indicates that several other machines were involved, and while we believe we’ve determined the extent of the attack, we are verifying all of our other services and data.

As a short term response, we’ve taken down the following services to prevent any possible escalation:

  • CVS Hosting

  • ViewVC (web based code browsing)

  • New Release upload capability

  • Interactive Shell services

Once the immediate response to this attack is over, we will be providing a much more detailed account of what’s happened, and what specific actions we are taking to prevent further exploits.


** LinuxJournal/Susan Linton: The New Features in LibreOffice 3.3 **

Despite earlier reports that very few if any new features would likely be seen in The Document Foundation’s first LibreOffice release, the influx of new developers allowed much more work to be done. In fact, it was even released ahead of schedule. So, what kind of new goodies might one find? (…)

** DesktopLinux/Eric Brown: Linux distros move toward common app installer API **

Recent meetings held among the RedHat, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Mandriva, and Mageia communities has resulted in an informal agreement on an architecture for a common app installer API. Yet the dream of a universal GNU/Linux app-store may be much farther off.

Word of the app-installer meetings at OpenSUSE’s Nuremberg, Germany, offices earlier this month emerged last week in a blog post by’s Frank Karlitschek on Jan. 24. This was followed by a more detailed Jan. 26 report on the meetings by Swapnil Bhartiya in Muktware.

On Jan. 31, LinuxInsider’s Katherine Noyes sampled the Linux blogs and forums for feedback, and found general support for a common app installer, but with plenty of observers predicting doom for the project. The more distant dream of a common app-store for Linux, which was not formally discussed at the main Nuremberg meetings, seemed even more far-fetched to many, though many others deem it a worthy goal.

Having a common installer – and ultimately, a universal app store – should help attract new users and third-party developers to desktop Linux, goes the general consensus. It would help to cushion the fragmentation of the desktop Linux market while easing the pain of dealing with the complexity of most package managers. Yet, many other attempts at unified standards among Linux communities have ended in failure, note skeptics.

[ITworld/Peter Smith: Sony announces NGP (aka PSP2) and talks Playstation gaming on Android video]

It was quite a day for Sony portable fans. Earlier today (well, technically yesterday) Engadget posted about some hands-on experience with the Xperia Play, aka the Playstation Phone. It sure looks real to me. Engadget is being coy about where this unit came from but post author Richard Lai says he’s been using it as his primary phone for a few days now, with generally good results.

No ‘official’ games are available for it, but Lai loaded up some emulators and mapped the hardware buttons to emulator controls and had a go. This isn’t final hardware but for an early look it seems promising enough. (…)

** Enterprise Networking Planet/Sean Michael Kerner: Last of the IPv4 Addresses Allocated **

IPv4 is dead. Long Live IPv6.

Early this morning, the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) announced that it had been allocated two /8 address blocks from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA ). Those two blocks, 39/8 and 106/8, were the last unallocated blocks in the IANA free pool of IPv4 address available to Regional Internet Registries (RIR). With the allocation, the final days of IPv4 have moved closer as the number of available addresses that can be allocated will dwindle. (…)

MakeTechEasier/Tavis J. Hampton: KDE 4.6 Review: It’s Full Of Awesomeness

On January 26th of this year, KDE released version 4.6.0 of its Plasma Workspaces, Applications, and Development Platform. While many major versions of KDE have focused on features, 4.5 was mostly a stabilizing release, fixing thousands of bugs. The 4.6 release is all about polish. It is the icing on the cake for KDE 4, adding speed, visual enhancements, and increased hardware compatibility.

Faceted Browsing for Dolphin – Pressing Ctrl+F in Dolphin used to open Kfind, a search interface that used various Linux/Unix search tools such as “find” and “locate” to get you the files you wanted. In KDE 4.6, you can open the search interface within Dolphin and find indexed files quickly and easily. The addition of a filter side bar also allows you to find exactly the types of files you want, giving you options for file type, creation date, and even rating. (…)

mindplusplus: Finding the Fastest Filesystem, 2011 Edition

In my previous report about journaling filesystem benchmarking using dbench, I observed that a properly-tuned system using XFS, with the deadline I/O scheduler, beat both Linux’s ext3 and IBM’s JFS. A lot has changed in the three years since I posted that report, so it’s time to do a new round of tests. Many bug fixes, improved kernel lock management, and two new filesystem (btrfs and ext4) bring some new configurations to test.

Once again, I’ll provide raw numbers, but the emphasis of this report lies in the relative performance of the filesystems under various loads and configurations. To this end, I have normalized the charted data, and eliminated the raw numbers on the Y-axes. Those who wish to run similar tests on their own systems can download a tarball containing the testing scripts; I’ll provide the link to the tarball at the end of this report. (…)

Reviews and Essays

** Joe Brockmeier: One year after Novell… **

I’m usually big on milestones — anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, etc. But it wasn’t until I was going to bed last night that it hit me: It’s been a year since I left Novell and started working for myself full-time. Here’s how it’s going so far… (read on if you’re interested, but this is mostly full of personal stuff so feel free to skip down to some of the more interesting stuff on technology if you like…)

My last day with Novell was January 31st, 2010. Pretty much exactly two years after I started with the company (February 1st, 2008). I put in notice about two weeks before that, but had been considering quitting long before. I’m not going to go into a lot of backstory here, but the long and short of it was that after two years the job was not what I wanted to be doing. Some jobs you can do whether your heart is in them or not (I worked at a car seat factory for three and a half years, and I don’t think my heart was ever in that…), but community management is something that you need to be all-in for. (…)

** Datamation/Bruce Byfield: vs. LibreOffice **

On September 28, 2010, LibreOffice was announced as a fork of the office suite. In the weeks since then, there have been promises of innovation and change from LibreOffice, and an attempt at dignified silence from

However, it was only last week that the two rivals released their 3.3 versions, and users had the chance to see whether the differences in the culture of the projects made any difference in the code. (…)

IT World/Brian Proffitt: Best Firefox extensions: Organize your way to a better Firefox


It’s been nearly a year since the last major release of Firefox – version 3.6 – and development of the Firefox 4 seems to have slowed down a bit, with the planned release of late 2010 getting set back to February 2011.

Much of this development has been wrapped up in adding HTML 5 features to the open source browser, so the delay, while not greeted with much enthusiasm amongst Firefox users, hasn’t created a lot of fussing, either.

Nor has it slowed down the development of the vast array of extensions available for Firefox, as developers find new and creative ways to view and interact with the web every day. Extensions are one of Firefox’s most powerful feature sets, since their ease-of-use and extensibility enables users to build exactly the kind of browser they need. With more than 5,000 add-ons available, there’s a lot of customization options to chose from, and some of them have to be better than others.

So, which ones do you simply need to have? That will be the focus of this series, which will review the best Firefox extensions in several categories, then round up the most popular Firefox extensions of all as of the end of 2010. The categories are built around Mozilla’s own classifications, but grouped together in ways we think makes more sense. (…)

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