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openSUSE Weekly News 162 is out!

February 12th, 2011 by

We are pleased to announce the openSUSE Weekly News #162.

openSUSE Weekly News

openSUSE Weekly News

163 Edition

Published: 2011-02-15

We are pleased to announce our 163 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 PictureStatus Updates

Team Report

Header PictureBuild Service Team

Build Service Statistics. Statistics can found at Buildservice

Header PictureGNOME Team

This is probably one of the most controversial features that has been subject of
continuous work from the Ayatana Project. This two pieces of software work as one and
allow to export GTK+ application menus through DBus, being the end result: application
menus present on the gnome-panel and unity-panel.

This feature requires at least one patch on GTK stack. I’ve talked to Ubuntu devs
regarding this patch, and it was told to me that GTK+ upstream had no interest on
upstreaming this patch. I’m not the one to comment this move from upstream, but I find it
at least interesting that QT has upstreamed an identical patch which includes the same
functionality. Since they are competing products (one can replace other totally or
partially), such actions only strengthen QT. Adding a bit of speculation and the latest
statements from Shuttleworth regarding QT, I wonder if it is to be expecting some ‘wind of
change’… who knows?!

For us at openSUSE what does matter is if we can Factor’ize this at least the Menu
Proxy patch so we can offer Unity and Indicators at the original form and not crippled. I
will request soon this changes to GNOME:Factory and we’ll see what people say, regardless
of upstream positions.

This is on-development software, and has some itches, but for the most it works (GTK+
applications), I would expect some polishing in the future from upstream, either way, it’s
another option.

Required Patches on GTK:

  • 043_ubuntu_menu_proxy.patch

  • 072_indicator_menu_update.patch (still figuring if this is actually required and
    the possible sidekicks of not having it there)

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
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 included).”

“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.

Free and OpenSource 3D modelling tool.

Better suited to smaller 3d projects than blender.

Download from http://www.wings3d.com/ does not work on 64 bit OpenSuse

NB: too late for 11.4, to be seen for next (12?) one.

when somebody have to install openSUSE, the moment he have to partition his drive is
the key moment. Any error could make him lose his favorite (previous) system. The
install system makes it’s best to guess the better way to do this, but unless the
disk is brand new, the result is random. (…)

Add new PolicyKit enabled deamons to load/stop services and load/unload kernel

For outdated tools, we can add running dbus oriented service into running script,
like OpenOffice will automatically starts CUPS service on startup, but when OO will be
integrated too, we will remove automatically start of CUPS from script.

I want the old and stable squid 2.7 for the next opensuse release. It would be
better to have a stable software than the bleeding edge ones.

The fdutils package contains utilities for configuring and debugging the Linux
floppy driver, for formatting extra capacity disks (up to 1992K on a high density disk),
and for sending raw commands to the floppy controller.

In brief:

Working in Yast > Software Repositories

Add > Community Repositories

1. Make a default community repo list Eg: OSS, NON-OSS, UPDATES, PACKMAN, NVIDIA,

2. And offer an advanced option available with a toggle (That should include a
warning that it is for advanced users) Where the full community list will be

Like this:


It would be nice if ALLMULTI could be configured from YaST as a ‘rcnetwork
restart|start|stop’ removes ALLMULTI.

ifcfg-<iface> could have the following parameter in it:

ALLMULTI=on|off in terms

it would run:

ifconfig <iface> allmulti

Currently when mounting a removable (usbstick, dvd, etc) often an error from
“org.freedesktop.hal.storage.mount-removable” or a “DBus error
org.gtk.Private.RemoteVolumeMonitor.Failed: An operation is already pending”
occurs. These errors occur mostly when using media with multiple partitions. This
request is to surpress these errors and only start one filemanagerinstance for the
specific medium.

These errors appear to be DE-agnostic, until now they show up in GNOME, KDE and Xfce
on openSUSE 11.3.

Warsow is a multiplayer-designed FPS like OpenArena but in a cartoon-like style and
with special moves.


FreeOrion is a turn-based space empire & galactic conquest game. A good
complement to FreeCiv in my opinion


Feature Statistics

Statistics for openSUSE 11.4 in openFATE

Header PictureOpenOffice/LibreOffice Team

I’m happy to announce LibreOffice 3.3.0 final
packages for openSUSE. They are available in the Build
Service LibreOffice:Stable project. They are based on the libreoffice- release. Please, look for more details about the openSUSE LibreOffice build on the wiki page.

The openSUSE LO team hopes that you will be happy with this release. Though, any
software contains bugs and we kindly ask you to report bugs. It will help us
to fix them in the future releases.

False error during update

You might see some installation errors about missing extensions when updating from
OpenOffice.org, for example:

ERROR: There is no such extension deployed: com.sun.reportdesigner

Please, ignore them. They are caused by a bug in the
OOo packages and can’t be avoided easily. They does not affect the LibreOffice

More known bugs

Other information and plans:

LO switched to a time based schedule and more frequent bug fix releases. The purpose
is to keep quality and avoid infinite RC phase at the same time. The idea is that all
serious blocker bugs can be found and fixed within few weeks. Then the application is
ready for masses who want to enjoy new features and more complicated fixes. The history
says that bugs in less typical scenarios are found weeks after the release. Such bugs will
be fixed in pure bug fix releases and released few weeks after each other. It means that
more conservative people should rather wait for the 3.x.1, 3.x.2, 3.x.3 releases. We hope
that it will help all people to get faster what they want.

We are already working on LO-3.3.1 bugfix release.
I have just published 3.3.1-rc1. The final 3.3.1
release should be available within 2 weeks.

Header PictureTesting Team

The next Testing Core Team IRC meeting will be held February 14, 2011 at 18:00 UTC.
Happy Valentine’s day.

This meeting will discuss the Team’s experiences with openSUSE 11.4 RC1.

Since doing my first install about 30 hours ago, I have installed the new release on 3
different instances with the following results:

1. I did a NET i586 upgrade from M6 to RC1 on a VirtualBox VM. All was going well till
the host had a kernel panic. The reason is not yet known, but the host kernel is
2.6.38-rc4, and this is not the only panic encountered. Just more to debug. If this were a
job, there would be considerable security.

2. After the crash, I could not recover the upgrade, thus I did a full install on that
VB VM of the KDE desktop from the i586 NET install CD. Everything went well.

3. The x86_64 NET install CD was used to update from M6 to RC1 on my main machine. In
an initial reboot, NetworkManager has failed to start, but it is not known if this was a
one-time event. With the Configure Desktop => Input Devices => Touchpad GUI, I could
disable tapping, which is essential for me as my personal capacitance always leads to
unintended clicks whenever tapping is enabled. This action was much more difficult with
11.3. After running for more than 1 day with my own home-built 2.6.38 kernel, I have found
only one problem. VirtualBox has not yet packaged their software for 11.4 and the 11.3
version has a set of library requirements that cannot be satisfied. As a result, there was
some difficulty in building the necessary kernel module for my kernel. By using the source
tree from my 11.3 system, I could build the necessary kernel module for my kernel. As this
workaround only came to me while writing this newsletter item, I have not tested
extensively; however, it appears that this workaround will allow me to use RC1 for general

Once again, I issue my plea for testing. Your hardware, software and computing needs
are unique – you will be testing combinations unlike anyone else. Please look at the “most
annoying bug” list to see if there any killer bugs. Thus far, the only such bug that is
posted is a problem with the KDE Live CD. No doubt, we will add to that list during our

Header PictureTranslation Team

Header PictureIn the Community

Postings from the Community

Nearly all distributions are slowly moving towards making it easier to deal with
applications, and get information about those. However, many of us are working in our own
corners: unfortunately, this is often what happens with many topics that would move faster
if they were looked from a cross-distro perspective.A small team of people from various
distributions will meet in January to discuss what can be done in a cross-distro way. This
talk will present the conclusions from this meeting, and will come back on the experience of
organizing work in a cross-distro way.

The FOSS distribution communities work toward very similar goals: each distribution aims
at providing a coherent set of (Free) softwares to their users.A good deal of work (and
patches!) can be shared across distributions and in part already is. The more we
collaborate, among us and with our (common!) upstreams, the more we can improve Free
Software as a whole. Sometimes, however, social obstacles get in the way of collaboration:
volunteers don’t like each other or each other distro; they might also easily get
“religious” about the everlasting question “which is the best distro out
there?”.Understanding why we should collaborate across distros is the first needed step in
improving how we collaborate.

patch sharing or start a new upstream?Most distributions contain packages where upstream
is completely dead or very close to it, yet there still is a significant user group for the
packages in question, be it directly or through other packages depending on them. But even
when upstream is alive, packages often needs some additional patching.All distributions seem
to end up carrying some custom distro grown patchset, with some patches being shared and
other patches being unique per distro. Clearly not an ideal situation and one which most
distributions try to avoid by feeding all necessary changes upstream and aiming for having
packages which use the upstream provided code as is.Clearly the usual model of sharing code
fixes / integration work done at the distribution level between distributions by pushing it
upstream does not work for projects where there is no upstream. And even with upstream
around, distributions sometimes needs to fix bugs in versions that upstream no longer care
about or fix bugs that are not important/considered feature upstream and it may take a long
time to get them fixed there. In the end we can’t avoid all patching. But we can try to
avoid duplicating the work by better sharing the results.The plan for this sessions is to
give a short presentation sketching the problem, show two possible approaches to help
solving this problem together with few generally helpful ideas. After presenting these
hopefully somewhat structured discussion with the audience about this topic is

ZYpp is an opensource project originated in the openSUSE distribution which groups the
most advanced and fast dependency solver (satsolver), a package management library and a
command line package management tool (zypper). Over the years ZYpp has matured to become one
of openSUSE most appreciated features.This talk will show ZYpp’s main features and work
being done to have it running on other rpm-based distributions.

After some reports from other LibreOffice crowd members (here and here), I’m
adding mine to the heap:


The fun has started at Prague airport already. Due to (to put it mildly) incompetence of
the printing shop I’m not gonna name, Kendy and me had exactly 10 minutes to dispatch 45
kilos of swag through the check-in — that meant distributing the load into our luggage and
shipping the remaining boxes as overweight ( including paying criminal surcharge for it). I
hereby apologize to Czech Airways check-in clerk for spoiling her shift with it ;-) Getting
the material from Brussels luggage claim to the train station was rather challenging as
well, but fortunately there were some helping hands waiting for us at Brussels Nord (thanks
Thorsten, Rene and Kohei). In Kendy’s words: “The experience doesn’t
necessarily have to be positive, but it definitely has to be remarkable. We would have
nothing to talk about otherwise
.” Friday’s beer event (my first ever) was also
an enchanting experience. Met Caolan and Florian ‘flr’ Reuter for the first time (who, in
slightly boozed state, asked me “Hey, so you are my successor at Novell?”). It was amazing
to see LibreOffice crew almost having blocked the street in front of Delirium Cafe :)

Just came back from FOSDEM. Felt really good to meet the “usual suspects” again. Thanks
for the great weekend!

I also had a chance to talk with Jos about ODF Web and ODF Collaboration. Jos gave a great
talk about his ODF Web Javascript Framework which emerged from his ODFKit efforts.

Jos had a very important slide in his talk which echoed my own believe: NO CONVERSION!
This principle guided the design of his ODF Web Framework. NO CONVERSION simply means that Jos
does not try to heuristically (aka lossy) map ODF to HTML and then map HTML heuristically (aka
lossy) back to ODF. Instead Jos decided to have a clean 2-tier architecture which cleanly
separates the content- and the view layer: ODF is content and HTML is the view. I think that’s
the right approach. Even more: I think if you start adding “smart conversions”/”heuristics”
and other “intelligent mappings” things will get ugly sooner or later. [And from my experience
on OpenOffice.org filter hacking things will get messy sooner than you like. Always keep
Murphy’s law in mind: What can go wrong will go wrong!].

We also had a chance to talk about Operational Transformation (OT) in the context of ODF.
I tried to argue that what is really missing in ODF is a list of “atomic changes” a user can
make to an ODF document. If we had this list of “atomic changes” we could build a
transformation on top of it. For OT it is very important that you have “atomic” operations,
since you need operation transformations for every pair of operation. E.g. if you have |OPS|
operations you need |OPS x OPS| transformations. So keeping |OPS| small is quite important!

Assembling the list of atomic operations is a lot of work — admitted. However it is work
that every designer of an API needs to do anyway. I really believe that some input from the
ODF API projects like Oracles’ ODFDOM, IBM’s Simple API for ODF, ANR’s LPOD and Jos’ ODFKit
could really help.

Let me finish my post by a classification of change to an ODF document:

I believe that for change tracking we only need “atomic operations” and a way to combine
them to “compound operations”. I don’t think we need to be able to track changes to the XML
tree or the XML text. In fact I think it does more harm than good.

So FOSDEM 2011 is over, at last, and it was a
huge success, as always (mind you, I’m one of the organizers, my opinions might be just a
little subjective here ;)).

From the organizational point of view, I was less active this year compared the the 7
previous ones (yes, it’s already the 8th time for me, and I noticed how annoying it is to say
“8th” in English quite a few times during the weekend): lots of procastrination and my “spare
time” being vampirized by other activities, most prominently work on the openSUSE Board (which I am now no
longer part of
). Definitely something to fix for next year, and a big mea culpa to
my mates on the FOSDEM organization team.

That being said, it was still a lot of work, as it is for every edition, and while I
suppose that most if not all the visitors are sorry that the event is already over, we’re
pretty happy it is, I’m sure you can understand why :).

All in all, it was very successful. There were more visitors, as each year, and I believe
that we’ve really reached the limits of the infrastructure we’re using at the moment. That
means we’ll have a few “interesting” challenges ahead of us for the next edition (no, we won’t
move away from the ULB nor from the Solbosch campus, we’ll just have to stretch the space used
by FOSDEM a bit more to use more and larger rooms). But more about that in a few months’ time.

It was also very smooth for everything else. Having so many volunteers to help us out
during the weekend, including for the very tedious task of setting things up, was really
${deity}-send. Thanks to the support of the ULB networking team, Belnet as well as Cisco made
FOSDEM provide what must be the best possible wifi infrastructure at an event of such size.
Our usual collaboration with LPI went great as well
(was awesome to meet my good friend Fabrice
again) as it provided the opportunity for ~130 exams to be taken by FOSDEM

We even managed to fill up our largest room, Janson, which is one of the
largest auditoriums in Belgium with 1400 seats, up to the limit and even a bit more for the
keynotes. That was impressive, to say the least.

It was a great pleasure to meet so many fine people and friends again (including, but not
exclusively, Henne Vogelsang, Peter Linnell, Andrew Wafaa, Jürgen Weigert, Will Stephenson,
Bruno Friedmann, Pavol Rusnak, Michal Hrusecky, Vincent Untz, Michael Meeks, Daniel Seuffert,
Frank Karlitschek, Delphine Lebedel, Tristan Nitot, William Quiviger, Tom Marble, etc etc
etc… — sorry if I forgot you, I’m just too lazy and tired to keep pulling names out of my
brain at this point, too many to list :)), even if it was usually only for a short chat as I
have to keep running around all over the venue to get things done.

That’s usually the point where one realizes again that it is so much about the people,
more than anything else (you are fine to disagree here, dear reader, it is just my very humble
opinion). So many FOSS projects are driven by so many great people, I’d just love it to last
for a couple of weeks to have the time to have beers (or coffee) with every single one of
them, at the very least the ones I already know. I’m really happy and thankful — to FOSDEM, I
guess — to be so lucky to have been in touch with so many interesting people, and obviously
hope to still be in the future.

And FOSDEM is also a very inclusive event, where projects and initiatives covering the
whole spectrum in terms of technologies, domains and (OSI compatible) licenses get together to
have a great deal of fun. I believe that every single visitor would agree that it is the most
effective way to get our motivation batteries loaded to spend our spare time, energy, love,
sweat and blood into doing such great things.

On the cross-pollination front, which is more and more of a priority for us, I’m happy to
see the Crossdistro
developer room
clearly evolve into the right direction (thanks to Wouter Verhelst (of Debian fame) to take care of that); where
not quite there yet, as intentions need to be followed by much more action, but it is a step
forward already, and such things do take a good deal of time, as much as many of us would like
to see it happening as soon as possible, especially at openSUSE. FOSDEM is such a great
opportunity to get together with other projects and people, as so many of them are on the

For a couple of final words, my big “thank you” goes out, in no particular order, to the
volunteers who helped us during the weekend, to the sponsors that support the event, to the
visitors who have donated money in order to keep giving us the chance of remaining
independent, to the people and projects who were there at the stands, devrooms, lightning
talks, to the speakers who accepted our invitations, obviously to the other members of the
FOSDEM organization team (we did it again! :D), to the ULB and CI for providing us with their
infrastructure, and, of course, to the people who attended.

On a side note, if you were at FOSDEM 2011, please take a minute to fill out our census as well as our feedback form.

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

“EMount is a free system administrator tool for Linux that can mount, encrypt and
manage disk image files and physical disk drives. It relies on cryptsetup, which implements
the LUKS disk encryption specification.

“CMus is a small and fast text mode music player for Linux and *BSD. Supported file
formats include FLAC, Ogg, MP3 (via libmad), wav, and all module formats supported by
libmodplug. Included output plugins are ALSA, ARTS, OSS, and Sun. It can be controlled
through a UNIX socket. Background playlist loading and a metadata cache make loading files
very fast. Playqueue, playlist filters and directory browser. Three playlist views are
available: artist/album/track, shuffle list, and sorted list. There are three play modes:
all, artist, album.

“Aegisub is an advanced subtitle editor that assists in the creation of subtitles,
translations, and complex overlays using audio or video. Developed by enthusiasts it builds
on workflows created and perfected through professional, hobby, and everyday

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

A new version of the AMD driver from X.org improves support for
modern Radeon graphics chips. An updated mdadm, initially only designed for developers,
allows the RAID functions of modern Intel motherboard chip-sets to be used. After nine
months, the ALSA project has published a new version.

AMD’s kernel and X.org developer Alex Deucher has published version
6.14.0 of driver package xf86-video-ati. It contains the X.org driver for Radeon graphics
hardware, which provides much better support for the latest version of Radeon graphics chips.
For example, it now not only controls the graphics kernel of the Fusion processors developed
under codename “Ontario”, but also the Northern Islands GPUs based on Radeon HD
models 62xx to 68xx. With both of them, 2D acceleration via EXA now works, as does video
acceleration with the antiquated Xv (Xvideo), but in both cases the driver remains dependant
on Linux kernel 2.6.38, which is still under development and is expected to be
released at the end of March or beginning of April. Its DRM driver with functions for KMS
(kernel-based mode-setting) is required anyway for Northern Islands GPUs because the driver
does not support UMS (user mode-setting) on these chips.

In combination with KMS in kernel 2.6.36 and later, the driver also supports EXA and Xv on
Evergreen GPUs on Radeon HD 5,000 series models. The developers have considerably upgraded the
man page in the new version. Along with kernel 2.6.38, the driver offers page-flipping support
so that image updates are more precisely synchronised with the start of frame re-draw. For
further information on this new technology in Linux 2.6.38, see the first
of the series “Coming in 2.6.38”.

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

Fifth in a long series of complaints… See part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part4 for previous

Heck, It’s not like I haven’t said all of this before, but it sure seems like no one
learns from the past, or reads the documentation that we write for how to actually submit a
patch for the kernel. Linux has one of the best documented procedures for how to do this, it’s
not like it’s a secret or something…

Anyway, here’s a list of patches that people have sent me in this week alone that have
caused me major problems:

  • patch was never even build tested, and of course, it breaks when you do build

  • patch does build, but it was never tested because the patch does the opposite of
    what the submitter wanted to do.

  • patch sent with no authorship

  • patch sent with no signed-off-by line

  • patch sent with no description of what the patch did

  • patch sent with a description, yet it was not the description of the patch

  • patch sent with a description that the patch only did one thing, yet the patch did 4
    different things

  • patch sent with a description that made no sense at all

  • patch sent in a series of 13 patches, all with the same exact subject, and no
    description of what the patch did

  • a one line patch that if applied, would instantly break the build

  • patch that asked for reviews, yet gets angry when you ask why something was done a
    certain way

  • patch that asked for reviews, and when asked, can’t explain why code was done a
    certain way, blaming a non-existent person for that portion

  • patch that said it fixed a bug, yet added a new feature without fixing the original

  • patch for cleaning up coding style issues

  • yet adds different coding issues patches asked for review, yet had obviously never
    been even run through our automatic “test this patch for sanity” tools.

Yeah, it’s been a fun week…

And if anyone ever wonders why code reviewers are grumpy, just look at the above list and

Header PictureTips and Tricks

For Desktop Users

“A Scribus document consists of a series of objects that are added to a page, and
contained within a frame. In addition to the usual cut, copy, and paste functions
available in most applications, frames in Scribus share a general set of editing
attributes and, so far as possible, the same set of properties. As you can see from the
Insert menu, Scribus supports four basic types of frame: text, image, table
and drawing primitives. Table frames are collections of individual text frames, which may
be edited either as a group or as individual cells, while drawing primitives are
sub-divided into shape, polygon, line, Bezier curve, and freehand line. Frames for
primitives are added with the content, while the content of other frames must be added

For Commandline/Script Newbies

This article lists various practical Linux commands to be used only as a reference guide
and by experienced Linux users. Not all Linux commands will be available on your system by
default so consider install a relevant package before use. This Practical Guide to Linux
Commands may list Linux commands you already know but cannot remember usage syntax as well
as it may introduce some new Linux commands to improve your Linux command line efficiency.
Note, this guide will not teach you how to use Linux commands since it relies on your
experience to alter Linux commands syntax below to fit your needs. (…)

For Developers and Programmers

“I’ve been working with Celery, Twisted and Cyclone recently on a side project I have
going on, however the integration between Celery and Twisted is not ideal for asynchronous
programming which prompted me to jot down some notes for what I’ve worked out. Hopefully
this will be useful to someone, also if anyone wants to offer a better way I’m all ears :) .

Celery has some built in methods to allow you to check the completeness of a remote job
by calling the successful() method on a returned AsyncResult object. For example you can do
something like this…” (…)

For System Administrators

In this article, learn about these concepts:

* Server Message Block (SMB)/Common Internet File System (CIFS)

* File sharing

* Print service

This article helps you prepare for Objective 310.1 in Topic 310 of the LPI’s Mixed
Environment speciality exam (302). The objective has a weight of 1. (…)

First released in 1998, phpMyAdmin is
one of the longest running and most popular PHP projects on the planet. One of the first
utilities mentioned within PHP and MySQL tutorials, and ubiquitously available on Web
hosting providers, over the years phpMyAdmin has grown to be an indispensable tool within
every PHP developer’s toolbox.

Despite approaching its 12th birthday, phpMyAdmin is still under active development,
with at least one significant version released every year since the project’s
inception. In fact even after almost a decade of use I still marvel over discovering
features which I had no idea existed. In this article I thought I’d highlight 10 useful
phpMyAdmin features which may have escaped you during your daily interaction with this
fantastic utility. (…)

Header PicturePlanet SUSE

“A quick note for the week-end, I’ve build and uploaded the new fglrx drivers.

The good news, they are also available for 11.4/factory,

Unofficial-but-working repository

For openSUSE 11.4 (factory) NEW

zypper ar -c -f -n “ATI/AMD fglrx non-official” http://linux.ioda.net/mirror/ati/openSUSE_11.4/ “ATI/AMD FGLRX”

I would like to have feedback about how that works for you, please comment !

Factory specifics troubles

on a fresh auto-configuration factory install :

Problem: fglrx64_7_6_0_SUSE114-8.812-1.x86_64 requires gcc, but this requirement cannot be provided
uninstallable providers: gcc-4.5-16.1.i586[openSUSE-11.4-11.4-1.35]
Solution 1: deinstallation of libgomp43-4.3.4_20091019-5.23.x86_64
Solution 2: do not install fglrx64_7_6_0_SUSE114-8.812-1.x86_64
Solution 3: break fglrx64_7_6_0_SUSE114 by ignoring some of its dependencies

Choose from above solutions by number or cancel [1/2/3/c] (c): 1
Resolving dependencies…
Resolving package dependencies…

The following NEW packages are going to be installed:
binutils-gold fglrx64_7_6_0_SUSE114 gcc gcc45 glibc-devel
kernel-default-devel kernel-desktop-devel kernel-devel kernel-source
kernel-syms kernel-xen-devel libgomp45 linux-glibc-devel make patch

The following package is going to be REMOVED:

15 new packages to install, 1 to remove.
Overall download size: 127.9 MiB. After the operation, additional 600.9 MiB
will be used.

Normally this bug (in M5/M6) should has been resolved in RC1.

See full details on my previous dedicated post http://lizards.opensuse.org/?p=4673

openSUSE has developed both great infrastructure technology and a powerful enduser
product; where is it going now?

Over 5 years ago Novell decided to turn their new asset, SuSE Linux into a community
distribution. It was a long and laborious process but since almost 2 years now the development
processes have been opened up to the community. We now speak of openSUSE, a community which is
now searching for it’s direction. The project has state-of-the-art infrastructure at its
disposal and develops a modern, stable and powerful linux distribution. Meanwhile,
communication and marketing are it’s weak points – innovative technologies like the openSUSE
Build Service and SUSE Studio do not get the exposure they deserve. In this talk an overview
is given of openSUSE’s history, the developments in the community and the latest openSUSE
technology is presented.

In the first half of 2009 the Preload department at Novell was building a team in Taiwan.
There were two main reasons for this – our customers (the OEMs and ODMs) were located there
and we wanted to be near them and the first question a customer in Taiwan always seemed to be
“how many people do you have here”. Local support in the native language backed with a large
team is very important to companies in Taiwan.

We hired excellent people who were both experienced Linux engineers and people straight
out of university. However, all were pretty inexperienced working with open source communities
and I had a perception that any previous workplaces they were at in Asia was more likely to be
hierarchical in nature where open communication was discouraged because you don’t question the
boss. I believe this type of work place leads to the surfacing of issues until its way too
late to solve them and leads to sub-optimal problem solving. I wanted to ensure that the new
team understood open source was a key component of our work and that open communication was
important both internally and externally in support of this.

This type of situation is not one I would have thought about at all when I first became a
manager, but a couple of prior experiences (including failure) suggested this was something I
could and should address. In particular the OpenOffice “indoctrination” about 4 years ago when
we were expanding the team. At that time I managed the OpenOffice team at Novell and Michael Meeks interviewed everyone we hired
during the expansion and many of them spent 1-2 nights sleeping on his couch in the UK or
getting trained in the Toronto office in person. Due to this, that team (now the team working
on LibreOffice) to this day cares a lot about
tenacious fixing of customer problems, reducing code duplication/bloat and particularly about
building a great community around the project.

So for Taiwan Greg KH, Michael Meeks,
Aaron Bockover and Stefan Dirsch all visited the
office within a year to cover engaging with community, supportability (no one time throw away
code here!), upstreaming commitment to debug and find the real root cause and more. This had
two major benefits. First the culture of open source and open investigation into problems was
transmitted by people who lived it. Second communication pathways were built so that the
engineering team in Taiwan felt comfortable asking questions and had people they had met to
ask the questions to, without needing “big boss” (me) to facilitate or hear potentially “dumb”
questions. So what do we have now? Those previously inexperienced with open source engineers
who are now proposing, submitting and maintaining
code upstream.

(BTW Greg is really great at the kernel piece of this and was able to help Ralink in a similar manner with these two items as well –
in fact Novell is happy to help any component vendor this way).

Don’t get me wrong, you can’t just hire anyone and expect to imbue them with your
organization’s culture, you have to have to get people that are interested in and receptive to
the culture. For instance its unlikely every single Facebook engineer was previously part of a
culture of shared code base ownership and review that required them to be in the room to fix bugs on the fly or allowed them to change and
submit code to any part of the app or required checkin review
. These are cultural
pieces that are transmitted post hire, but you still have to pick people who are in general
receptive to that culture.

I will always think about training engineering people in a cultural context not just in a
technical manner now, particularly when building new teams or offices since it will be tougher
for them to get it by osmosis. Future communication connections are built and you display the
culture you have and want to have in the organization.

As many people will know I’ve spent around 18 months of my spare time packaging and
building the Netbook UX for Moblin/MeeGo on openSUSE. Not on my own, but with a community
around me. I would just like to say a huge thank you to that community, you’ve been great
and spurred me on when I felt like the whole world was conspiring against me.

Sound a bit morose? Well in a way it is. Basically by all accounts MeeGo is stopping all
work on the Netbook UX. Yup, all our hard work is now almost for nothing :-(

The first piece of evidence is the Release Engineering Plans for
. If you look at the bottom, you’ll notice that the Netbook doesn’t get
any mention in Features, just bugs. Actually the same is for the 1.1 release. In all honesty,
the biggest change between 1.1 and its predecessor is that all refernces to Moblin was
replaced with MeeGo. The next piece of info came at the fabulous FOSDEM XI (I’ll do a
seperate post on the event later). I spoke to several people directly and indirectly involved
with MeeGo, especially the Netbook UX, about the lack of info on the Netbook UX. Each one of
them said the same thing – MeeGo is putting the Netbook UX into Maintanence Mode, stopping any
further development on it, and only providing bug fixes for major issues. I asked if there was
going to be any announcement, basically the answer was nothing official. They’re just
going to let it drift away – just like netbooks themselves have.

There are most likely a huge number of reasons, which is fair enough. I was given a couple
of reasons – 1: Netbooks arent selling anymore, the Netbook ship didn’t really sail away,
but was sunk. 2: MeeGo doesn’t want to invest anymore time or effort in gtk development,
and wants to concentrate on Qt. Now I take this last one with a tiny bit of salt, only because
both Intel and Nokia employ (or at least did so) a sizable team of GNOME developers. Saying
that though, if they want to keep a roof over their heads they have to do what their employer
says, and both originally started working with touch devices. So it does make sense as much as
it doesn’t.

So, I herby give immediate notice that I am now no longer going to be doing any further
work on the MeeGo UX for openSUSE or anyone else. I wont delete the repo for 1.0 but will
clear out the 1.1 and 1.2 repos that I had – might as well give those resources back :-) . Now
if anyone would like to continue what I and others had started, then let me know and I would
be more than happy.

I cant say what the other distros are going to do, I’ve spoken to my counter part in
Fedora, and they’re having a think about it as they were busting their chops to get
things in for the F15 release. Either way I wish all involved luck.

Now before any of you conspiracy theory junkies get worked up – this has nothing to do
with the whole MeeGo Trademark issue that Smeegol had with the Linux Foundation. As it happens
I was due to have a conversation with the Linux Foundation about the issues between us and
them, but have had to re-schedule due to travel constraints from one party or the other. I
still intend to speak with the LF about the issues, as they are still present in the other
UX’s that they are developing.

So it’s time for me to close off and say, so long and thanks for all the fish!
I’ll still be around, I’ll probably start getting back into the GNOME swing of
things, and help fcrozat with GNOME3 etc. Oh and I’ve got a lunatic idea for a project
which I intend to kick off (stay tuned ;-) ).

MeeGo is a trademark
of the Linux Foundation

Header PictureopenSUSE Forums

Many of us today have larger monitors with higher resolutions, than we used to have. This thread is started by a member that has a full HD resolution monitor, yet he cannot seem to find a proper resolution setting to make GRUB look good on new large widescreen monitor. Read and see if it all can be done.

Maybe we should see this more often, it’s an example of how the community can contribute to the development of the distro. Through openSUSE’s openFATE a feature request is done to improve certain aspects of the package- and repositorymanagement. Now support for the request is asked in the forums. By voting for the feature request, users can support this.

Recently KDE released KDE4 4.6.0, this thread announces the creation of a repository for this KDE version, like at the time of release of KDE4 4.5.0 a Release:45 repo has been created. The repo will follow the KDE4 monthly releases. In short: not bleeding edge, just updated released stable packages. For those users, who want to keep their desktop environment up-to-date, yet don’t want to use the Factory, let alone the UNSTABLE repos.

This week’s subforum:

The word “muldimedia” covers a lot, and so does this forum. To start, you’ll find Multimedia in one click, but there’s more. About installing codecs (covered in mentioned sticky post), about using HDMI output on various videocards, about sound issues and so on and so on. Short instructions, as well as long threads to help out members with multimedia related trouble.

Header PictureOn the Web


Novell today announced it has made it easier and more affordable for customers to run
business-critical applications in a Linux* environment on HP ProLiant* and BladeSystem*
servers. Available immediately, Novell has bundled SUSE® Linux Enterprise High
Availability (HA) Extension
for no additional cost with select SUSE Linux
Enterprise Server subscriptions sold through HP and authorized resellers for a limited time.

Ada Initiative launches to promote women in open technology and culture

Open source activists Valerie Aurora and Mary Gardiner announce the launch today of the
Ada Initiative (http://adainitiative.org/), a non-profit organization to promote
women’s participation in open technology and culture.

Open technology and culture, including open source software, open content, and related
communities, suffer from a dearth of women at all levels. “Open technology and culture
are shaping our future and must reflect all people. Involving more women in the creation of
our future is a critical step in building a healthy Internet world,” says Mitchell
Baker, chair of the Mozilla Foundation. The Ada Initiative will concentrate on focused,
direct action programs, including recruitment and training for women, education for
community members, and working with companies and projects to improve their outreach to
women. (…)

Call for participation

The 3rd annual Camp KDE will be held on the 4th and 5th of April, 2011 in San Francisco,
California at Hotel Kabuki. Held
annually in the United States, Camp KDE provides a regional opportunity for KDE contributors
and enthusiasts to gather, learn about the latest KDE happenings and share their
experiences. The event will feature in-depth talks by core KDE developers.

This year Camp KDE is co-located with the Linux Foundation
Collaboration Summit
, which takes place April 6-8, 2011. Co-location with the
Collaboration Summit will allow Camp KDE attendees a unique opportunity to learn from and
share their experiences with members of many other successful Free and Open Source software
projects and companies. All Camp KDE attendees are invited to attend the Collaboration
Summit. (…)


Usually, when I review desktop environments, I review KDE, specifically version 4. Why?
It’s constantly evolving and improving, and it’s nice to be able to see such
changes occurring on all fronts so quickly. By contrast, GNOME and Xfce (not to mention
other WMs like Openbox) have remained relatively the same over the past few releases. Sure,
Nautilus got tabbed browsing in version 2.22 (I think) and split-pane viewing in version
2.30. Sure, there may have been a couple other back-end changes. But generally speaking,
where KDE 4 has changed pretty noticeably between point releases, GNOME has been quite
stable. That’s all going to change, because GNOME is about to be released under a whole
new number: 3. That’s right: the number preceding the decimal point in a GNOME release
will no longer be ‘2’.

There are some pretty big changes in store for GNOME 3, much of which can be seen in the
front-end. Because many major distributions are planning to upgrade to GNOME 3 once that
gets released (in a few weeks, apparently), it’s important that users try GNOME 3
beforehand both to get accustomed to it as well as to find and report lingering bugs.
Happily, the good people at Fedora and openSUSE have put together live CD ISO files with
vanilla GNOME 3 on them, just for the purpose of trying out GNOME 3. I downloaded both files
and intended to make a multiboot live setup using MultiSystem, but unfortunately MultiSystem
reacted with error messages to both ISOs. Knowing that openSUSE doesn’t play well with
UnetBootin, I decided to just try out the Fedora version on a live USB through UnetBootin.
Follow the jump to see how it goes.

Unfortunately, I initially had a bit of booting trouble when I selected the default boot
menu option. The OS hung halfway through booting, so I forced a cold restart. I then
selected the “Boot ”option instead of either “Default” or
“desktop_[stuff] ”(the name of the ISO file) and that seemed to work fine — I
even got to see the lovely Fedora boot splash screen (the Fedora logo “filling
). After the boot process came the login screen. I guess GDM hasn’t changed
a whole lot since GNOME 2.30, though for some reason the GTK+ theming looked really ugly.
Upon seeing it, I hoped it was just an issue with GDM and not the whole GNOME desktop
theming ability, and thankfully, as I found out shortly thereafter, I was right. I then
proceeded to the desktop. (…)

Oracle has agreed to share governance of the OpenJDK Java community with IBM, in a move
that demonstrates considerable good will, according to one analyst.

The company has created a series of bylaws
outlining the way the governance will be structured, with Oracle appointing itself chairman
and the OpenJDK lead, and IBM taking the role of vice chairman. (…)

Today February 8, some Japanese web users who are influential in tech communities like
Hatena and Twitter, started reporting they were locked out from Facebook. After trying to
log in, they were taken to the form, which title is “Complaints against a ban of your
account, identity demanded”. (…)

Reviews and Essays

LibreOffice 3.3 was released a few
weeks ago and this marks a very important milestone in the Open Source Office environment.
In my previous post I talked in detail about OpenOffice.org but completely forgot to mention
LibreOffice and all of the exciting things that are happening at The Document

The Big Bang of Open Source

In September of 2010 many of the top developers of Open Office parted ways from Oracle
and the Open Office project. They went on to form the Document Foundation.

“Our mission is to facilitate the evolution of the OpenOffice.org Community into a
new open, independent, and meritocratic organizational structure within the next few
months. An independent Foundation is a better match to the values of our contributors,
users, and supporters, and will enable a more effective, efficient, transparent, and
inclusive Community. We will protect past investments by building on the solid
achievements of our first decade, encourage wide participation in the Community, and
co-ordinate activity across the Community.

This split from Oracle was in a sense a revolution. OpenOffice.org used to be sponsored
by Sun Micro systems. After Sun was bought out by Oracle there were rumors and fears that
OpenOffice.org would go the way of OpenSolaris which lost support from Oracle. The Document
Foundation initially hoped to keep Oracle and have a strong working relationship, but Oracle
decided not to support LibreOffice and the rest is (or will be?) history.” (…)

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a
very powerful piece of image editing software that is comparable to Photoshop. It is free to
use, and offers you many of the same basic to advanced image editing capabilities as
Photoshop without the hefty price tag. It is available on Mac, Windows, and Linux.

GIMP is now at version 2.6 and has come a long way since its humble beginnings. It
started off as a small project designed to create a Photoshop-like program in the Linux
environment and since 1995 has exploded into a very powerful graphic design system. It is
one of my favorite pieces of open source software and I am constantly amazed by the amazing
capabilities of this program.

The program has many features that computer graphics designers will find useful, but at
the same time beginners may be intimidated by the amount of options that are available. When
first run, you are met with several screens, tons of menus, and tons of options. If you are
new to graphic design it may be very intimidating and overwhelming. Luckily there is a lot
of documentation on how to effectively use GIMP. There are free tutorials for all ranges of expertise
available on the GIMP.org website. There are also a lot of books that have been published
about GIMP, the newest being GIMP 2.6 for Photographers:
Image Editing with Open Source Software
by Klaus Goelker.” (…)

is a free mind mapping program which has some amazing functionality and a variety of uses. A
mind map is nothing more than what people have done for years with a pencil and pad of paper
– Brain Storm. You start with a main idea, then you expand it with branches of related
concepts, then you expand those concepts with specific details. Before you know it, you have
just cured cancer, invented the first car that runs on water, or successfully taken over the

The best part about Freemind, is that unlike a pad and paper you are able to insert
images, objects, links, files, and pretty much anything that you desire into your mind map
which allows you to have one place to organize all of your thoughts. Mind maps are an
alternative way to study, take notes, organize your ideas, make decisions, and solve
problems. I have been using it for about a year in school. Personally, I am in love with it.
I used to take vigorous notes in classic format. But I found myself getting lost, confused,
and unable to really feel a sense of organization in my notes. Freemind allows you to have
all of your information on a single page. You can expand and reduce the categories as you
see fit to first learn major concepts, and then specific details.” (…)

I recently spent some time getting one of my long term projects built. For quite some
time I’ve had an old desktop computer serve as my printer server. As this machine is
kind of loud, I’ve turned it off when not using it. This led to some client machines
not appreciating the printer becoming available at the wrong time.

In my posession I also had an old mini-itx board with passive cooling (large heat sinks)
and a pair of sun portable scsi hdd cases. Incidentally, the latter fit into the former. The
plan for a new print server was born. (…)

Author’s note:

most of the screenshots contained herein were taken from the KDE release announcement.
Thanks to KDE for making these pics available for re-use.

Ancient History:

It’s been three years, and it’s still hard to put the KDE 4.0 debacle behind me. I was
running KDE 3.5 on Debian stable happy as a clam, and then one fine day in January of 2008
the KDE folks dumped their brand-new, completely re-vamped desktop environment into our
laps. I couldn’t get it for Debian so I installed another distro just to check it out… and
used it for less than 24 hours. I could see what they were trying to do, and there were some
good ideas there, but the implementation was so unbelievably bad that I missed out on the
next two releases altogether. I didn’t try KDE 4.x again until January of last year, when I
installed Debian testing with the KDE 4.3 desktop. It was great! Since then KDE has gone
from strength to strength. KDE 4.4 was mature and stable, and KDE 4.5 added polish and
finesse. KDE 4.6, released a little over a week ago, ups the ante once again. (…)

Wow, what a day… Nokia outlined its new platform strategy for smartphones, with Windows
Phones as it primary smartphone platform in a proposed partnership with Microsoft… and
Microsoft’s tools would be used for Nokia Windows Phone application development … and guess
what, it has raised a lot of questions in the Qt community.

So the question is, what is the future for Qt?

Qt will continue to play an important role in Nokia. Consider the following:

  • The retention of Nokia’s 200 million Symbian-users is vital and Nokia has targeted
    sales of 150 million more Symbian-devices in years to come. To achieve that Nokia
    needs to continue the modernization of Symbian in Qt – to keep existing consumers
    engaged and to attract new customers, either upgrading from existing Symbian devices
    to Qt enabled devices or entirely new to Nokia.

  • Nokia also announced it will ship its first MeeGo-related device in 2011, which
    will rely on the Qt ecosystem – and then will continue with MeeGo as an open source
    project for future disruption. Nokia can’t afford to be behind the next disruption
    again and Qt can play an important role in making sure it isn’t.

  • With Qt Quick and Qt SDK 1.1 releases in the coming months we are expecting the Qt
    developer community to continue to grow – adding to the 400.000 developers using Qt
    today. Qt is developed together with the community and we expect the pace of
    innovation to increase even further as the community grows.

  • We in Nokia are one of tens of thousands of companies in multiple industries
    actively using and contributing to Qt, making Qt relevant for both mobile, desktop and
    other embedded developers

  • Qt expansion: We have continued to hire Qt developers and we will continue to
    improve and expand Qt in the future. Qt is great at delivering innovation; we have
    been doing that for 15 years. With the upcoming release of Qt Quick, we will reach out
    to new users and make it even easier to create great apps and UIs for many platforms
    including Symbian and MeeGo.

  • The new Qt SDK 1.1 technology preview. We now offer only one SDK for both desktop
    and mobile developers, which makes it easier to target more platforms by using just
    one SDK.

  • Qt everywhere. Qt continues to make vast inroads into especially low end Linux
    devices and distro’s. Qt also continues to provide a platform for others to innovate
    and differentiate upon. For example Dreamworks switching all their internal animation
    tools to Qt and making cool movies like “MegaMind” and “How to Train Your

Qt is increasingly popular. During 2010, we had 1.5+ million downloads at qt.nokia.com
(alone) – twice as much as during 2009 – and with the up-coming innovation and additional
investments in Qt combined with the introduction of open governance, I believe Qt will be
used more than ever before.


Many people think that Linux is immune to the type of Autorun attacks that have plagued
Windows systems with malware over the years. However, there have been many advances in the
usability of Linux as a desktop OS – including the addition of features that can allow
Autorun attacks.

This Shmoocon presentation by Jon Larimer from IBM X-Force starts off with a definition
of autorun vulnerabilities and some examples from Windows, then jumps straight into the
Linux side of things. (…)

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3 Responses to “openSUSE Weekly News 162 is out!”

  1. honyczek

    what’s wrong with header icon images? Instead of displaying image is displayed alt description…

  2. Andrew

    Total side note – anyone notice the OS running Watson when it won at Jeopardy? Your guys’ cousin, SUSE Linux! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watson_(artificial_intelligence_software)