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openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 166 is out!

March 12th, 2011 by

We are pleased to announce our new openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 166.



openSUSE Weekly News

166 Edition

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Published: 2011-03-12

We are pleased to announce our 166 issue of the openSUSE Weekly News.

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

Enjoy the reading :-)

Header PictureAnnouncements

“

Note

This Article is Licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License version 1.2.

openSUSE 11.4 is set to release on 10th March 2010. A highlight among many exciting
features is the debut of LibreOffice, successor project of the
popular cross-platform desktop office suite by OpenOffice.org.

LibreOffice features

LibreOffice comes with many improvements over its predecessor, OpenOffice.Org-3.2.1. The
new Search Bar, Title Page, and Print Dialogs are impressive additions. Petr Mladek, long
standing LibreOffice and openSUSE contributor, comments:

“I think that users will appreciate the new hierarchical axis labels for charts, RTF
export, easier slide layout handling, and all the other features we were able to add thanks
to our more open development model.
”

LibreOffice provides some unique benefits over other Office solutions beyond simply being
free, like Online Help, as well as a host of usability improvements. Different Formula
Syntaxes are implemented, including Calc A1, Excel A1 and Excel R1C1. Inline form editing is a
lot easier to use. Another useful feature is the ability to use a split view on a sheet, while
in multi-lingual documents we now have the ability to change language for a particular
sentence. Presentations with LibreOffice will sparkle with the new 3D slide transitions in
Impress.

LibreOffice in openSUSE

Mladek notes several advantages of LibreOffice in openSUSE; one of them being a huge group
of LibreOffice Developers inside openSUSE benefiting from the suite’s faster development model
and no need of any copyright assignment. Another advantage he mentions is the use of the
openSUSE Build Service, which helps to keep
the packages up-to-date and compatible for older distributions. And finally, openSUSE is the
only distribution using the split build (separate packages for each component) which makes it
easier to hack on LibreOffice, providing a quicker development path for bug fixes and
incremental feature improvements.

Developers and packagers at both LibreOffice and openSUSE have taken special care that the
migration and update process from OpenOffice.org to LibreOffice moves on smoothly. Backward
compatibility and improved import & export filters were set as top priorities.

LibreOffice receives major contributions from Novell and SUSE hackers, as a recent blog from Cedric Bosdonnat
showed
. Bosdonnat also notices the growth of LibreOffice:

“LibreOffice now counts 133 new hackers and 55 localizers (since the
fork).
”

Michael Meeks, another prominent LibreOffice contributor and openSUSE developer,
adds:

“I’m really excited to have LibreOffice in openSUSE 11.4, and the converse, to have
so many great openSUSE developers involved with LibreOffice both in testing and developing.
It is great to work together with the wider community to get the best Free Software Office
experience possible into users’ hands.
”

“openSUSE 11.4 will be the first stable distribution to ship with LibreOffice, a
happy accident of timing. If you happen to be an enterprise user of SLED, don’t worry –
there will also be updates to LibreOffice across our portfolio of supported
products.
”

Foundations

Meeks, who was closely involved with the decision to fork LibreOffice away from the
control of Oracle and create the Document
Foundation
, sees similarities between the Document Foundation and the work going on
to set up an openSUSE Foundation:

“in some ways, openSUSE’s trajectory is close to that of LibreOffice’s with the
creation of a truly independent foundation. Surely openSUSE is under the stewardship of a
company which is very much open to contributions, unlike OpenOffice.org was, but for
sustained growth and a secure future a Foundation is really important.
”

Coming soon!

Watch out for LibreOffice in the upcoming scheduled release of openSUSE 11.4 on 10th
March, 2011 which besides being the first major distribution to ship LibreOffice in a stable
release promises many other new and updated applications, features and extensions, as well as
numerous improvements to and stability and performance.

A recent interview with openSUSE LibreOffice developer Petr Mladek gives additional
information.

Article contributed by Manu Gupta

”

“

Note

This Article is Licensed under the GNU FreeDocumentation License version 1.2.

openSUSE 11.4 is going to be
released this Thursday (March 10th, 2011) and there is no
better way to enjoy the new release than having fun with your fellow openSUSE Lizards! That’s
why community members all over the world prepare launch parties. Launch parties are events
around the release of a new openSUSE version, what kind of event is up to the organizers. But
it’s usually about sharing knowledge with each other, get new people to know the distribution,
the tools and the project and most important about having a lot of
fun
, celebrating our success! Interested? Here are a couple of parties to check
out!

Europe/Nürnberg

In the town where openSUSE was born, that still hosts the SUSE headquarters and therefor a
large portion of the community the launch event will happen on Wednesday March 16 (19:00) in
the Bar/Cafe/Gallery Artefakt. In the
historic district of Nürnberg the folks plan to have a blast with an introduction to 11.4 by
the Boosters, live music
from Ukulele Insanity and lots of
the openSUSE brew Old Toad. They
expect a couple of high profile visitors like the man that pulled it off for the 6th time,
Stephan Kulow (coolo), release manager of the distribution, Henne Vogelsang, long time
openSUSE Board member and maybe even a couple of the SUSE founders!

North America/San Diego

In the land of the free, Lizards will meet in San Diego, Americas finest city. The Kernel-Panic Linux User Group (KPLUG) kindly
hosts the openSUSE 11.4 launch party at their general meeting on March 10 (18:30) in the
UC San Diego Extension Mission Valley, the
continuing education and public program branch of the University of California. Among the
guests will be openSUSE news own Izabel Valverde and openSUSE Board, Marketing, GNOME and a11y
team member Bryen Yunashko. Join them in celebrating and learn about the features of the new
release!

South America/Guatemala

openSUSE Ambassadors Fernando Mejía, founder of the openSUSE LUG Guatemala and Axel Ruiz will host a
party in the beautiful Centro Histórico, Ciudad de Guatemala. It’s going to take place in a
cultural center called Bakabs (15:00). On the event they will introduce the crowd to the
principles and philosophies of free software and teach them about new developments in and
around the distribution. An install fest, lots of giveaways, like T-shirts and DVDs, and their
legendary Frets on Fire tournament will round off the event. We heard there is usually also a
nice after-party!

Asia/Honk Kong

In Hong Kong, organizers are still looking for more participants for their launch party!
They are contemplating to have lunch together in a restaurant or to meet up at the seaside mid March. Dates and locations are still
not set in stone and are worked out, like everything else, in a collaborative fashion. The
launch party will not only be about food and drinks but also host an install fest where you
can grab DVDs and community members will then help you with your installation if you bring
your computer along. All Lizards in Hong Kong that are interested to celebrate 11.4 together,
please get in contact with the organizers on the openSUSE
Wiki
!

More parties…

For more launch party locations around the globe like Paris, Prague, Thessaloniki, San
Salvador, Utrecht, Atlanta, Neuss, Colombo or Managua and for dates, addresses and a large
scale map check the openSUSE Wiki
launch party
page.

…or how about you run your own?

By the way if you’re interested in hosting your own launch party, see our Launch Party HOWTO for
starters. Also note that launch parties aren’t limited to the release date! Feel free to plan
yours at any time convenient to you and your guests. Just remember one thing:

Have a lot of fun…

”

“

Note

This Article is Licensed under the GNU FreeDocumentation License version 1.2.

Dear openSUSE Community. Users. Contributors. Fans and friends. The time has come:
openSUSE 11.4 has arrived!. After 8 months of hard work,
you can learn what is new, download it and upgrade!

We are proud to announce the launch of 11.4 in the openSUSE tradition of delivering the
latest technology while maintaining stability. The 11.4 release brings significant
improvements along with the latest in Free Software applications. Combined with the appearance
of new tools, projects and services around the release, 11.4 marks a showcase of growth and
vitality for the openSUSE Project! Read on for more details about this release…

Base System

openSUSE always concentrates on a stable foundation that is usable for different
workloads. The base system of 11.4 brings better scalability and performance, an enhanced boot
processes and significantly faster repository refresh, package install and update.

11.4 is based around Kernel 2.6.37 which
improves the scalability of virtual memory management and separation of tasks executed by
terminal users, leading to better scalability and performance
and less interference between tasks. The new kernel also brings better hardware support, with
open Broadcom Wireless
drivers
, improved Wacom support and many
other new or updated drivers. It also supports the improvements to graphic drivers in the
latest Xorg and Mesa shipped, so users will enjoy better 2D and 3D acceleration.

New tools for an enhanced boot process. The latest gfxboot 4.3.5 supports VirtualBox and qemu-kvm while Vixie Cron has been replaced with
Cronie 1.4.6 supporting the PAM and the SELinux security frameworks. The more
experimental software options include GRUB2 and systemd.

The ZYpp package management
introduces a MultiCurl backend, support for zsync transfers, and Metalink
download support. With simultaneous downloads from multiple servers, and fetching of only
changed parts of files, the result is a significantly faster repository
refresh, package install and update
. The new backend gives better support for
network proxies and allows for HTTP BASIC password-protected repositories. On the desktop,
KPackageKit replaces the KDE applet and both
KDE and GNOME applets now default to installing all package updates, not just
patches.

Desktops and Applications

openSUSE is committed to flexibility and choice, providing all major desktops and a full
range of applications, well integrated and supported. The desktops and applications of 11.4
take the next step with a revamped user experience, all the popular up to date Free Software
applications and consistent functionality even in lighter desktops.

Firefox 4.0, first to ship in
11.4, introduces a major redesign of the user interface with tabs moved to the top of the
toolbar, support for pinning of tabs and more. Firefox Sync synchronizes bookmarks,
history, passwords and tabs between all your installations. Firefox 4 also supports newer web
standards like HTML5, WebM and CSS3. 11.4 includes even more of the popular up to date Free Software applications as it’s the first major
distribution to ship LibreOffice 3.3.1.
Delivering it’s cleaner, faster code base and features like import and edit SVG files in Draw,
support for up to 1 million rows in Calc and easier slide layout handling in Impress. 11.4
also débuts the result of almost 4 years of work with the Scribus 1.4 release based on Qt 4 and Cairo technology. Improved text rendering,
undo-redo, image/color management and vector file import are highlights of this
release.

openSUSE offers deep integration of all these technologies. By carefully creating
‘patterns’ of software, openSUSE ensures consistent functionality even
in lighter desktops
like XFCE and LXDE. Keyboard shortcuts are set, menu layouts
tweaked, user-friendly file associations chosen and branding and theming integrated. 11.4
furthermore improves on the LibreOffice and Firefox integration in KDE Plasma, using native
file dialogs, oxygen styling (also for GTK applications) and respecting the user’s mail client
and browser choices.

Professional tools for administrators and
developers

openSUSE aims to be the perfect power tool for system administrators to keep their network
safe and their systems under control. And as developing and maintaining free software is the
bread and butter task of the openSUSE Project the distribution naturally brings everything a
software developer needs. 11.4 ships the latest virtualization and web server stacks and all
the major development languages, platforms and associated IDEs.

11.4 brings the latest virtualization stack with Xen 4.0.2 introducing memory overcommit and a VMware
Workstation/player driver, VirtualBox 4.0.4
supporting VMDK, VHD, and Parallels images, as well as resizing for VHD and VDI and KVM 0.14 with support for the QEMU Enhanced Disk
format and the SPICE protocol. As guest, 11.4 includes open-vm-tools and
virtualbox-guest-tools, and seamlessly integrates clipboard sharing, screen resizing and
un-trapping your mouse.

openSUSE ships with the latest web server stack featuring
Apache 2.2.17, lighttpd 1.4.26 and ngninx 0.8.54. As well as the main databases like version 9.0.3 of PostgreSQL, a release that brings major features
like easy-to-use replication, a mass permission-changing facility, and anonymous code blocks.
And MySQL 5.1.53 (community edition), and its fork
MariaDB 5.1 that offers a drop-in replacement with
better performance and some extra features are complemented while SQLite features a new
transaction control mechanism using a write-ahead log.

openSUSE 11.4 comes with all the major development languages,
platforms and associated IDEs
. Qt 4.7.1
and QtCreator 2.1 bring a
better and faster WebKit and support for the QML Declarative language, also supported in the
KDE Development Platform 4.6 which in turn introduces a ‘Mobile Build Target’ for a thinner
version of its libraries. The GNOME 2.32 platform brings Vala and Python support to Anjuta and Glib 2.26
supports Gsettings. 11.4 ships with GTK+ 3 bringing
improved device input handling, fully Cairo based drawing (with multiple backends) and much easier theming to developers
who want to develop for the upcoming GNOME 3 release. For developers who are interested in
working on LibreOffice, openSUSE offers the unique advantage of using a ‘split build’, making
it easy to get involved.

Around 11.4

Additionally to the distribution the openSUSE project also provides a variety of tools,
projects and services to its fellow Free and Open Source community members and its users.
Supporting 11.4 are Tumbleweed,
a rolling release repository, the Build
Service
to easily create and release open source software and 11.4 inside susestudio for you to experiment with.

For this release we are particularly pleased to introduce Tumbleweed, a rolling release repository containing the latest stable versions
of projects instead of relying on a rigid, periodic release cycle. The project does this for
users that want the newest, but stable software. Additionally the popular third-party package
provider Packman has reorganized and optimized its repositories for the openSUSE 11.4 release.
The Packman team, which provides a large
number of new and updated packages for openSUSE, simultaneously introduces support for
Tumbleweed.

The Free and Open Source software developers are greatly aided in the distribution of
their software by the innovative technologies developed or initiated by the openSUSE Project.
Like the newly released Build Service 2.1.6 which provides the infrastructure to easily create and release open source software for openSUSE, Fedora,
Debian and many other Linux distributions and projects like Bretzn or Appstream which support
developers in building and distributing their applications and users in getting it.

We are also happy to also announce that Novell’s SUSE Studio, building upon openSUSE
technology like KIWI, offers 11.4 as a base to build appliances upon from its convenient
webinterface. We invite anyone to visit susestudio.com to experiment with 11.4, to
create custom versions as Live CD, USB or VM images and to share them on susegallery.com!

openSUSE is now available for immediate
download
. You can also purchase a
retail box
with 11.4 that includes 90-day installation support, physical media, and
a printed Getting Started guide. Read more about what is new in openSUSE 11.4 in our Product Highlights!

Thanks

openSUSE 11.4 represents the combined effort of thousands of developers who participate in
openSUSE and projects shipped in openSUSE. The contributors, inside and outside the openSUSE
Project, should be proud of this release, and they deserve a major “thank you” for all of the
hard work and care that have gone into 11.4. We hope that 11.4 is the best openSUSE release
yet, and that it will help to encourage the use of Linux everywhere! We hope that you all
have a lot of fun while you use 11.4, and we look forward
to working with you on the next release!

The openSUSE Project is a worldwide community that promotes the use of Linux everywhere.
It creates one of the world’s best Linux distributions, working together in an open,
transparent and friendly manner as part of the worldwide Free and Open Source Software
community. The project is controlled by its community and relies on the contributions of
individuals, working as testers, writers, translators, usability experts, artists and
ambassadors or developers. The project embraces a wide variety of technology, people with
different levels of expertise, speaking different languages and having different cultural
backgrounds.

”

“

Note

This Article is Licensed under the GNU FreeDocumentation License version 1.2.

Yesterday, openSUSE 11.4 saw the light of day. This release introduced some awesome new features and this was
noticed by Linux users on social media and the press around the world. Of course we’ve got a
huge spike in visits but also the number of downloads has been enormous, almost twice as much
as for the openSUSE 11.3 release!

Press on openSUSE

Figure 1. Party time on second life for openSUSE 11.4
Party time on second life for openSUSE 11.4


While openSUSE has been released less than 36 hours ago, a large number of reviews and articles has already
appeared and many journalists and writers have commented on the new features. Over at linuxplanet.com Sean Michael Kerner talks about tumbleweed and some
other cool stuff in 11.4
, quoting Novell’s openSUSE community manager Jos
Poortvliet. ZDnet’s J.A. Watson installs openSUSE 11.4 on his desktop and netbook and
concludes:

“All in all, this is an excellent release, and I am very impressed with it. Whether
you’re new to Linux or an experienced user, it is definitely worth a try.
”

At Eye on Linux Jim Linch says about openSUSE
11.4
:

“It’s arguably one of the best desktop distros available, and I expect it to remain
among the top choices for a long time.
”

Jay Lyman, senior analyst for enterprise software at The 451 Group, was quoted by V3.co.uk
on openSUSE 11.4 saying:

“It’s not only an option for early adopters, and we see a preference for these kinds
of distributions in cloud computing
”

Social media

The announcement on Slashdot attracted the usual comments and so did digg. On Twitter and identi.ca
openSUSE was mentioned many times and quite a few tweeters found the twibbon for openSUSE. Last but not
least, the Facebook
page
of openSUSE got quite some attention! For all these media: if you’re not a fan,
follower or friend, you can become one!

Find links to more reviews, articles and discussions on our In the Press page. Feel free to add
articles you have found.

Party time!

We have a continuous virtual party Figure 1, “Party time on second life for openSUSE 11.4” going on on Second Life, you can find pictures here. Even if the virtual release party is (almost) over by now, you can still
visit the openSUSE area in Second Life!

For those preferring Real Life over Second Life, there will be Launch Parties around the
world and it’s certainly not too late to organize your own!

The numbers

But the above is all talk (and party). What counts are the numbers – and they are big. To
just talk about the number of downloads via software.opensuse.org we’ve almost doubled the numbers of downloads in the first 24
hours compared to our previous 11.3
release
! Well over 90.000 downloads from our website with another 12 thousand via
Bittorrent in one day is quite impressive.

Not perfectly accurate, but…

Since each mirror site uses different ways of measuring, we cannot give an 100% reliable
number of total downloads of openSUSE 11.4 but we can point out some numbers and give examples
from our more than 80 mirrors. The Hungary mirror at Integrity.hu reported 220 GB distributed using http and
additionally 400 GB via torrents. The American mirror at temple.edu had 460 GB on Thursday. The Swiss
switch.ch
distributed 1329 GB of data and the German
mirrors from rwth-aachen
distributed at peak time 5 gbit/sec and additionally 60
MB/sec of torrent data.

SUSE Studio offers another great way of
getting a openSUSE 11.4 image – and well over 1000 people have already used this.

download.opensuse.org

A total of 90844 requests for ISOs were reached via our download redirector at
download.opensuse.org during the first 24 hours, a nice bump compared to 49599 for openSUSE
11.3! Note that we can not count who accessed a mirror directly instead of using the
redirector on download.opensuse.org, so
there are more downloads than that. Moreover, we have been emphasizing the possibility of
upgrading openSUSE 11.3 over the web
instead of by downloading an ISO and these are not tracked either.

However, you’ll be able to find openSUSE 11.4 statistics soon on the Statistics page. There we track how many
unique IP addresses regularly update from our servers – a reasonably reliable way of knowing
how many users we have. Of course those on a NAT or internal deployments as well as those who
don’t upgrade via our servers are not counted and those with a dynamic IP might be counted a
few times so take the numbers with a grain of salt as well.

Distribution and torrents

These are the number of downloads split over the different media:

  • NonOss Addon CD BiArch: 3926

  • 32-bit x86: 49845 (total)

    • Net 2863

    • DVD 28437

    • GNOME-LiveCD 6127

    • KDE-LiveCD 6997

    • Addon-Lang 5421

  • 64-bit x86-64: 37073 (total)

    • Net 2102

    • DVD 23746

    • GNOME-LiveCD 2837

    • KDE-LiveCD 5732

    • Addon-Lang 2656

Our main distribution download page
usually gets 17000 visits a day, on the launch day we had 63000.

Torrents worked really well for this release thanks to the many seeders, several folks
reported that they could download torrents with the full capacity of their connection. The
largest number of seeders was for the x86-64 DVD with 1076 followed by 959 for the i586 DVD.
The tracker counted 12596 complete downloads via bittorrent during the first 24 hours,
awesome!

Thank you

The openSUSE launch on Thursday was possible thanks to a world wide infrastructure of ftp
mirrors that coordinated the release with us. We’d like to thank all of them. Moreover, we’d
like to thank the sysadmin team for the hard work they did to make the changes to the websites
so users could download their brand new openSUSE 11.4! We’d also like to thank the marketing
team and anyone who helped for their awesome work (check out the Product Highlights if you haven’t
yet!) and of course all many contributors of openSUSE who helped to make this release
possible! Finally, a shout to our
sponsors
Novell, AMD, IP Exchange and B1!

”

Sneak Peeks

“

third and last part of the tutorial about openSUSE 11.4 install. The end of the install: automatic hardware configuration.

”

“

Note

This Article is licensed under the Creatice CommonsAttribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Warning: huge blog ahead. To butcher Mark Twain:

“I didn’t have time to write a short blog, so I wrote a long one instead.”

Excitement. Lack of sleep. More excitement. Many things not finished. Yep, a major release. Despite a crashing laptop (every 30 min it hangs, I’m afraid it is the heath) I’m having fun preparing for the biggest event since I joined the openSUSE community: the release of openSUSE 11.4!

The marketing team had a meeting 2 weeks ago to prepare for 11.4. But we weren’t the only ones working hard. And this week, our release dude, Coolo, got sick and AJ had to replace him. Well, the GoldMaster was in time, so AJ, great work. And Coolo: if a doctor tells you to stop working it probably makes sense to listen.

New features

11.4 will be exciting. I mean really, really exciting! There is a huge number of new features and improvements. I just finished an 11.4 feature overview presentation. It’s not perfectly complete (how could it be with so much new stuff?) but a good start if you want to have a launch party. Speaking of, if you’re Dutch, there will be a Launch Party in NL!

Anyone who wants to visit or organize a launch party, there is still time. Go to the Launch Party Wiki Page and see if there is something close by. If not, organize it! Seriously, it’s not hard: just put a page up there, point to a cafe where you can get beer & coke and you’re already pretty far. Sure, you can do fancy presentations in a conference room, but isn’t beer what brings people together? And isn’t a party nothing without a well-equipped bar?

Posters – but where is the source?

By the way, there is a bunch of awesome-looking Launch Party Posters on the Launch Party Wiki Page, where are the sources? I bet you can ask in the #opensuse-marketing channel on Freenode for them but having them up there is easier, ladies and gents!

I want the sources because I’d love to have a release party here, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Anyone else close by? Any suggestions for a decent pub? Please mail me at my first name on opensuse.org! KDE and GNOME, XFCE & LXDE fans – you’re all welcome, we’re YOUR best distribution after all!

Shout out

As I said, I’m pretty tired, so I surely will skip people in this list but I just HAVE to thank some people for what they did: First of all the whole marketing team for their work on the amazing Product Highlights (I keep calling it feature guide, hehe). I shout out to Bruno, Tony and James for their technical knowledge, Izabel for her TIRELESS work in adding all the relevant information and Helen for helping to clean things up and write proper text. Sascha, Holger, Christian, Carlos, Frank, Greg, Chuck, Andres, Andreas, Bryen, Kostas, Dominique, Guido and all others – thank you too, every line of text helped tremendously!!! If you helped out and weren’t credited, add your name to the list at the bottom of the Product Highlights. You deserve it, don’t be shy! Those not on the marketing team, you’ll see the end results when the announcement is live ;-)

Chuck, I have to mention you especially. Your mail on social media made my day. I was worried nothing was being organized – and I didn’t have time. You took it on yourself and made a difference. Love you.

rtyler, you’re another hero. Your writing for OMGSUSE.com in the last 10 days has been awesome. I know it was exhausting – yet you still helped out reviewing and writing. AWESOME! Oh, and add your name to the list on the Product Highlights!

Manu, manu, manu. You’ve been all over again. Despite busy with school and other obligations, you worked until deep in the night. Feature guide, website, social media, everywhere. You deserve a thousand hugs!

The work our Tiger Bruno has been doing, working with Chuck, Carlos and Javier – invaluable. Thanks to you guys we’ll have an amazing openSUSE 11.4 poster shipped with the next Linux Magazine!!! And Bruno, give a hug to your girlfriend for organizing our Virtual Launch Party on Second Life!!!

A full round of hugs and Doritos (sorry sshaw)!

”

“

Note

This Article is licensed under the Creatice CommonsAttribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Installation of openSUSE 11.4 using a DVD.

Music: Bach – Toccata and Fugue in D minor ; interpreted by Stephen Malinowski.

Video: openSUSE-11.4-DVD

”

“

Few sensational things happened last week in one of the oldest debates of the Linux community, GNOME vs KDE, touching on the topic of freedesktop.org and joined this time by the new hot topic, “GNOME vs Canonical“. The bulk of the actions happened in the comments section of two blog posts, one by Dave Neary, well-known GNOME advocate and another post by Aaron Seigo, well-known KDE Developer. I want to improve my writing skills and the ability to get information from a community discussion. So, below is a step in that direction.

Disclaimer: All opinions are personal and none of the views expressed represent my employer, NASA, WHO or anyone else for that matter. The following is the juice of the events of last week written from a (as honest as possible) neutral perspective. Read through this post if you don’t want to read through all the comments in the mentioned blog posts.

GNOME 3 release is just days away. Canonical and the GNOME community have taken different routes with Unity and gnome-shell respectively. Dave Neary wrote a blog post with an analytic title “Has GNOME rejected Canonical’s Help ? ” . Neary cited instances of Canonical exhibiting behavior that shows discomfort in the Canonical-GNOME relationship. (…)

”

Google Summer of Code

“

Note

This Article is licensed under the Creatice Commons Attribution 2.0 France (CC-BY 2.0).

Every once in a while, I fall into a trap that causes me to care about a specific topic. Last week, this happened for the Google Summer of Code 2011.

Twice.

I’m apparently going to be a GSoC co-admin for both GNOME and openSUSE, assuming the two organizations get accepted. But I’m not unhappy about that, since GSoC is one really amazing opportunity for free software projects to get useful contributions, but more importantly, to introduce new people to the projects. People who will stay as contributors later on, if we do a good job at making them feel welcome.

GNOME

GNOME has participated to all GSoC, and that’s something we’re very proud of. The best part is that past students have become highly involved in GSoC in later years, with some of them being the main admins for GNOME. We usually have a team of several admins (at least four), and everybody has experience of GSoC, so organizing our participation is probably easier than for many projects. We’ve put all of our GSoC documentation online, and that’s really the place to visit if you want to be a mentor or student for GSoC on a GNOME-related project.

We’ve just started collecting project ideas. If you work on something GNOME-related (or a cross-desktop technology), don’t hesitate to add your project ideas there. The admin team will triage the list of ideas later on, so don’t worry if your idea seems to be lost in a big list of ideas :-) Christophe will send a proper request for ideas in the next few days (if he hasn’t already, I haven’t read all my mails).

With GNOME 3 just around the corner, there is without a doubt a good opportunity to attract students: those are exciting times for GNOME where a student could make a big difference for 3.2/3.4 with a single project, and become a core actor of the GNOME 3 development, and therefore of the GNOME community!

openSUSE

For openSUSE, things are different: we participated three times (2006, 2008 and 2009), and our application was unfortunately rejected last year. So a few people worked hard in the past few weeks to increase our chances to participate this year (special thanks to Manu who did a good part of the job).

We gathered all the relevant information on the wiki and our community already offered many different project ideas (roughly 40, as of right now). What’s exciting is with openSUSE, we offer topics ranging from low-level C code to Ruby on Rails, from infrastructure tools to end-user features, from openSUSE-specific topics to cross-distribution ones, etc. Our list of ideas is extremely broad, and we believe the technologies we cover are exciting for students. Thanks to this preliminary work, we’ve already got several students contacting us about the projects. Isn’t that cool?

As the openSUSE Foundation might not be setup in time to receive GSoC money, we’re considering various options as to what to do with the money. The two main contenders are leaving the money to Google for future similar initiatives (GSoC or Code-In, for example), and giving the money to another non-profit organization that we believe is important. We welcome feedback on this, so raise your voice if you have an opinion :-)

”

Header PictureStatus Updates

Header PictureSUSE Studio

“

Note

This Article is owned by Novell Inc. http://www.novell.com/company/legal/

We’ve made a small iteration to the Studio UI, removing the option to prevent cloning of appliances you share on SUSE Gallery. Out of respect for you, our users, if you have already shared an appliance and prevented cloning we’ll leave it that way, but we feel that, in the spirit of openness, all of our users have the right to build on the work shared in the Gallery’s community. If you prefer not to share your work to that degree, SUSE Gallery may not be the appropriate venue. You may, as always, download your appliances and host them elsewhere, on your own terms, or simply keep them to yourself. The choice is yours.

”

“

Note

This Article is owned by Novell Inc. http://www.novell.com/company/legal/

This week the openSUSE community launches the newest version of their flagship Linux distribution: openSUSE 11.4. We’re doing our part to congratulate the community on their hard work by providing openSUSE 11.4 templates on Release Day! So hop into SUSE Studio, and start customizing your own version of openSUSE 11.4, be it for your desktop or server workloads. You can build all usual image formats except Amazon EC2 (which is coming soon).

And remember — as always, if you have a suggestion for us or encounter a problem, you can let us know on our forum (or our mailing list, which is just another view of the forum).

Figure 2. openSUSE 11.4 templates on SUSE Studio
openSUSE 11.4 templates on SUSE Studio


Figure 3. Testdriving openSUSE 11.4′s KDE 4.6 Desktop
Testdriving openSUSE 11.4's KDE 4.6 Desktop


Figure 4. Testdriving openSUSE 11.4′s GNOME 2.32 desktop
Testdriving openSUSE 11.4's GNOME 2.32 desktop


”

Team Report

Header PictureBuild Service Team

Build Service Statistics. Statistics can found at Buildservice

Header PictureGNOME Team

“

Note

This Article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

A few achievements:

  • appmenu-gtk – the last upstream update really made wonders, and currently it’s safe to use indicator-appmenu with GTK apps with the expected functionality. If you like OSX styled menu’s, this will make your delight! The really critical bugs known to me were fixed in the last update. Adding it to the default pattern (1 click installer).

  • dbusmenu – another critical bug solved today, and the Me Menu already works as expected. This was broken for around 2 weeks, it’s now working properly.

With this, one more indicator was enabled (indicator-appmenu) and a few critical bugs have been solved. I’m expecting to talk with Ken later on to check out on the plans for the indicators, and unless something very critical pops out, GNOME2 will see the indicator stack as it is currently.

It’s maybe now the best time to start looking deeply into GNOME3.

”

“

Note

This Article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

As many people are aware I’ve used Fedora for quite a long time… and with the release of the first ALPHA of Fedora 15 I got this tiny itch to check out GNOME3, namely, the gnome-shell.

I’ve have to say that the first impressions I had from GNOME Shell from Fedora 13 raised in me a high level of skepticism towards the new interface of GNOME Shell. The contents of this text are mainly influenced by my own view of the things… I don’t mean to be disruptive… but some things need to be said…

  1. For starters… gnome-shell UI doesn’t seem to lag that much anymore… this is a very positive step, as lagging interfaces really kill my joy!

  2. The sound applet – Looks interesting, very well copied from Ubuntu’s Sound Menu, at least in concept. Now this must be a slap in the face for some people I knew that threw a couple of harsh critics on Canonical. Well done to whoever made it that way… you have empowered Canonical’s design and now I will probably watch a full legion of Ubuntu fanboys bragging about how GNOME copied their Sound Menu. /* taking cover */

  3. The configuration screen – Interesting stuff… But also Deja Vu… I think all the nice people migrating from KDE will find themselves at home with this new ‘control center’. The resemblances are quite awesome!

  4. The user applet, which I don’t what to call it… Yet shows a lot of resemblances with Canonical’s Me Menu. At least some functions are there, but what I really find strange is the absence of ‘Restart’ button. I guess it’s now really an issue to tap ALT+F2 and issue a ‘shutdown now -frn’ or ‘init 6′ command, I just hope the system allows it.

  5. The language applet – Interesting thing, but once again I have this Canonical Deja Vu feeling… Not again…

  6. Moving the cursor to upper left triggers pretty much an effect which brings me a Deja Vu style from Compiz Wall Expo plugins. Awesome stuff!

  7. The fonts are awesome, my heart is now broken… I don’t really need to install Ubuntu Fonts.

  8. Icons seem to be monochrome! Awesome, but yet I have this deja vu feeling!

  9. Artwork – My heart is broken (probably my cóccix as well, I’ve felt from the chair).

  10. ALT+F2 – Awesome, this is really something I’m used too, I feel at home! I don’t really need menus at all once I know all the commands I need from the top of my head.

  11. The number of clicks I need to perform to reach for example, Google Chrome. Yeah, ALT+F2 is way faster.

  12. The default theme… to be replaced by Sonar (has anyone done the GTK3 port?, please someone do it fast, before I loose my motivation).

  13. System Load up – awesome, nothing to state….

  14. Calendar ‘applet’ – cool stuff, but evolution is crashing on me (keep in mind this is Alpha, so no real deal here, I’m sure it will be fixed);

Ok the list could be very long to make this shorter… Despite of all, I’m really waiting to see the final version of gnome-shell… I don’t find it much of innovation, as much of the features seem to be taken from other popular software. Everything worked out fine (except evolution) out of the box… I’m actually happy to see that some Fedora fundamentalists after throwing such a heavy load into Canonical, they ended up by handing over something that in much resembles to some software available from Canonical. I’m sure their hearts will be broken… many of this features were considered ‘kinky’ by them and oriented to Fan Boys… I wonder why they choosed to follow the same path, clearly aiming for those that they choosed to combat? Hmmz… I sense some hipocrisy here.

But I’ve gotta be honest, much of this ‘innovations’ actually gave me a rush to see the final product and to run it for a longer period. While many people from the Fedora circle violently attack gnome-shell, I can smell here potential to be a success, I only fear for the quality of the artwork here, which neither presents a nice visual desktop metaphor, neither even looks attractive to me… but once more, I believe it will be fully customizable. Another I missed was the normal system-* applets to configure several parts of the system… I’m happy that openSUSE will not forget YaST for GNOME3, thus I won’t feel defrauded when I run GNOME3 on openSUSE due to missing configuration applications.

My final veredict… this 9 months waiting for GNOME3 on openSUSE are going to be painful, because now that I’ve tasted the forbiden God’s honey, I want MORE! And for real… for everyone out there speaking bad about gnome-shell, please guys, be mindful of one thing… though this will require a bit of love for people to get used to, some of the features presented are actually nice. For those who love GNOME, but don’t really like the shell… Are you aware that you can manage your sessions on gnome-session? I’m not sure, but I think most of that functionality was actually developed in-house by Novell ;) and I’m sure it will be explored by a few, while I expect the vast majority of the Hordes will end up by loving this shell…

You shouldn’t really take me serious, but thanks for reading until the end… Now that I know that most people are already wanting to crucify me, I hope that you can take 1 week of your time to test the shell and prove I’m wrong. Maybe then, you will become converts, and I’m will for sure rest my head knowing it was worth to write this text.

”

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
reading

http://fedoramagazine.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/interview-fedora-10s-better-startup/

really makes me think we should go this way.

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

”

“

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

”

“

“Every single bug or feature that anyone has developed for GRUB 0.97 has been rejected by the upstream project in favor of using GRUB 2. There has been resisitence in the distribution community to switching boot loaders, but this stalemate isn’t going to go away. The code itself isn’t well written or well maintained. Adding a new feature involves jumping through a lot of hoops that may or may not work even if you manage to work around all the runtime limitations. For example, a fs implementation has a static buffer it can use for memory management. It’s only 32k. For complex file systems, or even a simple journaled file system, we run into problems (like the reiserfs taking forever to load bug) because we don’t have enough memory to do block mapping for the journal so it needs to scan it for every metadata read. (Yeah, really.) (…)”

”

Recently requested features

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

“

“Since packman is no longer providing peazip packages please add this to the distribution

http://packman.links2linux.org/package/peazip “

”

“

“Urban Terror is probably most well-known free FPS game. Unfortunatly it’s not in official repos. I propose including it, along with
modified linux binary.”

”

“

“About WebP:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebP

http://code.google.com/intl/pt-BR/speed/webp/

As was done with WebM:

https://features.opensuse.org/309589 “

”

“

“When searching why I still switch to Windows, I have little answers but two or three. One of them is having a decent video editor, like this proprietary one: http://www.magix.com/us/ (cost only approx $100), extremely powerfull.We already have some editors (Kdenlive, kino, openshot, openmovie, blender, cinelerra)”

”

“

“We all have some gadget with USB cable not seen by openSUSE (for example GPS).

* Could we offer to the hardware makers some room on the build service (yes, including for proprietary software).

* could we track the Microsoft work. I’m nearly sure that Microsoft push hard to forgive hardware vendors from releasing Linux drivers. Could we make any survey to make this better known?

This is exactly where a cross distribution could be good: we all have the same problem.”

”

“

“One of tools I still need almost daily from a Windows perspective is OneNote.

My company has adopted it as a note taking standard for internal projects. It is part of the Microsoft Office suite.

Until a linux/opensuse/libreoffice/kde solution is provided, I have to rdesktop into a Windows machine to work with OneNote files.

Note that I need a tool that allows collaboration with MS OneNote users, not a new tool that offers OneNote like functionality, but not OneNote on disk compatibility.

That is OneNote is in part a collaboration tool that allows multiple simultaneous users to open a notebook. (Assuming the notebook is on a fileserver / share.)”

”

“

“This is a collector to summarize what are the key features to allow us to remove windows forever.”

”

“

“Currently the Tumbleweed repo contains both app and kernel rpms, I propose that the Tumbleweed project be split into 2 repos – kernel and apps. The reason for this being that updating a kernel can be much more problematic/disruptive to an existing install compared to just updating apps.

I admit this might be an unwarranted personal concern but it gives me pause when considering using the Tumbleweed repo. Locking the kernel rpms would also lock the oss repo’s kernel updates which would not be a wise move as oss kernel updates have defined pupose (stability, security).”

”

“

“Now that the demo is a dvd, why couldn’t we have more localized langages? now the keyboard works, but not the other parts.

If the user asks for langage in YaST and have an internet access atm, the langage is dl from the net, but this is very long and unusefull for a live session :-)”

”

“

“During installation, when the first user id created, I suggest we add a third tick box to the page. This one should read “Check for secure password” and be enabled by default. Hopefully that will avoid the pop-up window advising the user that cracklib-something is being loaded and whether to accept a password that doesn’t comply with our password guidelines.”

”

“

“Despise of LibO official arrival in openSUSE 11.4, we can still see the old OOo-like icons in Kickoff. Besides, I don’t know if it’s KDE or openSUSE but with Oxygen theme enabled, we got the old OOo documents icons on LibO start screen as in LibO menus.

It would be better to integrate LibO filetype & modules icons or openSUSE-stylized/KDE stylized icons.”

”

Feature Statistics

Statistics for openSUSE distribution in openFATE

Header PictureTesting Team

“

The Testing Core Team met February 28 and March 7, 2011 at 18:00 UTC.

In the first meeting, we discussed our experiences with 11.4 RC2, which were mostly positive. We then covered the success of Open-Bugs-Day and began our planning for the next one, which will be from 00:00 till 23:59 UTC on April 2, 2011. No, that is not a late April Fool’s joke. We will check for 11.[123] bugs on 11.4 Please put this date on your calenders. More details will be forthcoming next week.

In the March 7 meeting, which was optional due to religious holiday in Bavaria, we discussed our experiences with the post-RC2 updates that Bernhard Wiedermann had made available. Most of the discussion centered about the bug that broke a “zypper dup” upgrade. The workaround was easy, but it was very important to publicize it in the Forums and on the wiki page describing the upgrade. That problem is now fixed and is no longer presented on the most annoying bugs page.

The TCT will meet again at 18:00 UTC on March 14 to discuss the 11.4 release. For the record, the release has performed well on the 5 systems on which I have installed it.

”

Header PictureTranslation Team

Header PictureIn the Community

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.

Contributors

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.

“
Table 1. Security Announce
Package: acroread
Announcement ID: SUSE-SA:2011:011
Date: Mon, 07 Mar 2011 14:00:00 +0000
Affected Products: openSUSE 11.2 openSUSE 11.3 SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 SP3 SUSE Linux Enterprise
Desktop 11 SP1
Vulnerability Type: remote code execution

”

“
Table 2. Security Announce
Package: kernel
Announcement ID: SUSE-SA:2011:012
Date: Tue, 08 Mar 2011 15:00:00 +0000
Affected Products: SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension 11 SP1 SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
11 SP1 SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP1
Vulnerability Type: remote denial of service, local privilege escalation

”

Header PictureKernel Review

“

Note

This Article is licensed under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.

There is much anticipation on the release of Kernel 2.6.38 in March-April as some new features for Storage Area Networks on LIO target frameworks are on offer. Interesting features such as kernel-side polling for device optimization are something most are waiting for gleefully. There are several changes including graphics upgrades, file systems with better cover features and network codes, infrastructure and architecture tweaks and permutations for audio, video and USB hardware drivers.

Updated Storage Area Network

The storage is an in-kernel feature on a LIO-target framework. The superset features include multi-thread architecture (on SIMD support), without blocks and superlative performance due to advance features. The SCSI features such as Assymetric Logical Unit Assignment (ALUA) as well as Persistent Reservation enabled for enhanced performance. The thin LUN provisioning coupled with full error recovery ensures consistency.

The core of these developments is that different storage protocols can now be called as SCSI targets through the iSCSI, the Fibre Channel’s Fibre Channel over Ethernet. The linux-isci.org features will in future supersede the existing SCSI subset. That is the SANs will no longer be on STGT, the SCSI Target Framework, or the CONFIG_SCSI_TGT on the kernel configuration.

Extended storage control on the in-kernel polling framework

The in-kernel polling framework offers better control over extended storage media. This can also be used to check for memory cards, optical media such as the DVDs etc. Through regular polling the storage medium status is noted to update user applications in different environments such as the desktop etc. This implies that these applications will not be required for polling media themselves and can instead use the regular polling feature for better media storage management.

This is feature, credited to Tejun Heo runs on economized power and show minimum overhead requirement. This feature can be tweaked using the Sysfs and by default, the in-kernel polling is not opted to avoid interrupting and disrupting media that are already in use in the userland applications. This is needs to be understood well because polling is done by opening the device. Opening up the device will create interference and could lead to complicated scenarios such as optical disk burning. Hence, the inherent limitation of user-space polling is well controlled by this in-kernel polling framework.

This ensures that the there is no requirement for opening the device as well as delayed polling wakeups working against running systems. A new function has been created that checks for new events and a mask is returned for each mask that is found. Since the polling is not happening in the user environment the disk event needs to be notified. This now possible using the event and are handled using udev and other utilities. There are no drivers on the 2.6.38 asynchronous event reporting and it would be ideal to use a helper function along with core block code to overcome this issue. In fact a zero value to the function will entirely disable the polling feature.

Expectations are running high on the kernel 2.6.38 as several features are being addressed for optimization of multiple features.

”

“

In certain situations, a small patch for 2.6.38 perceivably improves the response time of desktop environments. Transparent Huge Pages, on the other hand, simplify memory management, which is particularly relevant in terms of virtualisation and server software.

On Tuesday last week, Linus Torvalds issued the seventh release candidate of Linux 2.6.38. Among other things, Torvalds mentioned a fix for a flaw in Btrfs that can potentially cause data loss in certain situations – again, there was no indication of a final release date for 2.6.38.

Nevertheless, the next version in the main development branch is approaching completion, and the Kernel Log will, therefore, gradually conclude its “Coming in 2.6.38″ mini series; the penultimate part will discuss the advancements in terms of the kernel’s architecture code, infrastructure and virtualisation. Part 1 and part 3 discussed the changes to the graphics hardware and network communication code; part 2 and part 4 revolved around file systems and storage. This week, the series will be concluded with an article on the kernel’s audio, USB and video hardware drivers. (…)

”

“

The HD audio driver can now run without interrupts, letting processors sleep for longer. There are new drivers for touchscreens and multi-touch panels. More fingers will be detected by the Synaptic touchpad driver from 2.6.38 onwards.

On Monday night (7 March), Linus Torvalds published the eighth pre-release of Linux 2.6.38. In the announcement he wrote that it would have been okay for him to release this as the final 2.6.38 – but said that, “I’m going to be partially unreachable for several days next week, so I felt there was no point in opening the merge window yet.”

With 2.6.38 approaching completion, the Kernel Log series is likewise concluding its report on new features in 2.6.38. This final part of the ‘Coming in 2.6.38′ series looks at drivers from areas not yet addressed. Parts one and three of the series looked at the code dealing with graphics hardware and network communication. Parts two and four were concerned with file systems and storage. Architecture code, virtualisation and infrastructure were the subject of the fifth article in the series.

”

“

Rares published the Kernel Review for this Week. Thanks for working on it :-)

”

Header PictureTips and Tricks

For Desktop Users

“

One year ago I finished my Master Thesis and I just realized that I never really blogged about it. I had the chance to build my implementation during the Thesis upon the Akonadi framework, which is the reason why I want to share what I worked about. For all who might be more interested in my Thesis, a publisher was so kind to publish it.

The title of my Thesis was “Implementation of Proactive Spam Fighting Techniques” and the Thesis covered the implementation of two orthogonal techniques. Both techniques shared the idea to eliminate Spam before it hits the user’s inbox. Current Spam fighting techniques like for example SpamAssassin are reactive. SpamAssassin uses a rule based approach and a Bayesian filter. Rule based approaches cannot identify Spam messages reliable and have the danger to incorrectly mark ham messages if like last year the date grossly in the future becomes present. Bayesian filtering requires to collect a rather large amount of mail messages before messages can be filtered. This illustrates that reactive Spam fighting is no real solution.

Both implementations required to interact with the user’s inbox and in one case it was required to automatically send out mail on mail reception. The original idea of my tutors at the Laboratory for Dependable Distributed Systems was to develop either a plugin for Mozilla Thunderbird or Microsoft Outlook. With my background of KDE development I had to think of one framework which handles this much better: Akonadi. Thanks to Akonadi I was able to implement the solution in a client and platform independent way. Instead of just supporting Mozilla Thunderbird the solution works on all systems supporting Akonadi and no specific mail client is required. It can even be used by users who just use a web mail client. (…)

”

“

Many people add borders to there images, since they make the image look better and stands out unique and digiKam makes this very easy and simple!

There are two ways to apply image borders in digiKam (…)

”

For Commandline/Script Newbies

“

In today’s post I’m going to show how to embed a text message into an image file. This type of messaging is known as steganography. Steganography is the practice of hiding secrets in such a way that only the intended message recipient would know to look for your hidden message.

In this basic form of secret messaging we’ll be adding text onto the end of a file. I’m going to use the following image of Tux for my example. (…)

”

For Developers and Programmers

Header PicturePlanet SUSE

“

Note

This Article is licensed under the Creatice Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

On the fifth day of openSU-SE my true love gave to me, fiiiiveeee goollldeeen
ringggggssss!
.

Just kidding, on the fifth day of our countdown to openSUSE 11.4 I wanted to highlight an
impressive new application that is making it’s debut with this release: Scribus. If you’re not “in the know” for desktop
publishing applications, Scribus is:

“Scribus is powerful software that helps you create great looking documents of all
kinds. It also comes with a lot of support options to help you achieve the best
result.
”

As I’m terribly un-talented when it comes to just about anything spatial, I couldn’t
honestly tell you how great Scribus is in openSUSE 11.4, but the folks I’ve talked about it
with seem pretty excited about it.

Install Scribus 1.4 for 11.3

”

“

The Gutenprint project is going to tag its colour related print options with the ColorKeyWords PPD entry. Thus Gutenprint follows a request to tag colour related options in native device API’s. Marking colour related options as being colour related will help automatic profile selection depending on the calibration state in the deriver. So if Gutenprint was set to a increased brightness of 1.1 and the media size is A5, then the colour marked brightness setting will play a role in searching the correct ICC profile, while the non colour hinted paper size will not influence the ICC profile search. This concept works as well for SANE and Xorg. The colour related options can be serialised to a common file format, which still has to be defined. Then this calibration information can be embedded by profilers into ICC profiles. Such calibration data enriched ICC profiles can then even be used to setup the calibration state of a given device + driver combination and automatically ensure the correct usage, while minimising user errors. That approach is already deployed in Oyranos’ Xorg module. For display profiles it is typical to embed the calibration data inside the ICC profiles for a long time. The embedded calibration data is used to setup the graphics card to work with the display. Gutenprint is the next candidate to get related to ICC colour management a similar calibration support.

”

“

Note

This Article is licensed under the Creatice Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

We’re down to the final stretch! Only a few more days until openSUSE 11.4 is finally released! (March 10th)

We’ve talked about LibreOffice and Scribus, but now let’s talk about something fun (not that spreadsheeting isn’t fun..). Music.

An integral part to any modern desktop experience is great music and openSUSE tries to meet everybody’s musical needs by shipping numerous players such as: Banshee, Amarok and Rhythmbox. What I consider the holy trinity of popular open source music apps.

Banshee

If you’re a lover of Banshee then you may have read about some of the updates already in this post on GNOME in 11.4 over at news.opensuse.org. The upcoming release of openSUSE (11.4) bundles Banshee 1.9.3 which is another stepping stone release to Banshee 2.0 which is due out in mid-Aoril.

Packed into Banshee 1.9.3 are a number of bug fixes and improvements for developers, but from a user’s perspective you can expect to find this Banshee more stable and more integrated with a number of new devices such as the Nexus S and Xperia X10 mini pro.

Amarok

The openSUSE team decided to bundle Amarok 2.4.0 for KDE users, and everybody else I suppose. This point-release from the Amarok crew, nicknamed “Slipstream”, includes plenty of bug fixes, performances improvements, new features and support for new devices. The biggest feature addition that I’ve found in this release is transcoding! With Amarok in the new openSUSE 11.4, you can convert files from one format to another right there in Amarok!

“Slipstream” also includes faster music collection support and has brought with it some great improvements to tagging. It literally takes two clicks to tag music in the new Amarok.

Rythmbox

openSUSE 11.4 also bundles the popular GNOME media player Rhythmbox. Although I’ve written the name “Rhythmbox” out more times than I can count over the psat week, I’m stlil double-checking whether or not I’ve spelled it correctly. Anyways, Rhythmbox 0.13.3 will be available for 11.4 users and this release of Rhythmbox is likely going to be the last “big” release of the music manager before GNOME 3.

Unfortunately the Rhythmbox folks don’t make their changelogs easily parseable, so the best I can mention is that this release includes plenty of bugfixes and … other stuff. (update: Bertrand pointed out this link for Rhythmbox changes)

For months Banshee users on openSUSE and many other distributions have been sending 100% of the Amazon referral revenue to the GNOME Foundation whenever they purchased a song or album.

”

“

Note

This Article is licensed under the Creatice Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

You may or may have not been following some of the controversy surrounding Banshee on Ubuntu, if you haven’t I’ll try to bring you up to speed as impartially as possible.

The next major release of Ubuntu, Naggy Narwhal, is bundling the popular music player Banshee. Most openSUSE users are already familiar with the glory that is Banshee, so this is a good thing right? Not entirely.

Remember way back when, when we talked about Banshee allowing you to purchase Amazon MP3s from within the app? One of the features that the Banshee team added was a Banshee-specific “referral code” that generates an additional source of revenue for the GNOME Foundation.

For months Banshee users on openSUSE and many other distributions have been sending 100% of the Amazon referral revenue to the GNOME Foundation whenever they purchased a song or album.

Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, wants a cut of this revenue. Well, “cut” may not be the right word, perhaps “all” is more appropriate. Last I checked the “agreement” that Canonical made with the Banshee team was that Canonical was going to take 75% of referral revenue, and then pass 25% on to the GNOME Foundation.

That seems fair right? After all Canonical is a business that has built itself almost entirely on GNOME and the open source community right? They’ve gotta make money somehow! The plot has one more twist to offer!

You might recall me mentioning how awesome Banshee is (it really is a great app), well Banshee development has been largely funded by drumroll please Novell, who also happens to sponsor a lot of GNOME, Mono, KDE and openSUSE development. In fact, until Aaron’s recent departure from Novell, two of Banshee’s core contributors both worked on Banshee for Novell (the other being Gabriel).

Recap

  • Novell funds development of a great open source music app

  • Said great music app generates some Amazon referral revenue which is sent straight to the GNOME Foundation

  • Ubuntu bundles great music app with upcoming release, but decides to take the majority of the revenue generated that would otherwise go to the GNOME Foundation

  • Hijinks ensue

In my opinion, Ubuntu is perfectly within their rights dictated by Banshee’s license but that doesn’t make their decision to do what they’re doing any less “dickish.” Canonical better tread very carefully with actions like this, for a number of open source contributors the “spirit” of open source is just as, if not more important than the open source licenses themselves.

What do you think? Much ado about nothing, or should we all grab pitchforks?

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Note

This Article is licensed under the Creatice CommonsAttribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The 11.4 release of openSUSE, dropping this Thursday (March 10th), is bringing more GNOME to the table than ever before. It might be a bit difficult for me to summarize, since there’s simply so much stuff in this one major jump forward for GNOME on openSUSE (some of the nitty gritty bits covered here already).

Do you remember when you last installed another Linux distribution? Maybe it was Fedora, maybe it was Ubuntu, maybe it was Mint. With all three distributions you were probably left unsatisfied with just one GNOME inside the box. Well hot dog! Guess what! The new openSUSE packs not one, but two GNOMEs inside of it. ;)

GNOME 2

For the less experimental, and typically more productive days, 11.4 will contain the last major release of the GNOME 2.x series, 2.32. This is the standard GNOME desktop we’ve all come to know and love, with a few more refinements both visually and technically (i.e. bug fixes).

GNOME isn’t just a window or desktop manager, it’s a “desktop experience” which means whenever there’s a “GNOME update,” there are a lot of updated applications that come along with it such as:

  • Evince, the PDF viewer became far more accessible by integrating to with Orca the GNOME screen reader.

  • Empathy, the universal IM client, added “meta-contact” support so you can keep all your friends and their cutesy nicknames grouped into a single contact encompassing their screen names from multiple networks. Empathy also seems to have gotten more secure and add the ability to log chats in this release (putting those in the same sentence feels contradictory).

GNOME 3

If you’re feeling like peering into the GNOME crystal ball, openSUSE 11.4 ships with a GNOME 3 preview, which includes a beta version of the ever-so-slightly controversial “GNOME Shell.” The Shell is a core part of the upcoming GNOME 3 desktop experience, and contains a lot of new and interesting ideas around the desktop experience. While it still has some lingering quirks that need to ge hammered out, the GNOME team has been moving so fast as of late, that the version of GNOME Shell that’s bundled with openSUSE 11.4 is already out of date!

If you’re really anxious to try out GNOME 3 and GNOME Shell, there’s a live USB flash drive image around here somewhere, that you can boot your machine, or a virtual machine from and “try before you buy.”

Suffice to say, 11.4 includes a fantastic number of improvements, particularly for GNOME users. With only a few days left until release, yours truly is getting a bit impatient waiting for all these goodies!

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Note

This Article is licensed under the Creatice CommonsAttribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

As a long-time GNOME user, this post and some of the contents within it are difficutl for me to write. The openSUSE team has traditionally done a great job of packaging up GNOME and KDE, and even smaller more lightweight desktop environments like XFCE and LXDE.

With 11.4, openSUSE really knocks it out of the park with KDE 4.6 which I must say, is bloody fantastic! So fantastic that I’ve actually started to use the KDE Plasma Netbook workspace, which has gotten even better in KDE 4.6 . Not only that, my wife now has made the plunge from Mac OS X to an openSUSE-powered laptop with the KDe plasma netbook workspace. It’s just that good!

Bundled with this big update of KDE are a couple of applications that got updates like Amarok which we covered previously and KOffice 2.3.1.

THe new release of KOffice, a great alternative to LibreOffice has received a great amount of performance and stability love from its developers. As it’s become more rock-solid, it’s support for reading the OpenDocument format along with some icky Microsoft formats has improved.

To be honest, I’ve had a hard time summarizing what’s special about KDE in openSUSE 11.4 versus KDE in 11.3, any way you cut it I’m out of my comfort zone (there is a write-up on news.opensuse.org though). I will say this though: KDE 4.6 in the new openSUSE is visually stunning and fast. THe KDE team has done a phenomenal job speeding up KDE and bucking the trend of software getting slower over time.

If you’ve never tried KDE before then openSUSE 11.4, which comes out Thursday March 10th, might just be the perfect time to give it a test drive and see what you think.

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Note

This Article is licensed under the Creatice CommonsAttribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Recently, I have spent quite a bit of my time debugging an evil ld.so bug involving mis-handling of scopes and I have noticed precious lack of documentation of any internal ld.so data structures. So again, this comes for the benefit of the googlers, an intro that could have saved me another quite bit of time spent poking the code.

Of course, the dynamic linker features a wide variety of fun hacks. The most interesting mechanism is probably how lazy relocation is performed, but things like that have already been described plenty of times before. The question we shall look into is what data structures are used when a new symbol is to be searched for and linker has already taken control. There are two important internal concepts of ld.so related to this – the link_map and the scope. You can see the data structures in include/link.h.

The struct link_map describes a single loaded object; it may be ld.so, the main program, libc, or any other shared object loaded afterwards, during startup or later. It has many members, like its name, its mates in global linked list of all objects, or its state. But the most interesting attribute is its scope.

The scope describes which libraries should be searched for symbol lookups occuring within the scope owner. (By the way, given that lookup scope may differ by caller, implementing dlsym() is not that trivial.) It is further divided into scope elements (struct r_scope_elem) – a single scope element basically describes a single search list of libraries, and the scope (link_map.l_scope is the scope used for symbol lookup) is list of such scope elements.

To reiterate, a symbol lookup scope is a list of lists! Then, when looking up a symbol, the linker walks the lists in the order they are listed in the scope. But what really are the scope elements? There are two usual kinds:

  • The “global scope” – all libraries (ahem, link_maps) that have been requested to be loaded by the main program (what ldd on the binary file of the main program would print out, plus dlopen()ed stuff).

  • The “local scope” – DT_NEEDED library dependencies of the current link_map (what ldd on the binary file of the library would print out, plus dlopen()ed stuff).

The global scope is shared between all link_maps (in the current namespace), while the local scope is owned by a particular library. (FIXME) If a library has local scope element in its scope, it adds itself to that scope. E.g. assume libA dlopen()ing libB (with RTLD_LOCAL) – libB will get and own a fresh local scope element, and all libraries loaded by libB will inherit and add themselves to that local scope element.

There are then four common situations:

  • The main program has only single scope element, the global scope. (At least I would expect so, I have not verified this.)

  • A library has been loaded with RTLD_LOCAL (the default case). Then its link_map has two scope elements, first comes the global scope, then comes the local scope.

  • A library has been loaded with RTLD_LOCAL | RTLD_DEEPBIND. In that case, the link_map has again the two scope elements, but the order is switched – the local scope comes first.

  • A library has been loaded with RTLD_GLOBAL. The link_map lists only the global scope.

(Another concept is namespace; each has its own id and linked list of link_maps, but usually there are just two, one for the ld.so and another for the application. Unless you are calling dlmopen() explicitly or using the LD_AUDIT interface, you can usually assume there is only a single namespace that matters.)

Just for fun – the bug I have been hunting has been caused by ld.so not handling local scopes quite properly. Normally, when unloading the library opened with RTLD_LOCAL, all its local scope members would be unloaded too. However, such a member could be flagged as RTLD_NODELETE, and in that case, it would stay around. The problem is, the code did not expect that and would remove the local scope owner and the local scope would go along with it. This means the nodelete library dependencies would disappear from its local scope and the next time it got called (e.g. within its static destructor), trying to resolve such a symbol would cause a “unresolved symbol” fatal error.

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Note

This Article is licensed under the Creatice CommonsAttribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

It’s out! It’s out! Go to software.opensuse.org, start your download and then come back over here and I’ll tell you about all the awesome in this release of openSUSE.

I mean it. Click that link, and start the download. I’ll wait.

Alright then, first let’s talk about the game changers in openSUSE 11.4. First up is LibreOffice, which we talked a little bit about on Day Two already, but let me re-iterate: openSUSE 11.4 is the first major Linux distribution to ship LibreOffice. This release contains the result of thousands of hours of work by the LibreOffice community, all to create the absolutely best open source office suite on the planet. LibreOffice 3.3.1 in this release is faster than OpenOffice.org, more translated and offers more features thanks to the contstruction of The Document Foundation.

If a really righteous office suite isn’t enough to get your blood pumping, how about Firefox 4. The world’s most popular browser gets a major overhaul in this release of openSUSE. Thanks to some healthy competition from Microsoft and Google, the folks over at Mozilla have had a fire lit under their arses. As a result they’ve pulled out all the stops for Firefox 4, which contains some vast speed improvements such as taking advantage of hardware accelerated graphics cards when available and various UI tweaks. As if optimizations weren’t enough, they’ve also bundled support for some of the bleeding edge video standards on the web as well as solid HTML5 support.

Let’s zoom out to see the big desktop picture here. Eleven-four bundles major upgrades in three major environments:

  • XFCE 4.8: The new XFCE brings a massive revamp of the core of XFCE. The team behind the speedy desktop environment gutted some of the older, more antiquated libraries and infrastructure and built 4.8 on top of faster and more modern toolkits used by other desktop environments. This means in the new XFCE you can browse remote filesystems and mount/unmount filesystems more easily than before. On top of that, the new XFCE plays much nicer with multiple monitors than before. Jinkeys!

  • GNOME 2.32: We’ve already covered some of the updates in openSUSE 11.4′s GNOME support, but here’s a short recap. In 11.4, the team has included GNOME 3 and GNOME Shell support for users who feel like experimenting with the future of the GNOME desktop. For users who aren’t quite as experimental, fret not! 11.4 bundles GNOME 2.32, which looks like it will be the last GNOME 2 release ever. The 2.32 release includes a plethora of bug fixes, speed improvements and updates to a number of applications that are bundled with the standard GNOME desktop.

  • KDE 4.6: As I mentioned in our post on KDE, I’ve been terrifically impressed with the recent improvements both in the UI and performance of the new KDE. Thanks to some incredible work by some of the KDE crew who work with openSUSE, major applications like LibreOffice and Firefox look fantastic in KDE as do many other GNOME applications.

openSUSE 11.4 has so many great improvements across the board, that it’s really hard to list them all in any capacity. The openSUSE marketing team did an admirable job trying to put together an expansive list of highlights, which I still don’t think does this release justice.

If you’d like to learn more about openSUSE 11.4, there’s some comprehensive documentation on the openSUSE wiki.

Existing openSUSE users: You should be able to follow these instructions to upgrade your machine. Personally, I just booted from the DVD and used the “Update” portion of the installer, which is also an option.

New openSUSE users: You can try openSUSE with a Live CD (GNOME or KDE flavored), or grab an installation disc from software.opensuse.org.

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This week has been a busy week : GNOME people worked really hard on 2.91.91 release and openSUSE people worked really hard on release openSUSE 11.4.

So, let’s please everybody with this week GNOME 3 Live image 0.1.0 : it features GNOME 2.91.91 on top of the brand new openSUSE 11.4.

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Header PictureopenSUSE Forums – We celebrate the release of 11.4

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It’s the same like with every release: a bit like waiting for your birthday present, whilst knowing what it is. No surprise, yet a surprise. What can we say, the title says it all. On behalf of the openSUSE forums, I’d like to express our gratitude to all that made openSUSE 11.4 happen, and to the community for each and everyone’s contributions. A great release.

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Like with a lot of previous releases our valued global moderator oldcpu has started a thread for new opensuse users, that people should read before installing. It contains lots of links to forums posts, faqs and howto’s. Not only useful in a preinstallation stage, it’s a place where lots of forums members return for this wonderful collection of information.

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Member yasar11732 has posted this survey/poll, we will probably see more. This is a time of vibrance in the forums (and the community). Read the thread to see the votes and the motifs for voting.

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openSUSE 11.4 is there: some collected threads

With the release of openSUSE 11.4 today week, there’s a lot of activity from users testing it, here’s some links to threads referring to this. The next couple of weeeks a weekly of 11.4-specific threads will be displayed here. Here’s the ones on the RC’s that did not display correctly last week.
Post your 11.4R RC2 experience here

Broadcom BCM4313 not working on AMD64 Gnome LiveCD RC2

KRDC display problems 11.4 RC2

QtCurve configure aqua apply then curve causes plasma desktop crash

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Header PictureOn the Web

Reports

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Andreas Jaeger, Program Manager at Novell for openSUSE, has posted about an on-going discussion concerning the naming convention of openSUSE. Apparently the traditional “old school” 11.4, 12.0, 12.1, etc. might need some modernization. Developers and active users have suggested several alternatives.

Jaeger explains that despite common belief openSUSE doesn’t actually employ major and minor number versioning. So to assume that 11.4 is an update to 11.3 is incorrect. That explains all the times reviewers said things like ‘despite being only a minor version upgrade, there are enough new and updated features to warrant a major number up-tick.’ They just usually “count it always until 3.” So, next release would be 12.0.

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Reviews and Essays

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Recently it was brought to my attention that all the desktop Linux hoopla in the world doesn’t mean squat without compelling applications to get the end user interested. To address this need, I’ve rounded up fifteen powerful Linux applications that reflect the best that Linux has to offer the desktop user, both in and out of the enterprise environment.

This is not meant to diminish any excluded apps. Instead my goal is to showcase applications that I’ve found to be really powerful for the typical Linux user. (…)

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Warning!

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A bug in the Caiaq USB driver, which could be used to execute arbitrary at the kernel level has been reported by Rafael Dominguez Vega of MRW InfoSecurity.

The device drivers are vulnerable to buffer overflow condition when an USB device with an unusually long name (over 80 characters) is connected to the machine. This is due to the use of strcpy() which length is not being tested, enabling the attacker to execute malicious code on the target machine. (…)

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Header PictureCredits

We thank for this Issue:

Header PictureAcknowledgements

We thank for this Issue:

Header PictureCopyrights

List of our Licenses

Trademarks

SUSE ®, openSUSE ®, the openSUSE ® Logo and Novell ® are registered Trademarks of
Novell, Inc.

Linux ® is a registered Trademark of Linus Torvalds

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2 Responses to “openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 166 is out!”

  1. kiv

    This news issue is a great work and really informative. Thank you to every one who made possible the release of OpenSuSE 11.4 and who wrote the nice news around it.

    But why you put this bold and so annoying ownership messages every where?!? It is really unacceptable. Shall you bother to buy and ready any newsletter where the ownership for the texts is twice bigger than the headlines?
    Could you please make much more readable the headlines instead of the message for ownership of the texts? People who are going toread the news for sure are more interested for the news in self instead who is the owner of them …. :-(

    • Hi kiv, thank you very much for your productive Feedback. You’re right, the actual state of using the Infobox for every Article isn’t very good readable. I’m trying another solution in the next issue. And please feel free to share your ideas, You’re everytime welcome. cu Sascha