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openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 168 is out!

March 26th, 2011 by

We are pleased to announce our new openSUSE Weekly News Issue 168.

openSUSE Weekly News

openSUSE Weekly News

168 Edition

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Published: 2011-03-26

We are pleased to announce our 168 issue of the openSUSE Weekly News.

After some requests we have changed our handling of Licenses. In the last issue we had an Infobox over each Article, and bigger than the Title. So we have removed the
Boxes and we have now just a little Link on the End of the Article. We hoping you’re enjoy it. If you have any ideas or comments, just write a Mail to

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

Enjoy the reading :-)

Header PictureAnnouncements


A bit over one week ago, we released openSUSE 11.4 introducing many exciting new features. The
result was, as we wrote on Friday: a big splash.
The 100.000 downloads in the first 24 hours and large numbers of blogs, articles and reviews
all over the world were certainly impressive! So today we have a look at how the stats looked
after one week. Did we keep the momentum going?

On the numbers

6 days after our previous report, downloads on bittorrent moved to well over 36.000
downloads from the 12.000 in the first 24 hours. Still over 900 people are seeding. Meanwhile,
the total number of downloads on the download
has exceeded the 300.000 downloads now. Breaking the numbers down a little, we
can see what images you are choosing. With over 113.000 downloads, the i586 DVD iso is the
most popular, followed by 83.000 downloads for the 64 bit DVD. The live CD’s are going fast as
well, with over 37.000 for the KDE (32 & 64 bit) and 31.000 for the GNOME one. Quite a few
users are even opting for the networked installation CDs, with about 16.000 downloads as

Figure 1. openSUSE on Distrowatch
openSUSE on Distrowatch

After announcing
they had openSUSE 11.4 support from day 1
, the SUSE studio team let us know last week that they had 1000 appliances build with
openSUSE 11.4 in 24 hours. Well, since then, thousands more have been made! On the release
day, traffic to the SUSE Studio website spiked by 62%. Right now, SUSE Studio image building
still takes significantly longer than usual due to the continued increase in traffic… They
also let us know that it is now possible to automatically update your current
appliance to openSUSE 11.4
if you want.

Party time!

Right from the launch date on, there were launch parties all around
the world. On planet openSUSE, the first
up and the
pizza-fuelled Dutch release party had a report on connect.opensuse.org!

Figure 2. openSUSE Cake!
openSUSE Cake!

openSUSE Ambassadors in Greece brought their growing community together for a release party complete with cake. Yum!

Figure 3. Dancing avatars!
Dancing avatars!

Among the many creative approaches to launch celebrations perhaps the Geekiest was the
virtual launch party on Second Life. A DJ, chat, dancing and balloons allowed the online
community to celebrate in style at Geeko’s Place.

Reviews and articles

There are many more reviews now on the web. We have not spend much time updating our in-the-press page as there is just too
much. Just in Spain, for example, 10 major sites published reviews and notices – that is not
including blogs and many smaller sites…

We do want to point to one particular review, the one by The Linux Action show. Both
gentlemen doing this are usually not huge openSUSE fans so we greatly appreciate their glowing
review of 11.4! And, gents, count on us taking care of the thing you were missing: innovation
and fancy stuff! There are several great initiatives upcoming as we reported in this
article about 2010
and surely, more will come.

Novell and Attachmate

Of course Novell supported our release with a press announcement, mentioning some of our major new features. Chairman and CEO of
Attachmate, Jeff Hawn, conveyed congratulations on the release of openSUSE 11.4 on behalf of his

Social media stats

Our Social Media guru Chuck ‘pup’ Payne reports some fantastic participation on our
various social networking channels. The top five countries participating in our social pages
were the USA, Indonesia (who have created their own page!), Germany, India, and Italy.

Change Your Profile Pix

As a ‘last moment idea’, Chuck posted on the openSUSE page and group that users might like
to change their pix to the Geeko character that Carlos had had created. A fun way to celebrate
and promote the release. This was very successful, with 20% of users changing their profile
pictures to our geeky, suit-wearing lizard!

openSUSE Facebook Page

The stats for the official
openSUSE Facebook Page
were up 148%.

Figure 4. Facebook Interaction
Facebook Interaction

Weekly and Monthly Active User are on the rise. There was a bit of dip on March 12
(Saturday) after the release – must have been all those machines busy downloading and
installing! Page Likes are up 122% with postfeed back up 238%. The highest was the day of the
release. Post views went up 118% with post feed back being up 441%.

Figure 5. Interactions on Facebook
Interactions on Facebook


Chuck set up a feed so that posts would be sent to Twitter. It’s hard to get exact
statistics for Twitter, but over on the day we had a lot of #openSUSE tweets flying

Figure 6. Twitter Charts
Twitter Charts

We started mainly twitting and re-tweeting or news. Chuck sent direct tweets to Linux
Magazine, Linux Pro Magazine, Linux Journal, which helped because they return retweeted and
then created they own tweets with links to they websites. We really appreciated the support
from the media!


Social and more traditional media was buzzing with openSUSE activity since the release. We
had hundreds of thousands of users downloading the latest openSUSE. We had parties around the
world (and more coming up). OpenSUSE 11.4 got a lot of attention!

Thanks to Helen & Jos for writing!

License: FDL 1.2



openSUSE has cleared the first hurdle towards a series of successful Google Summer of Code
projects! As was disclosed last
Saturday by OMGSUSE
: Google has accepted our proposal and we are now a mentoring
. This means that if you’re interested in working a whole summer
FULLTIME on openSUSE and getting paid for it, this is your chance!

Figure 7. This could be a very special summer for you!
This could be a very special summer for you!

Thanks to the ideas on our GSOC 2011 ideas
and the mentors who have already stepped up, you’ll have a great start in
openSUSE development. While the number of slots is not decided yet, it is now time for you,
potential students and mentors, to start fleshing out those ideas and talk to each

What’s next?

Already the#opensuse-project IRC channel (on Freenode) is buzzing with activity. Students
and mentors are discussing the proposals – and that is exactly what is needed.


Check out the timeline on the Google Summer of Code site. Right now, you need to know the
following dates: On March 28 the student application period
opens. Yes, that is next week! Students have until April
to send in a formal proposal after which the openSUSE GSOC team will review
the applications. Then Google will make the final decisions which will be published on the
GSOC 2011
on April 25th. Mentors should start registering
, and work with their potential students to create good proposals!


If you want to be a student and work on and within openSUSE for this Google Summer of
Code, you need to start working on your proposal right away. First up, you should subscribe to
the opensuse-project mailinglist. Introduce yourself, and let people know that you are looking
for a mentor. If you are keen to dive right in, our development list is

Next up, that proposal. You might be inspired by something from the openSUSE GSOC 2011 ideas page.
There is a list of project suggestions with a variety of abilitities and skill sets including
web programming, Python, Perl and Ruby on Rails. Alternatively, suggest and idea of your

Once you have your idea, start to write! Contact the openSUSE team working in the area
you’d like to work on and see if it is something they are interested in. Try to find a mentor,
get feedback on your idea and find out if it is doable. In case you based your proposal on an
idea from the idea page, contact the mentor (if there is one already) on IRC or by mail. If
you have more generic questions you can always ask on the #opensuse-project channel on the
Freenode servers or mail the opensuse-project
mailing list.

More info about GSoC you can find on this


If you are willing to mentor a student for GSoC 2011 for openSUSE, you should start with
subscribing to the gsoc-mentors
. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the project mailing list and
IRC channels for students needing mentors. Next up is registering as a
on the Google website and contact our admin Vincent Untz to accept you. Ask questions on
the GSoC mailinglist please!

Of course you will now have to help your potential student(s) to
finish a good proposal
and keep them engaged!

Time to get started

So, gear up, friends. It is time for a Summer of writing great Code for openSUSE. Talk to
each other, ask questions, don’t be shy – and remember, there are no stupid questions, only
stupid answers! If you are unsure if you are able to do do it, please come talk to us in the
#opensuse-project channel on
the Freenode servers. Everyone has to start
somewhere, and if it turns out you’re not experienced enough yet or we don’t have a slot for
you there is no problem. We can still mentor you, help you out with setting up your
development tools, answer your coding or packaging questions and teach you the ropes of
working in a Free Software community. So you can’t lose – either way, you can be involved in
openSUSE, learn valuable skills and have some fun!

License: FDL 1.2



It’s the 20th Anniversary of Linux in August and the Linux Foundation is kicking off
celebrations at The
Collaboration Summit
which takes place April 6-8, 2011 at the Hotel Kabuki in San
Francisco. A highlight of the campaign is the annual Video Contest, which this year focuses on
the 20 year celebration and will be judged by Linux Torvalds himself.

The Linux Foundation has invited members and the community to create their own 20th
anniversary videos in advance, which will be featured on the announcement date of April 6.
Videos submitted early enough to be available during the first days of the contest will
receive additional promotion by The Linux Foundation.

This is a fantastic opportunity for video makers in the openSUSE community to get some
visibility for their work and their favorite distribution! (Not to mention showing off how
easy it is to make awesome videos with openSUSE.) So get started right away, and watch this
space for details on how to submit your video.

License: FDL 1.2


Header PictureGoogle Summer of Code


I really look for the perfect gsoc student: someone who has a brilliant idea, noone else
thought of how to improve linux in general or openSUSE in specific and just needs my

But for those that need some ideas, my best bet is really to rewrite clicfs to make it
even better. Right now clicfs is a FUSE filesystem hosting a loop image. So a page read goes
from ext4->loop->fuse->clicfs->CD->clicfs->fuse->loop->ext4.

If it lived in the kernel, it could offer a block device you mount your ext4 on, leaving
aside loop and

modprobe clicfs packfile=/read-only/openSUSE-kde.i586 cowfile=/read-write/.COWfile cowlog=/dev/ttyS0
mount /dev/clicfs/0 /mnt
chroot /mnt /bin/init

Great idea, no? For someone who wants to become famous, it would be the perfect

License: GFDL 1.2



Google’s summer of code
is approaching, and openSUSE.org got accepted as mentoring organization.

So now we are searching for students that would like to hack on one of our proposed projects from May
23rd – August 22nd (fulltime, 40h/week) being payed by Google (5000$ on success). Sounds like
a fair deal, doesn’t it?

There are even some days left to propose a new project to hack on! In that case we would
try to find a suitable mentor from our community to get you started.

There are quite some interesting project proposals on our gsoc2011 wiki page, reaching
from build service projects to SUSE Studio tools and distribution specific tools, as well as
cross-distribution efforts.

I would like to mentor a student in the OBS Mobile project which
will create a nice interface to use the buildservice from your handheld. So if you are skilled
in web technologies (jquery-mobile, rails) please apply and get the chance to hack this summer
of code on this exciting project!

To get in contact with the openSUSE community please join channel #opensuse-project on freenode, or our project mailinglist at
and we will help you to get started.



I’m blatantly abusing GSoC for a project that I would like to see in openSUSE but that
I’ve never had time to work on. But really it’s a worthwhile thing to have: a set of Plasma
widgets that users and developers can add to their workspace to make it easy to see what’s
going on in OBS in the projects that matter to them. If you want to work on a fun project with
cutting edge technologies such as Qt, QML, Plasma then head on over to the GSoC 2011
Ideas Page

License: GFDL 1.2



Google Summer of Code
(GSoC) is a program for students across the world to hack on interesting Free Software
projects and get paid for their work. Historically, the program has brought together over 4500
students with over 300 Open Source projects, to create millions of lines of code!

Of cource openSUSE hopes to participate in GSoC, while being mentored by
experienced members of the community they are working in. We have many different ideas and looking for
stundens. This is a good opportunity not only to help openSUSE and have a lot of fun working
on interesting project, but also get 5000 $ if your project will be finished successful Time for hacking is from May 23rd to August 22nd.

In my opinion one of the most interesting projects is the Build
Service Plasma Widgets
. It will be very useful, I guess.

To get in contact with us please join IRC channel #opensuse-project on freenode, or our project’s ML at
and don’t forget – we’re going to help you to


Header PictureStatus Updates

Header PictureDistribution


We finally managed to make the legal review steps transparent. So if you submit a
package now to factory, a “legal-auto” group is asked to review it – this is done by a
script of Jýrgen, which checks if the package was reviewed before. If not, a “legal-team”
group is asked to review.

So the requests no longer appear to be ignored. In future we plan to do the same with
some check-auto and check-manual to review build status and basic checks as soon as

Greetings, Stephan P.S. Right now we can’t publish new builds as kiwi requires a package
that does not exist ;(


Header PictureSUSE Studio


We’ve been working on ways to make collaboration on SUSE Studio appliances easier. The
first step down that road is to make your appliance’s build history act live a revision
control system. To that end, our beta users will find a few new features available to
them:viewing an appliance’s complete configuration on one page; the opportunity to branch an
appliance by cloning a specific version; and a dynamically generated changelog between each
version. (…)


Team Report

Header PictureBuild Service Team


I like to suggest a general policy for openSUSE:Factory project to document from where
a tar ball (or any other file from upstream) is comming from. Why that ? It makes it much
easier to review version updates and it guarantees that no one can inject some mal code
via a modifed tar ball.

So far I added the source services “download_url” and
“tar_scm” to our OBS instance, which downloads the files and stores them as
files via a commit. Some people use them already, some others don’t like them because they
store the files with _service: prefix.

In last hackweek, I added another way to handle this, which I would like to request as
setup and policy for openSUSE:Factory project. You can add a project wide source service,
for example the new “download_files” service. That would mean that no needs
to add a _service file to the sources anymore. It is enough to add an URL to the spec file
Source: tags. The service will automatically download it from there.

But that does mean we still have have _service:download_files:osc-0.1.tar.bz2 file
names ? Not when we also add the new“ trylocal” parameter and use latest osc
versions. This parameter will let act osc to execute the services, but name the files
without prefix and commit them together with the other files.

Where is the advantage then ? The server is still validating that this is an identical
file. It downloads it again and compares it. In case it is the same file, nothing will

What will happen, when the file differes ? We basically have two options, either we
can let the service mark the source as broken or we would store the file with _service:
prefix again.

The later mode has the advantage that you can still do version upgrades via slow
connections and let the server download the files.

Please find some more details about new possibilities with the source services here.

An example setup for this can be tested via

osc bco home:adrianSuSE:FactoryTest bc

and do for example a version downgrade to 1.05 version to see how it works. Please
note that you need the osc from openSUSE:Tools:Unstable project for this.

We can also apply the still suse-internal spec formater and validator scripts via this
way later one.

Another advantage of this setup would be the new “update_source” service,
which could run in some openSUSE:Factory:AutoUpdate project and tries automatic version
upgrades when upstream releases a new version. They could be reviewed and just picked
(directly or with additional manual fixes).

License: GFDL 1.2



OSC is a console client for
openSUSE Build Service. It’s written on
python and easy in studying and using packager’s tool. However there are situations when
its functionality is not enough; sometimes we need something special. In this case to us
will help plug-in mechanism, which in osc is realised very simply.

Plugin can use all of
the features, which already implemented osc, as well as provide an output in a convenient
format for you. For example, if I want to check changes in kdelibs4 between openSUSE:11.3
and openSUSE:11.4, I can do something like

> osc rdiff openSUSE:11.3 kdelibs4 openSUSE:Factory kdelibs4

After that I will receive a detailed output about all changes. Yes, that’s great… but
not always it’s convenient. For example, in this case output will contain more than 2000
strings, and I need time to find, say, a *.changes file if I want quickly to understand
that has been changed. In case if I want to transfer output to processing to another
program (as often happens in practice), I have to shape this data. Unfortunately osc is
not as intelligent and can’t show changes from one file (from *.changes, for example)


Build Service Statistics. Statistics can found at Buildservice

Header PictureGNOME Team


As always, another week, another release, aka 0.1.1

This week release is a polish release :

  • very few package changes

  • many services are disabled when booting live CD, improving its loading

  • password is no longer asked at all in live CD for root or standard (tux)

  • when installing the image on a system (add liveinstall parameter on bootloader),
    some services are enabled back (apparmor, preload, firewall), thanks to Chris

Another service announcement : my GNOME3 openSUSE 11.3 repository will soon be removed
; packages will be only available for openSUSE 11.4 (same OBS
). Therefore, I strongly suggest to upgrading your system to openSUSE

You know the url to fetch the latest release : http://gnome3.org/tryit.html



This week release is version 0.2.0. It features GNOME 2.91.92, including :

  • soon to be released Network Manager 0.9 and new UI integrated in GNOME Shell and
    GNOME Control Center (be careful, it has still rough edges)

  • a11y support should be improved

If you have installed this image or if you use the home:fcrozat:gnome3 openSUSE and want to upgrade
to 2.91.92, you can update using zypper up (if you
still want to keep Network Manager 0.8) or zypper dup
(if you want to switch to NM 0.9). Some packages might be uninstalled in the

Image is, as always, available at http://gnome3.org/tryit.html


Header PictureopenFATE Team

Top voted Features

“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?”



“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.


“Integrate the YaST modules in the KDE “System settings” application. Not only with just 1 item that launched YaST, but with 1 item for each YaST module being directly visible in KDE System settings – in the right group. YaST NTP for example in the “Networking” group, YaST Boot loader in “System” …”



“Global Menu is a GNOME and KDE plugin making great waves in the ubuntu circa. If it were ported to openSUSE then the Mac look and feel aspect could be furthered and the desktop of openSUSE could receive a face-lift possibility which is very very user-friendly.”



“I use xautolck to close truecrypt volumes after inactivity. Recently I discovered that the max time of inactivity is 60 minutes. I also found that by editing xautolock.c in the source, changing the time given with “define MAX_MINUTES” to another value is sufficient. I changed it to 240, for my case sufficient. But then I have to recompile it. Would it be possible to have a higher default time in the included xautolck rpm, I suppose there are more people who would benefit from it and it is easy to accomplish.”



“I’m consulting the openSUSE community regarding the creation of a openSUSE GNOME2 spin featuring some ‘special’ features and with a heavy customization layer, including some testing software.
The main purpose for this is to present a openSUSE powered competitor to what is happening on other distributions, and to rival strong names such as Mint Linux, Fusion (Fedora), Fuduntu (Fedora) and friends… (…)”



“We really need to make default KDE theme green, to match whole system greenish appearance. It’s involves just two steps: make default green icon set (like
http://gnome-look.org/content/show.php/Oxygen-Refit+2+-+Green+Version?content=84683 ) and make default green colours (like
http://kde-look.org/content/show.php/Ordinary+Green?content=107944 ) “


Feature Statistics

Statistics for openSUSE distribution in

Header PictureOpenOffice/LibreOffice Team


I’m happy to announce LibreOffice 3.3.2 bugfix
for openSUSE. The packages are
available in the Build Service LibreOffice:Stable project. They fix various crashers, usability and
translation problems, see the libreoffice- release news for more details. See also some notes about
openSUSE LibreOffice

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.

Other information and plans:

The 3.3.2 packages includes KDE3 support again. Thanks Lubos Lunak
who fixed all known issues and Ilya Chernykh who helped
with packaging.

The 3.3.2 release is in a very good shape, so we
decided to slow down the bug fixes release cycle. You might expect the 3.3.3 bug fix release two months from now.

LO-3.4 feature freeze is pretty close and we will
start producing test packages in the LibreOffice:Unstable project. Please, be patient because there are many
interesting changes in the build framework. They are good for the future but I expect some
problems with packaging. I hope that I will manage to provide something by the end of

License: GFDL 1.2


Header PictureTesting Team


The Testing Core Team will hold an IRC meeting on March 28, 2011 at 17:00 UTC. The
time change reflects that nearly everyone is now on summer time.

We will be finalizing our plans for the next “Open Bugs Day”, which will be from 00:00
to 23:59 UTC, Saturday April 2, 2011. As written before, the emphasis will be on
identifying those bugs reported for 11.2 and older that are still present in 11.4. We will
not attempt to squash these bugs, but to make sure that none have been forgotten. After
the release of 11.5 M5, we will have a bug-squashing day. We will also be testing and
commenting on the Web application that Bernhard Wiedermann has written to help in bug
selection and processing.

This will be the last Weekly News before the event. Please plan to join the bug
identification effort. The specific Web links for “Open Bugs Day” are not available to me
now; however, you will be able to access them from http://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:Testing.


Header PictureTranslation Team

Header PictureIn the Community

Postings from the Community


As you might have noticed, there is a little bit of a brush-up between GNOME and
Canonical with KDE involved from the sidelines (just read Planet GNOME). Dave wrote a reasonable
summary of this
and so did
Jeff Waugh in his series on the relationship between Canonical and GNOME
. In three

“Canonical gets a lot of criticism for creating a fork of the GNOME experience
with Unity, instead of contributing upstream to GNOME Shell. Canonical responds that Unity
was meant to be a GNOME project and their contributions are being blocked (giving
libindicators as example). Suddenly Aaron Seigo from KDE weighted in, saying GNOME is
indeed hard to work with.

I’ve been reading up on it and to some extend participating in the discussion on identi.ca. As you
know, I’m interested in the subject of collaboration and this is a case where it clearly
didn’t work out for a variety of reasons. In this blog I won’t try to weight in on the topic
itself but rather argue that the psychological construct of “the fundamental
attribution error
can explain much of the conflict and how to avoid it.

But let’s start with a sample of the discussion.

forming an opinion

I’m not exactly the type of person who makes up his mind easily. And the stories that
came out of this debate were highly conflicting and confusing. According to this, Canonical discourages its employees from contributing upstream. However,
Aaron claims GNOME does not WANT to collaborate. And Mark blogs:

“Jeff also goes on to talk about Ted and Aurelien, who were proposing the app
indicators work in GNOME and KDE respectively. KDE apps worked smoothly, Gnome rejected
Ted’s proposal.

So GNOME is uncooperative? Or does Canonical not get it, as Dave claimed? Is KDE just
pushing things without listening? Depends on your point of view – the facts are vague. Read
for example this thread on freedesktop.org about the StatusNotifier (systray) spec – there is
about a 50% chance you’ll decide KDE is the uncooperative one… This thread was referenced
several times as proof Party X was inflexible and rude – where X was sometimes GNOME and
sometimes KDE!

Figure 8. I say opinions are cool!
I say opinions are cool!

Makes you wonder what is going on…

So what is real?

A few days ago I had a call with Jeff
. He offered to talk in a
and I’m glad he did. Of course, as usual the whole situation is more
complicated than what you can discuss in 140 characters on twitter. The talk was very
enlightening and made me think of a psychological concept.

The fundamental attribution error

Figure 9. Call it a family trait…
Call it a family trait...

People tend to attribute what happens around us in the world to intentions. We believe
things happen for a reason. This is quite a strong human tendency already present in very
young children. Put a 3 year old in front of a room where stones are moved around by some
invisible means like magnets. Ask the kid what is going on and he or she will describe the
events in the room in terms of “the blue stone wants to talk to the reevd one”. We know stones
usually don’t really want a lot – so why does the child perceive such intentions? This
phenomenon not only forms the base of early religions (attributing ‘intentions’ to weather,
trees or growth of crops) but also results in making conflicts worse. Psychologists call it
“the fundamental
attribution error”
and it is fundamental (hence the name) to our perception of the

So the reality is, besides that stones and trees don’t have ‘goals’ and ‘intentions’,
that often things happen for other reasons than someone having the intent to do that
specific thing. Or in English, if a specification gets critical comments – maybe the
respondent might have had other reasons than just wanting to be a jerk. Like being busy,
tired or having misunderstood/missed a part of the discussion.

Reality applied

Figure 10. Reality?

The talk with Jeff made clear that the major reason for GNOME not supporting the
systemtray spec was timing, not lack of interest The focus of the GNOME project right now is
understandably narrow: get GNOME 3 out the door. Something like interoperability, no matter
how important, is not on top of the agenda. Jeff said he expects the FD.o systray spec to be
supported hopefully in GNOME 3.2! The lesson: sometimes things interfere with cooperation.
And the ‘other camp’, blissfully unaware of the real reasons behind lack of response or rude
behavior, attributes it to a lack of willingness and support.

As another example, take the adoption of the Galago (notification) specification and what went wrong according to this message by John Palmieri. And about GNOME
and Canonical having misunderstandings: Stuart Jarvis
blogged how hard understanding a Free Software community can be.

Now I’m not going to attempt to unravel all the events that led to this blog as that
would simply be impossible. Nor will I attempt to figure out ‘who is to blame’ as that’s
pointless (and wrong anyway, as I argued above). What I can do is ask those involved to
think about the fundamental attribution error: if someone looks
funny at you, it doesn’t mean they hate you
. They might have something stuck in
their eye!


Ok, so maybe the others don’t hate you. That doesn’t solve the problem – yet. We all
need to step up and do something. What?

Make collaboration an explicit focus

Figure 11. *snap*

I wrote about
collaboration before
and at FOSDEM there was a cross-distro-collaboration
. As I said there, a big blocker for more openness is that we simply
don’t think about collaboration. We need to be aware of the opportunities for and benefits
of collaboration. The whole discussion that I started this blog with might be negative and
things are all a bit tense right now, but it shines the spotlight on something that needs
attention! And positive initiatives like Appstream are
happening. As Seif
wrote on his blog:

“And if you haven’t noticed we are working with GNOME Shell, Unity and KDE. So a
sense of collaboration is possible ;)

It just needs us to take notice! So, Mark, maybe blog about Appstream? It’s using Ubuntu
Software Center for the GNOME side, after all… Let’s also focus on the positive

Talk together face to face!

It is important to talk about concerns and frustrations. Considering the distance
Brazil-Australia the best Jeff and I could do was a phone call but it was certainly
enlightening. And I bet that you’ll notice the same when you finally get to talk to those
you’ve been fighting with on IRC and mailing lists for so long… Even then, realize that
one single person does not define his or her whole project. Not everyone in KDE is as jumpy
as Aaron; not everyone in GNOME is as French as Vincent Untz. It is important to share the
results of a chat as well – blog about it (if your blog is aggregated on your projects’
planet), or add results to a wiki or commit logs etcetera. Make sure the positive results

Allison wrote he also
wants to start a bit of a discussion
in the cross-desktop area which I welcome and
support. Sounds like something which could make an impact and Allison, if you want my help,
let me know what I can do.

Take advantage of events to meet

Don’t overlook the opportunity to meet at events. For example, there is the Linux
Foundation’s Collaboration Summit in San Fransisco in a few weeks. It is co-located with Camp KDE which seems to me an excellent opportunity for
stakeholders to get together. Go a few days before the Collaboration Summit starts so you
can get some face to face time with desktop folks.

Figure 12. Time for a group hug?
Time for a group hug?

Then of course in August, there is the Desktop
. I’m one of the organizers and while collaboration isn’t always perfect,
the team has a common goal: organize a great event! Like the previous Desktop Summit in Gran
Canaria I hope we can make some steps forward. This Desktop Summit will have collaboration
even higher on its agenda than the last one and I hope this will have positive

Figure 13. Gran Canaria Desktop Summit
Gran Canaria Desktop Summit

Doing more, moving forward

There certainly is more we can do to solve the conflicts. With apologies for the irony
here, more blogs trying to analyze the whole thing may simply be fueling the flames more
than extinguish them. Talking to people works better. I don’t claim there was no talk,
there was. However, much communication we do happens over the web. And as we are
all aware, that can easily lead to misunderstandings. So the face to face meetings I
suggest, as well as an awareness of biases like the fundamental attribution error, can
contribute to solving these conflicts in a more effective manner. As long as the results get
documented in a few (public!) places and as such don’t get forgotten the results of such
meetings can be good and long lasting!

Personally, I’ll stay away from the subject now – I’ve dented, tweeted and now blogged
enough about it. I’ll focus on the positive – including the Desktop Summit. And making sure
the next openSUSE conference will have as much of a collaborative atmosphere as the last

License: CC-BY-SA



Last weekend I spent on Chemnitzer
Linuxtage 2011
which is a popular linux event in Chemnitz, Germany. It was the
first time I have been there and was very positively surprised. It is a very well organised
event, in a building providing the perfect environment and a large amount of volunteers
helping to make the whole weekend enjoyable and relaxed. Thanks for that, it really was fun
to meet so many people in this all-inclusive atmosphere

openSUSE had a booth there (thanks Fedora for the picture) and we were lucky enough to
have brand new 11.4 promo DVDs there which were handed to interested people. openSUSE 11.4
in general is very well received at most visitors, they were quite happy with our latest
release. That is also true for the feelings for openSUSE all over: I heard so much positive
feedback about what we do and how we do it, for example the OBS with the collaboration
features, the distribution or the activity all over. People recognize our efforts.

I gave a talk about Kraft, as people
hinted me that there might be the right audience for the topic of Linux in the small
business. The interest was huge, the room was more than full and people seemed to like the
way I was approaching the challenge. Unfortunately I had to fight with the notebook/beamer
phalanx in the beginning (I apologize for that) so that I had to skip the live demo of Kraft
in the end. But still I got a lot of interesting discussions afterwards and got some nice
contributions already. Thanks for that.

On saturday noon there was a “Distribution competition” where I was pulled
in to show openSUSE. It went ok for all distros taking part and was fun for us presenting

Booster Michal was giving a workshop about creating packages in the OBS for multiple
distributions and a very well “received whats new in 11.4?” talk was given by
Sirko in the beginners track.

It was a great event, even though I quite exhausted arrived home late on sunday night. I
will be there next year again.

License: GFDL 1.2



The weekend on Chemnitzer Linux Tage happened in a very nice atmosphere at the TU

The Oyranos booth had this year lots of place to show ideas on the hot topics like
desktop and print colour management. Unfortunately my long planed co exhibitor could not
make it to Chemnitz to show openSUSE-medical. We planed to display medical images on a
properly setup 30-bit system as is required by the DICOM specification. Sirko Kemter
designed one artistic 2 meter banner and helped with the basic design of the other posters,
which we used for the new space. The Oyranos posters included some schematic graphics and
the usual “Why do we need colour management” style explanations. For the later one I
sketched a comparison of three non colour managed monitors showing the same fashion person.
The SVG graphics from the open clip art library was colour converted to three real world
monitor profiles. It resembles a typical shop over web situation, where colour counts for
selection of the right looking goods.

Several visitors allowed me to start the actual SuseStudio created Oyranos LiveCD on
their laptops with different success. We used the exhibited measurement devices and a camera
target to create custom ICC profiles for use in digikam, Scribus, Inkscape and friends. The
LiveCD is still based on openSUSE-11.3 and worked in many but not all cases. I found it
impressive how good looked the featured KDE desktop, when the CompICC plug-in launched
immediately. Working OpenGL, which is needed for the desktop colour server shader, was still
not always available.

The newest openSUSE-11.4 version was demonstrated on the neighboring openSUSE booth.
openSUSE-11.4 was released only some days ago. The OBS color_management repository was updated
with the help of Stanislav Brabec just some days before to have nearly all packages build
for 11.4. Thus Oyranos workes flawless on 11.4 too.

All in all a great weekend with lots of good talks and meeting of old and new



The deadline for the Call for
of the Berlin Desktop
is approaching. The deadline for submitting proposals for presentations and
lightning talks is tomorrow. So you still have the chance to submit a presentation and talk
about your work on the free desktop at the wonderful event in Berlin that the desktop summit
promises to be. It takes place from 6th to 12th August this year and combines the annual
conferences of the KDE and GNOME communities.

Some of you might think that your contributions to the free desktop to the event are not
relevant enough to warrant submitting a talk. That often is not true. While we will have
well-known speakers who have done ground-breaking things on the free desktop, we all have
started small, and sometimes especially the small projects, which are still young, are the
most interesting ones to hear about. So please don’t hesitate to try it, submit a
presentation, talk about the projects you are passionate about, share the love for the free
desktop with the community. Berlin is the right place for this.


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


Should you read this in a blogroll, and think what you read is from outer space: This article is about the
SMB Traffic Analyzer project, more information is here.

The team is happy to announce the release of SMB Traffic Analyzer
. It is loaded with new features and lots of bug fixes, driving SMBTA
forward in terms of scalability, performance, and functionality. Let’s dive into and begin
with the most important news on smbtad, the daemon program
collecting data. A problem identified by several users was the fact that the created database
grows too large after a short time. Well, at this level smbtad
was doing real data mining and stores any single VFS function in it’s database. A
copy of a single file that is larger than a megabyte could create more than a hundred entries
in the database. smbtad now solves this issue with a reworked
cache subsystem that is implemented as a bi-tree algorithm adding up similar VFS entries for
up to 5 seconds, and thus creating an interpolation of the data to be stored. The result is a
much smaller database and should make smbtad much faster. The
user can change the time period while smbtad is summing up similar entries, and also force
smbtad to do full data mining if wanted. (bnc#669679).

If your main target for using SMB Traffic Analyzer is to generate graphics with rrddriver or to run smbtamonitor,
there are good news. The database handling in smbtad can be completely
shut down.
In this mode, smbtad only acts as a repeater, sending the data to the
real-time clients, without the overhead of maintaining the database. The client programs have
been adapted for this (bnc#668193).We have implemented a way
to parse data from the VFS module without re-allocating the data in the systems memory. This
makes smbtad much faster, reduces memory handling a lot, and much of the underlying code has
been simplified (bnc#671346). The real time monitor code had
problems when several smbtamonitor instances where connected, and the throughput display did
not work in 1.2.2. As a consequence, we reworked the monitor code, simplified the code a lot,
and removed throughput calculation from smbtad, reimplementing it in the smbtamonitor client (bnc#669809).

Figure 14. This picture is showing the HTML output of a fuzzy search done on a SMBTA Stresstest appliance.
This picture is showing the HTML output of a fuzzy search done on a SMBTA Stresstest appliance.

Due to a bug in the CmakeFile of 1.2.2. both smbtad and smbtatools where unable to install
anywhere else than /usr; the installation prefix can now be given with the
CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX variable (bnc#673767). The smbtatorturesrv program, distributing unique filenames and supporting
smbtatorture when running networked and in parallel, sometimes crashed on 32bit architectures,
fixed in bnc#667101.

Two new functions have been added to smbtatools. First off, there’s now a fuzzy search
function in smbtaquery, allowing to do searches over the
whole data set and supports unix wildcards. If the given search pattern is found, the function
is identifying the object (bnc#599145).

Figure 15. SMBTA Stresstest
SMBTA Stresstest

Also, smbtaquery, now includes a throughput calculation
function, to let the user
quickly view the data throughput of an object over the last minutes, hours or even days
(bnc#668190). As mentioned before, throughput display in
smbtamonitor did not work in 1.2.2. smbtamonitor now does this on it’s own, no longer requesting this calculation
work from smbtad, and the interface has been slighty reworked. And finally, it now has
keyboard handling.

The “top” function of smbtaquery has been reworked to display more information on the
entries in the produced list. With every user and share, the domain is listed, and with any
file, the corresponding share and domain is shown additionally (bnc#668172).

The SMBTA documentation has of course been updated to reflect the current state and is
already uploaded here. openSUSE’s Buildservice already consumed SMB Traffic
Analyzer 1.2.3, and downloads are available. Furthermore, with version 1.2.3, SMB
Traffic Analyzer
debuts on Gentoo
, and shall be available in the Gentoo Software directory soon. Of course, SMB
Traffic Analyzer should appear in openSUSE Tumbleweed very

Figure 16. The german ADMIN magazine released an extensive article about SMB Traffic Analyzer
The german ADMIN magazine released an extensive article about SMB Traffic Analyzer

In other news, SMB Traffic Analyzer recently got print media attention with a six page long, workshop-like
about it in the German ADMIN Magazine. The article is very detailed and
really good in showing what SMB Traffic Analyzer can do and how to configure it, and even
describes the SMBTA Stresstest appliance! Good stuff, the SMBTA Development team is happy
about this work and suggests to buy the magazine if you read German and are interested in SMB
Traffic Analyzer. Moreover, we added a new page “Develop/Contact/Contribute” to the homepage, to make it easier for people to get
into SMB Traffic Analyzer development, or for users to talk about SMBTA. A new release of the
SMBTA Stresstest appliance is ahead, including SMBTA 1.2.3, making it easy to give it a quick
test. Stay tuned.


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: java-1_6_0-ibm,java-1_5_0-ibm,java-1_4_2-ibm
Announcement ID: SUSE-SA:2011:014
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 12:00:00 +0000
Affected Products: SUSE SLES 9 Open Enterprise Server Novell Linux POS 9 SLE SDK 10 SP3 SUSE Linux
Enterprise Desktop 10 SP3 SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP3 SUSE Linux Enterprise SUSE
Linux Enterprise Software Development Kit 11 SP1 SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11
Vulnerability Type: remote code execution



Table 2. Security Announce
Package: kernel
Announcement ID: SUSE-SA:2011:015
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2011 16:00:00 +0000
Affected Products: SLE SDK 10 SP3 SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 SP3 SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10
Vulnerability Type: remote denial of service



Dear opensuse-security-announce subscribers and openSUSE users, SUSE Security announces
that the SUSE Security Team will stop releasing updates for openSUSE
11.2 soon
. Having provided security-relevant fixes for the last two releases and
two months, we will stop releasing updates after May 12th
. Discussions on whether a community driven extension of the maintenance like
Evergreen for openSUSE 11.1 are ongoing. As a consequence, the openSUSE 11.2 distribution
directory on our server download.opensuse.org will be removed from /distribution/11.2/ to free
space on our mirror sites. The 11.2 directory in the update tree /update/11.2 will follow, as
soon as all updates have been published. (…)


Header PictureKernel Review


Among the additions for kernel version .39 are the Xen network
backend, support for ipset, and the rudimentary Poulsbo graphics driver; the kernel hackers
have now also completely eradicated the BKL. Greg Kroah-Hartman has taken up maintaining the
series 33 kernel again because it is the basis of the real-time branch.

Less than 24ýhours after releasing Linux 2.6.38 on
Tuesday last week
, Linus Torvalds started merging the changes for Linux 2.6.39.
Among the commits that have already been added is the Xen network
for Dom0 kernels – however, the storage backend also required for operating
a meaningful Dom0 has not yet made it into the kernel.

As expected, the last remaining components that use the Big Kernel Lock (BKL) have now
been removed, allowing the kernel hackers to completely eradicate the lock via a commit
entitled “BKL:That’s all,
. Among the new
is the support for the sixth generation of the ipset program for optimising certain netfilter
policies. In the staging area, the developers also added a
rudimentary graphics driver for the GMA500 graphics chip found in Intel’s US15W
chip-set, also known as Poulsbo. (…)


Header PictureTips and Tricks

For Desktop Users


Firefox 4′s brand new Sync feature is one of the main attractions of the latest release. It allows you to sync browser data, such as bookmarks, preferences, history, and tabs – but not extensions – across multiple Firefox installations. Here’s how it’s done… (…)



Google’s WebM project, the free and open video codec based on VP8, offers tantalizing benefits for fans of Linux and open source: better quality, plus full support in the browser and other applications, thanks to the lack of royalty-demanding patent holders. Often overlooked in the WebM story is the other media format unveiled by Google at the same time: WebP, a lossy still-image format said to provide better-than-JPEG quality at substantially slimmer file sizes. Is WebP poised to displace the stodgy old photo format? Let’s take a look at the free tools available for writing, converting, and displaying WebP files to find out. (…)


For Commandline/Script Newbies


Our “5 days of find” tutorial series is in full swing. This short-course includes tutorials, videos and exercises which are rolled out each day in an effort to help admins use the find command more confidently.

* The Basics of find

* find Criteria

* Using Time Criteria with find

* find with Multiple Expressions


For Developers and Programmers


While browsing across some open-source projects, I have seen code snippets of

for (i = 0; i < n; ++ i )

The pre-increment “++ i” confused me as to why one should use it, as post
increment is most commonly used. Googling told me that pre-increment is faster than post increment as the value of i need not be stored to a temporary register before the increment operation. This sounded logical to me and I believed it
and used pre-increment in all my loops. I didn’t bother to measure it though. (…)



In order to use iTunes University, I had to install iTunes on my notebook that is
running openSUSE 11.4. It is quite easy to get some old version of iTunes from http://www.oldapps.com/itunes.php but
trying to install it on a 64bit machine with wine always failed.

In the end, I could install a 32bit version by doing the following:

rm -rf ~/.wine #(don’t do this if you have other wine applications installed, it basically kills any previous wine installation)
export WINEARCH=win32
wine ~/Downloads/iTunesSetup1021.exe

To start iTunes later on, it is sufficient to run the following

wine c:/Program\ Files/iTunes/iTunes.exe

Unfortunately, with most of the available courses on iTunes University, I get conversion
errors. To circumvent this, I just download the respective courses and view them with

cd ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/iTunes U/
mplayer -vo xv <course file>

This is not too nice, but at least it allows me to view iTunes U courses without the
need for an operating system I do not own.



First Hermit Hello, are you a hermit by any chance?

Second Hermit Yes that’s right. Are you a hermit?

First Hermit Yes, I certainly am.

Second Hermit Well I never. What are you getting away from?

First Hermit Oh you know, the usual – people, chat, gossip, you know.

Second Hermit Oh I certainly do – it was the same with me. I mean there comes a time when you realize there’s no good frittering your life away in idleness and trivial chit-chat.

If you remember back a few tutorials ago, we learnt how to pickle objects so that we could get them back later. To pickle the object triviaQuestions (which was a list object)
we first imported the pickle module, then opened a file
and dumped the object into the file, then close()d the

->code snippet removed to note [1] because I don’t want you typ




After having seen this kind of question several times, I think it could be interesting
to start creating a small ‘series of rpmlint errors and their typical fixes”.

Interested in it? So welcome to part #1 (this issue). The “series” is not really fledged
out, but I will try to write post for various errors / topics, as they come along. Just drop
me a note with an error you have seen / experienced in OBS while building a package.

So what does it mean, if OBS tells you this:

Expression compares a char* pointer with a string literal. Usually a strcmp() was
intended by the programmer

Let’s have a look at a very simple C program, to show the

#include <stdio.h>
int main() {
char *mytext;
mytext = “Help”;
if (mytext == “Help”) {
printf(“This should raise a warning”);
return 0;

Trying to compile this very simple C program, which on first sight many would probably
say this is correct, will result in

$ gcc test1.c -Wall
test1.c: In function ‘main’:
test1.c:6:14: warning: comparison with string literal results in unspecified behavior

So, even though we had such an easy program, line 6 seems to be an issue for

if (mytext == “Help”) {

The issue, as simple as it may sound, is the comparison of a pointer (char *) with a
literal (“Help”).

So how do we fix it? It involves changing the code, thus writing a patch (there are many
good helps around for this… I won’t dive into patching here).. Of course, after having
written a patch, be a good downstream, send it upstream! What you want to do here is to
replace this comparison with strcmp (just as OBS’ error message implied).

Look at this code

#include <stdio.h>
#include <string.h>
int main() {
char *mytext;
mytext = “Help”;
if (strcmp(mytext,”Help”)==0) {
printf(“No warning here\n”);
return 0;

I changed “mytext == “Help” to strcmp(mtext,”Help”)==0 (man 3 strcmp will explain you why… 0 means
the texts are equal, or ’0 difference detected’ can help you remember that). As the code was
too simple and strcmp was not yet defined (this of course can also happen in packages you
patch), I had to add an additional #include

Not too hard, is it?

So what do you think? Such a series of “how to fix my typical brp / lint warnings”


For System Administrators


When discovering the /sys file system, one can find quite a number of tunables that look
interesting and really have effect on system behavior. Especially when experimenting with
different values of read ahead for block devices or e.g. setting the stripe_cache_size for
raid5, the performance for my software raid was improved a lot.

To make that settings permanent, one can try and go for /etc/init.d/boot.local. More
elegant however is to add some udev rule that does the necessary changes for you. It turns
out, that this is quite easy. For example, the read ahead for block devices is found in
/sys/block/*/bdi/read_ahead_kb. To check your current read ahead of /dev/sda, you may

cat /sys/block/sda/bdi/read_ahead_kb

However you may also want to change that setting. To accomplish that, just echo the
desired number into the read

echo 4100 > /sys/block/sda/bdi/read_ahead_kb

To automatically do the setting when the device appears, just add the following file to

cat /etc/udev/rules.d/83-ra.rules
# increase readahead for sd* devices
ACTION==”add”, KERNEL==”sd*”, ATTR{bdi/read_ahead_kb}=”4100″

When adding a udev rule for this, one just needs to know that “==” (two equal signs) is
a check, and “=” (one equal sign) is a setting.

Note, that some devices may take the read ahead from the underlying device; noteably
when using drbd, setting the read ahead on the underlying device will have the desired



Solr is the popular, blazing fast open source enterprise search platform from the Apache Lucene project. Its major features include powerful full-text search, hit highlighting, faceted search, dynamic clustering, database integration, and rich document (e.g., Word, PDF) handling. I use this on OpenSUSE and Debian (minor tweaks on Debian, just paths to correct but it’s almost the same). Packages from 4 of March 2011. (…)



Von den bisher vorgestellten Themen in LPIC 201 ist das folgende eines der
interessanteren: Backup und Archivierung! Wie in den Artikeln vorher schon erwýhnt, ersetzt
RAID nicht wirklich ein Backup und LVM schon gar nicht! Es muss also trotzdem noch eine
Lösung her – und um die kýmmern wir uns jetzt!


Header PicturePlanet SUSE


Shortly after the initial release of openSUSE 11.4, I posted some giant
BitTorrent links
to speed up your downloading of openSUSE. Now that the initial
flood of downloads has come and gone, I wanted to report back with some statistics shared by
openSUSE Contributor Marcus

Note: These numbers
are for BitTorrent downloads only.

As of last Thursday (March 17th), the numbers broke down as follows:

  • Full DVD images downloaded: 8228

  • Live CD images downloaded: 4009

If you’re not terrifically familiar with the way that BitTorrent works, all users are
constantly sharing data with one another but users fall into two buckets:
“leechers” and “seeders”. The “leechers” are users
who don’t yet have the complete file, while the
“seeders” have fully completed their download and are only uploading to the other users. In short, having a lot of seeders means you
have a good healthy torrent and downloads for new folks will be fast.

As of last Thursday, both the 32-bit and the 64-bit DVD images had over one thousand seeders, 20% more
seeders than leechers too! That is incredibly awesome!

Marcus went on to say:

“I tested on friday morning and peaked at 11.2MB/s download speed for torrent which
is almost max speed of my line.

This means if you download the DVD image right now, you
are likely going download openSUSE as fast as technically possible!

License: CC-BY-SA



Community member Brandon Philips introduced search.opensuse.org to the world on
the opensuse-projectmailing
. The site is a simple, fast Google-powered search engine for openSUSE.org, the
forums, the wiki and the mailing lists.

If you’re interested in checking out the code behind search.opensuse.org, head on over to the repository on

License: CC-BY-SA



With the release of openSUSE
, I would like to start talking more and more about SUSE Studio. While SUSE Studio might not be a terribly
useful tool for the average end-user, for power-users and developers it is quite an impressive
piece of technology, built on top of openSUSE and KIWI.

For developers, imagine creating an image of the ideal
test machine, complete with repositories from the openSUSE Build Service already enabled and all the necessary dependencies already
installed. SUSE Studio does that.

For power-users, imagine having a USB stick or a Live CD with your completely
personalized, custom version of openSUSE. All set up and ready to go, whenever you need it.
SUSE Studio does that.

With the initial release of 11.4, SUSE Studio announced
support for 11.4 appliances
. Which means you could create a custom openSUSE 11.4
appliance while your ISO was
downloading off BitTorrent

Now the team has gone a step further, allowing you to upgrade
existing 11.3 appliances to openSUSE 11.4
, with a single button click on SUSEStudio.com. See

(In case you’re wondering, the SUSE Studio mascot is named “Dister” and he’s a robot. A
friendly robot, with three friendly fingers.)

License: CC-BY-SA



It’s been a little over a week since openSUSE
was released out into the wild. As with any release of any single piece or
collection of software, there will of course be a few pretty annoying bugs,
but have they been enough to hold you back from trying out 11.4?

Have you taken the plunge, still cautious?

We want to know!

License: CC-BY-SA


Header PictureOn the Web



Members of the European Parliament and their assistants are
participating in this year’s Document Freedom Day, a ‘grassroots effort to educate the
public about the importance of Free Document Formats and Open Standards in general’,
according to an announcement on the organisation’s website. The three are hosting several
presentations, in the Paul-Henri Spaak building of the European Parliament in Brussels, on

MEPs Malika Benarab-Attou, Indrek Tarand and Karima Delli are taking part “to emphasize
the opportunities offered by digital technologies to broaden access to culture in Europe and
in the world”, writes MEP Malika Benarab-Attou on her website. The MEPs say all documents
formats and document applications should be readably by any machine and for any person. “The
public domain needs to be protected from erosion and on the contrary nourished and

The MEPs have organised three presentations on open documents, by Stefan Gradmann,
Professor of Library and Information Science at Humboldt-University in Berlin, by Hýkon Wium
Lie, Chief Technology Officer of Opera Software and Kaido Kikkas, Associate Professor at the
Estonian Information Technology College and Associate Professor of Social and Free Software
at Tallinn University, in Estonia. (…)



PORTLAND, Ore. — March 21, 2011 — Six companies that own and operate some of the largest networks in the world — Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Verizon, and Yahoo! — announced today the formation of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting a new approach to networking called Software-Defined Networking (SDN). Joining these six founding companies in creating ONF are 17 member companies, including major equipment vendors, networking and virtualization software suppliers, and chip technology providers.

In the past two decades, enormous innovation has taken place on top of the Internet architecture. Email, e-commerce, search, social networks, cloud computing, and the web as we know it are all good examples. While networking technologies have also evolved in this time, the ONF believes that more rapid innovation is needed. SDN fulfills this need by enabling innovation in all kinds of networks — including data centers, wide area telecommunication networks, wireless networks, enterprises and in homes — through relatively simple software changes. SDN thus gives owners and operators of networks better control over their networks, allowing them to optimize network behavior to best serve their and their customers’ needs. For instance, in data centers SDN can be used to reduce energy usage by allowing some routers to be powered down during off-peak periods. (…)


Call for participation


If you love tinkering with your Linux machine, have ninja sysadmin skills, or are an
avid user of open source software in general, and you
love to share your knowledge with others, I’d really like to hear from you.

We’re looking for a few more passionate techies to join our ranks as contributing
LinuxJournal.com authors. We’re particularly interested in articles about System
Administration, Linux on the desktop, high-performance computing, embedded Linux, web and
mobile development, security, and virtualization. If you have an interest in any of these
areas, and useful knowledge to share, drop
me a line
. We’re always looking for great technical content as well as opinion
pieces about the world of open-source software. (…)




Takeaway: The openSUSE
distribution nearly faded away into obscurity. But 11.4 brings this distribution back to
serious relevancy. See what Jack Wallen thinks about the latest from the openSUSE

Remember when SuSE Linux was a real powerhouse? YaST was one of the finest
administration tools available and SuSE was one of the few distributions featuring the KDE
desktop as the default. But then Novell purchased SuSE and things changed. Ubuntu came to be
and new users flocked to a distribution that promised Nirvana for Linux users. And with all
of the changes happening on the Linux landscape, openSUSE continued moving ever forward, not swaying from its path, not causing
rifts in the Linux community, and eating their own dog food.

The only problem? openSUSE seemed to be slowly disappearing. With Ubuntu taking up the
majority of the media’s attention and end users looking for something more compatible and
easier to use, only the faithful few remained with openSUSE.

But now a new release for the distribution, the project that is controlled by the
community, is poised to bring it back out of obscurity…and with good reason. Actually, I
will give you two good reasons: KDE 4.6 and Tumbleweed/Factory. (…)



The Linux Foundation has announced the creation of the MeeGo Smart TV Working Group. The working group is
to be tasked with looking at how to use MeeGo in the new “Smart TV” market of internet
connected TVs and set top boxes. Among the participants in the group are Intel, Nokia, MIPS,
Telecom Italia and Amino Communications. The
working group will expand MeeGo’s reach from it’s current target devices: netbooks, tablets
and automotive systems.

The group will have its first meeting in April and will be submitting code to produce
twice yearly releases (in the first and third quarters of the year) as it establishes how to
make use of the MeeGo Linux platform and it’s Qt based user interface. The working group
will also have to working out how to create a 10 foot user interface
for MeeGo devices which have, to date, been focussed on touch or handheld interfaces.



Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds has said new claims that Android violates
the Linux license
are “totally bogus”.

Intellectual property attorney Edward Naughton argued last week that with Android, Google improperly took Linux code and passed
it on in a derivative work without using the GPLv2 license. But it seems that no lawsuits
have been filed on the issue and several open source observers have disputed Naughton’s
argument. (…)



The devastation in Japan is heart rending and compels each of one of us to contribute to help improve the situation. Similar thoughts have been running through developers at Freaklabs . At the hackerspace they are involved with, a solar rechargeable lantern was designed for garden and patio use. Called the Kimono Lantern, today they are able to put it to better use. Donating the complete design to the open source hardware community, they are indeed standing true to the commitments of the Open Source community.


Kimono lanterns are basically designed for small output but with long battery life. Running on solar cells that are recharged due to exposure to sunlight will glow for 8 hours providing the quake victims much needed night light. As flashlights, and the other standard and regular artificial light sources area premium and essential for critical situations as in makeshift hospital rooms, a Kimono lantern should do the desired needful. Light the pathway and generally offer a comforting glow amid all the darkness. (…)


Reviews and Essays


OpenSuse 11.4 is out, and it includes some of the latest and best software available for Linux. But there are still a few things you can do to spruce things up.

With KDE 4.6, Libre Office, the latest Linux kernel, a preview of what is to come with Gnome 3 and so much more, OpenSuse 11.4 is ready to take your Linux desktop to the next level.

But while OpenSuse 11.4 does provide a rich ecosystem of Linux applications, there are still a few things every Linux user needs to make their desktop shine, and to make it functional.

Here are five steps to take after you install OpenSuse 11.4 to put the icing on the cake. (…)



I’ve liked openSUSE since before it was named openSUSE and went by the unlikely name S.u.S.E Linux 4.2 back in 1996. It’s come a long, long way since then. Today, this Novell-supported community Linux distribution makes both a strong, server and desktop. For all that, though I’ve found in this go-around some fit and polish issues.

To test it out, I put openSUSE 11.4, on two computers. The first was a Gateway SX2802-07 desktop. This PC uses a 2.6GHZ Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5300 processor and has 6GBs of RAM and a 640GB hard-drive and was being wasted doing nothing but serving as a full-time Windows PC. The other was VirtualBox 4.04 VM (virtual machine) running on my Mint 10 desktop. Behind the VM was a Dell Inspiron 530S powered by a 2.2-GHz Intel Pentium E2200 dual-core processor with an 800-MHz front-side bus. This box has 4GBs of RAM, a 500GB SATA (Serial ATA) drive, and an Integrated Intel 3100 GMA (Graphics Media Accelerator) chip set. (…)



This review you are about to read was originally going to be about Scientific Linux 6. However, two things changed that: one, openSUSE 11.4 got released yesterday, though I did think about doing Scientific Linux today and openSUSE in a few days, and two, Scientific Linux didn’t play well with either UnetBootin or MultiSystem. In any case, that review will have to wait a bit. (…)



The ever-inventive openSUSE gang have come up with another cool service to enhance user experience and promote good will. This time it is a little less technical and a little more social. Connect with other openSUSE users, developers, and groups. You can make friends, find out the latest news, and get involved.

Henne Vogelsang introduced the new service a few days ago and he said connect was the answer to “What are we really doing when we develop a new tool to handle openSUSE users and groups?” The purpose is to connect people to projects, groups and with each other; connect faces to names, nicknames and to email addresses; and, ultimately, connect all our other tools to this one so we can share the data, as Vogelsang explained. In other words, it’s openSUSE’s very own little social network. (…)


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First published on: http://saigkill.homelinux.net

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