Fedora Weekly News Issue 148
Welcome to Fedora Weekly News Issue 148 for the week ending October 19, 2008.
The preparations for Fedora 10 and beyond are reflected in this week's issue: "Announcements" alerts us to "Fedora Test Day"; "Documentation" conveys a request for "Lead Writers"; "Developments" examines "Review-o-matic" which may help triage our ever-expanding package repositories; "Translation" explains the "String Freeze Breaks" occasioned by the imminent release of Fedora 10; "Artwork" dives into icon controversy with "No Echo for Fedora 10 CD/DVD"; the latest "SecurityAdvisories" are worth checking out; and finally "Virtualization" shares some tips on "Starting Guests from a Desktop Icon" and the latest "Experimental User Mode Linux Driver".
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FWN Editorial Team:
In this section, we cover announcements from the Fedora Project.
Contributing Writer: Max Spevack
The Big ACL Opening
Casey Dahlin announced that "we are now on a two-tiered access system for CVS. The final change which we will be making is the mass ACL open." He went on to explain, "what will happen is all packages which are now set to be private, accessible by their maintainers and a few specific individuals only, will be opened up to all überpackager members. Members of überpackager represent a filtered minority of CVS comitters, but membership is easy to come by for anyone that asks."
Fedora Test Day
James Laska announced the next Fedora Test Day. "I'd like to invite testers and users to join #fedora-qa this Thursday, October 16, 2008." Testing will focus on security audit, better LIRC support, and Fedora 10 Beta snapshot #1".
K12Linux Release Candidate 1 Now Available
Peter Scheie announced "that K12Linux Release Candidate 1 is now available for download. K12Linux is LTSP 5 built on Fedora 9, and is slated to become the successor to the highly acclaimed K12LTSP. K12Linux comes as a live image which can be used to create a LiveUSB or LiveDVD with the client chroot already installed & configured." Go check it out!
In this section the people, personalities and debates on the @fedora-devel mailing list are summarized.
Contributing Writer: Oisin Feeley
OpenOffice and go-oo
The controversy swirling around the OpenOffice.org "fork" named "go-oo" popped up along with a request for information about why "[...] Fedora ships a relatively stock (stock + 98 patches) OO.o rather than shipping [...] the extended feature set provided by go-oo such as the opengl slide transitions [?]" Caolán McNamara, the maintainer, explained that he attempted to stick close to upstream "[w]ith a fairly aggressive push of any fedora patches back upstream asap [...]" and based upon the low number of reported bugs he believed "[...] this route provides the stablest and best supported product for fedora users." Caolán added that the OpenGL slide transitions were "still in a bit of a confused state" but would probably appear in Fedora 11. While Caolán eschewed any animosity to the parent ooo-build, and emphasized that Fedora had contributed
fontconfig glyph replacement functionality to ooo-build and extended their
GStreamer patches, he suggested that using ooo-build as an upstream would result in a confusing morass of patches upon patches.
 A collection of patches presented through a subversion repository which was intended to work around organizational and practical bottlenecks in OpenOffice.org development. http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Ooo-build
Muayyad AlSadi argued that go-oo should be used because "[...] one can drop java and ship openoffice on a livecd [like Novell, Gentoo, Ubuntu.]" In the exchange that followed Muayyad revealed that he had produced a Fedora-derived LiveCD with
Openoffice.org on it by the expedients of moving some large Java
.class files out of the core rpm package and restricting the language choice to Arabic only. Muayyad suggested that adding the resulting missing pieces could be done by adding them to comps.xml . Caolán argued that providing a non-working OpenOffice.org (the search functionality depends on Lucene and the XSLT wizard depends on SAXON both of which are written in Java) was an unacceptable user experience. It also appeared that the other distributions mentioned by Muayyad had restricted themselves to a small subset of languages which would result in a non-usable OpenOffice.org for many Fedora users.
 A text search-engine library: http://lucene.apache.org/java/docs/
 An XML stylesheet processor: http://saxon.sourceforge.net/
Caolán suggested that using go-oo as a base would not solve the Java dependency and referred to his own work to reduce Java dependencies as a way in which this goal might be achieved: "Taking `removing java from core dependencies' as the target, then the right approach is the boring slow-fix stuff to e.g. rewrite the help search to not require the java lucene stuff and to tweak the xsltfilter stuff to be a standalone expert-style feature that only appears in the menus when the xsltfilter package is installed and place the saxon requires on that subpackage, and so on for other java functionality." Caolán had previously split out the
beanshell scripting engine to a separate package and he recommended that Muayyad: "[...] investigate further as to why exactly removing or replacing java dependencies is the target, when I last thought seriously about the area I felt the right thing to do was stop swimming against the tide and boil out some concrete standalone feature requires for gcj to be able to provide the functionality that was missing at that stage to implement the java-needs of OOo, and our fabulous java hackers simply implemented them. Your questions should be what exactly are the size figures are for requiring the java dependencies and where is that space getting used and why."
PackageGurus, SpecMentats or UeberPackagers?
On 2008-08-13 it was announced on @fedora-announce that CVS access had been revamped to allow trusted users to modify packages "distro-wide", not merely packages which they own or co-maintain. In order to clarify the changes some new terminology was introduced. Ordinary maintainers (previously members of the "cvsextras" group) are now members of the "packagers" group and those who are trusted to assist with all packages are members of the group named "uberpackager". This change has been coming for some time (see FWN#136 for previous discussions) and seems as though it will help cut out some bureaucracy.
Lennart Poettering objected to the term "uberpackager" as too redolent of "Nazi terminology" and asked "[...] if we have "Überpackagers", maybe it's time to rename normal packagers to "Unterpackagers"? That would fit awfully well into our pursuit for world domination, wouldn't it?"
Casey Dahlin took the point but wondered why Lennart had waited until now to object which led Lennart to clarify that he did not follow all Fedora mailing-list discussions and "[...] noticed the adoption of this term for the first time a week or two ago when I had to log into FAS and noticed I had become an Überpackager. And, oh, god, with my blonde hair and blue eyes it felt so deserved... "
Many respondents were sympathetic to the objection. Paul Frields explained that "[u]se of "über-" has indeed made the jump to slang English. I think there's an increasing tendency in new media communities to attempt to subvert or undermine existing connotations of terms, for better or worse. In cases like this, I think we unconsciously or semi-consciously think we're deflating any unpleasantness by using them casually.I'm certain no offense was intended, but your comment is worth serious consideration." The problem of over-sensitivity was raised by several contributors including Andrew Parker who asked "Do we have to have all our words vetted against every language before we can use them?" and provided some examples of common failures to do this. Axel Thimm added further arguments against Lennart's interpretations.
Some extensive bike-shedding followed with suggestions for alternate terminology ranging from Jon Ciesla's "spec-mentat" to Seth Vidal's "WednesdayPackager". Seth exclaimed "[...] our ability to make subtle references that even we eventually don't understand kicks ass. :)"
At one stage it appeared that Toshio Kuratomi would change the name to "ultrapackagers" and Lennart excused himself from further discussion: "Toshio already agreed to changing this term and it is not too much work. So let's just do it and forget about it and not continue this discussion here. I am here for the code, not for discussing Nazism." Axel Thimm and Till Maas disagreed that the prefix "über-" necessarily carried the connotations associated with it by Lennart and several others on the thread. Toshio noted that he would need to make any change either tomorrow or else put it off until after the freeze. In passing he expressed a preference for the term "masterpackager" leading Jesse Keating to joke that he preferred his bike sheds colored chartreuse.
A Single Torrent ?
The ability of many torrent clients to offer the user a choice of specific files within a torrent prompted JesseKeating to ask "[...] does it make sense to collapse the DVD and CD torrents into a single torrent and allow people to use the client to pick which they want? Are there pros/cons to this?"
Jon Ciesla wondered if the perceived "lowest common denominator client"
bittorrent-curses offered this ability.
bittorrent-curses was dismissed as being dead and closed by Jesse Keating which led to a slightly hyperbolic demand by Behdad Esfahbod for an equivalent to facilitate "mindless" downloading. In a later exchange with John Reiser it was clarified that the "old dead"
bittorrent4.4.0-7 only downloaded all files in a torrent. Dennis Leroy and Conrad Meyer provided reassurance that both
transmission provided ncurses-based interfaces that offer marking specific files for download.
Jesse explained that one advantage of what he was suggesting was "[w]e can reduce the number of links offered to users on download pages, simplify the instructions, and have a better end user experience." His workflow avoided resorting to the command line.
Richi Plana responded that lumping all the isos into a single torrent was not a good idea as "[m]ost people really only download one iso [...]" and Jesse hastened to clarify "I meant collapsing them per arch, so you'd have one torrent file for Fedora 10 x86.64, one for Fedora 10 i386, ppc, source etc.. and probably different torrent files for the i686 Live and x86.64 Live offerings. I wouldn't imagine one giant torrent file that has every iso of the release on it."
Some definite preferences were expressed by Chris Snook on how to Do The Right Thing By Default: "there needs to be a standalone torrent that has just the DVD ISO (and maybe the netinst ISO) for all those newcomers who don't know any better, so we don't scare them off with a 9 GB torrent." Chris raised the problems of prioritization and smaller sets of disjoint peers for more specific torrents, especially for the case of one CD iso per torrent. The ability to prioritize specific files might allow work to be started sooner by, for instance, downloading a LiveCD first. Callum Lerwick suggested  using
Azureus for this purpose.
A separate problem posed by Seth Vidal was the absence of good trackers and seeders: "[I]n terms of clients - there are a lot of choices. In terms of trackers and good server-like-seeders there are NOT a lot of choices. [T]he original bittorrent client pre-proprietary is the best we have right now." Callum Lerwick again noted
Azureus' abilities: "I'd suggest just biting the bullet, fire up a vncserver instance, and run Azureus. It is incredibly flexible at managing many torrents at once, it can run a tracker as well, and the GUI allows you a level of insight into the status of a torrent that you just won't get from a text client."
The Old Sendmail Argument
An old discussion (see FWN#145) was given new legs when instructor Lutz Lange asked why
sendmail "[...] is still the default MTA in Fedora [?]" Patrice Dumas answered with an excellent summary of the discussions preceding Fedora 10: "To sum up some people considered that local delivery was a must for the default MTA, and that a send-only MTA wasn't good enough, e.g., for cronie. My personnal opinion is that there should not be any MTA in the @base or @code group, and that a MTA should be chosed if it is pulled in as a dependency, so it could be sendmail or anything else. Whether local delivery is a must for cronie or other packages that today require /usr/sbin/sendmail is another story that caould be discussed a bit more, though in the end it seems to me that this should be up to the maintainer."
Les Mikesell rose to the defense of
sendmail as a highly-audited and extensible standard with which most administrators are familiar. All these points were disputed by various and sundry and Dominik Mierzejewski added the interesting information that
postfix has partial
milter support thus allowing it to be extended easily. David Woodhouse took issue with the idea that
milter support was important: "Some of the better alternatives don't even _try_ to run milters, because they are fully-featured enough in their own right, without needing to rely on external software" and appeared to put to rest the idea that it was difficult for these alternatives to run tests on messages prior to accepting them in an SMTP conversation. Les finished off with an argument invoking the inertia of a wide base of currently working sendmail systems: "[Postfix is] worse at backwards compatibility. Fedora seems to assume that their users don't already have something working, so maybe that's not a concern to anyone here. If it shipped with a decked-out, well tested setup already integrated with MimeDefang/clamd/spamassassin it might be enough of an improvement to switch."
Some abstruse jokes were cracked when Denis Leroy observed that "[t]he sendmail configuration file is arguably one of the most complex and obfuscated configuration format ever designed in the history of computer science. :-)" and Alan Cox suggested comparing it to IBM's JCL or TECO. But Les Mikesell believed that "[...] these days all of the m4 templates anyone might ever need have already been written, so everyone just uncomments or tweaks a few lines in sendmail.mc for options and the default already does the right thing for most people. Or, for complex scenarios you can drop in MimeDefang as a milter and do most of the control steps with perl snippets."
The decision to ship the Desktop spin with no
MTA was mentioned by Colin Walters with the observation that mail from
logwatch would be sent to
/dev/null as "[...] most logs from a desktop machine are just pure noise." In response to Matthew Woehlke's desire for a means to view some log information Rahul Sundaram suggested15 working on
ArjanvandeVen threw some cold water over the discussion with the observation that "[a]nybody trying to argue for the politics of Exim/Postfix/Sendmail as default choice is ignoring the reality..." as users simply requiring send-only MTAs can use sSMTP (or something similar) while those requiring a full-blown MTA have strong individual preferences. Karel Zak and Colin Walters returned to the vision of Fedora as a "desktop distribution" with Colin arguing "I understand there's the "workstation" use case where you're say doing web development and you want to install Apache or Tomcat or something locally and run logwatch on it. We obviously will support that. But it doesn't make sense for the default desktop OS to be sending you email about all the junk going on under the hood."
Kushal Das announced that he was starting work on a project to help automate the repetitive parts of the review process, as originally suggested by Chris Weyl on @fedora-packaging. This seems timely in light of recent discussions which indicated (see FWN#111 and FWN#147[4)] that as the number of Fedora packages grows (PackageDB indicates that Fedora has grown to offer approximately 6,842 packages) the review queue has on occasion become congested.
Kushal listed the basic tasks as: rpmlint; build in mock; md5sum matches between srpm and upstream. The tool would, upon submission of a new review request, download the SRPM and SPEC, run the aforementioned tasks and then post the results on bugzilla.
"Pierre-Yves" was among those that requested the ability to make the build directly on
koji. Richard W. M. Jones explained that this would allow checking that the package also built on PPC/PPC64 architectures. Paul Frields and Brian Kearney liked the idea of doing koji scratch-builds and Pierre-Yves and Debarshi Ray concurred as long as it was possible to keep the builds from being removed until the review was completed. Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams thought that it ought to be easy enough to do some automatic annotations conditional on the success of the build.
Approval of the general idea was expressed by Richard W. M. Jones : "[...] every package guideline which (a) isn't already done by rpmlint, and (b) can feasibly be checked automatically, should be checked." He added that it would be useful to extend rpmbuild to be able to run test tools such as rpmlint or "review-o-matic" on its generated packages. Ville Skyttä later confirmed that Richard would need to get a patch in to rpm itself in order to get "[...] rpmbuild to run rpmlint automatically on the packages that rpmbuild makes [.]"
DebarshiRay linked to a script named "fedora-qa" which seemed to overlap some of the functionality of rpmlint and added that Rakesh Pandit and Debarshi Ray were working on using it to "[...] do spec file sanity checking [...]" He stated his own progress as "I have a very initial stage of code up and running which is taking bugzilla numbers manually (due to limited speed of network). Currently only doing koji builds and if successful then rpmlint on resultant rpms. It is also commenting back to the bugzilla entries."
It turned out that Chris Weyl had also gone to work on a base implementation and he asked if there was room for collaboration.
In this section, we cover the Fedora Documentation Project.
Contributing Writer: Jason Taylor
The Documentation Project is looking for lead writers for some of the published documentation, such as the release notes. Lead writers are responsible for making sure the information in the documentation is updated for the current release, some editing tasks and publication duties.
This section covers the news surrounding the Fedora Translation (L10n) Project.
Contributing Writer: Runa Bhattacharjee
Preview Version of Release Notes Available
The .pot file of the F10 Release Notes was finally made available. The preview version was delayed due to a shortage of beat writers, rewriting and a bug in
xml2po that prevented the creation of the
.pot file for translators. The file is available from the Fedora git repository and translations can be submitted via https://translate.fedoraproject.org.
String Freeze Breaks
firstboot modules broke in the String Freeze. The new strings in the
naconda module were a result of the earlier non-creation of the
.pot file. A request for a string freeze break for the comps module was rejected by FTP. DimitrisGlezos suggested that a separate string freeze policy/schedule for comps can be discussed upon for the future releases.
Unscheduled Maintenance of translate.fedoraproject.org
Asgeir Frimannsson announced an unscheduled outage for https://translate.fedoraproject.org. It mostly affected the display of translation statistics and file download. Translation submission remained unaffected.
PackageKit Translation Request
In this section, we cover the Fedora Artwork Project.
Contributing Writer: Nicu Buculei
No Echo for Fedora 10 CD/DVD
Martin Sourada asked in both @fedora-art and @fedora-desktop about a decision about the use of the Echo icon theme, which "[...] is the default icon theme in F10 since Beta (for testing purposes and exposition to wider audience)" in the upcoming Fedora 10. "What I'd like to ask you now is the preferred way to decide upon it. Should we hold a irc meeting, do a mail vote, set up a vote in the fedora voting system,other way?"
In a harsh reply, David Zeuthen, from the Red Hat Desktop Team, attacked the icon set: "the fact that the Fedora leadership allows this art charade to go on and on and on for eons is complete and utter FAIL" and expressed his strong opposition to a vote: "can we please get away from this voting business? It's a disease. Consider what happened if we started voting on what patches should go in tarballs? Or what the dialogs in your desktop looked like? Or what options to use by default. Or what IO scheduler to use in the kernel. IMNSHO, voting is making Fedora turn into something mediocre that I, for one, really don't want to work on, much less rant about. Heck, I'd be running Debian if I wanted something like this[.]" David also expressed his opposition to having a personalized default icon theme in Fedora at all: "It's definitely not about stupid zero-sum games with misunderstood 'value adds' that may have questionable value in the first place."
Martin pointed out that Echo is basically an upstream project "Technically the development of Echo Icon Theme is an Upstream job, though done by fedora artists and aiming to be default on Fedora and I'd say we are now as open with our development as gnome's default or kde's default icon themes are" and explained his original question as not a simple call to vote "voting is the last option when there is no better way on deciding things". He also tried to not vilify voting "there's nothing wrong with voting system, if used with care. Fedora Art isn't about competition but about collaboration. We'd like Fedora to have distinctive look from other distros and we seem to have enough people to do so, for some people it indeed feels like competition and motivates them to work harder - and that's a good thing - however when you accept is as a competition, you're disappointed when you are not the winner - and it's easier to accept 'defeat' when it's decided by community that by one (wo)man."
Jesse Keating returned to the question about the purpose of an original icon set "why is looking different, at the icon level, a good thing? Does it not just confuse the greater community?". Martin pointed that the situation is not more confusing that the current situation "Well, gnome and kde already look different on that level. Does that confuse greater community?" and he continued arguing for a personalized theme "Does it bring anything to Fedora user? Different, more lively, more 3D-like art. Perhaps wider coverage of Fedora specific stuff (but that does not need to be limited to Echo). Is that a good thing? Seriously, who is to decide that? Definitely not me. I believe Art and Desktop Teams (and various other desktop SIGs when Echo gets selected for other DE's than gnome) together have the right to do so."
Bill Nottingham calmed the spirits "[...] there's no need to toss around 'grow up' and 'stupid'; we're all adults (or close enough) here, and that's unlikely to bring people around to your point of view" and asked two crucial questions "So, why are we, as a project, interested in working on a large set of never-to-be-upstreamed changes when there is an existing upstream?" and "Why is Nodoka 'ok', and Echo not, in people's opinion?"
Will Woods offered two quick replies "First, Nodoka doesn't drastically change UI elements from their upstream defaults, or from other OSes" and "Echo, on the other hand, significantly changes the look of basic UI elements". He also added a good deal of criticism for the Echo icon set, using input from "his user-interface-designer wife to help work on Echo", pointing to a significant number of flaws, which, for the most part, were acknowledged by Martin "in icon theme it's a tremendous work and a one that will never ends."
Máirín Duffy also gave her feedback for the Echo icon theme status "I have put together the following visual critique of Echo from rawhide. Let me preface it by saying it is obvious that Echo has come a long way; it is most noticeable in the applications menus and in some of the desktop-size icons (I really really love the improvements in the computer icon, it looks much cleaner now) but it is still very lacking in quality in areas that affect most applications on the desktop - file / edit menus, toolbars, and the panel. Creating an entire icon theme is no small task." For a better representation, she created a page with a visual outline of a large number of problems.
After the long argument, Martin Sourada stepped back from the proposal "I'd very much like to hear Luya's opinion, but I don't feel like supporting Echo for F10 as default much longer..." His co-maintainer, Luya Tshimbalanga assumed the blame for proposing the theme as a feature, even if it was not ready enough "Blame me for pushing Echo through FESCO. After following suggestion for submitting it to FESCO, I was a bit surprised that icon set was accepted. Were it rejected, we will not have to deal with current issue. In one part we'd withdraw Echo while taking a hit from outside for once again not include it; in other part we keep, taking a hit for having some incomplete set. That is dilemma which basically means choosing a poison."
In this section, we cover Security Advisories from fedora-package-announce.
Contributing Writer: David Nalley
Fedora 9 Security Advisories
- drupal-6.5-1.fc9 - https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-package-announce/2008-October/msg00388.html
- neon-0.28.3-1.fc9 - https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-package-announce/2008-October/msg00367.html
- cups-1.3.9-1.fc9 - https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-package-announce/2008-October/msg00380.html
Fedora 8 Security Advisories
- drupal-5.11-1.fc8 - https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-package-announce/2008-October/msg00450.html
- bluez-utils-3.35-3.fc8 - https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-package-announce/2008-October/msg00396.html
- bluez-libs-3.35-1.fc8 - https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-package-announce/2008-October/msg00397.html
- rubygem-activeresource-2.1.1-1.fc8 - https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-package-announce/2008-October/msg00402.html
- rubygem-actionmailer-2.1.1-1.fc8 - https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-package-announce/2008-October/msg00403.html
- rubygem-actionpack-2.1.1-1.fc8 - https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-package-announce/2008-October/msg00404.html
- rubygem-activerecord-2.1.1-1.fc8 - https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-package-announce/2008-October/msg00405.html
- rubygem-rails-2.1.1-2.fc8 - https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-package-announce/2008-October/msg00406.html
- cups-1.3.9-1.fc8 - https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-package-announce/2008-October/msg00331.html
- rubygems-1.2.0-2.fc8 - https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-package-announce/2008-October/msg00322.html
- rubygem-activesupport-2.1.1-1.fc8 - https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-package-announce/2008-October/msg00323.html
In this section, we cover discussion on the @et-mgmnt-tools-list, @fedora-xen-list, @libvirt-list and @ovirt-devel-list of Fedora virtualization technologies.
Contributing Writer: Dale Bewley
Enterprise Management Tools List
This section contains the discussion happening on the et-mgmt-tools list
Starting Guests from a Desktop Icon
virt-managerand support for CDROM and USB devices
UUID=`virsh --connect qemu:///system domuuid vm-name` virsh --connect qemu:///system start $UUID virt-manager --connect qemu:///system \ --show-domain-console=$UUID
virt-viewerwhich won't support CDROM and USB access
UUID=`virsh --connect qemu:///system domuuid vm-name` virsh --connect qemu:///system start $UUID virt-viewer --connect qemu:///system $UUID
Each solution requires adequate user permissions to work.
Plugins for Performance Monitoring Applications
Guido Günther announced the creation of libvirt plugins for net and block I/O monitoring in
Daniel Veillard posted a patch to add this and
similar plugins for
Nagios to the
Fedora Xen List
This section contains the discussion happening on the fedora-xen list.
There was no list traffic this week.
This section contains the discussion happening on the libvir-list.
Openvz Bridge Support and Related Patches
Daniel Berrange posted a patch series "derived from Anton Protopopov / Evgeniy Sokolov bridge device patches. It first does some generic refactoring of
MAC address handler in all drivers, then adds code to extract
OpenVZ version number, then does network config, and finally does filesystem config."
Guest Image Locking
Itamar Heim asked "how libvirt envisions image locking. i.e., how do we make sure multiple nodes are not trying to access the same storage volume[?]"
Daniel Berrange said in the domain
XML format "the semantics are that every <disk> section added to a guest config is read-write, with an exclusive lock. To allow multiple guests to use the same disk, is intended that you add either <readonly/> or <sharable/> element within the <disk>."
Adding, "we only implement this for the Xen driver, handing off the actual logic to XenD to perform. That we don't implement this in the QEMU driver is a clear shortcoming that needs addressing. "
The problem on a single host is relatively simple, but more complex among multiple host nodes. Guido Günther has been toying "with the idea of using DLM for libvirt".
Exporting the Label on Block Devices
Chris Lalancette described his patch "To support LVM partitioning in oVirt, one of the things we need is the ability to tell what kind of label is currently on a block device. Here, a 'label' is used in the same sense that it is used in parted; namely, it defines which kind of partition table is on the disk, whether it be DOS, LVM2, SUN, BSD, etc." Note that is is not the same as the partition type.
Experimental User Mode Linux Driver
Daniel P. Berrange applied a patch that "implements a driver supporting User Mode Linux guests. User mode linux is a kind of paravirtualized kernel which runs on a plain Linux host. It requires no elevated privileges at all, except for some of the network integration. It is a pretty straightforward thing to invoke, so I figured it would be easy to write a driver to support it. I was right :-)"
Experimental Driver Thread Safety
Daniel P. Berrange continued work toward making libvirt thread-safe. The "series of 5 patches implement basic thread safety for the QEMU, LXC and Network drivers. It does not address the OpenVZ or Test driver yet. The Xen driver is totally stateless so does not require changes - though I do need to verify there's no 'static' variables that are used in an unsafe yet in Xen drivers." Daniel's earlier work was referenced in FWN #146.
oVirt Devel List
This section contains the discussion happening on the ovirt-devel list.