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Fedora Weekly News Issue 186

Welcome to Fedora Weekly News Issue 186[1] for the week ending July 26, 2009.

In this week's issue, we begin with news from the Fedora Planet, including tips on running Fedora 11 on an Intel Mac, tethering Fedora 11 to an iPhone, and another in the series of XI2 Recipes. Quality Assurance reports on last week's Fit and Finish test day on power management and suspend/resume, as well as much detail on QA-related weekly meetings. Translation brings us detail of the Fedora 12 Translation Schedule, a new Translation Quick Start Guide, as well as new Publican version of some Fedora documentation In Artwork/Design news, testing details of the new gallery and an update on Fedora 12 theming, amongst other topics. This issue rounds out with Fedora virtualization goodness, including details on new versions of libguestfs, virt-what and redesigns of the virt-manager UI, as well as details on how to cluster libvirt hosts. We hope you enjoy this week's FWN!

If you are interested in contributing to Fedora Weekly News, please see our 'join' page[2]. We welcome reader feedback:

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FWN Editorial Team: Pascal Calarco, Adam Williamson

Planet Fedora

In this section, we cover the highlights of Planet Fedora[1] - an aggregation of blogs from Fedora contributors worldwide.

Contributing Writer: Adam Batkin


Greg DeKoenigsberg responded[1] to slashdot[2] to correct what Nicholas Negroponte actually said regarding the Sugar UI and OLPC. "But what we did...was we had Sugar do the power management, we had Sugar do the wireless management -- it became sort of an omelet. The Bios talked directly with Sugar, so Sugar became a bit of a mess. It should have been much cleaner, like the way they offer [it] on a stick now."

Jef Spaleta was excited[3] by the news that all of Launchpad has finally been open sourced by Canonical.

Harish Pillay questioned[4] Microsoft's true motives behind contributing GPL patches to the Linux kernel. Martin Sourada quoted[5] Linus' response to the general feeling of hatred toward Microsoft in the Linux community.

Daniel Walsh explained[6] how the SELinux "unconfined" domain works.

Peter Hutterer added[7] part 5 to the XI2 Recipes series, explaining "grabs" and part 6[8], showing examples dealing with the client pointer.

Steven Moix provided[9] a few tips for natively running Fedora 11 on an Intel Mac.

Jesse Keating described[10] how to tether an iPhone to Fedora over bluetooth, for a truly wires-free internet experience.

POSSE Roundup

The Professors Open Source Summer Experience[1] just finished its Summer 2009 session, and here is a roundup of some of the Planet posts from the event.


In this section, we cover the activities of the QA team[1].

Contributing Writer: Adam Williamson

Test Days

There was no main track Test Day last week. The Fit and Finish project's Test Day track continued with its second Test Day, on power management and suspend/resume[1]. The event was a success, with several testers turning out, many bugs filed, and some fixed during the day or soon afterwards, especially relating to laptops with multiple batteries.

No Test Day is scheduled for next week. If you would like to propose a main track Test Day for the Fedora 12 cycle, please contact the QA team via email or IRC, or file a ticket in QA Trac[2].

Weekly meetings

The QA group weekly meeting[1] was held on 2009-07-22. The full log is available[2]. James Laska reported that he had published a blog post asking people to help with the process of writing Debugging pages[3]. Adam Williamson mentioned that he had looked into creating some of the desired pages, but did not know what kind of information was actually required for any of the components concerned. Jesse Keating suggested doing an informal interview-style session with maintainers to discover what information is needed, and then having QA take responsibility for turning that information into a finished Wiki page.

James Laska had created a meeting time matrix[4] for the purpose of re-scheduling the QA meeting to make it possible for as many group members as possible to attend. The group agreed that the new meeting day and time should be Mondays at 16:00 UTC, moved from Wednesdays at 16:00 UTC.

James Laska noted that a Fedora 12 Alpha blocker bug review meeting was scheduled for Friday 2009-07-24. It was agreed that Adam Williamson would send out an announcement of the meeting, and James would send out a recap after it had finished. Jesse Keating mentioned it would be good to do some Rawhide install testing prior to the meeting, but a combination of two significant bugs was preventing almost any Rawhide install from working.

James Laska explained that a test compose for Fedora 12 Alpha was scheduled for 2009-07-29, and Liam Li had made an announcement requesting help on install testing[5]. Jesse Keating pointed out that it would not be easy for the general public to take part, as the test compose would not be generally distributed. This led to another long discussion about the practicality of distributing time-critical test composes to the public. No definite conclusion was reached, but a tentative agreement was made to look into a system which would allow access to such composes to members of the QA group in FAS.

Jóhann Guðmundsson noted that there were some problems with Dracut, the nash/mkinitrd replacement being introduced as a feature in Fedora 12. It has no implementation plan by which the progress of the feature can be externally measured, and no detailed contingency plan beyond 'revert to mkinitrd'. Jóhann agreed to contact the feature mantainer, Harald Hoyer, to help develop a full test plan and contingency plan.

Will Woods reported on the progress of the AutoQA project. He has now automated the first four test cases in the Rawhide Acceptance Test Plan[6], and is now working on automating the installation tests. He noted that separate i386, x86-64 and PowerPC test hosts would be necessary for some tests, and that PPC might be difficult in the absence of the Fedora standard libvirt virtualization framework on that platform. Jesse Keating worried that the installation tests may be adding too much complexity to the system, and asked how much faster the process would be if only repository level tests were considered. Adam Williamson pointed out that the full set of repository level tests were the ones that had already been automated. Will promised that they would be updated to send the results somewhere publicly accessible soon.

Sebastian Dziallas brought up the topic of a Test Day for the Sugar on a Stick project[7] - essentially for the integration of Sugar with a stock Fedora distribution. It was agreed that the SoaS project would host the Test Day themselves using the SOP created for this purpose[8]. A tentative date of 2009-09-03 was agreed for the test day.

The Bugzappers group weekly meeting[9] was held on 2009-07-21. The full log is available[10]. No-one had heard from Brennan Ashton regarding the status of the triage metrics project. Adam Williamson agreed to contact him by email to find out the current status, and ask if he would be interested in having a co-maintainer on the project, in the interest of smoother development.

The group discussed the current draft of the critical path-based triage component list[11]. There was a general feeling that the list was very long and might contain components that, practically speaking, would not benefit hugely from triage. It also seemed to contain at least some binary (rather than source) package names, while Bugzilla is based on source package names. Niels Haase and Matej Cepl volunteered to adjust the list to use source package names, and break it up into groups for ease of digestion, for further review at next week's meeting.

Adam Williamson gave an update on the status of the kernel bug triage project. He admitted it had not progressed very far as he had been focussing on anaconda triage. He outlined a plan under which a volunteer would, as a test, triage bugs on one particular component of the kernel, to see if the process could be made to work. Edward Kirk thought the proposal a sound one, and Adam agreed to try and put in into practice in the next week.

Finally, the group discussed the 'Bugzilla Semantics' proposal Adam Williamson had made to the mailing list, involving various ways in which the triage process could be tweaked and the use of the NEW and ASSIGNED states changed. Initially discussion was in favour of retaining the status quo, but Jesse Keating and Josh Boyer made it clear that the development groups they were involved in used ASSIGNED in a different way to its use by the Bugzappers group, and they would prefer if Bugzappers marked bugs as having been triaged in some other way, so their groups could take advantage of the triage process. It became clear that there would be both benefits and costs involved in changing the triage process. Adam Williamson agreed to send a follow-up email to the mailing list to summarize the current state of the debate, and to see if a consensus could be found on a future path.

The next QA weekly meeting will be held on 2009-07-27 at 1600 UTC in #fedora-meeting, and the next Bugzappers weekly meeting on 2009-07-28 at 1500 UTC in #fedora-meeting.

F12 Alpha blocker bug review meeting

Adam Williamson announced[1] the second blocker bug review meeting for Fedora 12, to be held on 2009-07-24, mainly to review blocker bug status for the upcoming Alpha release. Later, James Laska posted a recap of the meeting[2].

Xfce spin testing

Adam Miller announced[1] the second test live image with the Xfce desktop, and would appreciate testing and reporting of problems. He noted that the known bugs in Anaconda at the time of the compose may make the image very difficult to install, but it should be usable on most hardware as a live boot.

KDE QA tester request

Kevin Kofler posted a request[1] for volunteers to help with KDE testing. He noted that the requirements for testers were quite low, and asked interested people to reply to the fedora-kde mailing list or #fedora-kde on IRC. Two people, Aioanei Rares and Marco Crosio, were quick to volunteer, and were accepted as the new KDE testers.

Bugzilla semantics debate

The Bugzilla semantics debate[1] continued throughout the week, especially following the input from developers at the QA meeting (see above) and the subsequent summary[2] posted by Adam Williamson. He proposed three options: leaving the current triage process unchanged and encouraging development teams who currently use ASSIGNED to mean a bug has been accepted by a certain developer to use ON_QA instead; changing Bugzappers practice to use a keyword to mark triaged bugs going forward, but leave all existing bugs as they are; or changing Bugzappers practice going forwards and also attempting to 'fix' existing bug reports to use the keyword where appropriate. Jesse Keating seemed to favor the second option[3], and John Poelstra agreed[4].


This section covers the news surrounding the Fedora Translation (L10n) Project[1].

Contributing Writer: Runa Bhattacharjee

F12 Translation Team Schedule Proposal

The Fedora 12 Translation schedule has been drafted by John Poelstra and shared[1] in the fedora-trans mailing list for feedback from the FLP. Dimitris Glezos suggested[2] that the string freeze date can be pushed back from 1.5 months prior to translation deadline to 1 month and to rename the Release Notes translation task to indicate it as 'beta'. Ankit Patel mentioned the need for a translation review period ahead of the final packaging of the translated modules.

Additionally, John Poelstra and Paul Frields both requested[3] the presence of a member from the FLSCo at the Release Readiness meetings.

Translation Quick Start Guide Updated

The maintainer of the Translation Quick Start Guide (TQSG), Noriko Mizumoto informed[1] about the availability of the updated version of this book. Some minor errors in the main document and a few translated versions were also corrected after the updation[2].

Publican Version of Minor Fedora Documents Made Available

Ruediger Landmann announced the availability of a few existing Fedora documents in a Publican ready format[1].

New Members in FLP

Noah Lee (Korean)[1], Robert Antoni Buj Gelonch (Catalan)[2], Josip Šumečki (Croatian)[3] joined the Fedora Localization Project recently.


In this section, we cover the Fedora Design Team[1].

Contributing Writer: Nicu Buculei

Evaluating the Gallery

After some time spent with the gallery test instance[1], Nicu Buculei shared[2] of @design-team his impressions: "the current authentication is a killer[...], is not easy to mass upload[...], there are only a few [plugins] available[...], some operations are cumbersome". He also showed concern about the small involvement of the team in testing "I see only very few of us played with the gallery, which make me doubt it is a popular/useful/wanted feature". In reply, Martin Sourada explained[3] it by the little time passed and summer vacancies "given that it's been around 11 days since Mo announced this[...] and seeing how many people are active here during the summer vacations, it's quite understandable that not many of us have tried it yet". After Martin questioned[4] the legality of publishing wallpapers from old released, Paul Frields intervened and confirmed[5] those are free: " these contributions to Fedora should fall under a license that allows reuse, redistribution, and remixes, although I suspect it's not Creative Commons."

A Small Icon Request

Matthias Clasen addressed[1] what he calls "a small icon request" to @design-team: "With Gnome 2.28 in F12, it will be possible to have different icons for the xdg dirs[...] It would be pretty cool if we could create icons for this in a style that matches the existing user-home icon in our default icon theme (ie the folder icon with an overlayed embled in the Mist theme)" and in reply Andreas Nilsson pointed[2] this is worked upstream by Lapo Calamandrei "It seems like Lapo Calamandrei wanted to take care of this and create some 256x256 icons in the process. Hopefully this will land in gnome-themes soonish (and in good time for 2.28/F12)."

Fedora 12 Theming Progress

Martin Sourada announced[1] a wiki page for hosting Fedora 12 theme proposals "we've taken over the F12_Artwork wiki page[2] created by bioinfornatics, cleaned it up and added the designs concepts I've found in the design-team archives". He also announced the official page holding a despription of the artwork process [3] and reminded the time until the next deadline is passing fast "Also, according to our current Schedule, we are past the concept submission deadline and have about another eight days for working on the wallpapers we want to review for F12 Alpha inclusion", encouraging people to submit their works "if you have a design concept you like, focus your work onto it and help making it awesome :-)"

On theming related news, MERCIER Jonathan asked for feedback[4] about one of his design ideas "it's make with Blender, i can give blend file what did you think about this image ?" and Nicu Buculei shared[5] some mosaic photos[6] he thought may be interesting "I have no idea which architectural style is this, but yesterday evening (around the 'golden hour') when passing near a group of fountains in the center of my city I noticed the mosaic and i *had to* take some photos ans share them with the rest of the gang."


In this section, we cover discussion of Fedora virtualization technologies on the @fedora-virt, @fedora-xen-list, @libguestfs, @libvirt-list, @virt-tools-list, and @ovirt-devel-list lists.

Contributing Writer: Dale Bewley

Fedora Virtualization List

This section contains the discussion happening on the fedora-virt list.

New Release libguestfs 1.0.64

Richard Jones announced [1] the release of libguestfs 1.0.64.

New Features:

  • New tool: virt-cat. This tool lets you copy out files from a guest.[2]
  • Added libguestfs-test-tool which is a tool you can use to diagnose qemu / kernel booting problems, and also make bug reports more useful.
  • [Sys::Guestfs::Lib] split $os->{version} into $os->{major_version} and $os->{minor_version}. Add feature tags. (Matt Booth).
  • Allow TMPDIR to be used to override the location of temporary files.
  • Implement the guestfs_read_file call.
  • New calls guestfs_mkmountpoint and guestfs_rmmountpoint to allow some specialized read-only or nested filesystems to be mounted, particularly for examining live CDs.[3]
  • New call guestfs_mountpoints to return a hash of device -> mountpoint.
  • Many documentation fixes, including an "API Overview"[4] section which will help developers navigate parts of the now very large libguestfs API.
  • Add ~ and ~username expansion in guestfish (RHBZ #511372).
  • Add kernel modules for reading DOS filesystems (Guido Gunther).
  • Add i18n support for Perl strings.

Swap Use in Guests

Rich Mahn asked[1] "How big should the swap partitions be on virtual machines under qemu, qemu/kvm? It seems to me that if the VM actually needs swap space, it would be more efficient to allocate more virtual memory to it."

Richard Jones found[2] this to be an interesting question, but argued "One place I think you're wrong is the assumption that adding more memory to a VM is better than having the VM use a swap disk. The reason would be that the VM's memory manager will assume that the [from its point of view] physical memory will be much faster than swap, and so will arrange memory vs swap use accordingly. But this assumption isn't true, this so-called physical memory is really just as slow as swap!" Richared pointed out Kernel Shared Memory[3] further complicates things.

Dor Laor added[4] "Guest swapping is a reasonable scenario that should be allowed and supported." On the question of oversubscribing host memory to guests, Dor said "You can overcommit VM memory and it might be good if you have many VMs that have low memory foot print. If it is not the case, you better not do it."

Clustering libvirt Hosts

Gianluca Cecchi asked[1] "is there any pointer about how to set up a cluster of Qemu/KVM hosts?" "What are the uuid tags into the xml for? Do they have to be identical for clusters or do they have to be absolutely different for a sort of "identification" of host (as the term seems to suggest)?"

Richard Jones pointed out oVirt[2] "which is an open source management tool designed precisely for looking after networks of virt hosts. It is based on libvirt, and they have looked at and solved many of the issues you raise."

Guido Günther answered[3] "In principle they don't have to be the same across hosts since you can identify the network by name and the volumes by their path but I prefer to keep them in sync (using shared nfs in my case)."

Virtualization Tools List

This section contains the discussion happening on the virt-tools-list list.

Virtual Machine Cloning

Cole Robinson with some UI designs from Jeremy Perry patched[1] virt-manager to include a virtual machine cloning wizard.

Virt Manager UI Rework

Cole Robinson has "been reworking the main manager view in virt-manager" and asked[1] for comments.

In another UI tweak, Cole created[2] a system tray icon that "can be used to quit the app, or start, stop, pause, or open a VM."

Support for Processor Affinity

Michal Novotny submitted[1] a patch to virt-manager which enables pinning a guest to a select physical CPU.

Virt What?

Another week, another release[1] from Richard Jones.

virt-what[2] "is a collection of code snippets to allow you to determine what sort of virtualization you are running inside."

"The new version can tell the difference between QEMU and KVM, and can tell if you are running inside a Xen fullvirt guest."