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Fedora Weekly News Issue 199

Welcome to Fedora Weekly News Issue 199[1] for the week ending October 25, 2009. What follows are some highlights from this issue.

Our issue kicks off this week with news from the Fedora Planet community of Fedora developers and users, including thoughts on PHP security, a new tool, rpmguard, continued work on libguestfs, and a great Fedora 12 beta roundup. From Ambassadors we have an event report on ABLEConf in Phoenix, Arizona. Much goodness from the Quality Assurance beat, with updates on this past week's two Test days, detailed weekly meetings notes, and various Fedora 12 beta-related activities. In news from Fedora's Translation team, updates on milestone for Fedora 12 translation tasks, new contributors of a couple Fedora Localization Project language teams, and details on the next FLSCo election. In Art/Design news, some icon emblem work, Fedora 12 final wallpaper polish, and details on post-beta F12 desktop look changes. Security Advisories brings us up to date on a couple security releases for Fedora 10 and 11. Our issue rounds out with the always-interesting Virtualization beat, with discussion on paravirtualization and KVMs in Fedora, installing Virtio drivers in Windows XP, and details on Fedora 12's kernel samepage merging (KSM) feature. We hope you enjoy FWN 199!

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

The Fedora News team is collaborating with Marketing and Docs to come up with a new exciting platform for disseminating news and views on Fedora, called Fedora Insight. We plan to have the next issue of Fedora Weekly News in Fedora Insight, next week. We welcome your feedback as we migrate FWN to this new content platform!

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


Pavol Rusnak described[1] how scripts using LD_LIBRARY_PATH can be written to work in a more secure way.

Konstantin Ryabitsev explained[2] the many reasons why embedding passwords in PHP scripts is a Bad Idea, and possible alternatives.

Matt Domsch helped[3] get some patches integrated so that Linuxes can use embedded TPM chips to feed the entropy pool (and get better/more secure random numbers).

Kamil Páral created[4] a tool, rpmguard "for checking differences between RPM packages. It is very similar to rpmdiff, but it prints only important changes, not all. Therefore it can be used every time a new package is built to easily see if something hasn’t went completely wrong."

Richard W.M. Jones has been busy at work on libguestfs. There are a few new tools: virt-tar[5] and virt-ls[6] as well as a list[7] of current (and upcoming) virt-* tools. Richard provided some tips too, obtaining[8] the Windows version and service pack number and unpacking[9] a Mac .dmg installer. And lastly, building a supermin appliance using febootstrap: Given a Fedora appliance on a Fedora host, "Let’s strip out all those programs and libraries from the appliance, and we’ll add them back from the host just before we launch it."

Fedora 12 Beta Roundup

Lots of people have downloaded, installed and written up their experiences with the just-released Fedora 12 Beta. Collected here are some of the Fedora Planet blog posts on the topic.

Adam Williamson[1], Sandro Mathys[2], Paul W. Frields[3] and Andrew Vermilya Jamison[4] all installed the Beta and posted their initial thoughts.

Nicu Buceli noted[5] F12's better webcam support and threw[6] a Windows 7 party to celebrate. And if you want your menu icons back, Nicu can tell[7] you how to do that too.

Nicu also reviewed[8] the new GNOME Shell, as did Jeff Ollie[9].

Matt Domsch mentioned[10] that Fedora 12 is now self-hosting. "What does this mean? Simply put, it means that you can use a copy of Fedora 12 to rebuild, from source, all of Fedora 12 again."

Máirín Duffy displayed[11] the work so far in developing a new desktop wallpaper background image.

And finally, some news from off-planet. Ars Technica took a look[12] at the Fedora 12 Beta release.


In this section, we cover Fedora Ambassadors Project[1].

Contributing Writer: Larry Cafiero

Fedora at ABLEConf in Phoenix, Arizona

Ryan Rix provides wrap up of Fedora's representation at the Arizona Business and Liberty Experience in Phoenix, Arizona over the weekend.

Ryan thanks to Clint Savage and FAmNA for the Fedora table's supplies (which were a huge success, by the by) and also many thanks to Aaron Siego for flying out from the icy north to be with us in the uncomfortably warm fall.

Fedora 12 is coming

While you may still be promoting Fedora 11 in your areas, you can make plans for Fedora 12 events to promote and celebrate the release of our next version.

As such, with the upcoming release of Fedora 12, this is a reminder that posting an announcement of your event on Fedora Weekly News can help get the word out. Contact FWN Ambassador correspondent Larry Cafiero at lcafiero-AT-fedoraproject-DOT-org with announcements of upcoming events -- and don't forget to e-mail reports after the events as well.


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

Contributing Writer: Adam Williamson

Test Days

Last week's first Test Day[1] was on the confined SELinux users feature. The modest turnout of testers managed to run through nearly the whole set of tests and expose several bugs to help refine the feature. The second Test Day[2] was on power management[3] improvements in Fedora 12. A good turnout of testers ran the carefully prepared test suite on an even wider array of machines, providing valuable data for the developers.

Next week's Test Day[4], the last of the Fedora 12 cycle, will be on internationalization (also known as i18n)[5] - an event which usually has a strong focus on input methods, but can also cover issues like fonts. This Test Day was previously scheduled for 2009-10-15 but was postponed, this is the new date. The Test Day will run all day on Thursday 2009-10-29 in the #fedora-test-day IRC channel. Please come along and help ensure Fedora works just as well no matter what language you use!

No Fit and Finish track Test Day is planned for next week.

If you would like to propose a main track Test Day for the Fedora 13 cycle, please contact the QA team via email or IRC, or file a ticket in QA Trac[6].

Weekly meetings

The QA group weekly meeting[1] was held on 2009-10-19. The full log is available[2]. James Laska followed up on concerns raised at the last meeting by Jesse Keating that blocker bugs may not be being identified fast enough. James noted that research by himself and Adam Williamson indicated almost all issues had been escalated within two days of being identified, which he felt was a good record.

James Laska had also investigated the packaging of the project code. He found it was very easy to build a package since the code used Python setuptools. He also reported that he had requested the creation of a public autoqa-devel mailing list for the AutoQA project[3].

James Laska initiated a review of the Beta testing process. Liam Li was thinking about ways to get 100% installation test case coverage, or at least improve the coverage to all tier 2 tests. James was pleased that all tier 1 tests had been covering during the Beta test process. James asked whether it would be possible to reduce the number of tests in the matrix. Liam was not sure whether that would actually reduce release quality. James suggested looking for potential duplication of cases in the matrix. Adam Williamson wondered if it would be possible to generate a version of the matrix showing only uncompleted tests, so it would be clearer which tests still needed to be performed. James pointed out that the matrix could already be sorted. Adam had not considered that possibility, and suggested that it be explained in Liam's test request emails. Ben Williams pointed out the Fedora Unity test matrix[4], and James suggested merging the two together. Will Woods discussed the possibility of integrating the AutoQA installation test results; he said it would be simpler to just have a link to an external AutoQA results page, but having the AutoQA system insert results into a Wiki page would be possible.

Will Woods and Kamil Paral reported on the progress of the AutoQA project. Will had been working on getting the production AutoQA instance up and running. He had given up on the idea of having link back to detailed test results, instead planning to provide a page explaining where to find the results. This means can go up as soon as the production AutoQA instance is running. Beyond this, Will has been working on a hook for Koji, which will allow AutoQA to trigger on new builds in Koji. A preliminary version of this code is available[5]. Kamil had continued work on his script to monitor important changes in packages, now renamed 'rpmguard'. It is now maintained in AutoQA git[6]. He had created test packages to make sure the script works as intended, and now is looking for feedback from a wider test audience. He planned to write a blog post to try and trigger people to test and provide feedback on the script. He was also looking for suggestions for the best possible output format for the tool.

Jóhann Guðmundsson and Adam Williamson updated the status of the project to revise debugging-related pages. Richard June had helped out by starting work on an alternative template page[7]. Adam felt it should be possible to come up with a template which would standardize the layout of such pages while still providing enough flexibility to cover different components, but he had not yet had enough time to try and work on this himself. He emphasized that no-one should wait on the planned template before revising pages to fit the new format and naming scheme. James Laska volunteered to work on renaming all existing pages to fit the new naming scheme.

Jesse Keating asked the group to help review tag requests for the final release. He noted there was no formal set of requirements for tag requests for critical path packages, but asked reviewers to be sensible in judging whether the change was safe and genuinely necessary. Requests should explain what issue the updated package fixes, why it needs to be fixed, and the likely impact if it is not fixed. He provided an RSS feed[8] to monitor tickets as they come in.

Adam Williamson asked the group to help develop the Fedora 12 Common Bugs page[9] by adding issues to it and marking bugs which should be added to it with the CommonBugs keyword. James Laska provided a search URL[10] for listing bug reports marked as needing to be added to a Common Bugs page.

The Bugzappers group weekly meeting[11] was held on 2009-10-20. The full log is available[12]. Richard June reported on the progress of the kernel triage project. He had found more bugs that required further information, and was working with John Linville to ensure his process for getting more information on these reports was correct.

Adam Williamson provided an update on the debugging page revision project, recapping the discussion from the previous day's QA meeting.

Edward Kirk made a suggestion for a Triage Day event. He suggested a day to review all remaining open Fedora 10 bugs, trying to close reports that can be closed and rebase others to later Fedora releases if possible and necessary. The group liked the idea, and there was general agreement on Friday 2009-10-30 at 15:00 UTC as the date and time. Edward promised to announce the event on the mailing list ahead of time.

Brennan Ashton updated the status of the triage metrics project. He had not had time to work on it since his last update. He had tried to find someone to help maintain the project, but had not yet been successful. However, he had the upcoming week off and would try to produce a summary of the current state of the project to make it easier to find other maintainers. Adam Williamson and Edward Kirk were eager to try and help move the project forward.

Steven Parrish asked if any other group members would be at the upcoming FUDCon Toronto event[13]. Adam Williamson said that he and the rest of the Red Hat Fedora QA team would be there. Steven and Adam noted that limited funding was available for community members to attend the event, and explained that those wanting funding should add their name to the attendee list and check the column for funding. Brennan Ashton asked if anyone else would be driving from Boston. Adam pointed out that there was a group bus[14] being organized.

The next QA weekly meeting will be held on 2009-10-26 at 1600 UTC in #fedora-meeting, and the next Bugzappers weekly meeting on 2009-10-27 at 1500 UTC in #fedora-meeting.

Fedora 12 Beta release

Of course, the week's big news was the release of Fedora 12 Beta[1]. This prompted several threads[2] [3] [4] [5] (and more) from enthusiastic testers, with valuable experiences which Adam Williamson encouraged to be turned into bug reports.

Confined users Test Day summary

Eduard Benes provided a summary[1] of the SELinux confined users Test Day[2], listing the bug reports resulting from the Test Day and thanking the testers and also Dan Walsh, who had already begun resolving reported bugs.

Fedora 12 blocker bug review meeting

Adam Williamson provided a recap[1] of the blocker bug review meeting which took place on Friday 2009-10-23, linking to a report[2] of the meeting which lists the status and actions decided for all 51 blocker bugs reviewed during the course of the meeting. He thanked all those who attended for their help in reviewing the large load of bugs.


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

Contributing Writer: Runa Bhattacharjee

Scheduled Translation Tasks for Fedora 12

The currently scheduled task for the Fedora Translation teams is the translation of all the Fedora Guides. This would end on the 5th of November 09[1].

Cracklib Translations for Anaconda

Translation of the cracklib package was recommened by Ankit Patel[1], as this package provides some strings for the 'Root password creation' dialog that is presented by Anaconda during Fedora installations. At present the translations can be submitted directly in the project page. However, Dimitris Glezos informed that this package would be made available via to accept translation submission[2].

FLSCo Election Proposal

The current chair of the FLSCo Dimitris Glezos has put forward the suggestion about conducting another round of elections for the FLSCo after the release of Fedora 12[1]. Currently this discussion is open on the fedora-trans mailing list.

New Members/Maintainers in FLP

Dimitrios Typaldos[1] joined the Greek Translation team last week while Iñigo Varela announced the new Asturian Translation team[2]. Also, Silvio Pierro took over the maintainership of the Italian Translation team[3]. This team was earlier led by Francesco Tombolini.


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

Contributing Writer: Nicu Buculei

Fedora 12 Countdown banner

Máirín Duffy asked[1] for someone to take care of the countdown banner for the Fedora 12 final release "Does anybody have the cycles to take the beta banner and refactor it into a countdown banner?" and both Nicu Buculei[2] and Alexander Smirnov[3] provided alternate implementations.

Icon Emblems

Matthias Clasen asked for help[1] with the xdg folder icons " Your challenge, if you accept it, is to take the scalable Mist folder icon and add scalable lookalikes of the emblems to it" and Máirín Duffy completed the task[2].

F12 Final Wallpaper Polish

After consulting on IRC with other members of the team Máirín Duffy proposed[1] a final update for the Fedora 12 wallpaper artwork "I'd love to hear your thoughts. I think we want to stay with the order & chaos concept; Nicu and I brainstormed a bit and I started taking this direction where you have close-together/orderly bokeh bursting out onto the left [...] I would love to hear what you think - could this work for F12? How could we push it further?" Bill Nottingham worried[2] about a need to respin all the release artwork, Jaroslav Reznik complained[3] a late and potentially disruptive change "I was really happy that we have everything ready in time for alpha and now we're starting again from point zero :(". Máirín pointed [4] this is an evolutionary process "This is not restarting from point zero. There is an absolute progression here if you start from the first iteration to these iterations", while others like Charlie Brej expressed their support[5] for the new design "As I said in IRC, I do like very much." At the time of this writing, the development continue, Fedora Weekly News will keep you updated.

Post-Beta Changes for the Desktop Look

Matthias Clasen started la large controversy[1] on @fedora-desktop after announcing a number of post-Beta changes to the desktop look and feel "note has been moved to the left, with the other launchers, the user switcher has been moved to the far right and the show desktop button has been removed. We have added padding between objects on the panel." A lot of people criticised the change so late in the release cycle, after the feature freeze made in a non-transparent way, like Rahul Sundaram[2] "The show desktop button has been in the GNOME panel for years and years. I am not sure why you wait for such changes to be done at the last minute. Where does such changes get discussed?" or John Poelstra[3] "I think removing the hide desktop button is a really bad change too. I also don't understand why these changes continue to pile on when we are way past past alpha and feature freeze. These do not seem like 'bug fixes'. Are more changes planned too?"

Security Advisories

In this section, we cover Security Advisories from fedora-package-announce.

Contributing Writer: Pascal Calarco

Fedora 11 Security Advisories

Fedora 10 Security Advisories


In this section, we cover discussion of Fedora virtualization technologies on the @fedora-virt and @virt-tools lists..

Contributing Writer: Dale Bewley

Fedora Virtualization List

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

KVM and Paravirtualization

The Linux Kernel-based Virtual Machine is a form of hardware assisted virtualization[1] as opposed to software-only or paravirtualization. This means the underlying hardware must have CPU features like Intel-VT or AMD-V. While common in the last few years, there are still many servers in operation which lack these extensions.

Giovanni Tirloni asked[2] about the state of paravirtualization support in KVM, and asked about a set of KVM patches[3].

Dor Laor answered[4] there is no plan to support non-VT hardware with KVM. While Xen is not supported on Fedora, it is still a paravirtualization for such hardware option under Redhat 5.

Installing Virtio Drivers in Windows XP Setup

Richard Hughes posted[1] the following directions for installing VirtIO drivers[2] during Windows XP setup.

  • create a 1.44Mb image file
  • mount it by loopback
  • format it with vfat
  • copy the Install/Xp/x86/viostor.sys, Install/Xp/x86/wnet.inf, and the txtsetup.oem file below to the root of the mounted image
  • umount the loop device
  • attach the floppy image as a floppy storage element in the VM's details pane
  • boot the VM
  • remember to press F6 when booting the windows xp setup and select the VirtoIO device.

File txtsetup.oem:

d1 = "Viostor SCSI driver disk",\disk1.tag,\

SCSI = viostor

viostor = "Viostor SCSI Controller"

driver = d1,viostor.sys,viostor
inf = d1,wnet.inf

id = "PCI\VEN_1AF4&DEV_1001","viostor"

Richard added "I'm still unable to install XP using ide, scsi or virtio drivers as it gives the message "Setup was unable to format the partition. The disk maybe damaged." -- any ideas welcome."

Virtualization Tools List

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

libosinfo Revisited

Arjun Roy revived[1] discussion of a library to track details of OS distributions for use by tools such as Package-x-generic-16.pngpython-virtinst and virt-inspector. LibOSinfo was first proposed[2] by Cole Robinson.

Other Sources

Using Kernel Samepage Merging with KVM

An upcoming feature of Fedora 12 is KSM[1]. "Kernel SamePage Merging is a recent linux kernel feature which combines identical memory pages from multiple processes into one copy on write memory region." Haydn Solomon described[2] how KSM and KVM work together.