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Fedora Weekly News Issue 200

Welcome to Fedora Weekly News Issue 200[1] for the week ending November 1, 2009. What follows are some highlights from this issue.

Welcome to FWN issue 200, an impressive milestone! This week's issue starts off with news and views from the Fedora community, including further work on libguestfs, examination of several new features in Fedora 12, and work on a new tool for ICC color management in Gnome. In Quality Assurance, details from last week's Test Day on internationalization support in Fedora, and great updates on the various QA weekly meetings as we get closer to Fedora 12. In Translation news, several updates pertinent to Fedora 12 GA release, as well as details on Publican 1.0, which the Docs and Transaltion teams use for publishing books, articles, papers and multi-volume sets with DocBook XML. In Design news, details on the final Fedora 12 wallpapers, decisioning on extra wallpapers for the release, and some thoughts on the F12 art process looking forward to the next cycle. Security Advisories brings us current on the numerous security patches released this past week for Fedora 10 and 11. Our issue wraps up with news from the Fedora virtualization and libvirt lists, including a recent summary of Fedora virt bugs and developments, the state of KSM tuning on Fedora systems and a couple items on QEMU related issues with monitor handling and QEMU driver thread safety rules. Please enjoy Fedora Weekly News issue 200!

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


Martin Sourada took a look[1] at font antialiasing and what makes fonts look ugly. In a further post, Martin answered[2] the more general question "Why is my design blurry?"

In the continuing journey of libguestfs Richard W.M. Jones added[3],[4],[5] support for working with the Windows registry form a Linux guest. Apparently you can also[6] mount guest filesystems on the host filesystem using FUSE (the example provided even mounts a Windows guest's NTFS filesystem to a Linux host).

Tim Lauridsen demonstrated[7] a new feature of yum in Fedora 12: history, "that makes it possible to see what happened in part of a transaction and redo/undo past transactions."

Paul W. Frields outlined[8] some of the new features to be found in the Fedora 12 beta. and encouraged[9] anyone who finds an issue to report it! Don't assume that someone else will have already filed a bug.

Paul also reprinted[10] a posting from the Fedora Advisory Board mailing list about the mission of Fedora, its goals and target audience.

Peter Hutterer explained[11] what goes in to the X Windowing system release (now that X11R7.5 has been released).

Máirín Duffy displayed[12] the new default wallpaper slated for Fedora 12. Shiny!

Richard Hughes built[13] a tool (still in its early stages) to deal with ICC Color management under GNOME.

Alex Hudson investigated[14] some ugly corporate lobbying against free software.


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

Contributing Writer: Adam Williamson

Test Days

Last week's Test Day[1] was on internationalization (also known as i18n)[2]. We had a good turnout of testers who covered a wide variety of languages and input methods. In general many appear to be in good shape, but the testing turned up several issues in Bengali, Malayalam and a few other languages. This testing will help us to improve the implementation of these languages in future. Rui He provided a summary[3] of the event, including a list of all bugs filed.

No 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[4].

Weekly meetings

The QA group weekly meeting[1] was held on 2009-10-26. The full log is available[2]. James Laska reported that he had renamed most of the Debugging pages[3] to follow the previously agreed-upon naming scheme. The only remaining page was KernelBugTriage, and he would check with kernel maintainers before renaming this one.

James Laska noted that Marcela Maslanova had written automated testing scripts for the previous week's Test Day[4], and this had produced a very positive experience. He asked the group to think about what future Test Days could potentially benefit from testing automation in this way.

Adam Williamson passed along a proposal from Milos Jakubicek that the QA and BugZappers group help with filing bugs on the remaining Fedora 12 packages with FTBFS (fails to build from scratch) issues. Jesse Keating pointed out that Matt Domsch has a script which tries to rebuild all of Rawhide and automatically files bugs on packages which fail, which he typically runs once per cycle. Jesse believed the fact that Milos is aware of several packages which fail to build but for which no bug report currently exists is a result of the fact that the list Milos is working from was generated a month after Matt's latest test run. The group agreed that Adam would ask Milos to clarify his proposal and see if it was still necessary in light of the existence of Matt's script.

Jóhann Guðmundsson presented his proposal for an automated test of non-U.S. locale installation, prompted by the significant bugs[5] [6] in the Beta with installations with different locale settings which were not caught by pre-release testing. He pointed out that implementing such a test would be relatively simple and involve only defining a non-U.S. locale in a kickstart file for an installation test run. The group agreed that this would be valuable testing and asked Jóhann to write it up into a test case that could be added to the installation test matrix and also potentially automated as part of future AutoQA development.

Will Woods and Kamil Paral reported on the progress of the AutoQA project. Kamil had made a blog post announcing rpmguard to the world[7]. He had received feedback from several people, including suggestions from Seth Vidal and Alexey Torkhov (whose feedback had prompted a ticket[8]). Kamil is now planning to work on integrating rpmguard into AutoQA with the help of the newly-implemented Koji watcher, which allows AutoQA to pick up - and potentially trigger tests upon - every new build which goes through Koji. Will briefly touched upon the future organization plan for all the AutoQA code, based around a library for the server-side parts such as watchers and another library for actual tests, along with separate configuration files for things like the relationships between Koji tags, so these configuration details can be separated from the main functional code. Will also noted that he had created a Python script for generating the current set of critical path packages[9]: simply running it generates the list as critpath.txt. He plans to have this integrated into the Rawhide compose process so that a daily updated critical path package list is always available at a static URL. Finally, Will noted that a public mailing list has been created for the AutoQA project, autoqa-devel[10]. James Laska noted in passing that the hardware for the production AutoQA instance was currently likely to be delivered on 2009-11-20.

James Laska reviewed upcoming events. He noted that preparation for the then-upcoming i18n Test Day[11] was well advanced, and asked for group members to help out with testing if they could. He trailed the then-upcoming second Fedora 12 blocker bug review day, which would take place on 2009-10-30, and Adam Williamson asked people to help by re-testing blocker bugs prior to the event and coming to the event to help walk the list.

The Bugzappers group weekly meeting[12] was held on 2009-10-27. The full log is available[13]. Edward Kirk asked if there was a firm date yet set for the semantics switchover (marking triaged bugs as NEW with the Triaged keyword rather than ASSIGNED). Adam Williamson looked at the schedule and noted it should be around 2009-11-12 if no further schedule changes occurred.

No-one had heard from Brennan Ashton regarding his promised summary of the status of the triage metrics project.

Edward Kirk wondered if the bug workflow page and diagram[14] would require updating when the semantics change occurred. Adam Williamson believed it would, but the necessary changes would be quite minor. Edward and Adam agreed to keep the necessary changes in mind for the meeting prior to the semantics change.

Edward Kirk promised to make sure the email warning developers that the regular housekeeping changes in Bugzilla at release time would be coming soon.

The next QA weekly meeting will be held on 2009-11-02 at 1600 UTC in #fedora-meeting, and the next Bugzappers weekly meeting on 2009-11-03 at 1500 UTC in #fedora-meeting. Note that the meeting times in UTC do not change even though many countries are going through daylight savings time changes around this time of year, with the result that the meetings will be one hour earlier for many people in practice.

Fedora 12 testing

Much of the week's mailing list activity centred on testing the Fedora 12 Beta and post-beta updates, with much valuable testing being performed by many volunteers. Adam Williamson asked[1] for group members to provide feedback on the latest accepted kernel build, which had incorporated several changes from the kernel shipped in the Beta release. Many testers replied with helpful confirmation that the new kernel worked well. Liam Li announced[2] the pre-RC install testing cycle and associated test matrix[3], asking group members to try and cover as much of the install test case set as possible before the release candidate phase began on 2009-11-04; he later provided a report[4] on this testing. Adam requested testing[5] of an ext4 data corruption issue[6] which had surfaced in upstream kernel 2.6.32 testing to try and ensure that it was not affecting the 2.6.31 kernel included in Fedora 12.

Blocker bug review

The second Fedora 12 blocker bug review meeting took place on Friday 2009-10-30, and Adam Williamson posted a summary[1]. He noted that all remaining 43 blocker bugs had been reviewed, linked to the meeting summary[2] which outlined the status for each bug, and thanked the many members of the QA, release engineering and development groups who had contributed to the meeting.

Fedora 10 bug review event

Edward Kirk announced[1] a BugZappers event on 2009-10-30 at which the group would gather to try and review remaining Fedora 10 bugs and see which could be either closed or promoted to Fedora 11 or 12, prior to the automated closing of these bugs as old when Fedora 12 is released.


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

Contributing Writer: Runa Bhattacharjee

Fedora Website Translations

The Fedora Website content has been announced to be in string-freeze from 30th October 09, by Ricky Zhou.[1] As during earlier releases, translations for new languages would be required to be sent to for inclusion. Languages which have earlier been translated can be updated directly. The translations submitted for the 'master' branch would be displayed on on the day of the release of Fedora 12, while translations submitted to the 'f12-beta' branch would be displayed on from now until release day.

F12 GA Release Notes Branch Changes & F12 Deployment Guide Added

The Fedora 12 Release Notes documentation has been updated for the upcoming GA release and has been moved from the 'f12-tx' branch to the 'f12GA-tx' branch[1].

Also, the Fedora 12 Deployment Guide has now been added to to accept translation submissions[2].

Translation Schedule

The currently scheduled tasks for the Fedora Translation teams are: translation of all the Fedora Guides (starts on 21 October 09 and ends on 5th November 09) and translation of the Fedora Website (starts on 28 October 09 and ends on 10th November 09)[1].

Publican 1.0

Ruediger Landmann announced[1] the imminent arrival of Publican v1.0 which is comparatively faster than the earlier Publican v.0 and also fixes some of the current issues. The new version also allows documents to be migrated from the old version to the new version. Some elements in the .po files are handled differently in the two versions and as a result .po files translated for Publican v0 would require to be treated specially to work with v1.0. This would not be applied for documents that have been string frozen for the current release.

However, Miloš Komarčević from the Serbian translation team has highlighted a discrepancy in the nomenclature of the language code for Serbian written in Latin script[2].

Errors displaying .po files on

As reported by Tian Shixiong[1], Göran Uddeborg[2] and Daniel Cabrera[3], links to the .po files are currently being redirected to a page displaying the 404 error. Dimitris Glezos has also added that the statistics have not been updated for the past 2 days[4]. Currently, Mike McGrath from the Fedora Infrastructure team has been working to fix this issue[5].


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

Contributing Writer: Nicu Buculei

Final Wallpaper for Fedora 12

After a final sprint of wallpaper polishing, Máirín Duffy declared[1] the Fedora 12 wallpaper 'done': "At 82+ (there were more before this) iterations, I'm spent. The wallpapers need to get in today" and the packages were pushed into Rawhide. She also wrote a couple of insightful blog posts: one about the evolution of the wallpaper during this release cycle[2] and another presenting the final results[3].

Extra Wallpapers In

Martin Sourada called[1] for a final decision before packaging a pack of extra wallpapers and after a round of "votes" from Máirín Duffy[2][3], Michael Beckwith[4] and Jayme Ayres[5] the images were packaged and pushed.

Fedora 12 Countdown Banner

Nicu Buculei pointed[1] few days are left until the release so the countdown banner must start running "When we consider the design 'done', it should be taken to the websites list so we can run it officially (that means any time now [yesterday?], we are less 30 days from release)", Paul W. Frields agreed "Let's get a countdown banner finalized and out the door as soon as possible, so people can start using it on their websites", so Alexander Smirnov took it to the websites list[2], along with a number of translations "I've uploaded English, Italian, German, Icelandic, Hungarian, Portuguese (Brazilian) and Russian version this banner (translate based on previous ( Fedora 11 countdown banner) to my space" and the countdown is already up and running, ready to be propagated on blogs and websites all around the world[3]

Looking Forward to a New Cycle

With the process done, Martin Sourada opened an analysis[1] about the process "I think the F12 schedule worked rather well, we slipped a few times a few days or a week and skipped most of the wallpaper refreshes -- I think it's unnecessary to have that many wallpaper refreshes.", looking for ways to improve the next cycle "I believe these six points need to be in bold face in our schedule as they are somehow important milestones." Nicu Buculei complained[2] about disruptive delayed feedback "For the last few releases we have a recurrent motif: some key decision makers stay silent for most of the development cycle and very late in the process complain and require a complete (or at least major) redesign. This is a serious bug in our process", a sentiment shared[3] by Máirín Duffy "It's really frustrating that folks wait until the very very last minute to voice their opinion", while Jaroslav Reznik asked[4] for more feedback *from* the team "So we need more feedback - probably through more refreshes for alpha, more communication out of design team."

Inkscape Course and Jealousy

Máirín Duffy told[1] the Design Team about an Inkscape course she will teach "My Red Hat office, the Boston office, is going to be doing a program with a local middle school / jr. high (students are 11-14 I think) and I'm going to be teaching a 9 session (45 minutes a piece) course in Inkscape to the students" while asking the other members for ideas and experience sharing "I know many of you, I am sure, have given Inkscape tutorials to other folks, and I am wondering if any of you would have time to give me advice or even help me develop the lesson plan." Nicu Buculei[2], María Leandro[3], Patrick Connelly[4] and Henrik Heigl[5] gave their input, while showing their jealousy for the opportunity to work on such a project: "But overall I'm jealous and wish I could be doing it!"

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 @libvirt-list lists.

Contributing Writer: Dale Bewley

Fedora Virtualization List

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

Fedora Virt Status

Mark McLoughlin posted[1] another excellent round up of virt related bugs and developments. Mark reports "Thankfully, the virt blocker list is now clear, but if you're looking to help with making Fedora 12 even better, there's no better place to start than the F12 target tracker bug[2]:

There's over 100 bugs there that need your help!"

Help testing the Windows Registry feature of libguestfs

Richard Jones asked[1] for some help testing a new feature of libguestfs

"If you have any Windows guests, then you can help Fedora to support Windows guests better by spending a few minutes testing the Windows Registry feature we just added to libguestfs 1.0.75."

To help, all you need is:

  • A Windows NT/200x/XP/Vista/7/... guest
  • Fedora 12 or Fedora Rawhide host
  • libguestfs-tools >= 1.0.75 (from updates or koji[2])
  • a few minutes of your time

KSM Tuning in Fedora 12

Mark McLoughlin described[1] the default state of KSM[2] on Fedora systems. "For Fedora 13, it'll be off by default in the kernel and the recommended way of switching it on is with 'chkconfig ksm on'" "For Fedora 12, it's on by default in the kernel, 'chkconfig ksm on' just changes max pages and the only way of disabling it is by manually writing zero to /sys/kernel/mm/ksm/run."

At release of Fedora 12 the kernel will default to a maximum of 2000 merged memory pages. A future F12 kernel update to 2.6.32 will likely disable KSM by default. To take advantage of KSM in Fedora 12, the ksm service must be enabled:

sudo chkconfig ksm on

Mark McLoughlin also noted[3] The maximum number of pages which may be merged defaults to half of the system memory, and may also be manually defined in /etc/sysconfig/ksm. "Here's the logic we have in the init script[4]:"

  # unless KSM_MAX_KERNEL_PAGES is set, let ksm munch up to half of total memory.
  default_max_kernel_pages () {
      local total pagesize
      total=`awk '/^MemTotal:/ {print $2}' /proc/meminfo`
      pagesize=`getconf PAGESIZE`
      echo $[total * 1024 / pagesize / 2]

Justin Forbes points out[5] "The limit to half of total memory is because ksm pages are unswappable at this time. To be fixed in a future kernel."

A second service, ksmtuned, may also be enabled. Ksmtuned regulates how aggressively the system will attempt to merge pages. Parameters such as how many pages to scan before sleeping and how long to sleep may be configured in /etc/ksmtuned.conf.

Memory pages must be flagged as mergable before KSM will scan them looking for duplicates. At present only Qemu pages will be marked as such. As described in the kernel docs[6], the effect of KSM system memory may be examined in /sys/kernel/mm/ksm. "A high ratio of pages_sharing to pages_shared indicates good sharing, but a high ratio of pages_unshared to pages_sharing indicates wasted effort."

Libvirt List

This section contains the discussion happening on the libvir-list.

Node device enumeration with udev

Dave Allan posted[1] "a fully functional version of the node device udev[2] based backend, incorporating all the feedback from earlier revisions." "...I have also included a patch removing the DevKit backend."

Also see FWN#146 "Host Device Enumeration API"[3] for some coverage of the host device enumeration API.

Rewrite of QEMU monitor handling

Daniel Berrange posted[1] a "patch series [which] rewrites the QEMU monitor handling almost completely.

The key theme here is to move from a totally synchronous way of interacting with the monitor, to a totally asynchronous way. This allows " libvirt " to handle receipt & dispatch of asychronous events from QEMU. For example a notification of a disk-full error, or VM state change. In the process of doing this re-factoring I have also dropped in basic support/infrastructure for the JSON based monitor."

Libvirt QEMU driver thread safety rules

In a characteristically long and detailed post Daniel Berrange laid[1] down the law on thread safety rules for the Qemu driver[2].

"This document describes how thread safety is ensured throughout the QEMU driver. The criteria for this model are:

  • Objects must never be exclusively locked for any pro-longed time
  • Code which sleeps must be able to time out after suitable period
  • Must be safe against dispatch asynchronous events from monitor"

Also see FWN#155 "Thread Safety for libvirtd Daemon and Drivers"[3]