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Archive for June, 2008

Little Hermes

June 16th, 2008 by

some code was added to the buildservice backend already that generates Hermes notifications. That means that Hermes is getting closer, I will work this week to start a first test with Hermes on the production build service.

So let me introduce Hermes a bit.

Hermes is a system that helps it’s user to get back the decision about who is sending a message when and in which way. Using Hermes it is up to the user to decide if a message comes through at all, when and in which way. Hermes is going to be the central part of notifications in the openSUSE Buildservice.

Digest messages will be supported through Hermes. That means that messages (mostly automatically generated) of the same type coming regularly can be combined to one message combining all the bits. For example, imagine a notification about a package build fail. It might not make sense to send lets say 50 of them a day due to numerous rebuilds on different platforms that failed. It seems to be much more efficient to combine all these 50 to a digest message that lists all of the 50 fails. However, it’s users choice in Hermes.

The other important feature of Hermes is choice in the way of delivery. It is up to the user in which way the message comes through: Mail, RSS and jabber notification are already implemented in beta stadium, others may follow. It’s users choice based on the message type when and in which way the message is delivered.

Hermes LogoThe backend already has some code in it to notify Hermes. I hope I will be able to make let’s say some RSS feeds or mail running this week, especially for the submit requests. That would be another step into collaboration with the buildservice.

And since I seem to talk a lot about Hermes these days, Robert was cool enough to come up with a very cool logo for the (still little) Hermes. Do you like it? I think it is awesome – kind of 1960’s aircraft company ;-)

Thank you very much, Robert!

More about Hermes to follow…

Carrying Community Radios

June 16th, 2008 by

Those folk from the UK based Podcast LUG Radio are holding their annual event LUG Radio Live on July the 19th and 20th.  I am attending and hopefully presenting a talk on openSUSE and our great community, but I would also like to see openSUSE have some other presence there.  The only problem is that LRL isn’t one of the big Open Source events, and as such the project can’t justify the expense of sending employees to the event especially as a fair few of them went to the US Show.

So I’m interested in knowing if there are any others going that would be interested in helping man a booth run by community members for the greater community?  If there are please let me know either by e-mailing the Marketing Mailing list or by commenting here.  Idealy we would need at least three people to man the booth, this way it would give people that are helping a chance to enjoy the event and not be shackled.

Please join in the fun and make sure people get the message that openSUSE is a real distro to contend with, this is an ideal opportunity for people who haven’t got much hacking prowess to help out :-)


June 16th, 2008 by

[PS. I coudn't resist. I just had to name the package '*Kit'. ;-) ]

Need to do a firmware update with a DOS program?

Can get tricky if you don’t have a DOS system around. We used to provide a bootable floppy image for that in the past (package dosbootdisk). But who has a floppy drive anyway?

So, here comes the new
package. Install it and run run, e.g. fuk --grub foobar.exe That’s it. The next reboot gives you the option to start DOS and run foobar.exe.

fuk can also create bootable ISOs and, of course, even floppy images.

Converting Babylon Dictionaries to Stardict Format in OpenSuse

June 14th, 2008 by

This blog does not add any information to the documentation you can find around. Anyway, it is not too long since someone was able to make Babylon dictionaries usable by software other than the proprietary Babylon application. And they have been trying for years… so it has not been a trivial step :)

If you do not know Stardict, you can get it from Yast. This is the official site.

A few dictionaries are also linked – ready and free to use – at Stardict website. However, I used Babylon when I was a Windows user and i have to admit that their dictionaries remain unbeaten. Matters not what language you want, mono-language or bi-language, technical, general purpose etc etc… they just rock!

You can get tons of dictionaries for free from Babylon website:

Now, go to Yast Software Manager and search for dictconv. Alternatively, you can install from source (which is what I personally did).

Installing is very easy: ./configure and then make all install

Now you’re all set. To use it to convert:

cd to the directory where you have the .BGL dictionaries and type: dictconv INPUT_FILENAME.BGL -o OUTPUT_FILENAME.ifo

Pay attention to the extension: must be .ifo. This will generate 3 files for each BGL dictionary: .ifo, .idx, .dict

Place all these 3 files in /usr/share/stardict/dic/ creating a separate folder for each dictionary. Then rebook Stardict and go to Manage Dictionary (bottom right): there you can select what comes first, activate or deactivate etc etc

Nothing difficult but def worth, and not only for non native speakers.. there are lots of technical terminology Babylon dictionaries that may well come handy.

Notice that with Stardict you can also implement Pronunciations of the typed words: see Stardict site: “WyabdcRealPeopleTTS package make StarDict pronounce English words. It is just many .wav files. Extract(tar -xjvf) the tarball at /usr/share/”.

Sooo well… Have fun ~ Buon divertimento ~ Viel Spaß ~ I que te diviertas ~ Maak plezier ~ ha så roligt [hmm i'm just hoping the dictionaries mentioned just above are not making me do some poor figure for these few transations of "Have Fun".. cuz i have no idea for any language except Italian :D]

Calling All Gardens

June 11th, 2008 by

It’s that time in the week again where the openSUSE GNOME Team hold their weekly shindig.  So to quote our illustrious casual Team MC:

Hi all GNOME addicts,

The next openSUSE-GNOME project meeting will take
place at the official #opensuse-gnome IRC channel on
freenode (irc://irc.freenode.net/openSUSE-gnome) on
upcoming Thursday: 2008/06/12 18:00 CEST (16:00 UTC)

For an overview what time this is in different
timezones, use:

This meeting is meant to discuss the latest
developments in and around openSUSE-GNOME. Please
review your topics on the meeting wiki page at:


as soon as possible.

For general info about our IRC meetings read:


For a general technical introduction to IRC (Internet
Relay Chat) see

http://www.irchelp.org/ ;(not affiliated with
openSUSE) or enter “IRC help” into your preferred
search engine.

The network we use is freenode – for more information
on this, including how to find a server, visit
http://freenode.net/;(not affiliated with openSUSE

Have a lot of fun ..

Casual J. Programmer

(on behalf of the openSUSE-GNOME team)

So come one come all, and join the fun!

Build Service 1.0 Release Candidate is out

June 11th, 2008 by

We just released the Build Service 1.0 release candidate. The final release is expected in two weeks.

Most important about this release are the improvements in source handling. Submissions to foreign projects are possible now. That does mean that after two years of development, direct work on openSUSE distribution becomes possible, without bugzilla in between ! You see, we need sometimes a bit longer, but we keep our promises :)

The Build Service at http://build.opensuse.org is already running it, so it can be already used for submissions. You just need the current osc from openSUSE:Tools project.


Xfce Project Status Report 06/2008

June 10th, 2008 by

As some of you might already have noticed, we are working on a better integration of Xfce in openSUSE. The aim of the Xfce Project is to establish Xfce as well-accepted desktop environment besides GNOME and KDE. We have already started building Xfce LiveCDs with KIWI but still fail in getting yast-live to work.

Besides that we had some success in the re-design process, so this is how the upcoming Xfce in openSUSE might look like:


Miguel Cruz has provided his great CrashBit theme and designed a few new icons to improve Xfce support.

I have also finished a SLiM Display Manager theme and work on some packages for that. There is still a lot of work to be done and things to coordinate. We are going to set up a oS Xfce Mailing List soon, that all interested people should join. In the near future I am continuing to blog about the current development process, so stay tuned.

Update: The Mailinglist is now availabl.: To subscribe send an eMail to: opensuse-xfce+subscribe@opensuse.org

I have also added an upgraded screenshot showing how it would look like using the Gilouche Window decoration.


Welcome to the Official openSUSE Forums !

June 10th, 2008 by

After announced on March 11, 2008, official openSUSE forums has been established and starting work for providing better support for openSUSE community on June 09, 2008. Forums merges 3 existing openSUSE forums, suseforums.net, suselinuxsupport.de and the openSUSE support forums at forums.novell.com.

openSUSE forums

You could use single sign-on login with your Novell/openSUSE account. It’s also should be work with your existing account at existing forums but I didn’t try it ;-), so, please try to login before create another new account.

Thanks for all of Novell staff and openSUSE community members who make the dream come true. Quoting what Michael said last 3 month : “a big gain for the whole openSUSE Community !”

Query your XML with xpathgrep.py

June 9th, 2008 by

Maybe you know this problem: You have a couple of XML files and you need a specific information. Probably everybody would think of grep or similar tools first. But maybe your query is a bit more complicated than just a simple piece of text. What do do?

Recently I’ve found a very useful command line utility, which is probably not very known. It’s named xpathgrep.py and you can get it from the lxml repository (you need lxml too). Let’s assume we have the following DocBook file:

File db.xml
<?xml version="1.0"?>
  <title>My Cooking Book</title>
  <chapter id="howtocook">
    <title>How to cook</title>

Now, if I want to get all the titles I have to use a XPath (which is a path description language for XML, similar to Unix/Linux paths, but more powerful). To get all title elements all I have to do is to write //title, regardless of the level:

$ xpathgrep.py //title db.xml

and I get this:

<title>My Cooking Book</title>


<title>How to cook</title>

Nice, isn’t it? Probably you say: “But, hey, I can get this with grep too!” Yes, but if you want just all chapter titles, you have a problem with grep. With XPath and xpathgrep.py I only modify my XPath expression a bit:

$ xpathgrep.py //chapter/title db.xml

Now this reduces the above output just to the wanted chapter titles. And I can extent my query just for all chapters that doesn’t have an id attribute:

$ xpathgrep.py '//chapter[not(@id)]/title' db.xml

(You need the apostroph because of the shell.) The tool outputs this:


That’s nice, isn’t it? There are a lot of more to discover. A few hours ago I send a small patch to the lxml-devel mailinglist to support namespaces. Hopefully, it will be accepted. :)

Boost signals as hooks to extend libzypp?

June 9th, 2008 by

It would be nice if libzypp had some framework that allowed to implement extensions like e.g. a history of installed and  removed packages easily.

I’m currently looking into the boost signals library to see if we could use it to provide hooks for such extensions.

A  future  ZYpp::commit would then emit signals e.g. before and after installation/deletion of packages. Some extension code could then connect to those signals to create e.g. such a history.

Another candidate would be the repository management emitting signals as repositories are added removed refreshed.