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Archive for January 21st, 2009

Novell Teaming on SLES

January 21st, 2009 by

As per the request of Andrew Wafaa, I thought I’d set up a quick guide to how I got teaming running on SLES.  The documentation for Teaming on the administrative end was relatively sparse, but the installation guide was sufficient for most purposes.

Read on to learn more about Teaming and SLES…


Controlling your minions with Ruby and Capistrano

January 21st, 2009 by

Welcome to yet another installment of our Ruby mini-series.  Capistrano (http://capify.org/) is a DSL written in Ruby for automating common tasks.  While Capistrano is more often used for Rails deployment, it can easily be used for system automation as well.

A while back, I put together a presentation for the local Ruby user’s group.  The presentation covers a very brief intro to Capistrano for simple system automation.  You can download it here.  I’m aware of at least one typo (a missing single quote) in the slides, there may be others.

Rather than repeat myself here, I’ll let the PDF do the talking.  For the official documentation, see http://capify.org/getting-started

Flashrom Utility for LINUX (part1)

January 21st, 2009 by

This blog entry is a little bit OffTopic. I’m writing not about an openSUSE Theme, but about
Linux. Last week i’ve chatted with the guys in #coreboot @ freenode and it was very
interesting. This article based on an collaborative PR Project from Carl-Daniel Hailfinger. This first Part of the Article presents Flashrom. The next Article presents Coreboot. The web site of that project is:


The flash utility is known as “Flashrom”.

Flashrom is a universal flash programming utility used to detect, read, erase, or write BIOS
chips (parallel, LPC, FWH and SPI technologies) in various packages (DIP, PLCC, SOIC).
It can be used to flash firmware images such as traditional BIOS or coreboot or to back up
the existing firmware.

Everybody who does not want to boot DOS or Windows just to perform a BIOS update can use
flashrom. It does not require a graphics card, monitor or keyboard and can even be used
over SSH on a remote machine. You do not have to reboot to run flashrom, but it is recommended
to reboot after a successful update. Many people are using flashrom as a replacement for
the various AMI/Award/Phoenix BIOS flashing tools out there.

Flashrom supports over 100 flash chips and it is really easy to add support for a new chip
if your board happens to have an unsupported chip.

Flashrom has its own home page: http://www.coreboot.org/Flashrom

It is free software released under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2.

Flashrom is a “normal” user space application, but it requires superuser privileges.
Some hardened kernels (which deny access to physical memory) do not support flashrom, but
most distributions out there work fine.

Of course, the usual requirements for BIOS updates apply here as well. You should have a
stable power supply. Switching the machine off during flashing will make your machine
unbootable. Since flashrom treats BIOS files as opaque blobs, you usually do not get any
of the failover/dual BIOS features advertised on some boards.

Backup the current BIOS image into a file:

$ flashrom -r backup.bin

For other usage instructions, please refer to the flashrom home page or the man page.

In case something goes wrong, do NOT reboot, but join #coreboot @freenode and tell the
flashrom developers about it. As long as the machine is still running, there is a good
chance that everything can be fixed.


January 21st, 2009 by

openFATE is now up and running for a few days. openFATE is, in case you missed the announcement, the community accessible feature- and requirements tracking for the openSUSE distribution. We developed and used the FATE system (which has some more components than just openFATE) before internally, but since we want to really open up development it was a logical decision to find a good way to let the community participate.

openFATE is not a stand alone system. The openSUSE distribution is as you know the base for our enterprise products. That means that discussions we do around openSUSE features sometimes have impact on what happens in the enterprise products later on, or vice versa. If features become important for SLE that also might have importance for openSUSE.

That is implemented in openFATE. It is connected to a common database which holds all information about features for all products. A chain of tools filters out information that can not go public.

It is basically about the SUSE Linux product family, where the openSUSE distribution and the SLE products are part of. If a community member gives input on a feature which has a product context for the SLE product, the input
is seen by the SLE product- and project manager as well as the involved developers. I think it is important to realise that this is part of our understanding of open development. openSUSE is not cut off the things we’re doing for SLE, but can have a direct influence.

So far we nearly had 300 changes to existing features and a whole bunch of new feature requests from the community. That is a very good result for the first few days I think. Please keep on giving your input. We are happy to see people involved in product planing, eg. for openSUSE 11.2 .