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Archive for June, 2009

Call for Contribution: OpenSUSE Weekly News

June 19th, 2009 by

Since 77 Issues the Weekly News Team published the News. The News are translated to many Languages. But why i made an Call for Contribution?
If we check Planetsuse or Lizards, we can see, that mostly the Blogger are the same. Our Goal as Weekly News Team is it, to make our Publication interesting. So we need more Blogger. If you have an own Blog, we would like to motivate you, to blog. You can write about interesting Features or Tips and Tricks, or new things, you have learned. You can tell us, what you like at the Project, or what you doesn’t like. You can give Proposals or other Stuff. We need you as Author.

Then i’d like to go to the next Point: Feedback.
Sebastian one of our Teammates has created an Poll with the Question: “How are the Weekly News”? You can find it there: http://forums.opensuse.org/surveys-polls/416228-how-opensuse-news.html. Please let us know, how are the Weekly News in YOUR View. Please use also the Comment-Function for leave a Feedback. You can also use an Mail to: saigkill@opensuse.org.

If you are can’t Blog, so you can send us interesting Blogs or Posts, that you’ve found. Only through your Contribution we can make the Weekly News better and more interesting.

We want you!!!

GSoC – summary of this week’s meeting

June 18th, 2009 by

The goals for the last week were to implement oauth support into osc and add something like a “ttl” so that an access token expires after some time.

In order to implement it into osc I decided to write a simple OAuthHandler class which can be added as an “opener” to urllib2. So it should be possible to add custom “openers” for other protocols (but the interface might change again).

The next action item was to add a ttl for an access token. In fact this was just a “one-liner” (apart from a small migration script). I’m really impressed how easy it was to do this with rails.

One note about the osc integration:
At the moment osc sends all required authentification stuff (e.g. oauth_token etc.) via url parameters:<key>&oauth_signature_method=HMAC-SHA1… because we cannot use POST requests. It might be “nicer” to add this kind of parameters to the http header – so our plan is to use the standard http authorization or www-authenticate headers (see also here).

Action item for the next week:

  • add support to the frontend so that it can handle oauth via the authorization header.

OpenOffice_org 3.1.1 alpha1 available for openSUSE

June 18th, 2009 by

I’m happy to announce OpenOffice.org 3.1.1 alpha1 packages for openSUSE. They are available in the Build Service OpenOffice:org:UNSTABLE project and include many upstream and Go-oo fixes. Please, look for more details about the openSUSE OOo build on the wiki page.

The packages are alpha versions and might include even serious bugs. Therefore they are not intended for data-critical usage. A good practice is to archive any important data before an use, …

We kindly ask any interested beta testers to try the package and report bugs.

Other information and plans:

The build for openSUSE Factory will provide also OpenOffice_org-kde4 package with an initial KDE4 integration. It is done by Roman Shtylman, an external contributor, and it is still a work in progress. I can’t build it for openSUSE-11.1 because it requires the newer Qt >= 4.5. Please be patient, Roman wants to stabilize it at first. It is a good idea because we really want to have it ready for openSUSE-11.2. Then he will look if it would be possible to port it for the older Qt and openSUSE-11.1. There are missing some useful features, so he would need to create workarounds.

Unfortunately, the packages for openSUSE Factory are still not ready in the  OpenOffice:org:UNSTABLE project because the build is blocked by rebuild of another low level packages. I have submitted the package sources also into the official openSUSE Factory. I hope that it will be available there soon.

Note that I would like to provide 3.1.1-alpha2 build within next three weeks. The final OOo-3.1.1 packages should be available at the beginning of September.

open source xml editor in sight

June 18th, 2009 by

Six years ago I was involved with an early predecessor of the openfate feature tracker. I had  extended docbook sgml with a few feature tracking tags and it rendered nicely.  We stored it in cvs and jointly hacked on the document.  It never really got off the ground though, because there was no open source xml editor for Linux beyond emacs.

xml is great:  It’s a simple, human- and machine readable serialization.  And xml sucks because of all these ankle brackets.  You need a tool to edit it.

Now yesterday I’m getting this mail:

Subject: ANN: Serna Free XML Editor Goes Open Source Soon! Help Us Build the Community!
From:  Syntext Customer Service <XXXXX@syntext.com>
To: Susanne.Oberhauser@XXXXX
Date: 2009-06-17 17:11:26

Dear Susanne Oberhauser,

We are happy to tell you that our Serna Free XML Editor is going to be open-source software soon! Serna is a powerful and easy-to-use WYSIWYG XML editor based on open standards, which works on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Sun Solaris/SPARC.

We love Serna and wish to share our passion with anyone who wants to make it better. Our mission is to make XML accessible to everyone, and we believe that open-source Serna could enable much more users and companies to adopt XML technology.

It goes on about spreading the news and supporting the transition from just cost free to open source.

I got this mail because I’ve tried Serna five years ago, on the quest for a decent  Linux xml editor.  Back then it just rendered xml to xsl-fo with xslt, and then you edit the document in that rendered view, as if it was a word document.  Serna came with docbook and a few toy examples like a simple time tracking sheet.  Meanwhile they’ve added python scripting, dita support, an “xsl bricks” library to quickly creaty your own xslt transforms for your own document schemes, and the tool gathers the data from different sources with xinclude or dita conref and stores the data back to them and on the screen you just happily edit your one single unified document view.

I just hesitated to build an infrastructure around it because it was prorietary.  I hate vendor lock-in.  And now they want to open source serna!!

If this comes true, serna rocks the boat.  It’s as simple as that.  With the python scripting Serna is more than an xml editor:  it actually is a very rich xml gui application platform, with one definition for print and editing, with wysiwyg editing in the print ‘pre’view.  I dare to anticipate this is no less than one of the coolest things that ever happened to the Linux desktop… Once Serna is open source it will be so much simpler to create xml based applications.  I guess I’m dead excited 🙂

Serna, I whish you happy trails on your open source endeavour!!


Cutting-edge LTSP

June 17th, 2009 by

openSUSE 11.2 development started a while back, now that we have passed Milestone2, development work on KIWI-LTSP using openSUSE 11.2 base has started, with that we get a host of new features.

The highlights of new packages:
– Uses clicfs for NBD/AOE root image. clicfs: Compressed Loop Image Container is a file system created by Stephan Kulow. So we do not need squashfs and aufs anymore for LTSP images. Clicfs gives better compression, image size is about 10% smaller than same image created using squashfs.
– Kernel 2.6.30
New look by Samyak Bhuta
– New xorg, CONFIGURE_X in lts.conf no longer necessary

The packages are available in server:ltsp repository.

Follow these instructions to test the development packages on already configured LTSP server:

#Take backup so system can be restored as it is if something do go wrong
mv /srv/kiwi-ltsp/i386.img /srv/kiwi-ltsp/i386-squashfs.img
mv /srv/tftpboot/boot /srv/tftpboot/boot-old
#remove current images
rpm -e kiwi-ltsp-prebuilt kiwi-ltsp-bootimages --nodeps
#add repository and install development packages
zypper ar http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/server:/ltsp/openSUSE_11.1 server:ltsp
zypper in kiwi-ltsp-bootimages-unstable kiwi-ltsp-prebuilt-unstable

Bugs, feature requests go here. See http://en.opensuse.org/LTSP#Communicate for more ways to give feedback.

Happy testing…

openSUSE@ARM/GSoC: Cross-compilation & speedup

June 16th, 2009 by

This weeks topic was the integration of the cross-compilation mode into the build environment. But it’s more than just a cross-toolchain – it’s a speed-boost for our ARM build environment. As of today, the source is deployed in the repository Base:build:arm:cross. It’s not fully bootstrapped because of the current high load and the upcoming downtime – so watch out for changes there and in Base:build:arm.

But what are these “speedup’s” ? First, you’ve to know that in our build environment the ARM binaries are executed through an emulation-layer. This works on the cost of speed. The goal is now, to exchange some key parts in a transparent manner with native x86 binaries: no emulation, no slowdown. Sounds reasonable, but is it easily possible ?
I had to take care not to mix stuff too much because the environment would break. But now I’ve to say:  WOW, this worked incredibly well  😉 .

The distinctive feature of our approach in comparison to usual cross-build environments is that we use the best of native environment emulation and the speed of cross-compilation. Because of this combination we don’t have to patch the individual packages to make them cross-compilation ready. This is a new way of cross-compiling suitable also for large number of packages. A detailed overview about the different crossbuild types can be found on this page.
Another feature to note is that the exchanged binaries (replacing ARM with x86 in the build environment) also don’t need heavy patching and there’s no need to compile them as static binaries. All of them are normal distribution packages.

A switch in the project enables/disables the new features. With the new changes in place, the speed could be vastly increased. Some figures:
* package rpm
* package glibc w/o locales

Build time in minutes
x86 native armv5tel native armv5tel cross factor native factor cross
rpm 8 107 17 13,38 2,13
glibc 33 505 63 15,3 1,91

overview cross-environment

Thats a drop from about x15 to x2 in comparison to the native x86 build-time !! See it yourself when the “crosscompiled” repo in Base:build:arm is up and running.

In other words: “Warp 5, Mr. Sulu !” 😉

Quality Checking the openSUSE Wiki

June 16th, 2009 by

I talked today with Frank and he mentioned that during openSUSE Community Week some people discussed improving the openSUSE Wiki.

He has written a first email on what he wants to do titled ‘RFC: Marking articles that have been “QA”‘ed‘ and now started going through the pages.  His progress report is available on the opensuse-wiki mailing list and titled ‘1st report on methodically checking pages on en.o.o.’

Frank would appreciate help with the task would be very much. If you like to help, please  join the IRC channel #opensuse-wiki on Freenode – it’s probably easier to coordinate via IRC than via email.

To see the current status, check http://en.opensuse.org/Wiki_Team/Checked_Pages

OBS-Education Questions specific to openSUSE Education development, bugs, enhancements, etc.

June 15th, 2009 by

Please take a look at the new forum for the opensuse-edu project.


Hopefully the start of a lot more communication and growth!

South East Linux Fest

June 15th, 2009 by

This week I attended SELF (South East Linux Fest) at Clemson University here in South Carolina. It was a great day! I met and worked the openSUSE booth with Joe Brockmeier aka “Zonker”.  There were lots of enthusiastic attendees both from the Linux and Education communities.  All of the Educators that came to visit the booth where extremely pleased with the work the EDU team has completed and If I had been able to supply them, many would have taken copies of the EDU Li-F-E disk and Sugar disk that I had running on my laptop.  Cyberog and the team really have hit a home run! I had with me a thin client setup and did several demonstrations  on the ease of installation and setup.  Kiwi-LTSP is one of the most exciting products for Education I have seen in a long time.  Easy-LTSP, the openSUSE configuration utility for LTSP, is by far the easiest configuration utility available to LTSP users. Combine Easy-LTSP and Italc (a computerlab monitoring suite) and in 5 minutes a teacher can setup a computer lab and either display the lesson on each\all screen or capture a students screen for display to others or simple monitoring of all screens.

I sat through a couple of presenters and I was most excited to hear Chad Wollenburg from VA. Chad is a kindred spirit , he has been slowly moving his district to open source for a few years now and he started much the same way most of us have, his school district could not afford to relicense Microsoft office.  He too, had to show that Open Office was compatible and comparable to MSOffice and explain the over 200,000.o0$ savings to his district using small steps and insider advocates as his method of operation. I am glad to meet so many people dedicated to reducing the “criminal” costs of licensing.

Our project itself past another milestone this week, I am proud to present the OBS-Education forum. http://forums.opensuse.org/obs-projects/obs-education/      Please feel free to post questions specific to openSUSE Education development, bugs, enhancements, etc.

Indian Government takes a lead in getting FOSS in Education

June 15th, 2009 by

Open Source is getting bigger by the day in India. Success stories such as Tamil Nadu going completely open source, NRCFOSS and CDAC launching Debian based BOSS Linux distribution tailored for India in many Indian languages and the recent steps by Gujarat State Education Board(GSEB) to give 50% weightage to Open Source and Linux in Computer subject across all streams (Science, Commerce and Arts).

There is lot more happening to get the best of FOSS to students. Project FOSSEducation initiative by Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay(IIT-B) is an Ministry of Human Resource Development(MHRD) funded project as part of the National Mission on Education through ICT with the thrust area being Adaptation and deployment of open source simulation packages equivalent to MATLAB, ORCAD etc.

*The goal of the project is to replace the use of commercial tools in Indian science and engineering education at the college level*

The project is hiring developers, paying them top salaries to work on FOSS softwares such as Scilab, NumPy, SciPy, etc. I wish Professor Prabhu Ramachandran and his team all the success in their endeavor and wish for lot more such news from all over the world 🙂