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Archive for September, 2010

openSUSE KDE meeting tonight, last minute Qt Dev Days giveaway!

September 30th, 2010 by

Paying attention at the back there? Sit up straight and listen!

It’s time for the openSUSE KDE Team meeting today at 1600UTC in #opensuse-kde. Because we’re *that tight* with those lovely guys and gals at Qt Development Frameworks we’ve got a place at Qt Developer Days 2010 in Munich on Oct 11-13 worth $$$ to give away to a deserving community member. If you want to find out about the latest developments in Qt, learn its inner workings in mind-expandingly good seminars and network with other Qt users, then come back and bring some Qt goodness to openSUSE, come along to the meeting.  Even if you didn’t get into Qt development yet, the introductory tutorials will inspire you to learn at Qt Quick speed, so don’t be shy.

Note: you have to make your own way to Munich and organise your own place to stay.  If you live in Punta Arenas, Chile this one probably isn’t for you.

If you can’t make it to the meeting, mail me with why you should be the one to attend at wstephenson@suse.de. But hurry, we have to decide by tomorrow!

Revising the Board Election Rules, 2nd iteration

September 29th, 2010 by

A month ago I presented my first draft for the new openSUSE board election rules and received some good feedback, especially on the opensuse-project mailing list. Since the last version presented on the mailing list I reworked the draft some more taking into account the proposal by Henne to remove the split of the elected seats into Novell and non-Novell employees.

So, now the goal of the changes for these rules are:

  • Fill the holes that exist in the existing rules
  • Clarify the existing rules
  • Open up the project even more with removing the restriction on two members beeing Novell employees.  To help ensure that the board will always represent a wide part of the community, I’ve followed the example of the GNOME foundation to have a rule that only 40 % of the elected board members can work at the same company.
    Note that 40 % of 5 elected seats means 2 seats.

I’d like to thank Vincent Untz and Alan Clark who helped me with this revision step.

Below is the new draft, for reference I gave each rule a name.

I’d like to hear now whether those complete rules are fine or where they need further revision and I’d also like to see wordsmithing to clarify and improve the rules.


From Source Code to Packages for Various Distributions

September 24th, 2010 by

I presented on Thursday at LinuxKongress 2010 on “From Source Code to Packages for Various Distributions”.

When I arrived in the morning for Jon Corbet’s excellent keynote, a quick check showed that the openSUSE Build Service (OBS) which I wanted to demo as part of my presentation was down. I was glad about the advise of my colleague Michael Löffler that told me to have some backup in case I won’t have internet in the room.  So, I had prepared a screencast (video) and soon I was calm and could concentrate on Jon instead of worrying about OBS.

My talk to a small audience (Linux Kongress is small but high profile event) of around 15 people went well. I started with explaining that a developer writes code but users run binaries, so the question is how to get a binary to the user – especially if you want to support multiple distributions, versions of distributions and cpu architectures. OBS is the rescue. After a live demo (yeah, OBS was working again in time!) with some good questions, I gave some more background about OBS and how it helps upstream developers.

The only question where I struggled with was whether it is possible to checkout the complete package from e.g. Fedora’s package repository (so patches, sources and spec file) and build thus automatically an rpm using OBS. With the new source services for OBS 2.1 this should be possible and I need to ask Adrian what exactly needs to be done for this.

I’ll uploaded my screencast later to YouTube and also uploaded my slides (now with the openSUSE theming) for sharing to the wiki, – and referenced everything from the presentations page.

During my demo I explained briefly how a package can be build as deb or rpm (I used the package “osc” from the project “openSUSE:Tools”), how to handle different package names, projects and packages, submit requests, how multiple users can work on a package and how to give users access, that building happens in the background driven by a scheduler etc.

Wacom Bamboo Pen and openSUSE 11.3

September 23rd, 2010 by

It all started when my daughter discovered the Bamboo Pen. Naturally the tablet quickly turned into a must have accessory to her computer. After a bit of Googling I came to the conclusion that making the beast work with Linux should be possible. The prize for the effort would be a very happy young lady.

In order to avoid any potential hassle with shipping etc. we went to the local Best Buy to buy the tablet. As the store had the hardware at the same price as online retailers that decision was easy.

Once I actually had my fingers on the tablet it was time to make it work. Doing a bit more detailed research now, I found various openSUSE forum posts and various other links. Some of these were not quite consistent, others appeared to address only half the solution. Therefore, I decided to cast away most of what I had found and just concentrate on the information found on the Linux Wacom Project. The HOWTO is informative and provides all information needed to get everything working. The HOWTO does not provide the information in the linear fashion I like, when I try to get something new to work. With a bit of hoping back and forth and some pocking around I got the tablet to work.

Now to the linear summary on how to get the tablet working.

  • Install openSUSE 11.3
  • Install the necessary packages to build the code provided by the Wacom project (root access required)
    • kernel-source
    • kernel-syms
    • xorg-x11-server-sdk
    • plus make and standard build infrastructure
  • Get the sources from the Wacom download page (0.8.8 at the time of this writing). This is the kernel driver code. The included X utilities and driver code in this version will not work on openSUSE 11.3 and will not build either, that’s OK.
  • Get the X utils and driver code from the Wacom main page. The link at the time of this writing is near the top of the page and links to version 0.10.8
  • Build the kernel driver
    • Unpack the kernel driver code tar -xjvf linuxwacom-0.8.8-8.tar.bz2
    • cd linuxwacom-0.8.8-8
    • Configure the build ./configure --enable-wacom
    • Build the driver make
  • Copy the newly built driver over the driver supplied by the openSUSE kernel (root access required) cp src/2.6.30/wacom.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/input/tablet/
    • If you want to make a backup copy of the project provided driver make sure you store the copy outside of the modules tree, i.e. outside of /lib/modules/`uname -r`
  • Remove any updates for the driver rm /lib/modules/`uname -r`/weak-updates/updates/wacom.ko
  • Build the X11 utils and driver
    • Unpack the sources tar -xjvf xf86-input-wacom-0.10.8.tar.bz2
    • cd xf86-input-wacom-0.10.8
    • Configure the build ./configure
    • Build make
    • Install (root access required)make install
  • Create a udev rule (root access required)
    • With your favorite editor open /etc/udev/rules.d/60-wacom.rules
    • Add the following code
      # udev rules for wacom tablets.
      KERNEL!="event[0-9]*", GOTO="wacom_end"
      # Multiple interface support for stylus and touch devices.
      DRIVERS=="wacom", ATTRS{bInterfaceNumber}=="00", ENV{WACOM_TYPE}="stylus"
      DRIVERS=="wacom", ATTRS{bInterfaceNumber}=="01", ENV{WACOM_TYPE}="touch"
      # Convenience links for the common case of a single tablet. We could do just this:
      #ATTRS{idVendor}=="056a", SYMLINK+="input/wacom-$env{WACOM_TYPE}"
      # but for legacy reasons, we keep the input/wacom link as the generic stylus device.
      ATTRS{idVendor}=="056a", ENV{WACOM_TYPE}!="touch", SYMLINK+="input/wacom"
      ATTRS{idVendor}=="056a", ENV{WACOM_TYPE}=="touch", SYMLINK+="input/wacom-touch"
      # Check and repossess the device if a module other than the wacom one
      # is already bound to it.
      ATTRS{idVendor}=="056a", ACTION=="add", RUN+="check_driver wacom $devpath $env{ID_BUS}"
  • Regenerate the module dependencies depmod -e

There you go, now you can connect the tablet, fire up GIMP and be creative.

Qt 4.7.0 in openSUSE; KDE updates

September 22nd, 2010 by

With the release of Qt 4.7.0 it’s time to use it to build KDE packages destined for openSUSE 11.4. This means that Qt 4.7 will shortly land in KDE:Distro:Factory repositories. In a couple of months’ time it will be followed by betas of the KDE 4.6 releases. If you are using KDF just because it’s the latest KDE release, consider replacing it with KDE:Release:45 now, which will remain 4.5 and Qt 4.6 based.

You can get the latest Qt release with Qt Quick/QML and latest Qt Creator by staying with KDF.

In other KDE related news, Choqok in openSUSE Factory, 11.2 and 11.3 is being updated to 1.0rc3 to fix Twitter authentication. Amarok 2.3.2 is out and packaged in KDF, and will shortly be available for older versions in KDE:UpdatedApps. And KOffice 2.3beta1 is available for testing in KDE:Unstable:Playground. So if you’ve been admiring the Krita art showcase and think you can do better, grab your tablet and the latest code built for stable KDE releases and push some pixels! The new Bluetooth UI for KDE, BlueDevil is in testing in KDF, alongside the new PulseAudio UIs coming in 4.6, and  akonadi-googledata 1.2.0 is in KDE:Extra.

As usual use software.opensuse.org to find the right repo for the KDE version you use or ‘osc repourls <reponame>’ if you prefer not to click.

frOSCamp 2010 – Zürich The day after – Event report

September 19th, 2010 by

After a good night of sleep, I’ve finish the Member/Ambassador report.

Gallery picture and mini-film : Here

Event Report : PDF or ODP

Others pictures : frOSCamp gallery

Report done by Sirko Kemter (aka gnokii) karl-tux-stadt.de

frOSCamp Day II

September 19th, 2010 by

08h00 : ok Saturday morning : always rude to get wake up.

About the FreeBeer www.freebeer.ch after a mini pool it seems that Swiss love it, Germans doesn’t like it’s taste, Hungarians doesn’t drink beer ( oh really ? I mean those beer ). Me I really enjoy it and it’s open concept.

09:30 Not to much people here. Did we miss the adv part of it ?
10:00 Filling the ambassador event report … Updating the gallery with yesterday afternoon
11:00 Trying to record the Pavel talk about openSUSE Connect, with the video-cam, and badly discover that when the “rec record lamp” is not flashing it’s not recording. Too bad … Put frOSCamp guy recorded the voice, and the slide so they will be available soon.
11:00 – 17:00 Rescue an hp laptop bugging under 11.3 32 bits with not able to call mmio during boot. 64Bits version is working !
Demo install with KVM, show lxde desktop, kde desktop also the netbook interface.
16:45 All penguins are sold, transform the 50 CHF income to a FSFE donation.
17:00 I have to fill my feedback form, there’s a Nokia N900 to win 🙂
17:35 So the N900 is won by a Debian guy
18:00 Time to unset the booth.
18:30 All stuf in the car, gnokii too, start driving him back to his car.
19:30 we found the FUDCON dinner event place. ParkPlatz & Zürich, a real love story 🙂
20:45 Time to me to leave Fedora & openSUSE guys, if I stay for eating I will not start before 2 hours and a half.
23:15 At home !

frOsCamp day I

September 17th, 2010 by

So our little team found it’s way to Zürich yesterday.
Every body is here this morning.

More content will be coming, but I offer you an exclusive look & preview right now !

Album frOsCamp

ps : gnokii can you stop eating all sugus candies they are for visitors 🙂

Free BEER for free people

September 17th, 2010 by

When we call beer “free”, we mean that it respects the users’ essential freedoms: the freedom to drink it, to study and change it, and to return empties with or without some changes. This is a matter of freedom, not price, so think of “free speech”… but in this case also “free beer” too.

Why man have to choose a free beer? Because it’s open and free to use. Everybody can give some feedback on the freebeer’s twitter page.

The project was started by Wädi Bräu in Switzerland like “open source beer” project. On the home page you can get more information about this project, for example, news and last updates.

License: creative commons.
Alcogol vol: 4.8 %
Size: 0.33 L

Be free… drink free beer 😉

p.s. Who know, maybe Novell will be sponsored this great open source project (?) 😉

Systems Management Zeitgeist

September 14th, 2010 by

Dear Lizards,
This recent release from IT World on the best Linux distributions out there caught my eye last weekend, as it declares “The package’s administration utility, YaST, is widely acknowledged as one of the best” in its entry on openSUSE and SLE (the documentation also drew praise, distinguishing itself as “some of the best printed documentation you’ll find for any distro“), and reminded me I wanted to share some of the positive feedback I collected during our 11.x development and after final release.  Ready? Here we go.

Some of the initial ‘Net commentary was all centered on performance and memory footprint, from Snorp’sI don’t think it’s possible to overstate just how much of an improvement it really is” to Duncan’s benchmarks providing interesting numerical comparisons like  “Yum uses about 9 times more memory” (and takes several times longer).  This was refreshing given that at the same time Yum’s less-than-nimble footprint was drawing some interesting comments from Zed and Zbr.

Eventually, the improvements rolled over to the press, with Jason Perlow proclaiming 11 RC1 the Mercedes-Benz to Ubuntu’s Wolkswagen. Jason had plenty of praise in his review, but I am singling out “the most beautiful installer program I have ever seen” and “quite impressed with how fast the package repository management works” since this is the Systems Management team’s ticker-tape parade, after all.  Our then Community Ambassador Zonker followed up with his Package Keeper piece on the special that Linux Pro Magazine issued for the 11.0 release, focusing on package management as “one of the most impressive advances” in the release (link sadly missing as article still paywalled).   Linux Format retorted with “One of our favorite features of SUSE is the one-click install system” and “faster than any other package manager we’ve seen, and on top of that it looks great, too” in their What SUSE Does Best review (no link, as LXF requires subscription).

Finally, with the release of our Enterprise distribution, the commentary rolled over to our corporate customers, as I previously reported when one customer I like to track personally as particularly representative reported a 300% speed improvement in rolling updates to production.

Afterwards, we have moved up live distro upgrade (more famously known as zypper dup) to fully supported status, quickly receiving loud praise from a Linux Journal editor with clearly too many Debian-using friends.  We do relate to his plight, in a tongue-in-cheek manner, and are happy to help.  Indeed, other distributions have started adopting Zypper as well, with Ark leading the way.

So what is next for us? Well, with Btrfs around the corner, integrating snapshot and rollback into the update system stands clearly out from the crowd: an undo button to painlessly bring back the system to where it was before your last upgrade. Stay tuned!

The package’s administration utility, YaST, is widely acknowledged as one of the best,The package’s administration utility, YaST, is widely acknowledged as one of the best,