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Archive for October, 2010

Merging SVN Repositories Explained

October 30th, 2010 by

Adding files to a SVN server is usually a task done in seconds. However, having several independent SVN repositories and wanting to “combine” them, this is not trivial—especially if you want to preserve the history.

The doc team had had three different, independent repositories on BerliOS (opensuse-ha-doc, opensuse-docmaker, and opensuse-lfl) all holding separate information. This was a bit silly, so my task was to consolidate them into opensuse-doc by keeping all history.


A new Flavor: openSUSE Invis Server

October 28th, 2010 by

Invis Server Beside many other amazing things which happened at the openSUSE Conference 2010, Stefan Schäfer gave a talk about his project called Invis Server. It is a very specific server solution for the small and medium business, based on the openSUSE distribution. The Invis Server is perfect software for all production installations in small business use cases, also to be maintained by consultants in that space.

All needed services such as printing, mail, web and file server, database and groupware are there and get preconfigured at installation. For daily operation in the users network, there is a simple yet powerful web interface.

In the discussion after the presentation it turned out that Stefan would be fine with moving the Invis Server Project nearer to the openSUSE project and get a larger community find together to power up the project on openSUSE distributions.

As a result we decided to found the openSUSE Invis Project. The idea is to create an openSUSE Distribution flavor with solid packages coming from openSUSE Factory together with some specifically packaged sources ready to power the Invis Server. The openSUSE Buildservice will be used to build the needed packages and create the product images. The first tasks will be to clean up the package list and do some packaging to be able to create a convenient openSUSE-Invis CD.

The openSUSE-Invis Mailinglist was set up and is waiting for your subscription. Please show up there soon to help us to move this idea forward.

Read The Fabulous Manual

October 26th, 2010 by

We have a new place where we collect static documentation like manuals, user guides, quick start pages, developer documentation … and so on.
This new place is: rtfm.opensuse.org doc.opensuse.org.
Our “fabulous manuals” are also accessible at: doc.opensuse.org (in case you don’t like the word “fabulous”).

A few days ago Thomas Schraitle already wrote about this site before it was in a state that we wanted to announce – so sorry for any confusion this might have created.

This site is not meant to be a competitor to the documentation in the wiki. It was rather born from the need to have a central place to publish generated static documentation. Content on rtfm is not meant to be edited. If you want to contribute documentation we very welcome this in the wiki and encourage  you to link back to rtfm where applicable. The pages on rtfm are static but however they will be updated automatically upon changes (new releases of a project or product).

Currently we have published some great user guides and quick start pages for openSUSE (KDE, Gnome, Security, …) and SLES (AppArmor, Admin Guide, kvm, Xen, Security, …) as well as a user and vendor guide for WebYaST. There is also developer documentation available for YaST and Zypp (libzypp, satsolver) development.
In the next days or weeks we will add more documentation as soon as it is ready to be published.

We changed the domain name of that site. To read the fabulous manuals please use and link only to doc.opensuse.org. The domain docs.opensuse.org will be alias for it – please only link to doc and do not use rtfm anymore. Thanks for your appreciation.

Cheat Cube openSUSE

October 26th, 2010 by

The formidable Carlos Ribeiro, researching tools and marketing resources used within the free software found one that deserves mention, the Cheat Cube project fedora. From this model fedora using inkscape and drew a cube version for openSUSE. Congratulations Carlos Jedi.

OBS 2.1: Status of SuperH (sh4) support with QEMU

October 24th, 2010 by

With established ARM support in OBS the as well as emulated MIPS and PowerPC is getting more mature, the last big embedded architecture not working in OBS with QEMU user mode was SH4. QEMU developers community had done a lot of work in improving QEMU user mode during the last months, so I can proudly present with currently only a few patches to QEMU git master OBS builds working with the SH4 port of Debian Sid. The new QEMU 0.13 released recently is a big milestone for this.

Another news is that I had fixed the bugs in Virtual Machine builds (build script) when using them with some architectures like PowerPC 32bit and SH4. So now also the combination of using for example KVM (XEN should also work) in a worker together with ARM, MIPS, PowerPC and SH4 is working. The appropriate fixes are in one of the next build script releases (if not even released already now with OBS 2.1, I have to check that). You can select architecture “sh4” with OBS 2.1 and also start a scheduler with “sh4”.

With the use of the QEMU User Mode, you can build also accelerated native cross toolchains for your host architecture so time critical parts like the compiler can run without the emulator. This works with .deb as well as with .rpm based backages. The MeeGo Project as well as the openSUSE Port to ARM uses this technique to provide an optimum between compatibility and performance. It means you can mix natively build packages and use cross toolchains on it. The “CBinstall:” feature helps you to use native or cross builds automatically depending on if your build host is a native machine or a x86 machine with cross build. In summary, we have the current classics of linux embedded archs together now in OBS: ARM, x86, MIPS 32, PowerPC 32 and SH4.

I have uploaded the fixed QEMU package to the OBS project openSUSE:Tools:Unstable inside the package “qemu-devel” after some more testing. I have of course also a OBS meta prjconf file working with Debian Sid. The SH4 port of Debian Sid you can find at Debian Ports Site.

And last but not least I would like to thank Riku Voipio of the Debian Project, QEMU project and MeeGo project and other major contributors during the QEMU 0.13 development cycle for the restless work on QEMU user mode improvements. In case of KVM, QEMU is used even twice, with QEMU-KVM as well as QEMU User Mode. I am sure I had forgotten other important people, so thanks to them also.

Upstream holiday

October 24th, 2010 by

The openSUSE Conference went really well last week. There was an amazing range of material and the audience’s participation in every talk I attended showed that the openSUSE project has moved past the show-and-tell presentations of a company and its customers to a community using the event to share knowledge between its members and develop.  As part of the openSUSE Boosters team, I was in it up to my neck.   On Wednesday I started with a talk on image building for application authors which was well attended but I think I should tweak towards users’ needs as there weren’t many app authors present.  I gave a talk about the upcoming KDE features that will be in openSUSE 11.4 on Thursday, because  openSUSE 11.3 had KDE 4.4 but due to the 3 month difference in both projects’ release cycles, openSUSE 11.4 will have the KDE 4.6 releases of platform, workspaces and apps.  That equals a lot of changes, so I summarized them for people who don’t read Planet KDE as avidly as I do.  The Lizard Lounge event in the SUSE building on Thursday night gave everyone a chance to catch their breath drinking limited edition Old Toad SUSE beer.

On Friday I gave a spontaneous BoF on KWin’s current and upcoming features.  Can you name the four ways to show your desktop in 4.5?  I only had 3 until a member of the audience pointed out a 4th.  And yesterday I supported Chani’s workshop on developing for Plasma using Javascript and QML, which piqued the audience’s interest by showing how KDE’s high-level services like the Plasma applets framework and the KConfig configuration storage library add value to the glamour of QML and QGraphicsView.  To enable all of the audience to participate, I’d prepared another live image, this time an SDK based on KDE trunk, Qt 4.7 and latest Qt Designer 2.0.1 with all the headers and developer docu on board.  This paid off, as unlike at Akademy, most people didn’t have developer builds ready to go on their laptops.  Within minutes we had copies booting from everyone’s USB sticks and people were working through the included git repository of tutorials prepared by Chani, making flags change colour on click and saving applet state using only a schema file and a Qt Designer config UI.

Unfortunately the talks weren’t recorded live, but a number of people who were in other tracks at the time have already asked me about the KDE talk so I’ll record it again and upload it for you, and Chani and I will polish the Plasma material and get it online at some point.

So having talked myself hoarse, I’m taking this week off to hack on upstream KDE code and get my plans there nailed down before the upcoming soft feature freeze.  In the past I tend to notice the freezes once they are past (whoops!) meaning that my openSUSE work was doomed to sit in a branch until it could be integrated next release.  I hope to get some Network Management features in now and work on polish across the desktop while I’m not handling bug reports, righting wrongs on the lists and fixing build failures.  See you in a week.

openSUSE Conference

October 23rd, 2010 by

I am home from the openSUSE Conference 2010 and finally landed on the sofa. I don’t know why conferences are so exhausting, but they are for me. My brain slowly becomes sorted again and starts to reflect what happened on the conference. Wow, I can say that I didn’t expect it to become such a great event. There were so many interesting and enthusiastic discussions about topics concerning the openSUSE distribution or about things you can do under the openSUSE umbrella.

The fun side of community and technology was inspiring people all over, in opposite to some situations I remember on the last years conference where we had to deal with unpleasant topics. This seemed to have completely went away, instead people were aiming to solve problems together in a constructive way or, even more fun, worked on new things without so called stop-energy.

It seems to me that a kind of openSUSE core-community stabilizes. People know each other, it has sorted who finally really is interested in openSUSE and continously contributes. That builds trust, and to that adds the self confidence which results out of the good quality of the recent distros we as a community were able to release. This nicely turned out for me in the strategy discussion lead by Jos. People were supportive, sorted out issues here and there, but moved ahead and came to decisions together on a topic which had endless and partly unpleasant discussions on mailinglists before. The power of meeting face to face on the one hand, but also signs that we learned from the last years and grew up.

From the talk quality the conference for me personally was one of the best FOSS conferences I have attended until now. All keynotes were done with great passion, uniquely and addressed specifically on current topics in our community. Hennes on the first day painted a good frame for the whole conference in his unique style. Cornelius and Vincent on day two were also great, they did not play friends just to let the sun shine on the conference, but for me they proofed that the openSUSE community has built a fundament were we not only accept each other but can work together werever it makes sense to tackle the higher challenges. Gerald speaking on Friday was repeating facts of the relationship between Novell and openSUSE. It was good hear it again that Novell wholeheartly supports the openess of the openSUSE project and what that means from a corporate point of view. Today Frank was introducing the project Brezen which will increase the ease of use of openSUSE a lot for the user and free software developers. Great that there is already code, I am really looking forward to see stuff coming into our distro.

You see, quite a lot happened on osc10. I will continue writing but I am too tired now…


October 23rd, 2010 by

Before and during the openSUSE conference, some nice people (Jens-Daniel, Jürgen, Darix) created the following site for you:

http://rtfm.opensuse.org http://doc.opensuse.org

Thank you guys! I like the thrilling name. 😉

It’s a static page (at the moment?) and collects the current documentation from several products and projects. Probably you will see more to come in the next weeks.

Have fun!

Update (AJ since Thomas is ill) 2010-10-27: Based on the feedback received, we’re going to  change now rtfm.opensuse.org to docs.opensuse.org. So, you can reach the fine side under http://docs.opensuse.org and http://doc.opensuse.org.

Fotostream from openSUSE Conference 2010

October 21st, 2010 by

Yet another foto stream from the openSUSE conference. You see the desktop leads from KDE and Gnome (Cornelius Schumacher and Vincent Untz) giving a talk about the past and future of the free desktop, Stephan Kulow about the future of the distribution, Bernhard Wiedemann about QA testing and so on.

Most important may be the presentation of the openSUSE board (mainly by Pascal Bleser) how they plan to found an independent foundation for openSUSE as non-profit organization. An important rule of that foundation is that it is independent of any company (no majority of Novell here) but can handle sponsoring, partnering and trademark questions.

We had also very filled rooms during the OBS talks, but I was unable to take pictures at that point of time unfortunately 😉


October 20th, 2010 by

A matryoshka doll, also known as a Russian nesting doll or a babushka doll, is a set of dolls of decreasing sizes placed one inside the other. A set of matryoshkas consists of a wooden figure which separates, top from bottom, to reveal a smaller figure of the same sort inside, which has, in turn, another figure inside of it, and so on. Matryoshka Doll

Virtualization is a concept similar to the Matryoshka analogy. There is another system running inside the host machine. So it is box in a box. There are many virtualization techniques available at the disposal of the user; vmware, virtualbox, xen to name a few which requires lots of resources. Another alternative which is OpenVZ , container-based virtualization for Linux. Each container performs and executes exactly like a stand-alone server; a container can be rebooted independently and have root access, users, IP addresses, memory, processes, files, applications, system libraries and configuration files.

Here is a quote from TechRepublic Blog :

In the past we have looked at using OpenVZ for container virtualization on Linux. OpenVZ is great as it allows you to run compartmentalized “servers” within an operating system so you can separate systems, much like running virtual machines on a host system. With OpenVZ, you can get the benefits of virtualization without the overhead.

The downside of OpenVZ is that it isn’t in the mainline kernel. This means you need to run a kernel provided by the OpenVZ project. By itself this isn’t necessarily a problem, unless you are running an unsupported Linux distribution, and also if you don’t mind a bit of lag from upstream security fixes

So what is an alternative; well maybe lxc is the answer.According to http://lxc.sourceforge.net/

The  container  technology  is actively being pushed into the mainstream linux kernel. It provides the resource management through the control groups aka process containers and resource isolation through the namespaces.

There is very little information regarding LXC in the opensuse wiki and the only one available is still draft, yet provides enough information to start rolling up your containers.  Here is the preamble of the above mentioned page:

LXC is a form of paravirtualization. Being a sort of super duper chroot jail, it is limited to running linux binaries, but offers essentially native perfomance as if those binaries were running as normal processes right in the host kernel. Which in fact, they are.

LXC is interesting primarily in that:

  • It can be used to run a mere application, service, or a full operating system.
  • It offers essentially native performance. A binary running as an LXC guest is actually running as a normal process directly in the host os kernel just like any other process. In particular this means that cpu and i/o scheduling are a lot more fair and tunable, and you get native disk i/o performance which you can not have with real virtualization (even Xen, even in paravirt mode) This means you can containerize disk i/o heavy database apps. It also means that you can only run binaries that the host kernel can execute. (ie: you can run Linux binaries, not another OS like Solaris or Windows)

The same page also states there is not another HOWTO or documentation explaining how to use lxc with opensuse even though the lxc package has been part of the main oss repo since 11.2 version. Furthermore there are no scripts like lxc-fedora or lxc-debian  that will automate the creation or installation of opensuse. Now while it may be true that there are no opensuse specific scripts are available (at least I could not find through a Google search), though there is an interesting video on youtube showing the lxc with opensuse 11.2.

Based on the the information on the LXC wiki page, using the  SUSEStudio , I built an appliance which  is almost ready to use lxc. In order to create a container image, a very primitive lxc_opensuse script that will do a fairly basic job is also included. Once the script is issued,it will download opensuse 11.3 base system and the user can start playing with the wonders of lxc. For the impatient, who wants do discover Matryoshka, here is the link for  the appliance .

Have fun with Matryoshka !