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Guest Blog: Rares Aioanei – Weekly Review of the PostgreSQL Project with openSUSE flavor

June 4th, 2010 by

Hello all, and welcome to this week’s edition of the PostgreSQL Weekly News, openSUSE-style!

As accustomed, we’ll start with news picked from the mailing lists, then we’ll move on with news from the PostgreSQL Planet. Here we go…

-We start off this week with Mark Hills’ announcement of the release of pgnotifyd, which,  if we listen to Mark, ” connects to a PostgreSQL database, listening for the named  asynchronous notification. When notification is received it executes the given command.

It is typically a cleaner and more efficent alternative to polling a PostgreSQL database for changes (using a crontab(5) or similar.)

I’ve been using it successfully to synchronise passwords and mailing lists. This is an initial release in the hope others can benefit from it.”
You can find out more here : http://www.pogo.org.uk/~mark/pgnotifyd/ .

-Oleg Bartunov announced he posted pictures from PgCon 2010; you can watch here : http://www.flickr.com/photos/obartunov/sets/72157624042768831/ .

-Giuseppe Maxia announced OpenSQL camp 2010; I will try to copy the most relevant stuff from his announcement, in order not to make this article too big :
“OpenSQL Camp is a free conference of, by, and for the open-source database community of users and developers. The OpenSQLCamp 2010, European Edition (http://opensqlcamp.org/) will take part in parallel to the Free and Open Source Conference 2010 (http://froscon.org/) on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd August in St. Augustin, Germany, which is located close to Bonn and Cologne.[…] We would like to invite your project to participate in this event.

We’ve set up a call for participation (http://opensqlcamp.org/Events/2010/Call_for_Participation) – the deadline for submitting your proposal is July 11th.

We are seeking talks related to Open Source Databases of all kind, not just relational databases! Submission about tools and technologies related to OSS databases (e.g. connectors/APIs) are also welcome.

Some ideas and for submissions:

* A how to presentation, showing how to solve a common problem in the database field.
* An introduction/overview about a certain database project/product or related tool
* Providing “best practices” information for administrators
* A deeply technical and developer-centric session about some project’s internals or an API used to connect to a database.

We look forward to your contribution! Please don’t hesitate to contact us via IRC (#opensqlcamp on FreeNode) or our Discussion Group (http://groups.google.com/group/opensqlcamp) ”

-Bruce Momijan announced the timetable for the release of 9.0, which would be as  follows : “Assuming we want a release Postgres 9.0 by mid-August, here is how the timetable would look:

Need RC release to be stable for 1-2 weeks before final
RC must be released by August 1
Beta must be stable for 2-3 weeks before RC
Stable beta must be released by early July

So, we have 5-6 weeks to get a stable beta.  Looking at the open issues: http://wiki.postgresql.org/wiki/PostgreSQL_9.0_Open_Items#Resolved_Issues

it looks like we are doing OK, but we must continue progressing.”

-The ChronicDB release team announced version 2.2.2 ; ChronicDB is a live DB schema update system, allowing DBAs to minimize the downtime of their servers. More on their website, http://chronicdb.com/

-On the Planet , we have Christophe Pettus posting his slides from the Open Bridge 2010 conference, called Introduction to PostgreSQL, here : http://thebuild.com/presentations/intro-to-postgresql-osb2010.pdf.

-The PostgreSQL Weekly News this week offers some local events info, as well as, as usual, the submitted patches list. Check out the news here : http://www.postgresql.org/community/weeklynews/pwn20100531.

There you go, this was the news this week. Enjoy your weekend.

Guest Blog: Rares Aioanei – Weekly Kernel review with openSUSE Flavor

June 4th, 2010 by

Hello, everyone, and welcome!

This week sees the release of 2.6.35-rc1,  plus other kernel-related news, so let’s start.

-Along with tree updates/patches/fixes for the usually/most updated trees,  such as perf, x86, tracing or infiniband, for example, Linus Torvalds announced the release of 2.6.35-rc1 : “It’s been two weeks, and so the merge window is closed. There may be a few trees I haven’t pulled yet, but the bulk should all be there. And please, let’s try to make the merge window mean something this time – don’t send  me any new pull request unless they are for real regressions or for major bugs, ok?

This time, there are no new filesystems (surprise surprise), but there’s certainly been filesystem work both on an individual FS layer (btrfs, cept, cifs, ext4, nfs, ocfs2 and xfs) and at the VFS layer (superblock
and quota cleanups in particular).

But as usual, the bulk of the changes are in drivers. About two thirds of all the changes, to be exact. infiniband, networking and staging drivers are the bulk of it, but there’s changes all over (drm, sound, media, usb,
input layer, you name it).

And what’s good to see is that we continue to have very healthy statistics. About 8500 commits (of which 400+ are merges), with about a thousand individual developers involved (git counts 1047, but some of them are bound to be duplicates due to people mis-spelling their names etc).
It’s skewed, of course – with the median number of commits per person being just three – but I think that’s what we want to see in a healthy development environment.


-Greg Kroah-Hartman announced, and his description says much in very few words : “It reverts two patches that were previously applied that shouldn’t have been in the .32 kernel series.  If you don’t have any problems with the kernel, there’s no need to upgrade to this release.”

-The H Online has an interesting article named “Kernel Log: Linux 2.6.35 taking shape”. In a few words, the article is about “Linux 2.6.35 will deliver better network throughput,  support the Turbo Core functionality offered by the latest AMD processors and de-fragment memory as required. On LKML, a discussion on merging several patches developed by Google for Android is  generating large volumes of email.” Have a read here : http://www.h-online.com/open/features/Kernel-Log-Linux-2-6-35-taking-shape-1012850.html if you’re interested.

-Eric Anholt came up with improvements and fixes in the drm-intel tree destined for -rc1, including h264 acceleration for Ironlake hardware, Benjamin Herrenschmidt updated the powerpc tree, Konrad Rzeszutek Wilk added some features to the iBFT tree for -rc1, Jeff Garzik had some minor fixes for the libata-dev tree and Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo posted a series of improvements for the perf tree targeted at 2.6.36.

-Jeffrey Merkey announced the Cworthy libraries for Linux kernel utils : “I created a cworthy library under ncurses for xterm and linux terminals (also works on DOS and Windows too) years back and have ported it to .so an .a formats.  Looks like the old NetWare inderface and runs on Linux terminals.  Wrote a sample IFCONFIG lookalike with the cworthy look alike portal manager that displays the same info as IFCONFIG.  May be of use and looks a lot better than the command line. It is not the actual cworthy but recreates the same look and feel and supports all the colors you would want with all the fancy menu and screen functions.  I donate it to make the kernel utils look better and make me feel more at home since NetWare is no more.  I use this lib in most of my projects and it was included in the old NWFS but was not cleaned up and broken out.  I pthread enabled it and also added support for most of the terminals our there (ANSI and dumb not supported but the rest are).”

-Speaking of the perf tree, Frederic Weisbecker and Ingo Molnar also posted fixes in this area, while Paul Mundt updated the sh tree for -rc2; Steven Rostedt posted a fix related to tracing, Dmitry Torokhov updated the input tree for -rc1 and Robert Richter fixed crashes and other improvements in the oprofile tree.

This concludes this week’s Weekly Kernel News. Have a lot of fun.

Guest Blog: Rares Aioanei – Weekly Review of PostgreSQL

May 29th, 2010 by

Hello everyone and welcome to the first edition of the PostgreSQL news, served OpenSUSE-style! Let’s start off with news and bits from the mailing lists, then, as we move on, we take a look at news from the Planet and around the Web.

-Pavel (he didn’t write down his last name), a student for Google Summer of Code 2010, proposed in hackers@ the idea of snapshot materialized views in PostgreSQL with questions as to how this should be properly implemented. A quick look at the mailing-list archives will give you a better insight.

-Jeff Davis posted a patch related to small exclusion constraints patch affecting /src/backend/executor/execUtils.c, explaining the patch thusly : “Currently, the check for exclusion constraints performs a sanity check that’s slightly too strict — it assumes that a tuple will conflict with itself. That is not always the case: the operator might be “<>”, in which case it’s perfectly valid for the search for conflicts to not find
itself. This patch simply removes that sanity check, and leaves a comment in place.”

-Marcus Gsteiger on testers@ reported a succesful migration from 8.4 to 9.0beta1 on CentOS on a HP Proliant server. While this is nothing particularily interesting, this report, like others of the kind, shows that 9.0 is becoming more stable and will become a succesful release.

-Robert Haas, in a mail to hackers@ titled “mapping object names to role IDs”had a proposal which I think it will be best if I quote here entirely, since it’s not that easy (for me at least) to summarise : “Suppose you have an object name as a CString and you want to convert it to an OID.  The method of doing this varies widely depending on the object type:

oid = get_database_oid(name);
oid = get_tablespace_oid(name);
oid = GetForeignDataWrapperOidByName(name, true);
oid = GetForeignServerOidByName(name, true);
oid = LookupFuncNameTypeNames(name, args, true);
oid = LookupAggNameTypeNames(name, args, true);
oid = LookupFuncNameTypeNames(name, args, true);
oid = LookupOperNameTypeNames(name, args, true);
oid = GetSysCacheOid1(LANGNAME, CStringGetDatum(name));
oid = GetSysCacheOid1(NAMESPACENAME, CStringGetDatum(name));
oid = GetSysCacheOid1(AMNAME, CStringGetDatum(name));
oid = get_roleid(name);
oid = GetConstraintByName(reloid, name);
oid = FindConversionByName(list_make1(name));
oid = TSDictionaryGetDictid(list_make1(name), true);
oid = TSTemplateGetTmplid(list_make1(name), true);
oid = TSConfigGetCfgid(list_make1(name), true);

If you’d like to throw an error if the object doesn’t exist, then you can change the “true” parameter in the above examples to false, where it exists, or you can use get_roleid_checked for roles.  For the types where a direct syscache lookup is used, you get to write the check yourself.  For constraints, GetConstraintByName throws an error anyway; there’s no equivalent that doesn’t.  Some other object types – like rules and casts – have even more complex logic that is sometimes duplicated in multiple places; and others (like tablespaces) that have convenience functions still manage to duplicate the logic anyway. Long story short, this is kind of a mess.

Looking at the different cases, there seem to be three main cases:

1. Objects that just have one name, like databases and procedural languages.
2. Objects that have possibly-qualified names, like conversions and
text search dictionaries.
3. Objects that have both names and argument, like functions and operators.

There’s enough complexity about the stuff in category #3 that I’m inclined to leave it alone, but try to make the other stuff more standardized.  What I would propose is that we create a new source file somewhere (maybe utils/cache), move all of the other functions of this type there, give them standardized names, and provide them all with an argument that specifies whether an error is to be thrown if the object doesn’t exist.  Begin bikeshedding here.  I suggest that the names be get_<object-type>_oid and that they take two parameters, either a List * for possibly-qualified names (a little wonky, but it’s what we do now) or a char * for unqualified names, and a boolean indicating whether to throw an error if the object isn’t found.  Thus:

Oid get_<object-type>_oid(List *qualname, bool missingok);
Oid get_<object-type>_oid(char *name, bool missingok);

Thus get_database_oid and get_tablespace_oid would remain unchanged except for taking a second argument, get_roleid and get_roleid_checked would merge, and all of the others would change to match that style.


-May 23rd brought another release of the PostgreSQL Weekly News, from which I will try to extract the most important/interesting bits :
-Cybercluster 2.0 has been released : http://www.cybertec.at/en/cybercluster-2-0-synchronous-postgresql-replication       -Security updates for various releases of PostgreSQL have been issued[1], as weel as RPM’s[2] :
[1] – http://www.postgresql.org/docs/current/static/release.html
[2] – http://yum.pgrpms.org/

-Postgres-XC 0.9.1 has been released : http://postgres-xc.sourceforge.net/

-Of course, PostgreSQL will be present at lots of this year’s events, like OSCON or South East Linux Fest; the complete list is also available in this Weekly News issue.
-As every week, there is a quite comprehensive list of source commits to the source tree this week; if you think you wan them listed here, say so in the comments section.

-Pavel Stehule proposed a small-time patch fixing a double free of allocated memory, Jeff Davis also wrote a 6-liner regarding btree_gist support for searching on “not equals”, Josh Berkus had an “Idea for getting rid of VACUUM FREEZE on cold pages”, which although very interesting, is too long, plus the replies, to summarize here. The archives will help you yet again 🙂 .

-Fujii Masao announced he is designing the “synchronous” replication feature based on SR for 9.1, explaining the general idea and asking for thoughts/comments, proposing several sync levels;
apparently, the majority agreed on one (#4).In order not to explain without example, here is a quote from the OP outlining the idea :
“The log-shipping replication has some synch levels as follows. The transaction commit on the master
#1 doesn’t wait for replication (already suppored in 9.0)
#2 waits for WAL to be received by the standby
#3 waits for WAL to be received and flushed by the standby
#4 waits for WAL to be received, flushed and replayed by the standby..etc?

Which should we include in 9.1?”

-Mark Wong announced in general@ the PDXPUG day at OSCON 2010 : “Thanks to the generosity of O’Reilly, we will be having a full day of free PostgreSQL sessions on Sunday, July 18 at the Oregon Convention Center.  Location details and schedule information can be found on the wiki at: http://wiki.postgresql.org/wiki/PDXPUGDay2010 ” .

-Stephen Frost posted a small patch to psql, adding ‘S’ as an optional parameter to \da, while Tom Lane announced his fellow hackers the intention to wrap up 9.0 beta2 on June the 3rd in order to release to the public on the 7th.

-In the Planet PostgreSQL news, we have Dave Page reporting back from PGCon 2010, held in Ottawa, Canada, and of course other Planet members wrote about it : Greg Sabino Mullane, Andrew Dunstan or Selena Deckelmann.

-Selena also posted on the Planet an announcement asking for participation from reviewers (interested, anyone?) since it’s preparation time for the first commitfest for 9.1 .

-Greg Sabino Mullane announced that PostgreSQL finally switched to git as a canonical VCS; this announcement was kind of unnoticed because of posts from PGCon, so if you’re curious and/or want to see pictures, Planet PostgreSQL is the way to look.

-Peter Eisentraut has posted very interesting ideas meant to make RDBMS developers in general and of course Postgres developers in particular; to get a overall idea, here it is : “My problem is that getting database code from the editor to the database server in a safe manner is pretty difficult. […] My answer to that problem is an old friend: package management. Package managers such as dpkg and rpm are pretty well-established solutions and have shown over the years that managing software deployments can be easy and occasionally even fun.” Of course, there;s much more to this article and it’s a recommended read, in my oppinion, so point your browser or RSS reader to the Planet! 🙂

-Peter also has a feed called ‘Visual Explain Reloaded’, referring to the EXPLAIN command (you can check it out here : http://www.postgresql.org/docs/9.0/static/sql-explain.html ) and it’s possibilities to output in different markup languages – JSON, XML, YAML. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_dgdplFJMdoQ/S_In33KeqYI/AAAAAAAAADU/N_nYFZ0Uack/s1600/veung-dotty.png shows you the resulting JSON output of ‘ regression=> \a\t
regression=> EXPLAIN (FORMAT JSON) SELECT * FROM tenk1 t1, tenk2 t2 WHERE t1.unique1 < 100 AND t1.unique2 = t2.unique2 \g |veung ‘ . Pretty nifty, if you ask me.

-Andrew Dunstan announces the release of the PostgreSQL Buildfarm client, version 4.0, which according to the author, has two new features : “The SCM code is substantially rearranged into a separate OO module, with subclasses supporting CVS and Git. New config options support these changes, while old style config parameters for CVS are still supported. Support for running the buildfarm from Git is a requirement before we can move the core community repo, and this meets that requirement (a little later than planned, but as promised almost exactly one year ago). The requirement to specify a port for each branch to build with is gone. If the config parameter ‘base_port’ is specified the code will pick a unique port for the branch, a short number above that setting. The means that the config file does
not need to be changed when a new stable postgres release is made. Again, old-style configs continue to be supported.”

-The same Dave Page posted on the Planet a very interesting comparison between VoltDB and, you guessed it, Postgres – and at the same time it’s a comparison between “traditional” DBMS’s and new-style, lockless DBM systems. Selena Deckelmann tells some stories of new and interesting ideas coming from PgCon 2010 – a worth read by far.

Guest Blog: Rares Aioanei – Weekly Kernel Review

May 29th, 2010 by

Howdy y’all, and welcome to this weeks’s kernel news – OpenSUSE style!

-We begin our week by noticing a patch proposed by Larry Finger on opensuse-kernel@ that fixes a typo and a reference to websites for instructions; after a correction by Jiri Benc, the patch was committed to the master branch.

-On vger.kernel.org, the week(end) starts with a git pull request from Ryusuke Konishi working on the nilfs2 updates for 2.6.35, Steven Rostedt with perf, of course,  OpenSUSE’s Greg with TTY patches for .35 and the same Greg with a series of 38 patches for the driver-core tree also targetting 2.6.35.

-Other tree(s) updates include i2c for .35 by Jean Delvare, omap by Tony Lindgren, UDF tree updates for -rc1 by Jan Kara, also of OpenSUSE fame, block tree patches by Jens Axboe, staging by Greh Kroah Hartman and md updates by Neil Brown (where unspecified, the version the patches are referring to is 2.6.35).

-James Morris announces about the Linux Security Summit 2010, taking place in Boston at the beginning of August – the 9th.

-Jan Kara also presented fixes for filesystem-related trees, namely ext2, ext3 and quota, targetting -rc1; Al Viro posted fixes for the vfs tree, quite a bunch of them, Grant Likely posted OF code cleanups and Jesse Barnes posted PCI changes, and Pekka J. Enbeg has some minor SLAB fixes for -rc0.

-Sage Weil added an important number of bugfixes and code cleanups for the ceph tree targetting-rc1, Frederic Weisbecker added modifications to the bkl/ioctl branch, also for -rc1, and in filesystem-related changes we have Eric Van Hensbergen with fixes for 9p and Ogawa Hirofumi adding code for the fatfs tree; the perf tree received 3 updates from Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo and Boaz Harrosh updated the exofs tree.

-Speaking of updates and fixes, we also have Paul Mundt with sh and genesis fixes for -rc1, David Miller with IDE fixes described by himself as “nothing really interesting”, Thomas Gleixner with timer fixes for -rc1 and Ingo Molnar with updates to the lockup-detector tree.

-Again, updates and then more updates…:) We have Greg Ungerer with m68k fixes, described a follows : “Biggest change is the QSPI driver platform support. Also platform support for the SMC91x driver on some ColdFire platforms. A couple of bug fixes, and some cleanups as well.”, then Grant Likely with spi driver changes, fixes for GFS2 added by Steven Whitehouse, regulator fixes targeted at .35 by Liam Girdwood and others, such as the usual suspect Frederic Weisbecker (perf), Steven Rostedt (tracing), Ingo Molnar also with perf changes and Roland Dreier patching for the infiniband tree.

-As noted by some online magazines such as LWN ( http://lwn.net/Articles/389444/rss ) , there are some stable kernel updates; the first one is announced by OpenSUSE’s Greg Kroah-Hartman related to with 34 patches, with 25+24 patches and with 39 patches.

-Stefan Richter updated the firewire (IEEE 1394) tree for the post .34 kernels, another “usual suspect”,  John W. Linville, posted a pull request for wireless dated 25.05.2010, plus David Miller with updates for networking, Phillip Lougher – squashfs and Dave Airlie with DRM fixes.

-Takashi Iwai updated the sound tree for Linus for -rc1, while Jiri Kosina of OpenSUSE pushed updates for HID and Richard Purdie of IBM posted updates for his trees related to LED and backlight; also,  we have Theodore Ts’O updating ext4 with minor changes, including some quota fixes and other minor bugfixes. Trond Myklebust came ups with NFS bugfixes, so did Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo with the perf tree; Miklos
Szeredi added splice() support to the fuse tree and Michael S. Tsirkin posted some code cleanups for vhost-net.

-Jeffrey Merkey announced ndiswrapper 2.6.34 with various fixes; since the language of the announcement is not quite suitable for this news article, as it contains some strong words 🙂 , I recommend you check it out on vger.kernel.org .

-Krzysztof Hałasa posted some fixes post-.34 related to the arm architecture, Eric Paris has some cleanups and improvements for the notification tree, of course James Bottomley worked again on some patches for the SCSI tree and Dmitry Torokhov posted input updates for -rc0. In other fixes/updates/cleanups news, we have Martin Schwidefsky with updates for s390 server architecture, SFI from Len Brown, Chris Mason of Oracle with btrfs (for -rc*), Jean Delware for the hwmon tree and H. Peter Anvin with x86 fixes .

-Speaking of arm fixes, Daniel Walker has announced some simple fixes for MSM targeted towards -rc1 and Roland Dreier also has some simple patchset with some cleanups for infiniband; again, a list of some other fixes follows : Samuel Ortiz with a bunch of new drivers and MFD fixes, libata updates by Jeff Garzik et al., as announced :
” 1) Finish Tejun’s SFF<->BMDMA separation patchset, as mentioned in initial 2.6.35 push.  These had been submitted prior to merge window open, but had to wait to resolve some patch/merge conflicts.

2) Disable Asynchronous Notification (AN) by default.  Proper use is vague, and behavior of firmwares in the field do not match each other.

3) add ‘dump_id’ debugging output helper, to give us better bug reports.”, Richard Purdie posted simple LED fixes regarding some issues on PPC (-rc1), Thomas Gleixner has a few timer fixes for -rc1 and David Miller has , again, several fixes for the networking tree. Seems like this week is a week for small fixes and “few patches”.

-This is all for this week, have a beutiful weekend.

Guest Blog: Rares Aioanei: Kernel Review with openSUSE Flavor

May 21st, 2010 by

Hello people and welcome to this week’s Kernel News, served OpenSUSE style!

-Let us start with the release of 2.6.34 and its’ impact in the digital press : Slashdot has an article announcing this here : http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/-VgxbnDvjiA/Linux-2634-Released,  The H Online has a short(er) version of the “What’s new in 2.6.34” series here: http://www.h-online.com/open/features/What-s-new-in-Linux-2-6-34-1000122.html and of course a separate article with the announcement itself.

-Also, Phoronix has an article titled “Linux 2.6.34 Kernel Released! Time For 2.6.35”, written by Michael Larabel, where he highlights briefly what’s new in .34 as well as what’s to come in .35, from the available info about that.
-OSNews also writes about the release of 2.6.34; read all of that here: http://osnews.com/story/23312/Linux_2_6_34_Released

-Mathieu Desnoyers announced the release of the LTTNG tree for, version 0.214.

-The notify tree got updates, as announced by Eric Paris, for -rcX, in the following  summary : “This branch holds a couple of bug fixes (two of which are actually stable material).  A pathological race which would put us in a use after free / double free situation when one thread attempts to delete an inotify watch while another thread is still adding that watch.  A memory leak and a Kconfig issue.”

-H. Peter Anvin posted five fixes for 2.6.34{,-rc8} in regard of the x86 tree.

-As usual, Steven Rostedt posted tracing fixes consisting of patches and a typo fix.

-Ingo Molnar and Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo both had perf or perf-tools-related fixes, Al Viro posted vfs fixes for .34, David Miller came up with networking fixes and improvements, Frederic Weisbecker tells about his tracing fixes for 2.6.35-rc1, again Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo posted some more perf fixes, Geert Uytterhoeven announced updates for the 2.6.35 in m68k (Motorola CPUs), Ingo also had fixes for the core- debugobjects tree (2.6.35) and the same Ingo posted patches for the core-iommu tree, again for 2.6.35.

-And of course, ladies and gents, how could we miss the official announcement of the man himself? Here’s Linus’ announcement regarding the release of 2.6.34: “Nothing very interesting here, which is just how I like it. Various random fixes all over, nothing really stands out. Pretty much all of it is one- or few-liners, I think the biggest patch in the last week was fixing some semantics for the new SR-IOV VF netlink interface. And even that wasn’t  a _big_ patch by any means.

So 2.6.34 is out, and the merge window is thus officially open. As usual, I probably won’t do any real pulls for a day or two, in the (probably futile) hope that we’ll have more people running plain 2.6.34 for a while. But you can certainly start sending me pull requests. Go forth and test, Linus”

-Seems like Ingo Molnar’s been a busy bee this week as he posted, besides the fixes/patches already mentioned, other fixes for trees including locking, RCU, sched, tracing, atomic, cleanups, asm, doc, fpu, irq, hweight and oprofile; also for mm, mrst, txt, pat and uv. All these fixes are for the x86 architecture regarding 2.6.35.

-Jonathan Corbet of LWN fame posted some viafb and documentation patches, while Roland Dreier of Cisco posted a first batch of fixes for the Infiniband tree; Martin Schwidefsky had some patches for the s390 tree (for the 2.6.35 merge window) and Steven Whitehouse posted few patches for the GFS2 tree.

-Mauro Carvalho Chehab posted the minutes of the Hardware Error Kernel Mini-Summit, which was held  April the 15th (http://events.linuxfoundation.org/lfcs2010/edac), so that other kernel hackers can
benefit from it.

-The nfs tree benefited from fixes aimed at 2.6.35, thanks to Trond Myklebust, and so did the sh tree, with the patches submitted by Paul Mundt – his fixes were aimed at 2.6.35-rc1.

-In another round of fixes, we see James Bottomley with SCSI fixes for 2.6.35, Thomas Gleixner with genirq, hpet and timer fixes/cleanups for .35 also, Tejun Heo also came up with fixes for percpu and workqueue (2.6.35-rc1), Daniel Walker has some fixes and a pull request regarding MSM mmc_sdcc driver updates, Rafael J. Wisocki with pm updates (suspend tree) for .35 and Mauro Carvalho Chehab posted improvements regarding the i7 processors, namely “for memory error detection for the Memory Controllers found on the Nehalem CPU’s, from i7core to Xeon 56xx,
via EDAC interface.”

-Samuel Thibault announced the release of hwloc 1.0 : “hwloc provides command line tools and a C API to obtain the hierarchical map of key computing elements, such as: NUMA memory nodes, shared caches, processor sockets, processor cores, and processor “threads”.  hwloc also gathers various attributes such as cache and memory information, and is portable across a variety of different operating systems and platforms.

The hwloc team considers version 1.0 to be the first production-quality release that is suitable for widespread adoption.  Please send your feedback on hwloc experiences to our mailing lists (see the web site, above).”

-Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo came up again with perf fixes , Jason Wessel with some improvements in kdb for .35, Dave Airlie posted fixes for drm meant for -rc1, Dominic Brodowski with PCMCIA (for 2.6.35), Rusty Russell – modules, and, in the other fixes category, we have Avi Kivity with KVM fixes, Frederic Weisbecker having fixes for the random-tracing tree, Rusty Russell again with virtio
patches, Jiri Kosina of OpenSUSE with HID and trivial (trivial is actually a tree :)) and Ian Campbell with a Xen suspend/resume fix.

-Stephen Hemminger announced the appearance of an new version for iproute2 for 2.6.34, stating  “This version of iproute2 utilities intended for use with 2.6.34 or
later kernel, but should be backward compatible with older releases. In addition to build and man page fixes, this release includes a support for several new features:

* SR-IOV (I/O Virtualization) support.
* tuntap support
* bus-error reporting and counters
* new FIFO type head drop queue discipline”

-Jeff Garzik announced quite a few libata updates and fixes for 2.6.35, while Kevin Hilman asked Linus to pull some RTC fixes for the davinci tree, targettin .35; in other non-x86 arch fixes and news, David Miller posted some sparc fixes and an ARM MSM update from Daniel Walker, also targetting 2.6.35.

-XFS updates targetting -rc1 were posted by Alex Elder, the async_tx tree got updated by Dan Williams while David Miller announced significant improvements for the networking tree with the following (lengthy) message : “The biggest two things in here are RPS  (Receive Packet Steering) and RFS (Receive Flow Steering) support from Tom Herbert et al.at Google.

RPS allows one to specify a cpu mask per device RX queue, and we will steer RX packet work, in software, to those cpus.  RPS essentially provides in software what many modern cards can do in hardware with the added flexibility of being able to constrain CPU targets arbitrarily.  RPS is also, therefore, not in conflict with cards that can flow distribute to cpus completely in hardware.

RFS tries to be even more sophisticated than RPS.  It watches on which cpu a socket makes I/O calls, and will steer future RX packets to that cpu.  In this way RX packet work is done near to where the application will actually process the data.

In both the case of RPS and RFS, if the device provides a flow hash (just about every modern card does), we make use of it instead of computing it in software. RPS/RFS has been found to even help for things like tbench over loopback.”

-Nicholas A. Bellinger announced “that the v3.4.0 stable release of TCM/LIO has been tagged and branched into lio-core-2.6.git/lio-3.4.  This release is now tracking upstream linux-2.6.34.y.git for future stable kernel releases.”

-Speaking of announcements, Mathieu Desnoyers announced ltt-control v 0.85 with the following words : “I just released ltt-control 0.85 which waits for previous subbuffers to be written to disk(using sync_file_range()) and uses fadvise to tell the kernel that pages won’t be reaccessed. This lessens the tracer impact on the page cache.”

-Len Brown posted fixes in the acpica tree for 2.6.35, Mauro Carvalho Chehab has new patches for V4L/DVB, Paul Mundt has a number of patches for the Genesis machines (-rc1) and Takashi Iwai updated the sound tree with some patches for -rc1.

-Con Kolivas announced 2.6.34-ck1 with a quite short announcement, followed by the list of patches. Con also made the following announcement : “This is to briefly announce the availability of the desktop interactivity focused BFS CPU scheduler v0.318 for the new stable linux 2.6.34 kernel.This version is also available for 2.6.32 and 2.6.31.”

-Artem Bityutskiy posted git pull requests related to ubi and ubifs for 2.6.35, while Matthew Garett has some x86 driver changes also for 2.6.35. Dmirty Torokhov pushed updates for the input tree affecting -rc0 and David Teigland fixed some lockups and posted cleanups for the dlm tree; in other push news, Frederic Weisbecker made another series of perf fixes pertaining to perf_event.c, namely a fix in preempt_enable(), Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo also has fixes for the perf tree, USB patches for .35 came from OpenSUSE’s Greg Kroah-Hartman, the ocfs2 tree got updated by Joel Becker (2.6.35 as target) and Sascha Hauer posted some changes related to Arm i.MX.

-Andrea Arcangeli posted a very interesting idea regarding the use of transparent huge pages on load-critical systems, like the ones running scientific applications, JVM or gcc builds; since the annoucement is too big, I won’t post it here, but if you’re interested, you may wanna check the list archives.

-In closing this week’s edition, some noticeable changes/fixes are : OMAP DSS updates for .35 (Tomi Valkeinen) and powerpc fixes by Benjamin Herrenschmidt.

That’s it, see you next week!

Guest Blog: Rares Aioanei – Kernel News with openSUSE Flavor

May 14th, 2010 by

Guest Blog

Greetings, and welcome!

-Starting this week’s news, The H Online have , since the 24th of March,  a series of articles titled “What’s new in 2.6.34”. You can find it here: http://www.h-online.com/open/features/Linux-Kernel-2-6-34-tracking-962586.html

-Frederic Weisbecker posted perf fixes for 2.6.34, James Bottomley came up with SCSI fixes for -rc6, Paul E. McKenney had some RCU fixes for 2.6.35; perf fixes came also from Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo.

-Christoph Hellwig posted a XFS status update for April 2010; we will paste his report here in its’ entirety to let you get a clear picture : “In April 2.6.34 still was in the release candidate phase, with a hand full of XFS fixes making it into mainline.  Development for the 2.6.35 merge window went ahead full steam at the same time.

While a fair amount of patches hit the development tree these were largely cleanups, with the real development activity happening on the mailing list.  There was another round of patches and following discussion on the scalable busy extent tracking and delayed logging features mentioned last month.  They are expected to be merged in May and queue up for the Linux 2.6.35 window.  Last but not least April saw a large number of XFS fixes backported to the 2.6.32 and 2.6.33 -stable series.

In user land xfsprogs has seen few but important updates, preparing for a new release next month.  The xfs_repair tool saw a fix to correctly enable the lazy superblock counters on an existing filesystem, and xfs_fsr saw updates to better deal with dynamic attribute forks.  Last but not a least a port to Debian GNU/kFreeBSD9 got merged. The xfstests test suite saw two new test cases and various smaller fixes.”

-As usual, Rafael J. Wisocki announced the series of reported regressions from 2.6.33 (referring to 2.6.34-rc6-git6).

-No doubt, the most important news of this week is Linus’ announcement of 2.6.34-rc7 : “I think this is the last -rc – things have been pretty quiet on the patch front, although there’s been some rather spirited discussions.Random fixes all around, some of them RCU related (people fixing various RCU sanity check warnings), but most of them just random driver fixes. And there’s some MIPS, microblaze and ARM updates, and ocfs2 and ceph fixes. The shortlog is about as informative as anything else – nothing there  stands out in my mind, it’s just a lot of small random stuff.”

-OpenSUSE’s Jiri Kosina posted HID fixes, while H. Peter Anvin posted a RFC regarding virtualization – the hypervisor layer pertaining Hyper-V and VMware code cleanups.

-Robert Richter came up with oprofile hotplug fixes for x86, sound fixes came from Takashi Iwai, perf from Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo, wireless by John W. Linville, drm fixes by Dave Airlie and networking fixes by David Miller.

-The H Online features another interesting kernel log; you can read it, along with its interesting links, here http://www.h-online.com/open/features/Kernel-Log-New-stable-kernels-and-drivers-995820.html .

-Paul McKenney posted fixes for the RCU tree (for 2.6.35, rebased for -rc7), hwmon fixes appeared courtesy of Jean Delvare, some new perf fixes by Ingo Molnar and later by Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo, tracing by Steven Rostedt, AMD iommu by Joerg Roedel, patches for the s390 series for -rc7 by Martin Schwidefsky and some perf_event fixes for powerpc by Benjamin Herrenschmidt.

-Greg Kroah-Hartman posted the “start of the stable review cycle for the release”, stating that “There are 98 patches in this series, all will be posted as a response to this one. If anyone has any issues with these being applied, please let us know.  If anyone is a maintainer of the proper subsystem, and wants to add a Signed-off-by: line to the patch, please respond with it.”

-The same Greg started the review process for, with the same message to anyone involved/interested.

-Pierre Tardy informed the community about PyTimechart by posting a RFC :  “PyTimechart is another implementation of two very useful tools available for the linux community: perf-timechart ( http://blog.fenrus.org/?p=5 ) and bootchart (http://www.bootchart.org/ ) The two tools share a common idea of making their output to SVG files. While it is a very good idea for small traces, the generated SVG can be very heavy, and turns out to be good stress tests for inkscape developers…
PyTimechart is a tool that parses ftrace text traces, and display them with the help of a very powerful dynamic plot framework, Chaco (http://code.enthought.com/chaco/ ) The GUI makes the best it can to ease the browsing of huge traces.”
All in all, the respondents to this mail seemed to welcome the application as being useful.

-In the latest fixes/patches/pull requests section, we have Paul E McKenny with an RCU lockdep splat fix, Sage Weil with ceph fixes for 2.6.34-final, Frederic Weisbecker has perf/nmi fixes (uniform lockup detector), Takashi Iwai with some sound fixes; Samuel Ortiz has some MFD fixes and Steve French came up with some minor cifs fixes.

-Greg Kroah-Hartman of OpenSUSE made the announcement of the release of kernels and .

-Marcello Tosatti announced a series of fixes for the kvm targetting 2.6.34-rc7, Greg Kroah-Hartman posted patches for the -git kernel regarding TTY, Steven Rostedt had some tracing updates, perf fixes by Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo were posted too, and Dmitry Korokhov has fixes for the input tree.

-Mathieu Desnoyers announced the release of LTTng 0.213, with various bugfixes and improvements.

-As usual, at least lately, Michal Simek has some patches/fixes for arch/microblaze, this time for -rc8.

-Michael S. Tsirkin posted “a last minute vhost-net fix” which fixes barrier pairing.

Well, that’s it for this week’s OpenSUSE-flavoured kernel news!
I’m off, enjoy the weekend!

Guest Blog: Rares Aioanai gives a Kernel Review (Week 18)

May 8th, 2010 by

Hello, and welcome. Here goes :

-This first one is hot after the closing of the last weeks’ edition, courtesy of LWN.net (I had not access to vger.kernel.org because of their downtime) : Linus Torvalds announced 2.6.34-rc6  (http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.6/testing/ChangeLog-2.6.34-rc6) and here is the link from LWN : http://lwn.net/Articles/385535/rss
-On the fixes side, we begin with Trond Myklebust’s NFS client bugfixes , and continue with a small fix from Jens Axboe regarding the block tree; in related news, other fixes are : xfs (Alex Elder), kgdb for  -rc5 (Alex Elder), perf (Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo), spi/gpio (Grant Likely), USB for -rc4-git (Greg Kroah-Hartman), who also sent fixes for the tty and staging trees.
-Stefan Bader announced linux-2.6.32.y-drm33.z with the following comment : “As many of us now have a distribution which is based on a 2.6.32 kernel but are forced to update DRM to the version in 2.6.33 to obtain good graphics experience. In support of this I went ahead and created a tree on kernel.org[1] which brings together the two and which I will maintain following the upstream stable trees from Greg. This hopefully will not only be beneficial to us but also to all that are in the need of running this combination of code.”
-Tim Gardner of Canonical proposed some of the updates to the r8169 driver should be merged into stable; Francois Romieu agreed, so we’ll see these fixes in .32 and .33 stable versions.
-Darrick j. Wong posted a RFC in regard of the ext4 tree with the following intro-duction : “Hmm.  A while ago I was complaining that an evil program that calls fsync() in a loop will send a continuous stream of write barriers to the hard disk.  Ted theorized that it might be possible to set a flag in ext4_writepage and clear it in ext4_sync_file; if we happen to enter ext4_sync_file and the flag isn’t set (meaning that nothing has been dirtied since the last fsync()) then we could skip issuing the barrier. Here’s an experimental patch to do something sort of like that.  From a quick run with blktrace, it seems to skip the redundant barriers and improves the ffsb mail server scores.  However, I haven’t done extensive power failure testing to see how much data it can destroy.  For that matter I’m not even 100% sure it’s correct at what it aims to do.”
-John W. Linville asked Dave Miller to pull some of his fixes applied to the wireless-2.6 tree (30.04.2010).
-Linux Weekly’s editor-in-chief, Jonathan Corbet, RFC’d some fixes for the viafb tree (OLPC).
-Paul E. McKenney announced fixes for the RCU tree in .34 and changes for .35,  Frederic Weisbecker sent Ingo Molnar and the list some new fixes for perf,  lockdep and hw-breakpoints, Michael S. Tsirkin came up with vhost-net improvements,  just like Sage Weil, who posted ceph fixes for -rc7; other fixes include lockdep, RCU, i2c, tracing and core.
-Joel Becker wrote fixes for the ocfs tree, while H. Peter Anvin posted x86 fixes for -rc7, including David Howell’s rwsem patch.
-Another series of small fixes for the drm and gpu trees by Dave Airlie were  posted, as well as other fixes for the following trees/components :  input by Dmitry Torokhov, sound by Takashi Iwai, networking by David Miller, wq (workqueue) by Tejun Heo and perf by Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo.
-Pankaj Thakkar of Vmware posted a RFC in regard of NPA for vmxnet3, with the  following words : “Device passthrough technology allows a guest to bypass the hypervisor and drive the underlying physical device. VMware has been exploring various ways to deliver this technology to users in a manner which is easy to adopt. In this process we have prepared an architecture along with Intel – NPA (Network Plugin Architecture). NPA allows the guest to use the virtualized NIC vmxnet3 to passthrough to a number of physical NICs which support it. The document below provides an overview of NPA. We intend to upgrade the upstreamed vmxnet3 driver to implement NPA so that Linux users can exploit the benefits provided by passthrough devices in a seamless manner while retaining the benefits of virtualization. The document
below tries to answer most of the questions which we anticipated. Please let us know your comments and queries.”
-On opensuse-kernel@ Larry Finger patched the script allowing the downloading of firmware for b43 (Broadcom).
-Another series of fixes were posted as follows : SLAB for -rc7 by Pekka J. Enberg,  libata and zerolen (misc) by Jeff Garzik, RCU for 2.6.34 by Paul E. McKenney, sh by Paul MUndt, arch/microblaze by Michal Simek, oprofile by Robert Richter, RCU, this time by Ingo Molnar, vrl/dvb by Mauro Carvalho Chehab, nfs client  fixes by Trond Myklebust, sched/core by Tejun Heo, drm by Dave Airlie,  ACPI for -rc6 by Len Brown, perf and tracing by Steven Rostedt, block for 2.6.34 by Jens Axboe, PCMCIA by Dominic Brodowski and md for 2.6.34 by Neil Brown.
-Soeren Sandmann announced the release of Sysprof 1.1.6 with the following  words : “Sysprof 1.1.6 is now available. This is a development release leading up to a stable 1.2.0 release. Sysprof is a sampling system-wide CPU profiler for Linux. This version is based on the perf counter interface in 2.6.31 kernels and will not work with earlier kernels.”
-Mikulas Patocka asked for testers in the matter of performance degradation in the Maxtor Atlas 15K2 SCSI disks, due to buggy firmware, posting a script that limits the request size to 256k, since the degradation appears when requests exceed this 256k boundary
That’s all, folks! If you’re in Europe, have a rainless weekend, and may all
of you have a fantastic weekend!

Guest Blog: Weekly Minutes from the Testing Team (Larry Finger)

May 1st, 2010 by

Guest Blog from Larry Finger

For general news about the openSUSE Testing Core Team, please see http://tinyurl.com/24n8ufe and the links within it.

This has been a quiet week for the team, at least as a group. Individually, we have been testing 11.3 M6 since its release on April 29. In addition, we are preparing for our next team meeting to be held May 3 at 17:00 UTC. If you interested in our group, please join us on the #opensuse-testing channel on the Freenode IRC Network -irc://irc.freenode.net/opensuse-testing.

In the testing front, 11.3 M6 now installs on x86_64 systems, which is an improvement over M5. There are two bugs on the “Most Annoying Bugs” list at http://en.opensuse.or /Bugs:Most_Annoying_Bugs_11.3_dev, both have been repaired. That web page also lists workarounds.

A member of the Testing Team, Bernhard M. Wiedemann,  has been preparing videos showing the steps for installation from various media. Links to these demonstrations are available at http://lists.opensuse.org/opensuse-factory/2010-04/msg00447.html

Guest Blog: Testing Team Minutes (Week 16)

April 23rd, 2010 by

Guest Blog from Larry Finger:

The openSUSE Testing Core Team (TCT) has been asked to contribute to the Weekly News on a regular basis. We are grateful for the opportunity.

The TCT is a group of 25 volunteers that are charged with helping the openSUSE developers test each new release. Our objectives and membership are given on our wiki site:


The TCT was organized in the middle of the 11.2 development cycle, thus we are still learning our role; however, it is clear that we need the involvement of the openSUSE community at large to conduct proper
testing. That is why we appreciate the invitation to participate here.

In particular, the community can help in the following ways:

* Publish Bug Reports in the Bugzilla (http://bugzilla.novell.com/).

* Inform us of testing that worked. With this, we have an idea of the
test coverage.

* Participate in our regular IRC meetings. See http://en.opensuse.org/OpenSUSE_Testing_Core_Team/Meetings. During the  development phase of a new release, our meetings are held at 17:00 UTC on the Monday following the release of a new Milestone or Release Candidate. Accordingly, our next meeting will be on May 3, assuming that M6 is released during the week of April 26. The transcripts of previous meetings are posted on the site. If there is a topic you would like to see covered in an upcoming meeting, please send a private mail to user lwfinger on the openSUSE site. Our meetings are held on the
#opensuse-testing channel on the Freenode IRC Network -irc://irc.freenode.net/opensuse-testing. All are welcome.

Guest Blog: Kernel Review with openSUSE Flavor (Week 16)

April 23rd, 2010 by

Guest Blog from Rares Aioanai:

Howdy y’all! Welcome to this week’s edition of hot kernel news! Let’s get to it :

-Eric Anholt posted fixes for -rc2 – the drm-intel tree.
-Alex Elder pushed some fixes of the xfs tree regarding -rc5
-Len Brown posted patches for ACPI to apply to 2.6.34-rc4
-Also, git pull requests have been submitted to the following trees : iBFT, CFS, XFS, OLPC(viafb), DRM (Dave Airlie fixed some radeon stuff),  PCMCIA (for -rc5, RCU, tracing, eCryptfs.
-Christian Ludwig mailed the linux-kernel@ list to celebrate 5 years (17.04) of kernel development with git. See here for more info :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntTpM8hfl_E
-Russell King sent a quick fix to a fs/built-in.o: In function `sys_inotify_init1′:summary.c:(.text+0x347a4): undefined reference to `anon_inode_getfd’ error.
-Samuel Thibault announced hwloc (Hardware Locality) vers. 1.0rc1 which is described by the author as following : “hwloc provides command line tools and a C API to obtain the hierarchical map of key computing elements, such as: NUMA memory nodes, shared caches, processor sockets, processor cores, and processor “threads”. hwloc also gathers various attributes such as cache and memory information, and is portable across a variety of different operating systems and platforms.”
-David Miller fixed some issues in the networking tree, including virtualization issues, TX lockups and iwliwifi active chain detection.
-LWN.net has an article about the release of 2.6.34-rc5 – http://lwn.net/Articles/384026/rss
– the official announcement from Linus sounds like this : “Another week, another -rc. This time there wasn’t some big nasty regression I was working on to hold things up, and it felt like a pretty  regular -rc release.
Random fixes all around. The most noticeable (for people who got hit by it) may be the fix for bootup problems that some people had (ACPI dividing by zero: kernel bugzilla 15749), but there’s stuff all over. The shortlog gives some idea.”
-Dave Airlie put out a single fix for the drm tree, namely an issue regarding KMS on radeon cards.
-In other fixes news, Ingo Molnar posted fixes for the perf tree and  David Miller has come up with some SPARC fixes.
-Dominik Brodowski mailed some PCMCIA bugfixes for the upcoming 2.6.34-rc6.
-OpenSUSE’s own Jan Kara posted fixes for the linux-fs tree, specifically quota fixes. Since we’re talking about fixes, other trees that received fixes are : ext4 (Theodore Ts’O), wireless (John W. Linville), m68knommu (Greg Ungerer), kvm – for -rc5 – (Avi Kivity), jfs (Dave Kleikamp), logfs (Joern Engel) and voltage regulator fixes by Liam Girdwood.
-Martin Schwidefsky has some s390 patches for -rc5, Tejun Heo announced patches for the slabh subtree (slab.h); other fixes were released for various trees as follows : scsi(James Bottomley)-for -rc5, driver-core
(Greg KH)-for 2.6.34-git, drm-intel(Eric Anholt)-for -rc4, libata(JeffGarzik), drm-radeon(Dave Airlie), perf probe for PPC(Paul Mackerras),  usb(Greg KH)-for 2.6.34-git,
-Theodore Ts’O announced the Call for Tracks for this year’s Linux Plumbers Conference, which will take place in Cambridge, Massachusetts between the 3rd and the 5th of November.
-OpenSUSE’s Greg (Kroah-Hartman) posted  reviews of 2.6.33-stable and
-mmotm patches against -rc5 were announced on the 22nd of April, containing a rather large plethora of fixes of different sorts and purposes.

That’s it for this week’s kernel news. Have a nice and pleasant weekend. 🙂