Fedora 18 Pre-Release Report


Fedora 18 Spherical CowFedora 18 Spherical CowI've been remixing Fedora 18 pre-release for quite a while now. As you may recall The Fedora Project has delayed the release of Fedora 18 Beta several times now... mainly due to blocker bugs in their new installer and Fedora Updater (fedup). I think the rest of the distribution has benefited from the delays because I've been running it a while and it has been very solid for me... as or more solid than Fedora 17. In fact, Fedora 17 and Fedora 18 share a lot in common... because a Fedora release, during its lifecycle, gets a lot of updates and upgrades.

I started by putting Fedora 18 on my netbook. Then I put it on my home desktop system. I ran it for more than a month... oh, and by the way, I disable the updates-testing repository. Since it has been so solid on my hardware at home I finally decided, perhaps being a little haphazard, to put it on my workstation at work. When did I decide to do that? Well... I picked the day before Thanksgiving about 1 hour before it was time to go home. Care to follow me on my journey?

Update: (8PM, Thanksgiving) - I noticed an email that said that there was a Fedora 18 Beta release Go/No Go meeting today and that the decision had been made to finally release the beta on Tuesday, Nov. 27th... the so called "exploding turkey" release. Yeah!

Video: Continuing Adventures with KVM

| |

KVM has supported USB for some time... although I hadn't had a reason to try USB inside of a KVM virtual machine until now. I got a hand-me-down USB webcam. I plug the webcam into any of my desktop systems and it works great... but can I use it in a KVM virtual machine? Can I use my webcam with any KVM virtual machine even if the virtual machine isn't running on the same physical machine where the webcam is plugged in? It turns out that the answers are all yes... thanks to USB support being added to qemu and the SPICE remoting protocol and client applications.

Here is my scenerio. I have a rack mount server that I run a number of KVM virtual machines on. Some of the virtual machines are setup as servers and don't run any graphical environment whereas others are desktop virtual machines with graphical environments. I have a physical desktop system where I run a SPICE client application that allows me to graphically connect to the desktop VMs. The SPICE remoting protocol does a good job of giving me a good user experience complete with bi-directional sound... which means I can both play back sound and I can create new sound with a sound input like a microphone. I found a recipe for using USB devices with KVM:

After following those instructions I was able to record the following video with the USB webcam and microphone (regular audio jack) plugged into my physical desktop but used within the remote KVM virtual machine. As you can hear, the sound is a bit weird and I'm not sure why that is but it seems to work.

Direct link, right-click save as:
usb-webcam-inside-kvm-vm-20121112.webm (6.2 MB)

Video: Linuxcon 2012 Europe - Enlightenment

| |

So far as I know, the various Linuxcon conferences around the world are planned and managed by The Linux Foundation. They have many, many sponsors... and The Linux Foundation has been doing live streaming from the last few... but it usually takes a while before the final videos are released. I believe someone in the audience shot this one and posted it to YouTube.

Just when you thought we already had too many desktop environments and window managers for Linux... comes the resurgence of one from the past... Enlightenment. The Enlightenment window manager USED to be the default for GNOME way back in the day... but after it got dropped it has sort of lived in exile with hundreds of hackers continuing to code on it for another decade.

The speaker is Mike Blumenkrantz, Senior Software Engineer at Samsung Electronics and Release Manager for Enlightenment DR17. Enjoy.

If you want to download it, break out youtube-dl and do something like the following which is the 854x480 webm flavor:

youtube-dl -f 44 -t ""

Video: MontanaLinux F18 So Far

| | |

If you have been paying any attention to the development work going on with Fedora 18, you're probably aware that they have been running into repeated delays because of a complete rewrite of the anaconda installer. I've been working on remixing Fedora 18 and generally it is in fantastic shape with the exception of a few pieces of the installer that I'll not mention now. Below is a video of me booting the latest build, installing it, doing a firstboot, and then showing off some of the new desktops.

I do the install on top of an existing KVM virtual machine so that's why I nuke the partitions that were already there. The desktops shown are Mate, GNOME 3, and Cinnamon. Also included but not shown are KDE, LXDE, XFCE, openbox and a few other window managers. The latest Firefox, Flash plugin-in, and Google Chrome are included along with several of the multimedia apps and codecs provided by rpmfusion.

There is no sound. I guess I could have put some Euro-synth-pop in there but nooooo....

Direct link, right-click save as:
montanalinux-f18-beta-boot-install-run.webm (25.7 MB)

Video: How Linux is Built

Here's a video made by the Linux Foundation that does a good job of explaining what markets Linux is dominating in and how it is developed. Enjoy:

Programming Class Forming


BozemanLUG member Jordan Schatz posted the following recently to the mailing list so I thought I'd share it here:

[BozemanLUG] Programming Class

So I think being able to obtain the source for software is very important, but just as important is having the skill to modify that source... so in that vein I've been asked by a few people "how do I learn to program?". I love writing code and learning about or teaching computer science so I thought see if there was enough interest do put together a class. I think I'd need 10-20 people to make it worthwhile. The class would be aimed at adults or highschool juniors / seniors that know how to use a computer and are interested in learning how to code but have little or no prior programming experience.

I want to try a 6 hr (or there about) intensive class on a Saturday and then see what people want from there, but I would consider other formats too.

If you are interested or know someone who is, drop me an email: preferably with "Programming Class" in the subject line, if there is enough interest then I'll find a place we can have the class and email
out a date and time.

- Jordan

New Open Source DNS Server


BozemanLUG member David Eder sent the following to the BozemanLUG mailing list and I thought I'd share it here:

[BozemanLUG] Unnamed DNS Server released

After a month or so of not fiddling with it, I submitted it to, so it should be up tomorrow some time.

You can get it here:

For those not up to speed, Unnamed is a caching DNS server that can filter DNS. So for example, you like, but don't like their landing pages when you should have gotten an NXDOMAIN, you can now have your NXDOMAIN back. Or, you don't like ads, porn, etc. Easy and fast blocking. You want to host your own dns, easy. You want to filter mail based on an rbl that knows what country unresolvable ips are from, easy. Lots of features, easy to extend in C or Lua. And did I mention it's


Montana LinuxFest: Organizational reboot

| | |

Larry (The Free Software Guy) Cafiero emailed the following today. As you may recall he is one of the organizers of SCALE who is helping us organize a Montana LinuxFest.

Hi, all --

After a discussion this afternoon on #ubuntu-montana, I proposed that we'd "reboot" the organizational side of Montana Linux Fest in order to get going again.

So this is it; the second "first" e-mail to get things rolling. Forgive me for letting any momentum we gained after Linux Fest Northwest slow down -- I take responsibility for this and hope we can get things rolling and keep it going until May.

But we're going to have to start from square one again, and please bear with me if these are pretty obvious questions and statements.

There was mention on the list of how this should be organized, and who should do what, etc. We'll get to that in a minute. What I need to know from those on this mailing -- and if you wish to put this on the Bozeman or Billings LUG lists, I'm OK with that -- is where we stand now.

When we left things, I think we had Billings in mind as a site. Is this still the case? If so, was there a particular facility in mind?

We are still looking at May, after Linux Fest Northwest and before Texas Linux Fest in June/July, correct?

As for an organizational set up, there should be committees (even if they are committees of 1 or 2) with responsibilities going forward: Technical committee, publicity committee, site committee, etc., each with responsibilities. For example, Tech would have responsibility for the networking and a/v aspect; publicity is fairly self explanatory, but could include assisting in getting folks invited to speak at the fest; site committee would be responsible for organizing the exhibit hall.

There are probably others, and I'm hoping Ilan, who has much more experience in this than I do, can jump in here and help out with what's needed, staff-wise.

In the meantime, I think we should have another organizational meeting soon -- Tuesdays seemed to be best last time. Would that work now? Or is there another day/time that works for everyone? With the exception of Friday mornings when I'm teaching Python or evenings between, say 9 and 10:30 Pacific Time (when I'm putting together the newspaper for which I work), I'm pretty flexible. Weekends are good for me, too.

I'd like to be able to meet sometime soon -- before next Tuesday -- and get things going again. So let's start by seeing what we have so far so we know what we need to do going forward.

Larry Cafiero

Videos: LFNW2012 XenClient and offline VDI

| |

Dr. Melanie Rieback's talk - XenClient: Client-side virtualization, and how to take VDI offline

XenClient is a client-side, Type-1 hypervisor which is quite a neat concept. Basically you know how server virtualization has been amazing for servers... with one of the strong points being that it abstracts the hardware and makes deploying new systems easy? Well imagine being able to do that for end-user computers... and doing it in such a way where you can take the VM with you even when you aren't connected to the Internet/LAN... and then being able to sync back when you able to touch base. Deploying a new desktop system could be just as easy as saying, download the VM image from the storage center and go with it. That is the promise of a client-side hypervisor... but since it is type 1 (rather than type 2 which is "hosted" on top of an OS) it is much more secure and performant. Melanie especially covers the dark art that is disk and data synchronization and the challenges they bring.

This video was recorded back in April but I had a technical snag and couldn't post it until now.

Direct link, right-click save as:
LFNW2012-XenClient-Melanie_Rieback.webm (416.4 MB)

OLPC XO-1.75 Arrives


Thank you Fedora Project! The One Laptop Per Child XO-1.75 unit arrived via FedEx today. It was sent to me by the Fedora Project as part of their Summer of Fun and Open Hardware contest. It didn't come in a traditional OLPC box but rather it was wrapped in bubble wrap and placed in a cardboard FedEx shipping container.

One thing that is cool about this unit is that it has a "high-school" keyboard on it which is made of hard plastic and much like a traditional netbook keyboard... rather than the standard soft rubber keyboard. I'm actually able to touch type on the keyboard without too much effort. There are a few keys that have been moved around to accomodate the cramped size but the vast majority of keys are fine. I never thought I'd be able to type very fast on an OLPC but this keyboard makes that very easy. In fact I typed this blog post on the OLPC.

The first thing I did was to update the software to the latest (Fedora 17-based) release. Sugar has some really nice software but if one desires, the GNOME 3 Fallback Mode desktop is also available.

One of the Sugar Activities I like a lot is "Get Books" which is a combination book catalog and reader. It ties into website which has plenty of public domain books to choose from in a number of genres. Most books are available in PDF and EPUB versions... both of which are readable inside the "Get Books" activity. The features provided by the program to adjust font sizes and jump around in the book work quite well. There is even a feature to have it read a selection aloud using a software-based mouth. I believe it uses the popular Festival text-to-speech system but I'm not positive. If one rotates the screen and flips it down, the navigation keys on the screen work well for scrolling, changing the font size, etc. The OLPC is a darn good eBook reader.

For more pictures see the OLPC gallery. Credits for some pictures go to Christoph Derndorfer and Mike Lee on Flickr.

Syndicate content