Portable Package Formats

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Distrowatch had a blurb today about how Canonical has publicly stated that they are in the process of creating a new, more portable packaging format for per-user installable apps.

I just wanted to mention that the GNOME developers have also been working on such a thing and I first became aware of it back in March when I watched the video What are we breaking now? by Lennart Poettering, Kay Sievers and Harald Hoyer. The talk about App packaging starts around 38:20.

In a Google + comment (not sure how to link to it), KDE's Aaron Seigo mentioned that KDE had pioneered a similar concept but I'm not sure what he was referring to. Maybe it was for the tablet-flavor of KDE he has been working hard on?

There is a lot of scepticism about the need for a new packaging format but everyone working on it seems to be pretty smart so I'm guessing they have good reasons. Just to clarify, no one is talking about trying to replace the underlying distro packaging system.

Video: Korora 18 Install Video

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There have been a number of negative articles about the updated installer in Fedora 18. That negativity has found its way into the Linux podcast arena... but it seems to me that the vast majority of people spreading the word about it... haven't even seen it.

Korora is a Linux distribution that is a remix of Fedora and they recently had a new release based on Fedora 18. One cool thing they produced and included with their live media is an installation video (approximately 19 minutes in length)... so I thought I'd share their video so that perhaps some who haven't actually seen the new Fedora installer can have a look and see that it is actually quite good. Enjoy.

Direct video link: Korora-18-Install-Video.webm (66.2MB)

Opinion: Censorship on Linux Sites isn't Cool

Most of the time I enjoy LinuxAdvocates.com. No, really I do... but there are times I disagree with the opinions expressed by one of the primary authors there (Dietrich Schmitz). He likes to write somewhat controversial articles... and I sometimes like to comment on them. In many cases there is no problem... but if you disagree with him you may very well find your comment deleted... and all of your future comments requiring moderation. What it leads to is a complete lack of opinion diversity.

Let it be known that the vast majority of the comments I have left have been civil and (hopefully) informative. I only left one that could be considered offensive but I apologized for that. It is ok for Dietrich and his buddies to say all kinds of disparaging things but dare to disagree with them and you are the bad guy.

Latest topic in question is an article entitled Systemd: An Accident Waiting to Happen. I mentioned that I'm pro-systemd and mentioned videos of presentations by the systemd creator that are available on YouTube as well as an article entitled The Biggest Myths that addresses most of the myths surrounding systemd... and splat, comment in moderation mode to never appear.

MontanaLinux.org has been around for more than 10 years and I think I've deleted 1 comment in that time (and the user that went along with it)... but other than that, not so much. This website is old and crufty... and not well suited to new users and comments so it is a different situation, but I'm just saying. :)

While I do appreciate Dietrich's hard work on LinuxAdvocates.com and all of the writing he does, being censored isn't fun. I think his site would be better without it... although I do agree with censoring obnoxious/cussing people.

Update: May 3, 2013 - Dietrich has responded with an article and I responded back with a comment to that article. Just in case anyone was curious, anonymous comments are turned off here and new account registrations are broken because this site is ancient and there are software issues. To anyone who wants to comment, feel free to email me directly (dowdle@montanalinux.org).


Video: LFNW 2013 - Systems Management with Fedora Spacewalk

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Thomas Cameron from Red Hat talks about Spacewalk although he slides refer to Red Hat Satellite which is the downstream project:

Video: LFNW 2013 - Seven problems of Linux Containers

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Kir Kolyshkin from the OpenVZ Project talks about Linux Containers:

Video: LFNW2013 - Red Hat and the Open Source Community

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Thomas Cameron from Red Hat talks about Red Hat and the Open Source Community:

Video: LFNW2013 - Network Attached Storage with Gluster

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Thomas Cameron from Red Hat talks about GlusterFS:

Video: LFNW 2013 - Four Freedoms for Freedom

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John Sullivan from the Free Software Foundation speaks on Freedom.

BTW, the upcoming cert he mentions in the talk happened recently and it was the Atheros-Based ThinkPenguin 802.11 N USB Adapter.

Video: LFNW 2013 - Comparing Ganeti to Other Open Source Private Cloud Platforms

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Lance Albertson from OSUOSL talked about Ganeti:

Romancing Fedora 19 pre-alpha

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I keep up with Fedora releases. Fedora 19 was due for an "Alpha" release last Tuesday but they had to delay. As most everyone already knows, delays in Fedora are to be expected. Anyway, I thought I'd check out their Alpha test builds. They actually seem to be working quite well. I did several installs from the "Desktop" media which is GNOME 3.8.x-based. The installs I did were inside of KVM-based virtual machines. Then I added on all of the other desktop environments and tried them out. Even in this early stage, it seems to be quite usable and stable. I obviously did NOT run into any of the "blocker" bugs that were the cause of the Alpha release delay. I think most of those were EFI related.

Remixing from Alpha

I thought I'd try doing a MontanaLinux remix from the development repositories. For those not familiar with MontanaLinux, it is basically the vast majority of desktop environments and desktop managers and a lot of desktop software rolled into a 2+ GB live .iso. It includes packages from rpmfusion (codecs, gnome-mplayer, vlc, etc), Google (google-chrome-stable and google-talkplugin) and Adobe (flash-plugin).

So from my Fedora 19 pre-alpha VM, I installed the various kickstart packages, extracted out the KDE related kickstart (.ks) files, and then melded them into a single file, added the packages I wanted to the %packages section, and then did a tiny bit of customization in the %post and %post --nochroot sections of the kickstart. With a MontanaLinux-F19.ks file done, I proceeded with the build.

It built. I discovered (with help from nirik in #fedora-devel on freenode) that Fedora no longer looks at /etc/sysconfig/desktop for the default desktop environment and display manager. That is done with systemd's systemctl.

The Bug Fairy Always Visits

There are a few glitches here and there but that is to be expected. lightdm was messing me up... so I had to add an exclude in the %packages section. I'm still in the process of refining the kickstart but it seems to work well enough.

For some reason, when I boot the .iso in a KVM VM on a Fedora 18 host I can't use the combination of SPICE/QXL. If I change it to VNC/any, SPICE/VGA, or SPICE/VMVGA it works fine.

I made sure to add in the GNOME 3.8.x Classic extensions so the GNOME Classic mode shows up in the display manager Session options.

I've only been working on this for a few hours so I'm sure I've got a bit of learning left to do. Fedora has since released a number of Fedora 19 updates and I haven't tried those yet. More later.

Update: April 22 - There was an additional flood of updates over the weekend. I guess the current build from Fedora went gold for the Alpha release and they had stockpiled some updates until after. I put in a few more hours on my configs and got the 32 and 64-bit versions built. They are working well and the SPICE/QXL combination now works fine. Updates included KDE 4.10.2 and MATE 1.60 among others.

If anyone wants to try it out, feel free to email me (dowdle@montanalinux.org) and I'll reply with a URL.

Update: April 24 - Fedora DID release Fedora 19 Alpha yesterday. I've done yet another rebuild and created a screencast video (no audio) showing the Live DVD iso booting inside of a KVM Virtual Machine connected to with the SPICE remoting protocol. I didn't do any fancy editing of the video so there are long boring parts where you stare at a blank screen as it boots or loads. In the 25 minute video I boot, do an install, reboot and then do a quick survey of all the desktop environments, some apps as well as how I like to personalize KDE. The pre-release Fedora 19 base has a debug kernel and I'm sure the installer is doing a lot of extra logging... so the installer and the boot is a lot slower than the final product will be but that is to be expected. Everything seems to be working nicely except for Cinnamon.

Anyone who would like to watch it can do so with the link below. Right-click to download or play in your webm compatible browser. It is about 66MB in size... which is about 3 times the size of my first hard drive back in 1986. :)

montanalinux-f19-alpha-remix-20130424-install-firstboot.webm