Fedora 14 Coming Soon


Fedora 14 WallpaperFedora 14 WallpaperThe Fedora 14 RC1 build passed QA and it is a go. Fedora 14 will be released on schedule on Tuesday, Nov. 2nd, which many of us know as "voting day".

I've been following the development and building my MontanaLinux remix every so often, usually after a bunch of updates. All in all, I'm pretty impressed with the release.

Getting It

If you know where to find the RC1 release, which is freely available, that is the final release (to the best of my knowledge). So if you want Fedora 14 early, download that. I did, although I'm mainly using my remix.

New Tee-Shirts for LUG Members?

Design 1Design 1It has been a while since we released any new "Cool Gear". I decided to work with some images from one of my favorite Flash animation videos. If you have ever been to a BozemanLUG or a BillingsLUG meeting in the past 5 years, you'll probably be familiar with it since we often play it at meetings: Switch to Linux.

A Little History

I'm not exactly sure when Chris Hill first created but he posted the "Switch to Linux" video in 2003. What is this switch to Linux stuff? Well, at the time Apple was running a bunch of "Switcher" ads. Of course Apple was doing back then what they do today with iPhone and iPod ads... they spend tens of millions of dollars for media buys and run their ads over and over until you just want to scream. Thank goodness for TiVo and other DVRs that let you skip the commercials! I believe if we did the same with Linux oriented stuff, we'd get just as much market saturation as Apple is, but that's another topic.

Anyway, Chris created the "Switch to Linux" video as a sort of parody of the Apple Switcher ads. Of course, since that was 7 or more years ago, the young folks of today have no idea what it's about. Chris has a number of entertaining creations at his website so be sure to check them out if you haven't already.

Design 2Design 2Chris Said Yes

I emailed Chris Hill and asked him if he would consider allowing me to use images from his flash animation for some tee-shirts for our LUGs. He agreed and said I didn't even need to include a blurb giving him credit... although now that I think about it, I should add it anyway. I'm attaching the images to this post for anyone who wants to alter them.

How They Were Made

Basically, I was on a computer with a fairly high resolution (1680x1050) and I had my browser window maximized. Then I used ksnapshot to take some screenshots while the video was playing. Then I cropped the images and did some cleanup and combining of multiple images (for those images that pan across the screen during the video) with GIMP. Then I imported the images into Inkscape (v 0.48 which includes the ability to embed the bitmaps) and did some additional editing until I had the final result... which I saved as both an .svg file and a .png file.

I tried using the "Path -> Trace Bitmap..." feature in Inkscape but decided that I liked the bitmaps better than the vector traces. One thing I don't like about bitmap traces in Inkscape is that they end up being a group of layered objects, each a different color. They look fairly good but I have yet to figure out a way to merge the layers together and sometimes I accidentally ungroup the object which tends to make a mess.

Get Some!

Anyone who has the desire can take the images that are attached and use them, or capture their own... and then make their own tee-shirts, etc. Or if you don't want to put in any effort and just want to order a tee-shirt, you can do so here:

MontanaLinux Remix Update


Since the Fedora Remix build process on Fedora 13 broke some time ago after some package upgrades and they were dragging their feet about fixing it, I switched to Fedora 14 devel for my MontanaLinux Remix effort. It sure is fun. Luckily the RPM Fusion folks have devel packages for Fedora 14 so I'm not missing anything.

The only problem I've run into is with adding the Google Chrome Browser to my package set. For some reason, if I install Google Chrome as part of the build, I run into a issue with a failure to umount a loopback interface that causes the building of the iso to fail. Removing Google Chrome from the package list makes the issue go away. I guess that's actually a good thing because I'm not sure how Google would feel with me pre-installing their browser and distributing it. If I had picked Chromium, I'm sure there wouldn't be a distribution issue.

Anyway, the switch to Fedora 14 devel seems to have worked out quite well and it is actually in pretty good shape. There is one minor bug that I find annoying and hope they get fixed before the final release. Also the devel kernel has a lot of debugging options turned on that makes it a bit slower than usual, and I do have an occasional issue with sound after resuming from sleep on my Acer netbook... but I'm guessing that will get fixed in the release kernel. The switch has gotten me more involved with testing and reporting bugs and that is good.

If anyone wants to give it a try, email me and I'll give you a URL to download the .iso. 32-bit and 64-bit versions are available.

MontanaLinux Remix: The Bug Fairy Pays a Visit

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I've been building a Fedora Remix for some time now. If I remember correctly I started around Fedora 9 and have continued to build them with each new release. I'm on Fedora 13 now. I usually rebuild the remix every time a new set of updates comes out. So far I had rebuilt the i686 and the x86_64 remix 46 times each... and then someone reported some problems with the last couple of builds. I didn't notice because I had been on vacation and was doing the rebuilds remotely without testing the final product. I figured if it built ok, it was probably ok... because I hadn't previously had any problems with any builds.

Building a Fedora 13 Beta Remix


From attending Jesse Keating's talk about the upcoming features in Fedora 13 I learned that the rawhide repository has been split in an effort to provide a more stable build environment for Fedora releases. I also learned that it is a good idea to disable the updates-testing repo to help avoid potential breakage. Jesse also said that at some point during the upgrade cycle that the Beta will turn into the release version. With the new information, I decided that it wasn't too early build my MontanaLinux Fedora remix.

I had installed the Beta on a couple of physical and virtual machines and was fairly impressed with it so I decided to go ahead with the remix effort. First I would have to find all of the repository URLs to pull the packages from. That wasn't too difficult... just look at the files in /etc/yum.repos.d/ on a Fedora 13 Beta system.

To save on bandwidth over many builds I decided to rsync the entire development tree down so I would have a local copy. The i386 devel tree is about 19GB with 16,787 packages. The x86_64 devel tree is 21GB with 20,811 packages. I also have to rsync every day or two to keep up with package updates.

The RPM Fusion folks already have packages for Fedora 13 and the existing Adobe packages work fine on the Fedora 13 Beta as well so the this remix will be pretty close my previous remixes.

I am building from within a Fedora 13 Beta KVM virtual machine. I composed the first build yesterday and installed it on my netbook last night. I have noticed a few glitches in my initial package selection. For example I installed sugar* and that brought all of the sugar packages including sugar-logos which is a boot-time Plymouth animation. As a result, booting my netbook for the first time after install showed the Sugar animation which I wasn't expecting at all. Also the number of packages I had was right on the edge of 2GB and I wanted to insure that it would continue to fit on a 2GB USB thumbdrive... so I decided to update the package set. I decided to remove sugar completely because that would free up some room and get rid of unwanted boot animation.

I'm doing a second compose right now. We'll see how that turns out.

Fedora 12: Upgrading vs. Fresh Install


I originally wrote this as a comment on LWN in response to a feature article Jon Corbet did entitled, "Between Fedora 12 and 13". It was basically Jon's review of his upgrade experience from Fedora 11 to Fedora 12 in which he claims that features don't matter, only the upgrade experience does. I felt compelled to comment.

- - - - -

I started writing a review of Fedora 12 a while ago but put it on the back burner as things came up... thinking the longer I wait to finish it, the more time I will have had with it... the more complete of a review I can do.

I don't really recommend upgrading to anyone... except under certain conditions. On servers where the package count is fairly low and the possibility of third-party add-on packages is low, upgrading has been painless for me for the last 5 or 6 releases I've been doing them.

On desktops where there is a large number of packages as well as a greater potential for third-party packages to be installed (think RPM Fusion for certain verboten media codecs and apps)... I don't upgrade.

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