Fedora Weekly News Issue 163
Welcome to Fedora Weekly News Issue 163 for the week ending February
This week's issue provides some detail on the upcoming Fedora Activity
Day (FAD) at Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE), many posts from the
Fedora Planet blogosphere, and selected wonderful event reports from
FOSDEM. We welcome a brand new Quality Assurance beat this issue, with
coverage of the latest test day focusing on iSCSI for Fedora 11, summary
of the latest QA weekly meeting, and discussion of the process for
critical-release bugs. In Development news, discussion of FLOSS
multimedia codec support in Fedora, preview looks at F11 release notes,
and the availability of CrossReport, a tool to evaluate the ease with
which applications can be ported to Windows using the MinGW libraries.
From the Translation team, updates and details on the infrastructure
roadmap for translation, and migration of Damned Lies to the new
Django-based interface. Infrastructure reports availability of WordPress
multi-user for Fedora sub-projects, and planning for cgit as a
replacement for gitweb on hosted2. Artwork has updates on the continuing
evolution of Fedora 11 artwork. The Security Week beat examines recent
discussion on Slashdot regarding 'how to argue the security of open
source software,' and this issue wraps up with a summary of the security
advisories for Fedora 9 and 10 over this past week. Enjoy!
If you are interested in contributing to Fedora Weekly News, please see
our 'join' page. We welcome reader feedback: fedora-news-l...@redhat.com
FWN Editorial Team: Pascal Calarco, Oisin Feeley, Huzaifa Sidhpurwala
-- Announcements --
In this section, we cover announcements from the Fedora Project.
Contributing Writer: Max Spevack
--- Slow News Week ---
It was a quiet week on the announcements front, with nothing more than a
few outage notifications being sent to the primary Fedora announcements
Your correspondent promises to make an announcement this week, so that
this space may be used to its full potential in next week's issue.
--- Upcoming Events ---
2009-02-20: Fedora Activity Day @ SCaLE
2009-02-20 - 2009-02-22: Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE)
Also, people are encouraged to register for Fedora or JBoss.org related
speaking slots at LinuxTag 2009.
-- Planet Fedora --
In this section, we cover the highlights of Planet Fedora - an
aggregation of blogs from Fedora contributors worldwide.
Contributing Writer: Adam Batkin
--- Activism Alert ---
Oron Peled wrote about a proposed new IETF standard for "Transport
Layer Security (TLS) Authorization Extensions" which may be
patent-encumbered before it is even approved.
Paul W. Frields appealed for prior art against a patent that covers a
user interface that has multiple workspaces (filed 1987-03-25).
--- General ---
Dave Jones announced some changes to the Fedora kernel packaging "to
drop the regular 686 kernels. As of Fedora 11, the only 32-bit kernels
built are '586' and '686-PAE' (and their -debug variants)."
Lennart Poettering described some of the new changes in the latest
PulseAudio 0.9.15 release, including Flat Volumes, On-the-fly
Reconfiguration of Devices (aka "S/PDIF Support"), Native support for
24bit samples and support for Airport Express.
David Nalley wrote about the Fedora Ambassadors giving away free XO
laptops! To qualify, either "Package and maintain a sugar-* package for
2 releases or more" or "Build a Sugar activity that helps meet the 'holy
list of 4th grade maths'".
Andrew Overholt announced the release of the Linux Tools project for
Eclipse. The release has lots of features from profiling and tracing
with SystemTap to autoconf and RPM spec file editor (with autocomplete)
Jef Spaleta expressed mild excitement at Canonical's "Renewed focus
on suspend resume". In a later post, he wrote about comparing Linux
(and even OSX) user experiences with respect to functionality
regressions after an update.
Seth Vidal mused on the fact that a poster on Planet Gnome had
said that "Fedora is held to a higher standard" than certain other
Harish Pillay reacted to an IDC report claiming "Proprietary
software products are much better documented than open source because of
the volunteer nature of open source software development".
--- How-To ---
Devan Goodwin explained how to perform bandwidth-limited secure
encrypted backups using duplicity and Amazon's S3 Storage Service.
Mohd Izhar Firdaus Ismail described how to enable "Disk snapshot
backup in Linux".
Lennart Poettering requested that D-Bus interfaces be properly
versioned, and described some best-practices including the hows and whys.
--- Events ---
Once again: So many people have written about attending FOSDEM that it
would take an entire issue of FWN post all of the links. Instead an
arbitrarily selection will be randomly chosen.
And on a slightly different note, Arindam Ghosh wrote about (and
posted photos of) Mikti'09.
-- Ambassadors --
In this section, we cover Fedora Ambassadors Project.
Contributing Writer: Larry Cafiero
--- FAD SCaLE coming up 2009-02-20 ---
The Fedora Activity Day at the Southern California Linux Expo
(SCaLE) will be from 9am - 6pm on 2009-02-20 at the Westin Airport
Los Angeles, in Los Angeles, California.
There will be breaks and such, but the FAD will be treated much like a
sprint. We're here to get something accomplished -- specifically font
packaging and documentation -- so come on by and help us out for an hour
or all day. We'd love to have you there!
Also, if you can make SCaLE from the Southern California area, stop by
the Fedora booth.
SCaLE takes place on this weekend at the Westin Airport Los Angeles. For
more information, visit the Southern California Linux Expo site.
--- Got Ambassador News? ---
Any Ambassador news tips from around the Fedora community can be
submitted to me by e-mailing lcafiero-AT-fedoraproject-DOT-org and I'd
be glad to put it in this weekly report.
-- QualityAssurance --
In this section, we cover the activities of the QA team.
Contributing Writer: Adam Williamson
--- Test Days ---
This week's regular test day was on iSCSI. Martin Sivak and Hans
de Goede represented the developers, and testing was lead by Marian
Ganisin with assistance from Chris Williams, Mike Anderson, Michael
Christie and James Laska. Test cases worked on during the test day can
be seen on the page. Please record any additional test ideas or
considerations at Exploratory Testing iSCSI. Consult the quick start
guide for creating a software-based iscsi target for use with testing.
Next week's test day will be on the 20 Second Startup feature
planned for Fedora 11. It will be held on 2009-02-19 in the #fedora-qa
channel on Freenode IRC. Please drop by if you would like to help test
and improve boot speed for Fedora 11.
--- Weekly meetings ---
The QA group weekly meeting was held on 2009-02-11. The full log is
available. Will Woods gave a status report on the progress of the
autoqa project, which is working on creating automated test scripts
to run whenever certain events happen. He also reported on progress with
the Nitrate project, which is for collecting test cases and test
plans and compiling results from running them. Jóhann Guðmundsson asked
if it will be possible to pull existing test cases from the current
Wiki-based system into Nitrate when it is released, and Will Woods said
this is likely to be possible.
The Bugzappers group weekly meeting was held on February 10th. The
group agreed that the current list of most-important components should
be updated, and Edward Kirk will do this. Edward Kirk, Brennan Ashton
and Adam Williamson (links) agreed that simple goals should be set for
the group, but did not reach final agreement on what these should be.
Adam Williamson suggested that Bug Days be revived and made weekly, and
this idea was supported by Edward Kirk and Brennan Ashton.
The next QA weekly meeting will be held on 2009-02-18 at 1600 UTC in
#fedora-qa, and the next Bugzappers weekly meeting on 2009-02-17 at 1700
UTC in #fedora-bugzappers.
--- Wiki re-organization ---
Work continued on the ongoing project to rewrite and re-organize the
main pages in the QA team's Wiki space. Adam Williamson, Jóhann
Guðmundsson, Christopher Beland and Leam Hall all contributed ideas,
suggestions and drafts.
--- Release-critical bug process ---
Adam Williamson initiated a discussion regarding the process for
handling release-critical bugs. Matej Cepl, James Laska, Jesse Keating,
and John Poelstra contributed opinions. In the end it was agreed that
the basic shape of the current process is a good one but the groups
involved - BugZappers, release engineering, and developers - should
communicate and collaborate more in deciding on release-critical bugs.
--- Xorg/Mesa/DRI testing ---
François Cami, together with others, proposed a project to conduct
organized testing of X.org and DRI functionality with a range of common
hardware for Fedora 11. He highlighted four important areas he felt were
needed for this: an opt-in system to record what hardware is owned by
what testers (possibly utilizing Smolt), a system for producing test
plans, a system for recording the results of tests, and regularly
scheduled test sessions. Jóhann Guðmundsson supported the idea and
suggested that, while some of the features would require help from the
infrastructure group, the QA group could at least immediately start
writing test cases. James Laska pointed out that extensive information
is needed to diagnose and fix X issues remotely. François will work with
the X maintainers to define exactly what information needs to be provided.
-- Developments --
In this section the people, personalities and debates on the
@fedora-devel mailing list are summarized.
Contributing Writer: Oisin Feeley
--- FLOSS Multimedia Codec Support ---
Inspired by previous discussions on whether Fedora should distribute
FLOSS content Martin Sourada tried to start a discussion about the
poor support of FLOSS multimedia. Martin noted: "Out of the combinations
of two FLOSS containers (matroska and ogg) and two FLOSS video codecs
(dirac and theora) I know only one (ogg + theora) actually works in
xine-lib (used by KDE4) which is pathetic." He asked for help in
documenting the situation on a wiki page.
When Bastien Nocera suggested that the most important thing was to file
bugs Martin responded that this was what he was doing after first
An information packed sub-thread started by Gregory Maxwell expanded
the scope of the tests and started a discussion with Dominik
Mierzejewski about the problem of ffmpeg providing sub-optimal
implementations of unencumbered codecs. It seems that for reasons of
efficiency ffmpeg re-invents the wheel from scratch instead of using and
improving upstream implementations. Kevin Kofler also rose to the
implied challenge that GStreamer was preferable to xine-lib.
--- Multiple Packages from One Source ? ---
A question about how to handle the situation where a single source could
be compiled with alternate databases was posted by Steven Moix. The
motion video motion detector software can be compiled to use either
MySQL or Postgres. Steven explained that the problem was that "[...]you
can't divide it into sub-packages, at the end it generates one big
binary file [...]" and wondered should he just choose the database he
preferred or propose two packages.
Manuel Wolfshant expressed what appeared to be the common wisdome:
"personally I would compile twice, once enabling mysql and another time
pgsql, and create 2 packages. each package would install a
"motion-dbname" binary, and a symlink would allow access via the well
known name "motion". Using alternatives would allow a switch between the
Although it was admitted that David Woodhouse's suggestion to make
the program use loadable plugins was the ideal Tom Lane thought that
was "[...] a bit above and beyond what a packager should do. If he's
also an upstream developer, then he should undertake that addition with
his developer hat on; but it's *well* beyond the size of patch that a
Fedora package should be carrying."
The ability to specify alternate requires (similar to those used in the
.deb package format) was discussed by Richard W.M. Jones and Tom
Lane and dismissed as impractical in this case anyway due to variations
--- Take a Peek at the Fedora 11 Release Notes ---
Fresh from his work on the RHEL-5.3 Release Notes Ryan Lerch apprised
the list of the latest changes to the Fedora 11 Release Notes. Ryan
sought early feedback and changes to documentation beats in order to
give the community an early preview of the release notes.
Initial feedback from Thorsten Leemhuis and Kevin Kofler and others
indicated that the use of fixed-width instead of liquid layout was
disliked by some people and loved by others.
Ryan also provided an rpm of this Release Notes mockup.
--- Heads Up: Noarch Subpackages Landing Soon ---
Florian Festi warned that the ability to produce noarch subpackages
will soon be available in Fedora. This brings the benefit of being able
to share these packages among different architectures thus reducing disk
space and mirror bandwidth.
Although rpm-4.6 supports noarch fully there are still some fixes to
make to koji before the Fedora buildsystem can cope with noarch
subpackages. Florian suggested that those who wanted to could experiment
in mock with rpmdiff to compare the results across different
architectures. He assured readers that there were no plans to force
packagers to use this feature and invited anyone interested in
developing the use of noarch in future release to a discussion.
Florian later warned that one potential negative outcome of using
such sub-packages would be a proliferation of packages and consequent
bloating of metadata which might affect yum.
VilleSkyttä suggested that it would be wise to make sure that use of
BuildRequire: rpm-build >= 4.6.0 was enforced in order to ensure that
earlier versions of rpmbuild did not produce noarch versions of the main
package and other potential subpackages. Florian's response
recognized the problem but deprecated the use of BuildRequires to
such an extent. One possible alternative which he proposed was to "[have
Panu Matilainen backport a check that will make noarch packages (both
regular and noarch) fail to build if they contain binaries [and ensure
that this] additional check will be in place before koji will be
updated[.]" This latter proposal stimulated a good deal of interest from
Ralf Corsepius and Richard W.M. Jones as they were both concerned with
cross-architecture issue. The definition of a "binary" seemed to be one
In a later thread Florian updated a list of packages which could be
easily turned into noarch subpackages.
--- Mass Rebuild Coming Soon ---
Jesse Keating drew attention to "[...] a perfect storm brewing for
Fedora 11" due to the need to rebuild with GCC-4.4 (see FWN#161, the
use of i586 as the default supported architecture (see FWN#162 and
the support of stronger hashes (last paragraph of FWN#107).
Apparently the time-constraints led to a desire to start the rebuild as
soon as possible without giving maintainers an explicit window in which
to do their own builds. Jesse preferred to give maintainers an ability
to opt-out and sought suggestions on how this could be achieved.
Jesse suggested that interested parties should either reply to the
thread and/or participate in the 2009-02-16 IRC meeting in
#fedora-meeting at 1800UTC.
--- New Tool Measures Ease of Cross-compiling to Windows ---
Richard W.M. Jones announced the availability of CrossReport, a tool
to evaluate the ease with which applications can be ported to Windows
using the MinGW libraries.
After some issue with platform dependency were reported by Michael
Cronenworth were sorted out it seemed the tool is ready for use.
-- Translation --
This section covers the news surrounding the Fedora Translation (L10n)
Contributing Writer: Runa Bhattacharjee
--- Additions to talk.fedoraproject.org ---
Rafael Gomes has volunteered to update content on
talk.fedoraproject.org and would be creating the .pot file to make it
available for translators. Additionally, Lucas Do Amaral has volunteered
to add content regarding ekiga configuration that would ensure error
free display of the translated content, as had been earlier reported by
Richard van der Luit .
--- Further discussion on the Infrastructure Roadmap ---
In continuation to the earlier discussion, Dimitris Glezos mentions that
the important issue currently is the inconsistent uptime of the system
due to the lack of administration resources . He also mentions that
adding Publican support to the Transifex instance would be possible with
support from the Fedora Publican group. Additionally, he mentions that
Transifex v0.5 to be released in March, would have support for
Statistics based display as a start to the future goal of supporting all
the features of Damned Lies. It is to be noted that FLP uses Damned Lies
and Transifex for its Translation infrastructure.
Domingo Becker added a wishlist for the current system, that includes
reservation of files for translation, timeout and notification system to
the co-ordinator. In a separate thread, Francesco Tombolini voiced his
opinion about the lack of the file locking feature and the downtime in
the statistics page .
--- Migration of Damned Lies ---
Asgeir Frimannsson had announced the imminent migration of the old
Damned Lies instance to the new Django-based Damned Lies instance.
Damned Lies is used by http://translate.fedoraproject.org for generating
the translation statistics.
--- New Members in FLP
Daniel Yousefi (Persian) , Ahmad Razzaghi (Persian) , Daniele
Catanesi (Italian) , Mads Bille Lundby (Danish) , and Zoltan
Sumegi (Hungarian)  joined the Fedora Localization Project last week.
-- Infrastructure --
This section contains the discussion happening on the
Contributing Writer: Huzaifa Sidhpurwala
--- Calendaring system ---
Discussion on this topic continues from last week. Adam Williamson said
 that there are a couple of calendaring plugins which will allow for
"days" will be allocated.
Clint Savage mentioned that the point is that it should support caldev
or something better
--- wordpress-mu install ---
Mike McGrath asked who wanted to finalize our wordpress-mu install
Mike further said that it has got built and there is a ticket for it
--- cgit to replace gitweb? ---
Seth Vidal saidthat he has setup cgit as a replacement for gitweb on
hosted2 and it is available at hosted2.fedoraproject.org/cgit/ He said
that he would like to replace gitweb as a web based git repo browser but
that would mean that the urls from gitweb will not work any more. He
said that he would like to get some feedback on this.
Bill Nottingham suggested that we may be able to able to do a rewrite
In this section, we cover the Fedora Artwork Project.
Contributing Writer: Nicu Buculei
--- Evolving Fedora 11 Artwork ---
The development of the Fedora 11 artwork evolved on @fedora-art. Máirín
Duffy posted a new wallpaper mockup: "It's more really an attempt
at a nice backdrop, and maybe we can layer some of the trees and
buildings we were talking about on top[.]"
Charles Brej investigated boot animations: "On the plymouth front, I
am likely to be a bit busier at work this release than the F10 one, so I
would really appreciate some of ideas as to what people would like
during the system boot. The possibilities are pretty much limitless but
it would be a good thing to conserve the CPU and keep the number and
size of images included in the initrd to a minimum".
-- Security Week --
In this section, we highlight the security stories from the week in Fedora.
Contributing Writer: Josh Bressers
--- Is Open Source Software Secure? ---
This week there was a story posted to Slashdot titled How To Argue That
Open Source Software Is Secure?. Quoting the post:
... saying that they were warned that they are dangerously insecure
because they run open source
operating systems or software, because 'anyone can read the code and
hack you with ease.'
This issue seems to keep coming up from time to time. This argument is
of course silly and one of those "Prove it ... you can't? So it's true!"
There is no way to prove that a piece of closed source software is more
or less secure than a given piece of Open Source Software. If you can't
see the source, you can't be certain that the vendor did or didn't fix
issues. You need to unconditionally trust your vendor. If the source
code is wide open for anyone to see, it keeps the vendor honest. You
can't sweep issues under a transparent rug. You can try, and maybe hide
a few piles of dust, but the really scary piles of dirt will stick out
like sore thumbs.
The issue at hand isn't is application A more secure than application B,
but do you trust vendor A more than vendor B?
-- Security Advisories --
In this section, we cover Security Advisories from fedora-package-announce.
Contributing Writer: David Nalley
--- Fedora 10 Security Advisories ---
* xine-lib-126.96.36.199-1.fc10 -
* squid-3.0.STABLE13-1.fc10 -
* squidGuard-1.2.1-2.fc10 -
* python-fedora-0.3.9-1.fc10 -
* asterisk-188.8.131.52-2.fc10 -
* moodle-1.9.4-1.fc10 -
* fail2ban-0.8.3-18.fc10 -
--- Fedora 9 Security Advisories ---
* squidGuard-1.2.1-2.fc9 -
* python-fedora-0.3.9-1.fc9 -
* squid-3.0.STABLE13-1.fc9 -
* lighttpd-1.4.20-6.fc9 -
* xine-lib-184.108.40.206-1.fc9.1 -
* moodle-1.9.4-1.fc9 -
* asterisk-220.127.116.11-2.fc9 -
* dahdi-tools-2.0.0-1.fc9 -
* libresample-0.1.3-9.fc9 -
* dnsmasq-2.45-1.fc9 -
* fail2ban-0.8.3-18.fc9 -
---- end FWN #163 ----
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