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Fedora News Updates #7

by Colin Charles

For the week of: Thursday, March 04 2004

Available at: http://fedoranews.org/colin/fnu/issue7.shtml

Welcome to the seventh issue of Fedora News Updates, the weekly (or bi-weekly) newsletter for the Fedora community. The issue has taken on a two-week release cycle, but this will probably change in due course (when connectivity issues disappear).

Fedora Core 2 test2 slips

The release schedule for Fedora Core 2 is slipping a wee bit. This has to do further with SELinux integration as it needs as much exposure as possible. SELinux will be in enforcing mode in test2! The current projection is that a development freeze will be on March 12, while it will only be available come March 22.

The Jargon Buster

It's on the Web. Reading the lists, maybe browsing some of the websites (or even reading this!) might introduce some new jargon that confuses people not directly involved with The Fedora Project. This is what the Jargon Buster is for. A big thanks to Dave Pawson and Tammy Fox for this.

In addition to this, the docs project (headed by Tammy Fox) has had a few updates: the beginnings of a FAQ for the Docs Project, and an update to the current Documentation Guide. There is also a list of current volunteers and topics.

Next-generation input method

The Fedora Project will be adopting a revolutionary new input method system in Fedora Core 2. In particular, we would greatly encourage East Asian language users to try out the Intranet/Internet Input Method Framework (IIIMF). IIIMF works differently by loading Language Engines (LE) dynamically at runtime as requested by clients. For LEs are currently available:
  • iiimf-le-inpinyin for Simplified Chinese (zh_CN.UTF-8)
  • iiimf-le-xcin for Traditional Chinese (zh_TW.UTF-8)
  • iiimf-le-canna for Japanese (ja_JP.UTF-8)
  • iiimf-le-hangul for Korean (ko_KR.UTF-8)
Online resources include the full invitation letter, the testing guide, and the testing packages. If you need further information on IIIMF, the OpenI18n site has a rather useful article. Leon Ho points that yum repositories are now available at http://iiimf.fedora.us/.

If you're interested in the i18n testing with Fedora, the i18n project page is a good resource. For regular chat the #fedora-i18n channel on Freenode is also available. Thanks to Lawrence Lim & Jens Petersen for submitting this news item.

Fedora on lower-end machines

This is always an issue - the specifications for a modern desktop will tax the hardware more. However, people still have lower-end hardware lying around; Fedora can be optimized to work for older/lower-end machines. David Norris did some testing with regards to how much RAM is required (the minimum) to get anaconda, the Fedora installer, working.

Paul Thomas uses icewm as a window manager (http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-list/2004-February/msg03791.html) while Paul Bucalo encourages XFce (http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-list/2004-February/msg03797.html). There are many light-weight window managers, like twm, and even WindowMaker, so low-end machines are still usable! Rodolfo Paiz continues with his "fedora-minimal" project.

From the Fedora Legacy team

Jesse Keating is encouraging those using the Fedora Legacy project to use the mirrors at http://www.fedoralegacy.org/download/fedoralegacy-mirrors.php. He clocked 1.1TB of bandwidth, and its affecting his other customers'.

An introduction to Linux in ten commands

While this isn't exactly Fedora-specific, for newbies to the command line, the "Amazing powers of observation" has posted a rather useful MiniLesson available at http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-list/2004-February/msg04343.html.

Quick howto's

Mitch Wiedemann has a little guide that shows us how to get good OCR results under Fedora. Read more at http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-list/2004-February/msg04697.html.

Pawel Szopinski has a little guide on how to use the HP Photosmart 120 on Fedora Core 1 at http://thehostedbox.com/~pawel/hpps120_on_fc.html. David Norris makes a few additions to the guide.

Easter eggs?

So, are there interesting easter eggs out there with Fedora? Matt wanted to know, and Keith Robertson pointed out an Evolution egg. Any more?

Configuration issues

Eric Raymond wants Aunt Tillie to have zero-configuration networking (via Apple's zeroconf). There are mixed reactions on the list, while some mentioned possible patent issues. Tim Waugh has read some of ESR's complaints, and wants to get working on system-config-printer immediately!

Elsewhere, a configuration tool for the vsftpd server is in the works, and a mock-up is available at http://www.tuxwantsgames.org/sysfc1/index.html.

Fedora Core 2 test1 notes

Keeping in mind this is a test release, and these notes are for testers, and not end-users of the general Fedora Core 1 product. The fedora-test-list has been brimming with questions and answers, so like always, look into Bugzilla first.
  • Fedora Core 2 test1 already has XFS enabled, just like the upstream 2.6 branch of kernels.
  • Want to help with SELinux? Russell Coker has mentioned the #selinux IRC channel on the Freenode IRC network. where there is almost one Red Hat employee present 24/7, while there are other knowledgeable people with general SELinux knowledge, on other distributions. This is for quick interaction, rather than 100K long AVC messages of "what went wrong", where e-mail would be a lot better. Sopwith came up with a guide, while there are some useful links that Stephen Smalley points to.
  • Arguing that SELinux code should be disabled because it was developed by the NSA and can have hidden items, is more of an urban legend rather than fact. SELinux is in Kernel 2.6, and it has been scrutinized along the way - so stop worrying!
  • Rick Johnson e-mailed to state that a couple more FC2 test1 issues niggle users: PCMCIA slots don't work unless people manually load yenta_socket, and then restart pcmcia (modprobe yenta_socket and then service pcmcia restart - this works till the next reboot); and for laptop users, there's an error with the clock-speed during start-up - fixes for this are in the archives of fedora-test-list.
  • Keep in mind that packages in Rawhide are not GPG-signed, so apt (and others) will complain. Running it with the "-o rpm::gpg-check=false" option will temporarily disable the action of wanting GPG signed packages.
  • ide-scsi has been disabled in the 2.6 line, so if your CD burner is an IDE device, specifying cdrecord with options such as "--dev=/dev/hdc" for example would be necessary (otherwise, edit the cdrecord.conf file). Arjan's 2.6 notes come in quite handy.
If you're testing Core 2 test1, and think something was missed, please do not hesitate to e-mail me.


In Issue #6, we talked about hard disk surface checks. Craig Ringer decided to bring us to the attention of smartmontools. These tools allow you to use SMART for disk diagnostics, and work wonderfully on modern disk drives. He writes:

Using SMART you can do things like tell your disk to perform self-tests,

track the rate at which your disk remaps bad sectors, monitor your disk
temperature, and examine a large number of other vital statistics. You
can also set smartd to periodically ask your disk whether it thinks it
might fail soon - and send an email alert if it ever reports it's self
to be in a pre-fail state.

smartmontools works on IDE/ATA/SATA disks, SCSI disks, and even some
tape drives. I personally use it to monitor SATA disks attached via a
3ware SATA RAID controller with a SCSI-layer driver - it's pretty

A thought on using Bonnie++ to thrash the disk has also been mentioned.



A major update to apt has been made in fedora.us stable - reading Panu Matilainen's notes are significantly important.


While Fedora doesn't come with elm as a mail reader (as mutt is preferred), Bill Pemberton has uploaded RPMs, and they're available for Fedora Core 1 at ftp://ftp.virginia.edu/pub/elm/RPMS.


Debian users will be familiar with this, as it allows the building of ISOs on the fly. Charles Anderson points us to http://bugzilla.fedora.us/show_bug.cgi?id=1252, where Jigdo can be QA'ed.

CAD/CAM packages

A wealth of information is available at http://www.tech-edv.co.at/lunix/UTILlinks.html, while Gerardo recommends VariCAD. Finally Doug Lane points us to a larger list of software in the CAD market at http://www.upfrontezine.com/Linux/?CADINFONETreferral.


Wanting to run Quake on Fedora Core? Ben Stringer recommends sdlquake, while Marc Deslauriers recommends QuakeForge (but encourages the CVS version, otherwise saved games will not work), and Donald Correll points that Quake 3 was ported by Loki Software, and trying sites like eBay might render you lucky.

FreeS/WAN (IPsec) support for 2.4 kernels

Dag has another kernel-module package available for FreeS/WAN support, with more information at http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-list/2004-February/msg04298.html.

Cyrus IMAP

RPMs for the Cyrus IMAP daemon are provided by Simon Matter at http://www.invoca.ch/pub/packages/cyrus-imapd/.

Statistical packages

The Globe Trotter points us to R, which is similar to Splus. Know of other useful packages?

Thank you for reading this issue of Fedora News Updates. Think there's some news snippet you'd like to contribute to Fedora News Updates? Send e-mail to colin@fedoranews.org.

This issue of Fedora News Updates brought to you by Colin Charles.