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Fedora News Updates #4

by Colin Charles

For the week of: Wednesday, January 28th 2004

Available at: http://fedoranews.org/colin/fnu/week4.shtml

Welcome to the fourth issue of Fedora News Updates, the weekly (or bi-weekly) newsletter for the Fedora community. We aim to release this often and can do so with the help of the community. It should contain user information as well as some useful developer discussions that will shape the outcome of Fedora.

Fedora gets a new leader!

Michael K. Johnson, the Fedora Project technical leader, resigned from his position on January 23 2004. Cristian Gafton takes the position of being the new technical leader. He posted a well-received "Introduction of the new cheerleader" message.

Fedora Bug Day

Heads up, Jef Spaleta is organizing a bug day on the 28th of January 2004. All are welcome to participate, and I'm sure statistics as to how successful the bug day goes will be released in the next Fedora News Updates.

It should also be noted, that in the past week, a new list has been created: the fedora-triage-list. The list is meant for the Fedora community members to discuss Bugzilla triage issues. Efforts have been made to introduce the aims of the fedora-triage-list, as well as state the visions and goals of triaging. So if you're interested in making a better Fedora, start getting those bugs tested, verified, and fixed!


In the first round of a "call for hacks", Bill Nottingham has asked for volunteers to help get the update announcements an RSS feed. Ivan Leong came up with a Perl based semi-solution, but submissions are still open.

Getting past some terminology

Time and again, people would like to know what nptl stands for? Or even what exec-shield really is. Well, in the past week, there have been some really good answers to common terminology questions, with some excellent links provided.

Fedora Legacy documentation

Jonas Pasche has been writing up FAQs, end-user upgrade documentation as well as packaging guidelines for those involved in the Fedora Legacy project. The end-user upgrade documentation is currently ready for Red Hat 7.x, and documentation for Red Hat 8.0 is being created.

Jesse Keating shows us how to mirror the Fedora Legacy RPMs with the usage of lftp at http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-legacy-list/2004-January/msg00563.html (he also has a write-up on more lftp tricks).

SMBFS and OSS disabled

Well, not just yet, but Dave Jones has disabled SMBFS, as CIFS is preferred and better maintained by the upstream kernel maintainers. This does not have any effect on Samba, and will be seen when Kernel 2.6 gets rolled out in Fedora Core 2 (so if you're tracking Rawhide now, you'll notice the difference). Mounting CIFS styled mount-points is similar to mounting smbfs types; just by replacing it with cifs.

It's time to start testing out ALSA drivers, as the OSS drivers will not be shipped with Fedora Core 2. This is to enable a transition
to using ALSA.

FC2 XFree86 plans

Mike Harris, the Red Hat/Fedora XFree86 maintainer, has posted his XFree86 plans, as well as some thoughts on XFree86 4.4.0, in his excellent FAQ. There is even thought of getting the new VIA DRI drivers (written by Alan Cox) working, so that 3D acceleration will work.

Fedora Core 2 Test 1 delays

Elliot Lee, has mentioned that Test 1 for FC2 will be delayed by at least a day, or maybe a few more, as they are sorting things out with SELinux, the kernel, and a few other bits. If people are testing out Rawhide, and find some critical bugs that are show stoppers (i.e. it prevents installing a basically functional system), please make it clear on Bugzilla or start posting to the fedora-devel-list.

LinuxWorld Fedora BOF writeup

Jack Aboutboul organized the Fedora BOF Session at LinuxWorld New York, and he was kind enough to provide a write-up. Leam, on the fedora-list, also provided a write-up available at http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-list/2004-January/msg04955.html.

On Wednesday, January 21st at 5:30PM, after hours at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in New York City, some members of the Fedora Community met up for a Birds of a Feather session. The event was attended by both developers and users alike, with the great Mr. Michael Tiemann, CTO of Red Hat, gracing the session with his presence. The event was kindly catered by a community members with Krispy Kreme doughnuts and various drinks. Many topics were discussed and overall a great time was had by all.

The first topic to be discussed, to the dismay of many attending, was about trademark issues and Red Hat's intentions as far as the Fedora name was concerned. The questions were quickly quashed by non other than Mr. Tiemann himself as he allayed everyone's fears. Mr. Tiemann assured everyone that Red Hat has a real vested interest in seeing Fedora succeed and that many people are backing the project.

One of the next topics to come up was about the development road map for the GNOME project as it relates to the Mono framework. Certain community members were concerned about the parts that Mono will play in upcoming GNOME releases. We have already begun to see many GNOME applications being written using Mono and at some point in time, if Mono becomes a big enough part of GNOME, there may possibly be patent issues to worry about. This question was fielded by Havoc Pennington, with the response of "it's a flame war waiting to happen."

The next major topic of discussion, which happened to take up a majority of the time of the session was regarding the willingness of the project to accept outside work by developers. Some of the community developers were eager to find out when and how their contributions would make it in to Fedora. Many were also interested as to when an infrastructure would be set up to facilitate and encourage community development. A number of people on the inside tried their hand at this one, but Tom "Spot" Callaway really ran away with the prize with interesting points about both human and technical infrastructure. Regarding human infrastructure he said "key roles need to be defined, then people need to be put in these roles. It is vital that not all of these people work for Red Hat. There needs to be a clear hierarchy, with checks and balances established to try and ensure a smooth structure. The infrastructure needs to be the core component for major decision/policy making. Basically, these people need to make the hard decisions so that Fedora can move forward. Anyone can suggest policy, but these people need to vote." With regard to technical infrastructure, the ideas that were brought up were the opening of the bugzilla process, a system for package submission and moderation/rating system, better QA policies and ultimately the transformation of fedora.redhat.com into a Fedora Project portal.

In conclusion, the session was filled with food, fun, great debate and most important, the feeling of community. A great time was had by all those who attended and much good came out of the session. We would like to thank the following people for making the session possible and a huge success: Natalie Vercaturen of IDG for allocating the room for the expo. Jeremy Hogan for his continuous support. Mr. Michael Tiemann, for his faith and patience with the project. Havoc Pennington, Brent Fox, Garrett LeSage, Tammy Fox and Tom Callaway. The Linuxquestions.org and LTSP crews. Jack "greendisease" Aboutboul for organizing and catering the session. Last but not least, Red Hat, Inc. for creating such a wonderful project and supporting the community and the spirit of Open Source. See you in San Francisco.


Searching for RPMs? Well, there are two useful sites: Rpmfind.Net and http://rpm.pbone.net/.


Owen Taylor has released Bengali based fonts. Some native users might be used to calling it "Bangla".


There are yum repositories for this version control system, as pointed out by Ron Bickers at http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-list/2004-January/msg05501.html.

Reading PDFs within a browser

Dag Wieers points us to two methods of reading PDF files within a browser.

Audio software

Looking for music typesetting packages? Alexander Dalloz points us to Planet CCRMA, where there are RPM packages as well as custom kernels that are audio optimized.


William Hooper shows us how to use whichcd. This is a shell script and database that allows a user to determine which CD contains a specific package. Get more information at http://sourceforge.net/projects/whichcd/.


Ever needed to uninstall an application that you installed from source tarballs? Steven Ulrick walks us through the process of doing it (as long as the Makefiles have uninstall options in them!). However, Prakash Rao introduces us to CheckInstall, a program that makes an RPM of the install process, so uninstallation is as simple as removing the RPM package!

Nvidia 5336 drivers

New Nvidia drivers now have support for Kernel 2.6 as well. Mark Schwartz points this to us at http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-list/2004-January/msg06140.html.

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 and Jack Aboutboul.