Montag, 17. April 2023

How would you change Fedora, if you became its supreme leader

TLDR: If some magic wizard would make me Fedora's supreme ruler, I'd morph the release model into one similar to that of Firefox or the Linux kernel. I'd also dramatically increase relations to RPM Fusion, so that we together can finally make things easy and robust that Fedora itself can't or doesn't want to provide. And of course: immutable operating systems FTW!

A thought experiment

Nearly 20 years ago I became interested in contributing to what just a few months later morphed into the Fedora Project. These became my first steps as an Open Source contributor. Despite this I managed to become a teeny tiny bit known in the Fedora world and might even have influenced a little. My focus after some years shifted to the Linux kernel, but Fedora is still dear to my heart. Its upcoming anniversary hence made me wonder multiple times:

Would a modern version of my younger self start contributing to Fedora?

My brain always comes to a conclusion along these lines:

That's highly unlikely, because today's Fedora Linux is kinda uncool and somewhat oldish!

Funnily enough at the same time something in my head yells: "Some of what makes Fedora Linux uncool and oldish is what helps making it so great! And you for sure don't want it to become yet another rolling release distro similar to 'cool' distros like Arch Linux and Tumbleweed!". Which lead me to a thought experiment of megalomania this blog post is about:

If I could dictate how Fedora Linux operates, what would I change to make it cool again while ensuring its stays great?

What Thorsten as Fedora's ultimate leader would aim for

Well, here are the two things that would be at the top of my todo list:

1. Switch to a more modern release model that better suites these times and serves mainly two goals:

 a) Have a quick release pace with two distro streams. The first stream would target users that want fresh software relatively quickly, but don't want a rolling release distro. The second stream would target users which prefer software that (1) whenever possible went through a proper field test in Fedora's first stream and (2) withholds major changes whenever possible to one "jump" release per year.

 b) Make Fedora's devel streams help upstream software developers a lot more forging their future versions into shape: with more cooperation in this place we'll help each other tremendously and thus make FLOSS itself better.

2. Broadly increase the cooperation with external projects to make things (a) simple and (b) robust that many users want to do, but Fedora can not (for legal reasons) or does not want to (like software that is not FLOSS) provide.

So how to actually do this? Well, that requires separate sections to explain.

A modern release model

Every few weeks a new release with new features and once a year one version becomes the base for a new LTS series that quickly supersedes the previous one – that's a modern development scheme that among others was made popular by Firefox.

I would make Fedora Linux follow that model on a distro level: it better suits the times, is more attractive, and has benefits for stabilizing the distro and the software it contains.

I already hear some of your yelling "this will lead to unreliable releases", "it requires too much resources", "this will never work", and many similar things. But people yelled such things when the Linux kernel and Firefox switched to this model, too. Now look at them: the quick pace with small steps turned out to be great for both users and developers. That's why I would make Fedora follow a similar scheme.

How? Well, like this:

* Morph the current Fedora Linux into a "Fedora Deft Linux" (alternatively "Fedora Agile" – or maybe just continue calling it "Fedora Linux"). It would be similar to the Fedora Linux releases we have now, just with a much quicker release pace of *four* weeks. Each release immediately would immediately replace the previous one and rolled out like any other update -- just like Firefox 111 becomes EOL and is replaced by Firefox 112 when the latter is launched.

* Create a "Fedora Steady" (or "Fedora Linux Longterm") that follows the same release pace (just like Firefox ESR follows the same pace as Firefox). It normally would only bring new software versions that already have proven themselves at least one cycle in "Fedora Deft". Base software like anaconda, compilers and toolchains would only be updated once a year in a coordinated "jump release", where they are mass-synced/merged from a Fedora Deft release where they have proven themselves. The approach is similar to Firefox ESR and Linux longterm kernels. This stream would be the de facto successor for the "Fedora Linux <current version -1>" release (e.g. Fedora Linux 36 now and soon F37 once F38 is out).

Yes, this will require package maintainers to meddle sometimes, as we deal with thousands of upstreams that work at different paces and release schedules – and for some upstreams switching to a new release is the best or only sane way to address security issues. But the quick release pace would make this easier. And we deal with these sorts of problems in today's Fedora every day already, hence that meddling would not be much different in a "two Fedora streams" scheme.

 The new approach allows one crucial thing we don't do currently: properly field-test a new version (say when the Linux kernel jumps from the 6.1.y. to 6.2.y series) in one stream first (e.g. Deft) before users that fear unstable software get it as an update (e.g.Steady). That being said, there is one additional thing it'd do to reduce the friction between goal and reality:

 * When upstream maintain regular and longterm branches (e.g. Firefox vs Firefox ESR; Linux stable kernel vs longterm kernel; KDE regular vs KDE LTS; …), give users the option to choose which of they they want to use. Hence ship both of them in Deft and Steady; Deft by default would use the normal branch, Steady the longterm branch.

Both Deft and Steady of course would need updates-testing channels, just like the two current Fedora releases have one. Normally only security updates should come through here to the users, everything else should wait till the next release – no big deal, it's at max just 4 weeks away. But if upstream mixes security fixes and new features in new releases, they are fine as regular update first in Deft and a few days or a week later in Steady as well, as long as packagers ensured they got some testing in Fedora's devel streams beforehand – ideally while those releases were still in beta. Which brings me to another aspect:

New Fedora Deft releases of course would need to be prepared somewhere. This would be done in two addition development streams:

* "Fedora Devel" would be the successor for Rawhide and regularly ship the latest versions -- and for somewhat reliable upstreams also pre-releases of software that is expected before the overnext Deft release. That for example would include Firefox Beta (which Fedora currently does not ship in Rawhide) or pre-releases of the next mainline kernel. But only when that software is meant to be stable enough for users that don't mind pre-releases or snapshots in beta quality – hence don't ship Firefox Nightly or Linux kernel merge window snapshots (which Rawhide currently ships) here .

 * A "Fedora Pioneer" stream at the start of a new Fedora Deft devel cycle would simply incorporate any changes from Fedora Devel, unless there are strong reasons to avoid some update. Then stabilize the upcoming stream over the following weeks until the next Fedora Deft is released. It's thus like a beta, but I would avoid that term, as it's too scary.

 This scheme would help upstream getting their software into shape for their next release, which benefits both Fedora and the whole world of FLOSS. To avoid big problems, normalize epochs: if a new upstream version turns out to be problematic, just revert to the older version and delay the switch to the newer upstream version by one Deft cycle, which is only four weeks away – no big deal.

A new beta version of a software packaged in Fedora thus would go to Fedora devel; if it's considered good enough it at the start of the next cycle could move to Fedora Pioneer, where first the beta and later the final is tested and polished over the course of four weeks. From there the version would move to Fedora Deft, where it would be for four more weeks; this version or a later version would go to Fedora Steady, either right at that point or in Steady's yearly "jump release".

New versions of upstream software thus would reach Deft users within about four to eight weeks; everybody that wants it quicker would have to use Fedora Pioneer.

Make things simple and robust that Fedora does not provide

Most users want their operating system to "just work": they don't care much if something requires patent encumbered software or proprietary drivers. And they don't care if it's Fedora or somebody else's fault, if something they want to do is hard to realize or breaks frequently on updates. They will simply switch to another Linux distribution that works better for them – and of course will never forget their bad experience with Fedora.

That's why installing and using patent encumbered software or proprietary drivers needs to be easy and robust in Fedora for the latter to be successful.

Those things currently are not easy and robust. The root of the problem is Fedora's stance on patent encumbered software and its tight focus on FLOSS. I'd definitely *not* change this, as it's right to draw these two lines. I'd do something else:

I'd made Fedora cooperate more with external projects that provide solutions for the things that Fedora can't or doesn't want to support. Flatpak, Flathub, and Fedora's support for them already became quite good and is even getting better with Fedora 38. Hence it's mainly the interaction between the Fedora Project and RPM Fusion that I'd improve to make Fedora Linux better and more attractive. 

 This is what I'd do:

- Make enabling RPM Fusion free or non-free something that users can do in just one step – ideally one that doesn't require a command line at all, but a "curl | sudo bash" is fine, if anything else is impossible for legal reasons.

- When above "one step install" is performed, automatically switch over all installed packages to their non-encumbered versions from RPM Fusion (e.g. uninstall Fedora's ffmpeg-free and install ffmpeg – either directly or in an overlay on ostree-based Fedora variants). Additionally install additional software that would be in Fedora's default install if that was possible (possible candidates would be video players like Celluloid for Fedora Workstation or Vlc for the Fedora KDE Plasma Desktop Edition). Ideally it's something in dnf and rpm-ostree that would handle this, due to the related aspect raised in the next point.

- If some software is available in both Fedora and RPM Fusion, make dnf/rpmos-tree install the packages from the latter by default when the user installs them – e.g. when the user runs "dnf install audacity" a week after installing Fedora and enabling RPM Fusion, he should by default get audacity-freeworld from there and *not* the audacity package from Fedora. In similar scope, install typically used add-ons from RPM Fusion by default on package installation – e.g. when user runs "dnf install qmmp" dnf should automatically install qmmp-plugins-freeworld from RPM Fusion to complement Fedora's qmmp package.

- Better ensure that updates on the Fedora side don't break something for users that have related packages from RPM Fusion installed. For example ensure that a mesa update does not cause trouble for users that have mesa-va-driver-freeworld installed (something that recently happened every a few times with to good solution in sight).

- I'd make using Nvidia's graphics drivers more robust. Things got better in recent years, but there is still quite a bit of room for improvement. Shipping the latest longterm kernel as an option in Fedora (see the section about Fedora Deft and Steady above) would help here and allow users to avoid occasional breakage due to new Linux mainline releases only Nvidia can fix. But there is more that can be done – for example automatic fallback to nouveau if Nvidia's driver doesn't work (while telling users about it once the system booted so they can take action). Also: "akmods are fragile; it's a really ugly hack only meant for corner cases – e.g. users of rawhide or people that don't use Fedora's kernel" (these are the words of the original akmod author). Avoid the risks by shipping pre-compiled kernel-modules, which is very hard or impossible to do currently (side note: maybe Nvidia's new open source kernel driver will obsolete that problem, so maybe it's not worth spending too much time on – not sure).

 - Related: when the user chose to use RPM Fusion non-free on a system with a nvidia gpu, make the install magic described in the first two points above also install Nvidia's driver -- but only semi-automatically, after telling the user about the risks of such drivers and showing them the drivers EULA. And it should likely suggest switching to the latest longterm kernel, too.

Obviously some of the work to realize this needs to be done on the Fedora side, some in RPM Fusion. But the Fedora Project needs to drive all these changes (or at least guide them) whenever legally possible, as if we like it or not: Fedora needs RPM Fusion (or something like it) to be appealing for many users. That's why doing this is even in the interest of Fedora's main sponsor, as it will ensure Fedora is relevant in the market and attracts a strong user base – which is needed for Fedora to fulfill the goal the main sponsor created Fedora for in the first place.

Closing words and more thoughts

Disclaimer: I know that this is not a good sales pitch; if I had wanted to make it one, I'd have asked others for feedback on the idea and this text before publishing this post. Maybe I should have done it. But I'm not that well known in the Fedora world any more, hence I guess this post won't have much of an impact anyway – and writing things down already took way more time than I wanted it to. At least it finally cleared my head, as the idea to write a blog post like this was circulating in my brain for a year or two already; the upcoming Fedora anniversary finally motivated me to sit down and type it in...

Believe it or not, there are quite a few other things on my mind that I wanted to write about, too. But doing that properly would have required even more time; and they are not as important to me as the two topics I wrote about above. But for completeness, here in very short form is what "Thorsten, the imagined Fedora despot" also would do:

- ensure continued or even intensified investment in the immutable concept (e.g. Silverblue, Toolbox, et al.)

- ensure continued or even intensified investment in supporting Flatpak and Flathub

- talk to other distros to make packaging easier for all of us: a lot of man-power is wasted because packagers on various distros do the same thing over and over again without much peer coordination

- ensure continued investment in making package building possible straight from git repositories

- increase coordination with other distros and upstreams to better handle and coordinate bug tracking – ideally by convincing upstreams to have downstream bug reports, so that users of say Debian, Fedora, or openSUSE will easily find reports a problem an Arch Linux user filed that happens on all distros

- tone down the "package ownership" thing a bit and make package a bit more a wikipedia style

- discourage patching upstream software in Fedora even more, to ensure packagers submit their changes upstream, unless there are very strong reason to carry a patch in Fedora

Ohh boy. This became quite a blog post. Sorry. Never meant to be that long, but I guess I nevertheless even forgot a thing or two. Remember: This was written by someone that is not much active in the Fedora world these days – and all just a "What would I do as supreme ruler" thought experiment of megalomania. But even as a supreme ruler I'd not immediately set out and realize my ideas – I'd first discuss and fine-tune them together with stakeholders and the community.


P.S.: feel free to add comments about this idea to my fediverse posting about this text.

Montag, 4. Januar 2021

Package names can be false friends, too, as (linux|kernel)-headers show

TLDR: The `kernel-headers` packages in Fedora, RHEL, or CentOS do not carry the files you get by installing `linux-headers-$(uname -r)` on Debian based distros. If you want to build add-on modules for the kernels in Fedora, RHEL, or CentOS, you need to install `kernel-devel` instead. Fun fact: I consider both approaches to package naming flawed.

False friends

Packages in different, unrelated distros sometimes have similar names, but  nevertheless contain something entirely different. People that don't keep this in mind are sometimes going to have a bad time. 

There is one area where this afaics causes trouble quite often: when building add-on modules for your distro's kernel. On Debian or Ubuntu quite a few people learned: before starting the compiler, one has to install additional files by running a command like `apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)`. That's why it's easy to assume the `kernel-headers` package fulfils the same job in Fedora, RHEL, or CentOS. But it's a wrong assumption and will lead to failure, because `kernel-headers` packages in the RH-universe contains something totally different.

The two package names are thus something like 'false friends': they look or sound similar, but differ significantly in meaning.

You actually need to install a package called `kernel-devel` to build add-on modules for the kernel from Fedora, RHEL, or CentOS . They also ship a `kernel-headers` package, but don't bother with it, it's not directly needed.

Neither package name is fully accurate

You now might wonder, which of the two approaches in naming is corrent: `linux-headers-foo` or `kernel-devel`? The short answer from my point of view: neither, as both names are a bit off.

To understand why, let's take a closer look at the Linux kernel – that what is being packaged here and thus should be a strong indicator of what's right or wrong. When looking at the sources you'll actually find something that is relevant in this context: a make target called `headers_install`. The help text describes it as 'Install sanitised kernel headers to INSTALL_HDR_PATH'.

That doesn't tell much, so people familiar with `linux-headers` packages might quickly jump to conclusions like 'that will install the files needed for building add-on modules'. But that not the case, as the files installed by this target are something entirely different: the ```kernel headers for use by userspace```. They ```[…] describe the API for user space programs attempting to use kernel services. These kernel header files are used by the system’s C library (such as glibc or uClibc) to define available system calls, as well as constants and structures to be used with these system calls. […]```.

Those quotes are from the Linux kernel documentation. To read them in full context head over to `Documentation/kbuild/headers_install.rst` in the Linux sources or to its rendered version on

The files installed by `make headers_install` are not really relevant when it comes to building kernel modules, but crucial in a totally different situation: when building your system's C library. That's why 'Linux from Scratch (LFS)' installs them right before compiling the GNU C Library (glibc).

The Debian-universe ships the files installed by `make headers_install` in a package called `linux-libc-dev`. The RH-universe on the other hand ships them in a package called `kernel-headers`.

Missing link

So if `make headers_install` does not install the files needed for building add-on modules, what make target will install them? Thing is: the Linux kernel does not offer a make target to do just that. It never has.

The concept of shipping all the files for building add-on modules originated in the distro world somewhere. I don't known when and where exactly. I first saw it in Fedora in its early days (2003? 2004?), when Arjan van de Veen was maintaining the Fedora kernel (IIRC). He simply made the RPM install section collect the files needed for building modules and shipped them in a new sub-package of the kernel package. The latter was and still is shipped in a package called `kernel` and the sub-package got the name `kernel-devel`. That's why you need to install this package when you want to build add-on modules.

That approach followed a familiar pattern in the RH-universe, where development files are always in '-devel' sub-packages. It's thus totally normal for users to install `foo-devel` if they want to build something for or on top of a software shipped in a package named `foo`. It's not that different from the Debian-universe, which uses '-dev' instead.

Choice of names

Other distros also started packaging the files to build add-on kernel modules, but chose other names for the sub-package. The Debian-universe, which ships the Linux kernel in a package called `linux`, settled on packages with the prefix `linux-headers`. I don't known how it came to this or if `linux-dev` was even considered.

Is 'headers' an appropriate suffix, even if `make headers_install` installs something different? 

Decide yourself. In Fedora 33 the kernel-devel package currently contains about 16.500 files. About 12.000 of them indeed are header files (their file names end with '.h'). Then there are a bit more than 4100 files called `Makefile` or `Kconfig`, which are needed for configuration and building. Then there are about 80 files containing C code and about 250 other files: some scripts (perl, python, coccinelle), more Kbuild stuff and a few other things. 

In other words: there is a bit more than headers in there, but they dominate. Nevertheless I still think it wasn't the best idea to use `linux-headers` as prefix. That's mainly for two reasons: (1) a 'linux-dev' prefix would have been more in line with the approach used by other packages in the Debian-universe; (2) it's confusing users, as the kernel installs something different when running `make headers_install`. 

But to be fair on the second point here: I did not dig down into the history books, but I strongly suspect the prefix `linux-headers` was chosen and established before `make headers_install` was introduced; that was in September 2006 with Linux 2.6.18.

But in the end it doesn't matter if I find the term appropriate or not: in the Debian-universe the term `linux-headers` and the purpose of these packages is well established these days. Changing it is likely not worth the trouble. People just need to be made aware they need to install `kernel-devel` on Fedora, RHEL, and CentOS when they would install `linux-headers-$(uname -r)` on Debian, Ubuntu or distros based on them.

xkcd/Randall Munroe, CC BY-NC 2.5

Bonus feature: Fedora is wrong, too

Earlier I mentioned that I consider both `linux-headers` and `kernel-devel` flawed, but only explained what's wrong with the former. Well, it's a bit nitpicking, but the problem with the package name used in the RH-universe is on the other side of the dash. Nobody in the RH-universe would put Firefox in a package `browser` or LibreOffice in a package called `officesuite`. But somehow a kernel named 'Linux' was put in a package called `kernel`.

But whatever, fixing this would likely also create more trouble then it's worth. And it's only going to become a problem if Fedora ever decides to ship other kernels (like GNU Hurd or the FreeBSD kernel) in parallel to Linux (like Debian GNU/kfreeBSD).

Appendix A: Older headers are totally fine

Fun fact: the packages `linux-libc-dev` or `kernel-headers` mentioned above (those that contain the files that `make headers_install` installs) sometimes look outdated in Linux distributions, as they sometimes stay on a older version while way newer kernels with higher version numbers get installed while updating the system. Don't worry about it, as there is a reason for this. It's actually explained in the kernel documentation file referred to above:

```Kernel headers are backwards compatible, but not forwards compatible. This means that a program built against a C library using older kernel headers should run on a newer kernel (although it may not have access to new features), but a program built against newer kernel headers may not work on an older kernel.```.

In other words: don't update `linux-libc-dev` or `kernel-headers` if you want to ensure code you compile works on older Linux kernel versions. That for example might be the kernel found on and installed by the installation ISO, which people will use before they update their systems (which some users never do). But don't worry too much about this aspect, for most software that won't matter anyway.

Appendix B: Why did nobody upstream the concept behind `linux-headers`/`kernel-devel`?

Still reading? Seems like you are really curios! Good, because I got something more for you.

I explained `make headers_install` above and mentioned the Linux kernel has no make target to install the files that are shipped in packages like `linux-headers` and `kernel-devel`. I don't known why such a make target is missing upstream, but I suspect it's the usual: nobody set down to clean one approach up and submit it upstream (apart from that approach used by the `make bindeb-pkg` target).

But it's IMHO clearly something that would be useful to have upstream: all big distro have packages like that and create it manually, which is error prone; having such a make target upstream would also be handy for people that compile and install their kernel locally, too.

I more than once considered upstreaming this functionally, but never found the time to do so. Or, to be more precise: I never found the motivation(™). ;-)

For the foreseeable future that won't change. I hope someone else will pick this task up. How about you? I guess it would be a good learning exercise and shouldn't be too hard. Looks to me like you might not even have to know C to implement this! Knowing a bit or two about Makefiles might come in handy, but I guess even that is not needed for someone really motivated!

Closing words: If you spot anything here that you consider false or misleading please let me know; especially when it is in one of those sections about the Debian-universe and its packaging, because that's not really my area of expertise. I'm happy to update this text to fix mistakes or provide additional details if they are important to know in this context.

Dienstag, 23. Juni 2020

kcbench, the Linux kernel compile benchmark, version 0.9.0 is out

Hello, is this thing still on? Looks like I have not blogged here in nearly 10 years. Uhhps. But today there is a reason to write something again:

I released kcbench 0.9.0. Kcbench is a simple Linux kernel compile benchmark that downloads the Linux sources and measures the time it takes to build the kernel. This is how it looks:

One can use the benchmark to compare different machines, just make sure they use a similar compiler. Kcbench can perform stress tests, too. It's also useful to find the optimal number of jobs for compiling source code, as 'just use all cores' sometimes is not the fastest setting.

For example, on a AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X (64 cores/128 threads) a lot of people will expect compiling with 128 jobs (`make -j 128`) will be fastest. But while testing kcbench on a such a processor it turned out that at least the testes machine built a Linux kernel quite a bit faster with only 64 jobs (and thus utilizing only the real cores):

There was no time for a closer inspection, but it looks like memory and its caches might have been a bottleneck that lead to this. It was different on a AMD EPYC 7742 (128 cores/256 threads), as using 256 jobs there lead to the best result:
For more about kcbench see the project page at gitlab, the README and the man-pages for kcbench and kcbenchrate. The rate variant is one of the big new enhancements in the new version. Instead of compiling one kernel really fast kcbenchrate compiles one kernel on each CPU to measure the rate and keep the all cores busy all the time. See the man-pages for a more detailed explanation of the approaches the two use. Cross-compilation is supported now, too. To learn about all the other improvements in kcbench v0.9.0 see its release page.

The new kcbench including kcbenchrate is in Fedora Rawhide. It's also in updates-testing for Fedora 31 and Fedora 32 currently and will be moved to the proper updates repositories in a few days.

Samstag, 16. Juli 2011

Why I'm not posting much on Google+ – or – My big problem with Google+

The "tldr"-version: Google+ has lots of nice things, but in its current state it does not look like a solution that could replace twitter (and for me at all. In fact I'd need something like tags or topic-streams (that people could select when adding me to their circles) for my messages before I'd feel more comfortable to write public posts on G+ more that occasional.

The detailed version: It seems the people that added me to their circles mainly know me from one of four aspects of my life:
  1. my work for and c't
  2. English translations of that work published on "The H"
  3. my contributions to Fedora
  4. this strange thing called real-life (good 3D effects!)
Sending out just one public information stream to those people afaics would only make very few of them happy; I'd feel like spamming them with crap they are clearly not interested in.

Among the reasons for that view are simple language problems: I was born and live in Germany and speak German most of the time – but I know lots of people from the US, the UK and other countries and most of them do not know more that five German words. Many of them added me to their circles nevertheless; I'm also in a lot of circles where I don't know the people at all; hence I don't know their interest in me or their language preferences. I could avoid annoying them with German posts by writing in English all the time when doing public posts – but that's a crappy workaround (one I suppose might annoy some of my German friends over time) and not a real solution for the underlying problem.

Yes, you are of course right, that is a problem on Twitter as well. But I solved that easily by using multiple accounts right from the start, which is not easy with G+. Using three accounts also mostly circumvents the problem I indicated in the beginning: Different people are interested in different things and only they can decide what they are interested in.

Here is how I do it with twitter:
  • My main account is @thleemhuis. Just like everybody else I use it to tweet things from my real life (including work). Most of the tweets are German, some are English; almost all of the followers are from Germany or understand German afaics
  • I use @kernellogauthor to tweet about things in the Linux kernel area I stumble upon; it is a kind of bonus and an additional communication channel for readers of my Kernel-Log (DE, EN). Almost all tweets are English (I assume most Germans that read the Kernel Log know English well enough) and kernel related. It has 266 subscribers (some more on and only a handful of them follow @thleemhuis as well
  • Many English speaking people also know me from all the contributions I did to Fedora in the past few years (I'm mostly inactive in that area right now); I follow them via @knurd666 and provide them with a English tweet there now and then; only a handful of them follow @thleemhuis or @kernellogauthor
IOW: I have three kinds of followers (something like 500 on twitter in total and 200 more on that seems to be interested in stuff I do, but there are only very few people (I assume less than 5) that follow all three accounts; and yes, I occasionally mention the different accounts on each other, so it's not a secret I use multiple accounts...

I'd really like to feed them with information from my life or work via Google+, too, but I can not see how to do that efficiently, because right now I have to know that people are interested in; on twitter those that follow me can decide on their own. That's why G+ seems so alien and wrong to me. Something like predefined tags, streams or "outgoing circles" people could select when they add me could help. But maybe that's to complicated; and maybe my situation is special and shows a problem other do not encounter.

P.S.: Yes, maybe I'm thinking to much as someone that wants to maximize the group of people he can reach
-- maybe that has something to do with my day ob ;-)

Donnerstag, 30. September 2010

New Intel graphics drivers released

The Fedora developers among you will be aware: there is a Fedora Test Day with a focus on the Intel graphics card driver today (Thursday the 30th). The driver that is being tested afaics is xorg-x11-drv-intel (also known as xf86-video-intel) version 2.12.0, release 6.fc14 -- the latest F14 build as of today.

Oh, and something else happened today: After three months of development Carl Worth released a xf86-video-intel version 2.13.0. Quoting the release announcement: "[...] With the many bug fixes in this release, we encourage everyone using 2.12 to upgrade to 2.13. [...]"

So people that participate in the testing today might run into bugs that that are fixed in 2.13 or in its pre-release already. But what is even worse from my point of view: With the new and recently ratified Fedora updates policy it seems unlikely to me that Fedora 14 will update to 2.13 ever (note: unlikely still means it's possible!).

My head simply fails to understand why that is the right thing to do in this and similar cases. Even worse: lot's of other distributions have similar policies, so it's take months or years till the fixes the Intel developers worked out in the past three months make their way to regular end users.

Samstag, 5. Juni 2010

Visiting LinuxTag and Red Hat Summit 2010

Blog entry for my fellow readers that visit LinuxTag (next week) or Red Hat Summit/JBoss World 2010 (starting in two and a half weeks from now):
  • I'm in Berlin for LinuxTag next Saturday (on my own efforts).
  • I'm in Boston for the whole Summit to report about it for my employer.
So if you want to meet me in real life simply look out for me or sent a mail to arrange a meeting.

BTW, looks like I might stay in Boston till Sunday afternoon, so I will have some free time once the Summit is over and all work done. Please let me know if you have any good suggestion how to best spent that time it in Boston! tia!

Mittwoch, 11. November 2009

What questions would you like to ask the Candidates for the Fedora Board, FESCo, and FAMSCO?

As you may have heard already, several seats of the Fedora Board, FESCo, and FAMSCO are up for election soon(¹). Right now we are in the nomination period, which will be followed by a "Candidate Questionnaire." That means we'll give candidates a list of questions to answer by private mail within one week after the nomination period closed; the results will be publish soon after that to make sure they are available to the public before the Town Hall meetings on IRC happen.

Candidates may choose to answer (or not) those questions as they see fit. Voters can use the answers to get an impression of what the candidate think or plan to do while serving for the committees they are nominated for. That should help to get a interesting discussion running during the IRC Town Hall meetings; furthermore, those people that can't or don't want to participate in the IRC meetings can use the answers to make a more informed vote.

Hence we need to prepare a few good questions that we can send to the candidates once the nomination period ends. And that's where I need *your help* now:

If you have one or more questions you'd like to send to the candidates simply go and add them to:

It just takes a minute or two, so best to do it right now -- otherwise you might get distracted and forget about it. ;-)

I'll take care of the remaining work to review, sort, and clean up the questions(²); after that I'll send them to the candidates soon after the nomination period ended. Hence, I need your question suggestions by around the 15th November 17:00 UTC latest to get a chance to prepare everything in time.

So please go to the wiki now and add at least one hard question! The answers will help Fedora contributors to chose whom to vote for! Thanks in advance for your help .


(¹) If you haven't read about it yet see for details.

(²) If you want to get involved or review the questions before I send them please drop me a line and I'll try to get that arranged; maybe we can arrange a quick, informal IRC meeting on Sunday evening if there is interest

P.S.: This blog post is mainly meant to get spread via ;-)