Ressources documentaires pour Mandriva Linux et les Logiciels Libres

As a linux sysadmin I do care about

This testimonial comes after reading a blog post from Albert Astals Cid : Consistency. Indeed I do find useless the debate about UI and buttons consistency ( which is different from buttons order issue ). So here are the point for which I do care as a Linux sysadmin with nearly 75 workstations running Linux, 5 notebook running Linux + Windows, and 7 servers running Linux. As a Linux sysadmin, when :

  • /home on NFS support is not optimal ( sqlite usage, akonadi, digikam database, … ) : I do care
  • when applications have regressions ( printing support, lack of complete POSIX ACL support in NFSv4 ) : I do care
  • when applications are slow or slower under Linux than under Windows ( openoffice, PDF printing with okular vs acroread, Kmail 3 vs Kmail 4 ) : I do care
  • when applications crashes ( plasma ) or are buggy ( system-config-printer ) : i do care
  • when french accentuated characters are not correctly handled : i do care
  • when sound is not working correctly ( pulseaudio, pulseaudio support in phonon, mute mixer entry ) : i do care
  • when setting a wireless connection may be buggy ( unstable drivers ) and the connection is unreliable : i do care
  • when using a video-projector ( for presentations/meetings ) is not evident for the users and easy : i do care

So the UI look & feel is somewhat useless. I just want something that look mostly good, is acceptable, with a good usability. Good wallpapers ? most users just put their childrens photo as desktop background, and put a lot of icons on the desktops. Good theme ? most of the time, they don’t care. Consistency ? they don’t care : they just want to be able to distinguish closed and minimize buttons

The only time my users were impressed by something visual was the « present windows » effects of kwin ( left upper corner ) which shows all windows at once as they find it useful.

Mandriva: Nine Priorities for Mandriva Incoming CEO

As everybody^wnobody know, Hervé YAHI is no longer the CEO of Mandriva. So I decide to rip off an article from The VAR Guy to issue an open letter to the Mandriva direction. So here are 9 priorities for the new Mandriva staff :

  1. A New Community: Sure, Mandriva has a strong open source community. And ??? will should work to strengthen that community, especially when seeing the clashes between Mandriva and its community. Still the new staff needs to strengthen a different type of community — a Mandriva business ecosystem that includes hardware and software partners, service providers, channel partners and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).
  2. Strengthen the Server Story: To date, Mandriva is known mostly as a desktop and mobile operating system, with relatively strong market share in the netbook market. But Mandriva recently launched its Mandriva Enterprise Server 5 and Pulse 2. Meanwhile, ???? offers some support of MES — as do upstarts like ??? and ???.
    But Mandriva needs more server partners… And whenever a noteworthy customer embraces Mandriva Enterprise Server, Mandriva needs to get the word out.
  3. Show CloudCluster/Grid Success or Mobile success: Mandriva has been working closely with grid partners like INRIA and BSC. XtreemOS 2 is available since November. As XtreemOS seems to be a very good Grid solution, maybe the CERN could use XtreemOS instead of Scientific Linux ! Let us see if a research lab is using some Mandriva products …But Mandriva needs to show some tangible examples of Grid/Mobile success. Who’s running MES/XtreemOS/InstantOn/Pulse and how are the deployments performing? Many people will be listening for answers.
  4. Recruit Application Providers: (…) Mandriva Enterprise Server needs more ISV (independent software vendor) support. Is Mandriva Software Partner Manager ???? has been working on the ISV effort ? But real progress will require folks like Oracle, IBM/Lotus, Bull, HP, NEC, and other traditional application providers to fully embrace Mandriva.
  5. Strengthen OEM Relationships: To Mandriva’s credit, ????. HP, Lenovo and other major PC makers haven’t shown much interest in Mandriva. Can a new staff change that? Hmmm…
  6. Compete and Cooperate with Google, Intel: When Google started talking about Chrome OS in greater detail, Mandriva reveals InstantOn. Sweet. At the same time, Mandriva is working on Moblin v2. Impressive.Somehow, Mandriva must both compete and cooperate as Google, Intel and other technology giants size up their own Linux strategies.
  7. Disclose Customer Wins: Which businesses are running Mandriva and which organizations are paying Mandriva/Edge-IT for support? Mandriva needs to brag more about customer victories as they happen.
  8. Related Services: Mandriva is building a range of services and dedicated products to generate more revenue : InstantOn, Pulse 2, Mini, and Edutice. But Mandriva has to stay aggressive with Mini/Pulse 2/InstantOne/Edutice communications and messaging.
  9. Mandriva Partner Program: Is Mandriva working with training centers — such as CESI and SUPINFO — to get more IT managers and resellers up to speed on Mandriva ? We want to hear from solutions providers that are building profitable Mandriva business practices…

No doubt, new staff will have a lot of work. Although it’s difficult to track Mandriva’s financial performance, buzz about Mandriva — particularly on desktop — is slowly growing.

The original articles but concerning new ubuntu CEO is available on the VAR Guy website : Ubuntu: Nine Priorities for Canonical’s Incoming CEO

The point on some Mandriva community projects

There are many communities based Mandriva derivatives, but few of them are known. So here is a ( not comprehensive ) list of some Mandriva based derivatives or projects :

  • One 64 community : 64bits edition of the Mandriva One LiveCD. A KDE edition and GNOME one are available for download.
  • LXDE LiveCD : The german community is releasing a Mandriva based LXDE LiveCD. It can be used also from an USB
  • One XFCE 2010 Live : XFCELive is a XFCE Mandriva-based LiveCD created and maintained by the Mandriva community
  • Skiper’s Xfce 2010 : A fork of the XFCELive Mandriva project. This fork aims at integrating more testing features and
    offering extra customizations with the idea of improving the visual appearance of the environment.
  • MUD Netbook-Edition : a Mandriva based Netbook tailored edition. This edition from the Mandriba german community, based on
    the Mandriva One GNOME edition, features the Ubuntu Netbook UI. This edition can be used as a LiveCD or dumped on an USB key.
  • MUD (MandrivaUser.De) : As you can see, the Mandriva german community ( MUD ) is providing many projects based on the
    Mandriva distribution. They are also providing backported packages for older releases. To add their repositories, you can use SmartUrpmi.
  • Mandriva Community Moblin : A Mandriva-based Moblin edition aiming at improving Moblin integration in Mandriva. Some non-official sources are saying that a futur official Moblin LiveCD may be released by Mandriva. As usual, everything is secret in Mandriva offices : so we will see. Please consult the Changelog to know the pending issues or fixed bugs and enhancements.
  • MIB (Mandriva Italian Backports) : This project from the Mandriva  community provided backported packages for new and older Mandriva releases. Some packages, not even available in Mandriva official repositories, are also available. They do provide some repositories for those willing to install their RPMS.
  • MIB Live KDE 2010.0 : The MIB community is also providing a 64bits version of the Mandriva One KDE : it’s a LiveDVD with packages from Mandriva, PLF and MIB.
  • Mandrivausers Romanian Backports : Another project from the Mandriva romanian community which provide backports and packages for older Mandriva releases.

As you can see there’s many communities project around Mandriva products. Don’t hesitate to test them, review them, and speak about them. It would have been interesting to have a page listing all of theses projects on the Mandriva wiki. A community section or category would have been interesting and useful 🙂

Oh time suspend your flying 2

Some days ago, I talk about the fact that some underlying technologies were changing too fast. I was mostly talking about HAL vs DeviceKit/libudev/… saga. Today I’ve discovered another one : PolicyKit vs polkit. Indeed once upon a time, someone consider that su/sudo/consolhelper mecanisms were not
sufficient. So they introduced a new Policy framework using DBUS and config in some XML files : this was PolicyKit. Most of the time, policyKit comes pre-configured, and so I’m pretty sure that few people know how to use it or customised it. Now it seems that after PolicyKit 0.9, PolicyKit will be replaced by … polkit-1.

I look at the reasons for PolicyKit drop, and franky, whereas I do agree, I still can’t understand why this could not have been avoided before ! Especially
theses ones :

  • make it easier to write backends that reads authorizations from a networked resource (such as a LDAP server)
  • possible to grant authorizations to Unix groups

Sorry, but theses 2 features are for me the most basics ones that you can ask for a policy framework ! Not being able to use Unix group to manage
authorizations, or not providing network based backends is IMHO an error when willing to consider seriously in the enterprise as a workstation environment … Windows does support this since at least … 2000 with the introduction of Active Directory. And even in a Domain Controller, we can do this too with poledit

At least now, we will be able to have the same features than at east Windows NT4 … That’s great !

Oh time suspend your flying

I do remember when less than 2 years ago we had to handle the HAL support in xorg.conf … This was painful as there were several issues :

  • HAL need to be started or else you may end up without mouse and keyboard
  • By default HAL setting up a US keyboard layout ( QWERTY )
  • There was the need to find a way to configure the keyboard layout, and HAL dev was reluctant to put this in the FDI files are users are not supposed to mess up with HAL fdi file
  • We end up putting keyboard layout to another file … /etc/sysconfig/keyboard

Now that everything is stable and most distribution integrate this well … please be aware of the fact that … Xorg will be dropping HAL support in Xorg 1.8. So at the end, Xorg will be using more platform specific code ( libudev, libdevinfo, … ) as neither DeviceKit or udisk will provide the previous HAL functionnality. To ease Xorg configuration, /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d will be also add to Xorg.

I do regret HAL as it was allowing to abstract the device detection and enumeration on Linux, thus allowing application dev to use higher level API instead of having to know low level details. However it’s true that HAL was having performances issues on large system, and many embedded products were not using HAL. I do hope however that this will be the last big change in Linux : there’s a need for a kind of stability in the platform !

Experimental Mandriva Moblin LiveCD

Thomas Lottmann is providing experimental Mandriva-based Moblin LiveCD images. Theses images are provided in order to help testing Mandriva Moblin implementation.

The announce has been done on the Cooker ML. Please note this is a Mandriva community initative. A tracker bug is available on Mandriva bugzilla for thoses willing to track and report bugs during their testings.

Here some links :

happy testing !

Where is Unix spirit ?

Where is Unix spirit ? Since some years, i had the feeling that the Unix spirit was more and more forgotten.
Today I’ve read an interesting article about a new (mis)feature in Fedora : packages installation by unprivileged users . I must admit that I’ve been shocked when I read this : by default all local users can install packages on the system …
Only packages from signed repositories can be installed, but even with this a signed repository is not equal to a secure and a to-be-blindly-trust repository. Indeed, packages in a repository can have security flaws, or some program may even be used for dangerous actions ( wireshark, ettercap, voipong, … ).

Another shock : the reaction of Richard Hugues ( PackageKit maintainer ) which state I don’t particularly care how UNIX has always worked … Even worst, David Zeuthen is completely fine with this kind of behavior !.
For those who don’t know, David Zeuthen is the lead developer of projects like … ConsoleKit, HAL and PolicyKit … Scary …

Another disturbing fact was the fact that PolicyKit was not respecting the FHS concerning the location of its configuration files ( cf RH bug #538615 ). Indeed PolicyKit put some configurations files in /var/lib instead of /etc or /usr/share … It’s interesting to see that PolicyKit dev don’t consider theses files as configuration files, but to solve the PackageKit issue, you need to … edit theses files …

All of this make me feel bad … I have more and more the feeling that the single user computer is more and more prevalent … and Unix philosophy is somewhat forgotten …

Warning to Mandriva cooker NIS users

Today I’ve upgrade my workstation at work to latest Cooker packages. While doing this, the ypbind package have been upgraded to ypbind-1.29.91-1mdv2010.1. Unfortunately this breaks most of my network application. Indeed applications like curl, wget, firefox, epiphany, gftp where all broken. Impossible to install application with urpmi. Even id, the command allowing to retrieve the GID and UID informations for a user was broken. So it seems that for people using NIS authentication, they should avoid installing ypbind-1.29.91-1mdv2010.1 package.A bug report have been opened at Mandriva bugzilla : mdv bug #56029.

For those unfortunate guys, here is the method to fix their systems :

  1. As SSH is working, they can connect to another working/unaffacted computer with SSH.
  2. On this second computer, they should download the ypbind-1.20.5 package from Mandriva 2010.0 repositories
  3. By using scp, they will be able to retrieve back the package on the affected computer
  4. Then they will be able to install the package like this : [bash light= »1″]rpm -Uvh –force ypbind-1.20.5-2mdv2010.0.i586.rpm[/bash]
  5. To avoid further ypbind update, they should add ypbind to /etc/urpmi/skip.list until the issue is fixed : [bash light= »1″]echo "ypbind" >> /etc/urpmi/skip.list[/bash]

When Intel communicate about its geek side

I’ve just found these last Intel commercials. They are very funny, and have a very … geek-like sense of humor. Here they are. For me, the last one is the best : very geek !

First on Distrowatch for the last 7 days

I couldn’t resist once I learn it on Facebook after a wall post by Blino : Mandriva is ranked at first position on Distrowatch for the last 7 days. This is awesome !

So congratulation to all the Mandriva team and community for this Mandriva 2010 release. Mandriva did a great job on this release, and I’m really happy by the job done by Mandriva on the Mandriva 2010 Visual Tour : they did do the screenshot, and more important, provide videos to introduce the features of Mandriva. Great job !

For those willing to see the different videos, here they are :


My Tweets