Thoughts on the Alpha

Technical thoughts:

I installed goddard on my eeepc 900 and have some issues. Right after the first boot gnote crashed and activated the Automatic Bug Reporting Tool (ABRT). So I lol’d and started getting my WPA key put in so that I could report it. Only one problem. The ABRT window is bigger than my screen size, it cuts off just above where you can attach files. So I have no way of easily reporting the gnote bug.

If that wasn’t enough I can’t update it because of a discrepancy in Open Office core versions, and for some reason yum upgrade –skip-broken isnt working, nor is trying to let the GUI update tool handle it.

Non-Technical Thoughts:

I was almost pissed yesterday when I saw the “official” shortened urls for linking to the Alpha yesterday. The “official” shortened urls were setup so that we (the project) could have some data on how popular this release was. My issue was the services that were used are non-free;,, and tinyurl. I was prepared to loose my mind and then I decided that before loosing my cool I should mention this in the mailing list. So I went through my trash folder (I’m so glad I don’t ever clear that out, it is now a personal procedure to keep all “trashed” email [and I don’t worry because my hard drive is encrypted]) and replied that I was bad form for us to use non-free url shortners and let everyone know about and No one knew these existed and it even prompted Paul Frields to edit his blog post to add them to the list.

Sometimes a little checking before you fly off the handle and run your mouth on the interwebs is good. Damn this whole turning 25 and deciding I should act like an adult thing 🙂

So please tryout Goddard; see how it works for you, and please post your thoughts about it in the comments or drop a link to your thoughts if you post them else where.

F13 Alpha release announcement

Fedora 13 “Goddard” Alpha release is available TODAY! What’s next for the free operating system that shows off the best new technology of tomorrow? You can see the future now at:

What’s an Alpha release? The Alpha release contains all the features of Fedora 13 in a form that anyone can help test. This testing, guided by the Fedora QA team, helps us target and identify bugs. When these bugs are fixed, we make a Beta release available. A Beta release is code-complete, and bears a very strong resemblance to the third and final release. The final release of Fedora 13 is due in April.

We need your help to make Fedora 13 the best release yet, so please take a moment of your time to download and try out the Alpha and make sure the things that are important to you are working. If you find a bug, please report it – every bug you uncover is a chance to improve the experience for millions of Fedora users worldwide. Together, we can make Fedora a rock-solid distribution.

Among the top features for end users, we have:

* Automatic print driver installation. We’re using RPM and PackageKit for automatic installation of printer drivers, so when you plug in a USB printer, Fedora will automatically offer to install drivers for it if needed.

* Automatic installation of language packs. Yum language packs plugin support makes software installation smarter and easier for everyone worldwide, by automatically downloading language support for large suites of Fedora software when the user’s environment requires it.

* Redesigned user management interface. The user account tool has been completely redesigned, and test packages are available to make it easy to configure personal information, make a personal profile picture or icon, generate a strong passphrase, and set up login options for your Fedora system.

* Color management. Color Management allows you to better set and control your colors for displays, printers, and scanners.

* NetworkManager improvements include CLI. NetworkManager is now a one stop shop for all of your networking needs in Fedora, be it dial-up, broadband, wifi, or even Bluetooth. And now it can all be done in the command line, if you’re into that sort of thing.

* Experimental 3D extended to free Nouveau driver for NVidia cards. In this release we are one step closer to having 3D supported on completely free and open source software (FOSS) drivers. In Fedora 12 we got a lot of ATI chips working, and this time we’ve added a wide range of NVidia cards.

For developers there are all sorts of additional goodies:

* SystemTap static probes. SystemTap now has expanded capabilities to monitor higher-level language runtimes like Java, Python and Tcl, and also user space applications starting with PostgreSQL.

* Easier Python debugging. We’ve added new support that allows developers working with mixed libraries (Python and C/C++) in Fedora to get more complete information when debugging with gdb.

* Parallel-installable Python 3 stack. The parallel-installable Python 3 stack will will help programmers write and test code for use in both Python 2.6 and Python 3 environments, so you can future-proof your applications now using Fedora.

* NetBeans 6.8 first IDE to support entire Java 6 EE spec. NetBeans IDE 6.8 is the first IDE to offer complete support for the entire Java EE 6 specification.

And don’t think we forgot the Administrators:

* (BFO) allows users to download a single, tiny image (could fit on a floppy) and install current and future versions of Fedora without having to download additional images.

* System Security Services Daemon (SSSD). SSSD provides expanded features for logging into managed domains, including caching for offline authentication. This means that, for example, users on laptops can still login when disconnected from the company’s managed network. The authentication configuration tool in Fedora has already been updated to support SSSD, and work is underway to make it even more attractive and functional.

* Pioneering NFS features. Fedora offers the latest version 4 of the NFS protocol for better performance, and in conjunction with recent kernel modifications includes IPv6 support for NFS as well.

* Zarafa Groupware. Zarafa now makes available a complete Open Source groupware suite that can be used as a drop-in Exchange replacement for Web-based mail, calendaring, collaboration and tasks. Features include IMAP/POP and iCal/CalDAV capabilities, native mobile phone support, the ability to integrate with existing Linux mail servers, a full set of programming interfaces, and a comfortable look and feel using modern Ajax technologies.

* Btrfs snapshots integration. Btrfs is capable of creating lightweight filesystem snapshots that can be mounted (and booted into) selectively. The created snapshots are copy-on-write snapshots, so there is no file duplication overhead involved for files that do not change between snapshots. It allows developers to feel comfortable experimenting with new software without fear of an unusable install, since automated snapshots allow them to easily revert to the previous day’s filesystem.

And that is only the beginning.

A more complete list and details of each new cited feature is available here:

For more information including common and known bugs, tips on how to report bugs, and the official release schedule, please refer to the release notes:

Thank you, and we hope to see you in the Fedora project!

What to be excited about in Fedora 13


No, the Marketing Team busted their butts [I actually was slacking off and don’t think I contributed as much as I could have some I’m going to leave myself out of the celebration, there is still much work to do that I can take more credit for than I deserve :)] and they have come up with a list of the coolest features that you can expect in Fedora 13 codenamed “Goddard” after “Dr. Robert Hutchings Goddard (October 5, 1882 – August 10, 1945), U.S. professor of physics and scientist, was a pioneer of controlled, liquid-fueled rocketry. On March 16, 1926, he became the first person in the world to build and launch a liquid-fueled rocket” -wikipedia.

If you can’t tell from the artwork and the codename we are going for a rocket/space theme.

Here are the features broken down into groups based on who will be happiest to see it.

* 1 For desktop users and everyone

o 1.1 Automatic print driver installation
o 1.2 Automatic installation of language packs
o 1.3 Redesigned user management interface
o 1.4 Color management
o 1.5 NetworkManager improvements include CLI
o 1.6 Experimental 3D extended to free Nouveau driver

* 2 For administrators

o 2.1 BFO
o 2.2 Authconfig UI redesign
o 2.3 Pioneering NSF features
o 2.4 Zarafa
o 2.5 Experimenting with btrfs

* 3 For developers

o 3.1 SystemTap static probes
o 3.2 Easier Python debugging
o 3.3 Parallel-installable Python 3
o 3.4 NetBeans 6.8 first IDE to support entire Java 6 EE spec

* 4 Spins

o 4.1 Moblin Spin
o 4.2 Sugar on a Stick Spin
o 4.3 Design Studio Spin
o 4.4 Security Spin

Here is the full list of features and how far along we think we are on them. It’s also a good place to do some reading up if you are wondering what all that mess above means.