2009-07-28T02:59:41.957-04:00Hey Everyone,I think I told most people that I wanted to tell privately so it's time to tell the list and out myself to the public. August 14th will be my last day at Red Hat and of temporary daily direct involvement in the Fedora project.In 1997 I got my first taste of Linux, Red Hat Linux 4.2, to be exact. It was in the basement lab of the university that I was doing research at during the second half of my freshman year in high school. It was at that point the most fun and challenging thing I had ever done, struggling to get the kernel to work with the crappy Matrox (I think) video card that was the only spare piece of anything in that lab. I aimlessly wandered down that path I had no idea that jumping down the rabbit hole would lead to the 12 most pleasantly wondrous and amazing years of my life.Over the last 12 years this love affair has grown stronger and I have had the unbelievable good fortune to travel the world, see amazing places, explore amazing ideas, meet and work with some of the planet's greatest, smartest and most passionate people and play my part to help turn Linux, Open Source, Red Hat, Fedora and the concepts of free open and democratic commons of content and technology from relatively unknowns into the great revolution of our age. I have spent the better part of the last 6 years working for Red Hat on Fedora and Fedora-related projects in directed efforts to improve both the state and awareness of those things I mentioned. Red Hat has been a warm home and family to me and I am as much glad as I am in awe of how ferociously dedicated we have been to our noble principles of freedom and truth, while having accomplished, ascertained and executed and what I have been able to imbibe, about so many diverse concepts, over these last few years. What niche and facet have we not touched? What direction or device have we not influenced? What proclivity have we not affected? For this, I am proud.Fedora has been my brother since the day it was conceived. The more energy and time I invested into Fedora, to help it grow and mature, the more it paid me back by proving to be the best platform for innovation, and letting me be involved in that cause. Starting a community is no small order and keeping it going all these years take passion on the part of those willing to undertake the task. We have learned what it means to be a community, to live, breathe, eat and be true to community. To provide, so that others can have, to build so that others can build upon and to be selfless so that we can embrace others and more importantly so that others can embrace us, virtual strangers, and feel welcome. It has been my distinct pleasure to work with every single precious member of the Fedora community, from all over the world to help build a very deep and intimate relationship with the concept of community. We have accomplished such great feats, arising from a turbulent and tumultuous genesis and virtually transformed and flipped the world and the hearts and minds of people in a few short years. We have become the paramount archetype of community. How many have communities emulated and continue to emulate our success? How many have our ideas spawned? How many have been lucky to be as true and real as we have? For this, I am grateful.The best part has been the people. I can't count on 100 sets of hands the number and names of all the wonderful people that have affected me. When I was on the Fedora University Tour, my speech was called "Crash: How a Billion Little Collisions Defines Everything," and it was about how working in a community and in real life, we are the sum total of the people we interact with. I don't think one can find a better metaphor and if I stick to my axiom then I can truly consider myself rich. Every person I met and spent time with in the office, at a meeting, show, conference or elsewhere, and online has helped shape my character, both personal and professional, for the better. As a lover of people I am both thankful for the interactions we have had and excited for what the future [...]
2009-06-22T16:09:11.196-04:00Just wanted to keep people posted as to what's going on in Marketing and the outcome of my trip to Westford last week. As many of you know, I've been thinking about what the next steps we need to take in Fedora Marketing should be. I feel that we have come along way in terms of improving process and that we can go even further while also putting a fresh spin on things. For some time there has been discussion of a "Fedora Magazine" concept; this goes back a couple of years. I really liked the idea and it sort of stuck in my mind all these years and I was thinking we can centralize things around that format. I had a few rough ideas for kickstarting this, but mainly my motivations were to solidify policies and process for what content Marketing creates, who we create it for, the content creation schedule, and how we distribute it.
2009-06-03T10:45:19.905-04:00Authentication is an aspect of computing which many take for granted. What's all the fuss? you think. Username, password and that's that. In the following Q&A session with Bastien Nocera, long time Fedora Contributor and Desktop Renaissance Man, we discover that when it comes to authentication, there is more than meets the finger!With fingerprint and other biometric authentication options gaining more popularity, its time to get more creative regarding their use. Many laptops have had built-in fingerprint readers for upwards of two years now and Fedora 11, thanks to Bastien and crew, does a solid job of making that option a viable one for Linux desktop user. How did we make this happen for Fedora 11? Will your Fedora laptop one day be able to authenticate you on the web using your finger? Will we ever get GNOME keyring to unlock using a fingerprint? What will Bastien work on next? All this and more if you keep reading below!1. Can you please give us a quick self introduction and how you got started in Fedora.Hey, I'm Bastien Nocera, I work for Red Hat, and I've been a GNOME contributor for 10 years. I started using Fedora when I joined Red Hat in 2002, and I've been hooked since :)2. For at least a couple of years now, many laptop models have had built-in fingerprint readers. They never seemed to work well under Linux, despite various bits and pieces of drivers being out there. Can you tell us more about how this feature came about in Fedora 11? [note: PAM is the pluggable authentication system used on Linux machines to authenticate users. D-Bus is a message bus system, a simple way for applications to talk to one another.]I've had a Dell laptop with the omnipresent Thomson fingerprint reader for a couple of years, and I was looking at how I could use it, and make it work out-of-the-box in Fedora. At that time, as far as I remember, the only options were the proprietary Upek bits, and thinkfinger, which was a very PAM specific solution.Around that time, Daniel Drake mentioned that he was working on ‘libfprint’, a library to fold the support of different fingerprint readers, with different capabilities, into one supported API, for his BSc in Computer Science.I got in at about that point. Daniel and I already had a pretty good idea on how we should be architect support for the fingerprint readers, and Daniel wrote a first pass at the ‘fprintd’ D-Bus daemon to present it at his final year project presentation.When Daniel presented his project, he put all his code up, and I started working on the D-Bus daemon, cleaning up the API, and implementing various front-ends on top of it.3. In order to accomplish a lot of this some significant modifications were necessary to other parts of the distro, i.e. DBus, PAM and authentication dialogs. Can you talk to us a little about what type of work needed to be done to get all the pieces to work together.It was pretty fun getting to use some new technology. We fixed some bugs in ‘libfprint,’ re-did the public API, added developer documentation, added PolicyKit integration, added a PAM module, and wrote a nice UI for all that in the GNOME control-center.We were pretty much done, and then Ray Strode added support to GDM to get multiple PAM stacks. This meant that the user could choose between logging in with a password, or using the fingerprint reader.4. What are some of the issues that remain to be worked on if any?Most of the remaining problems fall slightly outside the scope of this project. ‘libusb1’ needs a bit of reworking to handle devices appearing and disappearing more gracefully. ‘libfprint’ needs bug fixes for existing drivers and more drivers (never-ending story). Finally, we need PAM to die die die (or add multiple PAM stacks support to more front-ends).5. Where do you see the future of this going? Do you expect that we will one day down the line see encrypted filesystems which require biometric authentication to decrypt? How about extending this capability to authentication on the web?Heh[...]
2009-06-01T23:49:11.930-04:00I recently added something new to my blog and feed which seems very useful to me and I figured I would share it. I used to have a bunch of buttons to help people submit stories to different social news sites like digg, link aggregators like delicio.us and or to save bookmark them online or other similar services. This took up a lot of space under each post and barely ever worked correctly. Certain links would always end up missing and it would never render right.
2009-05-26T10:45:22.273-04:00Cutting edge virtualization technology has always been one of Fedora's strong suits and Fedora 11 looks to continue that trend. In an interview with Daniel P. Berrange, Red Hat Virt Team Engineer and Fedora Virtualization guru, we talk about the many key upgrades to virt technology in F11 focusing on areas of usability, performance and security. Fedora 11 will premiere the latest in secure and powerful virtualization technology available to users and developers. With so much to look forward to Fedora 11, it's sure to make your virtualization dreams a reality.1. Please introduce yourself, and tell us about your work in virtualization and how you got started.I'm one of the lead developers for the libvirt project and am actively involved in many related areas of open source development (qemu/kvm, xen, gtk-vnc, virt-manager, to name but a few). I also co-maintain many of these packages in Fedora and RHEL, along with many others in Red Hat's virtualization team.More than three years ago (shortly after transferring into Red Hat's Engineering team, from consulting services) I was working on the OLPC project. We needed a way to easily test the OS images we were building without needing real hardware. As a proof of concept, I hacked up a simple GTK application to run images them under QEMU. At around the same time Daniel Veillard had started the libvirt project and there was a desire for a desktop application to manage Xen using libvirt. So I switched over to the virtualization team, wrote virt-manager for Fedora 6, and my involvement in all areas of open source virtualization grew from there.2. Many people view the work being done on virtualization as a feature set of major importance and significance. Can you give us a brief overview of some of the changes we can expect to see in Fedora 11?The open source virtualization development effort is so large now, that it is useful to discuss each stream in turn.At the lowest layer is obviously the Linux kernel and KVM/QEMU. There has been a major acceleration of development in QEMU and push to merge KVM into the official QEMU source repository. There's ever continuing work on performance, stability, scalability and reliability in KVM. PCI device passthrough is one new feature we're highlighting for Fedora 11. The return of Xen Dom0 was not to be, as the Dom0 paravirt_ops merge with the upstream Linux kernel is still an ongoing process.At the middle layer is libvirt, providing a consistent management API across different virtualization technologies. New features in libvirt, since F10, include PCI device passthrough for Xen and KVM, the sVirt security driver using SELinux to protect KVM guests from each other, thread safety of all libvirt APIs, improved scalability, reliability and debugging for the libvirtd daemon and support for SCSI HBAs and copy-on-write volumes in the storage management APIs.The top layer covers end user tools such as virt-install and virt-manager. virt-manager is undergoing a significant (and ongoing) overhaul of its user interface. The first improvements arriving for Fedora 11 are in the guest installation process and storage management capabilities. As guest installation is first task most users try, ensuring this is simple and reliable is key to making a good first impression. Guest desktop interaction is another historical pain point which has been a focus for improvements in Fedora 11.With every release we also try to make a significant step forward in security of the virtualization stack. In Fedora 11 the focus has been on SELinux to protect guests from each other and SASL to authenticate VNC users.3. There have been some large changes in virt-manager and libvirt, which are at the core of the user experience when it comes to virtualization. Can you talk to us more about those?The guest installation process and desktop interaction are the most critical areas for making a good first impression. In the virt-manager re-[...]
2009-05-21T10:52:57.265-04:00An Interview on Fedora 11's enhanced Audio Control with Lennart PoetteringWhere would we be without sound? It's the most primitive of communication methods, and yet it has spawned so much technology around it. Whether you're a musician, a DJ, riding a bus to work, or even just stuck in a cubicle listening to the radio somewhere, sound has become an integral part of your daily experiences. When Fedora 11 lands, along with it will land a number of enhancements to the sound subsystem, including unified volume control, per stream and per device monitoring, and proper Bluetooth audio support. I recently caught up with Lennart Poettering, Red Hat Desktop Team Engineer and resident audio guru. Here's what he had to say about the upcoming improvements and what the future holds:1. Please introduce yourself and give us a brief intro to how you started working on the upcoming audio improvement in F11.I am Lennart Poettering and have been working for Red Hat in the Desktop Group for two years now this month. I live in Berlin, Germany.PA has been part of Fedora since F8. Since then we used to ship two volume control appications: the GNOME volume control and a PA (Pulse Audio) specific tool (pavucontrol). The latter was mostly a showcase what can be done with PA and I wrote it mostly as a demo, not because I thought it was any good as an UI.Of course having these two volume control UIs in Fedora was a situation that badly needed fixing. Especially since both UIs exposed too many unnecessary options: the GNOME volume control exposed a lot of low-level hardware-specific features that only a tiny minority of people actually really understood, and the PA volume control exposed a lot of low-level software features that a slightly larger minority of people only actually really understood.Now during the last year we reached a point were the feature set of PA for volume controls became very complete (with such things as arbitrary meta data on every stream/device, per-stream and per-device monitoring, hardware volume range extension, "flat" volumes and lots of other stuff) and Jon McCann with help from Bastien Nocera finally took up the work tofix the UI situation.They basically designed the new UI from scratch with input from usability experts. It implements many of the features the old pavucontrol tool did, but in a much nicer, streamlined way. Also it integrates sound theme/event sound control with general audio configuraton and volume control in a single UI tool.2. Can you give us some background on the upcoming changes to the audio subsystem in the Fedora 11 Release?If you want to know more about the Volume Control, I'd just refer to the Feature page:https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/VolumeControlWe moved PA 0.9.15 into F11, a nice overview over the new features you can find here:http://0pointer.de/blog/projects/oh-nine-fifteen.htmlHowever that overview is a bit out-of-date. There are quite a few additional features that went into 0.9.15, most prominently full Bluetooth Audio support: Together with Bastien Nocera and the BlueZ guys I worked to make Bluetooth audio easily accessible -- the bluetooth applet now exposes an easy dialog that allows you to pair and activate a bluetooth headset. After that is done it will automatically appear in PulseAudio. If you need to reactivate it later, you can do that with a simple click in the applet menu. It works surprisingly well. It even works fine for lip-sync video. Which is kind of magic, given that Bluetooth Audio doesn't actually offer any timing interfaces, so syncing up audio with video is not really possible. I spent a lot of time to make sure it does work nonetheless, and it seems to work on the majority of headphones although I cannot say for sure if it does for all of them.3. Where did the ideas to change all this stuff come from? Didn't audio always work in Fedora?Depends what you mean by 'work'. Sure, basic audio ou[...]
2009-05-19T10:10:01.102-04:00For the fourth podcast in our Fedora 11 podcast series, we turn to the magic that is our display system. One of the coolest new features in Fedora 11 is the ability to do kernel based mode setting for the display. Kernel mode setting allows the kernel to set certain parameters for the display and moves this functionality out of the X server itself and out of user space. This enables cool things such as quicker graphical boot up and fancier eye candy. For more information I caught up with Fedora X and diaplay guru Adam Jackson. Adam is a lifer on the X scene and knows more about displays than you, I and probably he himself want to know.
2009-05-18T11:15:53.687-04:00Continuing on in our series of Fedora 11 podcasts, we present an interview of the series with Tom 'Spot' Callaway. In case you don't know Spot, he's been making Fedora happen since before Fedora was called Fedora. Spot is a Red Hat Engineer, the Fedora Engineering Manager, and of course an active and knowledgeable community member. With keen insights and an eagle-eye view of the Fedora release process, the community, and our history and roadmap, you can be sure that any chat with Spot is worth your while.
2009-05-12T10:16:47.860-04:00Fedora 11 is less than two weeks away. The excitement is in the air and we all can't wait to see the product of more than a few long months of hard work. It's prime time to start talking about what users can expect to see, highlight new features and describe some of the enhancements that we can all look forward too. As part of a series of podcast and print interviews, Today, I would like to present the first podcast in the Fedora 11 Podcast series, an interview with long time Fedora contributor and Fedora Release Engineer Jesse Keating. The audio can be found here:
2009-05-07T14:28:02.414-04:00In a rather sad bit of news I was just pointed at this: Report: Duke Nukem Developer Shuts Down.
2009-04-03T18:08:58.140-04:00Ah, another successful week! I was really glad and proud that we made it through the beta without too much fuss. We hit all the goals we set for the Fedora Marketing team on time and on schedule with relative ease. Otherwise, I was pretty annoyed that for some reason my feed dropped of Planet for a couple of days and I ended up talking to myself when I thought I was broadcasting. I ended up having to track down people separately and make sure they were taking care of things, but everyone was at the top of their game.We cleaned up some wiki stuff the early part of the week in prep for the beta, and I went through a couple more pages just to make sure everything was all good after last weeks tightening up. One of the posts I put up while I was off planet was to remind people on the News Distribution Network to get on their ponies and start emailing their group of people. One thing that we need to talk about with the Translations team is about preempting the rush with translating stuff, and those meetings are going to be taking place next week.Now though, its time we step into high gear. Although there are less small tasks, we have the few big ones in the run up to release left. They are also pretty cool projects which are also a lot of fun and if anyone is interested in helping out you can always join the fed0ra-marketing list or find us on irc.First and foremost, on fp.o site, you should be seeing a banner similar to this rolling around: This is for the Fedora Picture Book which the Marketing team is working on. I couldn't figure out how to make that a link, so I'll put it here. If you have any pictures and want to be in the book or know someone who does, click it now--TIME IS RUNNING OUT!Next up, this coming Tuesday is the deadline for submitting your slogan ideas for F11. If you have something good, make sure you visit here and add it. We will be discussing the submission at the marketing meeting on Tuesday and hope to decide on something so that it can be forwarded to the art team, etc.We have also started work on a Press Kit. Not just a one time thing, but something which is professional, classy and can be updated for each release. It aggregates a bit of the various pieces of information on the wiki and makes them look nice and presentable. Steven Moix has been working on press kit content in French while others of us are just working on layout and other ideas in general. You can take a look at a preview here. The content is just nonsense pasted in from various pages on the wiki, but its more for general idea. Hopefully we can use what Steven and the guys come up with and just translate it to any language we want, stick it in the template and voila!Otherwise, myself and Yannik have started working on the Faces of Fedora campaign again, and we have a list of people who we'll be contacting to submit stuff as we work on guidelines for general submission from everyone.Overall, good times, and I am very proud of all the great work everyone on the team is doing. If there was ever a fun place in the project to get involved this is it! [...]
2009-04-02T12:53:50.936-04:00I was quite amused to see this, thanks to Bob who brought it to my attention via Jef. I don't even know if I want to say anything about this because it speaks for itself, but I will say that it definitely made me chuckle when I read it.
2009-03-31T11:45:42.447-04:00Fedora 11 Beta was just released minutes ago, you can get your copy fresh here: http://fedoraproject.org/get-prerelease.
2009-03-20T17:04:24.696-04:00Fedora 11 is right around the corner!! This week during the beta readiness meeting, mizmo mentioned that we were still missing slogan, or tag line, for the upcoming release. Seeing as this has marketing's name all over it, I figured we should start working on this. There were a few funny suggestions, but I ask you in earnest, what do you think our upcoming release slogan should be?
2009-03-13T18:07:10.376-04:00Title says it all...
2009-03-13T18:06:45.123-04:00This week in Fedora Marketing is brought to you by the letters P and R and the number 7. All that aside, this week was fairly quiet. I had to miss the meeting on Tuesday, and that was unfortunate because we actually discussed something very new and cool and important. As per the discussions over the last two weeks we have developed a list of features which are central to the upcoming release to which we would like to devote in depth coverage. The list can be found here. If anyone is interested in picking up the couple of remaining features that would be a great help. It basically entails interviewing the feature developer and putting it up on a wiki space and document the feature visually if its relevant.
2009-03-06T17:04:43.046-05:00Marketing is moving forward very quickly and making lots of good progress. The first notable item to advertise this week is that the marketing meetings have shifted time, to 21.00 UTC, in #fedora-mktg. This ended being the most convenient time for a large group of people to congregate so after discussion on the list we decided to move things to then. More information on the Marketing meetings, including logs can be found here.
2009-02-27T15:09:25.595-05:00Fedora Marketing is getting back into good shape. We've been working hard over the past couple of weeks and this week was no different. I'll get into it things in a bit, but the most important change that people need to know about right away is that our new meeting time for Fedora Marketing Meetings is Tuesdays at 21.00 UTC. If you are available then, please join us, we would love to have as many people as possible active!
2009-02-20T16:42:48.600-05:00Over the last few weeks we have been working to rejuvenate Fedora Marketing. A tremendous job, was and continues to be done by the folks on the team, in all areas and I just wanted to write a little about everything so that those not following closely could at least get the bigger picture of what's going on and also, maybe attract anyone else who might be interested.Primarily, the focus of what has been going on is a restructuring of how marketing goes about establishing goals and splitting them up into tasks and then the time-frames for completing those tasks. Marketing has always been busy, except that some times, due to the nature of how tasks were assigned or randomly picked up, it was unclear what people what were working on what tasks lead to confusion. Additionally, there was up until the last few week a perceived fissure between marketing and the rest of Fedora. This was really more due to lack of communication than anything else, so we have been trying to address that problem as well.After much discussion on IRC and on the list, we were able to identify three main barriers to efficiency and growth:* First, we could adopt a better workflow, one which prioritizes tasks and puts them on some sort of schedule. The nature of Fedora is cyclical; a release-based cycle, we should try to align ourselves with that.* Second, if things will be more fine grained with a new workflow, we can easily assign and clearly define who is responsible for what. Prior to this, many tasks were left by the way side because others were afraid of taking them and stepping on someone else's toes.* Third, and most importantly, Marketing is a "sort of" function of 3 groups, Ambassadors, Docs and Art. We don't really communicate well with anyone in those groups. That being said, there are many tasks which cross over and can be worked on cooperatively. If only we had meetings scheduled, we would be able to identify those opportunities, and lighten the workload for everyone and be more efficient at completing it.The proposed solution is to incorporate all these elements into a new process, with a new workflow for the team, which is schedule based. The insipiration for this was really drawn from the good work that John Poelstra does with his release schedules. That can be found here. Over the last 2-3 meetings of the Marketing team we have been working to put together a template schedule which we can use for every release and then use the template to put something together for each release. Right now, you can find the template here. We are still working on adding things to it, and please feel free to do so, if you can think of anything which we missed. Once all these core tasks are set in place, we can add to that all the other cool, non-release based things that we do, like the Fedora Picture Book.What's up next and what you can do:* Continue to add things to the schedule. This is vital, as over the next few releases we will be adhering strictly to this cycle.* Cleaning up the Marketing space on the wiki. We should have a meeting about this at some point next week, but until then myself and a few others, and hopefully yet more volunteers will emerge to help us do this. All you wiki-masters out there, get your knives out...* Start coming to the marketing meetings! The team relies on the energy and collaboration of the whole community and if you believe you can contribute some time, marketing is probably the most fun and easiest way to do that. Currently, we are trying to establish a new meeting time to accomodate more pe[...]
2009-01-19T09:50:54.952-05:00I've recently had some good chats with the Qumranet guys, specifically revolving around community engagement and how to integrate more Fedora community members. A number of community members, both red hat and non, have been expressing alot of interest in this stuff for the last few month.
2008-12-14T09:02:54.345-05:00He's done it again.