Dell at LinuxCon Boston

For the second year in a row, Dell engineers will be on hand at the Linux Foundation’s LinuxCon conference in Boston next week.  While I don’t get to fly a helicopter in the Penguin Bowl this year, we’ll have plenty of face time with the engineers and enthusiasts on hand.

On Wednesday at 10:30am, I’ll be presenting on Network Device Naming, which simplifies this:

PowerEdge R610 with 8 Ethernet ports

by letting the system administrator use better names for their network ports than “eth0”.   Can you guess which is eth0 in that picture?  (Hint: it might be green, it might be red, it might be orange and it may change from time to time.)

Shyam Iyer  follows me at 11:30am, presenting “Storage Provisioning with iSCSI for Virtualized Environments”, which describes the work he has been doing with the Open-iSCSI and libvirt teams to simplify iSCSI storage use by virtual machines, to take advantage of all the great hardware acceleration our EqualLogic arrays provide.

On Thursday at 2pm, I return to the stage in a panel moderated by Matt Asay, COO of Canonical, titled “What’s Next for Linux”, alongside James Bottomley of Novell, David Recordon of Facebook, and Ravi Simhambhatla of Virgin America.   I’m especially interested to be on this panel, as my cohorts are pushing the limits of computing, often with Dell’s help, and simultaneously Dell is active in the new worlds they’re creating.

See you in Boston next week!

Interview with Jared Smith, new Fedora Project Leader

I thought this was a well-done interview by Henry Kingman of Linux.com, welcoming new Fedora Project Leader Jared Smith.

I’ve been fortunate to serve on the Fedora Project Board since 2006, and to have the opportunity to work with several FPLs (Max and Paul directly, and their predecessors Michael, Christian, and Greg in various capacities), and I look forward to working with Jared even more now.  He brings a wealth of experience, talent, and enthusiasm that’s contagious.

I’m also quite pleased with the way the transitions between FPLs have been handled.  Both Max and Paul knew for themselves when they were ready for new challenges – not that they were “burned out” (e.g. CATB lesson #5), or that they were no longer being effective, but realized that they could apply their talents towards Fedora in new ways, while opening new opportunities for another talented and respected contributor.  That’s a big part of building a healthy community.

Fedora Elections – Go Vote!

It’s that time of year again. Fedora is holding elections for 3 seats on the Board, and for 5 seats on the Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo). I am very exited by the caliber of contributors who have volunteered their time to serve on these committees, some looking for their first elected leadership role, some looking to continue or redouble their involvement.

I look forward to serving with the new Board members as we continue to map out the high-level goals for Fedora.

Please take a look at the slate of candidates, review the questionnaire answers and the Town Hall logs, make up your mind, and Go Vote!

New uefivars project leverages 9-year-old efibootmgr work

Finnbarr P. Murphy (fpmurphy) posted on his blog yesterday about his new project, uefivars, to retrieve and display information about UEFI variables. UEFI is the new firmware standard, replacing legacy BIOS over time, which is present on Dell 11G PowerEdge servers today. fpmurphy’s work is based largely on my own efibootmgr project which I started back in 2001 when first working on EFI for the Itanium processor. I’m glad to see renewed interest in this work as more people get exposed to UEFI on new systems. Perhaps it’s time, 9 years later, for bits of efibootmgr to turn into a library for use by applications like uefivars.

Fedora mailing list procmail recipe

In honor of Fedora moving its mailing lists this weekend, here’s a little procmail recipe to file each incoming mailing list stream into its own folder.  Fedora lists get a folder prefix of ‘fedora-’, while all other mailman-handled lists simply get the list name, with whitespace and the @domain part stripped off.

:0 H
* ^X-BeenThere:
{
BEENTHERE=`formail -xX-BeenThere: | sed -e 's/@.*//;s/^[ \t]*//'`
:0 H
* ^X-BeenThere: .*lists.fedoraproject.org
$HOME/Mail/fedora-$BEENTHERE
:0 E
$HOME/Mail/$BEENTHERE
}

Fedora Elections – get your last-minute votes in!

Fedora- I Voted

Fedora- I Voted

The Fedora Elections for two Board seats, four Engineering Steering Committee seats, and all seven Ambassadors Steering Committee seats has just a few hours left (ends 2009-12-16 UTC 2359). I’m excited that we have such a great slate of candidate volunteers for these important positions of leadership in our community – it really speaks to our ability to incorporate new contributors and help stretch the Project in new directions.

I’ve been pleased to be a member of the Board for 3.5 years now, and hope you would consider re-electing me.

If you haven’t already voted, please take a few minutes to do so. If you have already voted, thank you.

I’d also like to thank John Rose for stepping in as Election Coordinator – a mostly-thankless yet critical task that ensures a smooth election process. Also special thanks to Thorsten Leemhuis for coordinating the election questionnaire (for the last time!). Informally I asked several attendees at FUDCon Toronto if they felt that the questionnaire was helpful to them, and universally I heard that it was indeed helpful. It takes a fair bit of time to gather the questions, sort for “really good” questions, gather the results, and of course, for candidates to answer. I’m glad it provides benefit proportional to the effort, and remind community members that next election cycle (Spring 2010), someone else will need to take on this task that Thorsten has done for several cycles now.

FUDConF13: Toronto Videos

I’ve just posted 2 videos shot at FUDConF13 Toronto last week.  I’m afraid I haven’t done justice though…

  1. Moksha, by Luke Macken.  My camera cut out after the first 10 minutes, so that’s all we’ve got.
  2. The last 20 minutes of the Fedora Infrastructure: Sysadmins  vs. Developers love-in, taken by Adam Williamson.

If anyone else has video or audio from this or other Fedora events you’d care to share, please contact me and I’ll help you get it into proper ogg format, tagged, and posted to Fedora Infrastructure servers for distribution.

Fedora Election Town Halls

Late notice via this blog, but John had sent the announcement earlier, so I don’t feel so bad…

Fedora Election Town Halls are scheduled, including a Board Town Hall tonight at 9pm Central time, and another at 9am Central Wednesday.  See the Elections page for full schedule and details how to join the fun on IRC.

I’m standing for re-election to the Fedora Project Board.  After 3.5 years, I just can’t give it up. :-)

Upcoming Fedora Elections

Yes, it’s that time of year again.  Rain is falling, another Fedora release is about to conquer the known world, and volunteers everywhere are busy preparing their ideal Fedora Mission Statements to captivate the electorate.  Fedora’s Winter Election is upon us.

The first order of business is to find an Election Coordinator.  For the last 2 election cycles I have volunteered for this role, with the able assistance of John Rose (inode0), and Thorsten Leemhuis (thl) and others.  This cycle, I would like someone besides myself from the Fedora community to volunteer as Election Coordinator.  Raise your hand, don’t be shy!  If you have been harboring a secret (or public) list of all my mistakes, here’s your chance to set things right!

As Election Coordinator, you will have the opportunity to:

  • propose, get buy-in, and finalize the schedule
  • schedule forums (traditionally IRC and with FUDCon Toronto, Live)
  • seek forum moderators
  • if desired, gather questions from the electorate, distribute to the candidates, gather and post their answers.
  • coordinate with Infrastructure to be sure the elections app is ready.

Second, a schedule will need to be set.  At the Board meeting this week, we agreed that it would be nice to hold in-person forums at FUDCon Toronto, December 5-7, for those who can attend.  Our election rules require us to complete the election within 30 days of the Fedora 12 release, so must end by December 17.  Per Nigel Jones, author of
our voting system, most of the votes cast were within the first 2-3 days, so running it Dec 8-17 would be sufficient.

Before these, we typically hold nominations for 2 weeks, and a week for IRC Town Halls to be scheduled.  Thorsten also requested after the last election that we have a few days between end of nominations and beginning of the town halls, to allow time for candidates to be given a set of questions, and sufficent time to answer.

Third, we need to be sure of all the committees who are holding an election.  The committee chairs can assist here.  I believe that the Board, FESCo, and Ambassadors are electing members, and that the Fedora 13 naming election will happen too.  Are there any I missed?

Feedback on prior elections, ideas for how to improve this cycle, and volunteers for Election Coordinator all welcome on the fedora-advisory-board list.

Fedora is Self-Hosting

Fedora 12 (Beta available now), is self-hosting.

What does this mean? Simply put, it means that you can use a copy of Fedora 12 to rebuild, from source, all* of Fedora 12 again.

Why is this important? One of the key tenets of Free and Open Source software is that anyone can get a copy of the source code, make modifications to it, built it, an use the modified version. Simply publishing the source code, without also allowing people a way to rebuild and use that code, doesn’t accomplish this goal.

Source code tends to bitrot over time. Libraries that your code uses will change, get updated, add features and bugfixes. Compilers improve and update to later standards. Your code needs to keep up. So, for each Fedora release, we run an “Fails To Build From Source” pass, which rebuilds every package in the distribution, using the packages in the distribution. We started the Fedora 12 development cycle with about 400 packages which couldn’t build (still, less than 5% of the total packages) for various reasons. Over the last few months, members of the Fedora Packager community have been whittling away at these, fixing their packages, sending patches to their respective upstream projects, and therefore improving the quality of the open source ecosystem as a whole.

The result?  You see immediate improvements (smaller package sizes due to new compression methods being used, future-proof security through the use of stronger hashes to guarantee package integrity), and increased flexibility should you wish to remix Fedora for your own purposes.

Thank you packagers!

* Truth in advertising: All in this case means 8448 of the 8485 packages in the Fedora 12 tree. There are 37 problematic packages (0.4%), none critical to a vast majority of users, which still need some love.