Archive for the ‘Linux’ category

Big Thanks To The SELinux Team

June 30, 2009

I started using Fedora back in the Fedora 8 days.  I’ve always tried to run SELinux in enforcing mode and back in the Fedora 8-9 days that seemed to mean I’d have some SELinux issue every few days.  It wasn’t a big deal, but it was annoying and very tempting to turn it off completely.

Starting with Fedora 10, at least for me, the SELinux hiccups seemed to only happen every few weeks and I was very impressed with the improvement.

I’ve now been running Fedora 11 for three weeks and haven’t had a single SELinux issue at all.  Maybe I am unique, but from what I can tell SELinux with Fedora 11 no longer has any annoying issues while running in enforcing mode.

Thanks a lot SELinux team!  I now feel a great degree of security without a hint of discomfort.

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Please Report Bugs Upstream

June 21, 2009

This applies to all Linux distributions, I am not trying in any way to pick on Ubuntu. They are just keeping statistics in a way I can put some numbers behind my rant.

Many were excited when Ubuntu announced they were going to fix at least one hundred little bugs called papercuts that will help improve the overall Linux experience.  Here is a simple suggestion that will also lead to at least 100 extra bugs fixed over the next six months:  Report your bugs upstream!

There are at least ~800 known bugs in Ubuntu where it is confirmed the bug is related to upstream but nobody has taken the time to notify upstream about it.   People triaging the bug reports say “this bug also effects upstream project X” but it is never actually reported to upstream.  I’m guessing that list would be over 1000 if all such bugs that have slipped through the cracks were accounted for.

Now, assuming each  major Linux distribution has hundreds of bugs where the bug triager knows it is an issue with upstream but fails to report it, if all these bugs would get reported I am sure an extra 100 bugs will get fixed over the next six months because of simple things like this.

The developers behind the major Linux distributions are great, but more bugs will get fixed if upstream is involved.  Now, “to put my money where my mouth is”, I spent several hours this weekend submitting some if these bugs upstream.  I’m sure I didn’t do a perfect job, but at least upstream now knows about these bugs and some have already been confirmed by upstream and work has begun fixing them.  It was that easy.

So there you go. There’s my formula to get an extra 100 bugs fixed over the next six months.  It is as simple as: Report your bugs upstream!

Ubuntu: I Hope AppStore Rumor True

May 26, 2009

Ubuntu is currently having their semi-annual developer summit and will be discussing their new AppCenter tomorrow.  There is a rumor/total guess that this AppCenter will also integrate with an Ubuntu AppStore secretly in development.

I honestly hope this rumor/total guess is true.  There is a large demographic of people who would be benefited by this.  This would help Linux adoption among such people.  Second, it would be a great source of revenue for Canonical which would also be great for Ubuntu.

Not that my vote matters to anyone, but I hope it happens.

Comment For Mark’s “Meta-cycles” post

April 17, 2009

I left this as a comment on Mark Shuttleworth’s recent blog post.  I am only posting it here because I was told it was removed as spam.  Perhaps too long?  Anyways, I hope Mark can see it now.

Mark,

I always enjoy your blog posts. This is my unifying philosophy:

1. 6 Month Cycles: These are best for getting the best of free software out quickly for immediate testing and or contributor feedback.  This is the release that should be based on energizing your contributor community. I honestly don’t think the 6-month release can ever become the bedrock of mainstream use. Here you need to have the “release early, release often” mentality.

2. LTS Cycle: This is best for providing a “final” product which the mainstream world can build upon and rapidly support and promote. This release is best for users who do not care about the latest new features in Linux, just want something that works well. Here you need the “release when it’s ready” mentality. (Though I would confine yourself to a 2-3 year window so you don’t pull a Perl 6.)

I think releasing alongside Debian is a very smart move. You really would be shooting your developers in the foot by taking away a great opportunity to collaborate with Debian and share code.

Also, I’m interested in your new UI ideas, but frankly they seem to be trickling in very slowly. (Only notifications). This isn’t trying to be a criticism, it just seems this UI work takes time to do it properly and having it all rock hard stable in a year, where the majority hasn’t even started to be tested I think is a stretch.

Lastly, Gnome 3.0 may not be the best release to base an LTS on. There may be some small “KDE 4.0” effects that would be nice to have an extra 6 months to iron out. Your end users would like to have a polished Gnome 3.X version.

So, again, I like your post and applaud your idea to move the LTS back to 10.10. That is when I believe it will “be ready”.

Open Source Is The Pinnacle Of The Free Market

March 31, 2009

Though I am not going to advocate Laissez-faire economics, I do want to point out that the open source world is as close as you can get to a pure free market. The reason is because if you make a product in the open source world, anybody is able to study it, modify it, redistribute it and even sell it without many restrictions.

If person A delivers a great product, but person B is able to study the product and make it better in a cheaper way, the free market has done its job. This can happen in the open source world but has a hard time happening in the proprietary one.

Current Patent Laws Prevent True Market Freedom
Take the iPod. Steve Jobs admits the iPod has been fully patented through and through. If somebody has the ability to deliver the same product, just better and cheaper, his/her hands are tied.

We will never know if Apple is the company who delivers the iPod at the greatest value for customers since nobody is legally allowed to try.

Proves Red Hat Is The Best
This is not true of Red Hat. Red Hat makes billions, and if someone was able to take Red Hat, make it better and cheaper in a way that pleases customers there is nothing stopping them.

Guess what, Oracle recently tried and failed. Despite the open possibility, nobody can deliver Red Hat software with as great of value as Red Hat can. This proves Red Hat is truly the best at what they do.

If You Really Provided Your Product At The Best Value You Wouldn’t Need Patent/Proprietary Protection
Look again at Red Hat. They don’t need them. They still make billions. I have a feeling Apple and Microsoft would run scared stiff if you took their patents and proprietary licenses from them for the risk of someone doing it better and cheaper would be extremely high.

Edit: When I said Red Hat makes billions I mean they have made billions over the years. (total)

Innovation Sparks Jealousy

March 26, 2009

(Full disclosure: I use, and contribute, to both Fedora and Ubuntu)

I’m finding increased jealousy toward Fedora every day especially when someone points out how well Fedora is innovating.

Case and point, take this article I just read Ubuntu 9.04 vs Fedora 11: A lot can change in one month! The article concludes:

Ubuntu, as usual, has been rock stable for me…

But considering the differences – Fedora 11 seems to be a full 6 months ahead of Ubuntu….

Ubuntu sure has some catching up to do. When Ubuntu 9.10 releases, I can’t even begin to imagine how far ahead Fedora 12 will be!

Now look at the comments:
First, take Inconsiderate Clod:

Fedora is a (stupidly) aggressive development distro which regularly causes major malfunctions to all it’s rawhide users as well as it’s more ‘conservative’ users…  the world should be happy and thankful with all the Fedora users who unwittingly offer themselves up to be ginny pigs for the greater good of FOSS.

Ouch! I guess I am an unwitting Fedora Ginnie pig. Do I hear a little jealousy?

Or maybe RALF:

You sir, are an idiot.

Firefox 3.1 isn’t stable yet. OpenOffice 3.1 isn’t stable yet. Plymouth only works with Intel hardware, Ubuntu too will use gnome-media, Thunderbird 3 isn’t stable yet.

Double standard RALF? Ubuntu releases their LTS release with with Firefox Beta and RALF is complaining that a Fedora Alpha release has some Beta software? Interesting.  Not to mention the incorrect statement about Plymouth coming from someone calling another an idiot.  I found this amusing.

The development of each Ubuntu version lasts 6 months. In those months, they lock down the version and keep fighting bugs until the deadline.

Because, Fedora doesn’t try to fight bugs until their deadline?

That’s why people can actually _use_ Ubuntu. Fedora is more like ‘what’s next?’

Again, by Canonical’s versus Fedora’s own numbers, more people use Fedora then Ubuntu, so this “usability” argument is a little weak.

Personally, I think both Canonical and Fedora deserve praise, not attacks due to jealousy. Canonical has brought Linux to millions of users who arguably needed something like Ubuntu to get started. Likewise, Fedora’s innovation always keeps it a good 6 months ahead of the pack without the luxury of having an upstream distro do the majority of the heavy lifting. For these reasons we need to have more praise and less jealousy.

Another 100,000+ week for Fedora 10

March 10, 2009

Fedora 10 has been gaining new users at impressive rates.  This past week alone Fedora 10 has picked up over 100,000 more.  This puts the total number of Fedora users somewhere around 12-13 million, higher than any other Linux distribution. (If you disagree, please direct me to numbers.)  At last count, Fedora 10 has a 15% gain in users over Fedora 9.  This measurement was taken before this impressive week so the total gain might even be more than that.

Why is this?  I can think of at least 3 reasons:

1. An unparallelled commitment to innovation: While some communities have adopted ‘feature stagnation’ as their method of innovation, Fedora has been relentless in bringing new features to the Linux forefront.  I have already blogged about how Fedora 11 may possibly be the most innovative Linux release ever.  And, like always, these features are the kind that other distros get very excited about adopting.  This is the ultimate acknowledgment that your feature set is full of great ideas.

2.  Increased quality of release: Paul Frields recently articulated how release quality has become a major goal of the Fedora project.    Fedora has shown it is possible to be a very innovative Linux distribution while at the same time giving users a solid experience. To quote the media: “The best thing of all [these features] is that they all work smoothly and seamlessly together. Fedora 10 is what a cutting edge Linux distribution should be. You don’t have to take my word for it. You can download this free community Linux distribution today from the Fedora download site. ”

3. Fantastic community:   Fedora’s commitment to community can be seen at all levels.  In time where many companies are distributing layoffs Red Hat continues to hire established community leaders, projects like fedora-community and the Mokhsa are in full force, and new ambassadors are joining the project literally every day. (Statistically)  The Fedora Project not only produces great software, but has built a community people are excited to be a part of.  That makes a difference.