Last night, in the wake of the excellent Fedora 14 release, I was feeling a little wistful. In part that’s because Fedora 14 marks the last release where I participated as the Fedora Project Leader or helped with FPL-ish release tasks. I’m confident Jared will do a great job with Fedora 15 and beyond, but I guess it’s a little like watching your kid go off to school for the first time. You’re excited for them, and hopeful about the future, but you also think back to how much fun it was to have your child around the house all the time, and see so many of the experiences they have, in real time.
So anyway, my wife had brought home the new Blu-ray edition of Toy Story 3, which certainly surpassed my expectations in being possibly the best of the three Toy Story movies. Now, if you haven’t seen the film, I’m not going to bother telling you why — just go out and see it now. In fact, if you haven’t seen any of the Toy Story movies, you need to start with the first one and watch all three. I promise you they are just as enjoyable for adults as they are for kids.
Interestingly, digital animation has come so far in the past 15 years that you can easily see the difference between the level of detail in the original Toy Story and what you find in TS3. But the story is what counts in every film — animated ones are no exception. And the people at Pixar are very clear that the story rules, first and foremost, in what they do. Each of the films is a masterpiece of storytelling, from the first frame to the last. Doubtless that’s why they’ve all been incredible box office successes, and have touched the hearts of literally billions of people around the world. See all of them at the first opportunity. Seriously!
So anyhow, we watched TS3 and greatly enjoyed it for the second time (having seen it in 3D in the theater with our kids this past summer). But then I got an extra bonus when I popped in Disc 2 of the set, the disc that includes a bunch of supplements. During the supplements, the filmmakers and crew at Pixar show off a lot of the work that goes into making one of these groundbreaking films. And thanks to the exceptional resolution of the Blu-ray format, you can pick out a lot of detail in the material they show.
Including the fact that the animators were running Fedora on a number of their systems!
This really made me happy, and quickly drove away any residual blues I might have had. What a wonderful thing it was to know that Fedora, in its own way, had something to do with bringing so much joy to so many people, including my own family! It was a really nice way to celebrate our latest Fedora release, and I just wanted to share that with everyone.
Also, I want to congratulate everyone who contributed to this release, and continues to do great work in the Fedora Project — whether it’s easy or difficult, fun or painstaking, lofty or detailed. You help make Fedora a great community, and that in turn has helped Fedora bring joy and freedom to countless people. WAY TO GO!
With only two days left until Fedora 14 release, I went ahead and upgraded the behemoth in my home office, a Dell XPS 730x workstation, to the new “Laughlin” release. Once again I used preupgrade to do the bulk of the work. Because there’s not an official preupgrade update out yet, I customized a releases.txt file to include a definition for Fedora 14, setting the baseurl and installurl values to a local mirror in my home network where I was mirroring the development/14 tree. (I probably should do something with MirrorManager to make my local network accept mirror requests locally, but I haven’t got a Round Tuit since I updated my server.)
Normally a user wouldn’t have to do this, of course. I only did it because I was impatient and didn’t want to wait. Most users could simply run preupgrade and click next a few times to do everything they want.
The key to preupgrade happiness is making sure that you have plenty of space in your /boot partition, and wherever you’re keeping /var/cache/yum. You can run df -h /boot /var/cache/yum to find out — You’ll probably want a few hundred MB free* in /boot, and 2 GB in /var/cache/yum should suffice, depending on how much stuff you have installed on your system. Even with quite a lot installed on my system, I only needed 1.2 GB to store packages, and had about 4.4 GB free, so it was smooth sailing.
Incidentally, this is where Logical Volume Management (LVM), as opposed to old, simple physical disk partitions comes in so handy. You can use LVM to adjust your partitions to give more space where you need it, when you need it, and in cases like this it’s an invaluable Fedora feature.
Once preupgrade downloaded everything it needed, it presented a dialog telling me I could reboot any time to finish the upgrade. After saving my work, I rebooted and the upgrade process started with no intervention needed. For 1549 packages, the final step of the process — upgrading the packages after rebooting — took approximately 75 minutes. A yum update process performs a lot of work beyond simply copying files onto the disk, to ensure your system’s integrity, so this extra time is to be expected. I like to wander off and work on something else while preupgrade runs, so the computer’s not wasting my time!
The only (optional) step I had to take was to switch my desktop background to the new artwork. (There are extra laughlin-backgrounds-* packages that include a number of striking photographs and alternate artwork, including an animated background that changes to reflect the time of day.) I also think this picture and this picture, both by Design team superstar Emily Dirsh, are beautiful alternatives.
This is the third time I’ve used preupgrade for an upgrade to the next Fedora release on a home system. From everything I’ve seen, it’s a great way to proceed if you don’t want to install from scratch and reconfigure lots of stuff. It’s exceptionally helpful in cases where you have a non-optimal setup that you don’t want to mess with, for example not having a separate /home partition, where otherwise you’d need to have a backup and restore process bracketing your installation.** Preupgrade is simple enough that almost anyone should be able to use it, just by clicking through simple prompts.
* The default for Fedora installations now is to use 500 MB for /boot — though it used to be much less. If you have less, you may want to consider doing a full backup, reinstalling (and choosing at least 500 MB for this partition), and then restoring your data. That way in the future you can use preupgrade.
** Note that frequent backups are still absolutely vital though, no matter what you run or how you upgrade.
Update: Changed the title of the post, which I can’t explain other than my not thinking clearly. Wrong idiom! Bad writer, no cookie!
Tomorrow, Tuesday September 7, there will be a Test Day for the new systemd init facility in Fedora 14. You can find the participants on IRC Freenode at #fedora-test-day.
Participating in a test day is simple, and you don’t even need to have the Fedora 14 prerelease installed on your system to participate. We have a nightly Live image that you’ll be able to download and run from USB to do all the testing. If you do have a prerelease of Fedora installed, though, you’ll want to make sure it’s updated with the latest software.
These Test Days are a marvelous way for the whole community to participate in the development of new and innovative software for Linux users everywhere. Whenever we have these test days, we communicate the issues we find to the upstream so they can make the software better for everyone. That’s the open source way at work.
You might also be interested to know that soon we’ll be having test days for the free graphical (Xorg) drivers for Nouveau, Radeon, and Intel graphics cards the days of September 28-30. These drivers have been making huge progress over the last few releases of Fedora, and the Test Days have definitely helped. Just about anyone can run the tests for these drivers and help us squash out bugs in your favorite system’s video card.
Please join us for systemd testing tomorrow, and keep your eyes peeled for news about other exciting test days. You can help make free software even better!
As John posted last night, Fedora 14 Alpha was declared ready for release next week. Although there was a one-week slip to handle the fact that our blocker list wasn’t clear, Fedora developers and testers in the community have worked hard together both to resolve the remaining issues and make sure that our Alpha would pass the release criteria. There were a number of developers who hopped in to fix things quickly to yield package builds that would clear the runway, so thanks to all of you guys.
I also wanted to take a moment to say how impressively the QA team has beefed up the definition of these criteria. Not only that, but the team continues to take opportunities to refine them whenever we hit a question that’s difficult to answer under the current criteria. We still can improve our effectiveness at turning the combination of the blocker bug list and the criteria into getting response from developers where needed, but that’s more of a shared issue. As with our criteria and our schedule, we continue to improve these processes in an iterative way, and openly to boot.
Here’s one place where everyone will be able to pitch in — making sure that any common issues in the Alpha are properly noted. We have a wiki page for common Fedora 14 issues, and it’s very important for us to keep it updated for all those trying out the pre-releases. If you’re in doubt whether it’s a common issue, that’s OK. There are some notes on that wiki page on how to add your issue:
If in doubt, we’d rather see the issue than not.
The Alpha release is meant for advanced users and Fedora participants to download and test. It’s not code-complete, meaning a few things may be broken. We want and need your help to identify, report, and resolve these problems. As always, the best way to do that is to file bugs! Random blog entries, tweets/dents, and mail may be interesting, but to track the problems to resolution, bugs are the right way to go. We look forward to your participation as always — if you’re not already installing from the pre-release tree, you’ll be able to pick up the official images next Tuesday, August 24.
In summary, nice job to everyone involved, and I’m looking forward to switching a few systems here at home to F14 Alpha!
The Fedora 14 name has been announced, and it's Laughlin.
Later this week our other election processes will be moving ahead as well. Paul Mellors and Larry Cafiero will post answers to the candidate questionnaire, and following that, John Rose will help kick off our series of live, IRC town hall meetings where our candidates will answer community questions. The coming elections of people to the Board and FESCo are probably more important than a release code name, so I want to thank our community in advance for their involvement, and especially our volunteers like Paul, John, and Larry for their assistance.
Voting is now open for the Fedora 14 release name. Naming the next release is yet another way that our community is involved in making the future of Fedora. If you're a member of any group in Fedora (beyond completing the CLA), you can vote on this ballot.
To cast your vote for the F14 name, login at the elections site. May the best name win!
We now have a wiki page open for suggestions for the Fedora 14 name.
Every release, we provide our community a chance to give name suggestions for the next one. Each consecutive name must be linked to the previous one, but that link must be different from the link that connected the previous releases. So for example, Fedora 12, Constantine, and Fedora 13, Goddard, are linked by being names of rocket scientists. Fedora 13 and Fedora 14 must share a different link.
You need to be able to truthfully complete the sentence, “Goddard is a ______, and so is <my suggestion>.”
There are links we don’t use because they’re too mundane or vague (like “is a place” or “is a word”), so those kinds of links will be discarded. Also, we simply can’t use names of companies or brand names for products, especially not if they’re related to IT, software, computers, or technology.
The wiki page has some helpful guidelines that will help your name suggestion pass muster. After the names are collected, the Board and Legal provide input for a short list, and that list comes before the community for a vote. We’ll announce the winning name around May 11, approximately a week before the release of Fedora 13.
We could use help in winnowing down that wiki list. If you’d like to help run some simple tests to ensure we have a clean ballot for our community, you can either respond on the advisory-board list, or let me know here or by email.