Screencast: How to Build a Fedora 10 Remix

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I made a two-part screencast on how to build a Fedora Linux remix. The first video has some slides at the beginning that explains the process and then walks through it with a live demo. The second video boots the LiveDVD that was created, shows an "Install to Hard Drive" and then shows some of the features of the remix.

Why would you want to make a remix? Two common reasons:

1) You want updated install media that has all of the updates already applied. Given the fact that Fedora has a lot of package churn and a constant stream of security fixes, bug fixes and feature enhancement updates, their install media gets out of date pretty quickly. That is especially the case if you want to use an .iso image of the LiveCD media to make a LiveUSB out of.

2) You want more software included on the Live media than Fedora provides. The Fedora folks usually fill up a single CD but how about a LiveDVD with additional desktop environments, a slew of window managers, a ton of application software, and multimedia apps that Fedora won't include in the distro? That's what I make during the screencast... a custom LiveDVD with all of the updates applied and all of the additional software I want in a LiveDVD with a painless, quick install-to-hard-drive if desired.

Here is the end result. I boot the the LiveDVD image and even do an install.

You can find the full-quality Ogg Theora videos here (Right-click, Save Link As..):
fedora-10-remix.ogv (130MB)
fedora-10-remix-boot.ogv (65MB)

Screencast: A Brief Introduction to OpenVZ

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The first "Introduction to OpenVZ" screencast that I did was over 1.5 years ago and it has become somewhat outdated... so I decided to make a new one.

If desired, you may download the full-quality Ogg Theora video:
openvz-brief-intro.ogv (114MB) (Right-click, Save Link As...)

Review: Fedora 10


Fedora 10Fedora 10Fedora 10 was officially released on Tuesday November 25, 2008. Since its release I have installed it on a number of machines and been running it as my full-time desktop. I added screenshots for the Syslinux boot screen, Plymouth in text mode, GDM, GNOME Desktop, GNOME Window Decorations, KDM, KDE Startup, KDE Desktop and KDE Window Decorations.

The Daemon, the GNU, and the Penguin


In March of 2005 Dr. Peter H. Salus started writing a book which he posted a chapter at a time on Groklaw. You may recall that Groklaw is a website that sprang into prominence after SCO filed suite against IBM. Part of Groklaw's goals were to analyse and report on the case and to help gather up historical information about the development of Unix and Linux (and everything related) such that it could be used to dispute the claims of SCO.

It appears that the SCO vs. Novell case has come to an end today.

Getting back to Dr. Salus' book, it is entitled, The Daemon, the GNU, and the Penguin: A History of Free and Open Source. A while ago I discovered the book on Groklaw and since it is licensed under a Creative Commons Atrribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License I gathered up the web pages and assembled them into a nice printable format (PDF) which you can find as an attachment to this blog entry.

Some years ago I purchased Dr. Salus' A Quarter Century of UNIX and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I loaned it out to a student at Rocky Mountain College who was doing a report and don't think I ever got it back. Oh well, there are plenty of used copies for sale.

Give The Daemon, the GNU, and the Penguin a read. It is worth your time.

Screencast: vzpkg2 & pkg-cacher

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Robert Nelson released an updated version of vzpkg2, pkg-cacher as well as OS Template Metadata packages for Fedora, CentOS, Debian and Ubuntu. In all there are 48 different OS Templates that can easily be made using this software and I'm wanting to get more people in the community interested so I made a screencast.

If you want the full-quality version, right-click on the following URL and save as. It is an Ogg Theora video and recorded with gtk-recordMyDesktop:

vzpkg2-screencast.ogv (69MB) (Right-click, Save Link As...)

Interview: vzpkg2 and pkg-cacher creator Robert Nelson


Robert Nelson seems to have come out of nowhere with an update to vzpkg. Before we get started let me briefly review what vzpkg is.

An OS Template is what OpenVZ uses as install media so you may install a Linux distribution into a container... since you cannot use a traditional CD-ROM / DVD nor .iso disk image. An OS Template is a .tar.gz file that represents a somewhat stripped down version of an installed Linux distribution as you would find it installed on a disk filesystem. So, if you want to create a CentOS 5.2 i386 container, you need to find an CentOS 5.2 i386 OS Template.

There are a number of recipes on the OpenVZ wiki for building OS Templates for various Linux distributions but the general process takes several steps and is quite a bit of work. Any tool that can simplify the creation (and updating) of an OS Template is a welcome addition. OpenVZ comes with vzpkgcache (part of the vzpkg package) which is designed to facilitate OS Template creation for Red Hat based distributions.

A response to "The Fedora-Red Hat Crisis"


As seen on Slashdot and elsewhere is the Bruce Byfield article entitled "The Fedora-Red Hat Crisis".

I'd put this response as a comment to the article on the place where it was published but the site doesn't appear to have a comment system... but given all of the ads there, perhaps I missed it. Anyway... Bruce is inaccurate in a few points that I feel must be addressed.

Perhaps I should have done a better job with my references and as time passes I'll try to improve this... but I wanted to get it out there ASAP.

Qumranet Joins Red Hat - Lots of questions

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As has been reported elsewhere, take the front page of Red Hat's website for example, Red Hat has "acquired" Qumranet Inc for a little over $100 million. In a presentation a month or two back for the BozemanLUG meeting... I played some demo videos of Qumranet's Solid ICE product and discussed KVM. Just in case you weren't aware, Qumranet is the company that sponsors the development of the Kernel Based Virtual Machine which got merged into the mainline Linux kernel starting with version 2.6.20. KVM requires hardware support for virtualization to be present in the CPU (Intel VT / AMD-V).

Doesn't Red Hat already use Xen in RHEL?

Yes, Red Hat does use Xen in RHEL although they prefer the term, Red Hat Virtualization. Fedora added support for KVM some time ago... and Red Hat has been working hard to help KVM get to the point where it is mature enough to become a replacement for Xen. They have also been funding a number FOSS virtualization related projects (see oVirt for example) several which support KVM.

Dell Latitude On - Embedded Linux subsystem?


Just in case you haven't heard, Dell recently announced a new range of laptops that should be shipping before the end of the year. One exciting new feature is "Latitude On". What is that? Have you heard of Splashtop? If not, check out this video. Latitude is similar BUT unlike Splashtop which is software only, Latitude On includes a hardware subsystem so it uses its own CPU and other resources separate from the main CPU and OS on the system. The advantage is that Latitude On will use way less power... and will supposedly have a battery life of days. Dell didn't make the distro they are embedding but they won't yet say who did. Here's a video from the press conference Dell gave.

Containers in mainline Linux kernel when?

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I'm a long time reader and subscriber to LWN (Linux Weekly News). LWN is probably the best Linux news site out there with regards to covering kernel development and I often find myself eating up considerable amounts of time sifting through their articles. This week they had an article covering some recent progress in the mainline kernel on checkpointing and restoring of processes and containers of processes... and I wrote a somewhat lengthy response that I decided to share here. I would link to the LWN's original article but it won't be anonymously accessible until next week.