Scott Dowdle's blog

MontanaLinux Remix Update

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Since the Fedora Remix build process on Fedora 13 broke some time ago after some package upgrades and they were dragging their feet about fixing it, I switched to Fedora 14 devel for my MontanaLinux Remix effort. It sure is fun. Luckily the RPM Fusion folks have devel packages for Fedora 14 so I'm not missing anything.

The only problem I've run into is with adding the Google Chrome Browser to my package set. For some reason, if I install Google Chrome as part of the build, I run into a issue with a failure to umount a loopback interface that causes the building of the iso to fail. Removing Google Chrome from the package list makes the issue go away. I guess that's actually a good thing because I'm not sure how Google would feel with me pre-installing their browser and distributing it. If I had picked Chromium, I'm sure there wouldn't be a distribution issue.

Anyway, the switch to Fedora 14 devel seems to have worked out quite well and it is actually in pretty good shape. There is one minor bug that I find annoying and hope they get fixed before the final release. Also the devel kernel has a lot of debugging options turned on that makes it a bit slower than usual, and I do have an occasional issue with sound after resuming from sleep on my Acer netbook... but I'm guessing that will get fixed in the release kernel. The switch has gotten me more involved with testing and reporting bugs and that is good.

If anyone wants to give it a try, email me and I'll give you a URL to download the .iso. 32-bit and 64-bit versions are available.


BozemanLUG: Looking to the Future

So many situations theses days remind me of a passage from Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.

It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair,

we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way— in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Such is it with Linux and the BozemanLUG.


Why is Red Hat promoting Flash video content?

One thing I find annoying is that all of the videos from the KVM Forum 2010 event have been posted to Vimeo... and seem only available in streaming Flash format.

This leads me to wonder if they are intentionally keeping people from downloading these videos and remixing them? If so, that is really strange because they typically use a Creative Commons license for most of their media. Why don't they use archive.org or some other service that offers in multiple formats with download capabilities? Why are they promoting Flash?

I assume it is someone from Red Hat on behalf of the company because the name of the account posting the videos is Red Hat Video and they are using the Red Hat logo.

I do want to thank the person(s) who took the time to record the videos and processed them so that they could be shared online... I'd just like to see them more freely available.


Video: A Digital Media Primer for Geeks

I'm not going to say I understood everything in this video the first time through but it did explain a lot of the terms I've run across so for that I'm thankful. I'm embedding the WebM video which can only be played inline by newer releases of Google Chrome and Opera. Firefox adds WebM support in the upcoming Firefox 4 release.

If inline playback isn't available, feel free to download the webm file or visit the video's home for more sizes and formats.

Video: Jon Corbet - The Kernel Report

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You should know Jon Corbet from Linux Weekly News but he is also well known for his periodic Kernel Report presentations. Here is the most recent one from LinuxCon 2010.

If your browser can't play Ogg Theora video, here's a download link:
http://ftp.osuosl.org/pub/linuxfoundation/linuxcon2010/d3/ogg/p5_corbet.ogg

For some reason the extension given is .ogg when .ogv would be better. Need a player? Try VLC.

Video: Your Desktop is Free but Where's Your Data?

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This is from LinuxCon 2010 from August 10-12, in Boston. Stormy Peters from the GNOME Foundation talks about the various non-free web services so many of us use and how that might be a bad thing. This seems to be a reoccurring theme lately eh? That's because there is something to it.

If your browser can't play Ogg Theora video, here's a download link:
http://ftp.osuosl.org/pub/linuxfoundation/linuxcon2010/d3/ogg/p1_peters.ogg

For some reason the extension given is .ogg when .ogv would be better. Need a player? Try VLC.

MontanaLinux Remix: The Bug Fairy Pays a Visit

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I've been building a Fedora Remix for some time now. If I remember correctly I started around Fedora 9 and have continued to build them with each new release. I'm on Fedora 13 now. I usually rebuild the remix every time a new set of updates comes out. So far I had rebuilt the i686 and the x86_64 remix 46 times each... and then someone reported some problems with the last couple of builds. I didn't notice because I had been on vacation and was doing the rebuilds remotely without testing the final product. I figured if it built ok, it was probably ok... because I hadn't previously had any problems with any builds.


Death of the Desktop Take II

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I wrote a rather long response to a posting I saw on Fedora Planet entitled, "Death of the Year of the Linux Desktop". I'm sharing it here as well.

- - - -

The desktop is dead? Some disagree. See this very compressed video on the "Death of the Desktop":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQzZVP1mua0

What makes someone a winner and what makes someone a loser? Linux on the desktop has tens of millions of users. While that might not be double-digit market share it is still a significant number of users. Anyone who looks at those numbers and calls them losing must have thought the game was winnable to begin with. It wasn't. FOSS does not spend hundreds of millions on advertising and billions on under-the-table deals with hardware makers... FOSS simply does not operate on the same playing field. The free hand of the market happens to be attached to a twisted arm.

In reality there aren't any winners and losers because it isn't a race. While those who are in it for money have certain ways to measure success, in FOSS you just make the best software you can and hope users will appreciate it. Of course the squeaky wheels always make the most noise and there are lots of complainers out there (see discussions on KDE 3.x vs. 4.x as an example) but that doesn't mean that vast majority of us FOSS users aren't very happy.


Ubuntu is Just All Right with Me

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If you know me, you know I'm a Red Hat / Fedora fanboy. I have written a blog post that explain why I'm fond of them and when someone asks me, I refer to it.

Recently a GNOME survey (aka the Neary report) came out that showed who contributes to GNOME and at what levels. Not so oddly enough the results of it turned out similarly to periodic Linux kernel surveys done by LWN and Greg KH. The results being that Red Hat is the top named contributor.

It just so happens that Canonical (the sponsor of Ubuntu) typically does not fair so well on such surveys and as a result they are often criticized for their perceived lack of upstream contributions.


OpenNode Status Update

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I don't usually repost mailing list messages but just got this one in my inbox from the OpenNode folks. Since I'm a big virtualization geek, I'm sharing. Haven't heard of OpenNode? Here's a brief description before I get to the status update email:

OpenNode is a open source server virtualization solution providing easy to use (CentOS / RHEL based) bare-metal ISO installer and supporting both OpenVZ container-based virtualization and emerging KVM full virtualization technology on the same physical host.

So, OpenNode is a lot like Proxmox VE except OpenNode is based on CentOS and uses libvirt, virt-manager, and other Red Hat standard tools.


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