Scott Dowdle's blog

Fedora: How many Fedora-based distros are there?

I noticed the creation of a new Fedora mailing list today when Rahul Sundaram sent out the first post on it... a mailing list for Fedora Remixers.

That made me wonder just how many Linux distributions there are that are Fedora-based. I did a quick search and found a Fedora wiki page that says, "There are roughly over a hundred distributions based on Fedora." Then it links to a distrowatch.com search page that shows 41 distributions that are "Fedora based".

I decided to take a brief look at those 41 distros to see how many were still active and if they were actually based on Fedora. I do not consider CentOS / RHEL derived distributions to be strictly "Fedora-based".

What do I consider active? Given Fedora's rapid release cycle and their somewhat brief support cycle, any distro that hasn't released in a year or more, isn't very active.


OpenVZ: Contributed Fedora 14 OS Templates

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I noticed Kir's blog post about the updated vzctl today. Cool! Finally I can create Fedora 14 containers... and the container restart mechanism has been fixed up too.

I downloaded the beta OS Template that the OpenVZ Projects offers for Fedora 14, created a container, did all of the updates, removed the samba* packages, added a few packages I wanted (mc, screen, links), and modified the httpd.conf so it is more like factory. Then I disabled a few services that aren't really needed... after all, who needs xinetd running when it it doesn't have any services configured? Then I stopped the container, cleaned up the container filesystem some, and tar.gz'ed it up and uploaded it as a contrib OS Template.

I did this for both the 32-bit and 64-bit OS Templates. Enjoy!


Fedora: A Bug Report I Filed Today

While investigating a bug in TigerVNC and noticing it was fixed in a recentupdate I discovered that there was a tigervnc-license package. Just what is that? ...I wondered. When I found out I felt compelled to submit a bug report that I thought I'd share.


LXC: Ubuntu Working to Improve Containers

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I'm not familiar enough with Ubuntu Development to know just how far this might go but at the very least it appears that some Ubuntu developers have identified as a goal to make LXC usable for production stuff and to put it on par with KVM.

How to make LXC ready for production?

The linux container tools (http://lxc.sourceforge.net) raised some interest for the community but there are crucial functionalities which are missing. The purpose of the session is to identify these missing functionalities and prioritize them in order to have a ready for production component for the Natty server delivery.

CloudServerNContainersFinetune

Make the use of containers for service segregation on par with KVM in terms of functionality and transparancy.
[...]
Joe is a system administrator who wants to start a temporary image to run postfix. To save on resources he runs it using a container. He wants to be able to update the image without fear of updates un-doing hacks needed for containers.

Jane is a system administrator who wants to be able to mix containers with KVM VMs through libvirt. She wants libvirt to auto-start containers, and virt-manager to cleanly shut down the containers.

So far I see identification of problems and need for various features... and a LOT of "todo" lists. I hope they get a significant chunk of that accomplished... so that it can filter back upstream and be used by other distros too.


HOWTO: CentOS 5 Medialess Remote Install Over VNC

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There have been a few occasions where I have wanted to install CentOS on a remote machine that already had a working flavor of Linux on it. Luckily RHEL / CentOS has a way to do this.

Basic Steps

  1. Download the PXE CentOS kernel and initrd image
  2. Configure the bootloader to boot the CentOS kernel by default
  3. Configure the bootloader with extra parameters for networking and remote VNC
  4. Reboot the machine
  5. Run the vncviewer in listen mode with port 5500 accessible

Taking SPICE for a Spin

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I finally figured out how to get SPICE working on Fedora 14.

What is SPICE? - It stands for "Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments". What does that mean exactly? SPICE is a remote display protocol designed specifically for use with the Linux kernel's built-in virtualization hypervisor KVM. SPICE is similar to terminal services but rather than multiple users sharing a single, remote physical machine, SPICE allows you to graphically connect to and use a local or a remote KVM virtual machine.

For those who want to just watch a video, here it is. Please note that I kept bumping the tripod by accident and autofocus can be annoying in some spots... and it isn't the highest quality... BUT it does give you a good idea of how well SPICE works.

If you can't see it, your browser probably doesn't support the WEBM video format yet. Right-click on any of the links below (webm and ogv) and download. Then play the file you downloaded in a recent version of VLC.

http://www.archive.org/download/TakingSpiceForASpin/spice-for-a-spin.webm
http://www.archive.org/download/TakingSpiceForASpin/spice-for-a-spin.ogv

Fedora 14: Who is Reviewing the Reviewers?

I like to write reviews. I have written quite a few of them over the years... even back in my Atari days for a few print magazines. I mention this because while I'd like to write a review of the Fedora 14 release I feel like too much of an insider to be objective and I'd have trouble being as critical as a non-biased observer would be.

The Anti-Review

Yesterday I ran across a link on Fedora Planet for a video review on the Linux Action Show. I have watched a few of the LAS episodes before but am not a regular viewer... but since the topic of the episode was listed as "Fedora 14 Review" I decided to give it a viewing. About 33 minutes into it they get to the Fedora review... although it is hard for me to call it a review. It is unfortunate but they started with the Fedora 14 Release Announcement and used that as a basis for their review. Historically release announcements are very brief documents that give only spartan details but include links to other sources of more complete information, like the Fedora 14 Release Notes for example. Given the fact that the release announcement only states two new features for desktop users (libjpeg-turbo and Spice) it seems they assumed that was all there was to the release, given the fact that their main focus is desktop usage. As a result they spent most of their review time in ridicule mode... divided in two... with both an attempt at humor and at a "wake up call" style denouncement of everything Fedora. They even included an original conspiracy theory.

I think everyone who knows me understands I have a pretty healthy sense of humor that can sometimes go to the dark side... but I found almost nothing about their show funny. I'm guessing some people find their show hilarious... but me... and this episode... I'd say frustration was my reaction.

I did get on the Linux Action Show IRC channel (the only form of contact on their contact page that I use) for a few minutes and discuss with someone (probably not them) that it was unfortunate that Bryan and Chris had chosen the very brief release announcement as the authoritative source of "what's new in Fedora 14" rather than the release notes... but I do concede that the release announcement could have been much better than it was.


Fedora 14 Coming Soon

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Fedora 14 WallpaperFedora 14 WallpaperThe Fedora 14 RC1 build passed QA and it is a go. Fedora 14 will be released on schedule on Tuesday, Nov. 2nd, which many of us know as "voting day".

I've been following the development and building my MontanaLinux remix every so often, usually after a bunch of updates. All in all, I'm pretty impressed with the release.

Getting It

If you know where to find the RC1 release, which is freely available, that is the final release (to the best of my knowledge). So if you want Fedora 14 early, download that. I did, although I'm mainly using my remix.

Death of the Desktop Take III - A Post-PC World?

Someone at work passed around the parting memo of a Microsoft technology leader... to spark a discussion on what we see as future trends in technology. I made a long reply so I thought I'd duplicate it here.


Video: Nicholas Negroponte on The Colbert Report

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I've been watching The Colbert Report since episode one from five years ago... and I see sites like crooksandliars posting videos from TCR and The Daily Show all the time... so I assume it is ok to post... but if someone from Viacom says otherwise, I'll gladly take it down.

Anyway, Nicholas Negroponte was a guest and although there isn't much real content for us Linux / OLPC knowledgeable folks, it is still fun to watch. Embedded is the webm version.

If inline playback isn't available, feel free to download the Ogg Theora flavor.

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