Video: LXC, from Start to Finish

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Fri, 09/08/2017 - 21:14

LXC is a native form of containers available in the mainline Linux kernel for several years now.  Unlike Docker, LXC provides a full "system" container and can even be used for GUI desktop environments.

In this video I show how to install and setup LXC on a Fedora 26 host as well as how to create your first container (also Fedora 26) which is very minimal... and how to build it up via package manager to a complete GUI container including video and audio playback accessed via the x2go remoting protocol that runs over ssh.

I have also made GUI containers of other distributions including CentOS 7, Ubuntu 16.04, Debian 9, and OpenSUSE 42.3... using the pre-made OS Templates shown listed in the video... using their native packages managers, mostly the same packages, and all running systemd and accessible via x2go.

Screencast recorded under Fedora 26 with simplescreenrecorder from the rpmfusion repository.

I did make a few minor mistakes and typos along the way, but making mistakes is how we learn, right?

Higher resolution / quality downloadable version:
lxc-start-to-finish-20170908.webm (34m:19s, 196MB)

Fedora Release Time: Welcome F26

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Sat, 07/08/2017 - 18:40

There was a GO / NO GO meeting earlier in the week and the Fedora 26 RC 1.5 build passed.  As a result Fedora 26 will be officially released on Tuesday, July 11th.  According to the original schedule, F26 was set to be released on June 6th.  It got bumped 5 times during the alpha and beta phases but that pretty much always happens to this distro that is constantly leading the pack with innovation. 

What are the new features?  Check out the release notes and/or the changeset.  There are quite a few changes to the installer. Just be aware there are a ton of normal updates beyond the changeset and I mean... how about that new desktop background?  LXQT users will also be happy to have their own Spin now.  Don't forget that Fedora appears to be supporting quite a few arches, some as primary and others as secondary.  Not as many as Debian and Gentoo but still.  Which arches?  aarch64, armhfp, i386, ppc64, ppc64le, and x86_64.  I'm only using the later myself.

I've been using Fedora 26 since before the alpha release.  How is that?  For many years now they have been producing nightly-builds if you knew where to look.  I just took one of the nightly builds and did an install... and then crawled along updating all the way through alpha and beta to final.  I mainly start early because I like to build my own remix with all of the desktop environments installed and the earlier I start the longer I have to work on perfecting it to my own tastes.  Here's some instructions if you have any desire to make your own spin or remix.  About the time the beta came out I started running F26 on my laptop and work machine exclusively.  It has been stable for me the entire time.

My main home server machine is always the last to move to a new release and I just upgraded to F26 from F25 today.  Since I have a lot of packages installed it did take a while.  Let it be known that rpmfusion has had packages for F26 since around the alpha release and as a result I was able to just upgrade everything and not have to worry about removing much because third-party packages were missing... because they weren't.  For a long time I have been a fan of clean installs but with the home server I have a particular application installed that has to pull down a ton of data post install if I were to do a clean install (plexmediaserver)... so I've been upgrading that machine with each release for quite a few releases now.  Upgrades for me have been completely painless for several releases now.  It helps when Linux / Fedora likes your hardware and you aren't using any proprietary drivers (no nVidia here).

Fantastic job Fedora Project!  I also wanted to give a shout out to the fine fellows that make up the Respin SIG.  They have been providing updated iso media for all of the Fedora Spins (including Workstation) for several releases now and generally make new ones every other kernel update, which in Fedora is quite often.  I'm not sure everyone knows about the periodic refreshed media that they provide because they are mainly only promoted on Fedora Planet and the Fedora IRC channel.  Keep up the good work!  There are a ton up post-release updates for Fedora 26 already so I'm sure they'll be getting to work on refreshed F26 media RSN.

Videos: Red Hat Summit 2017

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Thu, 05/18/2017 - 10:20

A significant number of Red Hat Summit 2017 presentation videos  and breakout sessions (all of them?) have been posted to YouTube.  Four presentation themes emerged for me: 1) OpenShift / containers / microservices, 2) Java related stuff, 3) Ceph and/or Gluster filesystems, and 4) Microsoft products on Linux (SQL Server, .Net, etc).

Some people aren't too happy nor trustful of Microsoft's whole, "we love open source" mantra but given the fact that 1/3rd of Azure is Linux VMs and they have been porting more and more things to Linux including several open source products, I give them some credit.

Below I embedded the one on SQL Server on RHEL and OpenShift.  Enjoy.

Update: Scanning through a significant number of the videos I notice that the vast majority of presenters are using Mac laptops running Mac OS X.  There are small handful of HP laptops and others... and some are running RHEL... but even the RHEL users are mostly using Google Chrome browser.  Pretty disappointing.  The "Red Hat Development Suite" presenter was using Windows 10.

LinuxFest Northwest 2017 Preview

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Wed, 05/03/2017 - 15:54

LFNW 2017 is in Bellingham, WA this weekend... and this will be my umteenth year of going (I've lost count... 10, 11?).  Looking at the schedule, here's what interests me thus far:

9:30am to 10:30am - Fedora: where we are and where we're going *OR* More Terrible Ideas for Containers? The Ideal and the Real Linux Container
10:45am to 12:15pm - Secure Cloud: Linode With Full Disk Encryption
1:00pm to 2:00pm - Cashless Society: a Credible Death Threat to Privacy
2:15pm to 3:15pm - Virtualized Gaming & Server performance using PCIe passthrough
3:30pm to 4:30pm - The Surveillance State in the Trump Era: Government Spying, Why it Matters, and What You Can Do

9:30am to 10:30am - Tiny Computers, JavaScript and MIDI
10:45am to 11:45am - RISC-V: Open Hardware for Your Open Source Software
12:30pm to 1:30pm - Things you didn't know Apache httpd could do
1:45pm to 2:45pm - Three Generations of FreeNAS: The World's most popular storage OS turns 12
3:00pm to 4:00pm - Container Images @ FB with Btrfs


RE: Lessons learned from the failure of Ubuntu Touch

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Tue, 04/25/2017 - 17:37

I am NOT a fan of Bryan Lunduke.  It is a personal shortcoming of mine.  I watched him a few times when he was a host of the Linux Action Show.  That was a few year ago.  Anyway... I just found his know-it-all and smartass attitude annoying (perhaps I don't like the competetion?).  Then I attended one of his "Linux Sucks" presentations at LFNW a few years back.  Soooo annoying.  He sure has been milking that for years.  He is also a big social media person.  Ok, lots of stuff I loathe rolled into one.  I generally don't dislike people.  I mean, I don't even know the guy... but anyway.

Mr. Lunduke wrote an article for NetworkWorld (where he goes by Linux Tycoon) entitled, "Lessons learned from the failure of Ubuntu Touch".   Just look at his avatar picture.  Could he possibly be more pretentious?  In the article he makes the case that Canonical bit off more than it could chew by trying to make too many new things... which leads to his advice that the way to success for a Linux mobile project would be by starting small and then building on it.  Wow... that is "deep thinking".  Maybe he should change his name to Jack Handey.  But seriously, I believe he totally oversimplifies Canonical's goal and completely discounts their reason for having elaborate features.  The reason was to attract potential cellphone service providers who would want to license Ubuntu Touch and ship it on lots of devices... and then attract the hardware OEMs... or vice-versa.  Canonical's goal was definitely not for it to be self-installable by geeks.  While during the development phase they had to go that route... unless they had a flashy project they'd never be able to become "pre-installed".

Remember that kickstarter type campaign where Canonical wanted to design and build the smartphone itself... and do the software for it?  It ultimately failed although they did get quite a bit of pledges from true believers.  Just think what a nightmare that would have turned out to be if it had gotten backing?  I digress... and I mean no disrespect to Canonical or their fine employees.  It is just a big thing... and with that being their first hardware venture, a monumental task that was doomed to failure.  Canonical is better at software, right?

Being successful in the mobile space (for an OS, a system platform, or hardware vendor) is just as hard or perhaps harder than being successful in the gaming console market.  You pretty much have to have hundreds of millions or billions of dollars (pounds, whatever) to burn before you have a hope of succeeding.  You pretty much have to buy your way into the market.  And even with all of that, you might not be successful at gaining significant marketshare.  Just ask Microsoft.  How much did Google invest in Android before it started being successful?  It seems like forever ago but it was less than a decade, right?

I'm not saying a small, open source project can't be successful in mobile... but there are many different goal levels and meanings of success.  While Lunduke's advice on how to be successful might work for a certain group of open source developers, that was not what Canonical was going after.  They wanted to rival Apple and Android as much as possible... and show something that was impressive / to be proud of... not some beginner, we'll make it better later.. starter kit.  How do I know all of this?  I don't.  I'm just guessing... but at least I'm admitting it.

It would be nice to know where Mr. Shuttleworth thinks they went wrong... or what lessons they learned.  Now that would be interesting and revealing.  Hearing what someone completely outside the project (so far as I know) thought the problems were and how to fix them, not so interesting.