Video: LCA 2017 - Package Managers All the Way Down

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Tue, 02/07/2017 - 14:28

Anyone who has been using Linux for a while is familiar with package managers and package management.  Being a Fedora user, I have noticed a few projects that Fedora has in the works to augment package management.  For example, Fedora Atomic does not the traditional package manager (dnf) but uses rpm-ostree instead.  Why would Fedora be working on additional packaging systems?  What is wrong with existing package managers?  I have been asking myself those questions for some time now.

Kristoffer Grönlund provides answers to those questions in a talk entitled, "Package Manages all the way down".  Enjoy.

FedBerry 25 on the Raspberry Pi 3

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Sat, 01/21/2017 - 19:24

FebBerry LogoI've been running FedBerry 24 on my Rasperry Pi 3 for some time now.  It has been hooked up to the HDTV in the back bedroom.  While I don't use it on a daily basis, I do try to login to it once a week or so and keep it updated... and reboot whenever there is a kernel update. Given the rate of Fedora updates and frequent FedBerry kernel updates, the project is fairly active.

What is FedBerry?  FedBerry is a Fedora-remix made by three guys who have built glue packages for Fedora's ARM release and produced a few different images for the RPi 2 and Pi 3.  Download the .tar.xz, decompress and write it to a microSD card, insert card into Raspberry Pi... and snap... you have Fedora.  They started with Fedora 23, are on Fedora 24 now, and fairly recently released packages for Fedora 25... although no images for Fedora 25 yet.

As I write this, I'm in the middle of upgrading my F24 system to F25.  The number of packages the FedBerry folks have to produce is pretty small.  They are mostly related to the kernel and various branding packages.  It really isn't that far away from Fedora's ARM build.  Fedora has said that they are working on getting a release to run on the Raspberry Pi but historically there have been a few roadblocks that over time have been dissolving.  The main ones were with kernel support that wasn't in mainline and/or proprietary and the use of the FAT filesystem for the boot partition... or something like that.  I read a few blog posts on it a couple of months ago but don't remember the exact details.

Anyhoo, I run XFCE and a host of other common desktop software on the RPi3 and it works great.  While it is no speed demon, all of the hardware works including the wifi.  I can ssh into it and even connect to it via x2go for a remote XFCE session.  Overall, I'm very impressed with FedBerry.

I will update this post with info on how the upgrade went.  The FedBerry devs didn't announce their F25 packages, or at least not that I saw, but I noticed a 25 directory on their repo site and thought I'd stick my neck out.  If it fails on me, it would really be my fault for being a earlier-than-early adopter... but so far it seems to be working.

Update: The upgrade went fine.  Rebooted and had a 4.9.2 Linux kernel. FB24 had 4.4.41.  All the hardware continues to work fine.  Thanks FedBerry!

The method I used was: dnf system-upgrade download --nogpgcheck --releasever=25 followed by dnf system-upgrade reboot

Video: What's Next for Containers?

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Wed, 11/02/2016 - 09:50

Red Hat's Vincent Batts gives a  presentation at systemd.conf 2016 conference entitled, "What's next for containers?".  It is a good overview of where the various container projects are (with no mention of OpenVZ however) and what work needs to be done.  I enjoyed his assessment that the first thing that is next is, "Get Past the Hype," and to, "Make Containers Boring."  Vincent goes over several of the userland tools as well as covers the areas where Linux native containers still need work.  Enjoy.

Video: systemd.conf 2016 - State of the Union / Portable Services

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Wed, 11/02/2016 - 09:45

There have been a ton of conferences in the last couple of months... and luckily a lot of the presentations were recorded and have been posted.  Here is Lennart Poettering's presentation from the systemd.conf 2016 conference on, "State of the Union / Portable Services".  Enjoy.

Audio: Open Source Security Podcast, Episode 10

Submitted by Scott Dowdle on Tue, 10/25/2016 - 11:44

Everyone has been sweating the DirtyCOW bug that has been in the Linux kernel for over 9 years.  I recently discovered the Open Source Security Podcast and their most recent episode covers DirtyCOW some in a way I found interesting so I thought I'd share.  Enjoy!

Notice that is in Opus format which should play in Firefox and Google Chrome just fine... and supposedly Microsoft's Edge. Apple's Safari? Not so much

CloudReady by neverware

Submitted by Putz3000 on Thu, 09/29/2016 - 23:31

I thought I would put together a quick “installation” review of a product called CloudReady by neverware. What is CloudReady? CloudReady is basically a project to bring Chromium OS to those who would like to convert traditional laptops into Chromebook-like devices. I stumbled on them several months ago and finally decided to see how hard it was to install Chromium OS and how functional it actually was as a Chromebook-like device. I have a few low end (netbook-like) devices and I have been trying to figure out how I could make them functional for my boys, I thought this might be the solution.

neverware offers two solutions, one is via paid support that I believe is largely aimed at school districts but I would assume is available to anyone wanting to buy support. The other offering is free for home users and this is the option I took. There is a certified hardware list in the form of a PDF but that does not mean CloudReady can’t be installed on a device not on the hardware list. It just means neverware has not certified against that hardware. neverware also offers a fairly simple set of installation instructions. Possibly too simple as it took me two attempts because I did not read the instructions close enough the first time.

Initially I did not look at the certified hardware list as I was just “dinking” around with both CloudReady as well as a little HP Mini 5102. I approached this project as it would either run or not run and just plowed into this headfirst with a “no guts, no glory” mind set. I would recommend looking at the certified hardware list to see if your device is on the list. If so look closely at the information provided. Some hardware may need to be updated to a certain BIOS version before working. If you want the easy way to create a bootable USB drive you will need to use a Windows computer or Mac computer. I do not know why a company like Google, who is very much linked to Linux through Android as well as workstations used within the company as well as their Chromebook OS refuses to offer much in the line of Linux support, but it’s no different here. I believe there might be instructions on the neverware website for building the bootable USB installer using Linux but the simpler method is to use a Chrome extension under Windows or Mac OS to create the needed USB bootable installer. Once you have created the bootable USB drive you will want to boot your device from it. When the boot wizard displays a window that allows you to connect to a network you will want to click in the lower right task bar to bring up a menu that allows you to install CloudReady on your devices local hardware. You do not need a network connection for the installation. After selecting the option to install CloudReady you will be asked if you want a “stand alone installation” or a “dual boot installation.” neverware cautions that the dual boot option may not work on all hardware. I cannot comment on dual booting CloudReady as I have not attempted a dual boot installation with any of the installations I have done. After selecting the type of installation (stand alone or dual boot) the installer takes over and approximately 20 minutes later your device will power off indicating the installation is complete.

Now that the installation is over, remove the USB installer and power on your device. You will be offered the opportunity to install an Adobe Flash module which you can allow or decline. After that you will be prompted for your Google hosted account (Gmail or personal domain hosted with Google). It is at this stage that you must have a connection to the Internet either by Ethernet or WiFi. Once logged in you are good to go. There are some differences that will require some extra effort and possibly the installation of Chrome extensions. Off hand it would appear to me to be centered around DRM type content situations such as streaming multi-media like Netflix. You can find information on the neverware forums if this is an issue you want to tackle.

My first installation was not without troubleshooting issues. The first issue I faced was because I did not read the instructions close enough. I missed the step to actually select installing CloudReady to the devices local hard drive and instead logged in with a Google account basically converting my USB installer into a CloudReady boot disk. After reading the instructions a little closer I started over and actually selected the option to install CloudReady to the HP mini’s hard drive. After the HP mini 5102 powered off I thought for sure everything was good to go and hit the power button expecting a “Chromebook” like boot experience. I was a bit disappointed and confused when I received a “non system disk” boot error. This confused me a bit because booting from a USB stick worked fine which would indicate the only hardware problem of note would be hard drive vs USB. It was at this point that I eventually decided to look at the certified hardware list and saw that the HP mini 5102 was not on the list...but the 5103 model was. Thinking that there might not be much difference between the models I decided to take a look at the information for the 5103 and ended up noticing a BIOS firmware version requirement. I checked HP’s website and found that the 5102’s BIOS was pretty far out of date so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to update. After updating the BIOS on the 5102, I restarted and was presented with the CloudReady logo and login opportunity. I will say that after briefly playing with CloudReady, it would seem to me that you will be much happier using devices with reasonable computing resources but if you have ever looked into official Chromebooks you will know that is the recommendations for actual Chromebooks as well. All in all, CloudReady seems to deliver a Chrome OS experience just like I had expected. If you decide to try CloudReady out please leave a comment and tell me about your experience.I thought I would put together a quick “installation” review of a product called CloudReady by neverware (https://www.neverware.com/). What is CloudReady? CloudReady is basically a project to bring Chromium OS to those who would like to convert traditional laptops into Chromebook-like devices. I stumbled on them several months ago and finally decided to see how hard it was to install Chromium OS and how functional it actually was as a Chromebook-like device. I have a few low end (netbook-like) devices and I have been trying to figure out how I could make them functional for my boys, I thought this might be the solution.

neverware offers two solutions, one is via paid support that I believe is largely aimed at school districts but I would assume is available to anyone wanting to buy support. The other offering is free for home users and this is the option I took. There is a certified hardware list in the form of a PDF but that does not mean CloudReady can’t be installed on a device not on the hardware list. It just means neverware has not certified against that hardware. neverware also offers a fairly simple set of installation instructions. Possibly too simple as it took me two attempts because I did not read the instructions close enough the first time.neverware offers two solutions, one is via paid support that I believe is largely aimed at school districts but I would assume is available to anyone wanting to buy support. The other offering is free for home users and this is the option I took. There is a certified hardware list in the form of a PDF but that does not mean CloudReady can’t be installed on a device not on the hardware list. It just means neverware has not certified against that hardware. neverware also offers a fairly simple set of installation instructions. Possibly too simple as it took me two attempts because I did not read the instructions close enough the first time.

Initially I did not look at the certified hardware list as I was just “dinking” around with both CloudReady as well as a little HP Mini 5102. I approached this project as it would either run or not run and just plowed into this headfirst with a “no guts, no glory” mind set. I would recommend looking at the certified hardware list to see if your device is on the list. If so look closely at the information provided. Some hardware may need to be updated to a certain BIOS version before working. If you want the easy way to create a bootable USB drive you will need to use a Windows computer or Mac computer. I do not know why a company like Google, who is very much linked to Linux through Android as well as workstations used within the company as well as their Chromebook OS refuses to offer much in the line of Linux support, but it’s no different here. I believe there might be instructions on the neverware website for building the bootable USB installer using Linux but the simpler method is to use a Chrome extension under Windows or Mac OS to create the needed USB bootable installer. Once you have created the bootable USB drive you will want to boot your device from it. When the boot wizard displays a window that allows you to connect to a network you will want to click in the lower right task bar to bring up a menu that allows you to install CloudReady on your devices local hardware. You do not need a network connection for the installation. After selecting the option to install CloudReady you will be asked if you want a “stand alone installation” or a “dual boot installation.” neverware cautions that the dual boot option may not work on all hardware. I cannot comment on dual booting CloudReady as I have not attempted a dual boot installation with any of the installations I have done. After selecting the type of installation (stand alone or dual boot) the installer takes over and approximately 20 minutes later your device will power off indicating the installation is complete.

Now that the installation is over, remove the USB installer and power on your device. You will be offered the opportunity to install an Adobe Flash module which you can allow or decline. After that you will be prompted for your Google hosted account (Gmail or personal domain hosted with Google). It is at this stage that you must have a connection to the Internet either by Ethernet or WiFi. Once logged in you are good to go. There are some differences that will require some extra effort and possibly the installation of Chrome extensions. Off hand it would appear to me to be centered around DRM type content situations such as streaming multi-media like Netflix. You can find information on the neverware forums if this is an issue you want to tackle.

My first installation was not without troubleshooting issues. The first issue I faced was because I did not read the instructions close enough. I missed the step to actually select installing CloudReady to the devices local hard drive and instead logged in with a Google account basically converting my USB installer into a CloudReady boot disk. After reading the instructions a little closer I started over and actually selected the option to install CloudReady to the HP mini’s hard drive. After the HP mini 5102 powered off I thought for sure everything was good to go and hit the power button expecting a “Chromebook” like boot experience. I was a bit disappointed and confused when I received a “non system disk” boot error. This confused me a bit because booting from a USB stick worked fine which would indicate the only hardware problem of note would be hard drive vs USB. It was at this point that I eventually decided to look at the certified hardware list and saw that the HP mini 5102 was not on the list...but the 5103 model was. Thinking that there might not be much difference between the models I decided to take a look at the information for the 5103 and ended up noticing a BIOS firmware version requirement. I checked HP’s website and found that the 5102’s BIOS was pretty far out of date so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to update. After updating the BIOS on the 5102, I restarted and was presented with the CloudReady logo and login opportunity. I will say that after briefly playing with CloudReady, it would seem to me that you will be much happier using devices with reasonable computing resources but if you have ever looked into official Chromebooks you will know that is the recommendations for actual Chromebooks as well. All in all, CloudReady seems to deliver a Chrome OS experience just like I had expected. If you decide to try CloudReady out please leave a comment and tell me about your experience.