Come and Speak at FSOSS 2010 Wed, Jul 21. 2010
The 9th Annual Free Software and Open Source Symposium (FSOSS, "eff-sauce") is coming up on October 28th and 29th, here at Seneca College in Toronto. This is a great event with a wide-ranging, eclectic mix of workshops and presentations.
I've been involved in planning FSOSS for the past few years, but stepped back a bit to catch my breath this year. Mary Lynn Manton has stepped up to the task of chairing this year's event with Rose Saliba, who is co-chairing for her third year.
FSOSS is still looking for interesting workshops and presentations on a variety of open source topics. If you're working with open source in any way, this could be a great opportunity -- please check out http://fsoss.ca and submit a presentation proposal right away!
Fedora 13 Release Event Sat, Jun 19. 2010
Fedora 13 was release a few weeks ago. We're going to celebrate the release at a release event in Toronto on July 5th. Here are the details:
- Who: Fedora Community -- and anyone interested!
- What: Fedora 13 Release Event
- Where: Seneca@York, TEL Building, room T1009
- When: Monday, July 5, 6 pm
- Why: To celebrate the release of Fedora 13 "Goddard", distribute Fedora 13 discs and discuss its new features, and meet up with other Linux contributors and users
- Wiki URL: http://bit.ly/f13-toronto
Please join us if you're interested. I hope to see you there!
Sugar on a Stick - Activities Thu, Jun 17. 2010
Sugar on a Stick is a project which aims to create a live learning environment on a USB stick. This environment is a Fedora spin hosting the Sugar environment (the learning software original created as part of the OLPC project).
In previous versions of SoaS, the activities were not thoroughly screened before inclusion in the Spin, and so the SoaS Activity Criteria were introduced. I've been working with some other POSSE RIT participants to try and get three activities - Abacus, Maze, and Memorize - to the point of meeting the criteria. It's been a frustrating experience, but we've made some progress:
- Performed a package review (not passed, but close) of Peter Robinson's sugar-abacus package in Fedora
- Created a basic page for recording smoke test results
- Filed a bug against the sugar-maze package in Fedora (apparently missing an essential .py file)
- This activity meets most of the criteria, but we weren't able to save to the journal (know issue) and could not confirm that collaboration works (might have been our Sugar configuration or networking)
Mozilla running Unit Tests on Fedora Wed, May 19. 2010
Mozilla uses CentOS for their Linux builders. They have up to this point also been running their unit tests on CentOS, but Armen has now switched the Linux unit tests over to 32- and 64-bit Fedora. This is a great win, because it means that Firefox will be tested against a more-current environment.
Network Storage: Loopback ext3 on NFS? Really? Thu, Apr 22. 2010
One interesting find I made while working with the Seneca students on Fedora ARM was that a loopback filesystem hosted on top of an NFS share can outperform the NFS share. Yes, it's counter-intuitive, because that would seem to introduce additional layers of processing, but I think it makes sense.
When using NFS, file metadata management is performed by NFS. When loopback-mounting a filesystem in a file hosted on NFS, the file metadata management takes place entirely on the local system -- NFS merely provides a data store. In this sense, it's not much different from iSCS, because the loopback filesystem can't be readily accessed by two separate hosts at once.
In fact, on a small ARM system such as an OpenRD-Client, loopback-ext3-on-NFS over GigE handily outperforms both Class 6 SD and a local USB-PATA drive.
Why not just use iSCSI? Well, for reasons I haven't yet determined, the Fedora iSCSI initiator doesn't work reliably on ARM-- under heavy load, it sends invalid opcodes to the target. This sounds like an alignment issue, but alignment fixups don't cure it. Investigation continues...
Seneca and the Fedora ARM Secondary Architecture Thu, Apr 22. 2010
ARM processors power the digital mobile age. Billions are produced per year, ending up in the majority of cellphones as well as in e-book readers, plug computers, the OLPC XO 1.75, tablets, netbooks, intelligent RJ-45 network jacks, and even microSD cards.
The Fedora ARM Secondary Architecture project has done a great job of porting Fedora releases to ARM. To assist this initiative, this semester's Software Build and Release course at Seneca (SBR600) put together a new Koji build farm for the ARM architecture in preparation for using koji-shadow to follow the primary architectures. It's been a fascinating and challenging project -- working with cross-compilers, emulators, and hardware with much smaller configurations than standard PCs. A large amount of effort was spent benchmarking various configurations to determine optimal memory and storage arrangements and to compare emulated vs. hardware ARM performance to guide the configuration of the build farm.
So now we're at the end of the semester. Where do things stand?
- We have a working Koji build system, with two hardware builders plus emulated (VM) builders
- Since we're at the end of the semester, things will be quiet for the next week and a half, but then we've hired a graduate to work on this full-time (intros coming up shortly )
What's next? In May-June we expect to: