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)
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:
Running Fedora-ARM in emulation under virsh Thu, Mar 4. 2010
The Fedora qemu-system-arm package provides pretty good ARM processor emulation, which can be used to run the Fedora ARM secondary architechture. This is an easy way to get started working with ARM -- for example, while waiting for your plugcomputer, beagleboard, or OLPC XO 1.75 to arrive
The previous wiki notes on using ARM with QEMU didn't cover using qemu-system-arm under libvirt management. This meant that you couldn't easily take advantage of libvirt benefits such as automatic network setup (with DHCP and NAT), the virt-manager GUI tool, guest autostart, or disconnection/reconnection to the console.
I've updated https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Architectures/ARM/HowToQemu to include some basic notes on setting this up, and provided some files to simplify and speed up the process. Jump in and join Fedora-ARM, the water's nice!
Dear Lazyweb: How can you find a process ID given a window ID? Mon, Nov 23. 2009
As far as I know, there is no way to reliably get a process ID from an X window ID for local clients (to implement Richard's View Source idea). I would love to be wrong!
(1) Did I miss something? Can this be done now?
(2) If this can't be done now, what would it take? Could we create an X extension so that the server can supply connection info for a window, and then trace that connection info back to a specific process?
StudentProject keyword in Fedora Bugzilla Wed, Nov 11. 2009
One challenge of teaching inside an open source community is finding projects which are appropriately for students to work on: they shouldn't be really trivial, because that won't provide a challenge or allow the student to engage with the community; they can't be huge, or the student won't finish them within the semester; and they can't be blockers or part of the critical path to a release, because the student may not be able to complete the project on the community's timeline.
My colleague David Humphrey introduced a new keyword into the Mozilla bugzilla tracker last spring, and it has been successfully used to identify many potential student projects (108 at the time of writing).
Good ideas are worth copying -- and since I'm bringing students into the Fedora community, and the POSSE-APAC professors will bring even more, I asked Dave Lawrence to add the StudentProject keyword to the Fedora/Red Hat bugzilla (thanks Dave and Paul!).
Kids vs. Students Sat, Nov 7. 2009
I stopped using the word "kids" to refer to students for several reasons -- including the fact that I had a student twenty years my senior, and another who was a fully accredited Civil Engineer in his home country -- but the main reason that I dropped it was that it is simply incompatible with the way open source communities work. In open source, roles are defined by contribution, not age or formal training. Some of the youngest members of the community are the most active, and make crucial and valuable contributions.
If we're teaching inside open source communities, then it's important that we value students as full members of those communities -- and I think that the term "kids" is dismissive of their abilities.