September 16th, 2005
So we’re in last-minute-bug-squish mode for Mandriva 2006 release now. As always on the six month cycle this is a mad rush, but as always I’m amazed at just how much useful stuff gets fixed at the last minute, and how much the distro seems to magically transform from ‘wouldn’t give it to my dog’ quality to ‘actually perfectly releasable’ in the space of about three days. We released RC2 on Wednesday morning, and already several important installer bugs and other vital infrastructure stuff has been fixed since. Final should be frozen very soon. Once it’s frozen nothing moves for a while, at least in public, as final validation is done on the ‘final’ ISOs, and they’re sent for duplication / printing and so forth. Once that’s all done, the pre-ordered boxes are shipped and the ISOs made available to Club members, and the final FTP tree put on the public mirrors. You can, if you feel so inclined, jump the gun and upgrade to ‘Cooker’ during this period; since it’s frozen, you effectively get the final release. Just remember to switch your urpmi media away from Cooker again when it gets unfrozen, or else you’ll wind up with something horribly broken.
Last minute irritants – OpenOffice.org 2.0 turned out to be such a huge and complex building job that it couldn’t be sufficiently tested to be shipped as the default release, so 1.1.5 will be in main and 2.0 in contrib. There was also not enough time to fix an annoying crasher bug with GNOME dialogs in OO.o 2.0, so if you use the GNOME-ified version, you have to switch to OO.o native dialogs. On the bright side, though, the OO.o 2 package is ten times better now than it was a week ago – it’s updated to a very recent snapshot, and it’s nicely modularised, with KDE and GNOME bits and all the various i18n bits split off from the core. It may be in contrib, but it’s certainly worth trying out.
I only just this morning found out (from the Beagle release notes) about a bug in libwv1 which causes quite serious problems for the Beagle indexer. Since libwv1 is in main and this isn’t a critical bug there’s no chance of it being patched, now. Which is a bummer. The only possible workaround is to get Goetz to rebuild Beagle without wv support in time for the package to make it into 2006 contrib, but even that will be cutting it fine.
People are still, apparently, having mysterious problems with KDE crashes on logout. This appears to sorta-kinda-mostly solved but it’d really be nice to have a solid handle on what the problem is and what the fix is. So far the best thing to do appears to be to wipe some KDE config files, and turn off Kat.
Still, apart from those minor niggles, 2006 really seems like it’s shaping up nicely. Having X.org 6.9 doesn’t look like it’s going to be quite so problematic as it seemed a couple of weeks ago, and all the cool new MDV stuff seems to be working really nicely – especially the interactive firewall and the improved network configuration stuff. I’m also quite excited by the changes that Lycoris is going to bring to the Discovery edition – can’t talk about them yet, unfortunately, but it should really set Discovery apart as being an exciting product on its own and not just a cut-down version of Powerpack, and help attract even more new users.
Of course, once the release is made, my job hits its busiest point, as the noise within and outside the MDV community about the distribution reaches its highest point and I have to run around promoting the product, replying to the good old OS News flamers, correcting mistakes and doing the unofficial tech support thing. But hey, it’s all fun, and hopefully the positive reviews will make it worthwhile…:)