Mandriva 2007 released

Yes, it's done! Mandriva 2007 was released this morning in approximately seventeen zillion different editions. Shiny AIGLX / Xgl 3D desktop goodness, the vastly improved rpmdrake, a very up-to-date environment including KDE 3.5.4, GNOME 2.16 and kernel 2.6.17, and the best part...

...absolutely no Kat.

Also, in a move I think is a good one, we released the public editions at the same time as the Club editions: no more delay for the public edition. This might rankle with Club members who paid for early access to the distribution, but they still get better editions than the public download ones, and overall I think this will help to improve public interest in the release. So yes, whoever you are, you can download it now! The free to the public editions are available here, and Club members can get their editions by logging into the Club then going to the downloads page. Give it a shot, we're really proud of this release. And please read the Release Notes and the Errata, you'll be glad you did!

geek overload

so I just spent two hours updating the third-party firmware on my wireless router and converting my entire network to DHCP addressing with zeroconf-based name resolution, instead of old-fashioned static addressing.

because I can, and it's cool.

i know. i'm scared too.


So now 2007 is mostly done for everyone except Warly (who's still busy in the kitchen trying to cook up seventeen thousand different ISOs), I've mostly stopped testing / bug herding and moved on to the stuff surrounding the release. In particular I've been trying to keep the release notes and errata in order, making sure they're as comprehensive as possible, in good English, and written in sufficient detail for normal users to be able to understand and follow them (this usually involves expanding the two-line notes written by developers by about twenty lines :>). I'm also planning to talk to Warly and dbarth about the post-2007 plans: what will happen about post-release updates, and also what we will be doing about Club editions.

But then all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so instead of doing any really productive work this morning, I grabbed the new NVIDIA beta drivers (many thanks to Anssi from PLF for packaging them so quickly) and poked about for a bit trying to get compiz working on them. The major new feature of the 9xxx driver series is support for the GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap extension, which should allow compiz to work directly on the NVIDIA driver (it's not using AIGLX, contrary to popular misunderstandings: AIGLX is an bit that allows drivers that use the DRI infrastructure, like the open source ATI and Intel drivers, to provide the texture_from_pixmap extension. The NVIDIA driver doesn't use the DRI system and provides texture_from_pixmap directly, so AIGLX doesn't come into play). However, I wasn't successful. Going by the notes on the nvnews forums, our compiz and compiz-quinnstorm are probably both too old. I'll try again once we get newer versions into Cooker.


Aye, 'tis plain sailin' fer 2007 an' no mistake. Cap'n 'Fearsome' Barth an' his horde o' hard-drinkin', wench-baitin' below decks swabbers 'ave removed the last o' th' mice, rats, termites &c from their stations chewing at the timbers o' th' good ship Mandriva, an' we be ready to send 'er out to the cruel ocean waves right soon like.


(in case any of you are confused at this point, it is indeed International Talk Like A Pirate Day).

GNOME 2.16

So congratulations to the GNOME team on the release of 2.16, a nice shiny release indeed. And it was in Cooker as soon as the .0 tarballs were tagged this morning, even before the release announcement, which is a refreshing return to our old ways after the slightly behind-the-times 2006!

I've been working like a dog for the last week or so (uh, not that I don't USUALLY...), doing stuff which ain't exactly in the job description but which I do on the basis that it'll make the stuff that IS in the job description much easier in a short time when I have to start dealing with people actually using this new ball o' stuff we're calling 2007. This basically means I've been reading all 500+ mails on the Cooker list each day, checking the forums, and searching through Bugzilla to find particularly serious bugs that haven't been zapped yet. I then mark them as release-critical and proceed to bug the hell out of the entire development chain until they get fixed. This makes me cranky and unloved and makes the final product better, so yay for that.

So far we have soundwrapper (the script that makes sure sound apps get run through the appropriate software mixing service and you get sound from all your apps at once) being majorly broken, desktop bluetooth being in a right mess, the network service being completed on boot before (in some cases) the network is actually up, causing subsequent network dependent services trouble, nvidia proprietary drivers not installing, some mice failing to work on One and other fun stuff. Most of which has been fixed, but not all yet. It is my fond hope that all this running around will allow us to release an RC1 that we can describe as a Release Candidate without crossing our fingers behind our backs and falling about laughing as soon as everyone stops looking. Still, Linux distros are rather like laws and sausages - if you want to keep enjoying them, it's best not to watch them getting made. I'm confident we're going to get it sorted before release time. And frankly beta 3 was already better than 2006 at the same stage of testing.

If you want to help out fixing some of this stuff or are simply morbidly curious, here is the list of open bugs on Cooker that are tagged as release-critical. Go fix!

A couple of things we need help testing - does anyone remember the problem 2005 and 2006 (i586 only, x86-64 was okay) had with certain SATA chipsets? The install would fail when it actually came to access the hard disks, and the workaround was to boot the installer with the noapic kernel option. I'd like to make sure this problem is squished for 2007, so if anyone whose system was affected by this bug could test the conventional installer for either beta 3 (out now) or RC1 (due very soon) and let us know via a comment on the bug report whether it's fixed now, that'd be great.

The same applies for anyone who had to boot the 2006 installer with ide=nodma , except I can't find a bug report for that one, so just let me know in the comments, on the forum or by email (awilliamson A T mandriva D 0 T com).

The final one is the omnibook kernel issue. This one manifested itself as a regression in certain laptop functions between 2005 and 2006. If your laptop's power monitoring (battery level etc), and/or shutting down the system, worked fine in 2005 but not in 2006, you're likely affected by this bug. It affects mostly HP Omnibook and Pavilion models, also some Toshiba Satellites and a few miscellaneous models from other manufacturers - there's a fairly full list in the bug report. The problem was that the support for these features in these models was moved from the kernel (in 2.6.9) to an externally maintained module called omnibook (in 2.6.10). This module never made it into our stock kernel. Unfortunately it's now unmaintained and in rather poor shape, so it's not going to be in the stock kernel for 2007 either. It WILL, however, be in kernel-multimedia (as it was in 2006) and also in contrib as a dkms package, dkms-omnibook. It would be great if someone with an affected laptop model could test both kernel-mm and the dkms-omnibook package from current Cooker and report if the module works (you'll have to load it manually), as we've just built it blind since we don't have an affected model to test on. Please report results in the bug report. Thanks!


So I thought I'd write something technically useful here for a change :)

I set up PulseAudio on my desktop yesterday. PulseAudio (formerly polypaudio) is a sound server, like esound or arts. It started out as a next-gen replacement for esound, which has been basically in a state of static suckiness for many years now. I set it up pretty much because it looked like a fun thing to do and also so I'd get sound in YouTube, which I never have before because I refuse to run esound (due to previously mentioned suckiness), and Flash only likes playing audio through a sound server. It only understands arts and esd, but PulseAudio has an esd compatibility mode - it will transparently work with anything that can output audio to esd. In the end it was rather easy - the only gotcha was that, since I have a slightly odd sound card setup (I use the optical digital output of my AV710, which isn't the primary output channel), I have to specify it manually in the PulseAudio config - Pulse's auto-detect kung fu can only set up the primary output channel for each device. I pretty much followed the PulseAudio perfect setup guide and everything went swimmingly. To manually specify my soundcard, I had to have this line in /etc/pulse/ :

load-module module-alsa-sink device=plughw:0,1

Obviously, if the non-primary output you want to use is something other than 0,1 under ALSA's naming scheme, you can adjust it to suit. I then commented out the module-detect and module-hal-detect lines to disable the autodetection kung fu, which just gets confused by my configuration. So far Pulse seems to work very well, it can mix together the outputs of just about everything, and YouTube works fine. I was also happy to hear from the developers that they paid attention to audio quality and designed Pulse to avoid doing any kind of alteration of the audio stream (resampling etc) unless it's actually necessary.

It's best to use on GNOME, as it knows how to act as a replacement for esd, but not for arts, so you'd end up with two sound servers running, which is usually a mess.

Aw, crap

So I just HAD to go and discover a couple of sites today:

Threadless t-shirts

American Apparel overstock

I was ALREADY broke. Now I'm gonna be, like, super-broke or something. Sigh...

(btw, for anyone wondering why I haven't written much about work lately, reason is that there's nothing much interesting to write. 2007 is in the works and I should probably start working on Inside #3, I figure it would be good for it to come out around the same time as 2007. That's about it!)


I find my new deodorant stick has the words "Take The Risk" engraved in it.

WHAT risk does this deodorant pose?

WHY in heck should I take it?

Inquiring minds want to know.


Ahh, the only thing I really miss about England - the gallows humour.

When Canada went out of the hockey in the Olympics there was nothing like that, just a week of everyone treating it as the Worst Thing Ever before they forgot about it and went to the beach instead.