Test Day update: tomorrow is super-easy power management Test Day!

It's that time again: despite the ongoing excitement of the Fedora 12 Beta release, the Test Day schedule rolls along implacably, crushing the weak and puny beneath its pitiless wheels. Wait, that's not right. It's a happy, careful Test Day schedule of love. It would never crush anyone, let alone the weak and puny. Phew.

Tomorrow's Test Day (2009-10-22) is on power management. Specifically, it's to test that some new power management tuning features in Fedora 12 are working correctly. These are great additions to Fedora 12 as they should improve battery life on laptops and netbooks.

The bad news is this Test Day requires either an installed copy of Rawhide - aka Fedora 12 Beta - or a live USB boot; live CD boots won't work for testing on most systems, as you need a lot of spare space to install some necessary packages. Live CD boots on systems with a lot of RAM may work okay. The good news is twofold: Fedora 12 Beta is so awesome you might be happy running it anyway, and running the tests for this Test Day is as easy as pie. The super-awesome team behind this Test Day (no, not me, I'm not that stuck up!) have written a script which runs the necessary tests and collects the results, and built it into an RPM package, so all you need to do is install the package, run the script according to the instructions on the Test Day page, then sit back and wait. The page even lists how long each particular test is likely to take. That's as easy as Test Days get, so there's no excuse not to come along and contribute your system's test results!

The Test Day runs all day in the #fedora-test-day channel on Freenode IRC. If you're not sure how to use IRC, see these instructions. Even if you can't make the Test Day, you can still help by following the Wiki page instructions and submitting your results. These tests will be very helpful in making sure the power management improvements in Fedora 12 work for the widest possible range of hardware.

Fedora 12 Beta is go!

Happy day - today we released Fedora 12 Beta. You can get it here. The full set of editions is immediately available.

We're really pretty happy with this release: we think the quality is excellent for a beta release, and the level of new features and improvements over its predecessors is great. I linked to the release announcement, which highlights some of those improvements, a couple of days ago. Just to go over the highlights again:

Probably most obviously to most people, there have been many bugfixes and improvements in video and audio support. Nouveau has gone from strength to strength, with default KMS support, suspend / resume support, easy display spanning support and many fixes for problematic cards and chips. The Intel graphics driver is far, far better behaved than it was in Fedora 11 (and other distributions of its time period). Radeon has its fair share of fixes too, and experimental 3D acceleration for r600 chips is available. Audio - both at the kernel and PulseAudio levels - has received a lot of bug fixes, and some exciting new features. Bluetooth audio devices now show up just like any other - no special configuration required, just pair a device, go to gnome-volume-control and select it for output and/or input. gnome-volume-control now exposes appropriate choices of input connectors in a nice clean interface. You can easily enable and disable S/PDIF output, or analog surround output, from g-v-c with PulseAudio's new profile support. Truly a new vista of awesomeness.

But those most prominent changes are just scratching the surface. There's a first cut at completely open source Broadcom wireless support. Performance of the 32-bit edition should be improved with tweaks to the default compilation settings. NetworkManager has easy support for broadband adapters and Bluetooth PAN tethering. You can install and use Moblin as your desktop with a single command. You can try out gnome-shell easily. GNOME 2.28 and KDE 4.3 are included.

It's just one big bundle of fantastic. Go get it now! What are you still here for?!

Fedora 12 goodness

I just spent a fun hour and a half with Rahul bashing on the Fedora 12 Beta announcement text, trying to keep it as short and readable as possible while highlighting as many of the awesome new features in Fedora 12 as we could. It was a great way to get some of the great stuff we're bringing into this release clear in my head, and it makes me even more excited about the release! Just the topic headings are enough to whet your appetite:

Smaller and faster updates NetworkManager broadband and other enhancements Next-generation Ogg Theora video Graphics support improvements Virtualization improvements Automatic reporting of crashes and SELinux issues New Dracut initrd generation tool PackageKit plugins Bluetooth on-demand Moblin graphical interface for netbooks PulseAudio enhancements Lower process privileges SELinux sandbox Open Broadcom firmware Hybrid live images Better webcam support GNOME 2.28 GNOME Shell preview KDE 4.3

I'm especially happy about the PulseAudio changes that land in this release (and, to be fair to our erstwhile fellow distributions, in Mandriva 2010 and Ubuntu 9.10 as well, for the most part). Awesome features like having any audio device on your system show up to any UPnP client as a UPnP server - any audio being played on that device will automatically play on the client - and great Bluetooth integration - so any Bluetooth audio device you pair with will show up as a device in PulseAudio just like any other card in your system - really help to tell the PulseAudio story. These are the kinds of things that either just never got done or got done in really unusable, half-assed ways before we had PulseAudio, and now it's as easy as crashing my phone is this evening (and believe me, that's pretty easy). Fantastic job by all the PA developers.

Internationalization test day postponed

Sorry for the late notice - kept meaning to write this post, but forgot! The i18n Test Day which was planned for today, 2009-10-15, has been postponed. We don't have a new date for it yet. Very sorry to anyone who was planning to turn out! Of course, we'd still welcome your tests of Fedora 12's i18n support, based on the Beta release candidate images, the Beta itself when it comes out, or the nightly live images.

Fedora 12 Beta: the final sprint

After we delayed the original Fedora 12 Beta release date by a week - it was originally planned to come out today - we confirmed the schedule yesterday, so now we're on the final sprint to have it released next week. How can you help? Good question!

As Liam Li explains, you can grab the Beta RC2 build and help us fill out the installation test matrix. It's a big table showing the various most important variations on the theme of installing Fedora. The easiest way to use it is just to do an install onto whatever spare system or partition you have, then figure out which entry in the table your installation corresponds to, and post your result there. The more dedicated who have entire machines they can use as testbeds, and in some cases multiple hard disks and so on, can go through all the various areas of the matrix and try to fill out as many as they can. And, of course, if you run into bugs - file them!

You can also continue to test the nightly live CD builds and make sure they work as they should on your hardware. Hopefully, this time next week we'll have a rocking Beta release available for everyone to bash on. I'm really excited for Fedora 12, it's going to be a good one.

Video acceleration updates, blocker bug review meeting tomorrow

I've pushed a couple of updates to my video acceleration repository: updated versions of libva and vdpau-video. Gwenole is working on a new version of his gnash video playback acceleration stuff, along with libva updates, which together will make Flash video acceleration possible on Poulsbo, which will be great; I'll get those packaged as soon as they're available.

Tomorrow (2009-10-09) is the final F12 beta blocker bug review meeting, at 15:00 UTC - 11:00 EDT, 8:00 PDT - in #fedora-bugzappers on IRC. We really need to sort out the last few blocker bugs for the beta release (which has already been delayed one week), so please come along and help out!

Anaconda RAID Test Day tomorrow

It's Test Day time again - tomorrow (2009-10-08)!

Last week we tested most Anaconda storage scenarios, but this week we're focussing in on RAID. All kinds of RAID - soft RAID, hard RAID, BIOS RAID, mdraid, dmraid. If it's RAID-y, we're there. If you have the necessary hardware, please come out to the test day and help us make sure that Fedora 12's installer handles all kinds of RAID scenarios properly. Especially if you use a RAID configuration in production - the more complex the better! - we'd like to make sure such scenarios work properly. As usual, live images will be available, but of course the main focus of testing here is the installer, so we do need testers to have a spare system, drive(s) or virtual machine to install on for most tests. Various test cases are documented on the Wiki page, but simply testing F12 installation on any RAID configuration will be valuable testing.

As always, the Test Day takes place all day in #fedora-test-day on Freenode IRC. Be there!

Dependency problems: the long-term solution...AutoQA!

Just wanted to highlight something related to Rahul's recent posts about dependency problems in Fedora repositories.

I support his proposal to enable --skip-broken by default in yum, but wanted to highlight the most likely long-term solution to this problem, which Rahul mentioned too. AutoQA is one of the QA team's major projects. It's a suite of tools and processes to run automated tests of various types on Fedora. Will Woods is the leader of the project. It's already proceeding at a fantastic pace: we're already running several tests daily and pushing the results to a mailing list. If you're a Fedora developer, you may well find it useful to follow the test results sent there.

One of the future aims of AutoQA is to be able to run automatic tests not just daily but every time certain operations happen, whether it's the generation of a Rawhide tree, a set of updates for a stable release, or even the pushing of a single package to any repository. So we hope to be able to automatically test every individual package build pushed to Rawhide or a stable release update tree for sanity - including dependency problems - before accepting the push. That would go a long way towards addressing this kind of problem.

Even though Will's a superhero and AutoQA is already going along at a fantastic pace, more help is always welcome. So if you have some coding knowledge and this sounds like a project that would interest you, please contact Will - either directly at wwoods A T redhat D 0 T com, on IRC as 'wwoods' (he's usually in #fedora-qa), or through the fedora-test-list mailing list.

What the screaming hell?

Ticketmaster's gouging appears to have passed beyond the realm of the outrageous into the outright fricking absurd. Buying two tickets for a concert, face value $26.50 per ticket, incurs a 'convenience charge' of $9.50 per ticket, it seems.

Um, hello? What? Is there anyone out there? In what universe do the onerous services involved in issuing tickets - which promoters and venues seemed to do with remarkably little trouble themselves in the past, and which guys in loud ties have been able to do at minimal overhead in fleapits the world over for millennia - justify a charge of more than one third the cost of the fucking ticket? Or, to put it even more simply, nearly ten bucks per tiny slip of fucking paper?

And I wonder why I don't go to shows any more...well, there you go. Seems Pearl Jam had it right all along.