Sunday, November 04, 2007

Fall in Fürth - and Evaluating Flock

I'm writing this article with Flock.  I downloaded Flock 1.0 from the Flock website yesterday, setup my Blogger and Flickr accounts, uploaded the pictures to Flickr (using Flock's easy upload) - here's my complete Fürth photostream -, opened the media stream in Flock and used drag and drop to get the photos in Flock's blog editing window.  Flock is much nicer than using Blogger's photo upload directly.  One downside is that Flock needs quite some space on your desktop - and my laptop has a small screen.

During the last weeks I took some morning walks through Fürth's lovely Stadtpark and really enjoyed the fall.

This first photo shows a sunrise over the meadows.  A red sunrise was really difficult to photograph.  We had many days with fog in the morning but without any sun :-(.

The fog here gives an interesting fall atmosphere, this is at the big pond in the Stadtpark.

I don't know the name of this fruit - I just know it really looked interesting with the fruit having been protected by the flower and I'm thankful for Jana to show it to me.

Blogged with Flock

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Survey Time

It just struck me that this months seems to be survey time - I have participated in the following that are relevant to me. The surveys are still open and I encourage everybody's participation.

We recently started for our openSUSE distribution a survey on our installation and systemsmanagement framework YaST and have already over 7000 participants which I consider rather impressive. The results will help us in development and focus of YaST.

Jan Frederik is a masters student at the University of Oslo and currently visiting the SUSE Linux offices in Nuernberg. He researches about firm-sponsored open source
communities and kindly asks openSUSE contributors to fill in a short survey to help him with his thesis.

The Linux Foundation has started their 2007 Desktop/Client Survey. It will assist the Linux Foundation to focus on the relevant areas.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

openSUSE 10.3 Goldmaster...



and myself at our desks waiting for the DVD9s to burn before we can send them to the fab for producing.

After Coolo released openSUSE 10.3 this morning (he started testing at 6am), we did the final tests. I concentrated on the bootloader. This time an update from 10.2 did not try to boot from my non-existing floppy but used the right default - yeah!
In the evening Coolo and Christoph found a package that shouldn't be on the media, so we removed it and moved some packages from the second DVD9 to the first DVD so that all packages in the patterns are on the first DVD.

We have mastered now the media and will now prepare our staging server and then give the mirrors some GBs to download and distribute. The official launch of openSUSE 10.3 will be the 4th of October, a few days later you will find the box product in the shops as well. The box product will contain 2 DVD9 - each nearly 7 GB of RPMs. The downloadable installation media are a 1 CD GNOME, a 1 CD KDE and a 4 GB DVD5 - and in addition both a GNOME and a KDE LiveCD.

We're currently hanging around at the #opensuse-project irc channel on freenode. I've just read the tuxmachines review and heard a lot of praise on the irc channel about 10.3. Thanks to everybody that made 10.3 that good!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lizard Stone 2007

Once every year our Czech colleagues have a weekend event and invite us to join them. This year's event was called "Lizard Stone" and was in Rejštejn. We stayed in the Cabin's from the Pension Klášterský Mlýn.

On saturday we had a full day game searching for the mythical Lizard Stone. It was described to us as:
"The myth of a mysterious gem, called the Lizard Stone has spread in numerous modifications into neigboring countries and exists in many variants today. The oldest documented version talks about an immense gemstone of unfathomable value, which was deposited in a well guarded place in Rejstejn. According to later sources the stone was transported during the departure of the Kints from Rejstejn, after the last great ceremony. It's alleged that this ceremony is related to the SuSuSu festivity, still held regularly today. The reader can find more detailed information about this important event in the "Treatise on Lands of Wirm" by prof. Verdal."

We've been walking for over 12 hours through the forests, over some meadows - and quite often up and down the hills.

We met a lot of interesting characters including a dragon, a ranger, some sages and a lumberjack and collected various items and lots of information about the Lizard stone.

It was a really long day and I really enjoyed the sunset near Castle Kašperk.

Once we had everything together and reached the final place in the night, we found the melody needed for the ceremony that is needed for the Sususu festival.

The role play ended with a big party and some fireworks.

A really fun day - thanks to all that organised it!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Visiting Fürth's Hidden Secrets - its Yards

As part of Fürth's 1000 year celebrations, more than seventy yards were made available to the public. Normally you can sneak into them if the door is open but for most of them I would not have known at all that they exists if nobody pointed them out.

Thorsten joined Jana and myself for the saturday tour. We started in our own street - with a small and very green garden that I would not have expected in our neighbourhood.

This rose was found besides a narraw path - the Pfarrgasse.

Fürth has lots of old houses, some of them - like the Stadlershof - have been nicely restored in the past years.

To reach most of the yards, you had to walk through the front house. These passways have quite often been really nicely decorated.

The contrast between the yards is amazing: there are more modern ones like the last one, some are totally green, others just used for parking cars,... In most of the yards was some kind of activity where the inhabitants played with kids, served food, sold art, played music etc. This was some kind of big neighborhood party with friendly neighbors inviting you in. A special thanks to the owners of these lovely yards!

The last two yards are just of the main pedestrian area. Jana and myself went today out to visit some more of these yards and were surprised to see the streets and yards crowded with visitors.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Novell Hackweek is over

This week we had for the first time Hackweek at Novell. During this week everybody in the engineering group of the Open Platform Business Unit of Novell was encouraged to work on some innovate and cool ideas - and not look at the usual work. This was not for engineers only but also for documentation, testing, and managers.

I started a day late since I landed on monday from the US, and started directly working on Michael's patch for ldconfig to clean it up (details are here and sent it upstream. After the first review comments I reworked nearly everything, introduced some bugs, debugged and fixed the code and sent it upstream again and wait now for review from the other glibc maintainers. Afterwards I tried to get some statistics out of bugzilla...

I also met a few guys from our community. Francis, Benji and Frank were invited and sponsored to join us - I hope we can invite more people next time and do it with more planning so that they have a chance to join. Francis and Benji have been hacking on the openSUSE Software Portal and Frank launched On tuesday a car of developers from Prague came over to talk personally with Benji and Francis about the portal.

Going through the Nuernberg offices I noticed a lot of cool ideas. Some people would need another hackweek to finish it - but I did not hear anybody speaking about a failure. A few people used it to learn new skills, e.g. C#, and therefore needed a bit longer to start.

Some of the great ideas that I noticed:
  • "Add a buildservice project that recompiles Debian packages": Coolo and Richi have now the first packages from Debian building in the openSUSE BuildService. They showed me some packages that they installed via rpm and which worked just fine.
  • Michael worked on a SAT resolver for package resolving (idea: Fast installation tool) . The speed of the examples he showed me was really impressive. Let's see whether and when we can use it in libzypp.
  • Henne created a "Media Center" edition of openSUSE.
  • Timo, Martin and Tom created an Laptop Access Panel using some python and an interpreter with both GTK and KDE user interfaces. The panel is extensible in an easy way.
  • Try design a nice digiKam HTML theme was the topic Jana worked on. It looks fine in Firefox, Konqueror and Opera but Internet Explorer does not seem to look it completely yet.
  • Holger worked on graphical suspend to progress - showing a sleeping tux while suspending.
The largest team I saw were six people from our server team, they implemented "Create a properly integrated solution for Directory based user authentication/authorization".

It was really a fantastic week - and we also enjoyed the organization by our OPS team - especially the breakfasts and the Indian dinner on thursday (Pawar from Sur Mandir is the best!).

You can find more blog posts about Hackweek at Planet SUSE.

I'm looking forward to HW2!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Linuxtag and Linuxnacht

The social event at Linuxtag was called Linuxnight and was thursday night. It was in a former transformer station in Kreuzberg and a really cool place to party at. At one wall they were showing running an endless slideshow of some photos from Linuxtag - including the above photo from Martin.

The place had two levels, the lower one with a small fountain and a coffee bar. The party was excellent, I was just a bit tired and left early.

Opposite of our booth was the IBM booth and they had a second life demo running.

At one time, some of us decided to visit the IBM guy at second life. But it was not that easy to go to there place, the "openSUSE kidd" first had to earn some money...

We had a lot of visitors on our both asking for openSUSE, SUSE Linux Enterprise and other Novell products. I'm glad that Joe, Ralf and Christoph were there to answer some of the Novell questions. There were quite some good talks and I've been glad to meet some people.

At friday afternoon I took part in the keysigning session - together with around one hundred folks. Checking identities was as usual some fun. Signing and sending off the signatures via email on saturday, I was suprised that I got quite some mails back as undelivered - I would have expected that people would check that the emails associated with their keys do actually work. So, if anybody did not get my signature, you might want to check that email delivery is working for you.

Linuxtag is over now - and was one of the larger Linux events that we took part in. 9600 visitors came to the exhibition and the talks - and some of them showed up in ours as well...

Thursday, May 31, 2007

openSUSE day is over - Linuxtag continues

In the afternoon we had two mobile computer related talks. Timo's presentation (see photo above) showed in his presentations some areas were Linux has to improve, e.g. he did some initial measurements for suspend to disk that shows that Mac OS X is faster than Vista and both are faster than openSUSE 10.2. Compressing the disk image during suspend gives an improvement of 30 % for openSUSE but we're still the slowest.:-( The question is now on how to move forward here. Timo also talked about fingerprint sensor support - he's one of the main authors in this area -, powermanagement and wireless support.

In the evening Patrick presented openSUSE on the Sony Playstation 3.

Today you'll find us at the openSUSE booth. Matthias Hopf will talk later today about compiz and Larry Ewing will take part in a panel discussion about the future of the desktop.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

openSUSE Day at Linuxtag

Today is openSUSE Day at Linuxtag. Marcus gave an excellent presentation about fotomanagement under Linux, other talks are still ongoing. We have a lot of discussion at the booth.

Christoph has setup a webcam under the ip address of which we'll try to keep online during the Linuxtag show hours.

Setting up the Linuxtag Booth

Yesterday Adrian and myself drove through heavy rain to Berlin for Linuxtag 2007. Christoph and Martin were already there and had started setting up the booth.

During the setup we met a lot of friends, like Tux and Stepan. Both were heading for the LinuxBIOS booth.

In the evening all that a large group of us went to Spätzle restaurant off Ku-damm. We even trank "Berliner Weisse" in the Novell and openSUSE colours (Timo choose strawberry, I choose woodruff).

Today is openSUSE day with seven presentations. You can meet us also at our booth which is Halle 12, Stand 52.

Linuxwochen in Wien with openSUSE Talk

This week there's not only Linuxtag in Berlin - from where I'm blogging this - but also Linuxwochen ("Linuxweeks") in Vienna, Austria. There will be a talk by Gerald Pfeifer on openSUSE - both the project and the distribution.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Walking around the Hetzleser Berg

We planned last week to go on sunday to the Lillachtal north of Nürnberg - using one of the tour tips of our local public transportation. In the morning our group of 9 people - former and current colleagues and a partner - took the train to Igensberg. Instead of doing the planned trip to the east, we somehow managed to walk in the opposite direction. Once we noticed this, our travel guides came up with an excellent plan B: A walk around the Hetzleser Berg. The tour took us through some

lovely forests, over fields,

along cherry trees in blossom (beautiful!), to a nice beer garden in the middle of a forest - lunch break -

to Kunreuth's lovely village Regensberg with a wide view of the area - enjoyed together with some some rhubarb cake - , and its small church which was part of the former castle

to the 1000 year old lime tree in Kasberg and then finally to

Gräfenberg with the brewery Lindenbräu - time for a final snack and good beer.

All in all around 23 kilometers of walking through lovely sunshine without any clouds - a lovely and enjoyable day!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

openSUSE 10.3 Alpha3 is out

I just released openSUSE 10.3 Alpha3 on the opensuse-announce mailing list.

The following are some highlights of Alpha3 compared to Alpha2:
  • On x86-64: Firefox is now a 64-bit package and uses nspluginwrapper to handle 32-bit i386 plugins if needed.
  • AppArmor uses now a new parser. The kernel patches have been reworked completely. Please do test AppArmor extensively (see below).
  • GNOME 2.18 mostly integrated.
  • Update to Kernel 2.6.21 RC5
  • New opensuse-updater running natively under GNOME
  • Further fixes for using libata by default for IDE devices
  • New yast2-ftp-server module.
  • The package manager handles more than one CD/DVD drive.
A more detailed list of changes is available via our news page.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Opening up Development: YaST, LiMaL, ZYPP

The greatest part of our distribution is developed by many individual Open Source developers and we do the integration and packaging of their great software. But there is also a good amount of software developed by SUSE developers as Open Source (under the GPL). One such area is systems management and installation. The following three components have now opened up their internal mailing lists:
  • YaST is the installation and configuration tool for SuSE Linux. It is popular for its easy use and attractive interface and the capability to customize your system quickly during or after the installation. To learn more about YaST see YaST has been developed by SUSE for several years and is now under the GPL.
  • libzypp is the integration of SUSE's yast2 Package manager and Ximian's libredcarpet. At Novell two solutions before were used - Red Carpet and YaST package manager. To learn more about libzypp see
  • LiMaL (Linux Management Library) provides a system library style, object oriented way of access to the operating system. To learn more about LiMaL see
Jiri announced the opening of the internal mailinglists today with an email on the opensuse-announce mailinglist. Besides the mailinglists where all communication about these projects should happen, we are soon moving our internal subversion repositories for these projects to the public so that everybody can follow the code changes and contribute. Libzypp is the first planned repo to move to our new public server, the move is planned in the next two weeks.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Klezmatics @ Klezmer Festival Fürth

Just back from the last concert of the Klezmer Festival in Fürth: The Klezmatics. Their newest album "Wonder Wheel" won the GRAMMY Award for 2007's Best Contemporary World Music Album - and I understand why. They presented a wide range of their repertoire - from slower and more silent to really fast. Each musician on his own was already excellent but together ...

Jana and myself are excited that we got one of the last copies of the "Wonder Wheel" - guess what we're listening to right now ;-).

The "Wonder Wheel" contains lyrics by Woodie Guthrie interpreted with a Klezmer Flavor. Looking up Woodie Guthrie on wikipedia I noticed the following quote that I wanted to share:

"This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright #154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin' it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don't give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do."
—Written by Guthrie in the late 1930s on a songbook distributed to listeners who wanted the words to his recordings

Thursday, March 15, 2007

openSUSE 10.3 Alpha2

Today was release day for openSUSE 10.3 Alpha2, I sent out the announcement this evening.

A critical part - and that's why I'm asking for testers - is our move to the new libata kernel stack also for IDE devices. This means especially that hard disks previously mounted as /dev/hda will now show up as /dev/sda. We have written code to make this change automatically in all involved files but this one definitely needs thorough testing, so we appreciate bugreports in bugzilla. If you look at the Most Annoying bugs for Alpha2, you'll notice that we did break support for those systems that do not work yet with libata and need the old driver. So, if this is the case on your system, better wait for Alpha3. The new libata stack already has better support for some IDE devices, is actively maintained and allows features like hotplug - and therefore I can undock my docking station.

For the first time, we also released the Kiwi tool together with a configuration for creating a LiveDVD of openSUSE 10.3 Alpha 2. It can be created by anyone, you just need to call one simple script. Please find detailed instructions and a list of known issues here.

Short Trip to Prague

Last Thursday my boss asked me whether I'd liked to join him for a trip to Prague and I decided to go with him. I spent two days (Monday and Tuesday) in our Prague office and talked to developers about the work they are doing right now and discussed what can be done for openSUSE 10.3. Monday evening Nayden (thanks again!) walked with us from around the Castle (Hradschin) and then downhill to Wenzelsplatz. The castle was impressive and I regretted not having a tripod with me to take some nice photos at night. The walk ended with some good Czech beer.

Above are some photos from St. Vitus Cathedral, a small house at the castle walls and view from Charles Bridge.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Odd Details in Fürth

We had once again a sunny sunday in Fürth and decided to walk through the city with our cameras and look out for the odd details you normally don't see.

This is directly at the Rathaus, part of some art installation called "Fürth Bemutterung 2007".

Fürth is celebrating its 1000's birthday and this week the 10th Klezmer Festival. Between the Klezmer flags at the Rathaus, there was also one odd flag - the flag of Tibet. I'm not sure whether it really belonged there. (Note I just learned it's part of a campaign by the Tibet Initiative.)

The whisky shop behind the Rathaus had this sign in its shopping window.

I've never seen such a house number before - a half is not used at all. It just shows that Fürth is full of surprises.

I guess this is the window of a former shop that's now a normal flat and the owners wanted to show something in their window.

The toy shop at the Wirtschaftsrathaus had this model car standing on the heater in their shopping window.

This is an opening in one of the doors of the Rathaus. But why is there a power plug?

I found a couple of weeks ago Zonebattler's Homepage and enjoy reading his blog and looking at his photos - not only but also about curiosities in Fürth. Fürth is really a nice city full of suprises.