Christmas rest for the braves

christmas_back_homeWe planned initially to release Mageia 5 beta 2 around the 16th of December. We still have some work left to complete to release a proper beta 2 that would drive us through to the final release.

Releasing development ISOs is a good way to test all the functions of the installer with the largest possible scope of use cases and variety of hardware. We still have some issues left with EFI integration and some tricky bugs in the installer. So in order to allow some time to fix them and also to still enjoy the Christmas period with friends and family, it has been decided to delay beta 2 until the 6th of January 2015, the initial date of the RC, and then postpone the final release.

We will communicate on the final release date as soon as beta 2 is released so that we can have a better view of the remaining work to be done.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a great year for 2015 and we hope to see you ready on deck to test beta 2 release when it’s out !

(Image source : xkcd)

Posted in release, test | 1 Comment

It’s Christmas in FOSS-land!

largeGComprisLogoOr Hannuka or Kwanzaa or the solstice or… you get the picture. Whatever holiday you celebrate, it’s here!

And in the spirit of warmth and light and giving, Mageia is embarking on (what we hope will be) a yearly tradition where we donate to a project in the FOSS community. “What is this?” you might ask, or even “But I donated to Mageia, not some small project I’ve never even heard of!” and those are, of course, excellent questions.

See, Mageia is a community-driven Linux distribution. Everybody here volunteers and does the work because he or she can and because they want to contribute. The money that we collect in donations goes to paying for server costs, hardware repairs and upgrades, supporting booths and handing out merchandise at conventions (and in one case, flying in a repair person when everything broke).

But the Mageia community is part of a much larger community, the FOSS community (FOSS stands for Free and Open Source Software). Thanks to you (yes, you personally!) we’ve grown to become one of the biggest Linux distributions out there. When we first started we were quite small, but we’ve grown up very quickly. Now we are in a position to help the little guy. We’ll be using this gift to help out a project that we feel close to, so it will always be a project that we package.

This gift is (relatively speaking) rather small, but it’s the thought that counts. So we’d like to take this opportunity to spotlight a small but very useful open source software project.
Almost all of the applications that we use in a Mageia system are developed by other open source projects. Some of these are large and reasonably well funded, such as KDE, Gnome and Mozilla, but there are many others that depend on the support of very small groups of dedicated individuals. One such project is GCompris, which is presently engaged in a fund raising drive to enable it to modernize the appearance of its software.

So we have decided that this year we will be donating 250€ to GCompris. This year’s choice is built on that simple point: as a distribution, we are working hard to make Linux comfy for most users. Many children first see Linux through GCompris (which means “I understood” when pronounced in French).

GCompris is a software suite of educational activities for children from 2 to 10. Helping to introduce children to Linux helps the whole Linux world to grow :). Of course, our donation is only a small part of what GCompris is trying to raise, so if you have some money that you budgeted for a good cause and are looking for that good cause, we think that GCompris is it.

This time we picked GCompris ourselves, but next year, you can have a say in the matter. Towards the end of 2015 (we’re not sure exactly when) we’ll ask you what you think a worthy cause for our yearly gift will be. So if you happen to see one, make a note of it.
May you have a merry end-of-year festivities.

Mageia team

Posted in community, Mageia | 4 Comments

They make Mageia: David Walser

luigi1How should we call you ? Luigi or David and why using Luigi ?

David. Luigi is my favorite video game character from growing up. When I first started using the internet in the mid-90’s, one of my first destinations was nintendo.com. I created my first online account there, originally Davidwalser, which I soon realized wasn’t exactly what you wanted an online screenname to be, so I changed it to Luigiwalser. My first, and still current, e-mail account, luigiwalser@yahoo.com, was created a few months later.

I also learned about IRC in my early internet days, and didn’t use it much, but I learned that you don’t typically want to use your real name while on IRC. This was more true of generic IRC, like DALnet that I used back then occasionally. Obviously it doesn’t really apply on Freenode. Anyway, I created the IRC name Luigi12 way back then (12 being my favorite number), and have always used that on IRC ever since. People in Mageia sometimes call me Luigi primarily because of my IRC name. One fellow distance runner that I know IRL also calls me Luigi because of my e-mail address. I don’t really mind that, but I prefer people call me David, as that’s my real name :o)

Can you introduce yourself in a few words?

I am generally a man of few words, but I probably need a few more to introduce myself. I have been using Linux for 15.5 years, and Mandrake/Mandriva/Mageia for 15 years. I have been contributing since the summer of 2001 to some degree. I did a fair amount the first few years, not much for the next seven, and have done quite a bit since I joined Mageia at the end of 2011.

I am 33 years old, am a former high school math and computer science teacher, still am involved with high school track & field, and now teach Linux/Unix fundamentals to adults. I am a distance runner and I enjoy watching American football and listening to music.

So you are our cerberus for security update for some time now. Why did you choose to contribute on security side? This part of contribution is often seen as quite boring comparing to working on new functionnalities.

Security has always been important to me. It is something I always took seriously in setting up Linux systems for myself and my family in the early years, as well as Linux and Solaris systems that I administered for my college department in 2002. In fact, my very first contribution to Mandrake was a patch to a script in their CUPS package, whose purpose was to automatically generate cupsd.conf, to make it not listen on a network interface connected to your WAN, i.e. a security hardening :o).

I stumbled into my current role at Mageia completely by accident. I had upgraded my sister’s laptop from Mandriva 2010.2 to Mageia 1, and noticed one Mandriva package left on the system because it had a newer release tag than the Mageia package. The reason was because Mandriva had done a security update for the package, but when it was imported into Mageia, the release version was imported rather than the updates version. I was concerned about other security updates that might have been missed, and began investigating this. I started filing bugs for missing security updates and helping the QA team test updates that got packaged, to help the updates get released more expeditiously.

I also joined as a packager because there were a couple of packages that I wanted to import. Once I had packager access, I had the ability to help package some of the security updates. Over time this lead me to my current role, of keeping track of security issues and packaging some of the updates. I’m fortunate that I’m able to do some sysadmin work at my job as we’re a small team and support less than 50 students at a time, so I use Mageia on several of our servers as well as my desktop at work, so I’m able to spend some work time on Mageia stuff.

Could you explain us what your job is about in security team?

Managing security updates for the distribution. I use whatever sources of information I can to be informed about security issues that affect our distribution, file bugs for these, and try to help ensure that updates get packaged. I do much of the packaging myself, involve other packagers to help with this work, and work with the QA team to help the updates get tested and released.

So Mageia 3 is now EOL. What does that mean exactly? What would you advise to Mageia 3 users?

The EOL means that Mageia will no longer be releasing updates for Mageia 3. Any new security issues or bugs that come to light will not be fixed. Mageia 3 users should upgrade to Mageia 4 as soon as possible. Most Linux distributions are supported for a fixed amount of time after they are released. Mageia releases are supported for 18 months.

Beyond this amount of time, it becomes more difficult to obtain fixes for security issues for many packages. As a community run mostly by a small number of volunteers, our resources for providing support are rather limited too.

This last question is for you :). What would you say to recruit new contributors to help in security team (aside from promising coffee or beer ) ?

I suppose it’s good that coffee and beer weren’t offered in the beginning, as I don’t drink either of those (nor anything carbonated, caffeinated, or alcoholic :o). Anyone that uses Mageia should understand that the updates that seem to magically appear periodically don’t actually get there by magic. It’s a lot of work done by a small amount of people.

Anyone that is concerned about the security of the software that we ship and has the ability to contribute to this effort can help ensure that Mageia continues to have a good security posture by helping out. It isn’t the most exciting work, but it is very important and impacts all of our users, so it can be rewarding when you look at it that way. Contributing to this effort is a good way to have a positive impact on the distribution, and it gives you the opportunity to become more familiar with our overall package set.

The security team also acts as a kind of bridge between the packaging and QA teams, and it is fun interacting with these great groups of people.

You can join me on IRC or by mail.

Thanks David!

Posted in community, Mageia, QA, security, They Make Mageia, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Let’s say goodbye to Mageia 3

It’s been a great run, but all good things must end. Or at least, upgrade to a greater thing.

Since Mageia 3 was released in May 2013 our packaging and security teams have provided hundreds of updates (actually 1136 source packages in the Core repository, that accounts for almost 9000 binary packages), all of them tested and validated by our QA team.

As we announced in our earlier blog post, Mageia 3 has now reached the end of its product life. This means that we will not be providing any more security or bugfix updates for Mageia 3.

In order to keep your systems secure and functioning properly, you should upgrade any Mageia 3 systems that you still have to Mageia 4 as soon as possible.

And just in case you need another incentive to upgrade, Mageia 5 is coming soon (the final release should be at the end of January 2015). Mageia 5 will be our best release yet, and we only support upgrading to it from Mageia 4, so upgrading now will mean you will be ready to go when Mageia 5 comes around.

So head on over to this wiki page and upgrade your system today.

Posted in community, Mageia, QA, release, security, users | 8 Comments

As Philae, Mageia 3 is running out of batteries…

success

(Source: xkcd)

As you all know, we can’t maintain Mageia releases forever. And it’s time to say goodbye to Mageia 3. After Wednesday the 26th of November, this release won’t benefit from any more security or bugfix updates. This will allow QA team to give more time for polishing our coming Mageia 5.

So you have only one week left to upgrade to Mageia 4 if you want to keep an up-to-date system. Do not hesitate to use our mailing-lists, forums or IRC channel to speak about it and ask for help if needed.

See www.mageia.org/support for more details.

The various ways of upgrading from Mageia 3 to Mageia 4 are described in this page.

Posted in community, Mageia, packager, release, security, users | 10 Comments