The Long and Winding Road

Well, it’s been a long road, longer than we anticipated, but we’re almost there! Mageia 5 Beta 1 is now validated!
What exactly does that mean? What took so long (a month and a half longer than originally planned)?

RPM 4.12 versus the Mageia buildsystem, a retrospective

The short explanation: Some stuff went wrong and other things got broken.

The long one: Back in September, we decided to update our package manager, RPM, to its latest upstream version 4.12. This was done shortly before our planned mass rebuild, a necessary step before the Beta where we rebuild all packages in the distribution to make sure that they are still compatible with the current state of our development stack. Usually, mass rebuilds show that a fair number of packages do not build anymore even if they did some months ago: the packagers’ task is then to patch them so that they can build against the new stack, or in some cases to patch the development tools to fix regressions.

But this time, the new RPM version introduced changes that were significant enough to break a lot of core packages during the mass rebuild, and lots of packages failed to build in a chain reaction. It took a couple of weeks to fix and we were already long past the planned deadline for Mageia 5 Beta 1 (originally scheduled for the end of September). So we decided to postpone it to mid October.

Still, while fixing our core tools during this first mass rebuild, some important changes were made to our RPM setup. As a consequence, half of the rebuilt packages (the ones built before our RPM setup changes) were lacking some important metadata. We then decided to do a second mass rebuild in October, which went quite fine apart from some issues with the Java stack. It was already late October when the first Beta 1 ISOs could be spun and delivered to the QA team for pre-release testing.

You may know that a Linux distribution release is basically an installer together with a set of packages. The latter were now starting to behave properly, but we were then faced with some issues in the installer regarding glibc (the GNU C library) and RPM. This delayed the beta for another week or so.

Then the QA team could finally get started with a fresh set of ISOs, and found the usual numbers of critical bugs (system doesn’t boot, stuff like that) that were fixed with the help of our developers. A big thanks to the QA team for their continued work on the ISOs while also testing update candidates for Mageia 3 and Mageia 4! This beta is far from perfect so don’t forget to check the errata, but you should be able to install it and to see the state of current cauldron. Please report any bugs, we will try to fix as many as we can for Mageia 5 Beta 2.

Consequence on the development roadmap

According to our original schedule, the second beta should have been released on October 31st… So we had to choose between skipping Beta 2 or postponing the Mageia 5 final release and the intermediate releases. Based on the input from the Beta 1 testing, we decided that we can’t afford to skip the second beta, since the current one still has some serious issues. As a consequence all planned dates for the future intermediate and finale releases have been postponed, and the new development roadmap reads as follows:

  • Beta 2: December 16th, 2014
  • Release Candidate: January 6th, 2015
  • Internal release: January 23rd, 2015
  • Final release: January 31st, 2015

Fine… Now, where is my Beta 1?

You all waited long enough for this release, so grab it with the first link, but don’t forget to check the following ones:

Test, enjoy, and report any bugs! Now is the time to polish this Mageia 5!

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14 Responses to The Long and Winding Road

  1. omul cu elice says:

    better late than sorry. the thorough testing make Mageia the excellent distribution that it is.

  2. LinuxIRCsauna says:

    Will surely install Mageia 5 as the final comes out! Been tinkering with M4 time and again; the experience has made me want to keep a close eye on this wonderful distro.

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  8. Ross Potts says:

    I was saddened so many years ago when Mandrake left the scene. I got my first security certification using it. I remember how easy the install was and commenting that it was doing linux right, for a new user. And now I hear Mageia is taking its place? I’m installing right now! !!! I’m back!

  9. Jos says:

    New hardware has meant a search for a compatible Linux OS which will support it. The ease of installation to me a ‘newbie’ was the big winner, and the package management was a dream. Recently I have drifted off into other distro’s (to broaden my exposure), but always with Mandriva/Mageia in my back pocket. Sadly having been a long time user of the ‘M’ distro (Mandrake 6 was my first Linux OS – previously (and still occasionally it was OS/2)). The newer versions of KDE 4 however, meant that instances of installation became less and less as I found it didn’t like my ageing hardware – video corruption.

    Anyway, I now have new hardware i5 1150 processor, 16GB RAM, 2GB Nvidia. And Mageia4 installs a dream …… loving it. M5 beta1 however does not install, it hangs/stalls during the installation for about 10 minutes, then either system shuts down, or it complains about a hardware issue (never long enough for me to capture exactly what 🙁 )

    Hopefully M5 GA will resolve these issues and I can continue my ‘re-conversion’ to Mageia

    • MrsB says:

      The purpose of the alpha, beta and RC releases is to enable wider community testing. Bugs are to be expected but are rarely known to fix themselves.

      Please report any bugs your encounter on Mageia bugzilla so that they can be triaged and assigned to the correct person. Generally, the more information you can provide on the bug report the better, so logs, journal etc are helpful.