Weekly roundup – 2017, week 10

Cauldron

This week saw a huge milestone for Mageia 6: the release of our second stabilisation snapshot, “sta2“. It is the product of 8 months of work since the previous milestone, sta1, and the quality has improved a lot! The majority of the feedback on the release has been excellent, which is always great to hear. We are now getting much nearer to the final release of Mageia 6.

Shortly after sta2 was released, we pushed the new FFmpeg 3.2.4 upgrade to Cauldron. Our previous branch was 2.8, which was slowly getting a bit old and might have been difficult to maintain during the whole lifetime of Mageia 6. Since FFmpeg 3.0+ brought various API changes, we had to spend some time fixing the “reverse dependencies” (i.e. the packages that depend on a given library) of ffmpeg – this work is now mostly finished, in big part thanks to patches taken either from upstream projects or from other distros.

Another upcoming update for Cauldron is for the complete KDE stack: KDE Frameworks 5.32, Plasma 5.8.6 (already in core/release) and KDE Applications 16.12.3 (currently in core/updates_testing and will soon be moved to core/release).

Other big updates that landed in Cauldron: Mesa 17.0.1, VirtualBox 5.1.16 and the preparatory work for Firefox 52.0 ESR!

Some work has also been started to review the list of packages installed by default for each DE via the meta-task package, which had not been done for a long time. Some old, obsolete packages will no longer be installed out of the box, which should also help make the ISOs slightly smaller.

To give a general impression of what’s boiling in the Cauldron every week: since our last roundup on March 3, more than 500 packages were submitted and built on our buildsystem! This was a particularly busy week though with the KDE and FFmpeg updates. If you’re curious, you can always check the activity of the last two days on pkgsubmit.

Mageia 5

This has been a quiet week for Mageia 5 as no updates were pushed (yet). Many were tested though and you should soon get security updates for Flash 24.0.0.221 and VirtualBox 5.1.12, as well as potrace, flac, wavpack and libquicktime, to name a few. As always, if you are curious about the way we test updates and would like to lend a hand, do not hesitate to get in touch with the QA team.

Community

Team elections are also still ongoing, with the various teams at different stages, so if you are part of the many teams we have, look out for the votes or calls for candidates, if they haven’t come already. Once we have completed all of them there will be a blog post about the new Council, with luck, this will also come on a non sta2 time scale 🙂

We will also have a stand at the Chemnitz Linux Days 2017 which starts tomorrow – read more about it here. If you’re in the area it’s a great opportunity to meet some contributors and talk Mageia, Linux and all things Open Source.

Posted in community, Mageia, packager, QA, Weekly roundup | 10 Comments

The next step towards Mageia 6 is here, announcing sta2

Everyone at Mageia is delighted to announce the release of our latest development milestone, our second stabilisation snapshot (sta2). We are now one step closer to the release of Mageia 6!

8 months of bug fixing and polishing

Knowing that our previous snapshot, sta1, was released in July 2016, this new development release was long overdue. We talked at length about the reasons for this delay in a previous blog post. In a few words, it can be summarized as a succession of delays due to key contributors unavailability, infrastructure issues, upstream Plasma bugs that needed some time to mature, critical partitioning bugs in the installer that kept us hard at work for months – and overall our usual quality expectations and our wish to release a stable and well-tuned product, when it’s ready.

But finally, here it is! We are elated with how sta2 turned out and expect it to go smoothly towards the release candidate and the final version in the coming weeks.

Xfce live ISO images

The big news for this release is that we are offering ISOs providing a live environment with Xfce as a replacement for our 32-bit GNOME and Plasma live ISOs. Thereforewe now provide four live ISO images: Plasma 64-bit, GNOME 64-bit, Xfce 32-bit and 64-bit.

We feel that the current lineup of ISOs covers everything that the previous one did, but also provides a lightweight alternative for older and less powerful systems, or for those that prefer a slimmer desktop environment. With the new lineup, you can see that we still have great coverage for 32/64 bit systems, and the classical or net install will allow you to install the desktop of your choice, on the architecture of your choice, with your choice of installed packages.

Package versions

Now, for the bits that you are really after! Mageia 6 sta2 ships with the following: 

  • Linux Kernel 4.9.13 (current LTS)
  • X.Org 1.19.1
  • Plasma 5.8.5 (current LTS)
  • Gnome 3.22.3
  • MATE 1.16
  • Cinnamon 3.2.4
  • Xfce 4.12.1
  • LibreOffice 5.3.1.1
  • Firefox 45 ESR
  • Thunderbird 45 ESR
  • Chromium 56

There has been a lot of work to get Plasma integrated and working as it should. The delay has allowed for far newer versions of both Plasma 5 and KDE Applications, which greatly improved their quality.

Other major parts of the distribution have also been updated. You can see the full package list for the ISOs here. The release notes are available here, as well as the errata.

If you would like to test the new development release, you can find the ISOs here. Please bear in mind that this is a prerelease candidate, so it is not ready for production use. If you find any bugs, please report them on our Bugzilla so that they can be fixed for the final release.

If there is anything you want to discuss about the release, Mageia has appropriate mailing lists, and the full index can be seen here.

What’s up next?

The sta2 release is a point-in-time snapshot of Cauldron (in this case, dated Feb 28th). It means that work has continued on Cauldron in the meantime, and there are already great changes that you will get as updates on the installed system, among which:

  • Fixed systray applets under Plasma for mgaapplet (package update tool) and net_applet (network management tool)
  • Mesa 17.0.1 (This release ships with 13.0, which was the previous branch)
  • PulseAudio 10, and soon FFmpeg 3.2
  • Improvements and fixes to IceWM and PostgreSQL packaging

As always, if you would like to contribute to the betterment of Mageia, be it with packaging, development, QA, ISO testing, or any of the other things we do, the contribution page is a good place to start.

Posted in Mageia, QA, release | 19 Comments

Weekly roundup – 2017, week 9

Given how well-received last week’s roundup was, we are continuing to deliver news about what is happening in Mageia.

Cauldron

Tests by the QA team showed that the infamous partitioning bug (mga#20074) we have been fighting with for several months has been properly fixed! Hooray for Martin Whitaker’s work to fix this bug and several related issues! 🎉

There was unfortunately a small regression in that set of ISO images, so we made another set a couple days ago (both for the live and classical installer images). Incidentally,this allowed us to include recent package updates in Cauldron. Things are starting to look great!

In other news, we are starting to see progress on mga#17592, a one-year-old blocker bug about the Mageia system tray tools being unusable under the Plasma desktop. It’s an upstream design choice (or regression, depending on the point of view) which affects all GTK+ 3 applications using the XEmbed system trayinterface. Since we were not seeing any progress on it upstream, we bit the bullet and started porting our applets (mgaapplet and net_applet) to the StatusNotifierItem (SNI) specification. As we write these lines, Frédéric Buclin (LpSolit) is making excellent progress on mgaapplet!

In addition to the work mentioned above, Cauldron has also seen some important updates this week, such as LibreOffice 5.3, PulseAudio 10, OBS Studio 18 (new in Mageia 6, but a slightly older version of it is available as a backport to Mageia 5). Upgrades for FFmpeg (and all dependent packages) as well as the Plasma stack have also been prepared – but they will only be pushed once sta2 has been released, to avoid introducing transient issues during ISO testing.

Mageia 5

We validated the critical kernel update we mentioned last week in the early morning on Saturday (UTC time). We also released security updates to mailman, libevent, firebird, util-linux, webkit2 and a few others. If you are curious about updates, you can always check advisories.mageia.org to see what updates have been validated and read the corresponding advisories for details.

A VirtualBox update is being validated and should be released in the coming hours. Otherwise, the QA backlog is impressively low, especially since they are spending a lot of time testing Mageia 6 ISOs! Thanks to all of them for their hard work!

Community

While some of us are preparing for a Linux event in Chemnitz, the various teams are organizing our yearly team leaders’ elections. The QA team has already agreed on a new trio at its head – other teams are either in the process of gathering candidates, or lagging behind a bit (like the packaging team, but to their defense (and mine, as packaging team co-leader!), they are pretty busy working on Cauldron and blocker bugs 😉!).

Stay tuned for more news in upcoming blog posts and our next weekly roundup!

Posted in community, Mageia, packager, QA | 15 Comments

Mageia at Chemnitz Linux Days 2017

As every year in Spring, the Chemnitz Linux Days (Chemnitzer Linux Tage – CLT) are coming soon and we have the pleasure to showcase our project, our community and our great distribution there. It takes place on the 11th and 12th of March at then central lecture hall of the Technical University of Chemnitz (Germany).
Last year we had some issues in the preparation and even though we had to cancel our booth, some of us managed to present at least a core team. Because of that we are very happy that the organisers still believe in our project and give us again the opportunity to present it, this year with a proper booth!

We want to present our still well working and stable Mageia 5 release as well as the recent snapshots of Cauldron and upcoming Mageia 6. We will have some laptops on which the visitors can test hands-on the system with its different desktops and software. Of course we are also happy to assist in the installation on your own computers as needed (we have also beautiful USB sticks with the Live media for KDE and GNOME, which we give away for a small donation to the project). Finally we would enjoy discussing with you about the community, the project and we are not reluctant to talk about the delay and problems of the recent development.

Please come along, next to our stand you will find a lot of other interesting projects which will present their work. Additionally there are plenty of talks covering the entire spectrum of the open source world. For the children too, there will be a lots of activities and the always well-prepared CLT organisation team will also handle the catering for you and help with accommodation.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Chemnitz and to welcome you at our booth!

Posted in community, events, Mageia, users | 11 Comments

Back from FOSDEM 2017 with new ideas and momentum!

Even though we could not have an official Mageia stand this year, the Mageia community was well represented at FOSDEM 2017 (Free and Open Source Developers’ European Meeting) in Brussels. We had an official talk by Anne and Samuel in the Distributions devroom, an informal Mageia real life meeting, the traditional Mageia dinner and many occasions to gather in small groups to discuss our favourite distro and community.

The Mageia talk: Successes and lessons learned 6 years after forking

Anne Nicolas (ennael) and Samuel Verschelde (stormi) gave an inspiring talk about the current state of affairs at Mageia: What’s our new purpose 6 years after the initial “community rescue” fork of Mandriva? What did we achieve in the Mageia community? What is still to be done or needs to be improved so that we can continue to grow and to improve the distro?

Thanks to the great work of the FOSDEM video team, you can watch the video recording of that talk!

Video of the talk (26 min), in WebM. Try the MP4 if it does not work.

Informal meeting

At the end of the talk, Marja van Waes (marja) invited all interested attendants to join us for our planned meeting in the afternoon. We were maybe 15 Mageians for this meeting, and had two contributors from Fedora and LibreOffice who joined us and gave very good insights on how they address the problems we discussed in their own projects.

This meeting was a great occasion to do an informal review of the current state of the distro and the community (we usually use this opportunity to have the Mageia.Org association’s general assembly, but fearing a lower attendance this year due to the lack of a Mageia stand we planned it for a later online meeting), and especially to discuss all those infrastructure issues that we keep pushing forward by lack of sysadmin time.

This helped build up some momentum and we are already seeing some improvements on various sysadmin tasks (such as improving the granularity of rights so that sysadmin apprentices can access the infra with restricted rights, to help share the load) and new discussions and ideas on long-term changes we want to make for Mageia 7 (such as porting our packages source repository from SVN to Git, or deploying a modern software forge such as Pagure or GitLab CE).

Mageia dinner

Following our tradition, we had a Mageia dinner on the Saturday evening with those that were available. It was a great opportunity to chat about Mageia and various other topics of interest. The service was pretty slow, but that gave us even more time to discuss while we were waiting ;). We really enjoy this yearly dinner, as FOSDEM itself is a very hectic event, so having a slow-paced evening break is very helpful to better get to know the contributors with whom we’re working on the Internet all year long.

This year again, FOSDEM really showed us that having a real-life event where we can meet fellow Mageia contributors really helps to strengthen our community, and speeds up the work on many important tasks. We realise increasingly that face to face communication can be really beneficial to the project, which is why we’re looking into reliable (free software) video-conferencing options so that we could have, from time to time, video meetings about specific topics.

We will definitely be at FOSDEM 2018, hopefully with a stand if there is room for us this time, and likely at many other events all around the world – if you want to represent the Mageia community at a local free software or Linux event, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Atelier team!

Posted in community, events, Mageia, users | 4 Comments