Mon, 16 Jun 2014

Bodhi2 Fedora Activity Day

The Bodhi2/Taskotron Fedora Activity Day happened earlier this month! A bunch of us gathered in Denver for a few days and worked on some of our critical releng & qa infrastructure. The hackfest was held in a conference room in my apartment building, which worked out quite nicely for the amount of people that we had. The hotel was right up the road, and we were able to walk to a lot of awesome spots, like the 1UP Barcade :).

It was great to have folks from various corners of Fedora together in the same room for a few days. As it is, we get a lot done remotely, but being able to leverage the high-bandwidth face-to-face time is extremely valuable, especially when coming to consensus on difficult architectural decisions. We used Gobby to collaborate on a long list of action items, and chipped away most of it. Thankfully, Bodhi has enough layers that we were all able to split up and dive into different corners of the code without stepping on each others' toes.

Up until now, our releng stack in staging has always been less than useful. We've never able to do a full build->update->push->run, and have had to rely on testing certain codepaths in production. Not only that, but Bodhi's "masher" never really had proper unit tests, so pushing out major changes to that stack has always been quite unpleasant. Thankfully, Kevin and Dennis worked on our staging setup and made it so we can actually use it. I made a lot of headway on porting the Bodhi masher to a new fedmsg-driven architecture, while writing unit tests for it along the way. I'm hopeful that we can write tests for every part of the "push" process, and then optimize the hell out of it :)

While Mathieu and I mainly focused on back-end hacking, Ralph and Ricky made some fantastic headway on the front-end. Ralph started working on the revamped New Update Form, which is already significantly better than the original. The idea here is that the maintainer should only need to provide the package name(s), and Bodhi will automatically find the corresponding candidate builds, related bugs, and eventually it will pull in all candidate deps as well (or tell if you if any need to be rebuilt). It would also be very convenient to be able to "push this entire stack again". Ideally, I'd love to make it so that folks maintaining large stacks, like GNOME, shouldn't need to use a Google doc to coordinate their mega-updates ;)

Ralph also started revamping the new karma system (check out his screencast here). We don't have any of the policy in place to enforce it yet, but eventually we'd like the maintainers to be able to define custom policy constraints for their updates. For example, you could say "only allow this update to go to the stable repo once this specific bug or test case has been confirmed as fixed/passing".

Ricky made lots of improvements to the Release profiles and Updates/Comments/User pages, which are all looking great. He also created a Bodhi news feed on the front page using the fedmsg datagrepper widget that Ralph blogged about recently. Other front-end improvements include libravatar support for all users, proper markdown rendering with previews and image support, and of course a konami code easter-egg ;)

I was going to post a bunch of screenshots here, but Ralph just deployed a development instance of Bodhi2 that folks can play around with instead: (it's a dev instance, so don't expect it to always be up/functional).

Some other corners of Bodhi that have seen improvements recently:

The API. The Bodhi webapp is written in Python using the excellent Pyramid web framework. On top of that we are using Cornice, which makes it really easy to build & document standards-compliant web services with Pyramid. Thanks to colander validation/deserialization schemas and our custom ACLs and validators, we are able to write dead-simple views that can safely assume that all of the data we are dealing with is valid and in the right format, and that the user has the appropriate permissions. Cornice also has a Sphinx plugin that auto-generates our API documentation. So not only do we now have a semi-RESTful standards-compliant self-documenting API, but Ralph also added a support for rendering almost every service as an RSS feed as well.

Regarding the Bodhi Python APIs, I've begun porting them to the new python-fedora OpenIDBaseClient (see bodhi/ Since a large percentage of the API usage is through the current python-fedora BodhiClient, I'd like to try our best to maintain compatibility--at least for a version or two with deprecation warnings if we have to. I am really looking forward to finally being able to trash our old TurboGears1 FAS visit/identity layer in favor of FedOAuth.

On top of the Python API lies the bodhi-client. I recently ported the basic functionality over using the click module, which makes it really easy to write complex command-line tools (see bodhi/ Since the current bodhi-client is an absolute mess, this is one area that I'm actually okay with breaking backwards-compatibility to a certain extent. Having a proper command structure, similar to the Koji cli, is well worth some cli flag changes in my opinion.

In a similar fashion, Mathieu implemented a great release management tool for Bodhi admins. Currently, creating a release and changing it's pre-release status involves using the TurboGears Python shell, creating SQLObject instances by hand, editing config files, etc. This tool will make it dead simple for releng to create new releases and manage all of the pre-GA state changes that happen along the way.

Performance was another key area of development. The app is fairly snappy now, but there is still a ton of room for improvement. The pyramid-debugtoolbar has been amazingly useful for us so far. It let's us analyze every SQL statement made, it does full-stack profiling, and it lets us execute commands in every layer of a traceback. Along with that, Ralph added a SQLAlchemy event hook to our unit tests to ensure that certain changes don't drastically change how many SQL statements are getting executed. With regard to Masher performance, there is still a lot of low-hanging fruit there. We saw a drastic boost in mash speed recently when Kevin discovered that a couple of releng machines weren't using virtio. This brought the mash time of EPEL5 updates from 45 minutes down to around 15. In the new version of the masher, updates are grouped by tag and then processed in a separate threads. Security updates and critical bugfixes will take priority over enhancements, and there are also things that we can do to make the bits hit the mirrors faster once we're done mashing.

Another corner of Bodhi that was the topic of discussion was around notifications. Bodhi currently sends way too much email, most of which I'm assuming gets ignored. There are a couple of mails that are a bit more important, like the update announcement emails that get sent to package-announce, and the updates-testing digest that goes to the test-list. The consensus that we came to was that we are going to attempt to use FMN to allow people to configure what messages they want to receive, and where (IRC, email, etc). This alleviates the need to build an email layer into Bodhi2, and allows us to focus on publishing fedmsgs only, letting FMN do the rest.

As far as the transition to Bodhi2 goes, we're going to try our best to not break the world in the process. Ralph mentioned the potential timeline in his blog post, and we still have lots of work to do before then. In order to help ease this transition, I created a wiki page to track the consumers of Bodhi's APIs, so we can make the appropriate changes to those codebases before launch. Please feel free to update it with any that I left out.

Overall, it was a very successful FAD. We got a ton of stuff done, ate a bunch of great food, and had a lot of fun in the process. I didn't cover everything that we worked on, so checkout the blog posts from threebean, bochecha, and nirik for more details on other things that got done. If you're interested in getting involved with Bodhi2, grab the code, checkout the open issues, and hop in #fedora-apps on Freenode.

Also, I'll be giving a presentation at Flock in Prague this year on "Evolving the Fedora Updates process", which will cover the history of pushing updates as well as an in-depth dive into the new bodhi2 stack.

posted at: 16:49 | link | Tags: , , | 0 comments

Thu, 07 Mar 2013

Keeping your finger on the pulse of the Fedora community

For those who haven't been keeping up with all of the awesome code Ralph Bean has been churning out lately, be sure to checkout Hop on #fedora-fedmsg on Freenode or load up busmon to see it in action. Not all of the Fedora Infrastructure services currently fire off fedmsgs, but we're getting very close.

This technology is built on top of Moksha, which I created many years ago while writing the first version of the fedoracommunity app. It's come a long way since then, and now can speak ØMQ over WebSockets, as well as AMQP and STOMP over Orbited. Now the time has finally come to bring Moksha to the desktop!

Introducing fedmsg-notify

fedmsg-notify lets you get realtime desktop notifications of activity within the Fedora community. It allows you to tap into the firehose of contributions as they happen and filter them to your liking. It works with any window manager that supports the notification-spec, however I've only seen the gravatars show up using GNOME.

For GNOME Shell users, you can [optionally] install gnome-shell-extension-fedmsg, and then enable it with the gnome-tweak-tool or by running `gnome-shell-extension-tool -e` (and then hit alt+f2 and type 'r' to reload the shell). You will then be graced with the presence of The Bus:

For those who aren't running GNOME shell, you can simply yum install fedmsg-notify, and then run fedmsg-notify-config, or launch it from your Settings menu. Due to a dependency on Twisted's gtk3reactor, fedmsg-notify is currently only available on Fedora 18 and newer.

The first tab shows you all services that are currently hooked into fedmsg. As we add new ones, the gui will automatically display them. These services are defined in the fedmsg_meta_fedora_infrastructure package.

The Advanced tab lets you further customize what messages you want to see. The "Bugs that you have encountered" option will display all messages that reference any Bugzilla numbers for crashes that you have hit locally with ABRT. The other filters involve querying your local yum database or the PackageDB.

Under the hood

The fedmsg-notify-daemon itself is fairly minimal (see At it's core, it's just a Twisted reactor that consumes ØMQ messages. Moksha does all of the heavy lifting behind the scenes, so all we really have to do is specify a topic to subscribe to and define a consume method that gets called with each message. This is essentially just a basic Moksha Consumer with some fedmsg + DBus glue.

class FedmsgNotifyService(dbus.service.Object, fedmsg.consumers.FedmsgConsumer):
    topic = 'org.fedoraproject.*'

    def consume(self, msg): 

The daemon will automatically startup upon login, or will get activated by DBus when enabled via the GUI. When a message arrives, it filters it accordingly, downloads & caches the icons, [optionally] relays the message over DBus, and then displays the notification on your desktop.

The API for writing custom filters is dead simple (see Here is an example of one:

class MyPackageFilter(Filter):
    """ Matches messages regarding packages that a given user has ACLs on """
    __description__ = 'Packages that these users maintain'
    __user_entry__ = 'Usernames'

    def __init__(self, settings):
        self.usernames = settings.replace(',', ' ').split()
        self.packages = set()

    def _query_pkgdb(self):
        for username in self.usernames:
  "Querying the PackageDB for %s's packages" % username)
            for pkg in PackageDB().user_packages(username)['pkgs']:

    def match(self, msg, processor):
        packages = processor.packages(msg)
        for package in self.packages:
            if package in packages:
                return True
The fedmsg-notify-config interface (see, automatically introspects the filters and populates the Advanced tab with the appropriate labels, switches, and text entries.

Consuming fedmsg over DBus

Let's say you want to write an application that listens to fedmsg, but you don't want to deal with spinning up your own connection, or you're not using Python, etc. For these cases, fedmsg-notify supports relaying messages over DBus. This functionality can be enabled by running `gsettings set org.fedoraproject.fedmsg.notify emit-dbus-signals true`. You can then easily listen for the MessageReceived DBus signal, like so:
import json, dbus

from gi.repository import GObject
from dbus.mainloop.glib import DBusGMainLoop

def consume(topic, body):

bus = dbus.SessionBus()
bus.add_signal_receiver(consume, signal_name='MessageReceived',
loop = GObject.MainLoop()


If you're interested in helping out with any layer of the fedmsg stack, hop in #fedora-apps, and fork it on GitHub:

Hop on the bus!

posted at: 17:30 | link | Tags: , , , | 4 comments

Thu, 24 Mar 2011

git clone all of your Fedora packages

After doing a fresh Fedora 15 install on my laptop last night, I wanted to quickly clone all of the packages that I maintain. Here is a single command that does the job:

python -c "import pyfedpkg; from fedora.client.pkgdb import PackageDB; [pyfedpkg.clone(pkg['name'], '$USER') for pkg in PackageDB().user_packages('$USER')['pkgs']]"

posted at: 16:10 | link | Tags: , , | 4 comments

Sun, 13 Mar 2011

Fedora Photobooth @ SXSW

This is the first year that Fedora will have a booth at SXSW! Sadly, I am not going to be attending since it conflicts with PyCon. However, my code will be running at our booth. Usually the Fedora booth at conferences is comprised of a bunch of flyers, media, swag, and some people to help answer questions and tell the Fedora story. However at SXSW, things are going to be a little different.

Aside from the amazing flyers that Máirín created, there will also be a Fedora Photobooth. Someone (probably Spot or Jared) will be dressed in a full Tux costume, and people can come and get their photo taken with them. Spot came to me the other day and asked if I could write some code to streamline the whole process.

An hour or so later, was born. There are definitely lots of improvements that can be made, but here is what it currently does in its initial incarnation:

In Action
See Mo's blog for photos of this code in action at the Fedora SXSW booth!
* SXSW Expo Day 1 from the show floor
* SXSW Expo Day 2
* A Beefy, Miraculous Day at SXSW (Expo Day 3)

The Code
I threw this in a git repo and tossed it up on GitHub:
# - version 0.3
# Requires: python-imaging, qrencode, gphoto2, surl
# Author: Luke Macken <>
# License: GPLv3

import os
import surl
import Image
import subprocess

from uuid import uuid4
from os.path import join, basename, expanduser

# Where to spit out our qrcode, watermarked image, and local html
out = expanduser('~/Desktop/sxsw')

# The watermark to apply to all images
watermark_img = expanduser('~/Desktop/fedora.png')

# This assumes ssh-agent is running so we can do password-less scp
ssh_image_repo = ''

# The public HTTP repository for uploaded images
http_image_repo = ''

# Size of the qrcode pixels
qrcode_size = 10

# Whether or not to delete the photo after uploading it to the remote server
delete_after_upload = True

# The camera configuration
# Use gphoto2 --list-config and --get-config for more information
gphoto_config = {
    '/main/imgsettings/imagesize': 3, # small
    '/main/imgsettings/imagequality': 0, # normal
    '/main/capturesettings/zoom': 70, # zoom factor

# The URL shortener to use
shortener = ''

class PhotoBooth(object):

    def initialize(self):
        """ Detect the camera and set the various settings """
        cfg = ['--set-config=%s=%s' % (k, v) for k, v in gphoto_config.items()]'gphoto2 --auto-detect ' +
                        ' '.join(cfg), shell=True)

    def capture_photo(self):
        """ Capture a photo and download it from the camera """
        filename = join(out, '%s.jpg' % str(uuid4()))
        cfg = ['--set-config=%s=%s' % (k, v) for k, v in gphoto_config.items()]'gphoto2 ' +
                        '--capture-image-and-download ' +
                        '--filename="%s" ' % filename,
        return filename

    def process_image(self, filename):
        print "Processing %s..." % filename
        print "Applying watermark..."
        image = self.watermark(filename)
        print "Uploading to remote server..."
        url = self.upload(image)
        print "Generating QRCode..."
        qrcode = self.qrencode(url)
        print "Shortening URL..."
        tiny = self.shorten(url)
        print "Generating HTML..."
        html = self.html_output(url, qrcode, tiny)'firefox "%s"' % html, shell=True)
        print "Done!"

    def watermark(self, image):
        """ Apply a watermark to an image """
        mark =
        im =
        if im.mode != 'RGBA':
            im = im.convert('RGBA')
        layer ='RGBA', im.size, (0,0,0,0))
        position = (im.size[0] - mark.size[0], im.size[1] - mark.size[1])
        layer.paste(mark, position)
        outfile = join(out, basename(image))
        Image.composite(layer, im, layer).save(outfile)
        return outfile

    def upload(self, image):
        """ Upload this image to a remote server """'scp "%s" %s' % (image, ssh_image_repo), shell=True)
        if delete_after_upload:
        return http_image_repo + basename(image)

    def qrencode(self, url):
        """ Generate a QRCode for a given URL """
        qrcode = join(out, 'qrcode.png')'qrencode -s %d -o "%s" %s' % (
            qrcode_size, qrcode, url), shell=True)
        return qrcode

    def shorten(self, url):
        """ Generate a shortened URL """
        return[shortener].get({}, url)

    def html_output(self, image, qrcode, tinyurl):
        """ Output HTML with the image, qrcode, and tinyurl """
        html = """
                    <td colspan="2">
                        <b><a href="%(tinyurl)s">%(tinyurl)s</a></b>
                    <td><img src="%(image)s" border="0"/></td>
                    <td><img src="%(qrcode)s" border="0"/></td>
        """ % {'image': image, 'qrcode': qrcode, 'tinyurl': tinyurl}
        outfile = join(out, basename(image) + '.html')
        output = file(outfile, 'w')
        return outfile

if __name__ == "__main__":
    photobooth = PhotoBooth()
        while True:
            raw_input("Press enter to capture photo.")
            filename = photobooth.capture_photo()
    except KeyboardInterrupt:
        print "\nExiting..."

posted at: 02:57 | link | Tags: , , , | 21 comments

Wed, 16 Feb 2011

FUDCon 2011 Tempe

I meant to get this summary out the door weeks ago, however, I didn't want to distract from my post-FUDCon productivity :)

Another FUDCon has come and gone. This time it was in gorgeous Tempe, Arizona. It was my first time in AZ, and I must say that I was thoroughly impressed. It was truly a great location for FUDCon. Thanks to the epic snowstorm of doom, I also was stuck there for a few extra days

Live Widgetry
Before the conference I decided to throw together a little live widget that scrolls all of the new posts tagged with #FUDCon. Thanks to the mad design skillz of mizmo, and the feed aggregation and real-time web sockets of Moksha, I was able to throw it together pretty quickly. I plan on taking this code and integrating it in the existing fedoracommunity dashboard and hooking up many different fedora-related feeds to it.


Day 1 of the FUDCon sessions were quite interesting. I got a chance to learn a bit more about the exciting AutoQA project, which is coming along nicely. You'll be seeing AutoQA commenting on bodhi updates soon enough.

Security Lab
I caught Joerg Simon's session on the Fedora Security Lab. It was exciting to see how the Security Spin has evolved ever since I created it back in 2007 for a project in my forensics class. It was also interesting to learn more about OSSTMM.

The next session I attended was about the future of spins. Almost everyone agreed that Spins are useful and a valuable part of Fedora. The problems seem to mostly lie in governance/policy and a lack of communication and coordination between the Spins SIG and QA/Releng/Infrastructure. Once of my ideas below may help with this a little bit.

The Next Big Project

Day 2 was comprised of more sessions, including my team's "Next Big Project" proposals. Of course, the Fedora RPG that Spot and Mo talked about was definitely a hot topic, and got a lot of people excited.

I talked about a handful of project ideas that I would like to work on in the future (actually, I have code written for most of them already). Here is a quick rundown:

Real-time Infrastructure
I want to see us deploy an AMQP message broker inside our production infrastructure. Then, we hook up all of our existing services and have them fire off messages when various events occur (koji builds, bodhi updates, pkgdb additions/removals/changes, git hooks, planet feeds, wiki edits, etc). From here, using some realtime web technology that we created, we could easily expose these message queues via a live dashboard that lets you filter and navigate the stream of activity, along with providing real-time metrics. We can also create desktop notification widgets, so you can get popup bubbles for things that you care about.

This is also key to the whole RPG as well. In order to build a game based on Fedora workflows, we need an underlying expert system that knows what actions can be taken within fedora, how they are accomplished, and who is getting them done.

Meeting app
Currently after a meeting, our Meetbot spits out the logs and an overview in txt/html/rst to a directory on Trying to track down who agreed to what when, or even to see what a given team has been up to over the past couple of months, is very tedious.

The data is there, now we just need to make it useful. I would love to see a frontend for this sytem that tracked meetings by team/people/topics/projects, kept track of actions and held people accountable for what they say they are going to do (and make it easy for people to say "I need help with this", or "I don't have time to finish this"), making it simple to go from an #idea in a meeting to implementation. There is so much great data in these logs, and I think we can do some awesome things with it.

Improved upstream monitoring
Most Fedora developers probably don't even know that we already have an Upstream release monitoring service buried in the wiki. I added almost every package I maintain to it, and it will automatically open a bug when a new upstream version is released. Extremely useful.

I wouldn't call this a "big" project, but I would like to see us integrate this service into our existing infrastructure. We could potentially store this per-package upstream data in the pkgdb/bodhi, and when a new release comes out write some code to automatically try doing a simple specfile bump, throw a scratch build at koji, run it through AutoQA, queue up for testing in bodhi, etc. Ideally, this would minimize the massive amounts of effort that our maintainers have to do to keep our packages up to speed with upstream.

Discussions app
Last year, Máirín Duffy and I came up with some interesting ideas for improving our mailing lists. I would like to make this a reality. Since then, I have already written code that can successfully parse all of fedora-devel.mbox (sounds much easier than it really is), populate it into a SQLAlchemy database model, expose a JSON API for quering, and visualize threads and various statistics with a basic widget.

Spin Master
One of the biggest problems with spins that we have right now is that there is no easy way to track how they are evolving. I would like to see us create a system that took the nightly spins and analyzed them, tracking what packages have been added/removed, which packages have grown/shrunk, etc. We could potentially get AutoQA involved here and make sure all spins pass a certain level of sanity checks before they can even be released. There are scripts floating around that can do a lot of this already -- but I want to streamline it and build a frontend.

Source-level package diff viewer
Fedora churns at such a fast pace, yet I can only imagine that a small subset of maintainers actually look at the complete code changes between upstream package releases. The recent sourceforge intrusion should be seen as a reality check to us distributions, and I think we need to step up our game quite a bit to ensure we don't let any malicious code slip into Fedora.

I would like to see a web/cli interface for viewing full source diffs of package updates in Fedora, allowing people to annotate/flag lines of code. Having more eyes view the code changes that go into our distribution is definitely a Good Thing, not just for Fedora, but for Open Source in general.


Now, on to my favorite part of any conference -- The Hackfests. First off, I felt that the hackfests were a bit unorganized this year. There was no opportunity to pitch hackfests, and it was not easy to figure out who was doing what in which rooms. Anyway, I had a fairly productive day of hacking...

I integrated our package test cases into bodhi, which will now query the wiki for tests and display them in your updates, like so:

Thanks to James Laska for the code to query the wiki, and to Ian Weller for python-simplemediawiki API.

I also sat down with Máirín Duffy and talked about Bodhi v2.0 interaction design. We discussed what actions we want people to take when they arrive at bodhi's homepage, which essentially boils down to submitting, searching, browsing, and testing updates. Mo quickly threw together an awesome mockup that portrays some of our initial ideas.

Fedora Community Discussions
As mentioned above, I have already started implementing the mailing list interface that mizmo and I designed last year. I worked with Casey Dahlin during the hackfests and helped him get a working fedoracommunity/moksha development environment up and running and become familiar with the existing code.

Even though he wasn't at FUDCon, Jan Hutar has also been working on a couple of great graphs/grids of mailing list statistics for fedoracommunity as well. We'll be hacking away at this stuff over the next few months, so stay tuned.

kernel EFI framebuffer
I spun up a quick kernel patch to enable the EFI framebuffer on a handfull of Macs. I already wrote a patch that got applied upstream that enables this framebuffer on 14 different mac models, but this new patch adds 5 more. A lot of people, especially Sugar on a Stick users, are desperate to get Fedora running on their mactel machines (assuming found in may school labs), so I spun up a fresh livecd with my kernel patch for testing. See Bug #528232 for more information.

I did a bunch of work on porting the liveusb-creator from HAL to UDisks. Thankfully, Ubuntu's cleverly-named "usb-creator" already has UDisks support, so I've been happily borrowing ideas from their code :)

I also had some great discussions with Peter Robinson and Bernie Innocenti about solving the persistent overlay problem with our Live USBs. Right now, they are essentially a ticking time bomb, and real world LiveUSB use-cases are getting bit by this all of the time. Over the past few years, the "solution" has been to "wait for unionfs to get merged into the kernel". However, there are a variety of other potential solutions that we are going to look into as well.

The future of Python web development is extremely exciting, innovative, and still evolving at a rapid pace. As a TurboGears developer, I'm still very impressed with TG2, which along with TG1 will be supported for a long time to come -- but I'm also very eager for the next generation framework that has just emerged.

Recently, the Pylons project has merged with repoze.bfg to form Pyramid, which just released version 1.0. I'm quite amazed by the quality of the code, docs, and tests, and benchmarks already show it blowing rails/django/tg/pylons out of the water. I'm looking forward to the PyCon sprints, where all 3 communitites are going to be sitting at the same table working together on this project.

So while I was stuck in Tempe during the snow storm, I wrote 7 RPMs for Pyramid and it's dependencies, which are currently waiting to be reviewed. I plan on writing Bodhi v2.0 using Pyramid, so if this is something that interests you, let me know (and start reading the 600+ pages of docs ;)

Good times
Technical stuff aside, I had a blast at FUDCon, and I feel like it was one of the best. FUDPub was great, as usual. I played a lot of poker [poorly], ate a lot of tasty food, and had some great conversations. I had caught a cold prior to coming to FUDCon, so instead of nursing it with some nyquil and sleep, I decided to try to nurse it with a bottle of Jack, which turned out to be a bad idea.

Also, no FUDCon would be complete without mentioning Once the hackfests started winding down, I gave a quick session on nethack, where I tought people various ways to steal from shops, using a bunch of screecasts that I had on my laptop.

posted at: 21:55 | link | Tags: , , | 0 comments

Fri, 25 Jun 2010

Professors' Open Source Summer Experience @ RIT

Last week Red Hat put on a Professors' Open Source Summer Experience (POSSE) at RIT. Being an alumni, I was excited by the opportunity to be able to go back up to The ROC and teach some of the people that taught me. Going into it, I really had no idea what to expect. All I knew is that I was going to help lead the 'deep dive' section of the course, where I would teach professors how to dive in head first and get productively lost in a strange codebase. This is not something that can be accomplished with a set of powerpoint slides. Teaching how to hack on open source requires that you emerse yourself into a codebase, and bring your students with you.

The previous POSSE at Worcester State dove into the Sugar Measure Activity, and we were going to do the same.

Measure is an activity that turns the computer into an oscilloscope. Signals from the microphone (and sensors) can be plotted in time and frequency domains.

I had never used this activity, let alone hacked on it before. I've also never done any sugar activity development, aside from some tweaking of the OpenVideoChat, so I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. The obvious first step was to get it running. All of us were able to start the activity in virtual machines or emulators, except for one install which hit some odd errors upon startup. We were able to quickly track the bug down to a stray return statement in __init__ before some critical initialization code. Right after we fixed the problem we noticed that Walter Bender had already fixed this issue a few hours earlier. After a git pull, we were up and running.

Once we all got the activity running, we took a look at the bug list to see if there was any low-hanging fruit for us to tackle. Since the previous POSSE had already done some work on this activity the week before, there were not any trivial tickets left in the queue. So, in that case, we dove head first into the hardest one, "Measure activity gets stuck after recording". This ticket had very little information, and no log output, so we were on our own to try and track it down. We were able to reliably reproduce the issue on the XO-1.5, but not on the 1.0. In our virtual machines we hit it sporadically. We all agreed that it felt like a race-condition, most likely due to threading. So we started instrumenting the code and adding some debugging statements to try and figure out which line of code was the culprit.

In our efforts to scatter print statements all over the place to try and determine the code path, we noticed that none of our output was hitting the logs. When you have no idea if your code is even being run or not, don't be ashamed to throw in a raise Exception("WTF?!"). We finally realized that since the activity would freeze, it was never able to flush stderr/stdout to the log. A quick find/replace regex later, and we were using the proper logging module and seeing our debugging output hit the logs.

We were then able to track the bug down to a line of code that uses GTK to try and get the coordinates of the parent window. At this point, since none of us were GTK experts, we had to go upstream. So, I dropped into #fedora-devel and asked. Within 10 minutes I had responses from 3 different GTK hackers. One was a typical RTFM response, which humored the professors (who are very used to hearing/saying this), but the others pointed us in the right direction. One mentioned that gtk.gdk calls probably should not be done in a seperate thread. So, a suggested workaround was to add gtk.threads_enter()/gtk.threads_leave() calls before running any gtk.gdk code in the thread. A 2-line patch later, and we had squashed the bug.

We eventually bumped into the inevitable typo in some comments. So, we made the fix locally, and committed it to our git repo. A few minutes later and we found another one. I saw this as a great opportunity to show off some of my git-fu. Instead of sending two "Fix typo" patches upstream, I showed the professors how to use git interactive rebasing to squash multiple commits into a single one. They all followed along closely, and the workflow made sense to them.

While we were looking through the ticket queue, we saw an issue where Measure would apparently leak memory and crash when running it for a long period of time. While keeping this in mind, we kept our eyes peeled while wandering around the codebase to see if we could track the issue down. When looking at the code that takes screenshots of the waveform, I noticed that it created a temporary file with tempfile.mkstemp, saved the pixmap to it, injected it into the Journal, and then deleted the directory. This looked fine at a first glance, until I realized that it never closed the temporary file descriptor. Another 2-line patch later, and this issue was solved.

The next day both of the patches that we sent upstream were applied by Walter Bender.

Overall, POSSE definitely exceeded my expectations, and I'm extremely satisfied with how the 'deep dive' section went. I went into it feeling completely unprepared to teach, but by trusting my "hacker intuition", I feel that it turned out to be a fantastic learning experience for all of us.

posted at: 19:59 | link | Tags: , , | 0 comments

Tue, 08 Jun 2010

Fedora Updates Report

I recently wrote some code to generate detailed statistics of Fedora & EPEL updates within bodhi. Eventually this will be auto-generated and exposed within bodhi itself, but for now here are the initial metrics.

This report definitely conveys the shortcomings in how we currently utilize bodhi for "testing" updates, however, it does show us improving with each release. For Fedora 13, we implemented the No Frozen Rawhide process with improved Critical Path policies, which were definitely a success. With these enhanced procedures, along with the upcoming implementation of AutoQA and the new Package update acceptance criteria, I think we'll see these numbers drastically improve in the future.

You can find the code that generates these statistics here:, If you have any ideas or suggestions for different types of metrics to generate, or if you find any bugs in my code, please let me know.

Bodhi Statistics Report (Generated on June 8th, 2010)

Out of 17412 total updates, 2958 received feedback (16.99%)
Out of 1045 total unique karma submitters, the top 30 are:
 * notting (424)
 * mclasen (366)
 * jkeating (321)
 * adamwill (283)
 * cwickert (161)
 * rdieter (159)
 * pbrobinson (141)
 * kevin (141)
 * cweyl (122)
 * tomspur (119)
 * mtasaka (110)
 * xake (97)
 * cschwangler (86)
 * kwright (84)
 * peter (83)
 * hadess (80)
 * michich (72)
 * tagoh (69)
 * pfrields (69)
 * bpepple (69)
 * iarnell (68)
 * lkundrak (66)
 * shinobi (65)
 * sundaram (64)
 * spot (62)
 * pravins (62)
 * markmc (62)
 * thomasj (61)
 * smooge (60)
 * fab (59)

     Fedora 13

 * 3562 updates
 * 3065 stable updates
 * 427 testing updates
 * 62 pending updates
 * 8 obsolete updates
 * 2371 bugfix updates (66.56%)
 * 745 enhancement updates (20.92%)
 * 89 security updates (2.50%)
 * 357 newpackage updates (10.02%)
 * 410 critical path updates (11.51%)
 * 333 critical path updates approved
 * 1155 updates received feedback (32.43%)
 * 12120 +0 comments
 * 2477 +1 comments
 * 155 -1 comments
 * 595 unique authenticated karma submitters
 * 133 anonymous users gave feedback (1.57%)
 * 2261 out of 3562 updates went through testing (63.48%)
 * 1317 testing updates were pushed *without* karma (58.25%)
 * 21 critical path updates pushed *without* karma
 * Time spent in testing:
   * mean = 11 days
   * median = 9 days
   * mode = 7 days
 * 4 updates automatically unpushed due to karma (0.11%)
   * 0 of which were critical path updates
 * 231 updates automatically pushed due to karma (6.49%)
   * 2 of which were critical path updates
 * Time spent in testing of updates that were pushed by karma:
   * mean = 11 days
   * median = 7 days
   * mode = 7 days
 * Time spent in testing of updates that were unpushed by karma:
   * mean = 9 days
   * median = 5 days
   * mode = 5 days
 * 2445 packages updated (top 10 shown)
    * selinux-policy: 13
    * jd: 12
    * 12
    * gdb: 12
    * ibus-pinyin: 11
    * nautilus: 10
    * kernel: 10
    * evolution: 9
    * libfm: 9
    * libmx: 9

     Fedora 12

 * 4844 updates
 * 4291 stable updates
 * 371 testing updates
 * 113 pending updates
 * 69 obsolete updates
 * 2905 bugfix updates (59.97%)
 * 1054 enhancement updates (21.76%)
 * 201 security updates (4.15%)
 * 684 newpackage updates (14.12%)
 * 407 critical path updates (8.40%)
 * 960 updates received feedback (19.82%)
 * 16311 +0 comments
 * 1899 +1 comments
 * 554 -1 comments
 * 758 unique authenticated karma submitters
 * 576 anonymous users gave feedback (5.33%)
 * 2873 out of 4844 updates went through testing (59.31%)
 * 2138 testing updates were pushed *without* karma (74.42%)
 * 188 critical path updates pushed *without* karma
 * Time spent in testing:
   * mean = 14 days
   * median = 13 days
   * mode = 17 days
 * 12 updates automatically unpushed due to karma (0.25%)
   * 4 of which were critical path updates
 * 133 updates automatically pushed due to karma (2.75%)
   * 13 of which were critical path updates
 * Time spent in testing of updates that were pushed by karma:
   * mean = 11 days
   * median = 7 days
   * mode = 7 days
 * Time spent in testing of updates that were unpushed by karma:
   * mean = 9 days
   * median = 5 days
   * mode = 5 days
 * 2902 packages updated (top 10 shown)
    * qbittorrent: 25
    * gdb: 25
    * selinux-policy: 22
    * kernel: 15
    * xorg-x11-server: 14
    * ibus: 13
    * jd: 13
    * abrt: 11
    * gvfs: 11
    * gtk2: 11

     Fedora 11

 * 6987 updates
 * 6381 stable updates
 * 183 testing updates
 * 99 pending updates
 * 324 obsolete updates
 * 3649 bugfix updates (52.23%)
 * 1566 enhancement updates (22.41%)
 * 350 security updates (5.01%)
 * 1422 newpackage updates (20.35%)
 * 383 critical path updates (5.48%)
 * 729 updates received feedback (10.43%)
 * 23427 +0 comments
 * 1197 +1 comments
 * 448 -1 comments
 * 782 unique authenticated karma submitters
 * 481 anonymous users gave feedback (3.58%)
 * 4129 out of 6987 updates went through testing (59.10%)
 * 3620 testing updates were pushed *without* karma (87.67%)
 * 278 critical path updates pushed *without* karma
 * Time spent in testing:
   * mean = 15 days
   * median = 14 days
   * mode = 17 days
 * 7 updates automatically unpushed due to karma (0.10%)
   * 0 of which were critical path updates
 * 64 updates automatically pushed due to karma (0.92%)
   * 11 of which were critical path updates
 * Time spent in testing of updates that were pushed by karma:
   * mean = 11 days
   * median = 7 days
   * mode = 7 days
 * Time spent in testing of updates that were unpushed by karma:
   * mean = 9 days
   * median = 5 days
   * mode = 5 days
 * 3787 packages updated (top 10 shown)
    * libguestfs: 30
    * jd: 24
    * selinux-policy: 23
    * kdebase-workspace: 19
    * kernel: 18
    * gdb: 16
    * dovecot: 16
    * qemu: 16
    * kdebase-runtime: 16
    * kdenetwork: 16

     Fedora EPEL 5

 * 1572 updates
 * 1255 stable updates
 * 198 testing updates
 * 43 pending updates
 * 76 obsolete updates
 * 734 bugfix updates (46.69%)
 * 236 enhancement updates (15.01%)
 * 93 security updates (5.92%)
 * 509 newpackage updates (32.38%)
 * 20 critical path updates (1.27%)
 * 103 updates received feedback (6.55%)
 * 6076 +0 comments
 * 156 +1 comments
 * 19 -1 comments
 * 243 unique authenticated karma submitters
 * 41 anonymous users gave feedback (1.22%)
 * 1176 out of 1572 updates went through testing (74.81%)
 * 1092 testing updates were pushed *without* karma (92.86%)
 * 19 critical path updates pushed *without* karma
 * Time spent in testing:
   * mean = 24 days
   * median = 18 days
   * mode = 16 days
 * 0 updates automatically unpushed due to karma (0.00%)
   * 0 of which were critical path updates
 * 10 updates automatically pushed due to karma (0.64%)
   * 0 of which were critical path updates
 * Time spent in testing of updates that were pushed by karma:
   * mean = 11 days
   * median = 7 days
   * mode = 7 days
 * Time spent in testing of updates that were unpushed by karma:
   * mean = 9 days
   * median = 5 days
   * mode = 5 days
 * 1060 packages updated (top 10 shown)
    * libguestfs: 26
    * znc: 10
    * vrq: 8
    * cherokee: 8
    * 389-ds-base: 8
    * viewvc: 8
    * 389-admin: 7
    * pki-ca: 7
    * wordpress-mu: 7
    * Django: 7

     Fedora EPEL 4

 * 447 updates
 * 359 stable updates
 * 40 testing updates
 * 11 pending updates
 * 37 obsolete updates
 * 222 bugfix updates (49.66%)
 * 68 enhancement updates (15.21%)
 * 40 security updates (8.95%)
 * 117 newpackage updates (26.17%)
 * 5 critical path updates (1.12%)
 * 11 updates received feedback (2.46%)
 * 1592 +0 comments
 * 11 +1 comments
 * 2 -1 comments
 * 85 unique authenticated karma submitters
 * 2 anonymous users gave feedback (0.24%)
 * 320 out of 447 updates went through testing (71.59%)
 * 311 testing updates were pushed *without* karma (97.19%)
 * 5 critical path updates pushed *without* karma
 * Time spent in testing:
   * mean = 18 days
   * median = 16 days
   * mode = 16 days
 * 0 updates automatically unpushed due to karma (0.00%)
   * 0 of which were critical path updates
 * 1 updates automatically pushed due to karma (0.22%)
   * 0 of which were critical path updates
 * Time spent in testing of updates that were pushed by karma:
   * mean = 11 days
   * median = 7 days
   * mode = 7 days
 * Time spent in testing of updates that were unpushed by karma:
   * mean = 9 days
   * median = 5 days
   * mode = 5 days
 * 313 packages updated (top 10 shown)
    * cherokee: 8
    * globus-common: 7
    * R: 6
    * voms: 6
    * globus-gsi-proxy-ssl: 5
    * globus-openssl-module: 5
    * globus-gsi-proxy-core: 5
    * bitlbee: 5
    * flashrom: 5
    * viewvc: 5

posted at: 20:41 | link | Tags: , , , | 0 comments

Tue, 25 May 2010

liveusb-creator trojan in the wild

I've been noticing many different copies of my Windows liveusb-creator popping up on various sketchy-looking download sites. The majority of these copies contain a variant of the Vundo Trojan.

"Vundo, or the Vundo Trojan (also known as Virtumonde or Virtumondo and sometimes referred to as MS Juan) is a Trojan horse that is known to cause popups and advertising for rogue antispyware programs, and sporadically other misbehavior including performance degradation and denial of service with some websites including Google and Facebook."

So, if you downloaded a copy of the Windows liveusb-creator from anywhere other than -- you could be infected. Apparently the latest variation of this trojan is undetectable by most antivirus (although, clamav was able to recognize the one that I found), so you may need to look around for some of the common symptoms. There is apparently a tool that will remove this trojan which can be found here, however I have not tested it and cannot vouch for its validity.

If anyone was actually hit by this, I'd be interested to hear about it.

Also, to state the blatantly obvious: only download the liveusb-creator from the homepage!

posted at: 21:11 | link | Tags: , , , | 4 comments

Sat, 27 Mar 2010

Fedora Community Statistics

I'm pleased to announce that version 0.4.0 of the Fedora Community dashboard has just hit production. Along with the usual batch of bugfixes, this release contains a new 'Statistics' section that contains metrics from a variety of different pieces of Fedora Infrastructure.

Thanks goes to Ian Weller for the wiki stats, Seth Vidal for the torrent stats, and Matt Domsch & Jef Spaleta for the map generation code. I ended up writing the updates metrics, package stats, and users/mirrors widgets. Enjoy!

posted at: 03:48 | link | Tags: , , | 4 comments

Tue, 29 Dec 2009

RIP Fedora 10

Fedora 10 (Cambridge) (2008-11-25 -- 2009-12-17)


Source: bodhi
Fedora 10 Updates
Most updates per developer in Fedora 10
Most Updated Packages in Fedora 10
Packages with best karma
Top Fedora 10 testers
Most tested Fedora 10 packages


Source: fedoracommunity (upcoming release)

Torrent NameNumber of completed downloads
Fedora-10-i386-DVD 112,807
Fedora-10-x86_64-DVD 65,965
Fedora-10-i386-CDs 10,621
Fedora-10-ppc-DVD 6,851
Fedora-10-source-DVD 3,740
Fedora-10-x86_64-CDs 3,141
Fedora-10-ppc-CDs 1,336
Fedora-10-i686-AOS 666
Fedora-10-source-CDs 662
Fedora-10-i686-Live 599
Fedora-10-x86_64-Live 336
Fedora-10-x86_64-AOS 274
Fedora-10-i686-Live-KDE 201
Fedora-10-x86_64-Live-KDE 78
Fedora-10-i686-Live-XFCE 37
Fedora-10-i686-Live-Developer 13
Fedora-10-i686-Live-FEL 12
Fedora-10-x86_64-Live-XFCE 5
Fedora-10-i686-Live-broffice 3
Fedora-10-x86_64-Live-Developer 3
Fedora-10-x86_64-Live-FEL 2
Fedora-10-x86_64-Live-edu-math 1
Fedora-10-i686-Live-edu-math 1
Fedora-10-x86_64-Live-broffice 0

Total 207,354

Yum Data

Source: wiki/Legacy_statistics
Connections to yum
Week Dates New Unique IPsTotal Unique IPsTotal compared to F9
1 2008-11-25 -- 2008-12-0167,421 67,421 73%
2 2008-12-02 -- 2008-12-0881,674 149,095 97%
3 2008-12-09 -- 2008-12-1560,759 209,854 97%
4 2008-12-16 -- 2008-12-2262,527 272,381 93%
5 2008-12-23 -- 2008-12-2968,375 340,756 97%
6 2008-12-30 -- 2009-01-0573,585 414,341 97%
7 2009-01-06 -- 2009-01-1294,166 508,507 103%
8 2009-01-13 -- 2009-01-1985,557 594,064 106%
9 2009-01-20 -- 2009-01-2687,678 681,742 107%
10 2009-01-27 -- 2009-02-0291,014 772,756 110%
11 2009-02-03 -- 2009-02-0995,238 867,994 113%
12 2009-02-10 -- 2009-02-1695,967 963,961 115%
13 2009-02-17 -- 2009-02-23109,800 1,073,761 115%
14 2009-02-24 -- 2009-03-0285,246 1,159,007 --
15 2009-03-03 -- 2009-03-09100,610 1,259,617 --
16 2009-03-10 -- 2009-03-16100,323 1,359,940 --
17 2009-03-17 -- 2009-03-23100,819 1,460,759 --
18 2009-03-24 -- 2009-03-30102,843 1,563,602 --
19 2009-03-31 -- 2009-04-06101,978 1,665,580 136%
20 2009-04-07 -- 2009-04-1399,586 1,765,166 --
21 2009-04-14 -- 2009-04-20101,808 1,866,974 --
22 2009-04-21 -- 2009-04-27100,230 1,967,177 --
23 2009-04-28 -- 2009-05-0497,584 2,064,761 --
24 2009-05-05 -- 2009-05-1195,923 2,160,684 137%
25 2009-05-12 -- 2009-05-1895,632 2,256,316 --
26 2009-05-19 -- 2009-05-2592,377 2,348,693 --
27 2009-05-26 -- 2009-06-0191,747 2,440,440 --
28 2009-06-02 -- 2009-06-0891,513 2,531,953 --

Direct downloads

Source: wiki/Legacy_statistics
The following table shows the number of direct downloads of Fedora 10 media from unique IP addresses, as shown in the web proxy logs. The actual number of raw downloads tends to be much higher.
Week Dates Downloads this week Total downloads
1 2008-11-25 -- 2008-12-01 236,886 236,886
2 2008-12-02 -- 2008-12-08 105,994 342,880
3 2008-12-09 -- 2008-12-15 83,740 426,620
4 2008-12-16 -- 2008-12-22 76,982 503,602
5 2008-12-23 -- 2008-12-29 66,351 569,953
6 2008-12-30 -- 2009-01-05 65,102 635,055
7 2009-01-06 -- 2009-01-12 72,729 707,784
8 2009-01-13 -- 2009-01-19 73,301 781,085
9 2009-01-20 -- 2009-01-26 72,082 853,167
10 2009-01-27 -- 2009-02-02 71,788 924,955
11 2009-02-03 -- 2009-02-09 72,529 997,484
12 2009-02-10 -- 2009-02-16 69,071 1,066,555
13 2009-02-17 -- 2009-02-23 69,216 1,135,771
14 2009-02-24 -- 2009-03-02 67,669 1,203,440
15 2009-03-03 -- 2009-03-09 66,666 1,270,106
16 2009-03-10 -- 2009-03-16 65,524 1,335,630
17 2009-03-17 -- 2009-03-23 63,218 1,398,848
18 2009-03-24 -- 2009-03-30 62,930 1,461,778
19 2009-03-31 -- 2009-04-06 59,813 1,521,591
20 2009-04-07 -- 2009-04-13 57,102 1,578,693
21 2009-04-14 -- 2009-04-20 55,871 1,634,564
22 2009-04-21 -- 2009-04-27 55,117 1,689,681
23 2009-04-28 -- 2009-05-04 50,815 1,740,496
24 2009-05-05 -- 2009-05-11 48,139 1,788,635
25 2009-05-12 -- 2009-05-18 47,813 1,836,448
26 2009-05-19 -- 2009-05-25 46,077 1,882,525
27 2009-05-26 -- 2009-06-01 44,969 1,927,494
28 2009-06-02 -- 2009-06-08 44,835 1,972,329

posted at: 00:05 | link | Tags: , , , | 0 comments

Thu, 10 Dec 2009

FUDCon Toronto 2009

Another FUDCon is in the books, this time in Toronto. It was great to catch up with many people, put faces to some names, and meet a bunch of new contributors. I gave a session on Moksha, which I'll talk about below, and was also on the Fedora Infrastructure panel discussion.

My goal this FUDCon wasn't to crank out a ton of code, but to focus on gathering and prioritizing requirements and to help others be productive. Here are some of the projects I focused on.


Moksha is a project I created a little over a year ago, which is the base of a couple of other applications I've been working on as well: Fedora Community and CIVX. I'll be blogging about these in more detail later.

One of the main themes of FUDCon this year was Messaging (AMQP), and Moksha is a large part of this puzzle, as it allows you to wield AMQP within web applications. During my session the demo involved busting open a terminal, creating a consumer that reacts to all messages, creating a message producer, and then creating a live chat widget -- all of which hooked up to Fedora's AMQP broker.

I'll be turning my slides into an article, so expect a full blog post explaining the basics soon. In the mean time, I found Adam Miller's description to be extremely amusing:

"I walked into a session called "Moksha and Fedora Community -- Real-time web apps with Python and AMQP" which blew my mind. This is Web3.0 (not by definition, but that's what I'm calling it), Luke Macken and J5 completely just stepped over web2.0 and said "pffft, childs play" (well not really but in my mind I assume it went something like that). This session showed off technology that allows real time message passing in a web browser as well as "native" support for standard protocols. The project page is and I think everyone on the planet should take some time to go there and enjoy the demo, prepare to have your mind blown. Oh, and I also irc transcribed that one as well ... presentation slides found:"

Fedora Community

So after we released v1.0 of Fedora Community for F12, all of us went off in seperate directions to hack on various things. J5 wrote AMQP javascript bindings, which I then integrated into Moksha. Máirín Duffy built a portable usability lab and has been doing great research on the usability of the project. And I dove back into Moksha to solidify the platform.

After we deploy our AMQP broker for Fedora, and once we have start adding shims into our existing infrastructure, we'll then be able to start creating live widgets and message consumers that can react to events, allowing us to wield Fedora in real-time. This will let us to keep our fingers on the pulse of Fedora, automate and facilitate tedious tasks, and gather metrics as things happen.

During the hackfests I also did some work on our current Fedora Community deployment. Over the past few weeks some of our widgets randomly died, and we haven't been receiving proper error messages. So, I successfully hooked up WebError and the team is now getting traceback emails, which will help us fix problems much faster (or at least nag the hell out of us about them).

I also worked with Ian Weller on the new Statistics section of the dashboard, which has yet to hit production. Ian and I wrote Wiki metrics, Seth Vidal wrote BitTorrent metrics, and I wrote Bodhi metrics. We've also got many more to come. My main concern was a blocker issue that we were hitting with our flot graphs when you quickly bounce between tabs. I ended up "fixing" the bug, so I'll be pushing what we have of the stats branch into production in the near future.


TurboGears has definitely been our favorite web framework within Fedora's Infrastructure for many years now. TurboGears2, a complete re-invention of itself, has been released recently, and is catching on *very* quickly in the community. Tons of people are working on awesome new apps, and loving every minute of it. I was also able to convert a rails hacker over to it, after he was able to quickly dive into one of the tutorials with ease. See my previous blog post about getting up and running with TG2 in Fedora/EPEL.


One of my main tasks during the hackfests was to pull the authentication layer in Fedora Community that authenticates against the Fedora Account System, and port it over to python-fedora, so we can use it in any TurboGears2 application. I committed the initial port to python-fedora-devel, and have started working on integrating it into a default TG2 quickstart and document the process. There are still a couple of minor things I want to fix/clean up before releasing it, so expect a blog about it soon.


It seems like yesterday that I was an intern at Red Hat working on an internal updates system for Fedora Core. Coming up on 5 years later, and I am now working on my 3rd implementation of an updates system, Bodhi v2.0. What's wrong with the current Bodhi you ask? Well, if you talk to any user of it, you'll probably get a pretty long list. Bodhi is the first TurboGears application written & deployed in Fedora Infrastructure, and uses the vanilla components (SQLObject, kid, CherryPy2). The TG1 stack has been holding up quite nicely over the years, and is still supported upstream, but bodhi's current implemention and design does not make it easy to grow.

Bodhi v2.0 will be implemented in TurboGears2, using SQLAlchemy for an ORM, Mako for templates, and ToscaWidgets2 for re-usable widgets. It will be hook-based and plugin-driven, and will be completely distribution agnostic. Another important goal will be AMQP message-bus integration, which will allow other services or users to react to various events inside of the system as they happen.

So far I've ported the old DB model from SQLObject to SQLAlchemy, and have begun porting the old unit tests, and writing new ones. Come the new year, I'll be giving this much more of my focus.

During the hackfests I got a chance to talk to Dennis Gilmore about various improvements that we need to make with regard to the update push process. It was also great to talk to many different users of bodhi, who expressed various concerns, some of which I've already fixed. I also got a chance to talk to Xavier Lamien about deploying Bodhi for rpmfusion. On the bus ride home I helped explain to Mel how Bodhi & Koji fit into the big picture of things.

During the BarCamp sessions I also attended a session about the Update Experience, where we discussed many important issues surrounding updates.


So I got a chance to finally meet Sebastian Dziallas, of Sugar on a Stick fame, and was able to fix a few liveusb-creator issues on his laptop. I ended up pushing out a new release a couple of days ago that contains some of those fixes, along with a new version of Sugar on a Stick.

The liveusb-creator has been catching a lot of press recently (see the front page for a list). Not only did it have a 2 page spread in Linux Format, but it was also featured in this weeks article New Sugar on a Stick Brings Much Needed Improvements. Rock.


There was lot of brainstorming done by Dave Malcolm, Colin Walters, Toshio Kuratomi, Bernie Innocenti, I, and many others about various improvements that we could make to the Python interpreter. From speeding up startup time by doing some clever caching to potentially creating a new optimized compiled binary format. We also looked into how WebError/abrt gather tracebacks, and discussed ways of enabling interactive traceback debugging for vanilla processes, without requiring a layer of WSGI middleware.

There was also work done on adding SystemTap probes to Python, which is very exciting. There are many ideas for various probe points, including one that I blogged about previously.

Intel iMac8,1 support

My iMac sucks at Linux. This has been something that has been nagging me for a long time, and I've been slowly trying to chip away at the problems. First, I've been doing work on a Mac port of the liveusb-creator. I also started to work on a kernel patch for getting the EFI framebuffer working, and discussed how to do it with ajax and pjones. The screen doesn't display anything after grub, and since we don't know the base address of the framebuffer, it involves writing code to iterate over memory trying to find some common pixel patterns. I'm still trying to wrap my head around all of it, but I'll probably end up just buying them beer to fix it for me.


Thincrust is a project that I've been excited about for a while, and I actually have some appliances deployed in a production cloud. I was able to run some ideas for various virtual appliances by one of the authors over some beers. Some pre-baked virtual appliances that you can easily throw into a cloud that I would like to see:


I'm glad to see that dogtail is still exciting people in the community. It still has a lot of potential to improve not only the way we test graphical software, but we also discussed ways of using it to teach people and automate various desktop tasks. What if you logged in after a fresh install and got the following popup bubble:

Hi, welcome to Fedora, what can I help you do today?

Each task would then allow Fedora to take the wheel and walk the user through various steps. I had this idea a while ago, when dogtail first came out, and I still think it would be totally awesome. Anyway, this was not a focus of the hackfests, but merely a conversation that I had while walking to lunch :)

posted at: 17:49 | link | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 comments

Thu, 19 Nov 2009

TurboGears2 in Fedora & EPEL

I'm excited to announce that the TurboGears2 web application stack is now available in Fedora 12, 11 and EPEL-5.

What is TurboGears2?

TurboGears 2 is the built on top of the experience of several next generation web frameworks including TurboGears 1 (of course), Django, and Rails. All of these frameworks had limitations which were frustrating in various ways, and TG2 is an answer to that frustration. We wanted something that had:
  • Real multi-database support
  • Horizontal data partitioning (sharding)
  • Support for a variety of JavaScript toolkits, and new widget system to make building ajax heavy apps easier
  • Support for multiple data-exchange formats.
  • Built in extensibility via standard WSGI components

Installing the TurboGears2 stack & development tools

Fedora 12
yum install TurboGears2 python-tg-devtools
Fedora 11
yum --enablerepo=updates-testing install TurboGears2 python-tg-devtools
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (with EPEL)
yum --enablerepo=epel-testing install TurboGears2 python-tg-devtools

Creating your first TG2 app

paster quickstart

Run your test suite


Run your application

paster serve development.ini

Read the documentation


If you're interested in helping maintain and improve the TG2/Pylons stack within Fedora/EPEL, please let me know. We're always looking for new Python hackers to join the team. There are still a few more components that need to be packaged and reviewed (eg: chameleon.genshi), so please take a look at the TurboGears2 page on the Fedora wiki for more details..

posted at: 06:00 | link | Tags: , , | 1 comments

Tue, 17 Nov 2009

Fedora 12 is here!

Install it with the liveusb-creator!

posted at: 06:00 | link | Tags: , | 2 comments

Mon, 09 Nov 2009

New liveusb-creator release!

So I've gotten some pretty inspiring feedback from various users of the liveusb-creator recently, so I decided to put some cycles into it this weekend and crank out another release.

"As a non-Linux person, Live-USB Creator has improved the quality of my life measurably!" --Dr. Arthur B. Hunkins
Yesterday I released version 3.8.6 of the liveusb-creator. Changes in this release include:




posted at: 02:39 | link | Tags: , , , | 1 comments

Sun, 11 Oct 2009

Fedora 12 filesystem showdown

posted at: 23:02 | link | Tags: , , , | 4 comments

Tue, 14 Jul 2009

Fedora 9 Updates Metrics

Fedora 9 Updates

Most updated packages

Packages with the best karma

Most updates per developer

Most tested packages

Top testers

posted at: 17:00 | link | Tags: , , | 18 comments

Fri, 10 Jul 2009

Bodhi EPEL support!

It's been a long time coming, but the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) project is finally utilizing the Koji build system and the Bodhi updates system.

So I spent the past week hacking on EPEL support in bodhi. This was not a trivial task, and took more work than expected. Overall, it was a very beneficial experience, as I was able to hack in some higher level abstractions and also remove a lot of Fedora-specific assumptions in the code. Most of the changes were what I would normally call "hacks", mainly because I wanted to do it without changing the database schema. However, this gives me a much clearer picture as to what we need from the Bodhi v2.0 model. Anyway, 28 bodhi upgrades later, and everything seems to be working fine.

The inevitable TurboGears2 rewrite/port of Bodhi is a little further down the road. I've already ported the original model from SQLObject to SQLAlchemy, but the templates, controllers, and widgets still need to be ported. If you're interested in helping make bodhi suck less, then please come talk to me :)

Anyway, developers can now submit their EPEL updates here, or by running `make update` in their EL CVS branches. Admins can read the Bodhi SOP to learn how to push updates.

The workflow is far from perfect, but there has been some recent discussions as to how we want EPEL to be treated differently compared to Fedora updates. If you have suggestions or comments, discussions should take place on epel-devel-list.

posted at: 19:06 | link | Tags: , , | 3 comments

Sun, 14 Jun 2009

Fedora Activity Day: Fedora Development Cycle 2009

Earlier this week I ventured to Raleigh for a Fedora Activity Day, where a dozen or so people brainstormed for a few days about ways to improve our development process. I feel that it was a very productive experience, as it allowed everyone to list the things that could use improvements, without getting caught up in the technical or political details. We hashed out a huge list of items in Gobby , prioritized them, and discussed possible solutions for as many as we could. A good number of proposals came out of it:

posted at: 00:24 | link | Tags: | 0 comments

Tue, 27 Jan 2009

bodhi updates push process

Bodhi's push process is something that is usually quite opaque to Fedora package maintainers. Once an update request goes into bodhi, the developer sits back and waits for the update to go to where it needs to go. The ball is then in releng's court, as they must sign the packages, and tell bodhi to begin the push. From there, bodhi does it's thing for a while, and then updates magically end up on our users machines. Yay!

Pushing updates used to take the better part of a day, mostly due to dumb code and lots of filesystem churn over NFS. Thankfully, a lot of the code is now much smarter, and people like jkeating and mmcgrath have been helping to address the NFS & infrastructure bottlenecks.

Hopefully I can help shed some light on one of the dark corners of bodhi known as The Masher. Here are some statistics of the last updates push that happened earlier today.

Initial push request from releng
Check koji tag / bodhi status consistency38s
Move all of the build tags in Koji 9m32s
Update the comps CVS module 11s
Mash f9-updates-testing 4m16s
Mash f9-updates 1h3m8s
Mash f10-updates-testing 12m43s
Mash f10-updates 37m51s
Set update ids, state modifications, updates-testing digest generation 1m57s
Generate updateinfo.xml 5m55s
Repo sanity checks & symlinking to go live 1m4s
Cache latest repodata, and remove old 1m14s
Wait for updates to hit the master mirror 1h1s
Send update notices, update/close bugs, notify developers/commenters 11m11s

So we've obviously made some great improvements here, and once the signing server is deployed, you can probably expect a much more frequent/consistent flow of updates. However, I definitely think there is still a lot of low-hanging fruit in this process, and many steps can probably be done in parallel. We're going to be adding DeltaRPM generation into the mix in the near future, so I'll give an update a bit later with some details as to how that effects the process.

Anyway... if you know Python, and enjoy optimizing code -- come talk to me :)

posted at: 05:15 | link | Tags: , , , | 0 comments

Wed, 31 Dec 2008

liveusb-creator 3.0

I'm pleased to announce version 3.0 of the liveusb-creator. Aside from the usual batch of bug fixes and code improvements, this release also contains a variety of enhancements:

For Fedora 9 and 10 users, you can currently find the liveusb-creator-3.0 in the updates-testing repository. Feedback is appreciated!

There are still many more great features in the pipeline, so stay tuned!

posted at: 23:19 | link | Tags: , , | 2 comments

Sun, 14 Dec 2008

>>> from fedora.client import Wiki

I created a simple Python API for interacting with Fedora's MediaWiki a while back, in an attempt to gather various metrics. I just went ahead and committed it to the python-fedora modules. Here is how to use it:

>>> from fedora.client import Wiki
>>> wiki = Wiki()
>>> wiki.print_recent_changes()
From 2008-12-07 20:59:01.187363 to 2008-12-14 20:59:01.187363
500 wiki changes in the past week

== Most active wiki users ==
 Bbbush............................................ 230
 Konradm........................................... 25
 Duffy............................................. 22
 Jreznik........................................... 21
 Ianweller......................................... 14
 Jjmcd............................................. 14
 Geroldka.......................................... 10
 Gdk............................................... 9
 Anouar............................................ 7
 Gomix............................................. 6

== Most edited pages ==
 Features/KDE42.................................... 21
 SIGs/SciTech/SAGE................................. 15
 FUDCon/FUDConF11.................................. 14
 Special:Log/upload................................ 13
 How to be a release notes beat writer............. 12
 Special:Log/move.................................. 11
 Design/SETroubleshootUsabilityImprovements........ 10
 PackageMaintainers/FEver.......................... 9
 User:Gomix........................................ 6
 Zh/主要配置文件..................................... 5

>>> for event in wiki.send_request('api.php', req_params={
...         'action': 'query',
...         'list': 'logevents',
...         'format': 'json',
...         })['query']['logevents']:
...     print '%-10s %-15s %s' % (event['action'], event['user'], event['title'])
patrol     Ianweller       User:Ianweller/How to create a contributor business card
move       Nippur          REvanderLuit
patrol     Ianweller       Project Leader
move       Ianweller       FPL
upload     Anouar          Image:AnouarAbtoy.JPG
move       Liangsuilong    ZH/Docs/FetionOnFedora
move       Liangsuilong    FetionOnFedora
patrol     Ianweller       User:Ianweller

It uses the fedora.client.BaseClient, which is a class that simplifies interacting with arbitrary web services. Toshio and I created it a while back as a the core client for talking with our various TurboGears-based Fedora Services (bodhi, pkgdb, fas, etc.), but it has now seemed to morph into a much more flexible client for talking JSON with web applications.

from datetime import datetime, timedelta
from collections import defaultdict
from fedora.client import BaseClient

class Wiki(BaseClient):

    def __init__(self, base_url='', *args, **kwargs):
        super(Wiki, self).__init__(base_url, *args, **kwargs)

    def get_recent_changes(self, now, then, limit=500):
        """ Get recent wiki changes from `now` until `then` """
        data = self.send_request('api.php', req_params={
                'list'    : 'recentchanges',
                'action'  : 'query',
                'format'  : 'json',
                'rcprop'  : 'user|title',
                'rcend'   : then.isoformat().split('.')[0] + 'Z',
                'rclimit' : limit,
        if 'error' in data:
            raise Exception(data['error']['info'])
        return data['query']['recentchanges']

    def print_recent_changes(self, days=7, show=10):
        now = datetime.utcnow()
        then = now - timedelta(days=days)
        print "From %s to %s" % (then, now)
        changes = self.get_recent_changes(now=now, then=then)
        num_changes = len(changes)
        print "%d wiki changes in the past week" % num_changes

        users = defaultdict(list) # {username: [change,]}
        pages = defaultdict(int)  # {pagename: # of edits}

        for change in changes:
            pages[change['title']] += 1

        print '\n== Most active wiki users =='
        for user, changes in sorted(users.items(),
                                    cmp=lambda x, y: cmp(len(x[1]), len(y[1])),
            print ' %-50s %d' % (('%s' % user).ljust(50, '.'), len(changes))

        print '\n== Most edited pages =='
        for page, num in sorted(pages.items(),
                                cmp=lambda x, y: cmp(x[1], y[1]),
            print ' %-50s %d' % (('%s' % page).ljust(50, '.'), num)

I added a Wiki.login method to the latest version, but it isn't quite working yet. This is due to some minor limitations in the ProxyClient, so we currently cannot handle authenticated requests. However, this shouldn't be very difficult to implement. The reason for this is that we need to be able to run authenticated queries as a 'bot' account in order to mitigate the 500 entry API return limit.

This module makes it easy to talk to MediaWiki's API, so if you do anything cool with it feel free to send patches here. It's currently not being shipped in a python-fedora release, so you'll have to grab the code from Bazaar:

bzr branch bzr://

posted at: 23:12 | link | Tags: , , , | 13 comments

Sat, 13 Dec 2008

Time spent in updates-testing purgatory

Will Woods asked me on IRC earlier today how easy it would be to determine the amount of time Fedora updates spend in testing within bodhi. It turned out to be fairly easy to calculate, so I thought I would share the code and results.

from datetime import timedelta
from bodhi.model import PackageUpdate

deltas = []
occurrences = {}
accumulative = timedelta()

for update in
    for comment in update.comments:
        if comment.text == 'This update has been pushed to testing':
            for othercomment in update.comments:
                if othercomment.text == 'This update has been pushed to stable':
                    delta = othercomment.timestamp - comment.timestamp
                    occurrences[delta.days] = occurrences.setdefault(delta.days, 0) + 1
                    accumulative += deltas[-1]

all =
percentage = int(float(len(deltas)) / float(all) * 100)
mode = sorted(occurrences.items(), cmp=lambda x, y: cmp(x[1], y[1]))[-1][0]

print "%d out of %d updates went through testing (%d%%)" % (len(deltas), all, percentage)
print "mean = %d days" % (accumulative.days / len(deltas))
print "median = %d days" % deltas[len(deltas) / 2].days
print "mode = %d days" % mode

4878 out of 10829 updates went through testing (45%)
mean = 17 days
median = 11 days
mode = 6 days

So, it seems that the majority of updates leave updates-testing in less than a week. This is interesting when taking into consideration the testing workflow mechanisms that bodhi employs. An update can go from testing to stable in two ways: 1) The update's karma can reach an optional stable threshold, and automatically get pushed to the stable repository based on positive community feedback. 2) The developer can request that the update be marked as stable. After an update sits in testing for two weeks, bodhi will send the developer nagmail, which seems to help mitigate stale updates. When initially deploying bodhi, I thought that we would get bogged down with a ton of stale testing updates and would have to implement a timeout to have them automatically get marked as stable. This is still a viable option (which would require FESCo rubberstamping), but I'm quite surprised to see how effective this community-driven workflow is already. Now we just need to encourage more people to use it :)

Due to the limitations of the current model I couldn't figure out an easy way to determine which updates were marked as stable by positive community feedback. This issue will be assessed with the long-awaited SQLAlchemy port that I will hopefully finish up at some point early next year.

posted at: 08:13 | link | Tags: , , , | 1 comments

Tue, 28 Oct 2008

TurboGears2 on Fedora

So, I was finally able to force myself to take a break from hacking on a few different TG2 applications to actually sit down and package everything up, submit it all for review, and make sure everything Just Works on Fedora.

You can start playing with TurboGears2 by throwing my tg2.repo file in /etc/yum.repos.d, and then by installing the TurboGears2 package. It should work fine alongside of any existing TurboGears 1.x installs, however it will pull in SQLAlchemy 0.5, which may or may not cause problems with older models. Once installed, checkout the fantastic TurboGears2 documentation for details on diving into the framework.

I already have two TurboGears2 applications currently in production, and have had nothing but amazing experiences with the new stack. I still love working on my older TG1.0 apps (such as bodhi), which will still be supported for a long time, but with the ridiculous amounts of power that WSGI/Pylons/Paste/SQLAlchemy/ToscaWidgets/Mako gives you, I'm extremely tempted to start porting :)

Aside from testing the packages, you can also help by reviewing various parts of the stack so we can get them into Fedora as soon as possible. The TG2 dependency tree of pending reviews can be found here.

posted at: 06:18 | link | Tags: , , | 1 comments

Wed, 10 Sep 2008

bodhi 0.5!

As many have already noticed, I performed a large bodhi upgrade recently. A few weeks ago, during The Incident, I was forced to perform what was originally going to be a week long bodhi migration and upgrade, overnight. During the past two weeks I've pushed out 24 revisions of bodhi to our infrastructure, fixing various show-stoppers, and helping to make sure that updates got out the door.

One of the most noticable changes is that bodhi is much more responsive. Previously, bodhi was a single python process, running on a single server. This single server was also responsible for composing the updates repositories, and rawhide, among lots of other bodhi-related churn. This lead to much pain and suffering for all.

The bodhi deployment has since changed. All bodhi requests are now load balanced to a bunch of app servers, each running mod_wsgi with multiple bodhi processes, each with multiple threads. All of the hard work is now done on an isolated releng server. This separate bodhi "masher" is now responsible for composing repositories, updating bugs, generating update notices, sending emails, extended metadata generation, and calculating metrics. I also added support for inter-bodhi communication, which allows our bodhi web frontends to kick off push requests to our bodhi-masher instance.

Some of the new features in this release:

Bodhi is far from being feature complete. Some new features in the pipeline:

As always,

Also, if you're currently having issues with the bodhi client, a fixed version will be going out with the next batch of updates. For the impatient, you can pull fixed versions from koji (also, make sure your Makefile.common is up to date):

    koji download-build --arch=noarch python-fedora-0.3.5-1.fc10
    koji download-build --arch=noarch bodhi-0.5.2-1.fc9

posted at: 21:20 | link | Tags: , , | 1 comments

Tue, 08 Jul 2008

TurboGears2 slides & code from FUDCon 2008 Boston

I posted my TurboGears2 slides from FUDCon 2008 Boston here. Since I gave a TurboGears1 talk at the previous FUDCon (slides here), I based this recent talk on the assumption that people already understand some of the basic concepts of TG1. During the session I covered a wide range of technologies, including WSGI, Pylons, ToscaWidgets, Paste, SQLAlchemy, SQLObject, Kid, Genshi, Beaker, DBSprockets, DBMechanic, jQuery, Comet, Orbited, etc.

So, for this presentation I wanted to start a new application from scratch to use as an example. Turns out, I ended up implementing something similar to -- but better. Not only does it allow you to share, rank, and collaborate on ideas, but you can also ask, answer, and rate questions as well. The thing that makes this application really stand out is that once you land on the page, the widgets update themselves in *real-time*. To accomplish this, I created a bunch of ToscaWidgets, which are re-usable bundles of xhtml+css+javascript that I can easily use all over my application. When the widgets are rendered in the clients browser, they open a persistent comet connection back to our Orbited server. From here, our TurboGears application sends events to Orbited as they happen, which then get sent asynchronously back to our clients where jQuery handles rendering the results.

For more details about this app, including screenshots and code snippets, take a look at my slides. You can also grab the code and dive in (note: you'll need to setup TG2 in a virtualenv (instructions) until the stack makes its way into Fedora):

git clone git://

Now, this app is merely a prototype that I started writing as an example for teaching TG2. As it turns out, this project could potentially be extremely useful, and I've received a lot of positive feedback around it. However, there is still a little bit of work to do before it is deployable. If you're interested in helping out, please drop me a line.

posted at: 21:47 | link | Tags: , , , , | 2 comments

Mon, 16 Jun 2008

Fedora 7 Update Metrics

Fedora 7 reached End of Life on Friday, June 13th. Here are some graphs that I generated with bodhi.

posted at: 20:24 | link | Tags: , , | 2 comments

Tue, 27 May 2008

New openbox hotness in Fedora

I've been a huge fan of the *box window managers for a long time -- openbox being my favorite, due to it's extremely minimal nature. Thanks to the help of Fedora openbox maintainer Miroslav Lichvar, the dynamic pipe menu that I wrote a while back is now integrated into Fedora's openbox package. This means that you no longer need to hack XML files to make your menu useful. Here is what it looks like "out of the box":

posted at: 19:57 | link | Tags: , , | 1 comments

Sat, 17 May 2008

Fedora LiveUSB Creator v2.0!

The liveusb-creator is a cross-platform tool for easily installing live operating systems on to USB flash drives. Today I released version 2.0, which brings you a brand new graphical interface and a bunch of new features, including:

Download: (8.8mb)

This release is for Windows-only at the moment. Linux support is nearing completion, and will exist in later versions. In the mean time, there are already tools available for creating persistent LiveUSB keys with Fedora.

If you would like to help contribute to the liveusb-creator, see the Developers Guide for more information. If you encounter problems with the tool, please file bug reports here.

For those interested in trying out this program, but don't have a USB stick, you can buy one here.

posted at: 15:10 | link | Tags: , , | 13 comments

liveusb-creator v2.4

Last night I released v2.4 of the liveusb-creator, which fixes a bunch of bugs and is much more robust.

Someone wrote a pretty cool article about the liveusb-creator on Lifehacker the other day, which made it to the front page of digg last night. Digg it up!

posted at: 15:10 | link | Tags: , , | 7 comments

Thu, 21 Feb 2008

A dedicated Gobby session is now running on !

*UPDATE*: To address some initial security concerns, I've locked down this instance to Fedora contributors only. The password can be found in ~lmacken/gobby on (via ssh) Yes, this raises the bar a little bit, but more of a reason to get a Fedora account ;)

What is Gobby, you ask?

"Gobby is a free collaborative editor supporting multiple documents in one session and a multi-user chat. It runs on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and other Unix-like platforms."

If you're running Fedora, simply install the 'gobby' package, and you're ready to go. Click "Join Session", and connect to "". You'll then be able to collaborate in real-time with others on code, documents, notes, etc.

Since this is wide-open for anyone to use, I've also setup a cron job that frequently commits the session to a git repository. You can view the changes to our gobby session via gitweb. Regardless, you should still save anything that you expect to keep locally.

posted at: 01:54 | link | Tags: , | 11 comments

Mon, 11 Feb 2008

Creating live Fedora USB sticks, in Windows!

Last weekend I sat down and developed the liveusb-creator, a tool for creating live Fedora USB sticks from Windows. It will automatically detect all removable drives, find your ISO, extract it to your USB key, modify the syslinux.cfg, and install the bootloader. Technical details aside for a moment, the end-user workflow turns out to be something like this:

At the moment it is a simple a console application that asks the user if it has any questions (by default it won't), and then gets the job done. So shortly after announcing this tool, I started throwing together a graphical interface using PyGTK. While I was doing this, Kushal Das was on the other side of the planet working on a PyQT version :) It turns out his code is much cleaner than my gtk implementation, so I went ahead and committed it. Furthermore, I'm pretty excited to get a chance to play with The Other widget toolkit for once ;)

So, detecting removable devices and such is *trivial* in Windows using the powerfully-undocumented win32api Python module (after playing a few rounds of "match the return code to the enum", of course). Ideally, I want this tool to work in both Linux and Windows, so I redesigned the code quite a bit, broke it out into various modules, and recently started working on the Linux side of things. At this point in time, there is now code that detects removable drives using dbus and HAL. I still have a bunch of sanity checking and other bits to write, but progress is definitely being made. In the mean time for Linux users, see the USBHowTo for creating a live USB stick using the livecd-iso-to-disk tool.

If you're interested in helping out with the liveusb-creator, you can get ahold of the source code using git:

git clone git://
If you encounter any problems, please create a new ticket at the liveusb-creator trac.

posted at: 14:38 | link | Tags: , , , | 132 comments

Tue, 05 Feb 2008

F8 -> F9 Alpha Live Diff

Fedora 9 Alpha is scheduled to be released today! Not only did I spin the live bits for this alpha, I also generated some statistics as to what changed in this release since Fedora 8. Here are the livecd diffs for all of our spins.

Below are the details as to what changed in our default GNOME desktop spin since Fedora 8.
--- F8-Live-i686-20080204.0.iso (694M)
+++ F9-Alpha-i686-20080129.0.iso (698M)
+ new package libgdiplus-devel: 8584
+ new package xorg-x11-server-common: 38863
+ new package PolicyKit-gnome-libs: 40188
+ new package kerneloops: 52570
+ new package swfdec-gtk: 55786
+ new package gnome-panel-libs: 56936
+ new package swfdec-mozilla: 75911
+ new package libconfig: 120055
+ new package obex-data-server: 136538
+ new package at-spi-python: 170868
+ new package ncurses-base: 176949
+ new package pixman: 209556
+ new package scim-python: 247730
+ new package libcurl: 258148
+ new package libggz: 289477
+ new package hfsutils: 362228
+ new package libmtp: 398952
+ new package xorg-x11-drv-openchrome: 415754
+ new package ggz-client-libs: 434830
+ new package samyak-fonts: 457144
+ new package perl-Date-Manip: 458629
+ new package libtasn1: 466849
+ new package python-crypto: 571535
+ new package elilo: 613010
+ new package gfs2-utils: 650707
+ new package ncurses-libs: 668620
+ new package swfdec: 958169
+ new package reiserfs-utils: 1022402
+ new package iscsi-initiator-utils: 1138529
+ new package jfsutils: 1138726
+ new package gvfs: 1700127
+ new package totem-pl-parser: 2627745
+ new package xfsprogs: 3408051
+ new package VLGothic-fonts: 3831447
+ new package VLGothic-fonts-proportional: 3831790
+ new package gnome-settings-daemon: 6218660
+ new package mesa-libOSMesa: 7248256
+ new package scim-python-chinese: 7621164
+ new package libgweather: 14592282
+ new package dejavu-fonts: 15593008
+ new package vim-common: 16294034
+ new package xulrunner: 24481155
+ crontabs grew 144 bytes (6.83%) (2107->2251)
+ libopenraw-gnome grew 348 bytes (7.94%) (4384->4732)
+ xorg-x11-drv-fbdev grew 380 bytes (1.84%) (20597->20977)
+ irqbalance grew 400 bytes (1.85%) (21595->21995)
+ m17n-contrib grew 469 bytes (1.28%) (36757->37226)
+ pam_ccreds grew 497 bytes (1.49%) (33428->33925)
+ smolt-firstboot grew 655 bytes (6.01%) (10893->11548)
+ pcsc-lite-libs grew 848 bytes (2.44%) (34696->35544)
+ dbus-x11 grew 884 bytes (3.63%) (24353->25237)
+ numactl grew 896 bytes (1.00%) (89239->90135)
+ gnome-bluetooth-libs grew 1278 bytes (1.02%) (124866->126144)
+ xorg-x11-drv-evdev grew 1445 bytes (4.05%) (35642->37087)
+ m17n-db-hindi grew 1717 bytes (21.74%) (7899->9616)
+ sysreport grew 1783 bytes (5.30%) (33620->35403)
+ libpciaccess grew 1796 bytes (7.21%) (24901->26697)
+ sg3_utils-libs grew 2156 bytes (1.97%) (109392->111548)
+ pciutils grew 2464 bytes (1.36%) (180975->183439)
+ setroubleshoot grew 2541 bytes (1.11%) (229578->232119)
+ gnome-keyring-pam grew 2556 bytes (8.89%) (28760->31316)
+ libcap grew 2618 bytes (5.79%) (45230->47848)
+ apr grew 2823 bytes (1.04%) (271801->274624)
+ bc grew 2861 bytes (1.50%) (190964->193825)
+ libsepol grew 2992 bytes (1.33%) (224692->227684)
+ lohit-fonts-telugu grew 3100 bytes (1.78%) (174487->177587)
+ e2fsprogs-libs grew 3332 bytes (1.33%) (250016->253348)
+ device-mapper-libs grew 3680 bytes (4.25%) (86516->90196)
+ glx-utils grew 3704 bytes (10.98%) (33736->37440)
+ scim-chewing grew 4072 bytes (3.22%) (126383->130455)
+ dbus-libs grew 4100 bytes (1.63%) (251944->256044)
+ nash grew 4128 bytes (1.74%) (237698->241826)
+ libjpeg grew 4420 bytes (1.61%) (275021->279441)
+ authconfig-gtk grew 4808 bytes (2.75%) (175143->179951)
+ mkinitrd grew 4854 bytes (4.84%) (100334->105188)
+ linuxwacom grew 5518 bytes (1.10%) (502293->507811)
+ desktop-file-utils grew 5523 bytes (4.50%) (122601->128124)
+ gnome-python2-gnomeprint grew 5547 bytes (1.27%) (437641->443188)
+ bluez-utils-alsa grew 5856 bytes (13.67%) (42824->48680)
+ m17n-contrib-telugu grew 6114 bytes (28.08%) (21776->27890)
+ rsyslog grew 6922 bytes (1.45%) (477587->484509)
+ ustr grew 7531 bytes (3.12%) (241610->249141)
+ rhpxl grew 7783 bytes (2.36%) (329907->337690)
+ xorg-x11-drv-mga grew 8319 bytes (4.91%) (169473->177792)
+ taglib grew 8368 bytes (1.71%) (489415->497783)
+ gtk-nodoka-engine grew 8948 bytes (9.32%) (96057->105005)
+ nscd grew 9484 bytes (6.73%) (140911->150395)
+ exempi grew 9692 bytes (1.39%) (698782->708474)
+ gnome-menus grew 9841 bytes (1.57%) (626493->636334)
+ dbus-glib grew 9970 bytes (2.10%) (473790->483760)
+ libdhcp6client grew 10524 bytes (6.30%) (166956->177480)
+ openldap grew 10658 bytes (1.76%) (604986->615644)
+ nss_ldap grew 12224 bytes (2.17%) (562402->574626)
+ dmidecode grew 14466 bytes (10.46%) (138266->152732)
+ NetworkManager-vpnc grew 14477 bytes (4.58%) (316033->330510)
+ system-config-rootpassword grew 14962 bytes (16.07%) (93118->108080)
+ gstreamer-python grew 15266 bytes (1.64%) (933175->948441)
+ rarian grew 15824 bytes (4.99%) (316947->332771)
+ at-spi grew 16072 bytes (2.38%) (674624->690696)
+ isomd5sum grew 17146 bytes (36.61%) (46840->63986)
+ usbutils grew 17192 bytes (19.31%) (89044->106236)
+ acl grew 17875 bytes (11.97%) (149393->167268)
+ hicolor-icon-theme grew 17992 bytes (79.30%) (22688->40680)
+ gnome-python2-desktop grew 18187 bytes (7.44%) (244527->262714)
+ libdhcp grew 19318 bytes (14.23%) (135727->155045)
+ which grew 20480 bytes (65.05%) (31485->51965)
+ NetworkManager-gnome grew 20604 bytes (2.90%) (710665->731269)
+ pam_krb5 grew 20943 bytes (8.06%) (259736->280679)
+ system-config-language grew 21674 bytes (8.55%) (253576->275250)
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+ bluez-utils grew 22572 bytes (1.76%) (1280277->1302849)
+ pygtksourceview grew 23100 bytes (36.06%) (64064->87164)
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+ libuser grew 25215 bytes (1.56%) (1616562->1641777)
+ httpd grew 28595 bytes (1.12%) (2551734->2580329)
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+ rhpl grew 31037 bytes (3.99%) (778235->809272)
+ libdhcp4client grew 32772 bytes (6.57%) (499144->531916)
+ bind-utils grew 33408 bytes (10.87%) (307362->340770)
+ NetworkManager grew 33657 bytes (1.42%) (2377366->2411023)
+ dbus-python grew 36266 bytes (5.11%) (710089->746355)
+ gnome-mag grew 36431 bytes (7.21%) (504936->541367)
+ libXpm grew 37746 bytes (52.09%) (72467->110213)
+ libgnomekbd grew 38042 bytes (6.68%) (569521->607563)
+ pm-utils grew 39200 bytes (117.36%) (33402->72602)
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+ gtksourceview2 grew 42895 bytes (2.00%) (2148753->2191648)
+ krb5-libs grew 45052 bytes (2.96%) (1522532->1567584)
+ system-config-printer grew 47675 bytes (5.03%) (948043->995718)
+ gnutls grew 58282 bytes (5.99%) (972804->1031086)
+ bluez-gnome grew 60576 bytes (22.56%) (268531->329107)
+ mono-data grew 61605 bytes (1.21%) (5087435->5149040)
+ libwnck grew 62234 bytes (5.42%) (1148126->1210360)
+ gtk2-engines grew 63679 bytes (6.09%) (1045391->1109070)
+ system-config-users grew 64047 bytes (4.40%) (1455495->1519542)
+ gnokii grew 68723 bytes (4.36%) (1575916->1644639)
+ rsync grew 73058 bytes (18.04%) (404896->477954)
+ hal-info grew 75029 bytes (20.94%) (358305->433334)
+ mesa-libGLU grew 77812 bytes (17.12%) (454428->532240)
+ mdadm grew 83417 bytes (4.79%) (1743098->1826515)
+ shared-mime-info grew 85852 bytes (9.51%) (902332->988184)
+ compiz-gnome grew 87904 bytes (7.16%) (1227682->1315586)
+ PolicyKit-gnome grew 89123 bytes (126.49%) (70457->159580)
+ GConf2 grew 89585 bytes (1.68%) (5342705->5432290)
+ dhcpv6-client grew 94965 bytes (54.70%) (173599->268564)
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+ ntfs-3g grew 107185 bytes (36.31%) (295187->402372)
+ f-spot grew 110065 bytes (1.44%) (7621883->7731948)
+ PolicyKit grew 121200 bytes (71.93%) (168495->289695)
+ gnupg grew 126829 bytes (2.62%) (4841029->4967858)
+ libgcrypt grew 132376 bytes (38.24%) (346204->478580)
+ libopenraw grew 136838 bytes (101.68%) (134583->271421)
+ pykickstart grew 141694 bytes (17.92%) (790784->932478)
+ gnome-python2-gnomevfs grew 142165 bytes (87.24%) (162958->305123)
+ shadow-utils grew 144973 bytes (5.29%) (2739389->2884362)
+ gnome-volume-manager grew 158480 bytes (7.38%) (2146417->2304897)
+ vbetool grew 162208 bytes (139.43%) (116340->278548)
+ openssl grew 166448 bytes (4.81%) (3459831->3626279)
+ libselinux-python grew 171323 bytes (118.46%) (144622->315945)
+ libsilc grew 180620 bytes (17.41%) (1037560->1218180)
+ sound-juicer grew 182617 bytes (5.86%) (3114050->3296667)
+ gnome-system-monitor grew 186353 bytes (3.55%) (5244840->5431193)
+ gdb grew 193437 bytes (3.11%) (6228176->6421613)
+ selinux-policy-devel grew 206105 bytes (3.72%) (5545358->5751463)
+ evolution-data-server grew 208724 bytes (1.89%) (11029422->11238146)
+ PyOpenGL grew 213779 bytes (4.86%) (4398157->4611936)
+ tomboy grew 218900 bytes (3.63%) (6022535->6241435)
+ parted grew 223507 bytes (15.16%) (1474368->1697875)
+ orca grew 231344 bytes (4.05%) (5718621->5949965)
+ util-linux-ng grew 245524 bytes (5.17%) (4749959->4995483)
+ selinux-policy grew 268202 bytes (3.47%) (7731786->7999988)
+ iso-codes grew 269192 bytes (4.80%) (5605136->5874328)
+ system-config-date grew 282500 bytes (10.09%) (2798572->3081072)
+ xorg-x11-drv-ati grew 285328 bytes (35.75%) (798151->1083479)
+ eog grew 292326 bytes (7.82%) (3740424->4032750)
+ dbus grew 299134 bytes (58.75%) (509123->808257)
+ totem grew 321458 bytes (5.87%) (5476956->5798414)
+ gnome-keyring grew 333541 bytes (32.87%) (1014819->1348360)
+ glibc grew 347221 bytes (2.59%) (13402107->13749328)
+ sqlite grew 358672 bytes (76.12%) (471170->829842)
+ setroubleshoot-server grew 363273 bytes (22.18%) (1637732->2001005)
+ bind-libs grew 389872 bytes (17.27%) (2258064->2647936)
+ gcalctool grew 496578 bytes (10.21%) (4862745->5359323)
+ gnome-panel grew 509960 bytes (4.35%) (11714901->12224861)
+ ghostscript grew 534784 bytes (1.87%) (28646835->29181619)
+ rhythmbox grew 678314 bytes (6.41%) (10582223->11260537)
+ mono-core grew 686301 bytes (2.01%) (34154946->34841247)
+ nautilus grew 693197 bytes (5.04%) (13751211->14444408)
+ mono-winforms grew 729754 bytes (7.47%) (9765822->10495576)
+ totem-mozplugin grew 770229 bytes (136.17%) (565632->1335861)
+ mono-web grew 797665 bytes (9.85%) (8097242->8894907)
+ glib2 grew 849381 bytes (29.07%) (2922173->3771554)
+ gnome-power-manager grew 934030 bytes (8.33%) (11214535->12148565)
+ nss grew 937664 bytes (44.33%) (2114975->3052639)
+ libsmbclient grew 1191360 bytes (50.53%) (2357736->3549096)
+ gnome-games grew 1373569 bytes (4.65%) (29510057->30883626)
+ kernel grew 2170562 bytes (4.60%) (47161413->49331975)
+ anaconda grew 2566351 bytes (17.76%) (14448198->17014549)
- krb5-auth-dialog shrunk 1 bytes (53674->53673)
- libtirpc shrunk 1 bytes (150301->150300)
- gmime-sharp shrunk 6 bytes (197336->197330)
- gzip shrunk 6 bytes (219689->219683)
- gedit shrunk 8 bytes (13487572->13487564)
- readline shrunk 8 bytes (350214->350206)
- system-config-network shrunk 8 bytes (1905298->1905290)
- perl shrunk 14 bytes (31645884->31645870)
- ntsysv shrunk 16 bytes (22156->22140)
- xdg-utils shrunk 18 bytes (176553->176535)
- python-pyblock shrunk 22 bytes (175969->175947)
- pavucontrol shrunk 23 bytes (169857->169834)
- logrotate shrunk 32 bytes (77454->77422)
- libXfont shrunk 32 bytes (456948->456916)
- gnome-python2-canvas shrunk 32 bytes (48902->48870)
- xorg-x11-drv-vmmouse shrunk 32 bytes (16364->16332)
- mono-data-sqlite shrunk 33 bytes (457296->457263)
- gnome-pilot shrunk 36 bytes (1930958->1930922)
- libflashsupport shrunk 40 bytes (11044->11004)
- nautilus-extensions shrunk 48 bytes (31308->31260)
- pulseaudio-utils shrunk 56 bytes (234499->234443)
- libselinux shrunk 61 bytes (148311->148250)
- gimp shrunk 64 bytes (38423455->38423391)
- libXrender shrunk 64 bytes (47254->47190)
- paps shrunk 64 bytes (51462->51398)
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- librsvg2 shrunk 120 bytes (337750->337630)
- pulseaudio-libs shrunk 128 bytes (343843->343715)
- isdn4k-utils shrunk 144 bytes (9789025->9788881)
- less shrunk 171 bytes (176124->175953)
- pulseaudio shrunk 192 bytes (926686->926494)
- xorg-x11-drv-keyboard shrunk 256 bytes (26608->26352)
- anacron shrunk 274 bytes (56515->56241)
- libgtop2 shrunk 320 bytes (341012->340692)
- xorg-x11-drv-cirrus shrunk 355 bytes (77986->77631)
- gtkspell shrunk 400 bytes (56779->56379)
- pulseaudio-core-libs shrunk 416 bytes (439696->439280)
- liberation-fonts shrunk 444 bytes (1865074->1864630)
- libpcap shrunk 485 bytes (261897->261412)
- nspluginwrapper shrunk 509 bytes (311525->311016)
- acpid shrunk 542 bytes (61235->60693)
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- setroubleshoot-plugins shrunk 689 bytes (2422617->2421928)
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- xorg-x11-drv-vesa shrunk 1208 bytes (26099->24891)
- system-config-keyboard shrunk 1259 bytes (182829->181570)
- fedora-release shrunk 1450 bytes (46680->45230)
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- dvd+rw-tools shrunk 1860 bytes (283930->282070)
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- at shrunk 1892 bytes (83059->81167)
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- firefox shrunk 39666395 bytes (42009290->2342895)
- removed package fonts-gujarati: 0
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- removed package fonts-punjabi: 0
- removed package fonts-oriya: 0
- removed package fonts-chinese: 0
- removed package scim-lang-tibetan: 0
- removed package fonts-kannada: 0
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- removed package m17n-contrib-assamese: 12581
- removed package m17n-db-sinhala: 14228
- removed package m17n-db-tibetan: 15214
- removed package xorg-x11-drv-ark: 18888
- removed package xorg-x11-drv-tseng: 52907
- removed package xorg-x11-drv-s3: 58401
- removed package scim-sinhala: 66881
- removed package totem-plparser: 70428
- removed package libbeagle: 94156
- removed package xorg-x11-drv-avivo: 107204
- removed package xorg-x11-drv-chips: 154533
- removed package lohit-fonts-kannada: 210687
- removed package fuse: 216231
- removed package beecrypt: 242015
- removed package lklug-fonts: 333507
- removed package xorg-x11-drv-via: 363192
- removed package xorg-x11-fonts-ethiopic: 437981
- removed package SDL: 495206
- removed package curl: 514238
- removed package firstboot-tui: 653472
- removed package xorg-x11-fonts-truetype: 909077
- removed package db4o: 1414265
- removed package jomolhari-fonts: 2293163
- removed package pwlib: 2423701
- removed package evince: 3452782
- removed package aspell-en: 3567971
- removed package tibetan-machine-uni-fonts: 4529886
- removed package dejavu-lgc-fonts: 6293390
- removed package opal: 10988583
- removed package ekiga: 13323689
old has 896 packages
new has 885 packages

posted at: 13:23 | link | Tags: , | 0 comments

Wed, 16 Jan 2008


So FUDCon happened over the weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was a great chance to meet a bunch of new people, catch up with some old friends, and kick around in the south for a bit. I was amazed to see such a huge turnout for the first day of the hackfest. It was nice to see a ton of new contributors looking to dive in head first into projects. My goal for the day was to hack on the MyFedora framework, and solidify our architecture and base widget classes, making it easy to create and display your own widgets. It's probably safe to say that we exceeded those expectations.

I sat down with J5, Toshio, and Douglas Warner, fired up a Gobby instance, and started hacking. Thanks to the wonders of distributed source control (git!), TurboGears, and Gobby, we were all able to simultaneously run, commit, and hack on the code. The result of our days work turns out to be a pretty solid architecture for writing, configuring, and displaying reusable Python widgets (based on ToscaWidgets) that can pull from various data sources. For example, writing a widget to display the latest entries in an RSS feed couldn't really be much easier:

class FedoraPeopleWidget(RSSWidget):
    url = ''
    title = 'Fedora People'

The next day during the MyFedora session we got a chance to show off some of the work we did, and get some more ideas from various types of contributors. This project has the potential to make a lot of peoples lives easier, so if you're interested in helping out, grab the code and dive in: $ git clone git://

Toshio and I gave a session on TurboGears, which seemed to go pretty well. Lots of good discussion and code examples. You can checkout the slides for my presentation here:

I was going to be giving a session on bodhi, which we eventually merged with the TurboGears talk. However, the TG session went a lot longer than expected, and bodhi never emerged. So, for those who were interested, you can find my bodhi slides here, and some transcripts from our last virtual fudcon.

The PackageKit session went well too. People definitely were interested, and also had some interesting ideas.

Saturday night was FUDPub, where we had the back room of the Flying Saucer all to ourselves. People kept feeding me drinks, and I didn't complain. Good times :)

Sunday was the second day of the hackfests. I decided to context-switch a bit and get my func on. I wrote a patch that adds a "mem" method to the ProcessModule that returns per-program memory usage from your minion in the format of [[Private, Shared, Total RAM used, Program], ...]. This allows you to do something like,

[lmacken@crow ~]$ sudo func "*" call process mem
on https://tomservo:51234 running process mem ()
[['16.8 MiB', '6.5 MiB', '23.4 MiB', 'Xorg'],
 ['21.7 MiB', '8.3 MiB', '30.1 MiB', 'tomboy'],
 ['33.6 MiB', '2.3 MiB', '35.9 MiB', 'ssh (5)'],
 ['23.2 MiB', '14.3 MiB', '37.5 MiB', 'deskbar-applet'],
 ['139.9 MiB', '9.9 MiB', '149.8 MiB', 'firefox-bin']]

I also discussed a potential TurboGears FuncWeb implementation with Michael DeHaan. I got a chance to create create a skeleton project, and jot some ideas down. Just as I was about to dive in, I got a phone call notifying me of my flight cancellation. I then had to immediately sketch off to catch a 2:20pm flight and head back to Boston.

Last night I got a little bit A.D.D. and re-wrote some chunks of the func minion module_loader/server to make writing func modules a lot easier.

So, the moral of the story is: FUDCon rocks. Feeding large quantities of geeks caffeine, beer, and barbeque can result in amazing things.

Of course there are no ups without downs, so I was stuck dealing with a nasty cold most of the time there, and my laptop power adapter melted as well. Thankfully, both of those issue have since been resolved :)

posted at: 17:21 | link | Tags: , , , | 0 comments

Sun, 09 Dec 2007

Fedora update metrics

Using flot, a plotting library for jQuery, I threw together some shiny metrics for bodhi. It's pretty amazing to see how a Fedora release evolves over time, with almost as many enhancements as bugfixes. This could arguably be a bad thing, as our "stable" bits seem to change so much; but it definitely shows how much innovation is happening in Fedora.

I should also note that the data on the graphs may look different than the numbers you see next to each category in the bodhi menu. This is due to the fact that updates may contain multiple builds, and the graphs account for all builds in the system.

When I get some free cycles I'd like to generate some metrics from the old updates system for FC4-FC6. I can imagine that the differences will be pretty drastic, considering how the old updates tool was internal to Red Hat, and that the majority of our top packagers are community folks.

posted at: 01:05 | link | Tags: , , , , , | 2 comments

Fri, 07 Dec 2007


Zod is no more!

posted at: 22:45 | link | Tags: | 2 comments

Tue, 20 Nov 2007

make update

I updated Fedora's Makefile.common to support an 'update' target, which has now been comitted. This gives developers the ability to push an update into bodhi with a single command.

Once your package has been built, jump into your branch and do the following:

[lmacken@tomservo F-8]$ make update
This will drop you into a template where you can specify various fields. Any bug numbers mentioned in the most recent RPM ChangeLog will be pre-populated as well.
# [ nethack-3.4.3-15.fc8 ]
# type=[S|B|E] (S=security, B=bugfix, E=enhancement) (required)
# request=[T|S] (T=testing, S=stable) (default: testing)
# bug=123,456
# all other text will be considered to be part of the update notes

Make and save your changes, and then your update will be submitted to bodhi.

Creating new update for nethack-3.4.3-15.fc8
Update successfully created

    Release: Fedora 8
     Status: pending
       Type: bugfix
      Karma: 0
    Request: testing
       Bugs: 221948 - nethack-recover looks in the wrong directory
           : 221692 - Nethack font warning
  Submitter: lmacken
  Submitted: 2007-11-20 14:25:55

See the UpdatingPackageHowTo for more information on updating your packages. You can find more details on the bodhi console client here.

posted at: 06:00 | link | Tags: , | 2 comments

Tue, 13 Nov 2007

bodhi command-line client

The bodhi-client package should be making its way to an updates-testing repository near you! Not only does this command-line tool give developers easier access to bodhi, but also provides some new features to help people get more involved with testing updates and providing useful feedback.

I wrote up some documentation on various usage examples of the tool, which can be found on the bodhi wiki. I also submitted a Makefile.common patch that, once applied, will allow you to run `make update` from your package branch. This will drop you into a new update template, and will then submit your update straight to bodhi.

Some noteworthy features in the bodhi-client, aside from the normal bodhi functionality:

I also upgraded our production bodhi instance yesterday, which pulled in a ton of bugfixes and some new features, such as:

As always, patches/questions/criticisms/comments are welcome. You can file tickets in the usual place. Happy hacking!

posted at: 15:42 | link | Tags: , , | 2 comments

Thu, 25 Oct 2007

Shiny new Security LiveCD

The Fedora-based security livecd that I created a little while back is coming along quite nicely. I have yet to submit it to become an officially blessed Fedora spin, mainly because I didn't want it to be Yet Another gnome-based livecd with a bunch of extra packages shoved into it. If we're going to try and even remotely compare to existing livecds such as backtrack, we're going to have to try a little bit harder :)

I've gotten multiple requests from people asking for a minimal security livecd, with something a bit slimmer than GNOME, preferably *box. Being a proud openbox user for the past 6 years -- I gladly complied. So, the other day on the bus ride home from work, I re-based the spin against the minimal configuration, and tweaked out the openbox configuration quite a bit.

The default openbox menu contains a few boilerplate entries, most of which are for applications that don't even exist in a default Fedora install. I went ahead and threw together a menu that is categorized by the type of security tool in the spin. I also wanted the ability for users to have access to the same menu entries as our default GNOME menu. To accomplish this, I hacked up a dynamic openbox pipe menu, which generates the same menu hierarchy as the GNOME application menu, on-the-fly :)

#!/usr/bin/python -tt

import gmenu

def walk_menu(entry):
    if entry.get_type() == gmenu.TYPE_DIRECTORY:
        print '<menu id="%s" label="%s">' % (entry.menu_id, entry.get_name())
        map(walk_menu, entry.get_contents())
        print '</menu>'
    elif entry.get_type() == gmenu.TYPE_ENTRY and not entry.is_excluded:
        print """
            <item label="%s">
              <action name="Execute">
        """ % (entry.get_name(), entry.get_exec())

print "<openbox_pipe_menu>"
map(walk_menu, gmenu.lookup_tree('').root.get_contents())
print "</openbox_pipe_menu>"

Patches/comments/suggestions/criticism welcome! See the SecurityLiveCD wiki for more details on how to spin your own and get involved.

posted at: 05:00 | link | Tags: , , , | 8 comments

Sat, 15 Sep 2007

bodhi 0.2.0

I'm pleased to announce that bodhi 0.2.0 has been released and deployed. This release has fixed a ton of issues and introduces many new features, such as:

This release introduces many database changes from the previous version, so it will be much easier to jump back into the release-early-release often cycle.

Soon to come:

I would also like to thank Till Maas and Tim Lauridsen for taking the time to help out and do some great work.

There is still much to be done with bodhi, so if you're interested in helping out, you can setup a local bodhi development playground with just a few commands and dive in.

As always, please file any bugs or enhancement requests here.

posted at: 15:44 | link | Tags: , , | 0 comments

Fri, 07 Sep 2007

</college><real world>

After a 2+ year long internship, I have accepted a full-time job offer with Red Hat, Inc. As far as I know, I'll be mainly working on the Fedora Project -- and since Fedora encompasses and innovates the open-source world, the opportunities are pretty limitless.

I'm extremely grateful to be able to work with an incredible community, and an amazing company full of brilliant minds. I look forward to helping open source take over the world.

Also, thanks to whoever filled my cube with Fedora 6 ppc DVDs, and various half-empty packs of gum. Much appreciated ;)

posted at: 05:00 | link | Tags: , , | 5 comments

Thu, 16 Aug 2007

Bodhi Presentation at Virtual FUDCon

I'm going to be giving a presentation on Bodhi at the Virtual FUDCon August 15th at 1900-2000 UTC (3pm EST). I'll be covering the past, present, and future of Fedora updates, as well as diving into some technical aspects of the Bodhi project. If all goes to plan, this will be a live audio-enabled presentation, where people can follow the slides as well as converse on IRC. I try to post my slides, and [hopefully] a recording of the presentation next week.

*Update* You can find the IRC transcripts from my presentation here, and my slides here.

posted at: 04:49 | link | Tags: , , | 0 comments

Tue, 14 Aug 2007


So today I setup a Gobby server for us Fedora hackers to play around with. This will allow people to collaborate in real-time on code, notes, whatever. With the VirtualFUDCon this week, it may be a good place to collaborate on ideas and such. To check it out, install 'gobby', and connect to This is a test instance, so be sure to save everything that you expect to keep, and feel free to drop your comments/suggestions in the 'sobby notes' document.

posted at: 05:25 | link | Tags: , | 2 comments

Sat, 19 May 2007

FUDCon 2007

So FUDCon went down last weekend, and was an absolute blast. My plane landed and I went straight to BU and arrived right while people were voting on sessions. It was great to finally meet and chat with a ton of Fedora hackers that I've been collaborating with for quite some time now.

I caught Bryan Clark's Mugshot session, where he talked about some future ideas and goals for mugshot. A potentially badass idea that he mentioned entails monitoring application usage patterns, which could help everyone get a good idea as to what programs are used and how much. Both great software, and heavily used shitty software, will shine. This will help the community get a jist of what needs work and what should be focused on / improved. But it doesn't stop there, another idea mentioned was to have mugshot maintain basic application settings (email, rss, aim, etc) and allow users to be able to load them from anywhere.

After FUDCon we headed to the FUDPub where everyone indulged as much free beer/food that our stomachs could[n't] handle. I got a chance to chat with many people, one being a guy from Pepper, who showed off his Pepper Pad a bit. I talked with him about how he can get Pepper more involved with Fedora (we have overlaps in terms of infrastructure and such, and can greatly benefit from collaborating (especially on their end, since they are stuck maintaining FC4 which is what their platform is based on)), and get their code out into the public.

Saturday night involved our hotel room filled with 10+ fedora hackers, an OLPC, the buddha machine, and a handle of Tanqueray. Good times ensued (without any ambulance involvement).

During the two days of hacking that followed FUDCon, I definitely didn't write as much code as I had hoped, but I got a chance to have some great conversations with a ton of people.

Much discussion was had about making Fedora a BugBuddy that can help make it trivial to submit non-useless bug reports:

  • anonymous bug creation against components
  • Provide a smolt uuid for complete hardware list of users machine
  • Ability to acquire proper debuginfo packages and reproduce useful traceback
  • Hash traceback (after cleaning it up a bit) and check it against a Traceback DB to see if there are any bugs already opened for that issue (suggested by Peter Jones during the Fedora QA talk).
Ideally, our software should be able to correctly file bugs against itself.

With the emergence of our shiny new hardware profiler Smolt, Fedora users can now anonymously submit hardware information. Not only is acquiring metrics a good thing, but this could potentially give people the ability to report issues by simply simply referencing a unique id. This requires some knowledge in Bugzilla, but if we had our own Bugzilla playground we would be able to experiment with features such as the traceback database, and smolt integration. Our fearless QA leader, Will Woods, began setting up a bugzilla instance for experimenting with the crazy ideas during the hackfest.

What seems like a continued effort to make fedora more of a 'Buddy', we also had some discussions about a CodecBuddy that will essentially detect when you first attempt to play a file that requires an evil proprietary codec. It will then educate the user on the implications of proprietary codecs, provide details on alternative open formats, and let users click on a link to legally acquire this codec, with of course the ability to say "hell no" to sustain your hardcore 100% open source mentality :)

Some other cools stuff that I observed go down was a graphical yum repository configuration tool called repoman that Chris Lumens was working on during the hackfest. The yum guys also got a bunch of stuff done, most importantly adding support to createrepo for inserting sqlite db files into repositories.

Many other technical items were discussed, but we also got a chance to step away from the bits for a little while and really talk about the current state of "collaboration" on the internet, and what we'd like to see Fedora do to push the bar in terms of innovation of social collaboration; but that is for another blog post :)

posted at: 19:15 | link | Tags: , | 0 comments

Fedora Infrastructure Project notifications and IRC hackery

I started a Fedora Infrastructure mugshot group the other day, and hooked it up to the Timelines of some of our Infrastructure projects that are currently under development: smolt, bodhi, pungi, koji, mirrormanager, presto, and beaker. This will keep members of the group notified of code commits, ticket activity, as well as wiki and milestone changes.

Recently, Bugzilla hacker Max Kanat-Alexander setup a new Supybot IRC bot for us in #fedorabot that spits out Bugzilla activity in real time. I quickly threw together a Fedora plugin that will allow us to implement some useful functions to help out users and developers. At the moment, I only created a whoowns command.

<lmacken> buggbot: whoowns nethack
<buggbot> lmacken: nethack is owned by

With Fedora 7 and a bunch of shiny new infrastructure right around the corner, I'm sure we'll be able to do some fun things with this. If you're interested in hacking on this plugin, you can clone my mercurial repository by doing the following:

$ hg clone

posted at: 19:15 | link | Tags: , , | 0 comments

Security LiveCD

So last week I created an initial version of a potential Fedora Security LiveCD spin. The goal is to provide a fully functional livecd based on Fedora for use in security auditing, penetration testing, and forensics. I created it as a bonus project for my Security Auditing class (instead of following the 5-pages of instructions on how to create a Gentoo livecd that she handed out (mad props to davidz for creating an amazing LiveCD tool)), but it has the potential to be extremely useful and also help increase the number and quality of Fedora's security tools. I threw in all of the tools I could find that already exist in Fedora, but I'm sure I'm missing a bunch, so feel free to send patches or suggestions. I also added a Wishlist of packages that I would eventually like to see make their way in Fedora, after the core->extras merge reviews are done.

I would eventually like to see Fedora offer a LiveCD that puts all of the existing linux security livecds to shame. We have quite a ways to go, but this is a start. I'm taking a computer forensics class next quarter, so I will be expanding it to fit the needs of our class as well.

posted at: 19:15 | link | Tags: , , , , | 0 comments

Mon, 07 May 2007


I'm usually not one for unproductive ranting, but I noticed this right after a fresh rawhide bootup...

[lmacken@tomservo ~]$ sudo ./
 Private  +   Shared  =  RAM used       Program 
 17.7 MiB +   5.3 MiB =  23.0 MiB       setroubleshootd
 13.4 MiB +  11.2 MiB =  24.6 MiB       /usr/bin/sealer
 51.9 MiB +   2.9 MiB =  54.8 MiB       yum-updatesd

I'm sorry, but most of my machines don't have this kind of memory to spare. Is Python to blame? As far as interpreter overhead, maybe a little bit, or could it be the sheer simplicity and power of the language which is allowing it to be abused?

I'd be interested if anyone has any tips/tricks for slimming down Python daemons.
I'd be thankful if someone did something about it.

posted at: 23:25 | link | Tags: , | 4 comments

Wed, 02 May 2007

Creating a Fedora Security Live USB key

Here is how to easily create a security-distribution based on what will eventually be Fedora 7. This requires that you be running FC7Test* or rawhide, as the livecd-tools are not currently available for FC6.

Prepare the USB key
You may not need to do this for some USB sticks, but I had to remove all partitions on my Cruzer Micro and format the whole thing as vfat to get it to boot. Make sure to change /dev/sdd to your USB device.

# mkfs.vfat -I /dev/sdd
Spin the livecd
# yum install livecd-tools mercurial
$ hg clone
$ cd security-livecd
# ./

Copy the ISO to your USB stick

# livecd-iso-to-disk Fedora7-SecurityLiveCD.iso /dev/

Interested in helping make the Security LiveCD better? See the SecurityLiveCD wiki for more information.

posted at: 06:24 | link | Tags: , , , | 43 comments

Thu, 15 Feb 2007


So I've been spending the majority of my free time recently getting the new Fedora Updates System ready for Fedora 7, which is quickly approaching. Since the code is going to exist in multiple instances for different projects (Fedora, RH, etc), and is already fairly modular and distro-independent, I decided it would be best to give the code a new name, and a new home: Bodhi emerged. Being hardcore into Zen recently, I feel like the name seems to fit the goals of the project nicely.

A Buddhist term for the wisdom by which one attains enlightenment. Bodhi is the opposite of ignorance, the insight into reality which destroys mental afflictions and brings peace.

Previously, the updates system code was in CVS, and bugs were to be filed in OTRS, which ended up being extremely painful to work with. After switching to our new shiny hosting setup, Bodhi is now using Mercurial for source control, and Trac for managing the project milestones, bugs, and documentation. Overall, I've been extremely impressed with Mercurial and Trac so far.

Here are some screenshots of the current development version. More screenshots can be found on the bodhi wiki.

So what's going to change for Fedora developers? Well, currently any [extras] developer can push out updates to their packages for any release with ease (cvs commit && make tag build). If your updated package fixes 4 bugs and 2 CVE's, the end user who is blindly installing this update has no idea. Not only is there no differentiation between bugfix/enhancement/security updates, but none of them go through any sort of QA whatsoever. This is what bodhi is aiming to change.

I've been designing this system completely independent of any Buildsystem (mainly because the unveiling of brew is still churning slowly), so the process of building packages is going to remain the same (for now). Once your packages is built, you will enter it into bodhi via a web form, or [eventually] a command-line tool (Ideally, I'd like to see the process of preparing/testing/releasing a package to be a single point of interaction; either completely from command-line or in web interface). From here, your update will undergo various checks (and will eventually dispatch tests to the beaker test lab). If all goes well, your update will get signed and pushed, all referenced Bugzillas will be updated/closed, and an update notification mail will be sent to the appropriate list.

updates-testing is currently our "testing" repository that developers can choose to push their updates out to before going to 'final'. This is not very appealing for devs, as it requires them to 'Move to final' after a certain amount of time when they feel it is necessary, and the system will nag them if they don't. The updates-testing repo is not widely used, and gives testers no incentive or way to give feedback, other than filing a bug. One of the goals of bodhi is to require all updates to go through the updates-testing process, and provide a simple interface for developers/testers/users to provide positive/negative feedback regarding an update, and also make it trivial to submit bugs about them as well (we threw around some ideas about making a reusable QA feedback widget for this at a recent Fedora QA meeting). After a certain number of positive responses (or after a given length of time with no negative responses), an update will then able to make it's way to the stable updates repository.

I've written a ton of code so far, but there is still much work to be done to accomplish all of the goals mentioned above. I layed out a few milestones for bodhi, 1.0 being the minimal functionality needed for the release of Fedora 7. I also added a 1.1 milestone for features that aren't crucial for minimal functionality, but are definitely important, and also a wishlist milestone for features that might be nice to have someday (metrics, rss feeds, etc).

With FUDCon and the Fedora Infrastructure HackFest coming up, I'm encouraging anyone interested to dive in help out in any way they want. If you can't make it out to Boston, just hop on IRC. If you would like to see a feature in bodhi, feel free to add a ticket to any of the milestones.

This system holds much potential for revolutionizing the way Fedora releases evolve, and how developers and testers interact with it. Since this is going to be utilized by all package maintainers, it's important that the system is molded to fit the needs of the developers and testers; so if you have any suggestions/improvements/fixes, don't hesitate: Contribute.

posted at: 03:12 | link | Tags: , , | 13 comments


So my Thanksgiving break was far from a break. I spent a couple of days last week at Red Hat's westford office before heading back up to RIT to start a new quarter. In my two days in the office I was able to touch base with a bunch of people, and get a bunch of stuff done as well. I had a long discussion with dmalcom about integrating the Fedora Updates System with Beaker/TableCloth. He also gave me a quick rundown on a bunch of the Red Hat QA infrastructure that is currently being used. Ideally we'd like to be able to crunch all package updates through an automated test system before pushing them out to the world. Involvement needed: FedoraTesting.

Later that day I met with jrb and jkeating about getting a package updating system in place for a new Red Hat product that is going out the door very soon. This means that much work will be going into the new UpdatesSystem in the near future, which means I get to dig deeper into the world of TurboGears :)

On thursday I cranked a bunch of code out, but was fairly distracted most of the time by the OLPC laptops that were lying around the office. I must say, it is an absolutely incredible machine. The screen is gorgeous, and it's camera is very impressive. I hung around later at the office for an OLPC hackfest that was going down.

I was busy working on the updates system most of the time, but then later on I started looking into some Python start-up issues, which can be seen by doing:

	strace python 2>&1 | grep ENOENT
You'll notice a ton of syscalls like the following, which try to open/stat modules in locations that do not exist:
stat64("/usr/lib/", 0xbfdb5094) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
PrivoxyWindowOpen("/usr/lib/", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
PrivoxyWindowOpen("/usr/lib/", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
PrivoxyWindowOpen("/usr/lib/", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
PrivoxyWindowOpen("/usr/lib/", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = -1 ENOENT (N o such file or directory)
stat64("/usr/lib/python2.4/posixpath", 0xbfdb5094) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
PrivoxyWindowOpen("/usr/lib/python2.4/", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = -1 ENOENT (No su ch file or directory)
PrivoxyWindowOpen("/usr/lib/python2.4/", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
PrivoxyWindowOpen("/usr/lib/python2.4/", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = 5 

So it's obvious that modules could exist in multiple locations, but if you are repeatedly going to check a series of directories, such as /usr/lib/, wouldn't it be a *bit* smarter to check if they exists first, and then avoid checking there in the future? Doing so would help cut down from the 233+ syscalls python makes while starting up looking for modules. I really don't have any free cycles to try and add some sense into Python, so I really hope someone can beat me to a patch.

TurboGears 1.0b2

I came back home to find the new TurboGears book in my mailbox, which has been extremely informative, aside from the fact that the project has awesome online docs as well. I pushed out the latest TurboGears release, 1.0b2, for FC6 and rawhide yesterday as well.

posted at: 03:12 | link | Tags: , , , , | 1 comments