Announcing upcoming Mageia 5.1 ISOs and an update on Mageia 6 progress

It is likely not news to you that we are behind the original schedule regarding Mageia 6.
As a community-led distro with a limited amount of resources and contributors, we stand by “Release when it’s ready” and don’t want to rush a release out until we are fully happy with it. Obviously, we are not yet fully happy with Mageia 6, though it is shaping up pretty well! On the other hand, we are still very pleased with Mageia 5 and want to continue supporting it until Mageia 6 is ready to take over.

Upcoming Mageia 5.1 ISOs

Because of this delay, we will release updated ISO images of Mageia 5 to bridge the gap until Mageia 6 is ready.

The new Mageia 5.1 ISOs will include all the security and bug-fix updates released for Mageia 5 so far, including an updated LTS kernel (4.4.x) for improved hardware support.

Like it was done for Mageia 4.1, this does not constitute a new release per se, but an easier way to install an up-to-date Mageia 5. Existing Mageia 5 users won’t have to reinstall anything, as their up-to-date system is already the same as what the 5.1 images would install. New users, however, would
benefit from having the well-tested kernel 4.4 from the start, instead of starting with the original kernel 3.19 of Mageia 5.

We will likely extend the support period for Mageia 5 to cover at least 3 months of transition after the Mageia 6 release. The exact updated end-of-life date will be given when the 5.1 ISOs are released.

Infra back on track for Mageia 6

There have been some infrastructure issues causing delays to getting ISOs to build, which particularly impacted the internal testing for Mageia 6’s stabilisation snapshot 2 over the last few months. These have now been mostly resolved, and our ISO building team (and its new recruits!) will have the opportunity to fine tune the process with the updated Mageia 5 ISOs, before going back to Mageia 6.

The delays have allowed for newer versions of some key software stacks to be included. Plasma has matured a lot and gained stability and feature completeness over the last few months, and we will be able to ship Mageia 6 with Plasma 5.8 LTS. We will also include GNOME 3.22 which is currently being prepared for Cauldron.

Packagers and developers toiling on release blockers

The main reason for Mageia 6’s delay is, of course, the remaining blocking bugs (so called release blockers) that we don’t want to compromise on fixing before the release.

Packagers and developers are currently working to fix the remaining release blockers. A new tool has been promptly developed in Mageia App DB to help visualise the progress on the current release blockers. We hope to have the second stabilisation snapshot available soon after the Mageia 5.1 ISOs are released, likely sometime in October 2016. As for the final release, we do not want to give a precise ETA yet, but we should manage to make a 2016 release 🙂

As always, many hands make light work, so if you’re interested in ISO testing, QA, packaging or just want to get involved with Mageia, please have a look here for further details on getting involved.

Dandifying Mageia – Adding the DNF stack to Mageia

There’s a lot of good things coming to Mageia 6: KDE Plasma 5 desktop, updates to other desktop environments, many new games, and a fresh coat of paint with a new visual style. However, there’s quite a lot of under-the-hood improvements in Mageia, too!

Among the many less-than-visible improvements across the board is a brand new dependency resolver: DNF. DNF (Dandified Yum) is a next generation dependency resolver and high-level package management tool with an interesting history. DNF traces its ancestry to two projects: Fedora’s Yum (Yellowdog Updater, Modified) and openSUSE’s SAT Solver (libsolv). DNF was forked from Yum several years ago in order to rewrite it to use the SAT Solver library from openSUSE (which is used in their own tool, Zypper). Another goal of the fork was to massively restructure the codebase so that a sane API would be available for both extending DNF (via plugins and hooks) and building applications on top of it (such as graphical frontends and system lifecycle automation frameworks).

DNF will be available for those willing to use it, however, urpmi and the current familiar Mageia software management tools will remain as the default in Mageia for the foreseeable future.

In many respects, these goals were achieved. DNF ships with a well-structured command line interface, an easy-to-use and very complete API, a dozen core plugins, and a dozen contributed plugins.

As a consequence of the work required to adopt DNF, Mageia is now broadly compatible with a wider array of tools for managing RPM-based systems, due to the use of tooling that is common to other major RPM-based Linux distributions (such as Fedora and openSUSE). For example, tools like Spacewalk and Katello will (to some extent) be able to manage Mageia 6 systems for institutions like schools and businesses.

PackageKit has been also switched to a new backend that leverages the work done to enable DNF, allowing for us to properly enable app-centric software management tools like GNOME Software and KDE’s Plasma Discover to provide a high-quality desktop software management experience through the desktop environment’s native tools.

In addition, we’re working with the developers of Fedora COPR (A PPA-style system developed and provided by our friends at the Fedora Project) to get Mageia 6 and Cauldron added as supported Linux distributions. This will allow people interested in providing packages of free/open source software for Mageia to have a place where they can build them and have a hosted package repository. Once support for Mageia has been activated on Fedora COPR, adding repositories will be as easy as “dnf copr enable”.

One of the fruits borne from this effort is that support for building packages for Mageia 6 is now built right into Mock, the standard clean package build tool used by Red Hat, Fedora, and CentOS. As of Mock 1.2.18 and newer (available on supported RHEL/CentOS and Fedora releases, as well as in the upcoming Mageia 6), it is possible to build Mageia packages without having to switch distributions or manually construct chroots, containers, or virtual machines. Likewise, with Mageia 6, it is possible to build Fedora packages using the same tool. Of course, you can build Mageia packages from Mageia 6 with Mock as well. Mock is the core build engine for Fedora COPR, so it was critical to make this work, and so we did.

The work to offer DNF in Mageia 6 represents nearly a year of work, collaborating and cooperating with the upstream project and the Fedora Project to implement this in the best way possible. We hope that the introduction of DNF and the new PackageKit backend will offer a new, user-friendly way for people to interact with the software installed and available on Mageia!

If you want to learn more about DNF, check out our wiki page on how to use it.

And the winner is….

We have completed the artwork contest and would like to extend our thanks to everyone that took part, there were some excellent pieces submitted and choosing the winners was a tough task.

We would like to congratulate Jacques Daugeron on winning the background contest, the runners up will be available in the extra theme package as well.

Here is the signature background for Mageia 6, it will be included in the next updates to the theme packages.

Mageia-Default-3840x2160

Here are some of the images that will be included in the extra backgrounds package.

extra1
extra2

Also, congratulations go to the winners of the screensaver contest: Fabien Deschodt, Володимир, fkuller, Teimuraz Khazaradze, Donald Stewart, Jose, Philippe Verschelde and Mészáros Csaba, it was great to see so many contributors coming from such far reaching parts of the World.

We have images of Black Sea sunsets, snowy mountains in Scotland, big European cities all the way to South American waterways, its nice to see the global appeal that Mageia brings.

screensavers

Thanks again to all the contributors, we look forward to hearing your feedback on the new look!

The next step towards Mageia 6 is here, sta1 has been released

Everyone at Mageia is very happy to announce the release of the next step in the path to Mageia 6.

The first stabilisation snapshot, as the name suggests, aims to start bringing everything together and getting the new software stable enough for release. Most of the big updates since dev1 have been moving from beta/RC releases of major software components to stable ones, which will hopefully give a nicely polished feel to the release.

GRUB 2 is now the default bootloader as GRUB Legacy has finally run its course. We have also fully switched from KDE 4 to Plasma 5, as well as solved issues with localisation. The switch to GRUB2 led to the need for updates to our tools and installer which took some tuning to get right, as we wanted to make sure that the release was functional for testing.

The Live media are now available. However, due to increasingly limiting constraints of the medium’s size, the LiveCDs have been abandoned to the profit of the more complete LiveDVDs, thus allowing for a fuller distribution of the desktop ecosystem to be available. The installation media will be available as normal (note that for similar reasons, the dual-arch DVD provider in earlier releases has also been dropped).

We have already entered version freeze, so the package versions seen here will likely be the major versions shipped with Mageia 6, although we aim to update to the 4.7 kernel branch for better support of new hardware and a longer support cycle. We hope that this will offer the perfect blend of freshness and stability.

Mageia 6 sta1 ships with the following:

  • Linux Kernel 4.6.3
  • Glibc 2.22
  • Plasma 5.6.4
  • GNOME 3.20.3
  • MATE 1.14.1
  • Cinnamon 3.0.1
  • LibreOffice 5.1.4.2
  • Firefox 45 ESR
  • Thunderbird 45
  • Chromium 51

Full release notes are available here.

The ISOs are available for testing on the Mageia website, or if you prefer a specific mirror, the list is available here. While we are hoping that this release is getting closer to a fully stable and usable release, please remember that it is still a pre-release and is early in the Mageia 6 release cycle. So, for any bugs that you find, we would appreciate a report on our Bugzilla so that we can get them fixed for the final release. The ISOs have been fully tested by our QA team so we hope that they will work well for you.

If you would like to get involved in QA testing, ISO testing or any other part of Mageia, have a look at our Contribution page for ideas on how you can help. We always welcome new contributors.

We look forward to hearing your feedback.

My LaKademy 2016

LaKademy 2016 group photo

In the end of May, ~20 gearheads from different countries of Latin America were together in Rio de Janeiro working in several fronts of the KDE. This is our ‘multiple projects sprint’ named LaKademy!

Like all previous editions of LaKademy, this year I worked hard in Cantor; unlike all previous editions, this year I did some work in new projects to be released in some point in the future. So, let’s see my report of LaKademy 2016.

Cantor

LaKademy is very important to Cantor development because during the sprint I can to focus and work hard to implement great features to the software. In past editions I started the Python 2 backend development, ported Cantor to Qt5/KF5, drop kdelibs4support, and more.

This year is the first LaKademy after I got the maintainer status of Cantor and, more amazing, it is the first edition where I was not the only developer working in Cantor: we had a team working in different parts of the project.

My main work was to perform a heavy bug triage in Cantor, closing old bugs and confirming some of them. In addition I could to fix several bugs like the LaTeX rendering and the crash after close the window for Sage backend, or the fix for plot commands for Octave backend.

My second work was to help the others developers working in Cantor, I was very happy to work with different LaKademy attendees in the software. I helped Fernando Telles, my SoK 2015 student, to fix the support for Sage backend for Sage version > 7.2. Wagner Reck was working in a new backend for Root, the scientific programming framework developed by CERN. Rafael Gomes created a Docker image to Cantor in order to make easy the environment configuration, build, and code contribution for new developers. He wants to use it in other KDE software and I am really excited to see Cantor as the first software in this experiment.

Other relevant work was some discussions with other developers about the selection of an “official” technology to create backends for Cantor. Currently Cantor has backends developed in several ways: some of them use C/C++ APIs, others use Q/KProcess, others use DBus… you can think about how to maintain all these backends is a work for crazy humans.

I did not select the official technology yet. Both DBus and Q/KProcess has advantages and disadvantages (DBus is a more ‘elegant’ solution but bring Cantor to other OS can be more easy if we use Q/KProcess)… well, I will wait for the new DBus-based Julia backend, in development by our GSoC 2016 student, to make decision about which solution to use.

From left to right: Ronny, Fernando, Ícaro, and me ;)

New projects: Sprat and Leibniz (non-official names)

This year I could to work in some new projects to be released in the future. Their provisional names are Sprat and Leibniz.

Sprat is a text editor to write drafts of scientific papers. The scientific text follows some patterns of sentences and communication figures. Think about “A approach based in genetic algorithm was applied to the travel salesman problem”: it is easy to identify the pattern in that text. Linguistics has worked in this theme and it is possible to classify sentences based in the communication objective to be reached for a sentence. Sprat will allow to the user to navigate in a set of sentences and select them to create drafts of scientific papers. I intent to release Sprat this year, so please wait for more news soon.

Leibniz is Cantor without worksheets. Sometimes you want just to run your mathematical method, your scientific script, and some related computer programs, without to put explanations, figures, or videos in the terminal. In KDE world we have amazing technologies to allow us to develop a “Matlab-like” interface (KonsolePart, KTextEditor, QWidgets, and plugins) to all kind of scientific programming languages like Octave, Python, Scilab, R… just running these programs in KonsolePart we have access to syntax highlighting, tab completion… I would like to have a software like this so I started the development. I decided to develop a new software and not a new view to Cantor because I think the source code of Leibniz will be small and more easy to maintain.

So, if you are excited with some of them, let me know in comments below and wait a few months for more news! 🙂

Community-related tasks

During LaKademy we had our promo meeting, an entire morning to discuss KDE promo actions in Latin America. KDE will have a day of activities at FISL and we are excited to make amazing KDE 20th birthday parties in the main free software events in Brazil. We also evaluated and discussed the continuation of some interesting activities like Engrenagem (our videocast series) and new projects like demo videos for KDE applications.

In that meeting we also decided the city to host LaKademy 2017: Belo Horizonte! We expect to have a incredible year with KDE activities in Latin America to be evaluated in our next promo meeting.

Conclusion: “O KDE na América Latina continua lindo

This edition of LaKademy had strong and dedicated work by all attendees in several fronts of KDE, but we had some moments to stay together and consolidate our community and friendship. Unfortunately we did not have time to explore Rio de Janeiro (it was my first time in the city) but I had good impressions of the city and their people. I intent to go back to there, maybe this year yet.

The best part of to be a member of a community like KDE is to make friends for the life, people with you like to share beers and food while chat about anything. This is amazing for me and I found it in KDE. <3

Thank you KDE and see you soon in next LaKademy!

if (LaKademy 2016) goto Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, the “Cidade Maravilhosa”, land of the eternal Summer. The sunlight here is always clear and hot, the sea is refreshing, the sand is comfortable. The people is happy, Rio de Janeiro has good music, food, the craziest parties of the world, and beautiful bodies having fun with beach games (do you know futevolei?).

But while Rio de Janeiro is boiling, some Gearheads based in Latin America will be working together in a cold and dark room in the city, attending to our “multi-area” sprint named Latin America Akademy – LaKademy 2016.

In my plans I have a lot of work to do in Cantor, including a strong triage in bugs and several tests with some IPC technologies. I would like to choose one to be the “official” technology to implement backends for Cantor. Cantor needs a IPC technology with good multiplatform support for the main desktop operating systems. I am think about DBus… do you have other suggestions or tips?

Other contributors also want to work in Cantor. Wagner wants to build and test the application in Windows and begin an implementation of a backend for a new programming language. Fernando, my SoK 2015 student, wants to fix the R backend. I will be very happy seeing these developers dirtying their hands in Cantor source code, so I will help them in those tasks.

During LaKademy I intent to present for the attendees some ideas and prototypes of two new software I am working. I expect to get some feedback and I will think about the next steps for them. Maybe I can submit them for new KDE projects… Well, let’s see. 🙂

Wait for more news from the cold and dark room of our LaKademy event in Rio de Janeiro. 🙂

Mageia 6 Artwork Contest Extension

We have decided to extend the contest by a week as there are still lots of contributions coming in and with the work coming from people’s donated time, we wanted to give a larger chance to others that might have been busy with other things.

The contest will now close on the 30th of May; as before, all work should be submitted to the Artwork Drop.

For more information about the contest, please have a look at the initial announcement blog post.

We look forward to seeing what you come up with for Mageia 6!

Mageia 6 Artwork Contest

The contest has been extended to the 30th of May 2016, see here for details

Once again, Mageia needs your help with artwork, it’s time to start the process of getting Mageia 6 looking ready for release. As in previous years we’re looking for your contributions and ideas.

We’d like to see your backgrounds, screensavers, icons, colour schemes and any other ideas that you can dream up.

Credit: http://xkcd.com

We will normally choose a digital abstract piece using the colours of the Mageia logo for the signature background, it should be easily cropped to different aspect ratios without losing the feel of the image and have a resolution of at least 3,200 by 2,400px, in order to accommodate a wide variety of monitors.

Alternative background and screensavers have less restrictive guidelines, so if you feel like flexing your creativity, we’d love to see what you come up with. 

Rules

The contest begin the 07 May 2016 and will be close the 23 May 2016 30 May 2016.

Mageia will provide 1 official background,  10 additional backgrounds and all the other bits we do to make Mageia look great. If you’d like to participate, it’s easy:

Please submit your work to the Mageia 6 artwork drop, you also have the option to send a link to the Atelier mailing list

The Atelier team will choose 10 backgrounds from different contributors to be included in the “additional backgrounds” 

Prerequisites

  • minimal size: 3,200×2,400 px for images, preferably svg for icons
  • no borders
  • no text inside, the Mageia logo may be placed for show, but will need to be removable
  • scalable or croppable for all possible aspect ratios: 4:3, 16:9, 16:10 etc.
  • License: CC By SA 3.0 or later

Please also have a look here for more information about things you have to watch out for, or to see previous Mageia wallpapers, some screensavers and the Mageia 5 background are uploaded on the artwork drop for reference.

Photos will be considered for screensavers and additional backgrounds provided no recognizable people are visible. Please avoid copyrighted artwork, or, you must own the copyright and agree to the CC By SA 3.0 license.

All the work needs to be original with the source files (svg, xcf, etc) available and within Mageia’s artwork guidelines. Please upload a png or similar as they are much easier for previewing. We hope that these guidelines will make everything clear and help you to make something that will make Mageia look great. The guidelines cover the Official Mageia Logo, colour scheme, website motif, fonts, wallpaper and other elements. The Mageia official logo is also covered by our Trademark Policy.

Take a moment to learn the rules, then, jump in and create with us!

Final choice

The final winners will be chosen by the Mageia council and announced on the Mageia blog.

We’ll also try and put together some goodies for the winners, maybe a T-shirt, USB keys and pens or something along those lines 🙂

Mageia was at FOSDEM 2016

FOSDEM 2016 was held in Brussels on the 30th and 31st of January. We also had our Annual General Assembly and managed to get out for a nice dinner and a few beers, putting some faces to new contributors and renewing friendships from years gone by.

The Fosdem organisation had decided to make the stands smaller, so that many more projects could get a stand. We were very happy to see many more projects and the growth in the opensource community.

There was a downside, it meant that our stand was too small to serve as natural meeting place for all Mageians who were around and not attending talks or busy communicating with upstream projects, so we were less of a group of Mageia contributors and users, but more individuals. However, the General Assembly and the dinner did help to have group bonding 😉 It was great to see many of our contributors again, and to see others for the first time, like Akien and hviaene, of course, we missed those who couldn’t come.

The stand was very popular, many interested visitors left with a flyer and/or one or more Mageia goodies 🙂 There were stickers as usual, new pens with Mageia logo and the usual t-shirts in many sizes. The flyers were in English, French & Dutch. We also had pretty wooden USB sticks with Mageia 5 live images on them.

fosdem2016blog

As in other years, there were plenty of interesting lectures to attend. Of course many of us attended the talk given by Mageia contributor Bruno Cornec, about building Linux distribution packages with Docker. There was a dev room available for all who wanted to get away from the turmoil, it had plenty of power outlets to connect your laptop to and proved a great place to help people install Mageia.

During Fosdem, Hacker Public Radio did an interview with Mageia Contributor Chris Denice, or eatdirt, you can hear it here.

We also had our General Assembly, there was a review about the teams, which was incomplete because not all team leaders were able to attend. The most important thing that happened though, was that while reviewing sysadmin team, it was decided to have a sysadmin meeting immediately after the General Assembly. That meeting led to big improvements: a sysadmin trainee was accepted during that meeting and he started right after Fosdem (To that end, we would like to introduce danf, Dan Fandrich, an experienced sysadmin and existing Mageia packager, who only needs training to get familiar with how our sysadmin team and our infra work), and our infra is moving away from “full sysadmin access to everything or no access at all” to “some have access to everything, but other sysadmins only to e.g. forums, bugzilla, wiki or one or more other parts of Mageia”. This has already led to LpSolit (Frédéric Buclin a Mageia user from upstream Bugzilla, who has helped with good advice on maintaining our Bugzilla since the beginning) now improving things in our Bugzilla directly himself and also to him committing needed changes to our git for the Bugzilla upgrade.

Apart from that, an announcement about ARM development was made during the General Assembly. The ARM build is getting closer, we have build nodes set up with Scaleway and can extend the number as required. Hopefully this will be usable soon. It was also discussed that new people come and have to be welcomed and introduced to our processes and discussions (via IRC / ML). Weekly meetings are not that easy to maintain when things do seem to be stuck, though discussions with people available are sometimes sufficient (more people is better: just come to watch/read afterwards at least, meetbot is still activeFor the lack of contributors helping BugSquad, ovitters suggested to let contributors earn points when helping in Bugzilla, like in a game. He had seen great results when doing that for Gnome.

Firebird 3.0 for Centos 7, Mageia and Fedora

Firebird 3.0 is officially there and I packaged it for CentOS 7, Mageia and Fedora.

The packages for Mageia are in Mageia repositories for Mageia Cauldron (the version that will become soon Mageia 6). To not break Libre Office that still rely on Firebird 2.5 embeded, I made a separate package for libfbembed2.

The packages for CentOS 7 and Fedora 23 are in my Fedora Copr repository.

I will update it regulary so you could have Firebird 3.0 packages in CentOS 7.

Official Epel for CentOS 7 will stay with Firebird 2.5.

Unfortunately, Firebird 3.0 don't build yet with gcc 6, as you can see in CORE-5099, so no Firebird 3.0 yet for Fedora 24.