Posts Tagged ‘openSUSE’

First UEFI PlugFest for Linuxers

2013/10/31

After the 3 days dedicated to LinuxCon US 2013 in New Orleans, it was time to contribute to the UEFI Plugfest organized for the first time as a co-located event.

So what is a UEFI plugfest ? Well it’s a place where hardware manufacturers and software producers meet to check the compatibility of their implementations with regards to UEFI. So Every hardware manufacturer brings some systems, sometimes early units or prototypes, and try them with the latest operating systems available to find out potential issues, some other bring cards to see whether their UEFI driver works fine on computer manufacturer and operating system producers want to try their latest version on these often brand new systems.

UEFI PlugFest

I think it was a brilliant idea to mix the 2 populations for multiple reasons:

  • UEFI members were for sure impressed by the technical knowledge floating around, and employed in such an open fashion, which is not the standard way of working of this standard body.
  • Linux kernel members could exchange with manufacturer representatives of UEFI systems which definitely helped reducing all the FUD around this technology, in particular Secure Boot. They also had the opportunity to test some not yet available hardware platform to ensure their distributions/drivers/tools were working fine or fix them if that wasn’t the case

UEFI PlugFest - Samer El-Haj-Mahmoud, HP

So in the HP area, under the lead of Dong Wei who is UEFI Forum Vice President and HP Fellow, we tried with 2 colleagues various Linux distributions (and even Windows, but not me !) on the 4 systems that were around. And some findings were interesting !

UEFI PlugFest - Dong Wei, HP

  • Debian 7.1 had grub issue at boot and we were not able to install it
  • Mageia 3 has no UEFI support yet and we were not able to install it easily. However, support is planned for Mageia 4, and some info have been published recently to detail how to perform UEFI based installation.
  • Ubuntu 13.10 provides all what is needed to install in a UEFI compliant environment, thanks to their documentation. We were also able to test SecureBoot with success with their version of Matthew Garrett‘s shim bootloader, signed by Microsoft. They are also working on an interesting tool: FWTS aka Firmware Test Suite, which should be adopted by all distributions IMHO in order to have (for once !) a single tool able to perform firmware compliance tests for a Linux environment. Easy to use, pretty comprehensive, reports lots of useful info. Too bad that they are not providing their certification tools online anymore :-(
  • OpenSUSE 12.3+ again has what is needed for UEFI support. Same mechanism with a shim bootloader, but this time signed multiple times by Microsoft and SUSE. However, this requires a more recent implementation of the UEFI specification, which wasn’t the case on all our system during this event. SUSE provides in particular an excellent documentation on UEFI support, including the possibility to sign its own kernel with pesign in order to use it with SecureBoot.
  • Fedora 19 provides mostly all what is needed. Install worked in UEFI mode without problem. We used the updated version of the shim and shim-unsigned packages from Fedora 20 in order to avoid some issues. However, the multisign issue met with OpenSUSE was also encountered here. More over, Fedora doesn’t provide a good documentation yet for signing your own kernel, which was reported upstream and could benefit from this article. Also the usage of mokutil is broken and should be fixed for Fedora 20.
  • UEFI PlugFest - Samer El-Haj-Mahmoud, HP

    We also got visited by two Kernel Maintainers Greg Kroah-Hartman and James Bottomley who even tried some of his tools on our systems.
    UEFI PlugFest - James Bottomley, Parallels - Neill Kapron, HP

    Note that Some USB keys even correctly formated didn’t boot correctly on some platforms so if you encounter this issue, try using another USB key.

    Finally I made some tries with MondoRescue on the Last Fedora distribution installed. I thought the work done to support EFI on Itanium would be sufficient, but there are some detection problems for the boot loader in mindi need to be solved and are now tracked upstream as well.

    And on top of all what I was able to learn working with my 3 colleagues, I was pointed to a very instructive article from Ken Thomson on Trusting Trust, I hadn’t read before (and I encourage you to read it), following discussions on Secure Boot. And we had a very nice dinner downtown, a walk through Bourbon Street
    Bourbon Street

    followed by a real air of New Orleans Jazz.
    DSC_8789

    That was the end of a very rich US week. More to come on other more recent travels later.

Distro Recipes 2013: Nice first !

2013/04/09

Distro Recipes 2013
As indicated, I had the opportunity to talk during the first Distro Recipes event organized in Paris last week, at the invitation of Hupstream. As Yoann Sculo posted, this was a very interesting day for me, and I really regret I was busy to also attend the first day and the opening.

After a nice welcome breakfast, Aurélien Bompard started by presenting the Fedora distribution.
Aurélien Bompard presenting the Fedora distribution
He did a great job especially expalining how easy it was to become a Fedora maintainer, even if a comparison to Debian revealed that it’s much less different that what people may think (it also takes time to become a packager able to modify most distro packages) and I know by experience that the Fedora packagers are really picky (sometimes for not so good reasons) with new contributions.

After that I talked about HP and Linux distributions. I used in fact the standard HP marketing presentation of the company as a starter (modified of course to suit my needs and include more penguins !) in order to explain the span of our activities, our relationship with communities including distributions, announced that HP will even soon provide firmware for ProLiant servers under a package format (rpm and deb), the fact that HP doesn’t see Linux demand for desktop/laptop on the consumer market (no, it’s not just a price issue that would make Linux more appealing in that case as I justified) but that we do support Linux on some enterprise desktops/laptops. Hopefully this was useful and/or new to some of the audience.

Then Dodji Seketeli made the type of talk making you believe that you could contribute to gcc ! Of course, when he details how much time it took him to add some of the features of the next stable version, you know you can’t ! Well I at least ;-) Anyway lots of good news and features that make that future version 4.8 expected soon.
Dodji Seketeli on gcc

That conclude our morning sessions, and it was then time to eat !! Especially as we had a great buffet waiting for us as you can see:
Repas midi

In order to avoid a sleepy afternoon, we started right after by a round table with 7 people (!), that I had the pleasure to chair. With a representative of each distribution (Mageia, openSUSE, Fedora, Debian, Arch, Embedded) and a Microsoft representative, you could expect blood and swords fight ! Not at all, I was surprisingly happy that the elements were clearly exposed, each representative defending their own work rather than criticizing, and finding ways to propose more future joint work. Of course, some subjects such as LSB/FHS lead to more debate, but very constructive and I really enjoyed this time slot as a way to show that differences are an added value ! It was also the opportunity for me to meet with Colin Guthrie and Frédérc Crozat, which I had never met before. These distros should be happy to have such representatives defending them (and the others too of course ;-)) Finally if you have ideas to share to improve cross-distribution work , consider joining the mailing listdedicated to his topic and start sharing your ideas.

Then it was time again for the remaining presentations. The first was Lucas Nussbaum. Long time Debian Developer, (he is even running for the Debian Project Leader now, vote for him !) he made a convincing picture of the Debian ecosystem, the numerous Web sites that contributors can create to enhance the distribution with stats, infos, Ubuntu correlations, … As usual, Debian appears as a very mature distribution, with a strong Governance, being perl friendly… If I had to change I may well become a debianers. But isn’t it because of the pres, as the morning I was a fedorian ;-)
Lucas Nussbaum pour Debian

The next speaker was a long time Linux enthousiast Pierre Ficheux. In fact back when it was Minitel time (not 2.0) I used his xtel program !! Pierre made a presentation (in english but with the accent ;-)) around embedded Linux distributions, presenting various way to tailor one for your device (he was using a Raspberry Pi) depending whether you use an Ubuntu, a Yocto generated one or a pure OpenEmbedded linux one. Definitely a good idea to explore for my Pi !
Pierre Ficheux sur Yocto (Open Wide)

And then we had the lightnings talks. Aurélien Bompard was there again for HyperKitty. Too bad it’s devoted to mailan, as I think Sympa would also benefit from such a work, as their archive management (at least on the latest versions I used) could be improved.
Aurélien Bompard pour HyperKitty

I came then again on stage for a project-builder.org presentation (building cross-distro packages for upstream projects) and made a short demo which I think is explaining much more than my slides, so I plan on using it more in the future !

After me, Eric Leblond explained how his upstream project (ulogd2) wasn’t picked up correclty by most distributions and asked for help to improce that.

And final speaker was Nicolas Vérité who made a panel on all mobile Linux distributions, recommending to follow closely Tizen for the future as the main force in this area.
Nicolas Vérité sur Distros Mobile

Too bad it was already over. Anne closed the session and I’d like to thank her for the invitation and the perfect organization of this first cross-distributions vent as a real success. Well done and see you next year hopefully !
Anne Nicolas (Hupstream)


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