Archive for September, 2010

Mageia: End of trouble for the Mandriva community ?


Well, it wasn’t too long to wait 😉

At least the Mandriva community doesn’t seem to be in trouble anymore. Mageia, a Mandriva fork has been made by an impressive list of former Mandriva contributors and employees. So I’ve subscribed to the mailing lists, and will now contribute to this fork as well myself (don’t expect much that what I was doing before however ;-)). There I know the names of the people behind and appreciate them, so should give us an exit way by the top. The real question remaining there for me is how will some of the former employee be able to contibute, without a regular and fixed salary around. I guess the future will say how this evolves for them.

So to my previous blog message, the answer is even more clear that the Mandriva that is now in trouble is the Mandriva SA company. They didn’t generated the trust in their community. So it vanished. Remember XFree86 vs Xorg ? I’m pretty sure we are on a similar history now.

So long live Mageia, and given the name, I wouldn’t be surprised to find our magician back again as well as its spirit 🙂

Attending Open World Forum


For those of you who would like to meet to discuss contibuous packaging and, disaster recovery and, deployment and, Linux at HP, Mandriva community, HP.Intel/Red Hat partnership or what ever other topic, feel free to touch base with me during the Open Source Think Tank and Open World Forum between the 28th of September and 1st of October 2010 in Paris.

LinuxCon Brazil 2010



Plenary sessions followed by around 700 people (my estimation – room pretty full and lot of queue for registration)
Look at Agenda

Jim Zemlin (LF)

He made a very lively and strong defense of Linux. He especially shows that 3 major IT evolutions of today (well 4 but forgot the last one ;-))lead to more Linux adoption. 1/ The evolution of Internet from a people connected network to a devices (running LInux mostly) network. 2. It supports the cost reduction everybody is looking at in IT. 3. The desktop evolution to a more large set of various devices (smartphones, MID, Netbooks, …) all running Linux.
He also made the case of LInux powering lots of critical systems from NYSE to Oil research in Brasil, from french parliament to CERN accelerator….

Dirk Hohndel (Intel) on MeeGo
Made a point around MeeGo evolution. Still not there completely, but lots of progresses being made. Insisted on the FLOSS nature of the project (no vendor lock-in, external repo available, collaboration, …)

Round Table (Linux Torvalds, Andrew Morton, Jim Zemlin) (LF)
Jim asked some questions to Linus and Andrew around their perception of the kernel dev. Andrew explained that he is the sort of guy doing this in order to help others, to what Linus answered he wasn’t so nice and was doing it for its own pleasure and needs ! An overall enjoyable session !

Lunch with various Red Hat Brasil (among them Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo) and HP Brasil (Clesio Takahashi) colleagues. Very interesting discussions around performances (perf, perfmon, system tap, ftrace – new for me). Also met with Ric Wheeler manager for FS dev at Red Hat.

Jeremy Allison (Google) on SaMBa for your product
SaMBa is a product *and* contains technologies (CIFS linux kernel client, lib used by KDE/Gnome, …)
SMB2 in next release.
Support CTDB (CLuster)
SSO (AD in v4 + LDAP and Kerberos)

He explained how vendors producing proprietary code can work effectively with the SaMBa team.
Success comes from discussing with the SaMBa team (business friendly in fact !).
Advocated the use of smbtorture to at least test what ever server chosen (even MicroSoft uses it !)
Of course an excellent session by a SaMBA co-creator. Had the opportunity to shake hands, as a former HP colleague 😉

Josef Bacik (Red Hat) on Btrfs: the story so far.
Developped by Oracle (Chris Mason, Yan Zheng), Red Hat (Josef Bacik), Fujitsu, Intel and Dreamhost. HP tests

What is available:

Large scale support, SSD, Built in Raid (0/1/10), compression (zlib) & checksum, cow, snapshot, volume management & balancing (to handle better errors)
Dynamic metadata and instant mkfs, online resize and defrag, online device addition/removal.
Converter from ext3/4 => Btrfs – special df
Tries to minimize corruption and increase security.

What remains to be done:

However, offline fsck coming soon !!
Raid 5/6 and free space cache soon,
encryption, deduplication, online fsck, quotas sometimes
pbs: cow fragmentation, df lies (ignores metadata)
On Fedora use linux btrfs at boot prompt (but grub doesn’t support it yet)
Default in F16/17. Nothing special in F15
Another great session by the people making the code.

James Bottomley (Novell) on Is the future Open Source ?
Targeting managers or dev who needs to convince managers. James is presenting well, but this is more interesting for new comers to FLOSS.

Ric Wheeler (Red Hat) on Linux File and Storage Ssstems: Are we done yet ?
Impact of new storage technologies on Linux FS choices (SSD, external Raid array)
Improvements in data integrity (checksum at btrfs, DIF/DIX flags)
ext4 improved streaming perf and FS repair. Supports extends and > 16TB FS. (default for RHEL6)
A btrfs summary of previous conf.
SSD mkfs is nearly similar between ext3/4/xfs/btrfs – on SATA 1TB ext3/4 is way smaller
Same for writing 50M files of some kB. Anywhere SSD is just removing differences between FS !

fsck ext4 on 70TB consumes 10 GB of RAM (xfs is 30 GB !) so large storage requires large server today.
But 2TB disks are consumer products today.

1 billion files (100 KB) => 100TB (mkfs: 4h, fill it: 4days, fsck: 2.5h)
Extremely well documented and comprehensive presentation on the state of the Art around Linux FS. Recommended if you can see it.

Sunil Saxena (Intel) on Building MeeGo: where are we and what’s next ?
MeeGo = Moblin (Intel) + Maemo (Nokia)
There will be a Meego conf in Dublin in Nov 2010.
Focus on compliance between MeeGo devices.
Releases April and October.
Interesting but lots of repeats with Dirk Hohndel’s presentation of the morning in Keynote.

Dinner with various Red Hat employees and FLOSS fans. Lots of discussions on … food 😉


Around 250 people for plenary.

Round Table (Jon Corbet – James Bottomley (Novell) – Christoph Hellwig (himself) – Ted T’so (Google) -Thomas Gleixner (Linutronic)
Various questions from attendees around scalability, worst problem solved, background to be a kernel developer, …

Jane Silber (CEO Ubuntu) on Consumerization of IT ans its implication for FLOSS
Using the Producer -> Distributor -> Consumer chain
Notion of Prosumer – Similarities with the FLOSS movement
Quality is overtaking cost in FLOSS adoption (Accenture)
Ubuntu has a project to improve user experience + PaperCut +
Presented 6 monthes release as innovative and now std, but now slow commpared to Apps Store
LaunchPad Build System
Now have an App Store (Ubuntu Software Center) to increase delivery pipeline.
Jane presented some interesting concept, even if she doesn’t have the same impact as Marc S. when speaking of Ubuntu 😉

Ted T’so (Google) on FileSystems in LInux
2.6.35 == 70 different FS.
However FS are hard to deal with.
Concentrating on the different workloads (embedded, desktop, servers, DB, HPC, HAC, CFS, and mythical general purpose FS) and storage types (HDD, Raid, Flash – MTD, SSD, PCI-e attached).
Distributed Cluster FS: ceph, or ext4 in no-journal mode
Workload making FS evolutions: Cloud and embedded (compression, large flash ubifs).
Limits in HDD techno evolutions (last from 2005 perpendicular recording).
New technos:
Shingled drives: overlaping of tracks (not reliable yet, and restrictions in tracks order) = cheaper tapes !
PCI-e attached flash: 100kIOPS => 1MIOPS
Phase Change Memory: 2x slower and 2x power consumption as DRAM (in Labs): Universal memory ? Then no more FS !!
SMP scalability (32 cores in a die)
Still 10 years of interesting evolutions !
As usual Ted made a very good presentation gathering history anecdotes and vision of the future.

Lunch was in a nearby restaurant with a specialty of buffet. Eated with Evaldo Gardenali, who was very helpful during all my stay there.

Bruno Cornec (HP) on Continuous packaging with
Between 80/90 people attended. Well received + questions + Fedora contact + contribution proposals.
Presentation available at

Helio de Chissini de Castro (Collabora) on Linux and Mobile
(In portuguese ! so was a bit hard to follow :-))
Positioning Meego vs Android, Blackberry, Symbian, … and showing the openess of the platform, portability across platforms of apps, Usage of Qt (highly portable and LGPL), C++ and other bindings (python)
Easier for C developers with QtCreator and Qt Quick App
Made an impressive demo of QtCreator, including the demo of a game launched without any compilation of code, just using js + qml.
Enjoyable presentation, even for non portuguese speaking people !

Vinod Kutty (CME group) on Migrating to Linux and Open Source
Mission critical with Linux. Insisted on serial line, ssh, service processor support. Operations from CLI, at OS level even for HW related ops (FW upgrade, queries). Would like a std (not smash) for service processors. Do not use IPMI as unreliable.

Glauber Costa (Red Hat) on The KVM compendium
(In portuguese ! so was again a bit hard to follow :-))
HIstory, features of KVM.
Only SpecVirt published is KVM (sc2010) – 48 wihtout tuning, 54 + hugepage, 60 + SR-IOV, 72 + node binding

Thomas Gleixner (Linutronic) on It’s really time for real-time
History of real time linux, with Linus quotes.
2 approaches: Linux as idle thread of nano/micro kernel or Linux with implicit RT properties.
2004 preempt RT started by Ingo Molnar (in kernel RT approach + std POSIX)
He explained problems around RT in LInux (interrupt handlers in thread, sleeping spinlocks, break per cpu assumptions, memory alloc)
Working on RT patches helps improving a lot lock bugs.
Results: latency worst case is < 50µs at a price on throughput and perf (disk I/O, networking) (5-25%)
Ikea machines are driven by Linux RT
Extremely interesting presentation, which render the topic cristal clear even for people with no particular RT background.

The day finished with an extemely nice diner at with Thomas Gleixner, Christoph Hellwig, … among others and some kernel related discussions which could allow me to be updated of the latest news.

Which Mandriva is in trouble ?


The cooker community is hot these days. A lot of Mandriva employees have announced their resignation from the Mandriva company. This is occuring as following to the death of Edge-IT (subsidary of the Mandriva firm) which was employing lots of employees working around the core of the Mandriva distribution.

It seems that Wallix is bringing financial support to Mandriva in order to save it. Well what does save mean here ? It seems the interest of Wallix is in Pulse and MDS. Well that’s not the real technical crown of Mandriva ! That plus Linux Rescue Server (competitor of MondoRescue) are more classical commercial products offering than Open Source projects.As well as Wallix products. As for the mentioned expertise in Linux, it’s probably too late as most of that is already gone, or will soon.

So it seems to me after looking at all these recent events that the orientation that will be taken is to favour the activity of software selling to the detriment of the Open Source activities. Anyway, without Olivier, Anne, Fred, Nicolas, our brasilian friends of cooker, and all the people who have recently left, I have no hope that the new Mandriva firm will be interested in maintaining a distribution anymore when so many people are leaving. Maybe some of their tools at the limit. But don’t hold your breathe here 😦

So the Mandriva firm will soon become much less interesting to me: no more friends working there, no Open Source dedication, Commercial SW dev centric. The company will probably survive, at least a bit. But what about the other Mandriva, the most interesting in fact, the distribution ?

Well, without all core contributors that were payed by the firm to develop it, it may well disappear. And that’s more of a concern to me as I have at least 10 computers, critical to both my personal and professional activity running it. It may well become an itch to scratch.

I think there are 2 scenarios there: the community is strong enough to reorganize itself, find new hosting for developing the distro, enough contributors to maintain packages, and continue to develop the real value add of Mandriva, the distro: urpmi, msec, auto-inst, draktools, KDE integration, PLF, … all what makes this distrubtion speial to its users. Is it really possible. Well I think I could give a bit more of my time to maintain some more packages and help at my level ontributing to improve it. It would also place it at a similar level to Debian, a pure open source distro, used and developed by its community. Why not, but again if ex-Mandriva firm employee do not have time to contribute anymore, big losses have to be expexted from their departure, and correct replacement will be long and hard to have. Also what about the innovation on the distro then.

The other and sader scenario is that the new mandriva doesn’t help the community to reform (they host everything today), thus discouraging the good willness of current contributors, making them move to another distro of choice for their activities. I for one, clearly will look at latest fedora and debian version to see which one is the most appealing to me, and which community I may join (my past experience with these 2 doesn’t make that move a very happy one to me, feedbacks welcome here).

Maybe there is also a mid solution: people interested by the above mentioned specific Mandriva tools adapt them to provide them on Fedora, OpenSuSE, … and thus make these distro lok more Mandriva friendly than today. I for sure will look closely at what happens in the coming days, and especialy around the 17th of September when the AG will be hold.

At least we have all these possibilities because the founders of Mandriva had the wisdom to put all their devs under the GPL. Thus ex-employees can continue to work on their tools if they want, if their new employer find it useful for their activity. Or others can take over. Without that, we would just cry and move right away.

I don’t worry too much about ex-Mandriva employees. Their talent and proof of experience around what they did for the Mandriva distro will serve as the best resume to find another place somewhere, and i’m ready to support them in their research where I can, if it’s useful.

Mistakes were made in the past around the Mandriva firm management. However its communiy and open source devs are just among the greatest I ever met in FLOSS. Let’s hope that this community (booth contributors and ex-employees) will find a way to persue its quest.

Emissions de France 3 sur Jordi Savall


Juste une petite note pour vous inciter à aller découvrir, pou ceux qui ne le connaîtraient pas déjà, la vision du maître catalan Jordi Savall, au travers d’une série de vidéo que lui a consacré France 3 sur

Cela me fait encore plus envie de le revoir en concert, surtout avec la Capella Reiale, car depuis qu’il est passé à la MC2 de Grenoble, je n’ai pas eu cette chance. Peut-être à Lyon en Novembre ?