Posts Tagged ‘UEFI’

MondoRescue 3.3.0 on its way

2016/12/31

Well, it’s time for gifts no ? So I passed some days last week to go back to various problems reported, in order to solve them.

The most tricky was mindi-busybox not able to compile on recent distros such as Ubuntu 16 or Fedora 24 (glibc changes in them made that incompatibility). I made tries with busybox 1.25 and it turned out that it seems pretty compatible with 1.21 we were using, but working on these latest distros and working easily on the old distros I want to support as well (I went back to RHEL4 with this patch)

I’ve been able to do backup / restore cycles with both CentOS 6 and 7 without issues with the latest version, after having fixed a lot of small more or less blocking problems.

Now I still have stuff I’d like to fix before release:

For Debian:

In short it’s UEFI support with Debian. I should have worked on that since a long time, but last months were very loaded, both at work and at home. And I’ve not done any progress with it for now.

For SLES:

That will probably wait till 3.3.1

and the most important for me (and some customers), more generic:

I’ll start with this one after Christmas.

And also:

But I have a MondoRescue contributor developing code for that !! That’s really great !

And also two improvements that would make everybody’s life easier:

So, yes, some work on my plate for the new year 2017. But I took also some time off this week to recharge, and so I’d be able to do that, my work back next week, and the rest (concerts planned) with lots of energy !!

Let me take that opportunity to wish to all of you a very good new year 2017, that peace may gain more than loose, that FLOSS may gain more than loose, and that we’ll be actors in this.

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Progresses with MondoRescue 3.2.2

2016/03/22

Of course I’m late. No surprise here 😦 I think the only day I’m not will be for my death 😉

So 3.2.1 was published the 31st of August 2015.
Version 3.2.2 was supposed to be a maintenance version of that one and was thus planned to be published mid October 2015. However, there were requests from various users to provide a version supporting UEFI boot mode on ProLiant servers. That enhancement request alone accounts for most of the delay encountered while developing this version as it turned out to be way more impacting than I thought.

So some bugs encountered on previous versions have been solved:

However with regards to the single enhancement request in that version to add UEFI support, many tickets were made:

The last one, is the most tricky to solve.
MondoRescue uses since day one a single bootloader, coming from the syslinux project, to manage all boot media it generate :
– isolinux for bootable CD/DVD and tapes
– syslinux for bootable USB devices
– pxelinux for bootable network setup.

This has the advantage of homogeneity and simplifies what the mindi tool has to generate in order to implement that support.

However, when using syslinux.efi to provide a bootable media on HPE ProLiant servers setup in UEFI boot mode, we obtain red screen showing a boot time crash.

Despite many attempts first with various options, then with the help of the syslinux community back in October 2015 (Cf: http://www.syslinux.org/archives/2015-October/024469.html and
the related thread) using beta versions of syslinux or the latest ProLiant Firmware, I never succeeded in obtaining a UEFI bootable syslinux based media 😦

I’ve had contacts in December 2015 with the ProLiant Firmware engineering team, but we didn’t had yet a joint work on this issue. My plan would be to first diagnose precisely the origin of that error with this team, and then depending on the results to invite them around the table with the syslinux developers during potentially an upcoming LinuxCon NA (August 2016) to solve it for good.

As all that means we won’t have a final solution with syslinux.efi before end of summer 2016 at the earliest. Therefore, I’ve worked on adding support for other boot
loaders in MondoRescue.

Grub 0.99 support was added in August 2015 before the publication of 3.2.1 and we had success testing a full backup/recovery cycle on RHEL 6, while some other users encountered issues with that. Since November 2015, that should was considered fairly stable, and thus was made the default for RHEL 6 only.

Grub 2.0x support was added very recently (the 22nd of February 2016) with other modifications required to better support correctly mutiple boot loaders on multiple backup media (consolidation of code split into different functions in mindi). This was now tested successfully yesterday and I was able to make a full cycle with mindi on a physical server with RHEL 7. The restore now even present the MondoRescue menu to choose from.

However, while mindi now seems to be working fine for this configuration, this is still not the case for mondoarchive. I’ve started to unify the UEFI support between the 2 tools, and hopefully this week I should see positive results leading to a test version published for the MondoRescue community to try RSN ! And with your retunrs, I should be able to publish that long awaited version rapidly after around start of April probably.

I understand it took much more time than expected initially, and I’ve been myself giving wrong estimates for the delivery of the new version many times. Let’s hope this time I’ll be more accurate.
Hope this explains more the ground reasons why it was so, and the attempt to mitigate the real problem we have with syslinux on UEFI boot mode that may not be solved soon.

Everything you want to learn about UEFI will be discussed at LinuxCon EMEA

2015/09/07

During the upcoming LinuxCon Event HP’s VP and Fellow Dong Wei, Chief Executive of the UEFI Forum will host a UEFI mini-Summit the 7th of October (in Dublin) from 9:00AM to 6:00PM. This is free to attend and will cover “how to” guidance, implementation options, and firmware tools and resources available for successful ARM and x86 platform integration using the UEFI ecosystem. Details are available at http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/linuxcon-europe/extend-the-experience/co-located-events

Feel free to come for this technical deep dive with experts from HP, Insyde, Intel which will help with your transformation to adopt that key HP ProLiant Gen9 technology.

Contact myself if you want to organize specific additional sessions (especially with HP customers) around UEFI or Redfish with Dong Wei. And feel free to drop me a mail if you’re around and want to talk of these topics, Linux on ProLiant, MondoRescue, or whatever you would find interesting to discuss with me while I’m attending the event.

I hope to meet you there.

Mondoescue 3.2.1 is now available … with effort and pain !

2015/08/31

Believe it or not, it has been one of the most challenging version to produce ! And one which was really awaited by lots of people.

First all those of you who had problems restoring big files with 3.2.0 which had issues with that. Now that’s solved (was already with the beta previously).

Then those of you who had a RHEL 5 system. 3.2.0 wasn’t working, and 3.2.1 should be much better. Similarly for the people using RHEL 7. This is the real first version working for RHEL 7 available of MondoRescue. I’ve made most of my tests with a RHEL 7 VM in order to track all the errors which were remaining for that env (also some smaller but annoying ones). The root cause is that I had a customer wanting to move to that version for RHEL 7, and I wanted them to be happy with the result. Doesn’t mean they won’t encounter issues, despite what I did, but I’m much more comfortable to handle the cases in their support contract (Yes this is a paying customer).

And finally those of you who were trying to have a working environment for a UEFI based machine with RHEL 6. UEFI wasn’t working at all with 3.2.0 (and previous versions) even if EFI was working on Itanium systems. So this time I used a real system to make again lots of different tests, and solving again lots of issues linked to the support of UEFI, and now I’m happy with the result. The media made is recognized by the UEFI shell or the HP ProLiant guided boot menu. And a full backup / restore works also on it. So that other customer (an HP one, but not a paying one from a MondoRescue perspective… yet) should as well be happy and be able to use MondoRescue to perform its clones and installs correctly.

Could it be better ? Of course. RHEL 7 + UEFI are not yet friends. That will be for 3.2.2, as I want to keep my job ;-). Few bugs in trac have been addressed during these last 8 months, sorry for that. But a lot not mentioned there have been solved, and that was most of the work. And a lot of work has been put (commit hours are real !) into solving the customers needs and deliver that version on time. That’s probably why I hate time based releases, as it forces you to deliver (which is always good), but not with the serenity which should be part of an OpenSource development. Of course, that’s my fault ! I should have anticipated these requests (UEFI and RHEL 7 are there since a long time). But hey, this is still not my day job at HP. So I can only do my best as time permits. And I have a lot of other hobbies that I’ll be back to now so they can also know some progress. That’s also why I do not make more regular releases. But patches are always welcome.

Anyway, pain is over, a new version is here. Test it, report feedback, try to not break it too much, and remember to do regular backups whatever the tools you use.

Download at

Redfish 1.0 is now out and soon used by our projects

2015/08/20

Recently the DMTF announced that the Redfish standard had reached version 1.0, the first usable for production.

If you don’t know Redfish yet, and don’t want to read the full spec, I can summarize it very roughly as a cross-manufacturer RESTful API to configure Hardware systems and recover info from them. Pretty cool in fact as this was a missing brick for a full Open Source based multi-platform Software Defined Infrasctrucute.

Now remains for us to update our python-redfish with it, and start supporting more features now it’s stable. That the first step will allow Ironic, the bare metal component of OpenStack, to have Redfish support, which is IMHO a very highly desirable feature. Not for Liberty, hopefully the spec will be ready for M and code sufficiently developed to allow us to win a slot in the Summit !

Then it will also allow us to advance on the other project we’d like to promote: Alexandria, which is a clever (of course, I’m part of the design team ;-)) way to interface CMDBs (well the one who are themselves clever enough to have a parametrized data model such as iTop) and Hardware information providers such as Redfish.

Imagine that you rack a new Refish compliant server (HP ProLiant Gen9 are among the first to provide already a subset of it), cable power and management board, integrate some info on that machine in your CMDB (iLO credntial and IP address e.g.), and ask through Alexandria that the rest is filled by Redfish calls. And kept updated as time passes. Well, that’s exactly what we try to achieve, as this is one of the need we have to maintain our Solution Center CMDB up to date as easily as possible.

Lots of good ideas, but not enough code to show for now. Hopefully, we should be able to have an Alexandria demo with somple drivers ready for the upcoming OpenStack Summit… and be able to travel to exchange our views with other OpenStacker around all this.

Time to meet again at HP ExpertOne Technology & Solutions Summit !

2015/06/12

For those of you working for an HP value added reseller (VAR) and attending the HP ExpertOne Technology & Solutions Summit in Dublin from the 16thth to the 19th of June, feel free to meet during one of the session I’ll (co-)deliver:

  • UEFI: what, why, when, how and the rest Breakout 49 – Tuesday 16th of June 2015 – 5:45PM-6:35PM
  • HP Helion OpenStack in action – Breakout 175 – Wednesday 17th of June 2015 – 8:30AM-9:20AM
  • UEFI Hands-On Labs (François Donzé) – Lab 4 – Wednesday 17th of June 2015 – 11:00AM-12:50AM
  • HP ProLiant Gen9 value add on Linux (Hands-on Lab) – Lab 16 – Thursday 18th of June 2015 – 2:00PM-3:50PM
  • HP REST API for iLO Lab (François Donzé) – Lab 6 – Thursday 18th of June 2015 – 4:30PM-6:20PM
  • HP ProLiant Gen9 value add on Linux – Breakout 48 – Friday 19th of June 2015 – 12:00AM-12:50AM

And you should be able to meet the Geeks on Wednesday afternoon, myself included.

For those of you wondering why project-builder.org and MondoRescue versions are not published more regularly, that gives you a hint 😉 Even if I made some progresses recently I also need to document !

See you there to talk of these subjects or something else as you see fit. I’m around the whole week.

Time to Meet at HP ExpertOne Technology & Solutions Summit !

2015/01/21

For those of you working for an HP value added reseller (VAR) and attending the HP ExpertOne Technology & Solutions Summit on Barcelona from the 2nd to the 6th of February, feel free to meet during one of the session I’ll (co-)deliver:

  • UEFI: what, why, when, how and the rest Breakout 101 – Wed 2014-02-04 9:30-10:20 AM
  • HP Helion OpenStack in action – Breakout 124 – Wed 2014-02-04 2:00-2:50PM
  • HP ProLiant Gen9 value add on Linux – Breakout 99 – Thu 2014-02-05 9:30-10:20 AM
  • HP ProLiant Gen9 value add on Linux (Hands-on Lab) – Lab 16 – Thu 2014-02-05 2:00-3:50 PM
  • UEFI Hands-On Labs – Lab 19 – Thu 2014-02-05 4:30-6:20 PM
  • Running Enterprise Linux distributions on HP ProLiant Gen9 – Breakout 100 – Fri 2014-02-06 9:30-10:20 AM

And you should be able to meet the Geeks on Wednesday afternoon, myself included.

For those of you wondering why project-builder.org and MondoRescue versions are not published more regularly, that gives you a hint 😉 Not speaking of the next event in March, TES, where I’m part of the Event team this time.

See you there to talk of these subjects or something else as you see fit. I’m around the whole week.

Last day at LinuxCon NA 2014

2014/08/27

Today the keynotes were dedicated to Openness and Hardware. The first was from a company, Makerbot, which spoke a lot about Openness, but that I saw more as trying to sell their 3D printers, rather then anything else 😦 I even learned later from an attendee that they even tend to block innovation with their patents ! So maybe the LinuxFoundation should take care of not “giving” opportunity to such actors to speak to an Open Source audience if their state of mind is nearer from the closed source business. Having a community sharing 3D design doesn’t sound sufficient to me.

Jonathan Kuniholm

The second keynote was on the topic that even is 3D printing is such a hype at the moment, disallowed people still have a hard time finding useful prothesis, modern ones, les expensive ones, or building their own. I really encourage you to listen to Jonathan Kuniholm (the keynote doesn’t seem to be online, but TED provides one very similar). This was puzzling for me to see how few technology is helping people like him 😦 So I think that if you have time, you should look at helping his initiative at openprosthetics.org/ rather than inventing yet another piece of software just because the existing one doesn’t happen to please you.

IBM Keynote

Finally we had the “usual” IBM keynote, showing how Linux on Power was great, and presenting the foundation built around it. But if you look at uses cases, you see that most of them are academics, where probably the hardware was given so it weakened the talk IMO. Of course, I’m working for a competitor, so I’m not completely neutral here. Anyway having a portable Linux is extremely important, but I think it will reveal its capabilities on x86 (well it has of course!) or ARM. It had on Itanium or Sparc or Power (Linux can enable them) but the problem is that market doesn’t want such high-end platforms anymore, as they were representing a closed approach even if that has changed since. Openness is what allows mass distribution today (in processors as those mentionned, or software as Android and hopefully Linux on the desktop ;-))

UEFI Summit

After the break, I passed my day in the UEFI mini-Summit. The goal was different from last year PlugFest during LinuxCon. Instead of targetting developers, the goal was to expain the technology to potential and existing Linux sysadmin or devops. And I think it went pretty well with regards to demystifying how UEFI works woith Linux, including SecureBoot and brought back the discussion at a technical level rather than an emotional one.

An introduction talk by Dong Wei, HP served as positioning the UEFI Forum, the various groups in it (with the inclusion of ACPI), the history of UEFI, current status, and helped put everybody at the same level.

Q&A session

After that we had a (always too short IMO) round table were the audience was given the possibility to ask questions to the panelists. And there were very tough questions asked around the usefulness of UEFI, the lockdown brough by SecureBoot, … and everytime clear and honets answers were given showing why UEFI is useful, why SecureBoot help increasing Linux security without restricting users possibilties and control over their platform. All in all a lot of myths were just addressed during that Q&A session which was really interactive.

After that, we had more formal presentations:

  • UEFI Secure Boot – Strengthening the Chain of Trust – Jeff Bobzin, Insyde Software & Kevin Lane, HP
    This session was mainly about how Secureboot is working from a technology perspective, and the various solutions existing with Linux and its boot loaders to use it, benefit from it as it really increase security by providing a chain of trust from firmware up to the kernel+intrd booted, with either standard UEFI keys or its own ones.
  • Jeff Bobzin & Kevin Lane

  • UEFI Test Tools for Linux Developers – Brian Richardson, Intel & Alex Hung, Canonical
    This session was on FWTS from Canonical which provides a UEFI firmware and ACPI test suite, used alot by manufacturers to check the conformity of their platform with the UEFI and ACPI specifications. Chipsec and LuvOS were also covered which provides other areas of test with regards to respectively security and an integrated Linux distribution calling all these tools and more, both developed by Intel.
  • Brian Richardson

  • Building ARM Servers with UEFI and ACPI – Dong Wei, HP & Roy Franz, Linaro
    This session was to give a status on UEFI support for ARM architecture, and was pretty interesting for me as I had no clue on where we are on this domain. And it seems they are catching up with Intel Architecture now and should be at parity very soon. ACPI is still less advanced, but will be there for ARM servers as requested by customers, whereas device tree will probably remain what will be used on nn server platforms.
  • Dong Wei

  • Self-signing the Linux Kernel (the hobbyist approach) – Zach Bobroff, AMI

    This last session was IMHO the best of the serie, because it was demo oriented (and I like demos !) and more over, it just worked !! The goal was to show how to register its own key used to sign its own kernel with SecureBoot, and rebooting a machine with and without key loaded to demonstrate the increased security brought by that mechanism. Was very clear and illustrative of what was described during the first session of the mini-Summit by Jeff and Kevin. Zach did an excellent job explaining each step and provided great details on how all that works, and finally showed to the audience that we shouldn’t be afraid of the feature, because we have the possibility with the shim bootloade to use our own keys without issue.
  • Zach's pres

You can listen to all these presentations at the UEFI web site. And I think it’s worth doing so for those who still have questions on the SecureBoot topic, as it will enlighten you and remove and barrier you may still see there.

UEFI Summit end

The event was then over, so it was time to benefit from my speaker gift, which was the possibility to use a boat and have a cruise around Chicago, which I did with Dong and it was a very good idea from the organizers to offer that gift. Hope the pictures will give ou a good idea of how we enjoyed it.

Meet at HP ExpertOne Technology & Solutions Summit Again !

2014/06/13

For those of you working for an HP value added reseller (VAR) and attending the HP ExpertOne Technology & Solutions Summit in (again) Barcelona from the 24th to the 27th of June, feel free to meet during one of the session I’ll (co-)deliver:

For those of you wondering why project-builder.org and MondoRescue versions are not published more regularly, that gives you a hint 😉

See you there to talk of these subjects or something else as you see fit. I’m around the whole week.

Soon back in the air and on the roads…

2014/04/17

There will be possibilities to meet with me in some exotic places (at least for me as I never travelled there before in May !

I’ll first be in Wien, Austria, early May but that’s to celebrate somewhere my 50th birthday (half a century as my kids like to call that ;-)) and during vacations so won’t talk something else than early music or rchitecture and pictures of the nice building over there !!

But after that, I’ll attend the UEFI plugfest in Seatlle again, and be in charge of managing the interface between Linux distributions and HP. So if you plan to attend, and want to test your Linux distribution on nice shiny UEFI hardware platforms, feel free to contact me so we can organize that meeting over there.

The week after that I’ll be in Japan to present again during a LinuxCon event ! I’m very lucky first to be retained as a presenter to talk another time about Mageia. And then to be sponsored by our VP & Deputy General Counsel, Cloud Computing and Open Source Eileen Evans who is leading HP’s Open Source Program Office and allowing me to attend.

So feel free to drop me a mail if you want to chat about any topic I can decently talk about such as Disaster Recovery and Imaging or Continuous Packaging and some other surely HP related !

See you there.