Friday, April 29, 2011

Why you should not be afraid to mingle with the openSUSE Project

I see many people coming to the openSUSE project but only a few of them (the new people) actually participate in the mailing list talks and on IRC channels talks.
I kept asking myself why? Why is this happening? Is there something wrong or what?
Recently I spotted a new openSUSE ambassador that was too 'tight' when we were talking about community matters and I took the opportunity to open a conversation with him about all of the above and what I got from that is that people are often don't say their opinion because they fear of saying something wrong, also they fear on saying their different opinion when they disagree with an older community member and other similar situations.
come play with us

If you are one of those guys and you have similar fears FORGET THEM.
Community needs you to have a different opinion.
Community needs you to speak up.
Don't be afraid to expose yourself, you are among friends here.
This is free software baby, you cannot actually be wrong. Thinking differently is what started Free Software after all.
Saying out  what you think is what makes openSUSE Project and community great.
Disagree with ANYONE if you think you have a point.
Do not leave other people guide you to places you don't want to go.
There are no Rockstars in our community.
Together we are stronger

If I haven't convinced you yet, I failed.
Read also one the post that made me mingle with the community here by Henne Vogelsang


Kostas 'Warlordfff' Koudaras

Thursday, April 28, 2011

openSUSE happy to welcome 16 GSOC students!

April 28th, 2011 by News Team

We’ve got excellent news! We’ve received many excellent submissions for our Google Summer of Code application and Google has given us 16 slots. This means that 16 eager students have been selected and will start working with their mentors on an awesome openSUSE project!
According to the GSOC timeline the students will now start with the Community Bonding period in which they have time to set up their development stuff, get acquainted with their mentors and get to know the openSUSE community. This means we’ll see those students on our communication channels, be it IRC, forums or mailing lists! Give them a warm welcome!
In a little over three weeks, the coding will start. I’m sure you’re all excited to find out what projects these students will be working on! Well, we were too, so we’ve compiled a nice list of the accepted proposals and asked a few students a quick quote on IRC!


A project which will probably draw much praise is ‘SAX3′ which indeed, as the name suggests, aims to write a successor for the popular SAX tool. Manu Gupta, an Indian openSUSE contributor who has been around as openSUSE WIKI and marketing contributor will be mentored by Michal Hrusecky. Manu was jumping with joy following the “you’ve been accepted into GSOC” email on Monday, happy to have a chance to bring back
“one thing old openSUSE users were missing :)”
While Manu has been around openSUSE and might not have to introduce himself over the coming 3 weeks, he is still extremely happy with this opportunity. Promoting openSUSE and Free Software in general is not easy in India and having had the opportunity to work for an international community sponsored by such a well-known entity as Google will surely help him convince others of the value of Free Software!


Christos “mpounta” Bountalis is a fresh Greek contributor from Salamis, an island near Athens. On the obvious question what Salamis has to do with the famous meat product he answered that they just sound similar… He got involved with openSUSE because he
“found many helpful and fun people, and that made me wanna be involved with openSUSE specifically”
So he found a cool GSOC idea on the wiki and sent in a proposal.
by cpt<HUN> on flickr
Christos wants to develop what he has temporarily named “fillup-ng”. In his own words:
“Fillup is a tool for merging sysconfig files which is widely used in openSUSE. fillup-ng, the tool that i will write will offer similar functionality with new features like support for other configuration files like xml, .ini maybe etc. fillup-ng will be implemented following a modular architecture that will support plugins and will make the process of maintaining and further improving the application a lot easier for everyone”
. For end users, fillup is sometimes useful to merge configuration files but mostly it is a tool ‘under the hood’ making the life of openSUSE developers easier.
And as our former board member Pascal “Yaloki” Bleser commented,
“it has to merge existing settings with your changes or defaults that come from the package, etc… hence not necessarily as trivial as it might sound :)”

OBS Plasmoid

We have to give a big Kudos! to Saurabh Sood. His GSOC project did not make it in the 16 slots but we heard from his mentor Will “Bille” Stephenson that he has decided to do it anyway! According to Bille:
“the preparatory work he has done in learning about javascript Plasmoids and OBS has inspired him to do the project voluntarily”


But those are just a few of the projects. You can find a list on the Google Summer of Code site here but we’ll include a short overview below.

Create a testsuite for btrfs features

Aditya wants to extend the XFS testsuite to test btrfs-specific functions like snapshot creation/deletion, balancing and relocation.

PackageKit backend and AppStream integration for Software Center

Alex Eftimie will be part of the AppStream initiative, porting Ubuntu’s Software Center to PackageKit and integrating OCS based metadata to provide a GNOME based software installer for openSUSE.

Heroku like solution for SUSE Studio

Bjørn Arild Mæland wants to work on the Dister command line tool. He aims to add support for Rack (Ruby) and WSGI (Python) compliant web frameworks. The goal is to improve the user experience so people and make for example the use of direct Amazon EC2 deployment easy.

openSUSE Build Service (OBS) for Android

Justine Leng wants to improve and add to the interface, not only making the Android OBS interface more powerful but also more stable by writing a test suite.
by [mementosis] on flickr

new python obs library (osc code cleanup)

Marcus Hüwe will cleanup the osc (command line tool for OBS) code and refactor it into a new python OBS library and make sure osc uses it.

SUSE bug reporter

Mihnea Dobrescu-Balaur aims to write a SUSE bug reporter to help users submit bugreports more easily while at the same time ensuring better quality.

Separating and Porting YUI library to other operating systems (Linux Based)

N.B.Prashanth wants to separate the YUI library from YaST. In YaST, YUI is responsible for allowing to have separate GUI frontends for one backend code. YUI supports GTK, Qt as well as ncurses but currently only works on (open)SUSE due to its dependency on YaST. Having a separated YUI will allow other projects to use it to write toolkit-independent applications.

Add ext4 snapshots support to snapper

Piyush will add Ext4 support to Snapper, the btrfs snapshot management tool in openSUSE.

Command line client for Suse Studio Abstract

Ratan aims to develop a command-line tool to build appliances.

ICC Device Profile Repository

Sebastian Oliva will create a a color database to allow clients to request or submit color profiles for color managed devices. Color profiles are critical to ensure accurate color reproduction on print and screen content.

Creating a browser-based user interface test-suite

Stoyan Dimkov will design and implement an automated browser-based test-suite for the web interface of OpenSUSE Build Service.

Porting Wubi to OpenSUSE

weijie yang wants to simplify OpenSUSE’s installation for new users. He will do this by taking Ubuntu’s Wubi tool and porting it to openSUSE.
gsoc image


Yes, it is an impressive list of projects. While usually not all GSOC projects succeed, these proposals were pretty solid and we have high expectations of the students. Of course, it will depend not only on them. Mentors will need to be available and for the rest of us – we also need to help out! Not only by being welcoming, giving advice and answering their questions but also by keeping them engaged and asking questions, showing interest in what is going on!
We wish the Google Summer of Code students as well as anyone else who’s using this opportunity to get involved with Free Software the very, very best the coming 4 months!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

openSUSE Tumbleweed status for the week of April 22, 2011

Here's a short note as to the status of some recent activity in the
openSUSE:Tumbleweed repo:

- new kernel updates tracking the upstream stable 2.6.38 releases.
- lxde (and its sub-packages) was added
- calibre was added
- other smaller packages were added
- KDE update seems stable and working.  It's in the
  openSUSE:Tumbleweed:KDE repo if anyone wants to test it out now.  I'll
  be working next few weeks to merge this into the main
  openSUSE:Tumbleweed repo as my bandwidth allows.
- There is a GNOME 3.0 Tumbleweed repo at openSUSE:Tumbleweed:GNOME.
  It's properly building right now, but the same caveats remain for the
  main GNOME 3.0 repo (i.e. network manager issues with KDE, and other
  minor stuff), so I can't merge it to the main openSUSE:Tumbleweed repo
  just yet.  I'll wait for these changes to settle down, but if you
  want, feel free to try out the repo for your GNOME 3.0 systems running
  Tumbleweed.  I'll keep it up to date as the changes merge into the
  main GNOME 3.0 repo.
- artwork questions were raised with one proposed logo already sent in.
  More to come in this area hopefully soon.
- There were a few "version downgrades" that happened as the upstream
  project release number was changed to reflect the basesystem release
  number correctly.  This will probably continue to happen as this
  change is propagated throughout the openSUSE build system to fix up
  these errors by the various developers.  You can safely ignore them
  when they happen.

As always, if anyone knows of any packages they wish to see added to
Tumbleweed, please let me know.


greg k-h


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

GSoC - DOs and DON'Ts

Soon we'll all hear the news on the students accepted to Google Summer of Code. I'm excited and I'm sure so are a lot of students!

Once the news is in, it is time to start getting to know your mentor, getting your development environment up and starting to code. To help students, mentors and admins, let me echo a post by Lydia Pintscher to Planet openSUSE pointing to three blogs about DOs and DON'Ts she wrote with two other experienced GSoC mentors:

Donnie Berkholz from and Gentoo, Kevin Smith from XMPP and I have written a series of blog posts for Google’s Open Source blog about the dos and don’ts of Google Summer of Code. Check them out. They have useful tips no matter your role in GSoC. There is a post for students, admins and mentors.

I think I can summarize many of the tips for students as: take a GSoC project serious, it a real job! There is a serious commitment on the side of the organization (mentoring!) as well as the side of Google (payment!). And there is a lot in it for you, not just the money but also the learning opportunity. And a successful GSoC looks good on your resume as well!


Don't underestimate the value of GSoC and work in a FOSS community in general on your resume. As you know, all employers want 18 year old employees with 20 years experience. So having done some work in a FOSS community counts!

And as Boudewijn said in the first comment on the tips for students, taking your summer job for Google & your project serious also means you don't disappear at the end of the summer. It looks BAD to an employer as it signals little commitment to what you do. Especially if you have delivered "almost-ready code" which you never finish. You're basically saying that you are not very reliable!


Don't think potential employers won't see your GSoC work. Most, and especially the better employers, will do a search on your name and have a good look at the results. It is very likely that, once you've finished your GSoC, googling your name finds your project in the top-3 results. Moreover, if you hang around and keep doing some work, you'll learn more, build up an even more valuable resume and you'll more likely to be able to give your mentor up as a reference to a future employer.


There's no guarantee, but maybe your GSoC one day leads to a job at a Free Software company. And a job in a Free Software company is more fun, really. You often get not only more pay (frankly not that important once you make enough to live OK) but also more responsibility and respect. Even if you get a job which isn't Free Software related, if you have the experience of working in a community, you will have a better position in your first job. You'll know better how to interact with people. How to write readable, maintainable code. When to ask questions. Who to ask. Such skills are useful so you're a more valuable employee - one who gets more choice, freedom and responsibility!

Taking your GSoC serious also means more fun on a personal level. At least I'd argue that having your code finished, shipped to a few million users and having your name on it as developer or maintainer is not just cool on your resume but pretty awesome in general!

Even without Google

Last but not least, as Boudewijn blogged, GSoC is not the only way to get most of the benefits of becoming part of a Free Software community! Even if your GSoC project was not accepted, you can ask if you can do it anyway. Mentors often have no problem mentoring you without a GSoC and while you don't get the money, meaning you'll probably have to find another summer job, you'll still get to code, learn & become part of the team.


So. Take your GSoC project serious. It means more fun and better results. Both for yourself now as well as for your future!

Have fun!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Payback is a bitch

Setting priorities is really important to our existence. One of the mistakes many people do, myself among them, is to set stuff above our-self's and personal health. Most times we suppose that our mind and body forgets and forgives but this is just a shitty illusion. Payback is a bitch and this week I got it all in my face.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gnome3: Quick adding Repositories to openSUSE 11.4

Just moved to Gnome3?
Liked it?
Already an openSUSE user?
Want repositories for it?
Start a terminal and type:

  1. zypper ar GNOME-3
  2. zypper refresh
  3. zypper dup    
Enjoy your new Graphical User Interface.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cracking under pressure

Every now and then you pressure yourself to finish various things you started.If Those days are not combined  by waking up in good mood, there are simply one of those days in your life that sucked.
Today I had one of those days.
Today I am sick and tired of sick and tired.
Today I dislike the world.
Today only a few things can make me happy.
Today grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hard Rock and Free Software: part one

Some days ago I was reading again a book about Terminal command line and at some point I felt like listening to music and especially some good old 80's Rock so I picked one of my favorite play-lists and BANG, Skid Row Poetry right in to my face...

Since I was born they couldn't hold me down
Another misfit kid, another burned-out town

Never played by the rules I never really cared
My nasty reputation takes me everywhere

I look and see it's not only me
So many others have stood where I stand
We are the young so raise your hands

They call us problem child
We spend our lives on trial
We walk an endless mile
We are the youth gone wild
We stand and we won't fall
We're the one and one for all
The writing's on the wall
We are the youth gone wild

So listening to those lyrics of 'Youth Gone Wild'  I started thinking what are the similarities when I was starting my life as a Rocker and my life as a Free Software supporter. I found many similarities that I hadn't noticed until that day. I was shocked to be honest, so I thought why not blog about it? And here we are, as always continue reading at your own risk ;-)

1) Family affairs 

Well when I was a young boy and started to listen to rock my father wanted to send me to an exorcist because he thought I was possessed, to be honest I felt possessed my self with all that energy that music had that I never experienced before.

When I grew up (?!?) and discovered Free Software, my father though I was possessed for a second time in my life since he suddenly saw me standing in front of a screen reading for hours, standing still, I also felt a bit strange since the power of knowledge of that new stuff filled me with energy once again.

2)Surrounding Community

Back then, when I started listening to Rock and I went to my friends with a tape filled with Aerosmith, Twisted Sister, Deep purple and Scorpions they thought I was becoming something else that they don't like so we split and I was alone until I found some other Rockers and started crush in to places where we spent all of our time listening to Rock, some of us tried to learn to play guitar and drums. We were part of a community.

When I started using Free Software and I tried to talk to my friends about it and shared them some live Cd's I had made for them, they said that I was loosing my mind, so I was alone until I found others like me and a LUG where we crushed all of our free time and running various Linux distro's, some of us tried to learn Python, Java and Pearl. We were part of a community.

3)Freedom of doing whatever you want, freedom to fail.

As Rockers we started playing guitars and drums and we didn't have to be good, we didn't wanted to be professionals, we just cared to play. We organized gigs and we were drinking beers. Many times we were having gigs with just our friends, some times even without them, we are talking about epic fails but we didn't actually care because we did what we wanted just because we liked the whole situation, we didn't want to make money out of it, we did it for ourselves and that is why we had great fun with it.( Although we all dreamed at least once to become RockStars)

As Free Software users we started writing code(not me :-p ) testing various distributions and also building custom distributions based on other distributions or playing with various GUI's, we don't care if what we are making actually works most of the times and we enjoy failing, since we liked the road better than the actual destination. We tried to convince people test what we do. Sometimes some of our friends did that,sometimes not even our friends accepted to try it. We didn't actually get bothered by it(at least for a long time). We didn't care about making money out of it, we had our jobs. We did it(and still do it) for ourselves and that is why we have great fun with it.(Although we all dreamed ourselves at least once as the next Linus Torvalds).

That's it for now. Part one ends here.

Do what you Love
Love what you do
Love thy guitar as you Love thy desktop
Because those will guide you to the path of ...

Kostas Koudaras