Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sneak Preview: The Fedora 8 Everything Spin

At this moment I'm finalizing some tests before I release the Fedora 8 Everything Spin. Although I don't think there's a valid use case for a CD version of this Everything Spin, I spun it anyway and once I saw the result (during testing), I could not in good conscience withhold a screen-shot; so here it is:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fedora Unity Spin Report

I love statistics so here's some numbers on the Fedora Unity Spins for Fedora 7 and 8:

Our Fedora 8 CD Set jigdo has been downloaded over 350 times, while our latest Re-Spin has been downloaded almost 300 times.

From the raw numbers I can conclude though that not everyone who downloads the .jigdo actually uses it and downloads the corresponding templates. What we see is that 300 downloads started for CD #1 (both architectures), which is obviously the only disc everyone needs to download. The issue might be that people don't know how to use it, I'm not sure. For our multi-ISO .jigdo files though we do not have a good GUI client at this moment, so I'm hoping pyjigdo improves in that aspect during the Fedora 9 development cycle.

Also, while 300 downloads have been made for CD #1, only 115 requests have been made for the other 4 to 5 discs in the set. This indicates almost 2/3 of all people that download CD ISO images want a single CD to install Fedora. As said before, the next thing is Single CD Installation Media (ideas are still welcome).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lessons Learned

From Fedora Unity's CD release for Fedora 8 we've learned the following lessons:
  1. Generate i386 templates first, then x86_64 templates
    Not doing so will cause i386 bits to be leeched from the x86_64 repositories for reasons related to how generating the templates and slices work, and is confusing to users.
  2. Do not generate the ISO templates against a loop-mounted DVD ISO, as files such as "TRANS.TBL" are in the loop-mounted tree but do not exist in the expanded tree that is available on the mirrors.
    The user will end up with missing files.
  3. Replace occurrences of "+" in the .jigdo file with "%2B" because otherwise "wget" (used by the jigdo client) will request the wrong file (resulting in a 404 and thus an incomplete ISO re-compilation).
Needless to say that with these errors the .jigdo files including the .template files will be regenerated and within the next hour everything should be OK.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

So what takes me 5 hours?

In my previous blog post, I mentioned that after 5 hours Fedora Unity releases CD sets. What makes us be so late? I had the bits, I could have started earlier... But I didn't.

Then when I finally did start composing the CD media, it seemed one would need disc 1 though 5 (!) to perform a default install. That couldn't be right, could it?

Figuring out in what order to select groups during the package ordering stage, a commute home and a dinner later, it finally hit me. You gotta know though that it takes a couple of test installations to see if you fixed the problem or not. Each takes me about 30 minutes on my laptop...

Finally though, the work is done. Now, distributing bits from my internet connection at home isn't a funny hobby, but it's out there. Yes!

The point behind this whole exercise was not to respin the DVD into a CD set. Because we were going to distribute the product via Jigdo, I had made a goal out of having as much bits as possible distributed via the official Fedora Project mirrors. As you might know Revisor rebuilds the installer, and once those kernel images and installer images differ from what is on the Fedora Project Mirrors, you're looking at a 160 MB template just for one disc. Now though, the template for CD1 is approximately 20 MB, and the other discs are just a few KB.

CD Sets Released

Within 5 hours after the official release of Fedora 8 (the 8th wonder in the world), I'm glad to be able to announce that Fedora Unity has released the CD version of this wonder!

This time, instead of using a torrent with a few weak seeds we've decided to use the mirrormanager power and release via Jigdo. This could make a nice proof-of-concept for Fedora 9, too.

Even if you have DVD drives, you may want to launch a jigdo client and start downloading, just to see what happens. Let me know ;-)

Go to to start downloading it.

Coming up next: Single CD Installers

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ideas for Spins, anyone?

With Fedora 8 being released soon I was thinking about creating and releasing some more custom spins. Here's what I've come up with so far:
  1. Single CD installer
    Really small images that should just get you started on any machine. Right now, using @base and @core it comes down approximately 488 packages, ~530 MB in size. I haven't thought about what packages exactly should or should not end up on the media so if you have any ideas... Let me know!
  2. CD Sets of the Release Tree (as I did for F7)
    And release them via jigdo, just to prove a point.
  3. The Everything Spins (as I did for F7)
    CD and DVD sets of Everything in Fedora, again released via jigdo.
  4. Truely x86_64
    Media without the i?86 crap you are going to 'yum -y remove' after the installation.
I'm going to attempt to build some LiveCD/DVD Re-Spins also but as of yet I'm not sure how well they are going to end up.