Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fedora 8 Re-Spin Released


The Fedora Unity Project is proud to announce the release of new ISO Re-Spins (DVD and CD Sets) of Fedora 8. These Re-Spin ISOs are based on the officially released Fedora 8 installation media and include all updates released as of December 18th, 2007. The ISO images are available for i386 and x86_64 architectures via jigdo starting Sunday, December 23rd, 2007.

We have included CD Image sets for those in the Fedora community that do not have DVD drives or burners available.

With this particular Re-Spin, we address the following problems experienced by many community members:

- #372011, "depsolve hang in F7 to F8 upgrade"
We have incorporated the updates image made by Jeremy Katz (comment #11 in the bug), and we have verified that a full Fedora 7 installation upgrades to Fedora 8 without issues.

- #367731, "anaconda fails on Via VPSD motherboard"
On i586 hardware, the installation media wouldn't boot and thus renders itself unusable. We have backported the fix for this issue from anaconda development to the Fedora 8 stock anaconda, as anaconda is not updated during a release.

- #369611, "yum upgrade with selinux-policy-strict installed fails"
A dependency problem in selinux-policy-strict during upgrades is resolved in an updated selinux-policy-strict package, which is included in the Re-Spin

- #404601, "anaconda crashes on 'cdrom' line in kickstart"
Updates to pykickstart incorporated in the rebuilt installer resolve this issue.

These are some of the bugs brought to our attention, which you can do by sending a message to me directly, or other Fedora Unity team members in the #fedora-unity channel on IRC.

Fedora Unity has taken up the Re-Spin task to provide the community with the chance to install Fedora with recent updates already included. These updates might otherwise comprise more than 1.33GiB of downloads for a full install. This is a community project, for and by the community. You can contribute to the community by joining our test process.

A full list of bugs, packages and changelogs that have been updated in this Re-Spin can be reviewed on

If you are interested in helping with the testing or mirroring efforts, please contact the Fedora Unity team. Contact information is available at or the #fedora-unity channel on the Freenode IRC Network (

Go to to get the bits!

To report bugs in the Re-Spins please use

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Re-Spin 20071211 failed

I usually answer to those who ask if the Fedora Unity Re-Spin is to be released soon, that we are in the middle of our testing process and it might take some time before that process is over as our testers just like me are volunteers who do this in their own free time, and there's actually quite few of them. Not to mention that at any point during that process the Re-Spin might render unusable -we do not want to release crap only to find out too late it is actually crap and then start all over again.

Anyway, to all of you who were waiting on a Fedora Unity Re-Spin for Fedora 8, I can now tell you that we've canceled testing on 20071211 and that it is not going to be released. We have spun 20071218 as a next attempt, it's being distributed amongst our testers as we speak. This means that it will take at least another week before the Re-Spin is released, unless you speed up the process.

Although a Christmas release is nice and all that, to those of you that read this and are waiting (upgrades? i586? cdrom installation using kickstart? anyone?), I'd like you to ask yourself:

Should I step up, join the test-team and check off one of the tests in the testing matrix, or wait until the release and then do the exact same thing but without checking off one of the tests. Am I not doing the work already anyway, with or without this Re-Spin?

I believe someone out there does NFS installs on a daily basis. Can we tempt you to try our Re-Spin for a change and let us know how it's holding up? Anyone who does HTTP/FTP installs regularly? Same offer ;-)

Again, this Re-Spin will not hit the public until we've verified that there is no regression compared to stock F8. You can help us (and others) by doing what it is you normally do with Re-Spins or installation media, and telling us what it is you did... Think about it ;-)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Re-spinning Fedora

Here's a brief overview of what it takes to seriously Re-Spin Fedora. Fedora Unity has done so for a long time now, and not just for home use, but to distribute amongst a larger audience. The reasons we started and continue to do so are obvious, amongst others:

  • The number of updates available to any freshly installed system (from officially released media) increases over time and rises up to 2 GiB. We believe there is no reason why anyone shouldn't be able to have these updates on the installation media already, thus decreasing the amount of updates available immediately after installation. This is a matter of convenience, as well as bandwidth and data traffic; bandwidth and/or data traffic in some locations in the world isn't as cheap as you might think, and some of us do not even have internet -those usually get a Re-Spin via the FreeMedia program or get it from a friend.

    Another compelling 'update available' issue is this one special piece of software, the kernel. Given the latest kernel being installed on your system right-away, it saves you from having to reboot to run that latest kernel. Some of us (depending on the hardware you want to install on) need installation media built with the latest kernel just so that networking works, acpi and storage fixes or new hardware is recognized properly.

  • There will always be a number of bugs in the officially released installation media -as will there be in our Re-Spins, just (hopefully) less. That's just the way it is, bugs happen, it's the price you pay for moving forward as much as Fedora does. And that's a good thing. Without that you probably wouldn't even want Fedora in the first place. In case it prevents some users from installing or upgrading their systems, we feel we can make an effort with our Re-Spins to fix these bugs for these users.

  • While we make the effort of Re-Spinning Fedora, and distributing it properly (GPL compliance and all that), we hopefully prevent that hundreds or thousands of others also Re-Spin, each of them re-inventing the wheel when issues with Re-Spinning come up, back-porting fixes or tracking bugs being solved in packages, etc.
This and other things make what we do a very challenging and rewarding task. And we love it!

So, what does it take? What does it take to Re-Spin, and once you've done that, to release the spin to the general public?

First of all you gotta have hardware. We now have i386, x86_64 and PPC available, although we only release i386 and x86_64 this time. Second, you need some bandwidth to distribute whatever product comes out of the process -without bandwidth, distributing the product amongst people testing will become a large bottleneck at some point. Third, you need a couple of volunteers backing you up. Fedora Unity just so happens to have a couple of volunteers, I'm just one of those. These volunteers do what they can to help getting things done, and that isn't limited to Re-Spinning Fedora (at all), given the Fedora Unity mission statement. Some of us help distributing by donating disk space and bandwidth, others keep our servers running or help testing, tracking and resolving bugs, and help documenting stuff to help you getting other stuff done.

For this latest Re-Spin -which we are about to release unless a serious bug pops up in our testing process-, I'll tell you how it went down.

We started harvesting bugs related to installation procedures about 3 weeks ago, verifying that fixes applied would help solving the issue during install time. About two weeks ago, I started composing Re-Spins with fixes in anaconda being back-ported from development into F8 stock anaconda, and listed the bugs I was interested in solving with this particular Re-Spin attempt. I think I did a number of blog-posts calling for people that experienced those bugs and asked them to start helping in testing on whether these bugs had been resolved -some of you actually responded and confirmed bugs being fixed (Thanks to all of you!). I started with Re-Spin '20071204', which didn't solve anything, then composed '20071207', which had one bug solved, I did '20071209' -which didn't satisfy me either, only to come up with two sub-sequential Re-Spins versions '20071211', the latest of which is the version in our testing process now.

Mind that each of these Re-Spins takes about 4 hours maximum to compose, and each of them have some preparation time in investigating why a previous Re-Spin did not fix what it was supposed to fix, attempt fixing it and getting it into a Re-Spin. Basically, composing each Re-Spin takes about a day of investigating, composing (fairly unattended, just check progress every once in a while), preparing for distribution and actually distributing it. Then it takes another day for our testers to test if a certain issue had actually been fixed.

Now that our final version is in the testing process, namely '20071211', a couple of tests need to be run against it. This is our Fedora Unity Re-Spin Q&A sorta speak. We're talking about 22 tests for each architecture, so 44 tests in total as we do i386 and x86_64, each having to be verified by preferably two of our testers. You can imagine the burden on our testers, and the more testers we have for this stage of releasing a Re-Spin, the less time it takes to get all these tests done.

For a matrix keeping track of tests being performed and ACK'd by our testers, check the matrix by our Test team lead, Ben Williams. You can only imagine the amount of work these guys get done.

As I said, since December 11th 2007, our Re-Spin is in testing and we could use some more volunteers to join us, if only you are not running a particular test but join the test team and just use the Re-Spin for your daily system installations and give us the feedback.

Concerning this re-spin, a big thank you to:

  • Robert 'Bob' Jensen (BobJensen or EvilBob -testing the PPC images)
  • Ben Williams (Southern_Gentleman -testing, testing and testing some more)
  • Jonathan Steffan (daMaestro -keeping our websites and servers going, developing software that gets this stuff done)
  • Dana Hoffman Jr (Harley-D -testing, testing and testing some more)
  • Yves Desgagne (confirming the 'cdrom' installation source issue)
  • Keith G. Robertson-Turner (confirming the i586 bug #367731)
  • Stewart Adam (developing software that gets this stuff done)
  • ... and all others pointing me to bugs they need to be resolved with our next Re-Spin

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

i586 install/upgrade issue fixed, next issue please

The installation and/or upgrade issue with anaconda on i586 hardware has been confirmed fixed! (you can't imagine how happy that makes me ;p)

Keith G. Robertson-Turner, a community member that had some i586 hardware and wanted to upgrade to Fedora 8 took a chance trying to upgrade using our first attempt to fix the issue in a Re-Spin (20071207), which failed miserably. With 20071209 though I finally nailed the issue, as he has now confirmed he was able to upgrade to Fedora 8. Thanks Keith!

One other issue we are definitely trying to solve with the Re-Spin is the yum dependency resolving bug. We've tried composing with yum-3.2.7-1.fc8, yum-3.2.7-2.fc8, and finally with yum-3.2.8-1.fc8, we have these lying around on some archiving file-server. As none of these versions fixed anything related to the dependency resolving, we are now trying to create a Re-Spin with the updates.img provided by Jeremy Katz in #372011.

Again, feel free to mail me concerning any other issues you experience, that you think might be resolved with a Re-Spin. Give me a bugzilla bug number that I can watch or has been resolved, or a package's changelog entry, anything related to fixing things ;-)

Look for Fedora Unity's official Re-Spin Release, solving at least these two major issues, it'll be up on the appropriate mailing lists and websites once we're ready.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Fedora 8 Re-Spin in the making

A Fedora 8 Re-Spin is in the making, and as often we have a couple of issues we want to resolve with this Re-Spin:
These are not all bugs in stock Fedora 8 that we want to resolve, but just the ones we've been pointed to by other community members. Just so that it is clear; we do need you to let us know what it is you want resolved in a Re-Spin, or otherwise, possibly, we end up with a Re-Spin being released that still has the bugs or errors you wanted to see resolved.

On of these bugs is related to i586 hardware, on which anaconda would be unable to perform an upgrade according to #367731, due to selecting the wrong glibc and/or openssl package for this specific arch. While, as you know, anaconda doesn't get updates during a release cycle, we backported the fix for this issue from anaconda development into Fedora 8 stock anaconda (, hoping to resolve this issue. Obviously in this case we need people to test the fix to actually fix the issue, as we ourselves to not have any i586 hardware.

The same however goes for all the other issues we try to fix in a Re-Spin, lots of which we don't even know about (and thus cannot test for), and others we cannot reproduce and thus not confirm resolved.

If you are willing to help us in this quest, or know of an issue we might be able to take into account when doing a Re-Spin, please let us know via email, or visit us on FreeNode in #fedora-unity.