LCFG on Fedora 12 (and F13) (inf level)

How to Install a Machine

Your machine's profile should look something like this:

#include <dice/os/f13.h>  /* or f13_64.h*/
#include <dice/hw/dell_optiplex_gx745.h>  /* use the appropriate header for your model */
#include <dice/options/devel.h>
#include <dice/options/desktop.h> /* unless it's going to be a headless server */
#include <live/wire_forum.h>

!profile.release	mSET(develop)

dhclient.mac		/* your machine's MAC address */

Hardware Tested

Model OS Install Network XSorted descending VTs X on? Sleep Headphones Internal speaker USB CD
Dell Optiplex 755 f13 3 DONE DONE DONE VT1 6 DONE 5 DONE DONE
Dell Optiplex 780 f13 3 DONE DONE DONE VT7   DONE 5 DONE DONE
VirtualBox f12 7 DONE DONE           DONE DONE

3 When first tested, the machine would always hang solidly on the point of rebooting. However that's been worked around so reboots now work normally.
4 The internal speaker works if the "Connector" setting in the "Output" tab of Gnome "Sound preferences" is set to one of the "Analog Output (LFE)" or "Analog Mono Output" choices. The default setting, "Analog Output", silences the speaker.
5 There was no internal speaker on the test machine.
6 After multiple sleeps and wakes X eventually failed to resume. Otherwise the machine seemed fine. For now the sleep component has been disabled on this model.
7 VirtualBox experience varies. Some habitual users of it seem able to install f12 on VMs easily; other users have to struggle for days to get an install to work. See for instance this blog post for a typical tale of woe. Still on the subject of VirtualBox it didn't seem possible to test virtual terminals or sleep on a virtual machine. Audio didn't seem to work.

The following models are most definitely NOT SUPPORTED: Dell Optiplex GX260, Dell Optiplex GX270, HP D530

Local Differences

MIME and Mailcap
Applications using Mailcap to handle MIME types now hand content to the xdg-open application which hands it to the user's desktop's default application for the relevant content type.
We have removed PackageKit
Fedora 13 includes PackageKit, a shared abstraction layer for software installation which among other things provides a way for non-sysadmin users to install software packages. Using this, Fedora 12 users can install missing commands, fonts, codecs and mime content handlers on the fly. However PackageKit has not yet been integrated with updaterpms which manages the software on LCFG-managed Linux machines. Until we reach a resolution between LCFG-controlled and user-controlled package installation we shall disable PackageKit.
ext3 not ext4
ext4 is the default filesystem for Fedora 13 but we shall stick with ext3 for reliability.
Sleep has improved
It seems so far that sleep is far more reliable and significantly quicker under F13 than under SL5, so we may be able to make more widespread use of it.
Upstart and SysVInit
Although Fedora 13 boots using Upstart, we use it as little as possible. See Alastair's blob for more details.
Fedora 13 uses the newer rsyslog but for the moment we're using it in syslog compatibility mode so there are no big changes. We hope in time to enhance LCFG to enable it to unlock the new possibilities offered by rsyslog.
Subversion has changed the format of its repositories again, so any use of subversion on F13 with existing checkouts will "upgrade" those checkouts and make them unusable from SL5. Either keep separate checkouts for each platform or just use subversion on one platform.

Known Issues

choice-no = still an issue, DONE = issue resolved

choice-no inconsistent log file naming (medium)
we need to add the "dateext" option to the logrotate configs for lcfg components
choice-no need desktop.h (medium)
DICE installs require desktop-forum.h - they shouldn't. Package lists need tidied up, once Iain has finished RAT package building.
choice-no moving between runlevels (medium)
shifting between run levels is dodgy (eg can't telinit S properly)
choice-no X login slow (low)
we believe this is because Gnome insists on starting lots of extra helper apps. We will look at whether we can configure these out by default.
choice-no no console on tty1 (low)
Login consoles on tty[23456], so not a huge issue
choice-no numberpad doesn't work (low)
on at least one machine, the number pad on a Dell SK8125 keyboard doesn't work under F13
choice-no Bogus warnings from genhdfile (low)
When pkgsubmit is run it runs genhdfile once for each binary RPM package submitted. Each time genhdfile runs it produces a warning of this kind:
warning: Unknown system: (null)
warning: Please contact

Until these messages can be eliminated, please ignore them. LCFG bug 224.
choice-no messages during boot (low)
udevd moans about stuff being removed in a future version - this is because of old-style udev configs owned by the DICE xilinx setup
choice-no VT login appear even when reboot required (low)
if on boot a component requests a reboot, the VT logins should not be started. Unfortunately they currently start regardless which means you can login just to find that the machine starts rebooting.

DONE grub
due to a deficiency in the stock F12 grub, no background display is displayed for the initial grub prompt. We intend to fix/patch this before shipping to users.
DONE install issues
on the first boot (of the installbase), fsck complained that filesystems were created in the future.
DONE rpmbuild (under F13)
for some reason rpmbuild is deciding to default to building i386 packages rather than i686. Until this is fixed, you will need to run rpmbuild with --target i686 when building packages under 32 bit F13 (apart from for noarch packages, obviously)
DONE reboot hangs
Dell 745s, 755s and 780s hang on reboot
DONE too many reboots at install
it seems that an install involves more reboots than for SL5. Updaterpms asks for a reboot, then hardware (because vbox driver built), then afs (because ThisCell file changed). Concluded that SL5 behaved in the same way. Will take a look at how we could improve this....
DONE GDM started even when reboot required
if on boot a component requests a reboot, gdm should not be started. Unfortunately gdm currently starts regardless which means you can login just to find that the machine starts rebooting.
DONE (Fixed from 17/09/10) installroot delays
on HP dc7900 and Dell 780 the kernel hangs for around 10s just before switching to the highres colour frame buffer device
DONE gdm
gdm on F13 is an incomplete rewrite and the configuration is not compatible with lcfg-gdm or our local DICE gdm theme. We plan to use KDM instead and produce a simple KDM component to allow changing of basic options such as the theme.
DONE 64 bit
support for the 64 bit platform is incomplete. This should be completed with the stable release on 14th October 2010
DONE ctrl-alt-backspace does not kill X
Currently we do not have any way to enable ctrl-alt-backspace for killing X sessions. Users can enable it themselves in Gnome via System -> Preferences -> Hardware -> Keyboard, go to the "Layouts" tab and press the "Options..." button, select and enable the "Key sequence to Kill the X server" option. If you need to kill someone else's session you can alternatively use alt-SysRq-k (on all/most systems?)

Package Building, Buckets and Locations

There is a 32bit build server buildf13 (pondicherry). There is no 64bit build server yet.

We have rationalised the package buckets for F13:

is for temporary packages, for instance test and devrpm versions of LCFG components in development. From time to time it will be cleared of old packages.
is for LCFG components.
world, uoe, inf
are for other packages. As before uoe and inf are intended for packages whose distribution has to be limited, and we expect most locally submitted non-LCFG packages to go in world.
The Fedora packages themselves
are obtained direct from our mirror of the Fedora distribution rather than from package buckets.

Fedora 13 has many many more packages than are actually installed on the system. One handy way to search what's available is yum search. For example yum search twitter shows all available packages with the string twitter in the package details. In particular most CPAN packages you'll probably need will already be provided by Fedora, but may not be installed. If you need to see the actual RPM files they're under /afs/

Because there are so many files in our Fedora RPM mirrors we've run up against some AFS directory size limits. To help get round this problem we've moved RPM header files to a subdirectory (relative to where the RPMs themselves are) called hdrs.

Local Links

Fedora 12

Fedora is the fast-moving development distro sponsored by Red Hat. The slower-moving and more stable Red Hat Enterprise Linux releases are largely based on particular Fedora releases. Scientific Linux 5, the main LCFG Linux platform for the past few years, is a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 which was originally based (more or less) on Fedora Core 6. SL5 has had a lot of application software updates since its release but the underlying technology has not changed much. Fedora 12 is therefore substantially more advanced than SL5 in some areas. Here are a few selected features that have appeared in Fedora releases 7 to 12 since SL5 was released:

  • Fedora 7 integrated Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) technology with Fedora's graphical virt-manager and command-line virsh tools. KVM provides a hardware accelerated virtualization solution, and users had a choice between KVM and Xen, along with Qemu.
  • Secure remote management capability was provided for Xen, KVM, and QEMU in Fedora 8 virtualisation.
  • Virtualisation storage provisioning for local and remote connections was then simplified --
  • Virt Improved Console - In Fedora 10 and earlier the virtual guest console was limited to a screen resolution of 800x600. In Fedora 11 the goal was to have the screen default to at least 1024x768 resolution out of the box. New installations of F11 provided the ability to use other interface devices in the virtual guest, such as a USB tablet, which the guest would automatically detect and configure. Among the results was a mouse pointer that tracked the local client pointer one-for-one, and provided expanded capabilities.
  • The libguestfs feature let administrators work directly with virtual guest machine disk images without booting those guests.
  • PulseAudio is now installed and enabled by default. PulseAudio is an advanced sound server compatible with nearly all existing Linux sound systems. PulseAudio allows for hot-switching audio outputs, individual volume controls for each audio stream, networked audio, and more.
  • Glitch free audio and better performance is achieved through a rewrite of the PulseAudio sound server to use timer-based audio scheduling --
  • Volume Control - Currently, people using Fedora have to go through many levels of mixers in different applications to properly set up sound sources. These are all exposed in the volume control on the desktop, making for a very confusing user experience. PulseAudio allows us to unify the volume controls in one interface that makes setting up sound easier and more pain-free.
  • Ogg Theora 1.1 video lets you stream and download Blu-Ray video quality while using 100% free and open software, codecs, and formats.
  • There is now improved power management thanks to both a tickless kernel in x86 and x86_64 architectures, and a reduction in unnecessary processor wakeups via powertop.
  • The HAL "quirks" feature has been improved, bringing better suspend/resume and multimedia keyboard support.
New versions of key software
  • Linux Kernel
  • OpenOffice 3.1.1
  • Fedora now includes TeXLive to replace the older, unmaintained TeTeX distribution.
  • Firefox 3.5.8
  • gcc 4.4.3
  • glibc 2.11.1
  • Fedora now includes Perl 5.10.0, which features a smaller memory footprint and other improvements.
  • Python 2.6.2
  • GNOME 2.28.0
  • KDE 4.4.1
  • OpenMPI replaces LAM
  • etc. - please add to the list.

Fedora Links and Release Notes

More details of Fedora are available from the Fedora documentation page, including:

-- ChrisCooke - April 2010

Topic revision: r52 - 27 Oct 2010 - 11:38:45 - AlastairScobie
DICE.F13Upgrade moved from DICE.F12Upgrade on 11 Aug 2010 - 08:40 by StephenQuinney - put it back
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