Fedora 23 and upgrade issues



Fedora 23 has been released yesterday, and as a big fan and a long time user I had to upgrade my laptop (from Fedora 22) immediately.  Or at least try.

Usually, the process is quite simple and doesn’t take much figuring out.  This time it was somewhat different though.  At first, the recommended upgrade command changed slightly from the nice and simple fedup to dnf system-upgrade.

The first attempt downloaded all packages, ended with a cryptic error along the lines of “No updates for kernel packages were found“.  Hmm, weird.  I thought maybe this was caused by me forgetting to run “dnf update” before the upgrade process.  So I did.  Some updates were installed, but there were no kernel packages among them.  I rebooted the laptop just in case.

The second attempt for some reason failed to find any of the previously downloaded packages, so I had to wait until the almost 2 GB get pulled down again.  Result – same error about missing kernel updates.  Hmm, again.

After poking around for a bit, I realized that I had previously configured yum to exclude some packages from updates (kernel, kmod-wl, kmod-VirtualBox, and VirtualBox).  These settings were picked up by dnf.  Editing both /etc/yum.conf and /etc/dnf/dnf.conf to disable the exclude fixed the issue.  “dnf update” now pulled some updates to the kernel.  Another reboot.

The third attempt once again lost all the downloaded packages and I had to wait some more.  This was annoying, especially at 1am now.  The process of downloading finished OK and this time there was no errors.  So “dnf system-upgrade reboot” should do the trick now, right?  Wrong!

Surprisingly, there was no boot menu for system upgrade upon reboot.  So I went with Fedora 22 boot option.  Which resulted in a brief screen saying “Preparing for upgrade“.  Which then disappeared and the system booted back into Fedora 22.  Now that was interesting.

It took me a while to find the issue.  The problem was that my Fedora 22 laptop wasn’t a clean install, but an upgrade from Fedora 21.  That shouldn’t be a problem, but it is, due to this bug.  My /etc/os-release file didn’t have the VARIANT and VARIANT_ID variables (thanks to this blog).  So after adding these lines:

VARIANT="Workstation Edition"

I’ve rebooted once again, and started the fourth attempt.  Downloaded packages were gone once again, so I had to wait a bit more.  This time the faster office Internet connection helped to save some time.  Download finished OK. Another reboot.  Once again, there is no option to upgrade Fedora, so I’m going into Fedora 22 boot.  Finally, now there is the upgrade screen!  After some preparation time, the packages were installed, the machine rebooted, and now I’m Fedora 23 user.

Checking my /etc/os-release file I see that both variant variables are gone now.  This feels weird, but hopefully won’t cause issues in the future.  If it will, I’ll probably Google for three hours before finding this very blog post.

2016 will be the year of the ARM laptop

Slashdot links to the story that quotes Linus Torvalds’ address of the LinuxCon 2015:

“2016 will be the year of the ARM laptop”

For those who’s rusty on the CPU hardware side, he’s a very easy to follow article, describing the key difference between ARM and x86 architectures.

On acting professionally

A few weeks back, there was this story about Sarah Sharp quitting Linux kernel development due to some issues she had with communications on the Linux kernel mailing list (aka LMKL).  I never cared much about this sort of things, so I skipped the story altogether (people disagree, no big deal).

Today I was catching up with my RSS feeds, and the story came up again (via this post and discussion thread in Russian), which linked to this Slashdot comment nicely summarizing the story.

Among all the other comments, there was a link to the related email from Linus Torvalds, where he opens up a bit about the “professional” behavior and communication.  I think it’s absolutely brilliant and everybody should read the whole thing.  But I’ll leave this small quote here for myself:

Because if you want me to “act professional”, I can tell you that I’m not interested. I’m sitting in my home office wearign a bathrobe. The same way I’m not going to start wearing ties, I’m *also* not going to buy into the fake politeness, the lying, the office politics and backstabbing, the passive aggressiveness, and the buzzwords. Because THAT is what “acting professionally” results in: people resort to all kinds of really nasty things because they are forced to act out their normal urges in unnatural ways.

6 great monospaced fonts for code and terminal in Fedora


Fedora Magazine covers “6 great monospaced fonts for code and terminal in Fedora“.  Their choices are:

  • Hack
  • Inconsolata
  • Source Code Pro
  • Fira Mono
  • Droid Sans Mono
  • DejaVu Sans Mono

It’s been a while since I considered a change to the monospaced fonts that I’m using.  The top three fonts in my list from a while back are Fixedsys Excelsior, Monaco, and Microsoft Consolas.  I used Fixedsys Excelsior almost exclusively in all my terminal windows.

Red Hat acquires Ansible

Linux Weekly News reports that Red Hat acquires Ansible.  There are quite a few configuration management tools around, and it was only the matter of time until Red Hat, with all its corporate client base, would buy one.  Or pledge allegiance.  My personal preference would be in Puppet, but Puppet comes from the Ruby world, where’s Red Hat is more of a Python shop.

Ansible’s simple and agentless approach, unlike competing solutions, does not require any special coding skills, removing some of the most significant barriers to automation across IT. From deployment and configuration to rolling upgrades, by adding Ansible to its hybrid management portfolio, Red Hat will help customers to:

  • Deploy and manage applications across private and public clouds.
  • Speed service delivery through DevOps initiatives.
  • Streamline OpenStack installations and upgrades.
  • Accelerate container adoption by simplifying orchestration and configuration.

The upstream Ansible project is one of the most popular open source automation projects on GitHub with an active and highly engaged community, encompassing nearly 1,200 contributors. Ansible automation is being used by a growing number of Fortune 100 companies, powering large and complex private cloud environments, and the company has received several notable accolades, including a 2015 InfoWorld Bossie Award, recognizing the best open source datacenter and cloud software.

Regardless, though, of my personal preferences, these are good news for configuration management and automation.

Open Source Photography Workflow


Riley Brandt, the photographer, goes over his photography workflow, involving only Free and Open Source software.  Here are his picks:

  • Image viewer: Geeqie
  • Monitor calibration: dispcalGUI or Gnome Color Manager
  • Download and rename photos: Rapid Photo Downloader
  • Custom camera color profiles: ArgyllCMS
  • Photo and metadata management: darktable
  • RAW editor: darktable
  • Touch ups and web preparation: Gimp


Microsoft has developed its own Linux

The rumor of Microsoft working on its own Linux distribution has been going around for a while.  Now it’s confirmed by Microsoft themselves:

The Azure Cloud Switch (ACS) is our foray into building our own software for running network devices like switches. It is a cross-platform modular operating system for data center networking built on Linux. ACS allows us to debug, fix, and test software bugs much faster. It also allows us the flexibility to scale down the software and develop features that are required for our datacenter and our networking needs.

The distribution is not for sale or download, but purely for use in their Azure cloud infrastructure.  The Register looks at this in detail.

I guess, Mahatma Gandhi was right:

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

Conference : Freedom and Technology

announcement (english)

There is going to be a Free Software / Open Source conference “Freedom and Technology” this Saturday, October 3rd (18:00-21:00) in Cyprus University of Technology, in Limassol, Cyprus.  Organizers are the same people you know from the Ubuntu CY community.  I’m going to do a talk titled “The practical guide to Open Source participation”.  Slides will be linked here after the talk.

See you there.

Five Linux-Ready, Cost-Effective Server Control Panels


Five Linux-Ready, Cost-Effective Server Control Panels” reviews 5 some alternatives to cPanel, which, they say, is rather expensive.  My beef with cPanel is not the price, but the technical merit.  Even though I love the fact that it is written in Perl, I don’t agree with its “let me handle everything” approach.

cPanel installs all the software that it helps to manage.  This might be a “so what” issue for most people, but not for me.  I like my servers clean.  And I want to utilize the tools that already come with my server – RPM, yum/dnf, etc.  Control panels can help with routine, but when something breaks, I should be able to go to the config files and deal with the problem using the distribution’s recommended ways.  cPanel, unfortunately, breaks that.  It downloads sources, applies patches, locally compiles things, and has its own layout for configuration files.  That’s too much mess for me.

I haven’t used any of the other control panels reviewed in the article (I usually prefer the command line way), but I hope they aren’t as intrusive and abusive as cPanel.  Sometimes control panels are useful for providing a bit of help to non-technical users (create mailbox, change email password, backup the website, etc), but if they are as needy as cPanel, thanks, but no thanks.