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LinuxCon 2009 Trip Report

Oct. 20th, 2009 | 08:08 pm

This is a first year event, partnered with a second year event, the Linux Plumbers Conference. It was in beautiful Portland, OR where the weather was just about perfect. I only wish I had followed through with my plans to bring my bicycle. I would have had plenty of riding opportunities.

We had a Fedora table in the exhibitors area, and once the event kit showed up we had it pretty well setup with media and demo laptops and a nice banner. This was a multi day conference style event, and so by lunch time on the second day anybody who wanted to stop by the booth had and the visitors trickled off. The last day of the event the exhibitors area was closed.

I went to a number of talks, some about new developments coming and some about high level thought stuff. There was a pretty mixed bag of really technical talks and very fluffy talks,I suppose that means there was something for everyone. All in all the event seemed very well put on, very coordinated and easy to find the talks. The provided refreshments were great too.

I did get to talk to a number of people I haven't seen before / in a while, particularly on the third day which was a joint day with the Plumbers Conference. We got to have a number of hallway and bar conversations about Fedora and the development process. I feel better about the direction we're headed with rawhide et al.

I definitely want to go back next year, although I think I would be better about submitting a talk or two, something to show off Fedora. Hope to see some of you there next year!

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Tethering iPhone 3.0 with Linux (Fedora 11) over bluetooth

Jul. 26th, 2009 | 04:17 pm

I was recently pointed to an article that described how to enable the built in tethering capability of the 3.0 iphone software. I tried it out and indeed I was able to enable the setting and tether with one of my OS X systems.

While that's neat, I don't typically take my imac with me when I travel, and well I hate using OS X. So I need to get this working on my laptop, which currently runs Fedora 11. First I tried plugging in via USB to see if I could just use that, and while Fedora sees the iphone, it decides to use the iphone as a camera, ignoring the other capabilities of the device. Rather than go down the road of blacklisting (which does need to happen), I decided to try the more simple approach of using bluetooth.

After some googling around, I ran across an article about how to do this with Ubuntu. That seemed simple enough, although way more manual than I would like it. One of the comments mentioned using blueman to set this up instead, so that's a good piece of info.

To get started, first ensure that you've got all the right packages installed.
gnome-bluetooth
bluez
blueman

are the critical bluetooth parts. NetworkManager and NetworkManager-gnome should be installed as well.

The bluetooth service will need some configuration in order to be able to use the iphone as a network device. The configuration file is located at /etc/sysconfig/bluetooth. What I had to add to the file is as follows:
PAND_ENABLED=1
PAND_OPTIONS="--role=PAN"


Then restart the bluetooth service if it is already running.

Now you'll have to pair your iphone with your computer via bluetooth. I've found that the easiest way to do this is to use the gnome bluetooth applet (not the blueman one) to get it setup.



First click on the icon (it's the smaller of the two if you're already running blueman) and select setup new device.



Click forward to begin the wizard.



At this pint you should see a list of devices. You may have to go to the bluetooth setup screen in your iphone in order to make it visible to your Fedora system. Select the iphone and go forward.



Enter the numbers on your iphone. It should have popped up a dialog to enter them.



Now your Fedora is ready to accept connections from your iphone. You'll have to actually select your Fedora system from the iphone in order to connect.

After selecting your Fedora system from the iphone, you may get a popup dialog on the Fedora system that alerts you that the device is connecting. The iphone should show you as connected, and you should be ready for the next step which involves blueman.

First, on the iphone, make sure that tethering is enabled.

Next, launch blueman and right click on the iphone device, selecting Network Access -> Network Access Point





At this point your iphone should display a blue bar regarding Internet Tethering. We should be able to go to Network Manager and select the device from our list. It will likely show up as bnep0





You are now connected via bluetooth to your iphone, and should be able to browse the internet (somewhat slowly) over the cellular uplink.



In the future, this will become much less complicated. Ideally you won't have to involve blueman at all to connect via bluetooth. Also, we should be able to support using the device via USB, since you'll likely plug it in anyway to save battery. But for now, enjoy the tethering! Those that have done this before me claim that they have not seen any added charges on their bill, but don't hold me responsible if you get charged. Use at your own risk!

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Using Evolution with a hosted Google Calendar

Jul. 14th, 2009 | 04:09 pm

My personal domain is hosted with google. I finally got tired of being a mail admin and fighting the hackers, spam, security patches, needy users (myself), etc... So I opted for google since it was free, I mostly use my domain for public email lists anyway, and they have some neat services I wanted like a calendar.

Now, while my email is hosted at google, I rarely use the web interface. I prefer to use clients such as Evolution, or the mail app on my iphone. Why Evolution? Well it has fairly decent imap support, integrated contacts and calendar, with ability to sync those with remote sites.

So, google calendar in Evolution. Easy right? Eh, sortof. Evolution as shipped in F11 has a half-baked Google backend for syncing calendar and contacts and stuff. Don't use it. Instead use the much more mature CalDav support to connect to your google calendar. This means you'll have to enter in some URLs manually, but oh well.

It's the manual URLs that are the fun part, particularly with hosted sites at google. Not much documentation exists for what the URL format should be. But I googled around a bit and figured it out. To enable your google calendar in Evolution:

1) Go to Calendars tab in the left pane.
2) Click File -> New -> Calendar
3) Change the type to CalDAV
4) Name it whatever you ant
5) Pick a color for the bike shed
6) Choose to copy contents offline if you want (I do)
7) Choose to make this your default calendar (I did)
8) Put in the url for your calendar. This is the fun part. For your hosted domain you should have one default calendar for your login. If you just want to use that calendar that's easy. The URL would be:
caldav://www.google.com/calendar/dav/email@address/events/ It seems the trailing slash is VERY important. Lost a bit of time to that one.
Be sure to use your entire email address, user@domain.foo. See below for using multiple calendars or a calendar other than your default one.
9) MAKE SURE "Use SSL" IS CHECKED
10) Put in your username. Again this is your full address.
11) pick a refresh rate and you're done.

You should get a login box once you've hit OK and this is the password for your user account.

Now, what about multiple calendars? You can have more than just one in google calendar, as well you can sync more than just one in Evolution. The settings are the same except for the URL and for that you actually have to log into google to find.

First log into your hosted site and click on Calendar. Then click on Settings in the upper right corner. Then click on Calendars within the settings box. Then click on the calendar you want to sync with. Near the bottom there is a section marked "Calendar Address" and it is here, in parentheses you'll find the Calender ID. It'll look like a bunch of soup, something like j2solutions.net_3p1f0ub33hzegvd9dx4qpcs64s@group.calendar.google.com. (I've changed my ID here to protect my innocence). It's best to just copy this string of text.

Now that you have the ID of the next calendar you want to sync, you can go through the same steps above for adding a calendar, only now the url would be: caldav://www.google.com/calendar/dav/calenderid/events/ . Replace calenderid with your calendar ID fetched from above. Be sure to pick a different color too!

Now you should be setup for handling multiple calenders in your hosted google site via Evolution. Have fun!

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Getting Fedora Schedules into google calendar

Jul. 14th, 2009 | 03:47 pm

I'm a calendar junky. If it's not on my calendar (and synced to my evolution and my iphone) I likely will forget about it. That's why it was important for me to figure out how to get my google calendar shared by both iPhone and Evolution so that I can make changes at any of those three points and have all there kept in sync easily. I'll detail that arrangement for anybody that would like it.

John Poelstra has done great work for getting a schedule in place for Fedora. Part of that work is producing .ical files for the various different task lists. See http://poelstra.fedorapeople.org/schedules/f-12/ for all that is available.

Given my capacity to forget dates, I wanted to import the .ical file for Release Engineering tasks into my google calendar. This turned out to be far harder than it needed to be, mostly because of how .ical is a fairly loose standard and no two producers/consumers shall agree. Every time I attempted to import or the .ical file I wound up with odd timezone issues and events spanning multiple days. Turns out that Zimbra reads X-MICROSOFT-CDO-ALLDAYEVENT:TRUE while google doesn't, so google was going by the timestamps on the events, offsetting the UTC for my Pacific timezone and generally making a mess of it.

Of course, I couldn't just find what Google wanted to see, searching for terms that involve google is not exactly easy. What I wound up doing was creating a test calendar in google, adding an event that was an all day event, exporting that as a .ical file and reading what it wrote. BINGO! Seems that in order to accomplish an all day event in google calendar parlance, you just have DTSTART and DTEND be just dates, without any time attached. Once I had that info, it was easy to sed the .ics file from John to strip the time parts out of the events (since all the events are listed as all day events) and then I had an .ics file that imported nicely into google. John says he'll look at doing the sed himself when creating the .ics files since he already has to post-process them out of TaskJuggler.

Lessons learned:

1) When testing importing events to your google calendar, do create a scratch calendar to test with. Deleting 40 some odd events by hand was not fun :/

2) When in doubt of an expected format, generate said format from the tool itself to get an idea of what it would like.

3) TaskJuggler can do neat things, but ZOMG does it have a learning curve. I wasted two hours or so trying to figure out how times and dates were set thinking that the .ics was getting generated incorrectly, and I still don't really know how it does things. I just backed away slowly and went on with "ok, just fix the .ics manually after the fact" route.

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Day 3 of FUDCon Berlin

Jun. 28th, 2009 | 05:22 am

It's day 3 here at FUDCon Berlin. Day 2 was a whirlwind of presentations, talks, conversations, greetings, and collaboration.

I attended Steven's talk about using Koji at CERN which I must say was really awesome. CERN is using their own instance of a koji build system to build rpms that are then deployed across the grid they have around the world. He talked about how much better koji is than their old build system, but also had some questions about how to improve his use of it and their strategy around it. They also need to produce .debs and would like to do so via koji so that should be interesting.

I also went to, and participated in the Git for Hackers talk put on by Yaakov and Jeroen. I even got to get up and show people some of my favorite things to do with git. I learned some new things too which will make my development efforts just that much more easy.

Josh Bressers talked to us a bit about security, and the RHT security team and how they interact with Fedora. He was amazed at how responsive the Fedora project is to security issues, often fixing them before the team he works on is able to check in on Fedora. He is looking for more ways to get involved though. I set him off thinking about what kind of code review we can do in an automated way as code is checked into packages.

Finally I gave two talks (linked to in an earlier blog), one on the future of the Fedora Development Cycle, and one on Automated QA.

We had a rather adventurous dinner in which I got to sit at a table with folks from Romania, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, and more. It was a fun evening of comparing cultures and food and sports and life styles. The great conversation made up for the fact that food took over an hour to show up (the drinks didn't hurt either).

Today is a hackfest day, and I'm working more on the autotest packages for autoqa. I also got to learn about Fedora FEL which is a fantastic agent of change, not just a simple remix of packages. Chitlesh really has something special going on and I'm glad to see that Fedora was able to provide the platform to launch his efforts. I look forward to seeing more success out of his project. Later he asked me about a problem he was having with his Fedora Hosted site, and I'm looking into updating the git plugin to help out. I also got to meet and talk to Phil Knirsh, mostly about the Fedora on s390 effort. They're ready to start composing images which means I'm going to have to be ready to start writing or reviewing pungi packages as I'm certain there are changes necessary to make it work for s390. I look forward to it, but please, don't send me an s390 (: (I wouldn't mind a beagleboard for playing with Fedora arm...)

I'm going to head out a little early this afternoon and try to see some more sights, like the DDR museum (no not that DDR) and maybe a few other places.

Tomorrow begins my 36~ hour Monday. Boy will that be fun. After I get home and a quick night of doing laundry, I'll be taking a few days off with my wife and son and we'll be staying at my uncle's lake house in Lake Chelan, where I'll be on a boat!

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FUDCon Berlin slides

Jun. 27th, 2009 | 04:51 am

I pitched two barcamp sessions for this FUDCon. The first one is Fedora Development Cycle 3.0, which reviews the recent Fedora Activity Day I ran recently and explains where it is we're trying to go with our proposals. The second is a review of the AutoQA project, where I will explain what the project is, where we're at, where we're going, and where we're looking for help.

I've uploaded the slides to my fedorapeople page. Enjoy!

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FUDCon Berlin 2009 Day 1

Jun. 26th, 2009 | 06:31 am

It's day one of FUDCon Berlin 2009. Max gave a good intro talk, working in just enough subtle Michael Jackson references to set the mood. Hackfests today, as well as pre-arranged talks in our area that were put on the LinuxTag agenda. Hackfests are a little light, I think there are too many people still trying to take part in the pre-arranged talks and the other LinuxTag offerings. However the wireless folks seem to be making loads of progress by all being in the same room. I sat in with the Red Hat Security team and discussed some issues regarding security and package signing in Fedora. It was very helpful to have them all there. Also loads of other people who have taken advantage of face to face time to have high bandwidth quick discussions has also been very valuable. I feel that we've talked about and reached understanding of things that would have taken weeks or longer via email/IRC.

I'm putting some final touches on the talks I wish to pitch at our barcamp kickoff this evening, and then bracing for the FUDPub impact. Tomorrow will be all FUDCon all day and should be interesting to see how many new faces we see here at the event. This being my first non-North America FUDCon I have no idea what to expect.

As mentioned before I have a flickr set for LinuxTag and FUDCon as well as a fudcon tag that others are using as well. I'm also microblogging over at identi.ca for more frequent activity.

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LinuxTag / FUDCon Berlin 2009 Flickr feed

Jun. 24th, 2009 | 05:34 am

I've created a set of photos in my flickr for LinuxTag and FUDCon Berlin 2009. You can follow it here. All the photos should be tagged with fudcon as well.

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iPhone

Jun. 19th, 2009 | 08:58 pm
location: US, Washington, Pierce, Tacoma, N Washington St, 2726

Seriously there is Internet in my pants!

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Photos

Jun. 19th, 2009 | 08:51 pm
location: US, Washington, Pierce, Tacoma, N Washington St, 2726

I'm now a flickr..er? My account is "iamjessekeating".

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