News:Newsletter, Volume 1

From Funtoo
Jump to: navigation, search

Newsletter, Volume 1

Discussed: ati-drivers, GitHub integration, Funtoo on ARM, GNOME updates, Organizations, and two new devs.

By Drobbins / January 27, 2015

Hello, everyone -- hope your 2015 is off to a good start. Welcome to our first official full newsletter. Funtoo Linux development is ramping up, and with that we have more to discuss. So let's dive in.

Ati-drivers updates

The passively-cooled Funtoo Linux NVIDIA Jetson TK1 ARM development board. The heat sink doesn't even get warm!

For those who use AMD Catalyst video drivers under Funtoo Linux, you likely know that older versions of ati-drivers have not been compatible with the most recent version of xorg-server. Ati-drivers 14.9 required masking xorg-server-1.16, as it would only work with 1.15 or earlier. About a month ago, we received a tip that Arch and Ubuntu had a version that worked with xorg-server-1.16, and upon investigation, found that AMD rolled out an Ubuntu-specific version of their video drivers for the sole purpose of working with xorg-server-1.16. I looked into these drivers and bundled them up at ati-drivers-14.9-r1 in Funtoo Linux.

However, while they worked with xorg-server-1.16, it turns out that these new drivers were quite flaky, and a number of people had problems with them, including myself. I ended up switching to the free Radeon drivers, which allowed me to avoid the whole ati-drivers mess.

The good news is that things have gotten better on the AMD Catalyst front. AMD has released a new version of their drivers which is now bundled up in Funtoo Linux as ati-drivers-14.12-r3, and this ebuild does seem quite reliable and supports xorg-server-1.16. In addition, I have added AMD's GLESv2 and EGL libraries to this ebuild -- up until now, these libraries (distributed separately) have been missing, meaning that many ebuilds including GNOME would use Mesa's GLESv2 implementation, even with ati-drivers enabled. This could potentially lead to issues, so ati-drivers should now be more reliable. In addition, this fixes a bug related to media-libs/cogl and its dynamic loading of GL-related libraries.

Funtoo Linux for ARM

Next up: a quick update on Funtoo Linux for ARM. I've recently moved our ARM builds in-house. Here you can see my passively-cooled NVIDIA Jetson TK1 ARM development board. I had a left-over PC Thermaltake heatsink lying around and decided to put it to use to cool the board, which you can see in the image above.

While we are now building ARM in-house, I do need to acquire more ARM hardware so that I can actively test ARM builds. That is something that I'd like to resolve soon.

Subarches Update

Our new Subarches page has a well-received improvement for finding the best version of Funtoo Linux for your system, providing a mini-encyclopedia of the different types of hardware that Funtoo Linux supports. I'm always open to adding new stage3 upon request, and Blackadder720 on #funtoo IRC requested an Intel Ivy Bridge build, and this was easy enough to add to our build rotation: Intel64-ivybridge. So, there you go. You ask for it, and you get it :) Also added -- our subarches page now provides links to our OSUOSL mirror, and I updated the mirroring code so that the OSUOSL links are always fresh.

GitHub Integration (beta)

Thanks to some initiative by {{ #show: User:cyball | ?Full name }}, we now have some functioning Python code to implement GitHub integration! Here's how it works. If you open an issue or pull request against one of Funtoo Linux's GitHub repositories, our script will import it into our JIRA bug tracker. A friendly note will be posted to your pull request or issue indicating that it has been imported, and a link to the JIRA issue will be provided. When we close an imported issue in JIRA, the script will automatically close the associated JIRA bug.

This is actually a big deal -- how to properly integrate with GitHub has been a long-standing problem. I didn't want to turn Funtoo Linux into a pure GitHub project -- we needed our own advanced bug tracker and independent git repositories. However, many people would like to interact with our development efforts via GitHub directly, and the fact that we mirror our repositories to GitHub tends to invite that.

In the past, pull requests and issues would inevitably be created on GitHub, and these issues would tend to get ignored or forgotten about. Well, thanks to this new script, this is no longer the case. Thanks very much to {{ #show: User:cyball | ?Full name }} for getting this going and I will continue to be working on our GitHub integration and making it more of an integral part of the development process.

GNOME Version Bumps

Over the last week, we are starting to slightly bump versions of GNOME packages. These are minor updates, but you should have been noticing them if you are running GNOME and regularly updating your system. If you notice anything unpleasant from these updates, please be sure to report a bug.

Media Mix-Ins Update

I hope you have had a chance to explore the new functionality in of our new media mix-ins. In general, feedback has been positive. Digifuzzy and {{ #show: User:nrc | ?Full name }} on the forums were concerned that in rolling out the new media mix-ins, we did enable some new USE file-format-related USE variables in the desktop profile, which on their systems resulted in a significant increase in the number of packages installed after an emerge -auDN @world.

There was a suggestion made that we do a better job of informing users of potentially highly-impacting changes prior to them hitting the tree, and this is something that I will attempt to do a better job of moving forward. What we did not realize is the relatively large impact that a small number of USE variables additions could have for already-installed systems.

Funtoo-Friendly Organizations

You may have noticed the Brownrice Internet logo on the bottom of our main page. Brownrice Internet is the first organization to take advantage of our Funtoo-Friendly Organizations feature on the wiki. This allows any organization, whether for-profit or community-based, to register themselves on the wiki with their own organizational profile page. If your organization uses Funtoo Linux, offers Funtoo Linux as an option for hosting, or builds something based on Funtoo Linux, then we want you to let our user community know about what you do! To do this, head over to the Organizations category on the wiki and enter your organization's name, and fill out the form. Get the recognition you deserve! :)

Translations Updates

Many thanks to {{ #show: User:Aramisqc | ?Full name }} for completing the French translation of our install Instructions. Tocadotux is currently working on a Brazilian Portuguese translation, and {{ #show: User:Oleg | ?Full name }} is working on a Russian translation. I would be interested in getting a German and Italian translation going -- find me on IRC if you are interested in helping. As the translation effort gets under way, I hope to get the translation team more organized, get translation instructions online and also look into developing some tools to assist in keeping translations in sync.

Funtoo Linux Containers

Our Funtoo Linux Containers continue to be in demand. I will be limiting the number of new containers on our existing hardware to maximize performance for our existing users, and we currently have 23 spots left. If you are interested in supporting Funtoo Linux and having your own highly-capable SSD-based Funtoo Linux container with up to 24 cores, then see our Funtoo Hosting page and grab one. You can get an extremely capable container for only $15/mo of support, and our higher-end containers are even more impressive.

New Developers

I'd like to personally welcome two developers. {{ #show: User:Anak1n | ?Full name }} has returned to us, and is helping us keep various packages up-to-date and squash bugs. He recently added the Ghost blogging platform ebuild.

In addition, {{ #show: User:Mgorny | ?Full name }} has joined our team. He also serves as a Gentoo developer, and for us, he is working on various complex technical issues, in addition to helping me and Oleg manage the day-to-day work of keeping on top of bug reports.

Welcome to the team! And if you see these guys online, be sure to welcome them and thank them for their assistance.

And if there is anyone out there would would like to assist us by doing some serious bug squashing, I am currently looking to grow our team and accelerate our development efforts. Ask me (drobbins) or Oleg (angry_vincent) on IRC about how you can help.

Well, that's it for our first newsletter. I hope you liked it!