I’m Chwido, and this is The Chwido Report. Today I’m pleased to interview Bero, an important person in my life (he feeds me, Arf!) and core developer of OpenMandriva, PCPA, one of oldest and most devoted Mandriva community contributors and itchka – our QA guru and one of the most intelligent enthusiasts we have! – about the newest release of OpenMandriva Lx – 2014 “Phosphorus”.
The next time I will go deeply inside the OpenMandriva PODs to know them better.. for now I just touch it: in the cold swiss mountains (where I live with Bero), in the tropics – with PCPA and in good old England – with itchka. Hmm! ruff! oh… good geography already! OK, let’s start.
[Chwido] Which were the main goals for 2014 release of OpenMandriva Lx?
[Bero] Initially, the main goals were fixing problems found in our initial 2013.0 release, updating the UI stack (such as Mesa, X.Org and KDE), and smaller application updates. We ended up doing more though – couldn’t resist also introducing support for UEFI booting and bringing base system components like the toolchain up to date.
[itchka] What we really tried to attack in this release was test booting on as many systems as we could so that we could give users a trouble free install. In 2013 we gone part way to this but 2014 brought a new set of challenges as we moved away from a vesa solution to kms. Qa leaned on Bero to have a try for UEFI booting on this release he agreed and we promised to organise testing. He responded magnificently to the challenge as did the the majority of the users (who I tracked down from the bug reports) who I had asked to test his work. Our thanks to them.
[pcpa] Talking about Conectiva, OpenMandriva 2014 should be the first OpenMandriva we actually use for our projects and contracts. We had been using a mini distro based on Rosa2012.1 since some months before OpenMandriva 2013 was released.
[Chwido] What could we expect since OMLx 2013?
[Bero] Primarily, what was already described in the goals — there is better hardware support (such as systems booting through UEFI only, and systems with very recent graphics cards that weren’t supported in 2013.0), newer applications, and various bugfixes.
Another new thing that entered only shortly before the release is om-welcome, making it easier than ever to get started.
Another big piece of news is the ARM port – while it is not yet 100% as usable as the x86 ports, we have almost all important packages built for ARM, and can boot to KDE on e.g. Samsung Chromebooks.
[itchka] Although we managed a good quality release in 2014 we will aim to improve the level of compliance even further. With 8000 package or so in our main repo this will be a tough task so we will be looking for ways to target our efforts. A little quick math shows that if we allow 1 minute to test each package One person would have to work continuously for over 10 days at 24 hours a day to complete the work. We will be asking users to participate in polls to attempt to target which programs in the repos need to have priority testing.
[pcpa] The most important feature is indeed updated packages. I would like to remember that we now have a functional java stack, that was broken since Mandriva 2011, and not fully functional since Mandriva 2009.
[Chwido] Which are the main technological implementations for this release, were they hard decisions?
[Bero] This release was mainly about fixing problems and modernizing the UI stack, so there haven’t been many big technological decisions. One hard question was whether we should stick with gcc 4.7.x (path of least resistance while working on something intended primarily as a maintenance release) or update to gcc 4.8.x and rebuild all packages. We ended up doing the latter because gcc 4.8 generates faster code, and fixed many more problems than it introduced, especially in the ARM world.
[itchka] The devs gave us a serious fright by introducing gcc-4.8 into the mix we should have been more trusting the switch was glacially smooth.
[pcpa] I believe there were no major issues. Updating to gcc 4.8 was a good idea. As long as we either have 2+ months to fix issues before a release (and maintainers already know it builds and works kernel, X, kde, etc), it is always better to use the latest gcc.
[Chwido] Could describe you OMLx 2014 in 3 words?
[Bero] “best OS ever”? Or, more realistically, “Best release yet.”
[itchka] How about three letyter WOW !
[pcpa] Past! Present, Future? – New Old Distribution
[Chwido] What is the maximum speed of a Peregrine Falcon?
[Bero] Chwido! I told you not to hunt birds… And I don’t think you need to know this for any reason other than planning a hunt… Here’s your favorite ball, let’s hunt that instead… Yes, you’re enjoying this… Good dog!
[itchka] It’s all relative ‘specially if you are looking straight up and he is diving straight down.
[Chwido] How long will be maintained this version?
[Bero] This version will be maintained at least until the next version is released and upgrading to it works. Whether or not we will support this release beyond giving the possibility to update to the subsequent release is not decided yet – it depends on how many users care, and on how much developer manpower we will have by then.
[itchka] Qa says HELP!!! We need it!
[pcpa] Supporting clean upgrade is a must. Support can be done at most for 2 released distros, but that depends on user base.
[Chwido] Thanks Bero, now can I go out? I need to…
[Bero] hmm! Where’s the leash?
“Linux developer for 20 years, founder of the Ark Linux project that was rolled into OpenMandriva, Linaro Android and toolchain developer, swiss vegetarian cheese lover, hiker and is known for never being cold and wearing T-shirt even in winter, devoted Chwido trainer”
“Open source enthusiast, C programmer, RPM packager, contributor or maintainer of several different open source projects/packages in the past 15+ years, brazilian, shy. Special interest in working with, as well as packaging scientific and educational projects”.
About itchka :
”I’m ‘itchka’ alias Colin and I come to you seriously mutated from the dawn of the Nuclear Age in which I’ve spent much of my life. In my early years I was forced to design instruments to provide protection for people working with seriously unstable “Windows” series of reactors. A ‘blue out’ of one of these reactors was responsible for my mutation which resulted in an irrepressible desire to babble and that caused my typing skills to degenerate to the level of a barrow load of monkeys on an IBM golfball. Yes, That’s how old I am. I can remember when the Word Processor did not exist. That may not be true though I expect Bero was thinking about it in the womb!!!
I was lucky enough to survive the accident and got to work on the new stable series of “XeniX” reactors. These were a lot less dangerous (although in later years a change of direction alas rendered them worse than useless). These were wonderful machines as they had pages of instructions that told you how to operate them making safe to used and explore. All too soon though these were found to generate insufficient power and soon I was working with the “UNIX” series which was later to diversify into the now hugely successful “Linux” series which we are still using today.
I am part of a dual processor setup and we had six virtual machines between us giving us the run around. My other half is a debugger at the microcode level and make a living from people diagnosing what’s wrong with their setup. Since 2000 some of my machine cycles have been devoted to the “M” series of Linux reactors which I have found to for the most part stable. Since 2013 a couple of my virtual machines have matured and become processors in their own right and they have taken over the donkey work of maintaining the system allowing me to dedicate the majority of my machine cycles to the new “OMV” series.”