News and Editorialshall monitor policy," which empowers certain community members to act to suppress conversations which are deemed to be counterproductive. The monitors (Josh Boyer, Tom "Spot" Callaway, and Seth Vidal) recently made use of their power on fedora-devel-list; as a result, we can see what kind of discussion the project would rather do without.
The policy tasks the hall monitors this way:
Should they encounter this kind of stuff, they can send warnings to specific participants in the discussion, force their email to go through moderators for a day or two, and issue "thread closure" notices to try to halt out-of-control conversations.
The thread which brought on the monitors seemed to start innocently enough - though many observers could have predicted what was going to happen. Ankur Sinha posted a help request noting that wodim was failing to burn DVDs correctly. Your editor can hear the forehead-slapping from here: any such post is well known, by now, to be an open invitation for Jörg Schilling to show up and complain about the existence of wodim (and its parent package cdrkit) when distributions should, of course, be shipping his cdrtools package. Show up he did, with predictable results.
This particular issue has been covered here before; there is really nothing new to report about it. But that did not stop Jörg from repeating his arguments on the list - lots of times. After a while, Tom served notice that the thread was "now covered under the hall-monitor policy" and that future posts would elicit formal warnings. It took a few of those warnings, but the intervention had the desired effect: the thread has pretty well died out.
One could see this action as a victory for those trying to improve the mailing list environment. Cdrtools-related threads, wherever they appear, tend to go on for a very long time and to accomplish very little. Doubtless there are plenty of fedora-devel-list subscribers who do not regret this thread's truncation.
But one should always question the suppression of conversation, and there are things to question here. The thread seemed to be profanity-free, and there were no threats of violence. Some messages could, perhaps, be seen as a "personal attack" or "disrespectful" against Jörg, but they were on the mild side; fedora-devel-list has seen far worse. Serious flames were all but lacking here. The discussion, while treading on the edge of what policy allows, did not clearly go beyond it. So one might speculate that the real reason this thread was shut down was (1) the monitors had good reason to believe that it was about to escalate into clearly policy-infringing territory, or (2) they just didn't want to endure yet another interminable cdrtools argument.
Either way, the shutdown could be seen as a little troubling. Distributors should think twice before silencing developers who are unhappy about how their software is being distributed (in all fairness, Red Hat and Fedora have given Jörg several opportunities to express his view on this matter). Some participants were trying to talk about the poor state of cdrkit, which is an increasingly serious problem. Many of us burn fewer disks than we used to, but there is still a need for a good program for the writing of optical media. Cdrkit works for a lot of people, but it has clear problems and does not seem to be under any sort of active development. Suppressing discussions will not make that problem go away.
This intervention may well have been justified; certainly it's unlikely that anything useful was going to come from that particular discussion. But the use of repressive power should always be reviewed. It would be a shame if, someday, an important development project came to have very polite "halls" where people were afraid or unable to talk about important issues.
New Releasesannounced the release of new Platform Five products. "ALT Linux announces public availability of two products based on Platform Five: ALT Linux 5.0 Ark, a suite designed for making integrated solutions, and ALT Linux 5.0 School, a suite that is [targeted] at secondary and high schools." the release notes and the release tour for details. This is it folks! We're almost there for openSUSE 11.2. Time to grab the final 11.2 release candidate and shake out any remaining bugs to get the lizard ready for release. This release includes an updated kernel, Samba, Firefox, and more. This release should be almost ready for the gold master stamp, but there's still time to shake out remaining bugs." announced. "The content: - The Kernel 2.6.31-gentoo - The KDE 4.3.2 as desktopenvironment - Xorg-Server version 1.6.5 - OpenOffice 3.1.1 - Amarok 2.2 as the KDE Mulimediaplayer - The mediaplayer VLC 1.0.2 - IceCat 3.5.3 - and much more ..." desktop edition, the server edition, a UEC (cloud) image, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Mythbuntu, Ubuntu Studio, and an ARM version. See the overview for a summary of what's new in this release.
Debian GNU/LinuxI wrote several new guides about Debian on the Linksys NSLU2 this weekend. The new guides cover the following topics: - Troubleshooting: common problems and their solutions - Internals about the boot process of Debian on the NSLU2 - Modifying a NSLU2 firmware image - Cloning a NSLU2 - Migration guide: how to move your Debian installation from your NSLU2 to a SheevaPlug. " Just a quick update on goings on in ftpmaster after the meeting last week. We'll be sending out a full report as soon as we've finished writing it, but we wanted to make people aware of a few things."
FedoraThe Board is holding its monthly public meeting on Thursday, November 5, 2009, at 1700 UTC on IRC Freenode. For this meeting, the public is invited to do the following:..." Simply put, the goal of the SIG is going to be: 1. Working on identifying the various workflows / needs of the medical or healthcare community in terms of software. 2. Bring together and package the software those fitting in the workflow. 3. Composing a spin to get a out-of-the-box solution. 4. At a later stage, developing any crucial app that may be lacking. To make it a success, we need volunteers. So please join, if you feel that it is a worthy cause. Once a few more people are there, we can discuss and take it forward."
Gentoo Linuxlooks at benchmarks for Gentoo using different levels of GCC optimization. Testing -O2, -O3, and -Os (the latter being "optimize for size") for Gentoo, as well as adding Ubuntu 9.04 into the mix, they run the Phoronix test suite and graph the results. As one might guess, the results are mixed: "These tests show that when it comes to optimizing with GCC, there is not a huge amount of difference between them. If there had to be a winner, it would probably be -O2. It was often on par with -O3 while sometimes leading and sometimes trailing by a small margin. The fact that -O2 will also result in lower memory usage probably helps to tip the scales in its favour."
Ubuntu familyWe do not recommend that users upgrade to Lucid at this time; it is likely to be in very considerable flux until the initial round of merges is complete. As ever, any developers wishing to take the plunge at this early stage should ensure that they are comfortable with recovering from anything up to complete system failure. Automatic syncs from Debian will begin shortly. Because Lucid is an LTS, autosyncing will track the Debian testing series for this cycle, rather than Debian unstable as we normally do."
Other distributionsannounced the addition of 40 cloud-based virtual appliances. "TurnKey Linux has announced its largest release to date, which includes 25 new additions to its free virtual appliance library featuring some of the world's best open source software. Support has been added for Amazon EC2 cloud and the OVF virtual appliance format. The project which already supported many popular open source applications including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Ruby on Rails, LAMP and Django has expanded its virtual appliance library..."
Distribution NewslettersWelcome to FWN issue 200, an impressive milestone! This week's issue starts off with news and views from the Fedora community, including further work on libguestfs, examination of several new features in Fedora 12, and work on a new tool for ICC color management in Gnome. In Quality Assurance, details from last week's Test Day on internationalization support in Fedora, and great updates on the various QA weekly meetings as we get closer to Fedora 12. In Translation news, several updates pertinent to Fedora 12 GA release, as well as details on Publican 1.0, which the Docs and Transaltion teams use for publishing books, articles, papers and multi-volume sets with DocBook XML." In this week's issue: * openSUSE News: Announcing the Second openSUSE Board Election * Sneak Peeks (Preview 11.2) * nixCraft/Vivek Gite: 20 Linux Server Hardening Security Tips * Joe Brockmeier: openSUSE 11.2 final release candidate ready! * openSUSE Forums: openSUSE 11.2 the Perfect KDE Distribution". In this issue we cover: Ubuntu 9.10 released, Ubuntu Open Week, Ubuntu One Blog: File sync status update, Canonical Blog: Landscape 1.4 Adds UEC Support, Asia Oceania Membership Board - 27 Oct 09, New MOTU, Ubuntu LoCo News, Meet Francis Lacoste, Accessing Git, Subversion and Mercurial from Bazaar, Commenting on questions, The Planet, Full Circle Magazine #30, Ubuntu Rescue Remix, and much, much more!"
Newsletters and articles of interestopinion of Android on his blog. He bases it on Matt Porter's presentation at the Embedded Linux Conference Europe, called "Android Mythbusters" [PDF]. Porter outlined what he learned while porting Android to PowerPC and MIPS architectures. Welte characterizes Android as Google having "thrown 5-10 years of Linux userspace evolution into the trashcan and re-implemented it partially for no reason. [...] Executive summary: Android is a screwed, hard-coded, non-portable abomination."
Distribution reviewsreviews Ubuntu 9.10. "The Ubuntu Linux menagerie has birthed a new creature, the Karmic Koala, with the release last week of Ubuntu Linux 9.10. The successor to the release code named Jaunty Jackalope (aka version 9.04) boasts a herd of changes and enhancements that are so far making testers smile." (Thanks to Philip Webb). a review of three netbook distributions. "In this round-up, I take a look at three alternative netbook operating systems: Ubuntu Netbook Remix (from Canonical Ltd.), Moblin (from The Linux Foundation) and Jolicloud (an upcoming spin-off of UNR which, as of this writing, has yet to be officially released). I evaluate their ease of installation, usefulness, and whether they might breathe new life into your netbook."
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