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24 November, 2015

Michael Meeks: 2015-11-24 Tuesday

20:29 UTCmember

  • More struggling with main-loops; product team call. Discovered that the new scheduler has the (non-optimal) idea of setting a MAX_UINT64 timeout in milliseconds to the glib main-loop timeout; and this is really a non-clever idea.
  • Also (thanks Dimstar) managed to find the SRPMs for openSUSE 13.2 which was surprisingly hard (though finding the source in the build-service is easy).
  • Plugged away; tested on windows; Norbert kindly tested on Mac; all good (encouragingly). Read stories for babes.

23 November, 2015

Michael Meeks: 2015-11-23 Monday

21:00 UTCmember

  • A day of E-mail, and lots of calls; 1:1's, partner team meeting, bit of hackery; team meeting; more hackery until late - trying to unwind a lot of evil in the VCL main-loop; we badly need a real 'idle' concept; starting to get to that.

22 November, 2015


For all Ceph interested people in Germany, especially Bavaria: There will be a Linux-Stammtisch next week on 24.11.2015 in Munich. I will present about "Ceph - Overview, Experiences and Outlook". If you are interested, the meeting starts at 19:00 (CET) at the Paulaner Bräuhaus. You find more information and can register here.

There will be also a talk held by Andreas Pöschl from BMW. The topic is: "Erfahrungen bei der Integration von Open Stack in eine Enterprise-Umgebung". And for sure there will be time for networking and beer after the talks and discussion.

Michael Meeks: 2015-11-22 Sunday

21:00 UTCmember

  • Off to NCC, Claire spoke, quickly home for a fine roast lunch with M&ampD bid 'bye to them later, slugged a bit. Off to see David, some ladder steadying, and weather-board sawing action together. Home for tea, bed early.

Sankar P: AWStruck

09:17 UTCmember



A long post about my experience with implementing a quiz software in my college, a decade ago and wondering how easy things have become now due to AWS.


In 2002 (iirc) (thirteen years ago, as of composing this post) when I was in college, we had an inter-collegiate technical symposium, where Online Quiz was one of the events. A Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 (which I personally consider to be one of the best software ever developed) application was developed in-house and installed on about 50 computers, where various contestants from different colleges could come and take the test. However, as Murphy predicted, due to various virus issues, the software failed spectacularly. Some answers/responses got corrupt, accumulation of responses from different machines proved faulty, the scoring went awry in some corner cases, etc. Overall, the application turned out to be total chaos. However, since India is populous, we were able to throw more people at the problem and finish the event, with a lot of manual effort, inspite of a few unhappy participants.

In the planning phase for the subsequent edition of the symposium two years later, a software development committee for formed. It would do all the software for the entire event,  (like creating a website, developing flash/swish videos, software for the individual events, etc.). The quiz event had two rounds, a preliminary round where all the appearing colleges contested and a final round where six (or probably more) top colleges from the previous round were selected. An eloquent person was made incharge of the quiz event. I proposed to the person that we do the software for the preliminary rounds ourselves, instead of depending on the committee. The committee was already swamped with work and they were happy to get rid of a piece that has more chances of failure. Some adventurous people (like Antony) expressed their interest in joining the project. Thus it all began.

The Adventure

Much to the amusement of my roommate Bala, I started with planning the architecture and design on paper (complete with UML diagrams, etc.), instead of starting with coding as is the norm for us those days. Much later I came across an interesting quote by Alan Kay, "At scale, architecture dominates material". Having learnt from the mistakes of the previous years, I made some decisions.

* The software should follow the web (client-server) model, that is getting popular. At least this is an excuse to learn some new (then) technologies, like JSP, Javascript, Tomcat etc.
* The server machine becomes a single point of failure for the entire system. It could prove to be a performance bottleneck to, as our machines were all having a humongous 32 MB of RAM. There was one 64 MB ram in our lab which I planned to use as the server. In our hostel, some had a machine with luxurious 128 MB of RAM, which I was planning to borrow if the need comes.
* The single point of failure, the server should

21 November, 2015

Michael Meeks: 2015-11-21 Saturday

21:00 UTCmember

  • J. out at a Pregnancy Crisis conference in Birmingham with Sarah. Looked after Isaac; H. and N. out to YFC Edwardian tea-party event; played with M. and N. got a bit of work done too.
  • David over in the evening; dinner, really good to catch up with him; M&D over, call with Tom & Becky; J. returned, up late chatting.

20 November, 2015

Michael Meeks: 2015-11-20 Friday

21:00 UTCmember

  • Up; mail chew, upgraded my Google+ - oh dear; found it impossible to add someone I searched for to a circle - weird; sad too - I need to use Circles to work around Google+'s searching bugs; some people simply don't show up and need their own individual circle. Another acute irritation is that people who pay for Google services, seem to get an emasculated Hangout experience - whereby they can't call, or be called by freeloaders (like myself) - which makes it hard to include or interact with them.
  • Lots of admin catchup from a day out and a crazy week too.


The openSUSE Project has been very busy this week. The project shared a booth with SUSE at the Supercomputing Conference in Austin, Texas, this week.

The theme (see photo above) caught the attention of the attendees and those stopping by the booth could get a lightsaber for watching our presentations or playing a retro Sega Star Wars from 1994 running on openSUSE Leap 42.1.

SC15 really put things into perspective on how scientists, physicists and sysadmins use the Geeko distribution for simulations, Exascale computing and High Performance Computing and system management.

Several attendees expressed interest in ARM and the timing was perfect to let the attendees know that openSUSE released a port of openSUSE Leap 42.1 to AArch64, which is installable on the AMD, APM and Cavium SoCs (Seattle, X-Gene, ThunderX). There is also sharing the SLE12 SP1 ARM enablement for those hardware platforms, but providing the full Leap package set.

Hack Week

In three weeks, openSUSE/SUSE hackers will experiment without limits! That’s right, we will have Hack Week from Dec. 7 – 11. This Hack Week 13, which I’ll nickname Hack Week 7/11, is all about bringing innovation to the project and exploring the possibility of making ideas a reality. Anyone can participate. Just visit https://hackweek.suse.com/, sign up for a project you like or create a new project and recruit participants to hack with you.


Tumbleweed is once again finding a rhythm for the release of its snapshots. This week there were three snapshots and its possible there might be a fourth before the end of the week.

The three snapshots this week brought GNOME 3.18.2, KDE Applications 15.08.03 and several other fixes.

In the next snapshot, expect new default system fonts, X.Org 1.18 and Mesa 11.0.5. Ghostscript 9.18 is also expected, but it did cause a few build failures in stagings, so if you’re building anything against it, be forewarned.

There are some projects in Factory staging we need your help with before they will be released in a Tumbleweed snapshot.

Dominique Leuenberger wrote in the Tumbleweed weekly review email that some expect issues with the new Boost version 1.59 and that there are quick a few fixes needed. GStreamer 1.6 has most of the packages ready, but some the critical component Phonon is missing.

With all this, I wish you a great weekend – and always remember: Have a
lot of fun.


Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

It’s been another week in which the weed has been steadily tumbling. A solid three snapshots have been published this week (with a 4th one being tested right now in openQA)

The snapshots brought you those goodies:

  • GNOME 3.18.2
  • KDE Applications 15.08.3
  • Many other smaller fixes (sddm 0.13, python-coverage update)

The snapshot currently running through openQA (20151118) will bring some bigger additions:

  • the new default system fonts (that’s why it takes a bit longer: all needles in staging had of course been updated, but the full Tumbleweed QA has > 70 tests compared to the ~10 running in Stagings, so a bunch more needles missing). With the current progress, though, we should be able to expect QA to pass later today or on the weekend.
  • Ghostscript 9.18: it did cause a few build failures in stagings already (renamed error variables); so if you’re building anything against it, you might be hit by this too.
  • X.Org 1.18: if you’re running binary blob drivers, you might want to block off this update. The vendors might take some time to get their drivers in shape.
  • Mesa 11.0.5: addressing a bunch of stability issue with nouveau and i965 drivers

The staging projects are currently all busy – Some of them need your help to resolve the pending issues. The main updates causing issues are:

  • Boost 1.59: I think everybody expects issues with a new boost version by now. This time around, all but one have been fixed: cmis-client still fails on ppc64le.
  • GStreamer 1.6: most of the packages seem ready for this. The critical component missing is Phonon

Besides all those updates, we’re struggling a lot with building java-related packages since the update of Kernel to version 4.3.0 – it seems this kernel, running as guest in KVM, triggers some bugs that are only seen when building / running java related things (see also boo#954218)

With all this, I wish you a great weekend – and always remember: Have a lot of fun

19 November, 2015

Michael Meeks: 2015-11-19 Thursday

21:00 UTCmember

  • Up too early; mail chew, slideware. Train to Cambridge setup; good to catch up with Neil; Customer meeting all day, fun. Home, read stories to babes, bed early.

18 November, 2015

Michael Meeks: 2015-11-18 Wednesday

21:00 UTCmember

  • Mail chew; slideware building; built ESC stats; fun. Worked late on slideware.

17 November, 2015

Michael Meeks: 2015-11-17 Tuesday

21:00 UTCmember

  • Mail chew; hackery; calls; more hacking.

16 November, 2015

Michael Meeks: 2015-11-16 Monday

21:00 UTCmember

  • Practise with babes; chat with Robert; mail chew, struggled onwards with OpenGL / GLX API - such a hideous disaster-area of API mis-design it is harder to find than OpenGL: first, fully understand all global state the driver has, second - understand how each method manipulates it, third - understand how that intersects with each OS' use of the underlying resources.


On Saturday we had the openSUSE Leap 42.1 release party in Munich, which I announced a couple of days ago. We had around 20 participants there: about 10 openSUSE users and also about 10 GNU/Linux users from the Linux Presentation Day – people that just started using Free Software and wanted to know more about openSUSE, GNU project, Open Source in general and of course celebrate with us the new release :)

But at the beginning I had no idea where we can meet in Munich. On Wednesday I asked in our German ML about location and Marcus advised Linux Presentation Day. Two minutes later I sent email to Linux Presentation Day event’s organizers and asked about separate room with beamer and power sockets. We got everything what we asked about. Thanks a lot for collaboration!

After that, on Friday (when I was sure about location and room was reserved for us) I come to Nuremberg to take openSUSE promotion material like USB flash sticks, DVDs, stickers, green “Leap” T-shirts and openSUSE beer. It’s not so far away from Munich. I think, about half of eighth I was at SUSE Office and Richard gave all “release party stuff” (last time, when I organized openSUSE 12.1 release party in Göttingen, I got all these stuff via post, with the exception of beer of course).

I had a talk about openSUSE project in general: the talk was targeted primarily for those who never heard about OBS, Leap or openQA. I tried emphasized the role of the community in openSUSE project.
I got many questions about systemd, SUSE impact on the openSUSE and quality of the “Enterprise Core” part which will be used in the Leap. I enjoyed talking with many that showed up and received as main feedback from many of those that I talked with.
If you’re going to invite “everybody” to your release party, you don’t need to talk so much about infrastructure or development model of openSUSE, I guess. That’s important and interesting for developers and Free Software evangelists maybe, but not for users, who are still not sure about contributing. For such users it’s more important how good this version as a desktop system than how easy to use submit request in OBS or which programming language should they use for implementation of tests for openQA or something like this.

By the way, at Linux Presentation Day we met one journalist from linux-user.de. So, I think my post will not be the only one about this event :)

I want to thank Richard and Doug for openSUSE stuff, Linux Presentation Day organizers for hosting us in the VHS building and… thanks to all who joined us! See you next time and have a lot of fun :)

more photos.

15 November, 2015

Michael Meeks: 2015-11-15 Sunday

21:00 UTCmember

  • NCC, back for a pizza lunch. Played games, slugged; Quartet practice, managed to knock off a new Christmas Carol rather quickly; good. Bronny over for a chat with J.

14 November, 2015

Michael Meeks: 2015-11-14 Saturday

21:00 UTCmember

  • Out to Go-Ape in Thetford with Naomi - her annual trip with the Father; swung through trees variously; fun. Had a nice lunch together. Home, worked away at OpenGL rendering pieces.

13 November, 2015

Michael Meeks: 2015-11-13 Friday

21:00 UTCmember

  • Mail chew, sub-team call. Curious about Microsoft's principles around Cloud Computing. It is curious in a single article to highlight the inter-service co-operation between Governments and the safety brought by hosting your data in a place that it is easy for the local Gov't to get access to without your knowledge. While regulatory compliance is an important topic, having full control of your data & applications on a real private cloud still seems like a good approach for people with real privacy concerns.
  • Some real hacking on OpenGL bits; sync. with Cor, more hackery, interview; dinner, played with babes, couldn't sleep, more hackery until late to get exhausted.


This is the third and final part of a little blog series about a new chunking algorithm that we discussed in ownCloud. You might be interested to read the first two parts ownCloud Chunking NG and Announcing an Upload as well.

This part makes a couple of ideas how the new chunking could be useful with a future feature of incremental sync (also called delta sync) in ownCloud.

In preparartion of delta sync the server could provide another new WebDAV route: remote.php/dav/blocks.

For each file, remote.php/dav/blocks/file-id exists as long as the server has valid checksums for blocks of the file which is identified by its unique file id.

A successful reply to remote.php/dav/blocks/file-id returns an JSON formatted data block with byte ranges and the respective checksums (and the checksum type) over the data blocks for the file. The client can use that information to calculate the blocks of data that has changed and thus needs to be uploaded.

If a file was changed on the server and as a result the checksums are not longer valid, access to remote.php/blocks/file-id is returning the 404 "not found" return code. The client needs to be able to handle missing checksum information at any time.

The server gets the checksums of file blocks along the upload of the chunks from the client. There is no obligation of the server to calculate the checksums of data blocks that came in other than through the clients, yet it can if there is capacity.

To implement incremental sync, the following high level processing could be implemented:

  1. The client downloads the blocklist of the file: GET remote.php/dav/blocks/file-id
  2. If GET succeeded: Client computes the local blocklist and computes changes
  3. If GET failed: All blocks of the file have to be uploaded.
  4. Client sends request MKCOL /uploads/transfer-id as described in an earlier part of the blog.
  5. For blocks that have changed: PUT data to /uploads/transfer-id/part-no
  6. For blocks that have NOT changed: COPY /blocks/file-id/block-no /uploads/transfer-id/part-no
  7. If all blocks are handled by either being uploaded or copied: Client sends MOVE /uploads/transfer-id /path/to/target-file to finalize the upload.

This would be an extension to the previously described upload of complete files. The PROPFIND semantic on /uploads/transfer-id remains valid.

Depending on the amount of not changed blocks, this could be a dramatic cut for the data that have to be uploaded. More information has to be collected to find out how much that is.

Note that this is still in the idea- and to-be-discussed state, and not yet an agreed specification for a new chunking algorithm.

Please, as usual, share your feedback with us!


I’m still working on YodaQA and there is quite some interest in it in my mailbox. One thing leads to another and our startup Ailao already has a few first customers, we work together on various related semantic NLP / search projects.

In YodaQA, we have a much neater web interface as well as a mobile app as the natural way to interact with a QA system is using your voice. Plus, on a limited domain (movies), we are getting pretty close to crossing the 80% mark for accuracy on simpler questions, entering the “magic zone” where people might start really trusting the system. A few essential blocks for that are still in the pipeline, though.

I’ll try to post a bit more about YodaQA and other work we are doing in the coming weeks / months (as well as some of my hobby projects, of course).

For a course of Jan Šedivý, I prepared a presentation on building apps around the semantic web and linked data. See it here for an intro to the tech, it also includes two silly web mashups that might be inspiring.


Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

During this week we were fortunate to receive 3 snapshots. So plenty of room for many updates.

The most important parts in those snapshots were:

  • Linux Kernel 4.3
  • PulseAudio 7.1
  • Mozilla Firefox 42
  • translation-update is now a dummy package in Tumbleweed. The fast pace made this package do more harm than good

What are the next snapshots bringing:

  • Completion of GNOME 3.18.2 release
  • GNOME 3 will be able to be launched out of SDDM

And what is happening in stagings, that’s likely going to take some more time?

  • The switching of the default fonts as discussed: Roboto and Noto will be the new defaults. We are just busy updating the openQA setup to identify the screenshots.
  • Mesa 11.0.5 – with a bunch of i965 and nouveau fixes
  • KDE Frameworks 5.16.0
  • Plasma 5.4.3

Have a fun time!

12 November, 2015

Michael Meeks: 2015-11-12 Thursday

21:00 UTCmember

  • Commercial team call, mail chew left & right, quick monthly mgmt call, ESC call; finally got to fixing an easy bug to stay sane.


openSUSE 42.1 Leap was released about week ago and it is looking good. Now we have community enterprise system. I would like to thank everyone who contribute to openSUSE project and help to make it better.

Of course, we should have openSUSE release party! openSUSE community haven’t had release parties in Munich for a while (since I live in Munich I think we never had it here).

So, what is release party about? Well… like usual: Linux geeks meet together, speak about features in new openSUSE version, news in Free Software world, drink beer and… of course have a lot of fun ;)

A few days ago I started discussion about release party with Linux Presentation Day organizers and it seems that problem with location is solved now. We will get small meeting room with power sockets and beamer there. That is exactly what we need. I also asked Doug and Robert about some “promotional material”, openSUSE beer and TShirts. Tomorrow (Friday) I’m going to go to SUSE office in Nuremberg to take it (beer can not be trusted to anybody).

Do you want be a part of it?
* November 14, Saturday
* I start my presentation at 12:00 AM. I’m going to talk (presentation) about OBS, Leap and openSUSE project in general.
* vhs-Zentrum, Münchner Str. 72, Eingang rechts, 85774 Unterföhring
* Don’t forget to bring your good mood and friends ;)

Everybody are very welcome! If you have any questions about openSUSE, GNU project or Free Software, feel free to come and ask.



Two releases snapshots in Tumbleweed brought a new Linux kernel and a web browser update for Mozilla.

Firefox updated to version 42 in the 20151110 snapshot and the 20151106 snapshot updated the Linux kernel to 4.3.

Firefox 42 removed some obsolete patches and had some Login Manager improvements.

Wine updated to version 1.7.54 and improved video decoding; major Turkish translations were in the update as well. Btrfs had several updates in the 20151110 snapshot so expect big improvements to the filesystem and its usage.

Tumbleweed has branding that has yet to be implemented, so contributors are more than welcome to work on including it in Tumbleweed.


For those using openSUSE Leap 42.1 and sysadmins managing several computers, Machinery can now be used with openSUSE’s latest release Leap 42.1. For those who are unfamiliar with the Machinery Project, check it out. It’s a great command line tool that focuses on system analysis, automation and tool integration.

Being able to use Machinery with openSUSE is just one of several reasons for developers, sysadmins and desktop users to use openSUSE’s two distributions Tumbleweed and openSUSE Leap 42.1.

For more information one how to use Machinery, visit the github page.


You get a bug report from a user:

/usr/lib/foo/bar.rb:432:in `doit': undefined method `[]' for nil:NilClass (NoMethodError)
but in bar.rb at the line 432 there are no square brackets. The user must be using an older version of the script. Can we find out which one without asking them?

Git can help. This code will go back in history and show the line how it appeared during the past. It's a history of a single line, kind of like "git blame" but in a different dimension.

git log --format=format:%H $FILE \
| while read COMMIT_ID; do
    echo -n $COMMIT_ID:$FILE:$LINE:
    git show $COMMIT_ID:$FILE | sed -n "$LINE{p;q}"
  done \
| less

Have I reinvented the wheel? What is its name?


So, first of all, this is all very much work-in-progress and highly experimental. It’s related to the work on screen management which I’ve outlined in an earlier article.

libkscreen wayland benchmark data

I ran a few benchmarks across our wayland stack, especially measuring interprocess communication performance when switching from X11 (or, in fact XCB and XRandR) to wayland. I haven’t done a highly scientific setup, just ran the same code with different backends to see how long it takes to receive information about screens connected, their modes, etc..
I also ran the numbers when loading the libkscreen backend in-process, more on that later.


The spreadsheet shows three data columns, in vertical blocks per backend the results for 4-5 individual runs and their mean values. One column for the default out-of-process mode, one with loading the backend in process and one showing the speedup between in- and out-of-process of the same backend.
The lower part contains some cross referencing of the mean values to compare different setups.
All values are nano seconds.


My results show a speedup of between 2 and 2.5 times when querying screen information on X11 and on wayland, wayland being much faster here.
The qscreen and xrandr backends perform pretty similar, they’re both going through XCB. That checks out. The difference between wayland and xrandr/qscreen can then be attributed to either the wayland protocol or its implementation in KWayland being much faster than the corresponding XCB implementations.

But, here’s the kicker…

in- vs. out-of-process

The main overhead, as it turns out, is libkscreen loading the backend plugins out-of-process. That means that it starts a dbus-autolaunched backend process and then passes data over DBus between the libkscreen front-end API and the backend plugin. It’s done that way to shield the client API (for example the plasma shell process or systemsettings) from unsafe calls into X11, as it encapsulates some crash-prone code in the XRandR backend. When using the wayland backend, this is not necessary, as we’re using KWayland, which is much safer.
I went ahead and instrumented libkscreen in a way that these backends are being loaded in process, which avoids most of the overhead. This change has an even more dramatic influence on performance: on X11, the speedup is 1.6x – 2x, on wayland loading the backend in-process makes it run 10 times faster. Of course, these speedups are complementary, so combined, querying screen information on wayland can be done about 20 times faster.

While this change from out-of-process to in-process backends introduces a bit more complexity in the library, it has a couple of other advantages additional to the performance gains. In-process means that debugging is much easier. If there are crashes, we do not hide them anymore, but identify and fix them. It also makes development more worthwhile, since it’s much easier to debug and test the backends and frontend API together. It also means that we can load backend plugins at the same time.


11 November, 2015

Michael Meeks: 2015-11-11 Wednesday.

21:00 UTCmember

  • Mail chew, back to back documentation lead interviews. Lunch.
  • Hacking on ValueSet's to let them have icons and labels hopefully improves the look of impress transitions, nice to do a bit of hacking.
  • TDF board call.


Green TuxPreviously I wrote about running openSUSE Tumbleweed on the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Within there I indicated that the camera didn’t work without applying the “Enable UVC 1.5 device detection” patch. However, I didn’t explain how to get this on your openSUSE Tumbleweed system.

Here are the steps I took to get the camera working with the patch from Laurent Pinchart.
Install pre-requisites
sudo zypper -n autoconf rpm-build gcc

Download Kernel
wget https://cdn.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v4.x/linux-4.3.tar.xz

Decompress Kernel Archive
Note: this should be done somewhere within your home directory or somewhere your user has access to, this should not be done with elevated privileges
tar xvf linux-4.3.tar.xz -C ~/src/

Change Directory to Proper Directory
cd ~/src/linux-4.3/

Copy current .config configuration from running kernel
cp /boot/config-`uname -r` .config

Append verbiage to differentiate kernel naming
vim Makefile
Modify line "EXTRAVERSION =" to "EXTRAVERSION = -mssp3"

Build Kernel RPM
Note: this process will take a while, so feel free to do something else. Time to complete will depend on power of the build system. It took roughly 1.75 hours on the SP3.
make rpm

Once the build is completed you’ll see an output similar to the following:
Wrote: /home/ben/rpmbuild/SRPMS/kernel-4.3.0_spro3_1_default-2.src.rpm
Wrote: /home/ben/rpmbuild/RPMS/x86_64/kernel-4.3.0_spro3_1_default-2.x86_64.rpm
Wrote: /home/ben/rpmbuild/RPMS/x86_64/kernel-headers-4.3.0_spro3_1_default-2.x86_64.rpm
Wrote: /home/ben/rpmbuild/RPMS/x86_64/kernel-devel-4.3.0_spro3_1_default-2.x86_64.rpm
Executing(%clean): /bin/sh -e /var/tmp/rpm-tmp.TzRJcR
+ umask 022
+ cd /home/ben/rpmbuild/BUILD
+ cd kernel-4.3.0_spro3_1_default
+ rm -rf /home/ben/rpmbuild/BUILDROOT/kernel-4.3.0_spro3_1_default-2.x86_64
+ rm -rf filelists
rm kernel-4.3.0_spro3_1_default.tar.gz kernel.spec

Install the newly packaged Kernel RPM
sudo zypper -n in /home/ben/rpmbuild/RPMS/x86_64/kernel-4.3.0_spro3_1_default-2.x86_64.rpm

Change default boot option – SuSE Way
You can change the newly installed Kernel to be the default boot option by running the bootloader yast module:
kdesu yast2 bootloader
Click "Bootloader Options"
Drop down "Default Boot Section" to the newly installed kernel that isn't appended with -rpm
"Advanced options for openSUSE Tumbleweed>openSUSE Tumbleweed, with Linux 4.3.0-spro3-1-default"

Reboot your system
Reboot your system into the new kernel and test the cameras. Both the front and rear should be detected and usable.

Hope this was helpful.

If the patch by Laurent Pinchart isn’t applied upstream within the next 2 releases I’ll move forward to create a branch of kernel-default in OBS and create a repository for it.

10 November, 2015

Michael Meeks: 2015-11-10 Tuesday.

21:00 UTCmember

  • Into Cambridge, caught up with Tracie, met with Dom & Ben. Hacked a bit, home again for lunch. More hackery and E-mail.
  • Out in the evening to help with the Cub's night-hike, spent a long time discussing interesting questions: the probability of asteroid strike, what to do when abducted by Aliens, the end of the world, Nazis - and their role (or not) in the twin-towers, and so on. Small boys are rather different to small girls it seems.
  • Back to listen to some Milton Jones (the man is awesome), What's it like to have voices in your head ... I hear you ask, Militant Feminists ... I take my hat off to them.


People in my generation are used to the fact that you can install a new operating system on any computer. But if you look back in the history of computing and look forward towards the future you realize that this is the exception and not the rule.

For a long time hardware and software, at least the operating system part, were sold and used together. The software is already installed on the hardware when you buy it from the manufacturers and can’t easily be replaced because it is tied very closely together. The only exception is the personal computer between the mid 80s until now. When you look at all other computing platforms you see that this is a very unusual exception. Hardware and software are tied very closely together in everything from embedded to mainframes to mobile devices like your iPhone or Android phone.

This was the case for all the computers before the IBM PC. Examples are the early mini computer and mainframes like the IBM 360 and 370 series. It was basically impossible to replace the operating system.

Then in the 70s the first home computers or personal computers showed up. Examples are the Commodore PET, the Apple II and the first Tandy. Later in the 80s we had the Atari, the Commodore C64, ZX Spectrum, the Macintosh, a bunch of Unix workstations and the Amiga. All of them shipped with an operating system that was basically irreplaceable by normal users. Sometimes technically possible not practical for normal users.

Let’s look at current and future computing platforms. Today we have mobile phones, PDAs and tablets, Smart TVs, smart watches, cars and a ton of other computer platforms where hardware and software are closely tied together. Today it is even harder to install different operating systems thanks to the wonders of DRM and locked down boot-loaders.

The only computing platform where we have a lively market of alternative operating systems is the IBM compatible personal computer space. Here we can choose from a ton of different commercial and free Linux distributions, we had players like OS/2 and different flavors of DOS from different vendors and Microsoft selling Windows in boxes independent from the hardware. This open platform made it possible for the free software community and the Linux vendors to develop a market of alternative operating systems.

So why is the PC different? There are no real form-factor or hardware or software or technical reasons. It is theoretically possible to replace the OS on all the other platforms if the hardware manufacturer would support it. Admittedly, in the world of special purpose super computing hardware it is the norm. And I’m sure someone will send me a message and pointing out how this could be done by a very experienced hacker. But  the fact is that this will never be mainstream. On all these platforms the hardware and the software are tied closely together. There are no technical reasons. The only reason is that

Martin Vidner: Arabic Text Bugfix

08:41 UTCmember


Can you spot the difference?


If this rings a bell but you can't quite remember why, here's an English version of the screen, and the spoiler for the puzzle is below it:
Spoiler: The line containing "passwd" is clipped at the (left) end, showing only "المحا" instead of "المحلي۔". This bug got popular in the YaST team because the localization testers dutifully reported every instance of a truncated label so the bug accumulated 22 duplicates. It only happened for the Arabic script which made it a bit more challenging to work with, but luckily I know the script and a few words.

Thanks to Max Lin who pointed me to a problem between the Qt UI library and the HarfBuzz text shaping engine, the problem is now fixed.

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