Author Archive


Council Meeting Minutes 2010-03-12

Replace IcedTea (current) WITH Sun’s Java: There is no real gain in using IcedTea and as far as I know, it isn’t worth the time and effort (OgMaciel)

This actually covers different aspects: A user-facing aspect and an engineering aspect which relates to the nitty gritty technical details of foresight-distro-engineering and how we build Java software. And of course, there is the ever thorny licensing aspect.

  • From a user standpoint, using the Sun JRE gives the best user experience, especially when online banking systems are taken into account. Foresight currently does not ship the Sun JRE but rather the IcedTea/OpenJDK JRE per default in group-{kde,xfce,gnome}-dist.
  • From an engineering standpoint, building against IcedTea/OpenJDK is by far the preferred option, since everything that will build against and run on IcedTea will run on the Sun JRE. The reverse is not necessarily true. Hence, the preferred option is to keep building our packages against IcedTea/OpenJDK even if we ship Sun’s JRE (in group-{kde,xfce,gnome}-dist) and JDK (group-{kde,xfce,gnome}-dist-devel) per default. The point was also made that the general practice in OSS land is to build against IcedTea and hence we would be better off following that trend.
  • It is worth mentioning that while Java apps have build requirements, they don’t have runtime requirements — so whichever JRE owns /usr/bin/java wins. In practice, if both IcedTea and the Sun java stack are installed, then the icedtea java gets consumed byDefault (so a developer who installs IcedTea-{jre,jdk} without uninstalling the Sun-{JRE/JDK} will use the IcedTea-JDK in his local builds, without further action)
  • From a licensing standpoint, we are pragmatic enough to not be fussed about shipping Sun software by default, as the IcedTea JRE/JDK is available in the repository for those who cannot stomach the thought of using Sun’s proprietary Java bits. We may have to revisit this, though.

OgMaciel, doniphon and Mark__T all voted in favour of shipping sun-jre by default in group-gnome-dist. doniphon fixed the groups a few minutes later.

Shipping x86 Flash on x86_64 groups by default

  • Adobe recommends that x86 be used and not x86_64. To improve the user experience, we should follow what Adobe recommends. However, doniphon notes that the two alternative ways of achieving that create their own set of problems.
    • If we keep xulrunner/ffox 64bits, in order to use x86 flash we need nspluginwrapper (we the have latest version in our repository already) which we used in the past. But nspluginwrapper leaks a lot of memory and this is arguably worse than the issues we have now. Also this would imply no flash in chromium64.
    • We could ship ffox/xulrunner/thunderbird/and everything that depends on those as well as all plugins x86. This wouldn’t be a good idea because it would make groups a lot fatter. We can’t have a mixed stack or we would get different stuff that depends on xulrunner to render flash differently.

    None of these two solutions are acceptable.

  • Java has a working 64bit plugin now, and adobe has a somewhat working plugin. We got rid of nspluginwrapper. We believe that flash will eventually be fixed.
  • Outside of rBuilderOnline, there’s nothing to say about Flash performance on x86_64. For a distribution that promotes rBuilderOnline as a way of getting into packaging, we’re not in the sweetest of spots regarding 64-bit flash, but no Linux distribution is. That was a design decision at rPath, and while Foresight is tangentially rPath’s baby, we should not dumb anything down to make it work with something that is suboptimal. Real packagers will use rBuild anyways.
  • Users can install the x86 version of FL for their desktop if they absolutely must have x86 flash working. We should document the command line instructions for those who want to manually convert their system (as well as ways to get back defaults).
  • Given the above points, all three members of the council voted in favour of sticking to x86_64 Flash and waiting for better support from Adobe.

Status update

  • KDE is being updated.
  • jesse and doniphon are going to bump gnome (2.29/2.30 stuff) in 2-devel (that’s why doniphon promoted to 2-qa last night).
  • doniphon thinks that 2-devel is in a better state at the moment than he ever tought it would be possible.

Moving to a fixed release cycle of 6 months to match GNOME’s release cycle

  • Release here means shipping ISOs but we will obviously keep the rolling releases.
  • We should leverage the work being done by the GNOME Devel Kit project.
  • We have always tried to release close to GNOME releases but we haven’t made an impact for a while because we have lacked clear objectives. Council unanimously approves creation of a roadmap with milestones for tentative release dates to be drafted by ermo, afranke and OgMaciel. They are going to build on the existing 2.1.2 ‘roadmap’ and collect issues and post the link to -devel.
  • We shouldn’t plan too much into the future. Dates can be changed, the point is to set objectives.
  • With a roadmap we can specify a commit freeze. We already have such freezes but they happen informally in #foresight-devel where developers are warned that they shouldn’t commit after some date until stuff is promoted to 2-qa. That needs to be documented and formalised.
  • Mark__T is distracted by real life at the moment, so there won’t be noise commits from him. He’s still trying to get his focus back on anaconda and indicator stuff.
  • OgMaciel, afranke and ermo will schedule a meeting to draft roadmap, which will include issues as well.

Proposed members/developers

  • ermo as developer. Accepted unanimously. Congratulations ermo!
  • ermo needs to bug OgMaciel later on to get his new cloak.

FL 2.3.0 release sprint

  • Sometimes pulseaudio gets 100% in one core. This sound issue is not enough to block 2.3.0. There is a clear and effective workaround (pulseaudio -k) that we need to document in the release notes. The bug happens randomly and is not reproducible.
  • smerp is going to work on a FITS list of issues for PackageKit and doniphon will review that later. Some of these issues are blockers for 2.3, some can wait.
  • Transscript
    < smerp> 1. Conary 2.1.8 must be on :2 AHEAD of PackageKit. This is to resolve a temp table problem in Conary fixed in 2.1.8
    < smerp> Those are the *most* important things< smerp> 2. Memory-related fix (using Cache() too much) must be cooked into the version of PK on :2 now (0.4.x)
    < smerp> (and that needs to be in 0.4.x, too)
    < smerp> 3. Update model in PK needs to emulate what updateall does *exactly*, which it currently does not.
    < ermo> this will be useful for the roadmap, btw.
    < smerp> For me, the question of “is packagekit ready?” can be answered by this:
    < smerp> Can a user on :2 update to 2.3.0 with PK without exploding? If so, we win.
    < Mark__T> btw, I will drop ati-fglrx 10.2 and wait for 10.3 (should be released soonish), but 10.1 works fine, so we can go with that one if I don’t get a newer one in time
    < smerp> What this means is that the following things must happen ON :2 before we push the hammer
    < ermo> smerp/doniphon: we need to document how to run the upgrade tests, btw. I tried my hand at a howto on the wiki that describes how to test this.
    < ermo> i.e. the upgrade
    < smerp> ermo: W/R/T update testing: I’m afraid that updating to latest :2 is the only way we can support a real update via PK
    < smerp> people still on 2.0.4… well, I can’t help them
    < smerp> Anyone else besides me use VMware or VirtualBox or something like it?
    < smerp> Best way to test this is to use snapshots and rollbacks in a VM
    < OgMaciel> Mark__T: no voting required… thanks for attending and my apologies for the delayed start from my part
    * OgMaciel could use vmware to test
    < smerp> And, by the way, if PK got into a state where it wasn’t hand-waved as a pain in the ass so that actual power users would use it, that would rock
    < smerp> OgMaciel: please, by all means
    < OgMaciel> smerp: will do
    < smerp> Best thing you can do is get a 1 GiB RAM VM with :2 on it ready to go
    * OgMaciel makes it happen
    < Mark__T> is it PackageKit that’s broken? for me it seems like only gpk is a mess
    * smerp thinks that doniphon should push conary 2.1.8 on to :2 yesterday
    < ermo> So (very) short term, smerp and doniphon get pkgkit sane. Re. sound, we all keep and eye out and make sure to make a note of the snd-card
    < ermo> and document sound workaround in release-notes
    < doniphon> smerp: will coordinate that with mkj
    < OgMaciel> doniphon: so I will test updating current :2 *before* you bump newer conary
    < OgMaciel> for testing purposes
    < doniphon> ok
    < smerp> OgMaciel: it’s likely to break at least once. :D
    < OgMaciel> I will then give doniphon the go ahead and keep all informed
  • ermo is taking care of the polkit/PolicyKit & Gnome System Tools issue. We have traditionally used a scheme where users in the wheel group can elevate privileges using their own password. When we switched to polkit from PolicyKit, our old policies stopped working due to changes in the configuration system in polkit. This leads to the system asking for the root password for authentication. We have no root user, which is obviously a problem. ermo put out a solution so that we’re back to using wheel but something blows up when there are more than one user in the wheel group. The user installing FL is put in the wheel group by default but if you add a new user to the wheel group (with gnome-system-tools or via command line) it goes wrong. This is not a blocker for 2.3.0 because the default case works. We only need to document it as a known issue. ermo will make a new issue for it and report there.

Council Meeting Minutes 2009-11-20

Here are the minutes from the last Foresight Council meeting.


  • Announcements
  • Proposed members/developers
  • Proposed Topics
    1. Infrastructure updates
    2. Changing from Pidgin to Empathy
    3. Status update
  • Next meeting agenda


  • Web site updated to latest WordPress for security reasons.
  • Mark Trompell has a working Xfce Lite Edition and gave away a couple of prerelease CDs last week. One fedora guy took some too and promised to show Foresight at his LUG.

Foresight Kid’s Edition 1.0 Release Notes

Foresight Kid’s Edition is a Linux distribution for children that features a number of education and entertainment applications, as well as the benefits of the Foresight GNOME Edition: a rolling release schedule that always keeps your desktop up to date; a revolutionary package manager, Conary; a customized GNOME desktop environment and an innovative set of excellent, up to date software applications.

We hope you enjoy using Foresight as much as we do. Because your kid’s computer should be cool.

What’s new

The Foresight Kid’s Edition is the first release of Foresight for children. The Kid’s Edition features a number of eductational and entertainment applications for children. The Foresight Kid’s Edition also features a customized GNOME desktop, with one panel, and a new menu layout, making it easy to find the software that you want to run.

The Foresight Kid’s Edition features the following applications:


  • Tuxpaint, an award winning drawing program for children ages 3-12.
  • Tux Typing, and educational typing tutor for children.
  • GCompris, an educational software suit that includes many different activities for children ages 2 to 10.
  • Tux, of Math Command, an education arcade game starring Tux based on the class game “Missile Command”.

Entertainment and Games

  • SuperTux, a classic 2D jump ‘n run sidescroller with a similar style to the original SuperMario games.
  • SuperTuxKart, a 3D kart racing game featuring numerous tracks, characters and items.
  • Foobilliard, a 3D billiards / pool game.
  • GNU Chess, a chess game.
  • Super Maryo Chronicles, a 2D side scroller game featuring many different stages and levels..

Internet and Media Applications

  • F-Spot Photo Manager
  • Firefox Web Browser
  • Pidgin Instant Messenger
  • Banshee Media Player
  • Totem Movie Player

The Foresight GNOME edition repositories are available to Kid’s Edition Users. You can install additional software, such as or other applications. To search for additional software, click on the Administration menu and then Add / Remove Software.

Downloading and Installing

The Foresight Kid’s Edition is available for download at


Thanks to Ken VanDine, Antonio Meireles, Paul Cutler and all the developers and users who contributed to this release. Please file any bugs!

Thank you for using Foresight. Because your kid’s computer should be cool.


Foresight 1.0 Mobile Edition Release Notes

Foresight Mobile Edition is a Linux distribution for your netbook or ultra portable PC that features a rolling release schedule that always keeps your desktop up to date; a revolutionary package manager, Conary; a customized GNOME desktop environment for smaller screens and an innovative set of excellent, up to date software applications.

We hope you enjoy using Foresight as much as we do. Because your netbook should be cool.

What’s new

The Foresight Mobile Edition is the first release of Foresight for netbooks and ultra mobile PCs. The Mobile Edition features a customized GNOME desktop optimized for smaller screens, based on the netbook remix project from Canonical. The default behavior of the desktop is different than that of the Foresight GNOME Edition.

The default desktop features quick and easy links to applications, documents and other GNOME software. To return to the main desktop with menu options, click the GNOME foot logo in the upper left hand corner of the top panel.

The Foresight Mobile Edition features the following applications:

  • F-Spot Photo Manager
  • Firefox Web Browser
  • Pidgin Instant Messenger
  • Banshee Media Player
  • GNOME Movie Player

And a number of accessories and system utilities included in GNOME desktop.

The Foresight GNOME edition repositories are available to Mobile Edition Users. To search for additional software, click on the Administration menu on the left hand side, and then Add / Remove Software.

Tested Netbooks

The Foresight Mobile Edition has been tested on both the Asus eeePC and the Intel Classmate. If you install the Foresight Mobile Edition on a different, we welcome all feedback on your installation and user experience.

On the Asus eeePC, two known bugs include Power Off not working via software and wireless networking does not work on resume.

Downloading and Installing

The Foresight Mobile Edition is available for download at


Thanks to Ken VanDine, Antonio Meireles, Paul Cutler and all the developers and users who contributed to this release. Please file any bugs!

Thank you for using Foresight. Because your netbook should be cool.


Foresight Linux 2.0 XFCE Edition Alpha 1 Release Notes

Foresight Linux is a Linux distribution for your desktop that features a rolling release schedule that always keeps your desktop up to date; a revolutionary package manager, Conary; the latest GNOME and XFCE desktop environments and an innovative set of excellent, up to date packages.

This is the first alpha release of the Foresight XFCE Edition, which is for testing, and is not recommended for every day use or in a production environment.

We hope you enjoy using Foresight Linux as much as we do. Because your desktop should be cool.

What’s new

In addition to a new toolchain, the Foresight 2.0 alpha series features a new tar-based installer, that should install in less than 10 minutes, including formatting a 200 GB hard drive. Users should find it much easier to install and use binary video card drivers from Nvidia and ATI than in Foresight 1.x.


With the 2.0 release of Foresight, the Foresight System Manager has been officially replaced with PackageKit. PackageKit aims to be a unified package manager and installer available for many different Linux distributions, and Foresight is proud to be the first distribution to ship with PackageKit using the Conary backend. PackageKit is a GUI tool for managing software packages and updates for your computer, including installing, removing or searching for new software.

After a default installation, PackageKit is installed and running on your system. PackageKit is configured to check for updates once a day, and you will be prompted to install them by clicking on the PackageKit icon on your panel.

To manually search, add or remove software, click on System -> Administration -> Add / Remove Software.

Additional documentation on using PackageKit can be found on the Foresight Linux Wiki at

XFCE 4.4.2

The Foresight XFCE Edition Alpha 1 includes XFCE 4.4.2. XFCE is a desktop environment designed for productivity, loading and executing applications quickly while conserving system resources.


Syslinux has been added as the default bootloader during installation. Syslinux is under active development, and Foresight is proud to be the first distribution shipping with Syslinux. After installation and during boot-up, Syslinux will appear as Extlinux at the bootloader screen. GRUB is still an option during installation.

Current Issues

  • The XFCE terminal currently does not run correctly in virtual environments.
  • Many packages need to be added to the repository.

Packages Included in Installation

  • Exaile: A lightweight music player
  • Abiword: An open source word process
  • Gnumeric: The GNOME spreadsheet application
  • Claws: An email and newsreader application

Packages Not Included by default

  • Compiz
  • OpenOffice

Downloading and Installing

The latest alpha release is available as x86 and x86_64 installable ISOs from Foresight’s project page on rBuilder at


Thanks to Mark Trompell, Ken VanDine, Antonio Meireles and all the developers and users who contributed to this release. Please file any bugs!

Thank you for testing this latest alpha release.