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Benjamin Kerensa: A New Year with More Connections

Tue, 2013-12-31 20:30

North America Mozilla Reps

This year has been wonderful for me; with many opportunities to connect with some of the most brilliant people in the world while having discussions surrounding moving the open web forward and evangelizing products like Firefox and Firefox OS.

For me, there have been so many examples that I could offer of events or experiences this year that were touching. But I think nothing has been as exciting as my experience at Mozilla Summit, where I got to hear Mitchell Baker speak so passionately about the values Mozilla believes in.

Me and Mozillians from India

This year has been fast paced for me and nearly every month this year, I was traveling somewhere or organizing an event. While this meant withdrawing from some projects, I have historically had very large contributions too. It also gave me an opportunity to contribute in my new role on the Firefox Release Management Team and to expand into other areas I really wanted to dive into.

In December, I got to travel to San Francisco to take part in Mozilla’s Community Building Team Work Week where I got to meet Mitchell Baker and have dinner with her and many other awesome Mozillians. This also presented an opportunity to see familiar faces again and, most important, help build a roadmap for community building in Mozilla for 2014.

Me and Mitchell Baker, Chief Lizard Wrangler at Mozilla

One of the things I really look forward to doing in 2014 is making more connections with users of free and open source software and making more connections to open source projects by contributing to projects I have not yet contributed to. I’m proud to say that in 2013 I had contributed to 40+ Open Source projects which is a pretty incredible way to diversify the time I spend on Open Source.

Even more impressive, I gave talks at three major universities in 2013 which was really a neat experience because I’m a big advocate for Open Source being more heavily adopted in all levels of academia. My biggest hope for 2014 is to see continued increase in adoption of Free and Open Source Software by people worldwide who have not typically used it. I also hope to see OpenStack, Ubuntu and Mozilla continue to grow as they are all three communities that I love.

In closing, I want to wish all of my readers a Happy New Year and I hope to make a connection with you in 2014!

Benjamin Mako Hill: “When Free Software Isn’t Better” Talk

Tue, 2013-12-31 06:33

In late October, the FSF posted this video of a talk called When Free Software Isn’t (Practically) Better that I gave at LibrePlanet earlier in the year. I noticed it was public when, out of the blue, I started getting both a bunch of positive feedback about the talk as well as many people pointing out that my slides (which were rather important) were not visible in the video!

Finally, I’ve managed to edit together a version that includes the slides and posted it online and on Youtube.

The talk is very roughly based on this 2010 article and I argue that, despite our advocacy, free software isn’t always (or even often) better in practical terms. The talk moves beyond the article and tries to be more constructive by pointing to a series of inherent practical benefits grounded in software freedom principles and practice.

Most important to me though, the talk reflects my first serious attempt to bring together some of the findings from my day job as a social scientist with my work as a free software advocate. I present some nuggets from my own research and talk about about what they mean for free software and its advocates.

In related news, it also seems worth noting that I’m planning on being back at LibrePlanet this March and that the FSF annual fundraiser is currently going on.

Chuck Frain: Adding IR to Xbian

Tue, 2013-12-31 02:57

For Christmas one of the gifts-to-myself was a Logitech Harmony Smart Control. This was to replace an aging Harmony 550 with some button issues. In the course of setting things up I wanted to get IR working with my Xbian installation on the Raspberry Pi. I needed to get an IR receiver and found that this SANOXY remote for ~$15 (at the time of this writing) came with a USB receiver that fit the bill. The smart control uses the Ortek VRC-1100 from the Logitech database for the controls.

Largely this is doubling a set of notes for my own future reference if I have to recreate what I did to get IR working with my Xbian install on a RPi. Conveniently, I hope it helps someone set this up for themselves. The code for the solution came from responses by CurlyMoo in the bug report Vrc-1100 usb remote not working on Github.

I replaced the default /etc/lirc/hardware.conf file with the following:

# /etc/lirc/hardware.conf
#
# Arguments which will be used when launching lircd
LIRCD_ARGS="-u"

#Don’t start lircmd even if there seems to be a good config file
#START_LIRCMD=false

#Don’t start irexec, even if a good config file seems to exist.
#START_IREXEC=true

#Try to load appropriate kernel modules
LOAD_MODULES=true

# Run “lircd –driver=help” for a list of supported drivers.
DRIVER=”devinput”
# usually /dev/lirc0 is the correct setting for systems using udev
DEVICE=”/dev/lirc0″
MODULES=”evdev uinput”

# Default configuration files for your hardware if any
LIRCD_CONF=”"
LIRCMD_CONF=”"

And ran the following command after running ‘sudo su’:

sed -i '$d' /etc/rc.local && echo -e "chmod 0644 /dev/tty0\nexit 0" >> /etc/rc.local

After that, it was just a matter of configuring the buttons on the remote to do what I wanted. I’m not sure that the last commadn was really needed, but its working and I don’t see a down side to leaving it in place.

Tony Whitmore: Another year over, a new one just begun

Mon, 2013-12-30 19:30

That’s right, it’s my end of year round up! I am running the risk that nothing significant or amazing will happen to me in the next 24 hours, I know. I’ve trawled through tweets and blogs and reminded myself of the fantastic, crazy things that have happened this year. Here are just some of them, in no particular order.

  • An amazing year of wedding photography. Lots of lovely clients, so many different styles of wedding. Thank you to each and every one of you for asking me to be your wedding photographer.
  • Started my Malawi Mission to help improve healthcare in the UK and Africa. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me so far. You can still donate to it here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/tonywhitmore
  • A year of celebratory screenings of Doctor Who stories at the BFI in London. As well as the screenings and the panels, it was great to hang out with fellow fans who have now become friends.
  • Helped make an awesome OggCamp happen. This year’s was the biggest and I think the best. So many cool people doing cool things, it was a pleasure to be part of it.
  • The Project Motormouth convention. I had my photo taken with four Doctors!
  • Another glorious season of the Ubuntu Podcast. The live shows continue to be good fun to do and the weekly episodes seem to have gone down well. I can’t believe Alan and I have been doing it for six years.
  • The Sam Shaw Appeal. So many people helped raise an enormous amount of money to get Sam treatment in the US that gives him an increased chance of beating his neuroblastoma. Thank you so much to every one who has contributed.
  • Interviewing lots of lovely people for The Doctor Who Podcast at Big Finish Day 3, and being a guest presenter on two episodes.
  • Being inducted into the legendary Photography Farm, and meeting a great group of fellow photographers. And I got to second shoot for Shell de Mar and Neil Thomas Douglas as a result.
  • Seeing lots of live theatre performances including the Reduced Shakespeare Company, Richard Herring, Mark Thomas, the 39 Steps, I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, and Toby Hadoke.
  • Having some of my photographs included on an official BBC DVD documentary about David Burton, the Doctor Who Never Was. And having more photographs published in Doctor Who Magazine.
  • Visiting the the magical island of Spetses for Stuart and Zoe’s wedding.
  • Celebrating my birthday. I know it happens every year, but this year I actually celebrated it. With other people. It was fun.
  • Having an entire month full of Doctor Who anniversary celebrations: “An Adventure in Space and Time“, “The Day of the Doctor” in 3D with the people who made it, and the official Celebration. (And saw 9 new episodes of Doctor Who from the 1960s!)

There are some things I’ve done this year that have been really, really special. But I just can’t tell you about them. Sorry! They really were among the highlights of my year though.

I’ve got a feeling that 2014 will be very special too. Have a great new year….

Pin It

Raphaël Hertzog: The Debian Wheezy Handbook is now available

Mon, 2013-12-30 15:59

After multiple months of hard work, I’m pleased to announce that Roland and I finished updating the Debian Administrator’s Handbook for Debian Wheezy.

Grab it now!

By the way, as part of the launch of this updated edition, you can benefit from a 10% discount on any paperback copy ordered before January 9th 2014. Just click here and place your order.

We have put lots of hard work on this edition, doing quite some janitorial work. We didn’t cover as many new topics as I would have liked, but I’m still proud of the end result.

The book has a nice preface co-signed by the current and former Debian Project Leaders. Let me quote a short extract:

The book you have in your hands is different. It’s a free as in freedom book, a book which is up to Debian freedom standards for every aspects of your digital life. […] You can apt-get install this book, you can redistribute it, you can fork this book or, better, submit bug reports and patches for it, so that other in the future can benefit from your contributions. The “maintainers” of this book — who are also its authors — are longstanding members of the Debian Project, who grok the freedom ethos that permeates every aspect of Debian.

Enjoy it and share your comments! Even better if you write up a review that we can link from the website.

One comment | Liked this article? Click here. | My blog is Flattr-enabled.

Lubuntu Blog: Unified Box theme

Mon, 2013-12-30 13:18
Unified means that Box is getting more complete and global. Now we included full support for Unity and Metacity. Now you can use it with Ubuntu and everything will work fine. Look how the Unity controls look on maximixed windows over the panel: You can download Box icons here, and Box theme here. The current version is 0.42+bzr384, which means you should our PPA to keep it uptodate, because

Sean Davis: Parole Media Player 0.5.91 Released

Mon, 2013-12-30 04:12

Today I wrap up my week-long “staycation” with the release of Parole Media Player 0.5.91.  The media player with the curious name (“parole” means “lyrics” in Italian) continues it’s steady march towards 0.6 with a new plugin and several fixes.

Release Notes
  • Added a new MPRIS2 plugin, thanks to Matias and Hakan (of Pragha fame)
  • Added realmedia video to supported video mimetypes (bug #10434)
  • Fixed untranslatable strings (bug #10418)
  • Fixed loading of playlists with relative paths (bug #10436)
  • Fixed plugin installation on some platforms (bugs #10142, #10441)
  • Fixed failing debug builds on some platforms (bug #10525)
  • Fixed broken “Remove Duplicates” functionality
  • Fixed playlist searching
  • Started Plugin API documentation updates (more on this ahead)
New MPRIS2 Plugin

This latest addition is thanks to the hard work of Matias and Hakan, who provided the majority of the effort to create the MPRIS2 plugin.  The Media Player Remote Interface Specification (MPRIS) is a standard DBUS interface for controlling media player.

Implementations can be found in most desktop environments, such as the Ubuntu Sound Indicator, the GNOME Shell Media Player extension, and the upcoming Xfce Sound Panel Applet.

Download and Installation

Source packages of Parole Media Player can be downloaded from the Xfce archives.  Parole Media Player 0.5.91 can be downloaded directly from here.

Additionally, updated packages should arrive soon in the Xfce 4.12 PPA for Ubuntu users.  Exercise caution in enabling this PPA as it contains development packages not meant for the everyday user.

If you encounter any bugs, please report them following our bug reporting guidelines.

Looking for Help

Are you familiar with Gtk documentation tools (gtk-doc)?  We’re trying to complete our Plugin API documentation, and can use some more experienced individuals helping us out.  If you’re interested, let us know in the comments or even send us a merge request.  Any help is appreciated!

Charles Profitt: Computer Science Literacy for K-12 Students

Sun, 2013-12-29 20:58

The Problem:
Over the past several years I have watched educational leaders talk about technology literacy, 21st century skills, ISTE standards (formerly the NETS) and STEM. As a parent and community member I remain unimpressed with what my local school districts are offering in the way of computer science education. As an employee of a school district I see little that makes me think meaningful change is coming any time soon. The following are examples:

Example High School Courses Offered 2013-14:

  • Business Department:
    • Advanced Microsoft Applications: The key to productivity is the ability to integrate the capabilities of software. This computer course utilizes realistic activities and projects designed for learning and integrating Microsoft Office 2007 suite of application software.
    • Personal Computer Keyboarding: Keyboarding is a necessary skill in this computer age!
    • Web Page Design: This Web design course teaches you how to plan, organize, and create a Web site from start to finish. Using HTML code and Notepad, then progressing into using Microsoft Expressions Web, (a Web authoring and site management program), you will learn to create and manage professional quality sites.
  • Technology Department:
    • Digital Electronics: Digital Electronics is a course of study in applied digital logic.
    • Computer Integrated Manufacturing: CIM is a course that applies principles of rapid prototyping, robotics and automation.

All the offerings from the business department should have been taught prior to high school. Keyboarding is a skill that should be started no later than 1st grade. In fact, keyboarding as currently defined by most schools is more a 20th century skill than 21st century skill. Touch interfaces and keyboard variants make qwerty keyboarding less important. The technology department has some good courses, but there is a lack of systems administration, network administration and programming courses. Programming should be introduced at the middle school level and integrated in to other curricular areas in high school. Imagine using R to process statistical data for social studies, biology, physics, chemistry or other courses. Imagine engaging in real world data analysis that educates students while having a real world impact students can see.

A Possible Solution:
A community based group that focuses on providing students with opportunities to learn real-world computer science skills. This fall I started reaching out to people in my local community who run computer related user groups to discuss building such a group. Two efforts could provide a framework for building a local group in Rochester: Codeacademy and CoderDojo. My goal for 2014 is to get such a community group organized and functional by July of 2014. The next steps will be to:

  • Identify interested community groups
  • Identify local parent association groups (stake holders)
  • Identify local students interested in assisting in defining the group (stake holders)
  • Identify a location for organizational meetings
  • Determine if a legal entity needs to be created for this effort
  • Identify a location for classes
  • Contact possible sponsors

The only item on the list that gives me a reason to pause is the potential requirement for a legal entity to be created. I have no legal experience in this arena so I have no idea what to expect.


Lubuntu Blog: Happy New Year wallpaper

Sun, 2013-12-29 14:24
Another traditional party, the New Year celebration. So here it is a new wallpaper for the StartUbuntu project, a great initiative commanded by Amjjawad that supports people that leave Windows XP in favour of a new Lubuntu install on their systems. Download it at the artwork section, as well as lots of *buntu flavoured wallpapers (Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, etc).

Sean Davis: LightDM GTK+ Greeter 1.7.0 Released

Sun, 2013-12-29 02:44

After several weeks of development, the first development release leading to LightDM GTK+ Greeter version 1.8 has been made available.  Thanks to some new contributors, there’s quite a bit to see this time around.

Release Notes New Features
  • Window positioning (relative or absolute) of the login window and power dialogs is now configurable.
  • The default user-image displayed for user’s without a profile image is now configurable.
Accessibility Improvements
  • The onboard on-screen keyboard application is now run in xembed mode.
  • The accessibility menu items can now be activated with the F1, F2, and F3 hotkeys.
  • The selected user can now be changed from the username and password entries with the up and down keys.
  • The power dialogs can now be cancelled with the Escape key.
Lock Screen Improvements
  • When the LightDM GTK+ Greeter is used as a locked, it now blanks the screen when activated.
Bugs Fixed
    • Debian #718497: Last PAM error message not showing
    • Debian #721510: Greeter panel clock fails with long date formats
    • LP #1031421: Greeter doesn’t select user’s last session when using “Other”
    • LP #1147914: Can’t change the login window’s position
    • LP #1191509: Disabling language selector leaves strange artifact on the screen
    • LP #1194694: move to password input if <enter> pressed after username input
    • LP #1231134: support enter key to validate login entry
    • LP #1232804: Improve “login greeter -> desktop” transition in Xubuntu
    • LP #1251431: user background gets painted over background specified in config file
    • Fixed typo in language selection code
    • Fixed keyboard focus when used with the on-screen keyboard
New Features Window Positioning

10 pixels from the left and 30% down (position=10 30%)

With the added window positioning, the login window and power dialogs can now be placed based on relative or absolute values.

Configuration is simple. Values can be represented as percentages, positive (from the top/left), and negative (from the bottom/right). Some layout examples are below.

# position = main window position: x y

# 20% horizontally, 40% vertically
position = 20% 40%

# 10 pixels from the left, 50% vertically
position = 10 50%

# 100 pixels from the right, 50% vertically
position = -100 50%

Default User Image

The default user image configured as “#distributor-logo”, useful for distributions.

The profile image that is displayed for user’s that have not already chosen an image can now be configured.  Previously the image was always set to “avatar-default”.  The value can either be the path to an image file, or an icon name.  Sample configuration is below.

# default-user-image = Image used as default user icon, path or #icon-name

# Using a file path
default-user-image = /usr/share/pixmaps/firefox.png

# Using an icon name, distro logo
default-user-image = #distributor-logo

Screenshots Download and Installation

The source code for LightDM GTK+ Greeter can be obtained from the downloads page.  Ubuntu users (Quantal through Trusty) can also install it from the Stable PPA using the following commands.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lightdm-gtk-greeter-team/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install lightdm-gtk-greeter

If you find any bugs, please report them on the bugs page.

Charles Profitt: Improving My Computing Experience

Sat, 2013-12-28 15:32

This Christmas was a wonderful time for improving my computing experience. Last October I purchased a Lenovo T530 direct from Lenovo. At the time I debated adding 16 GiB of ram and an SSD drive, but could only justify getting the ram. This Christmas my family got me several items that helped improve my computing experience including an SSD drive. The laptop is equipped with an Intel® Core™ i7-3720QM CPU. Below are all of the current upgrades:

  • Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB)  DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) Laptop  Memory (CMSX16GX3M2A1600C10) – I am very pleased with this upgrade. I got this originally because I knew I intended to run multiple virtual machines on the laptop and did not want to have an issue with running out of memory. The only issue I was having is I/O contention.
  • Samsung Electronics 840 EVO-Series 250GB – This SSD has improved my boot time from 30.4 seconds to 13.5 seconds. Evolution which used to take seconds now closes instantly. This has also given me an extra drive to use allowing me to take care of the I/O issues I was having when running too many virtual machines.
  • Inateck 2.5 Inch USB 3.0 External Case w/ UASP SATA III support – this little case works great. I tested it with an SSD and HDD and found the speeds to be much improved over my old USB 2.0 Seagate external drive. It is amazingly simple to replace the drive; though at this price buying an additional case is so inexpensive that might make more sense. It requires only a single USB connection for power and has an on/off switch on the case itself. This case works as well as the Thermaltake BlacX Duo 5G disk dock that I own. I had one drive that performed better for writes using the Thermaltake dock, but all other drives performed the same. I used to get 30 to 40 MB/sec with the old USB 2.0 drive and now between two USB 3.0 devices I am getting 110 to 130 MB/sec. Very Nice Improvement.
  • Anker® Uspeed USB 3.0 7-Port Hub + 5V 2A Charging Port – I do not enjoy having to unplug multiple USB cords when packing up my laptop so I have always used a hub. I finally got to replace my tired Linksys USB 2.0 hub with a new USB 3.0 hub from Anker. I am very pleased with the performance of this hub because I saw no performance degradation when comparing a device attached directly to the computer vs attached to the hub. I tested using the Inateck enclosure with an SSD drive.
  • Safco Products 38-Inch W Radius Front Desk Top Organizer – Yes, this is not a computer component, but having your books in easy reach always makes for a better computing experience. I can now easily organize all my Python, computer security and Linux systems administration books so they are all withing easy reach. This device took just 30 minutes to assemble and is well constructed.

With all these new components I am enjoying Ubuntu more than ever.


Cyril Lavier: Zimbra mailbox backup script

Sat, 2013-12-28 14:20

Hello.

Over the last 2 weeks, I tried a Zimbra Collaboration Suite (Open Source Edition). And before going into production mode, I wanted to perform some mailbox backup/restore tests.

After some searches, I found this page on the Zimbra wiki which contains some backup/restore script. I downloaded the script written by Richardson Lima called "zimbraBackupAllAccounts.sh", then I started adapting the script to my needs.

As I finished my switch to Zimbra, I added this script in the prebackup script on my BackupPC server.

And I thought I could share this modified script, so I created a github repository and gave him a nice name. It's now called zimbashckup (for Zimbra Bash Backup).

It operates in a non-interactive way (to be launched in the cron task or by a backup system) and can perform per folder backups. Which is useful when we only want to restore a folder instead of the whole mailbox.

This script can backup the full mailbox (Briefcase contents, address book, calendar) and even the filters exported to the sieve format (thanks to Hackman61 for the idea).

However, when an object is share, only the original owner version is backed up (it's a zmmailbox limit).

For the remaining features, I think the README file is readable enough :).

The GIT repository is here : https://github.com/davromaniak/zimbashckup

Thanks !!

Ubuntu GNOME: Ubuntu GNOME Team is growing

Sat, 2013-12-28 11:05

Ubuntu GNOME Team is pleased to announce the beginning of a new phase for the Sub-Teams. We shall start the New Year (2014) with solid steps to move forward with confidence coming from a great and quick growth, both in Quality (which is our highest priority) and Quantity of our teams and contributors.

Motivation and Encouraging the Team Work Spirit which is the basic foundation of a healthy environment where everyone works side by side as one strong and active team which eventually will give us the high quality we seek with enough quantity to carry on with confidence.

Please join Ubuntu GNOME Team to welcome our new contributors who decided to step in and help the project and community to move forward to the next level:

  1. Wiki Editor and Team Moderator: James Vorderbruggen
  2. Wiki Editor and Team Moderator: Ivan Ivanov

Both James and Ivan have showed a great interest to help the team and their hard work was and still louder than their words and that is indeed the quality of the contributors we seek and need to help us. They have earned the title of Team Moderator/Administrator and will definitely help our team to be even better.

  1. Facebook Page Moderator: Caleb Howland
  2. Facebook Page & Google+ Community Moderator: Frédéric Lagneau

Two Linux and Ubuntu GNOME enthusiasts who volunteered their time to help our Social Media Channels for high quality and more quantity and as a result, help Ubuntu GNOME Communications Team to grow bigger and better.

And we shall continue to recruit more contributors and volunteers. There are no limits for our passion, ambition and dreams/hopes which we work hard to turn into reality.

If you feel you are ready and can actually dedicate some of your time to help Ubuntu GNOME to be even better and go the extra miles, please feel free to Join Us today for an effective tomorrow and a glorious future.

We are still looking for extra help on these area:

As always, thank you for choosing and using Ubuntu GNOME!

Benjamin Rubin: Blogging with Ghost

Fri, 2013-12-27 22:37

So, I thought I'd give this blog thing a try again.

I'm not using wordpress this time around though. Instead, I'm giving Ghost (via github) try.

Since this wasn't going to be used for critical things, I opted to follow their developer-centric instructions. This allows me to pull down updates on the fly, instead of waiting for them to publish a new release. Even so, setup was still a breeze.

I deviated from their instructions a little, so for the record (and as an excuse to write something) I will document the procedure here.

  1. Create a user that Ghost's node.js process would run as.
    • sudo adduser ghost
  2. Install nodejs
    • sudo apt-get install nodejs
      • My linode is running 13.04, so I needed to find a PPA that could provide node.js 0.10.x. Since vetting PPAs is not something I want to do here, I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader.
  3. Install grunt
    • sudo npm install -g grunt-cli
  4. Switch to the ghost user
    • sudo su ghost
  5. Use rvm to install Ruby 1.9.3
    • curl -sSL https://get.rvm.io | bash -s stable --ruby=1.9.3
  6. Install the bundler gem
    • gem install bundler
  7. Clone the git repo
    • git clone https://github.com/TryGhost/Ghost.git
  8. Drop into the newly cloned repo and pull down their linked submodules (this includes things like their default theme, which they track in a separate github repo)
    • cd Ghost && git submodule update --init
  9. Use bundler to pull the project's ruby dependencies
    • bundler install
  10. Use npm to pull the project's node dependencies
    • npm install
  11. Compile Ghost's assets
    • grunt init
  12. Modify the default config as necessary
    • vim config.js
  13. Run it
    • npm start
  14. The node.js instance will begin listening on http://localhost:2368, you'll need configure your preferred webserver provide a reverse proxy to this.
  15. You'll also likely want to keep npm running by setting it up as a service. Since there are a few options on how to do that I'll just point to the official docs here.

St&eacute;phane Graber: LXC 1.0: Container storage [5/10]

Fri, 2013-12-27 22:00

This is post 5 out of 10 in the LXC 1.0 blog post series.

Storage backingstores

LXC supports a variety of storage backends (also referred to as backingstore).
It defaults to “none” which simply stores the rootfs under
/var/lib/lxc/<container>/rootfs but you can specify something else to lxc-create or lxc-clone with the -B option.

Currently supported values are:

directory based storage (“none” and “dir)

This is the default backingstore, the container rootfs is stored under
/var/lib/lxc/<container>/rootfs

The --dir option (when using “dir”) can be used to override the path.

btrfs

With this backingstore LXC will setup a new subvolume for the container which makes snapshotting much easier.

lvm

This one will use a new logical volume for the container.
The LV can be set with --lvname (the default is the container name).
The VG can be set with --vgname (the default is “lxc”).
The filesystem can be set with --fstype (the default is “ext4″).
The size can be set with --fssize (the default is “1G”).
You can also use LVM thinpools with --thinpool

overlayfs

This one is mostly used when cloning containers to create a container based on another one and storing any changes in an overlay.

When used with lxc-create it’ll create a container where any change done after its initial creation will be stored in a “delta0″ directory next to the container’s rootfs.

zfs

Very similar to btrfs, as I’ve not used either of those myself I can’t say much about them besides that it should also create some kind of subvolume for the container and make snapshots and clones faster and more space efficient.

Standard paths

One quick word with the way LXC usually works and where it’s storing its files:

  • /var/lib/lxc (default location for containers)
  • /var/lib/lxcsnap (default location for snapshots)
  • /var/cache/lxc (default location for the template cache)
  • $HOME/.local/share/lxc (default location for unprivileged containers)
  • $HOME/.local/share/lxcsnap (default location for unprivileged snapshots)
  • $HOME/.cache/lxc (default location for unprivileged template cache)

The default path, also called lxcpath can be overridden on the command line with the -P option or once and for all by setting “lxcpath = /new/path” in /etc/lxc/lxc.conf (or $HOME/.config/lxc/lxc.conf for unprivileged containers).

The snapshot directory is always “snap” appended to lxcpath so it’ll magically follow lxcpath. The template cache is unfortunately hardcoded and can’t easily be moved short of relying on bind-mounts or symlinks.

The default configuration used for all containers at creation time is taken from
/etc/lxc/default.conf (no unprivileged equivalent yet).
The templates themselves are stored in /usr/share/lxc/templates.

Cloning containers

All those backingstores only really shine once you start cloning containers.
For example, let’s take our good old “p1″ Ubuntu container and let’s say you want to make a usable copy of it called “p4″, you can simply do:

sudo lxc-clone -o p1 -n p4

And there you go, you’ve got a working “p4″ container that’ll be a simple copy of “p1″ but with a new mac address and its hostname properly set.

Now let’s say you want to do a quick test against “p1″ but don’t want to alter that container itself, yet you don’t want to wait the time needed for a full copy, you can simply do:

sudo lxc-clone -o p1 -n p1-test -B overlayfs -s

And there you go, you’ve got a new “p1-test” container which is entirely based on the “p1″ rootfs and where any change will be stored in the “delta0″ directory of “p1-test”.
The same “-s” option also works with lvm and btrfs (possibly zfs too) containers and tells lxc-clone to use a snapshot rather than copy the whole rootfs across.

Snapshotting

So cloning is nice and convenient, great for things like development environments where you want throw away containers. But in production, snapshots tend to be a whole lot more useful for things like backup or just before you do possibly risky changes.

In LXC we have a “lxc-snapshot” tool which will let you create, list, restore and destroy snapshots of your containers.
Before I show you how it works, please note that “lxc-snapshot” currently doesn’t appear to work with directory based containers. With those it produces an empty snapshot, this should be fixed by the time LXC 1.0 is actually released.

So, let’s say we want to backup our “p1-lvm” container before installing “apache2″ into it, simply run:

echo "before installing apache2" > snap-comment sudo lxc-snapshot -n p1-lvm -c snap-comment

At which point, you can confirm the snapshot was created with:

sudo lxc-snapshot -n p1-lvm -L -C

Now you can go ahead and install “apache2″ in the container.

If you want to revert the container at a later point, simply use:

sudo lxc-snapshot -n p1-lvm -r snap0

Or if you want to restore a snapshot as its own container, you can use:

sudo lxc-snapshot -n p1-lvm -r snap0 p1-lvm-snap0

And you’ll get a new “p1-lvm-snap0″ container which will contain a working copy of “p1-lvm” as it was at “snap0″.

Ronnie Tucker: Full Circle #80 is released into the wild

Fri, 2013-12-27 12:17

That’s right folks. The last issue (of 2013) is OUT!

 

This month:
* Command & Conquer
* How-To : Python, LibreOffice, and Use VLM.
* Graphics : JPG>PDF, and Inkscape.
* Review: USB Microscope
plus: Q&A, Linux Labs, Software Showdown, Ask The New Guy, My Story, and soooo much more!

Get it while it’s hot!

http://fullcirclemagazine.org/issue-80/

 

Jonathan Riddell: Photo Retrospective: Ubuntu

Fri, 2013-12-27 10:48
KDE Project:

I'm done triaging old photos, here's some of my favourite Ubuntu themed ones from 2005 to 2009.


The first Ubuntu conference I went to in Sydney featuring Andreas, one of the Kubuntu originators


The excitable Jeff Waugh who provided a lot of the character behind Gnome and early Ubuntu. Last seen writing a lament about the Canonical’s worsening relationship with GNOME which I must admit to being too lazy to read.


A Kubuntu group photo in Barcelona from 2009, little did I know Barcelona would become a spiritual and practical home for Kubuntu.


It's important to build community in open source, Kubuntu has always used hot tub parties for this, you won't get that with any other distro.


Canonical One flight to Montreal, these days I prefer to take the train, more environmentally friendly.


The first LTS release was preceeded by a polishing sprint in London where we worked on the first version of Ubiquity, the live CD installer.


Back in the day I had to post out every CD by myself. (I still get requests for CDs but we stopped having any physical media some time ago).


Paul taking his Ubuntu evangelising a little too seriously.


Ubuntu summits were often in fancy hotels which always surprised me by nobody using the swimming pool, I feel if life gives you a roof top swimming pool it's just ungrateful not to use it.


I like to go for a canoe if possible when I travel the world.

Have a fun holiday all, come and join us at Kubuntu if you want to be part of more world adventures.

Benjamin Kerensa: Getting My Pebble On

Thu, 2013-12-26 14:30

This morning I woke up to find out that the coolest gift was not underneath my tree but instead on Twitter in the form of a tweet from Pebble:

You win a shiny new Pebble!

I plan on using my Pebble to build in notifications from Bugzilla and other Bug Trackers. I mean how awesome would it be to get notices from Bug Trackers of Bugs needing your attention? Perhaps I’m a little more enthusiastic then most about getting notifications all the time.

Anyways this nifty little gadget will definitely be put to good use and whatever I write for it will be put up on Github under an Open Source license so others can hack on it. Have you written an app for Pebble? If so I would love to see what you have done and fork you!

Ronnie Tucker: Full Circle Podcast Episode 39, Oggcamp Review

Thu, 2013-12-26 11:01

Full Circle Podcast Episode 39, Oggcamp Review

Our live episode recorded at Oggcamp on Sunday the 20th October in which the guys look back over the history of the event in this it’s fifth anniversary

File Sizes:
  • OGG 24.1Mb
  • MP3 37.7Mb

Running Time: 39mins 13seconds

Feeds for both MP3 and OGG:

RSS feed, MP3: http://fullcirclemagazine.org/category/podcast/feed

RSS feed, OGG: http://fullcirclemagazine.org/category/podcast/feed/atom

The podcast is in MP3 and OGG formats. You can either play the podcast in-browser if you have Flash and/or Java, or you can download the podcast with the link underneath the player. Show notes after the jump.

Your Hosts:

Show Notes

00:56 | WELCOME and INTRO:

Before we continue a word of warning regarding the audio quality with this, due to problems with room scheduling and other event organisation challenges we didn’t get enough time in the room before the recording to do a thorough sound check before the start of the recording.  As such in places the audio quality is bit poor, we apologise and thank you for your understanding and support.

01:30 | A Brief History of Oggcamp

04:30 | REFLECTIONS

  • Olly – His first experience of this type of event was http://www.lugradio.org/live/2007/index.php/Main_Page LRL was a landmark event for the UK Linux Community at that point as there hadn’t been anything quite like it before, most Linux events up to that point were aimed at the corporate market.  His first Oggcamp experience was in 2012 due to various factors.
  • Freaky - He thinks http://lanyrd.com/2011/oggcamp/ was a great event as he thinks there aren’t enough events of this kind held in the South of England
  • Tony - First experience was Les bringing him back an Oggcamp 10 mug , the first event he attended was also Oggcamp 11 in Farnham were he was responsible for peddling the Merch.

11:40 | We Need Your Help!!

We aren’t completely happy with the format of the show and are still looking to make a few changes in future episodes to try and improve the show, if you have any ideas for segments and/or content for the show please get in touch using the feedback details at the bottom of the page, also if there’s anything you don’t like that we are doing at the moment please let us know.

27:30 | The Audience’s Best Bits Of The Event

The Audience discuss some of their best moments from the two days and also discuss some ideas to make event better, particularly from the newcomers perspective.

37:40 | OUTRO AND WRAP

Comments: on this page, using the comment form, OR;

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Please note: this podcast is provided with absolutely no warranty whatsoever; neither the producers nor Full Circle Magazine accept any responsibility or liability for content or interaction which readers and listeners may enter into using external links gleaned from this web-site, forum or podcast series.

Creative Commons Music Tracks

Opening: ‘Achilles’ by Kevin Macleod

Main Theme: ‘Revolve’ by His Boy Elroy

Censors, too many to mention unfortunately so here’s the clips we used Cow Moo by Mike Koeing , Dog Barking Sound Effect by Jace , Train Honk Horn Clear by Mike Koenig

Paul Tagliamonte: life update

Thu, 2013-12-26 00:15

sorry for not posting, life’s been getting in the way. Here’s an update of what I did the last few weeks:

I hacked more on Hy. A lot more. Tons of new stuff is coming through, and I got a slot to talk about Hy at PyCon US!

I worked a bit on Debian stuff. I got Debile a bit more in shape, and did more NEW queue work. Hopefully I can get some more in.

I just bought another keyboard to supplement my Das Keyboard - the Tex Beetle. I’m thinking of getting some pimped out keycaps. Get at me if you know anything about this.

Merry christmas!

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