The Fedora Project will soon put out its 21st release. I’ve been running the pre-release bits for a while now, here are a few observations:
Upgrade from Fedora 20 to Fedora 21 via ‘fedup‘ was fast on my SSD disk, and there were no blockers after the reboot – minimal downtime!
Bug 740607 – evince no longer can switch to prev / next pages using the buttons or the ctrl+up/down keyboard shortcuts
Bug 740608 – gnome-shell’s calendar display overflows from the box if the number of calendar entries are more than some number; the box is always fixed in size.
Bug 739991 / Bug 730128 – gnome-terminal doesn’t pass alt+<n> to applications running inside the terminal if there isn’t a tab with that <n>. This is the most serious regression for me; breaks several workflows for me: my irssi session as well as non-irssi terminals I use for work. A surprising thing I found out after filing this report is there’s no way to open a closed bug report on gnome bugzilla, which means if some decides the bug isn’t going to be fixed, there’s no option to get new information back on the developers’ radar.
I spoke at the CentOS Dojo in Pune yesterday on new features available in CentOS release 7.0 since the 6 release. Slides are available here: What’s New in Virtualization. The event was organized by the Pune GNU/Linux Users Group (PLUG) for the CentOS project.
My talk was scheduled as the last talk of the day. I was already quite tired by the time the talk started, and was totally exhausted when it finished.
There were about 30 people attending, with some of them having already used KVM. There were quite a few questions related to KVM and how it compares to other hypervisors, and about features supported by KVM. I was happy with the interaction, as well as the questions I received. It showed a nice interest towards virtualization and KVM.
Also nice to see that some were using virt-manager, oVirt, etc., already. I couldn’t always answer everything related to the higher levels, but pointed people at bugzilla for bugs and the mailing lists for questions.
Last Saturday a few of us gathered to work on Fedora Security. This FAD (Fedora Activity Day) was the second in recent times held in Pune, after the testing FAD held in August.
The goal of the FAD was to get introduced to the newly-formed Fedora Security Team, pick up a few bug reports that were tagged as security-relevant bug reports, and triage them. Fixing the bugs wasn’t part of the agenda, as actually pushing package updates needs one to be a provenpackager or the maintainer of the package.
We were assembled at the Red Hat Pune office. I took a shot at transcribing PJP’s intro talk on the #fedora-india IRC channel, and a couple of people joined remotely in the triaging activity, which was quite nice to see.
The FAD wiki page had all the relevant information on how to go about triaging the bugs, so it was all quite straightforward from there.
I got a bit bored by just going through bug reports, without much “action” happening — it depended on the bug we selected on whether we just needed to set needinfo? on the assignee of the bug, or actually check progress of packages upstream, whether a patch was available, etc. I just looked through bugs which looked relevant to virtualization, and then wanted to look at different ways to contribute.
PJP suggested looking at some fuzzers, and actually running them. He pointed me to Radamsa as an example. That does look like a good tool to generate some random input to programs, and see how they behave under unexpected input. I didn’t actually get to run it, but now have an idea on what to do when I feel bored again.
While reading about Radamsa, I also thought a bit on how to fuzz qemu. Nothing concrete came up, but one thought is to send weird stuff from guests to the host, by way of weirdly-formatted network packets (to test virtio-net or other net device emulations), or block device requests (to test virtio-blk / virtio-scsi / ide / ahci). That’s an idea for a side project.
There also was a Docker meetup running at the same time at the office, so I dropped in there a couple of times to see what they were upto. The organizers had split the session into talks + hackathon; and both were very well-attended. In my lurking there, I overheard what Kubernetes is about, and a few terminologies it introduces into the tech world: minions and pods. I’m sure we’re going to run out of words in the English language to re-purpose to technical usage very soon.
The FAD was originally supposed to happen in September, but got delayed to November. For the next installation of Fedora-related activities, we may do an F21 release party along with a few user talks. Regular FADs should resume in January, I suppose.
It’s been a couple of weeks that I’ve returned from Düsseldorf, Germany, after attending the seventh KVM Forum; an event where developers and users of the Linux virtualization technology gather to discuss the state of the hypervisor and tools around it, and brainstorm on future plans. As with the previous few years, the event was co-located with LinuxCon Europe.
A few observations from the event, in random order:
Linux Foundation did a great job of hosting and planning the event.
This was the first time when the food was great! There were even options for vegetarians, vegans, and kosher food.
The venue, Congress Centre Düsseldorf, was huge, and located perfectly along the picturesque Rhine river.
It was the first KVM Forum which Avi did not attend.
The schedule was nicely-paced, with not too many parallel talks, and plenty of opportunities for hallway discussions and meeting people.
Co-locating with the Linux Plumbers Conference, LinuxCon, CloudOpen, etc., conferences ensured there were a lot of people interested in Linux in general; and since almost everyone is at least a user of virt technologies, discussions with almost anyone is fruitful around how KVM/QEMU/libvirt get used, and what users expect from us.
All the talks were recorded on video, and are available in this youtube playlist.
All the slides from talks are at the KVM Forum wiki page
The QEMU Summit was also held along with the Forum; notes from the Summit are posted on the qemu devel mail list.
Jeff Cody’s talk on an intro to writing and submitting patches to qemu, and working with the community, got very positive feedback. At least two people told me it would’ve been good to have that talk a year back, when they were getting started. Well, it’s now available on the ‘net, and archived for people just starting out!
The OVA (Open Virtualizaiton Alliance) session on connecting users and developers of KVM by hosting a panel of KVM users (from cloud providers / builders) had one interesting insight: everyone wants more performance from KVM networking (well, the session was focussed on NFV, so that isn’t surprising). No matter how fast you go, you want stuff to go faster still. No one talked of stability, reliability, manageability, etc., so I suppose they’re just happy with those aspects.
A discussion with Chris Wright on KVM and OpenStack brought to me a surprise: KVM “just works” on OpenStack, and KVM is not the layer where there are problems. No matter how many features we add or how much more performance we can eke out of the hypervisor, the most user-visible changes are now going to happen in the upper layers, most specially within the OpenStack project. Obviously, there’s a need for us to collaborate with the OpenStack teams, but for most purposes, KVM is hardly the bottleneck or blocker for taking stuff to the clouds. (We do have a huge list of things to do, but we’re ahead of the curve — what we are planning to do is needed and anticipated, but we need a better way to expose what we already have, and the OpenStack teams are going full-throttle at it.)
I suppose these are the highlights; I may have forgotten a few things due to the intervening holiday season.