So I've just pushed a large update to Mageia Cauldron that implements everything needed to merge the / and /usr file systems for certain key folders.
As many users in the community know, the Mandriva Linux distribution was forked a few months ago to form Mageia. This is a community driven effort to setup a properly organised and people-powered version of our favourite distro. I've personally not had nearly as much time to concentrate on helping the efforts here as I'd have like (various work and real life things getting in the way), but I've been stunned by the amount of time, effort and good will piling into the project from all corners. Various Mandriva contributors, both past and present have helped set things up and today I was able to update and reboot into my new operating system!
[colin@jimmy ~]$ uname -a
Linux jimmy 2.6.37-desktop-3.mga #1 SMP Tue Jan 25 14:16:42 UTC 2011 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
[colin@jimmy ~]$ cat /etc/mageia-release
Mageia release 1 (Cauldron) for x86_64
Yay! Now I should be able to step up the pace of my contributions as I find it much easier and more natural to work and test as I go on my own computer rather than in a virtualised environment.
Personally I upgraded my computer from Cooker which I had frozen in a pre-rpm5 state, diligently not doing any updates despite wanting several newer packages (esp the latest Firefox 4 beta). The upgrade itself went fairly smoothly, but had some hiccups. These were mostly solved when I realised I still had a bunch of stuff in my urpmi skip.list and cleaned it out (I had various rpm things in there to prevent rpm5 being accidentally installed - I'm sure it'll be good eventually, but I'll hold off for a little while :)).
So now I can update my computer again, the magic can return! Mageia has arrived!!!
OK, so this question crops up quite often, so I figured it's worth a post. People often ask how to enable 5.1 digital output with PulseAudio. In the past the answer is typically "you can't because S/PDIF only accepts stereo PCM or passthrough data" and while this is true, we can relatively easily hook up an AC3 encoder which is helpfully provided in the ALSA plugins package.
So I'm just back from Nürmberg, German where I was fortunate enough to be invited to the speak at the OpenSuse Developer Summit. It has to be said, everything went really well. The first thing that struck me about this event is that it was quite inclusive. Although, obviously, the point was to discuss, promote and develop Suse there were folk there from other distros including Debian, Fedora and, of course Mandriva/Mageia (well, me!). This was very nice to see.
Confession time. I think I cocked up. Someone was asking me about why the HDMI was the default sound device in Phonon when used with PulseAudio. I patiently explained that this was a bug a while back but I fixed it.I diligently went to look up the relevant commit refs and then realised that I hadn't actually committed the fix. Whoops. It seems I fixed that bug during a late part of the Mandriva development cycle and only applied the code changes as patches on top of the source rather than committing them properly. I think I did this because I wanted wider testing before deeming them "ready" for upstream inclusion but then basically forgot. The other reason was perhaps that I was ashamed of myself for using a bubble sort - I really need to make an ordered pa_hashmap for this as I've found myself needing it a couple times now and will definitely need it in the future too. Another item on my todo list!
So apologies for that. I know some distro maintainers look at the Mandriva packages subversion for patches etc. so I'm sure some folks will have these fixes already, but it was a mistake not to push them upstream sooner.
Anyway, fixes are pushed to upstream master and stable-queue and will be part of the (hopefully) upcoming bugfix release.
A few budding developers have asked me recently about this and to make life easy, I decided to write up this guide! There are some gotchas to look out for so please read carefully!
As many followers of the Linux ecosystem will already be aware, Mandriva Linux (my personal distro of choice) has been through some turbulent times of late. Financial troubles meant that Edge IT (a subsidiary of Mandriva SA) was liquidated and all employees made redundant as a result. While it was not widely known, many of the core developers were technically employees of Edge IT rather than Mandriva SA, so this lay off was actually quite drastic.
Those of us involved in the community surrounding Mandriva have obviously been worried that the future of our favourite distro is in doubt, so it is with great pleasure that I pass on news of the upcoming fork of Mandriva Linux: Mageia
Obviously the obligatory slashdot story only really draws comments on the choice of name. Personally, I quite like it (more so than the name "Mandriva" (which itself was a contraction of Mandrake and Conectiva - partly due to the use of the name Mandrake drawing some legal issues)). And choosing a name is no easy business: there are trademark issues to consider and domain names to secure: this can seriously limit your choice. Regardless of the practicalities, "that which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet". In other words, the name doesn't matter, what really matters is the work done and the contributions to be made to the wider Linux ecosystem.
Mandriva has long been regarded as a good participant in upstream projects, contributing to the Kernel, Graphic and Audio subsystems as well as being a very active contributor to higher level desktop environments such as KDE (and GNOME and XFCE and others too). With so many of the key contributors following this fork and contributing to Mageia, I feel this tradition will continue and grow with time.
So, as I said in one of the many "goodbye" emails I've had to write following the lay offs: The future is unwritten. Let's write it!
Hot on the heels of my Phonon PulseAudio integration, here is another set of patches for kdemultimedia that adds PulseAudio support to KMix \o/
Quick screenie before a more detailed description:
I've very pleased to announce that my work on Phonon to integrate support for PulseAudio has now been committed to trunk and will form part of KDE 4.4 \o/
There were a few teething problems due to some last minute merges I did (which I clearly didn't test properly - my bad) and which I then went on to mis-interpret which led me to commit two rather silly things in phonon (a revert and then a revert of that revert!). What can I say... I need more caffeine obviously!
So I think it's probably worth me writing up just exactly how the PulseAudio support in KDE's Phonon library actually works and why using it will give you some nice extra features!