CentOS Pulse - The Bi-weekly CentOS Newsletter #0901

This first issue centers around improving communication within the CentOS community and how that relates to the CentOS Promo SIG. We also look at the recent announcements regarding the CentOS LiveCD and the CentOS Directory Server. And dive into interesting community threads and the latest CentOS security updates.

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1. Foreword

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Welcome to the first CentOS newsletter *ever*.

I am really excited to be able to welcome you to this first issue of the CentOS newsletter. Not only because this is something I wanted to do for a very long time, but mostly because to me the Newsletter is a turning point in how the CentOS community can be a driving force in the progress of CentOS.

So what do I mean with this ?

The difference between the existing communication channels and a newsletter is that the newsletter gives the opportunity to all users to see what is happening without having to follow all the discussions in all the different channels (IRC, mailing lists, forums, blogs, wiki). Nobody is expected to know everything that is going on and this newsletter aims to be a hub to bring all the disconnected channels together.

But that of course cannot be done by one single person alone. So the newsletter is also an effort by different representatives of these different channels. And by putting the focus in this newsletter on important events and interesting content I hope we can make the whole community more aware of what is happening and hopefully more involved in our community.

So when you are reading the contributions of others in this newsletter there is one favor I would like to ask from you. Think about how you could contribute to one of the future issues of this newsletter. If you are willing to spend even one minute wondering what your contribution can be for this newsletter or for the CentOS community in general, then you can consider yourself a member of this community even if you did not contribute to it yet.

On Behalf of the CentOS family,

DagWieers -- Editor ad interim

2. Announcements

Several official announcements were made the past 2 weeks and we like to bring them to your attention in case you have missed these.

2.1. New CentOS-Mirror-Announce mailing list

Ralph Angenendt

To accommodate mirror administrators that are only interested in mirror-related announcement from the CentOS project, the infrastructure team (by means of RalphAngenendt) announced the new low-traffic centos-mirror-announce mailing list.

Ralph's original announcement is available at: http://lists.centos.org/pipermail/centos-announce/2009-May/015941.html

An overview of the different CentOS mailing list is available from: http://lists.centos.org/mailman/listinfo

2.2. CentOS 5.3 LiveCD released

The CentOS LiveCD project, lead by PatriceGuay, is proud to present their latest LiveCD spin based on CentOS 5.3 i386. The popular LiveCD is particularly useful for trying CentOS on hardware as well as troubleshooting your computer. The project is also interested in receiving feedback and help to prepare the next version of the LiveCD.

The release notes for the CentOS 5.3 LiveCD is available from the CentOS wiki at: http://wiki.centos.org/Manuals/ReleaseNotes/CentOSLiveCD5.3

The original announcement is available at: http://lists.centos.org/pipermail/centos-announce/2009-May/015944.html

2.3. CentOS Directory Server (CDS)

The omnipotent TimVerhoeven announced the long-expected and first public release of the CentOS Directory Server. The CentOS Directory Server is a rebuild of the Red Hat Directory server. It is an LDAP server developed in the Fedora project and has a long history as the Netscape Directory Server that got purchased by Red Hat and was released as free software.

The CentOS wiki provides information on how to install CDS and where to find more documentation at http://wiki.centos.org/HowTos/DirectoryServerSetup.

Tim's original announcement is available at: http://lists.centos.org/pipermail/centos-announce/2009-May/015943.html

2.4. CentOS-2 goes EOL

Karanbir Singh

As of the 1st of June, 2009 CentOS-2 is no longer supported and is now in End of Life mode. There will be no further updates, security or bugfixes and the content on the mirrors will be moved away. We will try and make sure the CentOS-2 content is still visible to users who might be interested, and also make a source tree visible for people who might be interested in doing their own updates. As a project however, CentOS-2 will no longer have an official status apart from EOL. Exact details of what is going to happen, how its going to be done, and when its all going to take place will be announced on the centos-announce list in the next few days.

We strongly recommend people running CentOS-2 move over to a 'supported' product as soon as possible. One resource that would help in this regard is the MigrationGuide and specifically the MigratingTwoToFive.

JohnNewbigin, who did an excellent job as CentOS-2 lead developer will continue to be a core part of the CentOS developer team.

3. Featured Articles

This Newsletter section is the future location to provide the CentOS community with information about the CentOS project. We hope to provide you here with answers to questions related to projects, people and the future of CentOS. As this is the first issue of the Newsletter, we see this as the perfect opportunity to ask the community for subjects and questions that need clarification so we can get the answers, either in form of an interview or as an article.

Also this section will enable sub-projects, SIGs and teams to announce new initiatives and describe what they are doing and where they're heading. If you are interested in contributing ideas or articles, get in touch with DagWieers at once !

3.1. CentOS Promo SIG

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The CentOS Promo SIG is one of the first Special Interest Groups in the CentOS community and was started to help get CentOS promoted at events around the world. We only succeeded partly since most of the events were the CentOS Promo SIG was present were located in Europe. The reason for this, evidently, is because most of the volunteers interested in helping promote CentOS currently live in Europe, and that is no coincidence. Even though the CentOS project includes members and users from around the world, the different events in Europe caused a surge of interest and personal contacts that increasingly attracted more people helping to promote CentOS in Europe.

This spiral of new events and new people joining the CentOS booth make it possible to have different people taking ownership of organizing presents at different events. For example the major yearly events are:

The CentOS Promo SIG is continuously looking for users who want to promote CentOS in other parts of the world to join existing events or set up new presence. If you are interested in becoming more involved, joining events are the perfect opportunity for this.

But the responsibilities of the CentOS Promo SIG doesn't end there, everything related to improving communication and harmonizing the community fits into its job description. Cultivating Planet CentOS, encourage people to give feedback, blog or contribute content to the wiki, create presentation content and promote more presentations and harvest the possibilities of social networks. And last but not least, this newsletter.

The CentOS Promo SIG could do much more and much better, so if you have a certain angle and the time to implement, visit the CentOS Promo SIG wiki page and start helping !

4. Community Threads

This section of the Newsletter dives into interesting contributions inside the CentOS community. We make the distinction between contributed documentation on the Wiki, support-related contributions on the mailing lists and forums and development-related topics on centos-devel.

We need hints from the community to find these interesting threads as well as to contribute on reporting different viewpoints, summaries and insights.

4.1. Wiki translations to Chinese (zh)

Timothy Lee

Since some time the Wiki is, almost in real-time, being translated to Chinese. This amazing effort is undertaken by TimothyLee and is a true work of art. If you prefer Chinese over English, then your start page for the Wiki should probably look like this: http://wiki.centos.org/zh/FrontPage

4.2. CentOS presence at HAR2009

Every four years a group of Dutch technologists hold a conference, and this year's edition is dubbed Hacking At Random. The conference describes itself as an international technology & security conference. Four days of technology, ideological debates and hands-on tinkering.

Your editor is one of those die-hards who, if only he was ready at the time, would have participated in the initial HEU 1993 edition (Hacking at the End of the Universe), but only joined the HIP 1997 (Hacking In Progress) years later for the very first time. So a ticket was mine many months ago.

Last week GeerdDietgerHoffmann, another die-hard, proposed to have a CentOS presence at HAR 2009 and although your editor doesn't really know what the purpose of this will be, he will definitely be joining this band of brothers until dusk meets dawn. Geerd-Dietger has announced his proposal at: http://lists.centos.org/pipermail/centos-promo/2009-May/000422.html And was so kind to also provide a wiki page at: http://wiki.centos.org/Events/HAR2009

4.3. CentOS on the Dell XPS M1530 and Compaq CQ60

David Dreggors

The Wiki documentation is growing, and one particular sub-site of the wiki deals with running CentOS on Laptops. It is true that CentOS is deemed by most people as a pure server OS because it is most attractive in that area. However, more and more people start to understand that some of the characteristics that work for servers apply to desktops and laptops as well.

But laptops often come with more bells and whistles per cm² (or cubic inch) than a server, so it is quite useful to have a detailed description of what is needed and both LalitDhiri and DavidDreggors did just that on the CentOS on Laptops page with their respective Dell XPS M1530 and CQ60-206US pages about using CentOS 5.

Great work guys !

4.4. Missing updates danger to CentOS

Filipe Brandenburger noticed some Thunderbird updates were missing from CentOS 5.3 updates repository even when they were part of the CentOS 5.2 repository. But what was more worrying was that a newer Thunderbird update was not available at all. Even though AkemiYagi noticed this was reported a week earlier in the bug-tracker the bug-report was still open (it still is btw).

CentOS developer KaranbirSingh was quick to point out some updates were still pending and was looking at the issue to fix them within 24h. Akemi asked one week later for a status update as the updates were still not to be found and KaranbirSingh fixed it that day.

There is a growing concern in the community about delayed releases and missing updates which is not unfounded, but KaranbirSingh in subsequent postings made it clear that the CentOS developers were focused on automating every single step, rather than fixing problems manually. And the problems reported were consequence of this. The upside of internal development improvements is that in the future such incidents are problems of the past and hopefully new releases (like the upcoming CentOS 4.8) will be published much faster.

4.5. CentOS and the Amazon EC2 cloud

Jason Aubrey opened a new thread about the lack of official CentOS images at Amazon's EC2 cloud. In general one can find images created by Amazon, or user-uploaded content and Jason noticed Amazon does not have CentOS images available, while he wouldn't trust someone else's published images. He therefore would prefer if CentOS (together with Amazon) provided official CentOS images.

While RalphAngenendt was interested to know what would be needed to create and provide these images, KaranbirSingh reported on his experiences with Amazon to get exactly this going. In the end he recommended people not to bother using Amazon's EC2 service. Others chimed in with similar experiences.

It seems obvious no other effort is being spent from within the CentOS project at this time to resolve the issue. The developers are quite keen on changing this situation, and it would be quite nice if Amazon was to step forward to resume the process that we started over a year back.

4.6. The yum-clean-all mantra

Recently we started to receive lots of reports of what seem like random errors with yum. If we look at the past 2 weeks a vague estimate would be about 2% on the mailing list and almost 90% of all yum related questions can be answered with a single simple command:

yum clean all

It does seem strange that yum induces so many problems that are cache related, even when the root-cause may be related to something else (stale metadata, network issues, rogue proxies, who knows ?) one would think that an advanced piece of software should be able to detect, or at least correct this issue.

But since the goal of this newsletter is to inform the community, be aware that a yum related issue can be resolved by executing the above statement as root. No panic required.

5. CentOS Errata

Karanbir Singh

This section highlights the most severe security updates for each supported CentOS release while providing a summary and short links to reference of the security issue. For this first issue it only mentions updates in the last one week, from here on we will try and cover all updates between newsletters.

5.1. CentOS-3

5.2. CentOS-4

Currently no updates are being released as CentOS 4.8 is prepared for general availability.

5.3. CentOS-5

6. CentOS in the Spotlight

The following articles mention CentOS and are a good resource to understand how the media (and public) looks at CentOS.

Date

Publication

Title/Link

2009-05-27

Heise Open (German)

CentOS Directory Server and Live-CD Announcement

2009-05-10

techradar.com

Best Linux Distros for... Servers

7. Upcoming Events

The CentOS Promo SIG organizes CentOS presence (booths, presentations) at various conferences and tradeshows. Here we highlight upcoming events. If you are interested to help out, join the Promo SIG.

Newsletter/0901 (last edited 2009-06-03 22:25:04 by DagWieers)