[Sugar-devel] Community XO software builds

Gonzalo Odiard godiard at sugarlabs.org
Thu May 7 10:28:42 EDT 2015

Hi Peter,

On Thu, May 7, 2015 at 6:16 AM, Peter Robinson <pbrobinson at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Thu, May 7, 2015 at 12:10 AM, James Cameron <quozl at laptop.org> wrote:
> > On Wed, May 06, 2015 at 09:19:45AM -0300, Gonzalo Odiard wrote:
> >> I think we should try make a build using CentOS. I don't know if
> >> have all the packages we need, but the rate of change in Fedora was
> >> difficult to follow when OLPC had a team dedicated and now is almost
> >> impossible. The true is we didn't finished to solve the problems we
> >> found in F20, and Fedora is working in F22.
> >

Let make my comment clear. My proposal was not a criticize Fedora
or the Fedora community. Fedora has been very supportive and responsive.

> > I do not think we should switch from Fedora to CentOS, because;
> >
> > 1.  our installed base express interest in Fedora or Ubuntu,
> Daniel Drake, myself and others put in a lot of effort back in the
> F-14/15 days to get everything upstream into Fedora. I continue to
> maintain that and produce a Sugar on a Stick release with every Fedora
> release.
> In the last release Daniel and I was involved in the delta between
> Fedora and the OLPC release was very minimal. Basically kernel,
> firmware, and some minor changes to a couple of Sugar packages for XO
> HW and patches that weren't yet upstream.
> > 2.  there are missing desktop packages, which means we are taking on
> > maintenance of those packages on CentOS,
> Having tried and failed to do this back when EL6 was new I believe
> this is a dead end. It turned out to be _WAY_ more effort than
> actually keeping Fedora up to date. The upstream RHEL releases are
> every 6 months but if you need a fix for a package in the core 2500
> odd packages and it's not easy you might be waiting a lot longer for a
> fix.
Ok. I didn't know that.

When I talked with deployments and they ask for Ubuntu,
and I ask why, what they really want is Long Time Support.
No deployment change their image more than once a year.
In fact, change a image is a logistic challenge for most of
the big/middle size deployments.

Then, I was thinking in CentOS as a LTS version of Fedora.

> In Fedora if you know the right people (like me) you can get a fix
> into update-testing in a day. Also there's a much much wider QA group
> across the packages we use and care about.
> I can go on and on about the details required for this but basically I
> suspect eyes have glazed over already.
This is true, and I know that.
But also is true, that keep the pace of changes in Fedora is not easy.
In fact, is not Fedora fault, mostly is Gtk ([1], [2], [3]) or libraries
(the last was vte [4],
but I can find more).


> 3.  we would delay necessary work until the next release of CentOS, or
> > if the work is too large we may never upgrade.
> I suspect it would be never.

Ok. But Let me explain my reasons.

Right now, the only "stable" images are based on F18.
We don't have images in a good shape for the deployments for F20,
we missed F21 (where Gtk theme change in a subtle way again,
and toggle toolbar buttons don't change the background color),
and we should start to work in F22. With the hands we have today,
I am sure we will not solve all the problems we already have before F23 is

That is my concern. If we would had one dsd involved,
the conversation would be completely different,
But as Samuel said in a previous mail in this thread "I have seen a fair
amount of interest,
both publicly and privately, for newer XO laptop builds.  But I don't think
the requesters
realize how much work it takes to make one."

> > Let me explain that last point.
> >
> > There is a continuous flow of changes into Fedora.  These changes
> > eventually flow into Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and thus into CentOS.
> >
> > The most cost effective way to handle this flow was for developers to
> > test changes on our builds, every week.  This gaves us awareness of
> > the change and kept us involved to resist changes that cause damage.
> > We were there once.  It required a low but continuous engineering
> > effort.
> It use to take around an hour to cut a release from Fedora/Sugar
> repos. Quite often the delta from a patch for a fix being created and
> a new OS was in the hours timeframe. It's the usual story of a little
> bit of effort regularly stops it from being a major issue.
> Kernel and olpc-os-builder aside I think you could probably produce a
> working image of Fedora 22 now. I think all the userspace bits are
> likely there and working due to my SoaS work.
I am sure we could produce a _almost_working_ image for Fedora 22.
The problem is make a _working_ image. Just to point a example,
Community image (at least on xo-1) have problems to connect to a
secured access point. Solve all this little problems takes time and

And do not have idea what will happen when Fedora 23 jump to wayland.
Will work in these old devices and kernels?
Gnome does not work without acceleration right now.

> It's actually the thing that annoys me most about the sugar community.
> IMO we have a great working Sugar release that works pretty much
> everywhere plus is a great proven base for XO releases yet so many
> core developers have told me "if only you'd focus on Ubuntu we'd use
> it" yet Ubuntu for _YEARS_ have shown that they couldn't given a shit
> and even actively remove core bits needed (remember the Browse on
> Mozilla years anyone??) to make it even harder.

I agree. I don't think change to Ubuntu will solve nothing magically.
In fact we will have more problems.

> > The next most cost effective way is to do this work only when a new
> > release of Fedora occurs.  This results in lots of head scratching and
> > bug fixing, and new builds, until the bugs are mostly gone.  We are
> > here now.  It requires bursts of engineering effort.
> Actually it needs work _BEFORE_ a new release happens, any work now
> IMO should be focused on Fedora 23. That way you have everything in
> place in time for Fedora 23 GA in October and you get the longest
> value out of the release.
I agree.

> > The least cost effective way is to hold off doing that work for three
> > years until the next CentOS release.  This would be a lot more work in
> > a much shorter burst.
> And you'll likely end up in a very disparate stability across devices.
> Both ARMv7 and i686 is community supported in CentOS which means you
> get likely dubious quality of work and I suspect due to toolchain
> config choices for i686 it won't even run on the XO-1. Has anyone
> actually tried booting CentOS-7 on a XO1? From what I've seen of the
> ARMv7 efforts I see it as half arsed at best.
I was no aware of that.

> People ask me if I can help with CentOS. The answer is no. I have no
> personal interest in CentOS. I have enough to do with personal
> projects on Fedora.
I expected CentOS was complementary to Fedora, not a rival.

> > Delaying effort until a future time hasn't worked, and I don't think
> > it will.  Meanwhile, I'm trying as hard as I can with what I'm doing.
> And I've been trying as hard with Fedora as possible. The core Sugar
> stack is in pretty good shape. There's some work needed on some
> Activies but most of the work it to update them to the latest upstream
> bits.
We know that, and we thank you. Please don't take this discussions
about how to go forward as a attack.


> Peter
> https://alt.fedoraproject.org/pub/alt/stage/22_TC2/Images/armhfp/Fedora-SoaS-armhfp-22-TC2-sda.raw.xz
> https://alt.fedoraproject.org/pub/alt/stage/22_TC2/Live/i386/Fedora-Live-SoaS-i686-22-TC2.iso
> https://alt.fedoraproject.org/pub/alt/stage/22_TC2/Live/x86_64/Fedora-Live-SoaS-x86_64-22-TC2.iso

Gonzalo Odiard

SugarLabs - Software for children learning
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