Tag Archives: fedora

More Fedora on XO

So, you just got your XO to do some testing of Fedora on OLPC. You update the software that was on there, get a developer key, wait a day, and then get all ready to boot your Fedora image off of the SD card ….

And it boots. But it's slow. Very very slow. Some slowness is to be expected… this isn't a fast machine. But it should probably be a little bit speedier than it is. So want to try out a few experiments to try to help pin down the cause of the slowness? Then read on, pick a case and leave comments about your results.

  1. Try using a persistent overlay instead of the in-memory one. Add –overlay-size-mb to your livecd-iso-to-disk invocation. Amount should be relative to the size of your SD card.
  2. See if/how much having swap available helps. You can create a file on the SD card with dd, run mkswap against the file and then enable it on the XO. The best test for this would probably be to boot the XO single-user and run swapon from there and then do telinit 5.
  3. Try disabling some services from the live image. Again boot to single-user, chkconfig some services and then telinit 5
  4. … your idea here. Hopefully other people have some ideas of things to try as well. Try them out and let us know how it goes.

More Fedora on XO progress

Made some more progress today with running Fedora on the XO. Until I manage to go and pick up the right SD card, I figured I'd give performance a little bit of a rest and so instead focused on seeing which bits of the hardware appeared to work (or not). So I booted up into run-level 3 with the image I posted last night and started poking.

  • Wireless: First thing to check was the wireless to see if it worked. And it does, the driver gets loaded, we have the firmware and it managed to find the access point at my house and associate without problems. Haven't really looked at mesh at all, and also haven't dived into making sure wpa works, but at least for the basics, it seems okay.
  • Camera: From the quick test of “does the driver load” and “does the driver give data”, this looks okay too. Doing cat < /dev/video0 as a user turns on the LED for the camera and prints garbage to the screen.
  • Sound: Driver loads and the mixer shows elements, but playing sound isn't looking like it's working. Needs more investigation
  • Internal Flash (NAND): Driver seems to load and with a couple of pointers from dwmw2, is mountable without having to do any more module loads. Went ahead and did the next obvious step and changed things so that we can use that for the persistent /home.
  • Special keys: Most of the keys on the keyboard seem to be appropriately mapped, but there are some that will need mapping via hal. Should be straight-forward to sit down and do as it's just writing some fdi file bits (hint: if someone wants to volunteer to do this, I can point you in the right direction 🙂
  • Power management: Suspend to RAM isn't showing up as available at all right now. I suspect some kernel bits that haven't been upstreamed need to be pulled out. Will probably look closer at this tomorrow

And now, I think it is time to go watch some tv

New Fedora on the XO Test Image

A new image for testing Fedora on the XO is now available. This image runs quite a bit slower than the previous one in X and I haven't gotten to why yet, so if you try it, I recommend quite a bit of patience. But I wanted to get something up in the near-term so that people would see some sort of progress 🙂

Changes and improvements in this image…:

  • Updated packages to match those that are included in the Fedora 10 beta that was released yesterday
  • Slightly newer kernel (the one that davej built last night) which has debugging disabled. Sadly, this wasn't the help I hoped it would be.

Booting to runlevel 3 is okay for at least some testing, though. So be sure to add –extra-kernel-args 3 to your invocation of livecd-iso-to-disk in addition to passing –xo. And hopefully we'll have a new image up shortly that fixes some of the slowness and makes things more reasonable for general use “soon”

Progress with the end of seasons

This was the last weekend of summer and on Saturday, it actually felt a bit like fall was already here. I went out with the MIT cycling club on their ride to Dover (MA). Was a nice route and largely in areas that I had never been before, which was good. Relaxed pace and a good opportunity to talk with and start to get to know some of the other people riding. Was glad that I had picked up some knee warmers, though, as they were pretty much the perfect extra layer. Yesterday, though, felt more like summer again as I went out on the Quad ride. Again a beautiful day, though, and nice to get some more good riding in.

Today brought the actual beginning of autumn and waking up to it being kind of dull, gray and cool was not the way I had hoped to start the morning. But I dragged myself out of bed and headed to the office for a day that I had somewhat booked already with meetings.

Between them, managed to get the serial cable hooked up to the OLPC in the office and started with trying to track down kernel things again. And finally started getting somewhere. After a week (plus) of dead ends, I happened upon the right avenue and was able to confirm that the problem was OpenFirmware loading the initrd into RAM where it shouldn't have been. Wrote up a good description of what was going wrong, sent it off, and Mitch Bradley (aka OFW Ninja) had me a fix in about an hour. I didn't see it for a while longer due to other meetings, but it was in my inbox.

So, after getting home and having dinner, I tried it out and was greeted with success. So modulo fixing some more “normal” kernel problems, it looks like we should be well on our way to having the XO able to boot with the regular Fedora kernel. And this means that having an XO run just any old Fedora live image is now a very big step closer to reality…

Catching up

About this time last week, I came to the realization that I had a ton of pending work to get done. Luckily, I'm now starting to feel more like I'm on track and not behind. But it was less than fun, so I'm definitely going to try to be better about staying on top of things, especially the system architecture “opportunity sets” for the rest of the semester. Otherwise, classes are going good. Given the amount of time getting sucked up, I decided to not actually be a listener for the Software Systems Engineering course, which is too bad. But this way, I should have some time to just to a few more random talks around MIT. Which is probably going to be more interesting and helpful.

On other fronts, the Fedora on OLPC and Sugar on Fedora efforts are picking up steam a bit. Hopefully we'll have some more useful milestones for both in the next week or so. But due to work there, I haven't had much time to spend on getting a SIG for other smaller form factor machines (including netbooks, the XO and more) underway. Luckily, Peter Robinson has volunteered on fedora-devel-list to help get this off the ground, so hopefully we can get that going to.

Never a dull day…

Fedora on an XO

As I mentioned before, one thing that I've been spending some time on is getting a “stock” Fedora to run on the OLPC XO hardware. Obviously there's not a CD drive, but there is a USB port and there is also an SD card slot. Which given the support in our live images for running off of such things, there seemed to be a bit of an obvious matchup.

There's just one (large-ish) problem. The XO is a Geode, so an i586 processor with cmov. So the stock i686 kernel on the live images definitely doesn't boot there. Unfortunately, neither does the i586 kernel. I'm working on tracking down what the relevant configuration difference is so that it can be fixed — interestingly enough, if you don't load an initrd, a Fedora i586 kernel can boot fine. So there's definitely something a little odd going on. If you have experience in debugging early boot of an XO and have any tips, leave a comment or catch me on IRC or send me mail 🙂

So, instead I've done a modified version of the main OLPC kernel with the help of sdziallas that includes squashfs and also turns on things like dm-snapshot which we need for live images.

That plus a pretty straight-forward image config and we can build a live image that boots into the GNOME desktop on the XO off of either an SD card or a USB stick. There are definitely still things to be fixed, though. To try to help some of that, I've created a tracking bug that can be used by those who have an XO and try running a Fedora live image on it.

Do you have an XO and are interested in trying it out? If so, first be sure that you have a developer key for your system. Then, you can download an image based on today's rawhide (debranded) from here. I've basically tested that it boots, logs in to the desktop and associates to my access point. Then gpk-update-icon fires up and we run out of memory for things. If you kill it quick enough, then you can fire up firefox and slowly do a little bit of other stuff.

Some things that are continuing to be worked on:

  • Having somewhere to swap would help a lot
  • Using the SD card/USB stick for your persistence instead of eating up valuable RAM
  • Persistent /home on the internal NAND (jffs2)
  • Looking at high memory usage things and helping to make them better
  • Fixing the standard kernel so that we can boot it on the XO
  • And if we do the last one then we can boot the standard live images, any of them, on the XO

Any help appreciated! Any bugs you find, please be sure to make them block the tracker so that we can keep up with them accordingly.

As for the questions about what the end goal is here — ultimately, I'd like to have any Fedora spin working on the XO just like it works on lots of other hardware. For Fedora 10, this may be a stretch (although I'm going to land any small changes that can be identified in that timeframe even though it's not a feature and we're at feature/beta freeze). But for Fedora 11, it should certainly be doable.

What have I been up to?

Things have quieted down on the livecd-tools front — it is mostly to a point where it's pretty stable and works fairly well. Also, I did not run for election to either the Board or FESCo this time around. Instead, I've tried to free up my time a bit so that I can spend more time looking into some “new and different” things, while still managing to spend most of my time on Fedora.

And after some time looking, it's mostly ending up being spending time helping to get Fedora working better on various “small” form-factor x86 machines. I sent out a message to fedora-devel-list about two weeks ago now seeing who else was interested and got a bit of a gamut of responses. Some were right along the lines of what I'm thinking with things such as Netbooks, UMPCs, MIDs and the XO. Others were more things like the OpenMoko. And while the latter is perhaps interesting to Fedora in the longer-term, it's not really a space that we're well equipped to work in at present.

So basically, I'm hoping to spend time in the lead-up to Fedora 10 helping to make Fedora work as well as possible on some of this hardware. Luckily, a lot of the drivers for these devices have made it into Linus's tree for 2.6.27, so this will be a lot less painful than it would have been previously.

I'm also spending some time with the OLPC people to help reconcile some of the forks which have occurred. I've spent some time over the past couple of days helping to get a live image which is bootable using the stock livecd-creator and booting into the “normal” Fedora environment. I also started a little while ago on helping to get more Sugar activities packaged up so that they can be built and installed as normal packages within Fedora.

Now, how are these things related you might ask? Well, longer term, I think that it could make a lot of sense to have a spin of Fedora available which is better suited for some of these smaller form-factor, internet always available devices. The idea being that with the resolutions in question, you may well not want to be running a stock GNOME or KDE. Instead, something like Sugar really is nicer, although there are definitely rough edges on Sugar right now. So maybe these new emerging form-factor devices can give a good additional place for Sugar to be deployed and used. And more people using Sugar means more people writing Sugar activities which means more things for the kids 🙂 But, that's likely Fedora 11 before it becomes a reality.

Well, that was interesting

So when I last left you with a post, it was to note the end of my summer classes and looking forward to at least getting to relax a little bit.

Hah! That mostly certainly didn't happen. Instead, I got thrown into the ultra-fun world of helping to deal with the cleanup for the Fedora infrastructure intrusion. Spent a lot of time reinstalling a lot of servers and doing everything I could do to help get things online as quickly as possible. Not how I intended to spend last week, but you do what needs doing. I will say that the setup for the Fedora Infrastructure is a whole heck of a lot nicer than it used to be. And while editing puppet configs makes my skin crawl, it is pretty effective.

In the middle of that, Kara and I did manage to have some people over now a week and a half ago for a night of games of the carded variety. A good time was had I think by all and the approach of making a theme worked pretty well for avoiding the phenomena of “game of Rock Band” and “everyone else”. So we'll probably have to try to keep going in that vein. Not that there's anything wrong with Rock Band, per se, but it's good to get people interacting in different games as well. We'll probably try to get something else together in a couple of weeks.

Then, over this past weekend, Kara and I headed down to DC for a (very much needed by that point) vacation. Did a lot of sleeping in, touristy things, and eating good food. Which, all in all, was exactly what we were looking for. Went to the Newseum and was actually pretty impressed and see how they can manage to charge for a museum admission and be right next to the Smithsonian. We also hit up some of the exhibits at the Smithsonian, although a different set than the ones I've usually hit in the past.

The only downside of the trip really was that I didn't have a bike with me and so haven't really ridden to speak of in about a week. But that shall be remedied starting tomorrow and I'm pretty certain it's going to involve the round trip commute to the office. Although I should probably be sure to do a few things like plug in the nice light, etc tonight before heading to bed.

This week, I'll hopefully get back on track with what I was hoping to do last week. And maybe get enough done for two weeks in… err.. three days. Seems doubtful, doesn't it? Then a long weekend for Labor Day and then classes start back up. How does that saying go about no rest?

Last week flew by

So yeah, last week kind of flew past me and I didn't do a good job of keeping up with posting. Lots of it was building live images for the Fedora 10 alpha (coming to a mirror near you tomorrow), testing said images, building new images, and doing over and over again. Also a whole ton of mail on various fronts. Today was more of the same, although also a lot of time trying to track down what was going on in a weird livecd-creator bug that has been popping up from time to time forever. Finally figured out the root cause so hopefully we'll get to the bottom of it real soon now.

On the school side, it was the usual level of madness for summer classes. Spent a good chunk of time Tuesday after class finishing up the System Dynamics assignment and then home to work and have dinner. Only a tiny bit longer of that and then I get a few weeks off before fall classes begin. And Kara and I have booked a short trip for in that time period as we have some overlap this time around.

And then to keep things even more busy last week, we had a pretty busy social schedule. Wednesday had a group of the Quad racers getting together at Redbones and so I wandered down there as, hey, why miss a good chance of eating at Redbones. Thursday was then the monthly “Cafe Quad” social, although I really only briefly popped my head in before going home due to the tiring week. Friday night, Kara and I ended up going out with Kate and Jon to drink to a better August, as Kate's July kind of sucked. Saturday was probably the slowest day — Quad ride in the morning, spending a little bit of time between work and looking at school stuff in the afternoon, and then dinner and watching Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story which was no better or worse than I expected it to be. It was just the sort of light comedy that I was needing at that point.

And I think that mostly catches up to the present… this week might be a little bit less insane on some fronts, but I'm sure it will make up for it on others.

The “Cambridge” release returns

The results of the voting on the Fedora 10 name were announced today. And I am quite pleased to see that my suggestion, Cambridge, is the winning name. Now, for those who don't know, Cambridge has a special significance as the internal project name for Red Hat Linux 10 (prior to switching it to become Fedora Core 1) was also Cambridge. And thus, we have returned to where we were five years ago completing some form of sick, sick circle.