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Moving Focus to the Upstream

oVirt logo When code with the complexity of oVirt gets developed, one of the more critical pieces of tooling to have is an issue tracker. Issue trackers–which work for any size coding project, really–enable developers and quality engineers to make note of features to add and the progress in which they are getting added. They also help project participants identify faulty behaviors and prioritize them for repair. This latter use is why issue trackers are also known as bug trackers.

One of the best open source bug trackers for development today is Bugzilla, and it's the system oVirt uses for issue tracking, along with many other projects in which Red Hat is involved. It is also the same tracker used for one of oVirt's downstream commercial products, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV). And therein lies a little bit of a problem–a problem we are happy to say is getting solved with an even more open policy on issue and bug tracking.

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SELF Discovery

SELF logo The 2015 SouthEast LinuxFest (SELF) made its seventh annual appearance last week, this year filling the quiet halls of the Sheraton Charlotte Airport with the voices of the free and open source community.

This was my first time at the show, but it is most definitely a local favorite for those Red Hatters based in Raleigh. Charlotte is a city in transition, with some interesting spots to find culture and ridiculously good cuisine. The event itself had the feel of similar regional FLOSS conferences, along the lines of SCALE, Texas Linux Fest, and LinuxFest Northwest: run by a team of dedicated (and slightly exhausted) volunteers that went out of their way to make attendees and exhibitors feel welcome.

OSAS was well-represented at SELF, presenting on a variety of topics that displayed just some of our expertise.

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RDO and CentOS

Continuing in the series about the RDO Meetup in Vancouver, in this recording we have Karsten Wade, of the CentOS project, talking about CentOS's relationship with RDO, and with OpenStack in general. He talks about the CentOS build infrastructure, CI, package repos, and the CentOS Cloud SIG.

(If the player below doesn't work for you, you can listen HERE

Additional information:

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Control All the Things with ManageIQ Botvinnik

We're very happy to announce that ManageIQ Botvinnik is now generally available. This marks the first full release cycle for ManageIQ as an open source project. As mentioned in previous announcements, we name our releases alphabetically after chess world champions. For the "B" release, we selected Mikhail Botvinnik, a Soviet chess champion from the 1950's. The "C" release cycle is named after Jose Raul Capablanca, a Cuban world chess champion from 1921-1927.

For the impatient, here's what you need to know:

For more information on this release, see the release announcement at manageiq.org.

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DotScale 2015

Last monday, I went to DotScale 2015 in the heart of Paris (living half a hour of Paris, it was a rather easy trip for me). DotScale touts itself as "The European Tech Conference on Scalability," and focuses mostly on distributed systems and scalability issues. Started three years ago following the success of the DotRB conference, this year DotScale attracted around 750 attendees, most of them from France.

Thanks to my unending and unwarranted optimism regarding extra- and intra-urban transportation in Paris, a topic so vast I could dedicate a entire book just to rant on it, I managed to arrive at the beautiful Théâtre de Paris around 10am, in time for the start of talks but just after breakfast. Greeted by a small group of students serving as staff, I quickly moved through the small booth area set up in the hall to enter the theatre serving as main room, where I met up with a group of colleagues who had saved a seat for me.

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All Code Tells A Story

SELF logo I can talk. A lot.

I'm pretty sure there's not one of my friends and co-workers who would dispute that assertion.

Much of my conversation in the workplace revolves around, well, work: the creation and distribution of technology that, ultimately, helps other people get more work done. How do we make feature X better? Or figure out how to explain feature Y?

Explaining what my colleagues are creating is a big part of my work. To do so, I very often have to use metaphors and other storytelling tools to make sure the explanation is clear. This is not something unique to me; many of us in IT do it all of the time, even amongst ourselves. Our language is rife with jargonism that hopefully helps to make things clear.

Thus, we have virtual machine management and cloud computing explained as "pets" and "cattle," respectively. Or, if you run towards the sci-fi, there are other metaphors.

Recently, though, it struck me that we don't just use metaphors to explain what we do. What IT does in many respects is storytelling. We take mathematical concepts and mold them into imagery and tools with which we might be more familiar. So we have the antiquated concept of accounting ledgers shaping the metaphor of the spreadsheet with its cells, worksheets, and workbooks. It's a computer. It doesn't need to imitate paper with its limitations. But we need that limitation. We have to see the numbers in such a way that people can understand them and work with them.

This is a metaphor, a story… and we see it all across our technology. Why else would we use terms like "desktop," "window," and "menu"? This is a level of creativity that I think often gets lost in technology. Too often, technologists are labels as being too literal, and not creative. But in reality, people who shape, build, and run technology are very likely just as creative as an artist or writer. The medium is vastly different, but the result is very much the same.

So, at SouthEast LinuxFest this weekend, I will be telling a story. A story about storytellers and IT and the way we tell a story that starts not like ancient fairy tales, but perhaps with code like <pre>10 PRINT "ONCE UPON A TIME"</pre>.

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Highlights From RDO Meeting at OpenStack Summit

On Thursday morning at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, roughly 60 RDO enthusiasts gathered to discuss a variety of topics around the RDO project. Officially we had just 40 minutes, but since we were followed by a coffee break, we went overtime by about 20 minutes, and there was still some hallway discussion following that.

The complete agenda can be seen in the meeting etherpad. Highlights include:

  • Perry Myers talked some about the packaging effort - the status, and where people can get involved in that. Several people in attendance expressed a desire to get more involved. There was also some talk about how we are going to handle packaging for Fedora in the future.
  • Jaromir Coufal gave an overview of the RDO-Manager project, which is the effort to build an installer/manager for your RDO OpenStack cloud, based on TripleO and other OpenStack projects.
  • There was some discussion around what will be included in future packaging of RDO - for example, whether it will include the newly minted projects such as Murano, Congress, Mistral, and so on. The consensus appears to be that this is up to who steps up to do that work, and so is another incentive to get more people involved in packaging.
  • Karsten Wade gave an update on the CentOS infrastructure, including the recent release of CentOS RDO package repositories. Questions here include the relationship between these new repos and the existing RDO repos on repos.fedorapeople.org - the intent is that the repos on mirrors.centos.org will replace these. Karsten also talked about the CentOS project's plan for OpenStack/CentOS CI such that upgrades to CentOS never break OpenStack, and vice versa, if you use these repos.
  • Following from this, there was discussion of the CI infrastructure which is key to that decision. It was noted that other related projects, such as libvirt, are also using that infrastructure, which could lead to helpful cooperation between the projects.
  • Dan Radez gave an overview of OPNFV and the plans to integrate it with RDO.
  • Dan also talked about TryStack, and the plans to improve it in the months to come.
  • In the coming weeks, this website will be migrating off of MediaWiki and Vanilla Forums, to a git-based system using Middleman. This will make it easier for people to contribute to the content, and will also solve other persistent technical problems related the the current system, authentication, and URL mapping. It will also ensure better historical tracking of content. There was some discussion of plans to reorganize the content of the site to better facilitate community engagement.
  • Given the quantity of topics, and the lack of time, we talked about trying to do a full-day event at FOSDEM, in conjunction with the CentOS Dojo there, where we could devote an hour to each topic, rather than cutting everyone off after 5 minutes.

All of the above items will be discussed further on the mailing list in the coming weeks. The meetup, while very valuable, wasn't long enough to do much more than start conversations and find interested people. Look for these conversations soon - or start one yourself if there's a topic that you're particular interested in.

Once again, a huge thanks to everyone that attended, and everyone that presented topics.

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How to Install oVirt's Windows Guest Tools

The oVirt Windows Guest Tools (oVirt WGT) installer, which made its debut in oVirt version 3.5, allows users to optimize Windows VMs for oVirt by easing the installation of:

  • Para-virtualized VirtIO-Win drivers, that you need to run your Microsoft Windows VMs with optimum performance.

  • Spice QXL drivers, for the improved remote access and performance.

  • Guest Agents, services that provide additional support for running and accessing VMs in oVirt. In 3.5 these agents include:

    • oVirt Guest Agent, which reports to oVirt Manager information such as IP addresses and FQDN of the VM.
    • Spice Guest Agent, which provides functions such as copy-and-paste between the client and the VM, as well making it possible to seamlessly go in and out of the VM's console with a mouse pointer. Without this agent, you would need to "release" your mouse pointer each time you want to go outside of the console.

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