Previously, it would take someone new to the project quite some time to learn about the distributions and understand their differences. Not every new openSUSE user would know that it's ideal to use openSUSE MicroOS for single-purpose server hosting and Kubic for container orchestration with Kubernetes.
Thanks to a revamp of the openSUSE Project website, now the distributions get a dedicated page at get.opensuse.org. A little work is still needed on the documentation part for each specific distribution. If you would like to help with that, you are most welcome. Join the openSUSE Documentation mailing list and coordinate with what's already being done to improve doc.opensuse.org.
For now, each distribution's individual page on get.opensuse.org points to the same official documentation guide which is Leap-centric. The documentation does not cover specific instructions for MicroOS, Kubic or even Tumbleweed.
I tweeted about a blog post which I published on opensuse.mu, explaining how I configured the GNOME desktop theme Yaru (by the Ubuntu community) on my openSUSE Tumbleweed machine. The tweet got a lot of reaction, not just for the blog post or cool Yaru theme but also for the nice wallpaper showing penguins using a computer.
Ever since Red Hat announced that they are changing the development model of CentOS and making it an upstream project rather than downstream, it left many CentOS users frowning. No matter what argument brought forward, CentOS users, especially running production machines, relied on the stability of an enterprise-grade Linux distribution. Compiled from RHEL sources, CentOS offered such stability that it powered many web servers and enjoyed a massive 20% share of the top 500 supercomputers of the world.
Some time back, Red Hat made another annoucement, about new Red Hat Enterprise Linux programs. Under the new program RHEL can be used in production for up to 16 systems (which Red Hat considers a small workload) at zero license costs. Also, Red Hat is making it easier for a customer's development team to join the program and reap the benefits.
What risks lie ahead for an enterprise if Red Hat changes or cancels the program in the future? 🤔
On the other hand, since 2018, SUSE has worked closely with the openSUSE community to bring the Leap distribution closer to SUSE Enterprise Linux (SLE), such that now Leap and SLE are binary compatible.
openSUSE currently offers two distinct distributions, Leap & Tumbleweed.
Tumbleweed is a rolling distribution constantly getting updated software whereas Leap has planned releases that sync with SUSE Linux Enterprise and its Service Packs.
The above image depicts how openSUSE & SUSE Linux Enterprise are developed together. Factory is the rolling development codebase for both openSUSE & SLE. In the pipeline we can see that Leap & SLE are synced and both receive software packages from the same source; that is why they are both binary compatible.
Red Hat allows its clients to use RHEL for free on up to 16 machines. On the other hand, openSUSE Leap boasts binary compatibility with SUSE Linux Enterprise and comes without any restriction on usage.
I am using the SOGo Groupware. I noticed that certain emojis in the event title would prevent calendar apps from synchronizing using the CalDAV protocol. I checked the logs but could not find much. I had my doubts about what could be causing it. Then, this bug report confirmed that I should investigate on the UTF-8 encoding support.
I checked the database character set.
MariaDB [sogo]> select @@character_set_database;
| @@character_set_database |
| utf8 |
1 row in set (0.001 sec)
The database name is sogo and we are using MariaDB.
I found the character set to be utf8, to my surprise. I had to dig a little further to understand what was wrong with it.
It turned out that the MariaDB utf8 character set supports a maximum of there bytes per character. Therefore, emojis being four bytes long weren't being inserted into the database. Consequently, that breaks the calendar synchronization. The solution was to use the utf8mb4 character set which supports four bytes per multi-byte character.
I altered the database character set and collation.
MariaDB [sogo]> ALTER DATABASE sogo CHARACTER SET = utf8mb4 COLLATE = utf8mb4_unicode_ci;
I also applied it to every table in the database, e.g:
MariaDB [sogo]> ALTER TABLE sogo_store CONVERT TO CHARACTER SET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_unicode_ci;
Afterwards, I could create events using an emoji in the title. The event would synchronize across my calendar apps but the emoji would not show. Instead, it would appear as four questions marks (????) instead.
A little bit of further digging and I found that SOGo needs to be made aware of the full unicode support. It should be specified in the /etc/sogo/sogo.conf configuration file.
MySQL4Encoding = "utf8mb4";
Restart the SOGo service. Emojis should be then accepted in the event titles.
I can now put my recurrent coffee breaks in the calendar. ☕
The election lasted for two weeks and it ended last night at 23h59 UTC. The results were published today at mid-day (for me).
The complete election results are:
Axel Braun — 142 votes
Gertjan Lettink — 134 votes
Neal Gompa — 131 votes
Maurizio Galli — 103 votes
Nathan Wolf — 59 votes
Five votes were recorded for the "none of the above" option. Out of 518 eligible voters, 229 voters have cast their vote in this election, which represents a turnout of 44%. It's a low turnout compared to last year's board election which was 56%.
Axel, Gertjan and Neal are elected to serve for two years on the openSUSE Board.
Yes, but this time, it is the regular board election that is happening. The previous elections that were conducted during the past year were due to ad-hoc and unforeseen circumstances. However, as per the regular election cycle, we have three seats that are going to be vacant on the openSUSE Board in December. They are the seats of Axel Braun, Marina Latini and Stasiek Michalski. Note that Stasiek was elected this year to replace Christian Boltz whose term ends in 2020. However, Stasiek is opting out from this election due to personal commitments.
My friend from the Election Committee, Ariez Vachha, made the election announcement on the project mailing list yesterday. The election wiki page has been updated accordingly, which includes the usual election schedule poster. That's courtesy of our friends from the openSUSE Indonesia community.
At the time of writing this blog post, that is less than 24 hours since the annoucement of the election, we received emails from three members who wish to stand as candidate in this election. It's a very good start.
The call for nominations and applications will continue until Sunday 29th of November. If you would like to nominate a member from the openSUSE community, please send us an email, email@example.com. We will be glad to inform the member about his/her nomination.
Saamiyah pinged me a few days ago about the Hacktoberfest event that she was organising and asked whether I would be free to present a topic. Sure, why not?
As many tech meetups at the moment, the Hacktoberfest event also was virtual. It was hosted on the Jitsi instance of the Mauritius Software Craftsmanship Community. The event was scheduled to start at 19h30 on Friday, i.e last evening. I was late to join but "luckily" so was everybody.
As the event started, we had some small-talk before the presentations really kick-off. We talked about flexi-time, work-from-(home|anywhere), and how they compare to being full-time in office.
Saamiyah did the first presentation in which she talked about the concept of Hacktoberfest, a month where open source software is celebrated. Sandeep spoke about local open source projects on GitHub.
I spoke about Flatpak and how to set it up on openSUSE. I concluded my presentation with an observation on the rise of Flatpak fuelled by the idea of having immutable & maintenance-free systems such as Fedora Silverblue and openSUSE MicroOS Desktop.
The next speaker, Alan, spoke about Docker Swarm, followed by Pritvi who talked about software licenses. It was 22h00 by that time and I could not stay longer. I bid goodnight on the chat room and wished everyone to continue having fun!
oSLO 2020 kicked-off on Thursday 15 October at 10h00 UTC with an opening address by The Document Foundation's Chairman, Lothar Becker.
The conference was due to happen in Nuremberg, Germany, but because of the pandemic the plan was changed and the event went fully online. Three sessions ran simultaneously in virtual rooms. Two rooms hosted the short & long talks while the third room hosted the workshops.
During the opening session, as more people kept joining, the platform started to show signs of high load. People reported issues with the audio quality and some said that the page was not loading at all. Thanks to the Telegram group dedicated to the oSLO Conference communications, issues were being promptly reported and handled. Within a matter of minutes the organizers arranged to move the all sessions to The Document Foundation's Jitsi instance. The latter worked like a charm. The organizers and volunteers who helped in the swift transition did a great job.
The conference room 1 easily held more than 80 participants at one time and there was no degradation in the quality of audio/video.
Getting started with Podman
I had my talk on Podman scheduled at 13h30 UTC on the first day of the conference. It went fine, except my poor timing of not being able to wrap it up as a short talk of 15 mins. I'll improve next time. 😉
The second day was even more fun. I hopped into the conference chat room from time to time to have a chit-chat with friends. It was not the same as having a geek talk over a beer during the conference after parties, but I was glad to see friends from the other side of the planet. I was happy to see that they are doing well.
At one time during the beer chat, I was talking to two conference participants, one was from Taiwan and the other from Bulgaria. It is always funny to see people's reaction on how small Mauritius is compared to the other countries. Well, I am proud of the tiny dot in the middle of the ocean. 🇲🇺
Meet the openSUSE Board
The last session in the room 1 of the conference, on the second day, was held by the openSUSE Board members.
They provide updates and statistics about the project over the past year and tell us a bit about what the Board is planning for the future.
It is also the time when openSUSE members can ask questions.
The session was scheduled at 21h00 UTC which was 01h00 in the morning (the next day) for me. I was tired but I enjoyed the session. I jumped into the conversation when there was a comment about having a diverse representation on the Board with people from different parts of the world. I commented as an official of the Election Committee, encouraging members from all parts of the world to step up & run as candidate or nominate someone for the next Board election.
See you next year!
Italo Vignoli, founding member of The Document Foundation, during the closing keynote of the openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference (oSLO 2020), asked participants to share comments on how to improve the conference experience. He pointed out that this might not be the last virtual conference, considering the pandemic, although we all would love to have a physical conference soon.
Kudos to the organizers and volunteers for a successful conference. 👏