[Sugar-devel] Community XO software builds

Peter Robinson pbrobinson at gmail.com
Thu May 7 10:59:10 EDT 2015

> 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.

Yes, but in the Ubuntu case it's a one way street, there's never been
any love from Ubuntu. You could get it from Canonical if someone put
up a large amount of cash. They don't support gnome in the core so
even then I suspect you'll have similar issues.

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

Nope, never has been never will be. It's a _DOWNSTREAM_ of RHEL, and
in v7 RHEL only supports 64 bit architectures. The i686 support is
community driven as is the ARMv7 support. No guarantee either will
ever be in sync.

Has anyone actually booted the latest Ubuntu LTS on any/all the XOs?

>> 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).

Yes, I'm aware of that. There's a number of other bits I'm aware of.
Be aware it's not all rosy in the LTS world either.

>> > 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
> released.

Yes, but then there will be a bunch of issues with the CentOS 7
release, or even the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS release which would require a
bunch of work ongoing and a MASSIVE effort to begin with to get it to
the point you can even start to look at stabilising. It too and will
be ongoing and you get to the end of it and you've got a bunch of
awesome support for an ancient release and by then you're basically

Ultimately no one will put up that time either. Someone needs to pay
some how whether it be in development or money.

The fact is we are in this situation because OLPC the organisation has
zero interest in the project now and the organisations around the
globe want everything provided to them on a plate with everything the
want provided for free with the click of a finger.

The fact if they all provided a little bit of development resources to
the upstream project there wouldn't be this problem. Many hands and
all that...

> 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."

Exactly! Nor do they want to pay for the effort.

There's is a HUGE amount of initial work to get everything moved to a
LTS platform. CentOS would be easier in that in a lot of cases it
would be recompiling packages. But there would also need to be kernel
and other work which ever route you go.

It would be months of work to get a distro working.... then you need
to QA etc. Who is going to do the work, who is going to pay. No one
will come out publicly and say it but they all want a polished LTS
release without having to contribute any resources themselves. "Please
may I have a rainbow pooing unicorn"

In Fedora there is work but it's small work packages on going. I'll
send a different email outlining the work I think there is there.

>> > 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
> resources.

You'll have all the same issues on Ubuntu LTS or CentOS too. Anyone
tried installing XFCE or similar style Ubuntu LTS or CentOS to see how
the HW works. This would be a good start.... but then you need to move
all the UX over too.

> 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.

Well there XFCE or others. Xorg isn't going away soon. Have you tried
if sugar works on Wayland?

>> 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.

It's not a rival. It's a downstream of a downstream. Fedora -> RHEL ->
CentOS. It's aimed at Enterprise workloads and things like point of
sale and the cloud. It's not really aimed at the same thing. EL7 looks
good now because it's shiny. Remember it's based on Fedora 19, it's
already getting old! Just like Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. They both came out
about a year ago.... they're both based on tech older than that.

>> > 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.

I'm not taking it as such. I'm just putting the facts on the table.


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