initramfs upgrade warning for amd64 users

A quick word of caution from your bleeding edge guardian angel, @ubuntustatus: “WARNING: amd64 users on Maverick (10.10) should not upgrade now. We are seeing initramfs errors, which lead to broken boots.”

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Xorg 1.8 now fully baked in Maverick

Now that all of the drivers have landed, Xorg 1.8 is fully baked and ready for safe upgrade in Maverick (that is, without losing any meta packages or other drivers along the way). Enjoy!

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Watch out, Xorg hackers about!

Consider yourself doubly-warnedxorg-server 1.8 has been uploaded to Maverick. It just completed the build and publish process for i386 and armel as of this post, so expect to see it land on your crash-test-dummy machine very soon. Fingers crossed it won’t be dead on arrival!

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Greetings and goodbyes at the entrance to hell

It has been surprisingly quiet since Alpha 1, but some big changes slipped through nonetheless. Saddle up, it’s wildcat herding time!

Welcome news for fans of half-arsed i686 implementations: The shift from i486 to i686 build instructions in Maverick may not present the nightmare scenario you’ve been told to expect. A binutils bug noticed by Linux kernel developers in 2008 has inspired a fix in Ubuntu’s gcc to stop it from generating problematic instructions. eglibc was rebuilt to reflect the change, but additional work may be required to nail down the fix completely.

Nothing conservative about this Maverick… it’s time to bid farewell to your old pals, aptitude and tasksel! At least in the default desktop install anyway, as the minimal and standard ubuntu-meta packages no longer directly depend on them. That’s a swingeing cut to the install footprint of 13.5MB! Sure, that may not seem like much given the size of modern hard drives, but consider the impact on mobile install profiles (tablets and the like), smaller SSDs and most importantly, the LiveCD.

This change is likely to draw a bit of criticism, but here are some things to keep in mind before you voice your disappointment:

  • These days, apt-get supports dependency-aware removal of unused packages (apt-get autoremove) and installing recommended packages by default (which you can turn off with --no-install-recommends).
  • Desktop users are rightly encouraged to use Update Manager and the Ubuntu Software Centre, which are both vastly more usable than Synaptic or aptitude.
  • You can install and use aptitude if you wish, and there has been no indication that it will be removed from main.
  • Indeed, tasksel will continue to be installed on servers, and it depends on aptitude anyway… so never fear, quasi-GUI server admins! ;-)

In the same upload, Colin Watson laid to rest the hppa and lpia architectures once and for all, excising the remaining references to them from the package seeds. Neither were built or supported for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. Awaiting a similar fate, the historically much-loved sparc port, and without a surge in contributors, perhaps even the much-reviled ia64.

If you’re keen to see Don Quixote’s architecture of choice survive, and have a notarised doctor’s certificate confirming that you are not infected with zombie rage virus, there’s a gaping maw at the entrance to hell with your name on it. Perhaps you can inflict pain on research students around the globe by keeping ia64 on life support for another decade!

That’s it for the goodbyes — say hello to linux 2.6.35-rc1! For lots of juicy background on the latest Linux kernel action, you have to read Linux Weekly News (LWN). Better yet, subscribe to support great niche journalism. :-) Check out their coverage of 2.6.35: merge window 1, merge window 2 and merge window 3 (still paywalled as we publish).

You stay classy, Maverick Meerkat.

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Before the floodgates opened

Alpha 1 is done, and the floodgates have opened! Let’s check out the action from the last few days before we’re inundated with updates…

Master of the Ubuntu toolchain, Matthias Klose, has updated the LLVM compiler stack — including llvm, clang and dragonegg — to version 2.7, the latest stable release. These uploads are of particular interest because Matthias has chosen to push fresher versions of clang and dragonegg to Maverick than exist in Debian.

A bit of background: LLVM is a set of compiler and toolchain components, perhaps most famously used by Apple for OpenGL/OpenCL, and Google’s project to optimize CPython, Unladen Swallow. clang is a complete C/C++/Objective-C compiler based on LLVM, while dragonegg allows GCC to use LLVM’s optimiser and code generator via a plugin.

While no public blueprints outline Ubuntu’s plans for LLVM, I have the sneaking suspicion these uploads do not simply reflect Matthias’ fetish for bleeding edge compiler technology!

If you’ve had any troubles with metacity or mutter disappearing, the problem (related to client side decorations) was corrected a couple of days ago.

While a treasure trove of patches for rhythmbox moved upstream (hooray!), a couple of noticeable changes have caused a bit of a ruckus… The bad news is that Rhythmbox’s DAAP sharing plugin has been temporarily disabled, as it depends on a new package which has not yet landed in Maverick — don’t worry, it will return. The good news is that Rhythmbox has a delicious new icon (below). I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if this gift from upstream is short-lived (replaced with Ubuntu artwork), so enjoy it while it lasts!

While we’re talking about delicious music players, Maverick is now tracking the 1.7 releases of banshee.

Those who enjoy freedom from power cables will appreciate an update to apt-xapian-index — a serial offender when it comes to power consumption. The index update procedure is now heavily niced, reducing CPU and I/O load, and will not run on battery power.

That’s all for now — look out for an action-packed, post-freeze update over the next few days.

You stay classy, Maverick Meerkat.

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Maverick Alpha 1 ships — Hakuna Matata!

Maverick Alpha 1 ships today with a sprinkle of show tune theatricality:

“When he was a young warthog
He found his aroma lacked a certain appeal
He could clear the savannah after every meal

Hakuna! It means no worries
For the rest of your days
It’s our problem-free philosophy”

– Timon the Meerkat, “Hakuna Matata”, “The Lion King”, Disney

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Freeze weeks are so boring…

Freeze weeks are so boring…

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Smarter lib* aware bash-completion hack dumped

Oh well, that didn’t last long. The clever bash-completion hack I mentioned in the last update was reverted, and is unlikely to return (based on developer sentiment for the feature).  So if you’re seeing a bash-completion related error when starting a new shell, upgrade your tears away! :-)

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It’s June already… and Alpha 1 Beckons

Though developers are still struggling through a stack of manual merges at this point in the cycle, it’s already time for Alpha 1. Yikes! So this week will be a little quiet. In the mean time, everyone’s trying to sneak uploads in before the freeze…

bash-completion gained a welcome feature — apt-get will now complete against library packages, so you’ll be able to type: apt-get install clutter<tab><tab>, and it will suggest libclutter. Nice!

Great to see a swish new version of virtualbox-ose land. Despite new stewardship and unwieldy product name — that’s “Oracle VM VirtualBox (Open Source Edition)” to those playing along at home — this 3.2.x release is much improved, with plenty of performance improvements and new features to enjoy.

sessioninstaller, new to Maverick, implements the PackageKit D-Bus API. Due to differing expectations about package management between the upstream PackageKit software and Debian-based distributions, sessioninstaller provides the same D-Bus API, but calls on aptdaemon (or synaptic) for package management tasks. This promises on-demand installation of packages based on user activity, such as adding a new printer or opening a file which requires additional software support — like multimedia codecs.

GNOME 3 watchers will be very pleased to see d-conf make an entrance. GConf haters will be pleased too — GNOME’s entire configuration API and storage system will soon be replaced! You can learn more about dconf and the GSettings migration on the GNOME wiki.

A minor amusement… the linux ABI version has already hit 5, while Ubuntu 10.04 shipped at 21 (and is now at 22). I’m sure there’s room for a tipping competition here somewhere. :-)

The WebM incursion continues… shared-mime-info improves display and detection of various open media format files, libvpx was synced from Debian (replacing the Ubuntu package uploaded a few days ago), and a new release of gst-plugins-good brings WebM support to GStreamer applications (such as Totem, Rhythmbox, etc).

(Although the development branch has a habit of going quiet or going crazy without warning, it seems like semi-weekly updates — that’s twice a week, boys and girls — seems like the optimal tempo thus far.)

You stay classy, Maverick Meerkat.

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Matt Zimmerman’s summary of development plans for Ubuntu 10.10

Ubuntu CTO Matt Zimmerman just blogged a collection of links to Maverick development plans, from the Desktop, Server, Foundations and Kernel teams.

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