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Conference Report – Flock 2014

August 13, 2014 Leave a comment

This years Flock conference was held at Prague, czech republic. This was my first trip to the Europe. I needed a Visa for this trip unlike my American friends. I got the visa in the last minute from the Consulate of czech republic, Los Angeles. The Visa officer needed an insurance of minimum 50000 Euro with Medical reparation and Evacuation converge.  My company Yahoo was able to get that sorted in time.  I attended lot of talks and workshops at Flock. I took notes on some of the sessions i attended. Here is my conference report

Status of COPR build service – by Miroslav suchy

 

https://fedorahosted.org/copr/wiki/UserDocs
https://copr.fedoraproject.org/

COPR is an automatic build system to build rpms. COPR allows users to select
Arch and system (target) , accepts src.rpm from the user and generates binary
rpms in the backend and creates repo as well.

Unlike koji COPR doesn’t need a ‘fas’ account to build rpms. Technically any one
can build rpms on COPR.

Due to public nature of COPR it uses Virtual Machines to build rpms. A virtual machine
is setup and mock is used inside the VM to build the rpm.

COPR currently runs on openstack. There are 1381 projects, 25k builds, 250 G of data,
and 1 TB/month data transfered in COPR as we speak. Koji/OBS was evaluated to use in
COPR but the decided against it for some reasons. OBS signing daemon might be used
with COPR to sign rpms in future.

* Mock is kind of slow, there is a GSOC project to speed it up using LVM snapshots *
* Radek Holy is working on docker for rpm builds *

It is important to note that redhat software collections are built on COPR. There
is a jenkins plugin available for COPR which lets users to trigger COPR builds
from jenkins. There is a copr-cli available to builds.

ARM architecture support, package signing are in future TODO.

Here is the video of the talk

 

 

UEFI – The great satan and you – by Adam

 

I am a fan of UEFI. I have been closely following UEFI development and support in Linux for a while. If you do not know about UEFI, Adam Williamson has an impressive write up about it at https://www.happyassassin.net/2014/01/25/uefi-boot-how-does-that-actually-work-then/

Adam started with what is UEFI and then moved on to explain how older BIOS works. Adam’s talk focused on Desktop machines

How BIOS work?

– Boots the 1st sector of disk
– Chainloading
– The bootloader is sneaked in between MBR and the partition

UEFI

– Defines an EFI executable format.
– EFI executable is copied into FAT filesystem and the firmware can read it
– UEFI boot manager is used to change the boot order and EFI variables.
– There is a fallback path if the EFI executable is not found on the specified path
– Supports BIOS mode named CSM. CSM is going away soon.

Adam proposed following tests to tell if your machine is UEFI?

– Machine is Windows 8 pre-installed. Then it is must have UEFI in it.
– The “firmware” has mouse support then it is UEFI (BIOS can’t do that sh*t)

Adam showed some screenshots of crazy UEFI firmware UI implementations that makes identifying it more difficult for the user.

While multibooting adam asked the users to install both OS in same mode. Mixing BIOS (CSM) and UEFI is discouraged and unsupported in Fedora.

Adam then proposed following special commands to write a USB stick with EFI support

– dd: use dd on usb sticks
– livecd-iso-to-disk: pass –efi –format -reset-mbr
– liveusb-creator: well..it might work
– DO NOT use Unetbootin

Adam then revealed that, Peter Jones and Matthew Garret lobbied Microsoft to enable option to disable secure boot. They even have weekly calls. The engagement with microsoft has been very professional. Microsoft takes UEFI signing seriously.

I asked peter about completely removing microsoft key from the firmware. He said it is a “bad” idea because ROM based firmwares won’t load and they are signed by the Microsoft key. He also mentioned that there is a complex workaround to this problem. The workaround is generating the hash of the firmware and adding it to the shim whitelist.

Here is the video of the talk

 

Fast OS Deployment with Anaconda – By Arun S A G (me)

 

I presented and showed a demo on how to deploy operating systems fast on bare metal
machines. The entire talk was well received by the anaconda team.

The demo showed installations of a  Fedora 21 (pre release) VM which took 2 minutes
to complete.  Most of the audience were pleasantly surprised.

  • There were some interesting thoughts and area for improvements came out of this talk
  •  RedHat developer proposed me to make use of the cloud kickstart file which has very minimal set of package
  • Peter Jones suggested that anaconda can/should be modified to produce tarballs as one of the build targets (anaconda right now supports iso targets)
  • Most of the installation time was spent on generating ramdisk. So peter suggested we should pre-generate the ramdisk and include it in the tarball.
  • rpmdb cache needs to be removed from the tarball.
  • Adam williamson asked me to share some sample kick-start files from work so that we can well test different use cases before releasing anaconda.
  • Automating the biosboot partition during the installation process was discussed

Here is the video of my talk

Overall it was a wonderful conference.  Thanks Yahoo and RedHat for sponsoring my travel and accommodation. It was good to see lot of volunteers again and i had a good time in Prague, Czech republic. I am looking forward to Flock 2015

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