FUDCon Blacksburg

So. FUDCon! You’re all probably tired of hearing about it already so I’ll spare you the personal details and get straight to the interesting stuff.

Installer Team North America Jamboree

New UI

Progress on the new UI continues unabated, but it’s just not gonna be done for F17. New target: F18. Woo!

Installer image resplit

My work to resplit the installer in two stages (and kill off the ancient crusty “loader” initrd environment in favor of dracut) has already partially landed in Rawhide, and we decided to commit to getting it finished for F17 if at all possible. This will mean:

  • Greatly reduced installer memory use! Definitely under 512MB for media-based installs. Possibly under 256MB under optimum conditions. We’ll be doing tests and trying to find ways to reduce this further but that’s still a damn sight better than F15/F16.
  • Lots of 10-year-old code gets deleted or rewritten and moved upstream! Hooray for sharing code and maintenance burdens!
  • The installer should be able to mount anything that your normal system can mount, since we’re using dracut just like your normal system does. Which leads us to..

In the glorious future of F18 there is only preupgrade

(update Nov 13 2012: fedup is totally a real thing now)

Upgrades in F18 will be handled using a totally separate codepath and runtime image, and all upgrades will be handled Preupgrade-style (i.e. starting the upgrade by running a program on your existing system).

You’ll still be able to run an upgrade from media if you want – the upgrader will be right there on the DVD/CD for you to run. But the installer won’t try to find any existing copies of Fedora to upgrade. If you want to upgrade, run the upgrader. If you want to do a fresh install, run the installer.

If you’re suddenly gasping for breath and thinking “OH NO MY /BOOT PARTITION IS TOO SMALL”: relax, friend. If we’re using the normal dracut initramfs to start the installer and upgrader, that means the upgrader will know exactly how to mount your root filesystem – even if it’s some magical encrypted-RAID10-double-LVM-with-cherries-on-top craziness. So we can store the upgrader runtime and packages basically wherever you have room for them.

Smolt Chapter IV: A New Hope

I am (ostensibly) the smolt maintainer. If you’ve filed any smolt bugs recently: Sorry! I don’t have a lot of time for smolt and it’s surprisingly hard to maintain in its current form.

But Nathaniel McCallum and I got to talking during FUDCon about how smolt could be made simpler and more powerful at the same time. The next day when I went to talk to him further about it, he was like: “oh yeah, so I implemented a really simple client and server along the lines of what we were talking about yesterday, so we just need to find somewhere to host it…”

And someone nearby said: “Why not just use OpenShift?” So, predictably, the next day Nathaniel was like: “So I got the server set up in OpenShift…”

So yeah. One weekend and we already have a live, mostly-functional prototype of a replacement for smolt. I’ll post more about it when we’re ready to start doing demos or asking for feedback but I’m kind of excited about it. If only I had more time…