Get Notified of Crashes in Your Packages

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ABRT project produces very helpful statistics about crashes in Fedora. We in the Red Hat desktop team have been using it intensively for some time. I’ve already written about it in one of my previous posts. It’s really helped us make Fedora much more stable.

Call me Captain Obvious who just discovered America, but until now I had a very little idea about the fact that I can filter messages from FAF and make alerts. So when a problem in one of my packages reaches, say, 1000 occurrences I receive an email or IRC message that there is a severe enough problem to look at.

This is pretty useful for every Fedora packager and I think most of them are still not aware of it. If you’d like to set it up, go to the Fedora Notifications app, log in, choose either email or irc settings, click “Create a new filter”, and pick one of the available FAF rules. You can be notified of every single reported crash or (as the other end of the scale) you can set that you won’t be disturbed until the problem reaches 1,000,000 occurrences. It really depends on how popular and “crashy” your packages are. Just check the FAF stats and set the limit accordingly.

Of course, it’s just a very little subset of Fedora Notifications settings. This tool is very powerful, you can pick many other rules, combine them, and create filters tailored right for you. Kudos to our infra team for it!

‘Getting Started with Fedora’ handbook – update

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In October, I announced that we’d finally finished and printed a handbook for users who start with Fedora. It was a pilot created in the Czech community of Fedora, so we wrote the handbook in Czech first. The goal was to translate it to English if it proves to be good.

It’s proven to be good, no doubt about it. But translations to English are still not finished. We’ve created a repository on GitHub. The handbook was re-written in AsciiDoc (originally it was composed in Google Docs and then converted to LaTex). We didn’t hook it to any translation system simply because we don’t have any experience with that and haven’t found any volunteer to help us with that. So it’s being translated by simple re-writing in English which is not as bad as it sounds. It would not scale with frequent releases and heavy versioning, but the handbook is not very release specific (on purpose) and we’re not planning to do more than one release a year. In the repository, there are currently two directories with translations (Czech and English).

Due to lack of time, I’ve only been able to translate 4 chapters out of 10. And it’s not going to improve any time soon. That’s why I’d like to call for volunteers who know both Czech and English and would be willing to help. Translations to English don’t have to be perfect. Several native speakers have already offered me that they could do some grammar polishing, but it needs to be translated at least in “rough” English. I’ve considered Google Translate, but that would probably be too rough.

Anyone out there to help?

Fedora News Channel on Telegram

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I and Justin Flory have created a Fedora News channel on Telegram. It’s a new way to follow news about the Fedora Project and it’s supplementary to the news channels we’re already using (Planet Fedora/RSS, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, mailing lists). The Telegram channel is a one-way communication, there is no way to reply or comment on news messages. For discussion, we already have a Fedora group chat.

Broadcasting news over instant messaging is getting increasingly popular at the expense of social networks. The problem with social networks is that they filter more and more what you receive. Facebook does it drastically and has become almost a useless platform to share news with your followers unless you’re willing to pay. The official Fedora account has 56 thousand followers, but the average reach of our messages is  around 2 thousand. Google+ and Twitter don’t filter in such a brutal way, but Twitter is reportedly planning to “sort” your incoming tweets which is another step in that direction.

Anyway, if you’re using Telegram and would like to receive news about Fedora through it, start following our channel: telegram.me/fedoranews

Add-on Metadata Initiative – Update 2

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After two weeks I’ve got another update on the add-on metadata initiative. The last update was not overly positive, but no one else participated during the Christmas break. After people returned from the holidays, there was a bit of breakthrough.

First people updated information in the table and we identified add-ons that had been obsoleted and thus it doesn’t make sense to include them in the app catalog.

Quite a few add-ons got their metadata files, so they should now appear in Software. For instance, all LibreOffice extensions that are packaged in Fedora repositories (kudos to David Tardon). Or additional Evolution plugins (kudos to Milan Crha). Last time, I mentioned that the maintainer of thunderbird-enigmail had refused to include AppStream metadata even though the file had been provided. This has also been solved (kudos to Christian Dersch and Stephen Gallagher) and now all Thunderbird extensions in Fedora repositories should be covered.

I and KDE guys in my team have also discussed organizing a hackfest during DevConf.cz where we would focus on app and add-on metadata for KDE applications because those are still not fully covered. Add-ons not at all.

And you can also participate if you have a bit of time (writing a metadata file really requires very little time). The job is far from done. And it will help make Fedora more user friendly again.

Schedule of DevConf.cz 2016 is out!

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A couple of days ago, DevConf.cz 2016 schedule has been published. It’s bigger than ever before. This year, we have over 200 talks and workshops! There aren’t many bigger events devoted to open source in Europe. And I can finally enjoy it more because after 4 editions (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) I’m no longer the main organizer.

It takes a team of people to go through almost 400 submissions and make a schedule with over 200 of them. I put together desktop, Fedora, and CentOS tracks. So if you don’t like them I’m the one to blame😉

Since there are many Fedora ambassadors coming to DevConf.cz anyway, we’ve decided to organize an EMEA Ambassadors Meetup which will take place on Sunday afternoon. I hope to see any ambassadors as possible there.

Most popular email clients among Fedora users

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In the desktop team of Red Hat, I’m responsible for development and Fedora/RHEL maintenance of apps which also include email clients Thunderbird and Evolution. It’s quite useful for me to have a rough idea what email clients Fedora users use. So I went ahead and asked them on Google Plus and Facebook and here are the results:

Google+:

email-clients-gplusFacebook:

email-clients-fbThe results from Google+ are probably much more representative because they come from a much larger number of users. Facebook doesn’t support polls, so users had to answer in comments which resulted in much fewer votes. Polls in G+ only support 5 options, so if someone wanted to vote for a different client than web, Thunderbird, Evolution, Geary, or Kmail, they needed to write it in comments as well. It might have disadvantaged other clients a bit.

Web – this includes all web clients, vast majority of it is Gmail which seems to be by far the most popular email service among Fedora users. On Google+, web got almost 40% which is not a number that surprises me a lot. A fairly large portion of users doesn’t use desktop email clients any more, but it’s also not big enough to say that desktop clients are obsoleted. 2/3 of users still use desktop clients to access their mail.

Thunderbird – the most popular among desktop clients, it’s a solid email client with many years of development, and many users value its support for various platforms, so that they can use it on other OSes, too. The most mentioned weakness was (in)ability to be a good groupware client (calendaring, Exchange support,…). Some lost faith in Thunderbird after Mozilla announced it wanted to spin off its umbrella which many understood (probably wrongly) as killing it.

Evolution – the second most popular client is the default client of GNOME – Evolution. Clearly the most appraised feature of Evolution is its groupware nature and support of Exchange, it’s probably the only Linux client that reasonably supports Exchange. On the other hand, it lags behind Thunderbird in IMAP support and it’s Linux only. Like Thunderbird, it doesn’t have a big developer force behind it any more. Red Hat is currently the only one who invests in Evolution, unfortunately.

Geary – it’s the biggest surprise to me. Considering its author – Yorba Foundation – ceased to exist at the beginning of the year and Geary has been dead for months, it’s still pretty popular. It’s a modern client with really good support of Gmail, but if Thunderbird and Evolution don’t seem to face big future, chances that Geary will be further developed are currently minimal.

Kmail – another surprise to me, I thought the default client of KDE would be more popular, it may be caused by the fact that Fedora is primarily a GNOME distro, but it may also be caused by the fact that users have lost faith in it after many ups and downs in development after KDE 4.0.

Mutt – I expected Mutt to be in TOP6. A CLI client will never win popularity contests, but it has a fair amount of loyal users. Another CLI client Alpine only received less than half of votes.

Among other mentioned clients were Claws Mail, Sylpheed, Mu4e, Nylas N1, Lotus Notes, Pine, Zimbra, Seamonkey… but they each got fewer than 10 votes.

Linux desktop clients are not dead, they’re still used by majority of users, but none of the traditional ones has a larger community of contributors and very active development which brings poses questions about their future. It will be interesting to watch new approaches to desktop clients such as Nylas N1 which moves IMAP client to the server and provides just a really thin desktop client.

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