I never thought I’d ever say this, but I must admit that I have become quite a fan of Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code IDE, which is available for a wide range of platforms, including Linux.

However, the installation user experience was still somewhat arcane – one had to manually download the RPM package from their web site to install the software. Once a new version was available, the user receives a notification within the application, which redirects him to the website for downloading and updating the latest RPM manually again.

Therefore it didn’t take long for the community to request the creation of a dedicated yum repository, to keep the package updated automatically.

This issue has now been resolved: a yum repo has now been created. Until github issue 20895 has been fixed, this still requires setting up the required repository configuration manually though, but hopefully this will be addressed soon as well.

Until then, here’s how to enable the yum repo on Fedora Linux (Fedora 25 in my case):

Create a file /etc/yum.repos.d/vscode.repo with the following content:

[code]
name=Visual Studio Code
baseurl=https://packages.microsoft.com/yumrepos/vscode
enabled=1
gpgcheck=1
gpgkey=https://packages.microsoft.com/keys/microsoft.asc

Now you can install the package with the following command:

$ sudo dnf install code

Upon the first run, you will be requested to import the GPG build key used for signing the package.

Once a new updates becomes available, running dnf update will pull and install the updated package automatically.

Thanks to the developers at Microsoft for making this step much easier now!

I’ve been struggling with this for quite some time now, but I finally figured out how to enable scroll wheel emulation for the Logitech Trackman Marble on Fedora Linux 24.

Previously (when I was using Ubuntu Linux), I had a small shell script that defined the required xinput properties. However, this did not work on Fedora, as they use the new libinput framework.

With the change to the libinput subsystem, you can now enable this behavior by creating a file /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-libinput.conf with the following content:

Section "InputClass"
 Identifier "Marble Mouse"
 MatchProduct "Logitech USB Trackball"
 Driver "libinput"
 Option "ScrollMethod" "button"
 Option "ScrollButton" "8"
 EndSection

Magically, this function got enabled as soon as I saved the file, without even having to restart X! I’m impressed.

Update: this solution does no longer work on later versions of Fedora that switched to Wayland instead of X.org by default. If you don’t want to switch back to X.org and you’re using the GNOME desktop environment, you can enable scroll wheel emulation as outlined here.

A while ago, I concluded my first year in the openATTIC-Team at it-novum. We’ve gone through a lot of changes and I am quite proud of what we’ve achieved so far. In many ways, we’re starting this project and product from scratch, and I’m excited to be able to contribute to this effort with my experience from past jobs, and to help shaping the future direction. I feel grateful for having a very enthusiastic and supportive team. It’s also quite satisfying to observe how the seeds that we planted slowly come to fruition, as the project begins to gain traction with a growing user base and developer community.

For more details on some of the key highlights, please see my blog post on the openATTIC blog.

The openATTIC project is currently transitioning to adapting the patch contribution signoff process initially established by the Linux Kernel developers, in which every commit message is “signed” with a special Signed-off-by: tag line, that certifies that the patch contribution meets certain criteria with regards to ownership/copyright and licensing.

The git distributed revision control system (DVCS) used by the Linux Kernel and many other projects actually provides an option --sign that can be passed to the git commit command, which will add the Signed-off-by: line at the end of the commit log message automatically.

However, the openATTIC code base is managed using the Mercurial DVCS, which currently does not offer the same functionality out of the box. Fortunately, Mercurial is written in Python and is very extensible: it is possible to extend its functionality and modify the workflows via Hooks and Extensions.

Much to my surprise, I was not able to find an existing plugin or extension that provides this functionality. So I took this opportunity to hone my Python skills and wrote one myself – signoff.py is a simple Mercurial hook, that will automatically add the signoff tag line below the commit message. Currently it is pretty rudimentary, I still need to read up on how to convert it into a proper Mercurial extension that extends the existing hg commit command, so the signoff process can be enabled by passing it as an option.

To enable it, dowmload the file and save it as signoff.py into the .hg directory of your Mercurial repository and add the following to .hg/hgrc:

[hooks]
precommit = python:.hg/signoff.py:sign_commit_message

If you have any suggestions or ideas on how to improve it, please let me know!

Last week, I attended the 13. Kieler Open Source und Linux Tage (KieLux) in Kiel, Germany, to give a presentation (in German) about “Flexibles Storage Management unter Linux mit OpenATTIC. I had an audience of ~25-30 people, a video recording of the session (in 4K!) will be published shortly. I had a great time at KieLux and learned a lot in the other sessions I attended. It was also nice meeting new people and touching base with long-time acquaintances again. Thanks to the KieLux organizers for arranging this event and for inviting me!

My slide deck is now available from SlideShare. Enjoy!

Last weekend, I gave a presentation titled “The Evolution of Storage on Linux” at this year’s FrOSCon 10 conference (Happy Anniversary!). In case you have missed it, you can find the slides and video recording below. Thanks to the FrOSCon team for having me, it’s always a pleasure to be there!

Unfortunately I had some technical issues in the beginning and was somewhat too ambitious with regards to the topics I wanted to cover, so I ran out of time. There is simply too much cool stuff happening in the storage space – but I hope that the audience still enjoyed it!

Slide deck:

Video:

Back in the MySQL days, there was a need to have a contributor agreement that made it clear under which terms code contributions to the MySQL code base could be accepted. This was a requirement due to the dual-licensing model of MySQL, under which the software was available both under the GPL and a proprietary license.

This agreement was further refined when MySQL was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 2008, which resulted in the “Sun Contributor Agreement” (SCA), which was used for all Open Source projects that were sponsored/governed by Sun Microsystems (e.g. OpenOffice.org, Java, etc.).

The text of the agreement itself was licensed under a creative commons license (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported), and it was later used as the basis for contributor agreements of several other Open Source Projects, e.g. MariaDB or OwnCloud (even though both fail to give proper attribution to the original). In fact, the agreement still exists as the Oracle Contributor Agreement today, after Sun Microsystems was acquired by Oracle in 2010. If you would like to submit a patch to MySQL, you first need to get your name on the OCA Signatories List.

While doing some research on creating such a contributor agreement for openATTIC, I was pointed to this very useful resource: http://contributoragreements.org/

“Contributor agreements are agreements between an open source or open content project and contributors to the project that set out what the project can do with the respective contribution: code, translation, documentation, artwork, etc. The purpose of such agreements is to make the terms under which contributions are made explicit and thereby protect the project, the users of the project’s code or content, and often the contributors themselves. Contributor agreements provide confidence that the guardian of a project’s output has the necessary rights over all contributions to allow for distribution of the product under either any license or any license that is compliant with specific principles.”

The nice part about this web site: it provides a guided Contributor License Agreement Chooser that allows you to compile a custom agreement based on the requirements (e.g. Copyright assignment, Patent clauses) that you define, similar to the Creative Commons License Chooser, where you can select the terms and conditions of your license to be guided to the appropriate choice.

So in case your project needs a contributor agreement, please don’t re-invent the wheel and consider making use of this site instead! There are way too many custom agreements floating around already…