FOSDEM and PackageKit

In February I will be at FOSDEM, giving a presentation about PackageKit. It would be good if as many of you guys and girls interested in PackageKit could be there. The presentation will last about an hour, and probably spill out into a bar afterwards. The abstract is as follows: The presentation will give a complete overview to PackageKit along with background material. It will first highlight the issues that need solving, and expose the problems we have in the current suite of tools. It will examine other update solutions such as Microsoft Windows Vista ™, Apple Mac OS X ™ and also what has been done with some Linux distributions. The main section of the talk will introduce PackageKit, expose the internal design and explain any important ideas and design choices. Finally, ways to use PackageKit are discussed, along with screenshots of all the latest GUI tools. Time will remain for questions and discussion about PackageKit at the end.

Dear Fedora Developers

I want to be able to click a tickybox in anaconda/live-cd when setting up my home partition:

[X] Encrypt home directory

And then for everything to just unlock when I enter my login password at GDM. Why am I drowning in concepts like dm-script, pam, cryptsetup and all that other geeky stuff for something so trivial? If you do this I'll be happier than a dog with two thingies.

Panic! 13 seconds to shutdown!

This morning, PackageKit checked for updates automatically, and then began to download and install them like I had configured. Half way through, I get this dialog:

Panic ensues. I close down all my half-finished code changes, save my drafts in evolution and work out how much stuff I have open on other workspaces that needs to be closed before the shutdown commences.

Of course, dialog was invalid, only the session sealert daemon restarted – but I was left wondering why it had notified me with the countdown with such ambigous wording. I don't even use SELinux on this machine, so what was sealert doing?

If it needs to reload, why do I get a countdown and dialog box? Just do it in the background without notifying me. Not cool.


Hmm. PackageKit development has hit another snag. When we use a spawned backend that needs cancelling we just send the new process a SIGQUIT and then SIGKILL after a small delay. Other backends are compiled and thus use threads.

It appears that g_thread_cancel doesn't exist in GLIB. I've found one hacky implimentation here, but that didn't look particulally safe. Is there a good reasons the pthread internal stuff can't be nicely wrapped up in a nice glib call?

I guess I have to use something like select to poll, although I'm a bit of a newbiew with l33t UNIX stuff like this. This also seems a really
broken way to work around missing functionality. Advice and code snippits welcome.

PackageKit zypp backend

Good news: Boyd Timothy and Scott Reeves are now working on a zypp backend for PackageKit.

I'm really pleased at the progress of PackageKit so far. There are so many checkins every day it really is amazing the buzz a small project has created in such a small amount of time. Rock on.

Ubuntu and GNOME Power Manager

Okay, after my last outburst I've talked in depth with Jorge on irc (from Ubuntu) about my situation and described to him what happened. He's reassured me that mistakes were made, and that he's now there to stop stuff like this from happening again. This is good.

Ted Gould has just started in the Ubuntu desktop team and is now responsible for upstream<->ubuntu patches for gnome-power-manager. It's good to sort this out as Ted seems like a cool guy.

So, now I feel a bit happier. Back to PackageKit hacking…

Flipping angry with Ubuntu

Ubuntu maintainers – why do you fix important bugs in gnome-power-manager and then don't even bother sending me or the mailing list a two minute email mentioning it? Have I ever rejected a patch? Do you guys enjoy patching stuff in private without sharing? I know…. You are really busy before releases…. blaaa blaa blaa. Sorry – I've heard that excuse once too many times.

Seriously, I've ranted about this before. After reading this blog post I figured “I wonder how they are patching gnome-power-manager now” and checked out the link to gnome-power-manager.

Guys, what are you doing? This is not a way to make upstream maintainers happy, and is basically a really bad way to support the Linux ecosystem long term. It makes me really angry when Ubuntu sits pretty and goes with a stance they just can't be bothered with (or have time for) upstream development.

Consequently, some of the bugs that were fixed in the latest release of Ubuntu didn't get into 2.20.1 and so all the other distros have these bugs. This is yet another reason not to recommend Ubuntu to my friends and relatives and shows how little things have really changed. Sorry to be so negative but I'm really ticked off.

EDIT: Okay, maybe this was a bit harsh, it appears the problems were that gnome-power-manager has no maintainer in ubuntu, and hence patches were not getting through. Things look a bit more positive now.


Adrien BUSTANY is rocking with QPackageKit, a QT frontend and library for PackageKit:

Public git repo here:
git clone git://

If you want to help, contact Adrien directly (you can find his email from google).