Alex Hudson

Thoughts on Technology, Product, & Strategy

Month: March 2009

Testing Nouveau

When Fedora 10 was released, one of the first things I did was enable nouveau as my graphics driver – nv was horribly slow on my Dell, and I didn’t want the pain of the proprietary drivers. Needless to say, it didn’t immediately work: it didn’t want to play with my 1920×1050 panel and I got big black bars on either side of the screen. It took someone on #nouveau all of about five minutes to give me a patch to fix the problem, and a hop-skip-jump later I’d recompiled the driver and the display was great.

Since that time, nouveau has been coming on leaps and bounds. The xrandr support is great – I use it for presentations all the time – and aside from the odd bit of corruption or colours going wonky, it has been fine. So when nouveau test day for Fedora 11 came around I was excited to see how much more progress had been made, and to see if I could help with testing at all.

On the progress front, it’s obvious a lot of work has been done. Whether or not nouveau is ready to be the default I don’t know, but on my hardware it’s working great. The support for video is better, there is no corruption I could see, and there are the beginnings of a working multi-head setup.

What impressed me most was the amount of work AdamW et al. put into arranging the test day. With explicit use-cases, readily available Live CDs and people on IRC, it was extremely easy to get into. Hopefully the developers feel the various bug reports are more worthwhile than overwhelming 🙂

Rawhide upgrade pains

This weekend saw the arrival of a new computer – woo! – a long-needed desktop upgrade which brought me the usual technological wtfs (“since when did CPUs come without pins?!” etc.). As part of this, I’ve been trying to upgrade my Fedora 11 Alpha to a more current rawhide.

Clearly I missed something, because even after a number of attempts in different ways I failed. rpm complaining about md5 mismatches or something, for example, which I kind of knew might be an issue from following devel but didn’t really anticipate. The worst of my attempts ended badly with rpm attempting to upgrade glibc, the pre-script failing (I think with some python error) and rpm bailing, leaving me with a completely horked system.

I also tried installing rawhide directly; again no joy – various segfaulty type issues and Xorg problems preventing success. So, having wasted a few hours on attempting to get rawhide up, I’m going to go with F10 and maybe try to upgrade again after the beta comes out – I believe in trying to test this stuff as much as possible, but unfortunately (and it’s probably as much to do with my hardware as anything else – e.g., Xorg won’t work with my monitor plugged into DVI at all, it just can’t figure out any screen modes bizarrely) it seems completely impossible right now.

Now I have a bit more space I can install a few different distro versions and things and hopefully provide a bit more testing coverage; the QA side of Fedora is something I’m very interested but completely inactive in. I’m sure all of this stuff basically works in VMs, but there’s no substitute for trying it on actual hardware… and being able to give decent feedback on what happened.