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Release Notes [1]

Release Notes: aptosid 2011-01

Contributed by slh on Feb 06, 2011 - 01:57 AM

Now that kernel 2.6.37 has entered the archive and Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" is in the process of being released, we have the pleasure to announce the immediate availability of the final aptosid 2011-01 "Γῆρας" release, shipping in the following flavours:

  • KDE-lite, amd64, en/ de, ≈535 MB.
  • KDE-lite, i686, en/ de, ≈530 MB.
  • KDE-full, amd64+i686, en/ de (cz, el, es, fr, it, ja, nl, pl, pt, pt_BR, ro, ru through liveapt) ≈1.9 GB.
  • XFCE, amd64, en/ de, ≈435 MB.
  • XFCE, i686, en/ de, ≈430 MB.

aptosid is a full featured Debian sid based live CD with a special focus on hard disk installations, a clean upgrade path within sid and additional hardware and software support. The ISO is completely based on Debian sid, enriched and stabilized with aptosid's own packages and scripts.

Release notes for Γῆρας

New features in aptosid 2011-01 "Γῆρας" are in particular kernel 2.6.37 and numerous integration and stabilization fixes after completing the transition to aptosid. Kernel 2.6.37 doesn't only improve and stabilise hardware support for newer devices, it also improves ext4 performance (lazy inode table initialization), implements the USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) for USB 3.0 storage and adds support for Intel's new Sandy Bridge graphics cards. Wlan support has been consolidated, with carl9170 now replacing ar9170usb for 802.11n Atheros USB wlan cards, which now support HT/ aggregation operations and AP mode. A major improvement for low latency uses (like audio mastering) is the completed Big Kernel Lock (BKL) removal, which premiers in aptosid 2011-01 "Γῆρας".

As usual, a large number of individual functionality enhancements and bugfixes have been applied to the full package line up and aptosid's own packages, in order to improve the general distribution infrastructure. The past months have allowed to take special care of the small aspects in many packages, to improve general policy compliance and functionality.

Although this release happens in close temporal proximity to the Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" release, it is still based on Debian sid as of this day and is not meant or suited as an alternative way to install "Squeeze". Many security sensitive packages in aptosid (Debian sid) already sport a higher version number than their corresponding version in "Squeeze" or are even uninstallable in a "Squeeze" context.

aptosid after the "freeze"
Now that "Squeeze" is about to be released, the version freeze that reached up to sid will be lifted again within the next few days. Given that there are a number of high impact changes (KDE 4.6, xserver-xorg-core 1.9.3, gtk3, udisk/ upower replacing hal) staging in experimental and are just waiting for the freeze to be lifted, the following 2-3 weeks might be slightly more vibrant and potentially less coordinated than usual in regards to package updates from Debian, therefore we recommend a little caution during dist-upgrades. This might involve checking for eventual upgrade warnings on aptosid.com [2] or to wait a few hours if KDE 4.6 or X.org are among the upgrading packages for experiences from advanced users. Please be aware that it might not always be possible to react in time, now that Debian employs four mirror pushes a day.

Our special thanks go to the aptosid art- and manual teams and especially all mirror [3] hosters for their efforts regarding aptosid.

Minimum system requirements:

Now to the interesting topics, like what's on the menu for now:

Frequently asked questions

Installation

It is recommended to set keymaps, locales and timezone before booting the live system to be installed, by selecting them from the boot menu [F2], [F3]. This way, locale settings propagate to all required places for the installed system and don't require cumbersome changes at several places.

Kernel based Mode Setting (KMS) and intel/ radeon graphics

KMS support is required by xserver-xorg-video-intel, which means kernel parameters like "i915.modeset=0" or "vga=791" are no longer valid and actively break starting X on intel graphics cards. Given that i915/ xserver-xorg-video-intel doesn't require any kind of firmware, there should no longer be KMS related bugs in relation to intel graphics.

For KMS to function in combination with ATi/ AMD radeon graphics, firmware images (firmware-linux-nonfree, see below [10]) are required, which can't be shipped on aptosid live media, while X.org should transparently fall back to vesa on problematic cards, special attention might be needed in rare cases. If X doesn't manage to start on ATi/ AMD radeon graphics cards, it might help to supply "radeon.modeset=0" as boot option for the live CD and to installthe required firmware package "firmware-linux-nonfree [11]" on the live system, before installing to the harddisk. Once firmware-linux-nonfree is installed, kernel parameters like "radeon.modeset=0" or "vga=791" should not be used anymore, as they might interfere with KMS operations, which are needed for radeon to work properly.

Similar advice applies to other upcoming KMS capable drivers, like nouveau.

grub2

While grub2 offers increased flexibility for installations, like supporting new filesystems (ext4) or advanced installation options like LVM2 and improved detection capabilities for other distributions and operating systems, right now it is limited to a textmode menu. A new theming effort is currently under development and will be available in the future. Even though support for plain wallpapers would be already supported by grub2, it is still fragile and prolongs the system boot. Internally the configuration system for grub2 uses scripts snippets under /etc/grub.d/ to create its configuration file "grub.cfg" in a way that allows many self updating features, such as automating fromiso support with the help of "grub2-fll-fromiso" (optional).

isohybrid

With isolinux supporting gfxboot, it is possible to use isohybrid, which allows writing an ISO directly to USB storage or sd/ sdhc/ mmc memory sticks to make these bootable. isohybrid adds an MBR to the ISO and sets up a partition table with one active entry, the partition containing the ISO. This allows writing aptosid ISOs directly to USB storage devices of sdhc memory cards in addition to the well known possibility of using "install-aptosid-to-usb" (install-usb-gui). This option is particularly useful if there is no existing aptosid installation available and if an installation medium needs to be created from another distribution or operating system. It is important to note that this method overwrites the whole USB medium and restricts the available storage to the size of the aptosid ISO; install-usb-gui is not subject to these limitations and therefore the recommended option in case an existing aptosid system is available. Further partitions can be added to allow access to the unused part of the storage device.

cat /path/to/aptosid-*.iso > /dev/USB_raw_device_node

Further information about the aptosid install is available from the aptosid manual [12] at Installation options [13].

Wireless regulatory domain settings

The regulatory domain framework for cfg80211 based wlan cards requires crda to allow access to wireless channels above ch11 (2.4 GHz or their 5 GHz equivalents), without crda only the "world domain" (channel 1-11) is available.

# apt-get update
apt-get install crda

Network booting aptosid

Network booting aptosid over PXE (Preboot Execution Environment) and NBD (Network Block Device) is supported, the required settings can be configured from within the boot menu [F4]. Instructions about how to set up an example PXE+NBD boot server can be obtained at aptosid netboot introduction [14].

Localisation

A special feature of kde-full releases is the ability to select other languages than German or US English from the grub menu (F4), which automatically installs localisations for the desktop and many applications while booting. This ensures they are also present after installing aptosid, while only installing the required languages for the given system. The amount of memory required for this feature depends on the language and aptosid may refuse to install the given language packs automatically with insufficient RAM and the boot sequence will be continued in english language but with the desired locales-settings (currency, date/ time format, keyboard charsets). 1 GB memory or more is supposed to be safe for all supported languages, which are:

The language selection depends on the availability of aptosid-manual translations, get involved to add your language. Levels of up-to-date translation completeness of the following languages has dropped below the quorum for inclusion at this moment:

Additional help is urgently needed for these languages, before their translation status degrades too much.

Hints for Upgraders:

aptosid tries hard to provide seamless upgrade path for debian and aptosid's own packages, nevertheless a few things remain that could be improved with manual interaction.

nouveau

X.org in Debian prefers xserver-xorg-video-nouveau over xserver-xorg-video-nv since xorg 1:7.5+6, which unfortunately can't be supported by aptosid until it leaves the staging section and gains a stable ABI between kernel- and userspace. Therefore we recommend users of nvidia graphics cards to purge xserver-xorg-video-nouveau, so xserver-xorg-video-nv — which doesn't suffer from incompatible ABI changes — can take precedence again.

# apt-get remove --purge xserver-xorg-video-nouveau

We will offer nouveau support as soon as it can be done in a responsible way.

Obsolete packages

As part of the continuing development of aptosid, a number of packages have been replaced by better alternatives or become redundant.

Transitional packages and obsolete libraries can often be identified by "deborphan". While this tool is very convenient for ongoing system cleanup, its results should always be checked before using it as input for removals.

$ deborphan

The following command is able to find packages not available from any active apt repository and may hint at obsolete packages, be careful about manually installed packages though. apt-show-versions is a separate package and isn't necessarily preinstalled. For using apt-show-versions, it is absolutely mandatory to fully dist-upgrade the system before.

$ apt-show-versions | awk '/No available version in archive/{print $1}'

Disclaimer:

This is experimental software. Use at your own risk. The aptosid project, it's developers and team members cannot be held liable under any circumstances for damage to hardware or software, lost data, or other direct or indirect damage resulting from the use of this software. If you do not agree to these terms and conditions, you should not use or distribute this software.

How to get involved

Getting involved in aptosid is easy, just join us at our Forum [15] or even better on IRC (irc.oftc.net, port 6667, channel #aptosid [16]) and discuss your patches/ proposals or additions.

We will gladly discuss any dfsg-free patches and contributions, especially regarding alternative window managers (GNOME, LXDE), general janitorial tasks or translations/ localisations.

Roadmap:

Please understand that the following roadmap is a rough estimate regarding our release schedule and is affected by the status of upstream Debian sid, major system components like X.org, KDE, the linux kernel and our own developments and is subject to changes.

Special thanks go to the entire aptosid team.

Development:

Rick Battle (detaos)
Joaquim Boura (x-un-i)
David Creedy (klaymen)
Bernard Gray (cleary)
Chris Hildebrandt (slam)
David Kalnischkies (DonKult)
Aedan Kelly (etorix)
Stefan Lippers-Hollmann (slh)
Kel Modderman (kelmo)
Dinko Sabo (vibora)
Ferdinand Thommes (devil)
Trevor Walkley (bluewater)
Niall Walsh (bfree)

Documentation and Manuals:

Jose Tadeu Barros (ceti)
Alpha Mohamed Diakite (alphad)
Stefan R. Eissens (eislon)
Roland Engert (RoEn)
Alessio Giustini (alessiog75)
Markus Huber (hubi)
Natalja Korotik
Luis_P
Janusz Martyniak
Philippe Masson (LjanA)
Mutsumu Nomura (muchan)
Dinko Sabo (vibora)
Dawid Staropietka
Bruno Torremans
Robert Ulatowski (quidam77)
Dorin Vatavu (dorin)
Bram Verdoodt
Trevor Walkley (bluewater)

Art Team:

Rick Battle (detaos)
David Creedy (klaymen)
Bernard Gray (cleary)

Web design Team:

Bernard Gray (cleary)
Chris Hildebrandt (slam)
Stefan Lippers-Hollmann (slh)
Dinko Sabo (vibora)
Ferdinand Thommes (devil)

Vital Support:

Chris Hildebrandt (slam)
Ralph Hokanson Jr. (piper)
David Kalnischkies (DonKult)
Ferdinand Thommes (devil)

On behalf of the aptosid team:
        Stefan Lippers-Hollmann (slh)

 
Links
  1. http://oscar.aptosid.com/index.php?module=news&func=view&prop=Main&cat=10009
  2. http://oscar.aptosid.com/index.php
  3. http://oscar.aptosid.com/index.php?module=Content&func=view&pid=2
  4. http://manual.aptosid.com/en/gpu-en.htm
  5. http://manual.aptosid.coml/index.html
  6. http://manual.aptosid.com/en/welcome-en.htm
  7. http://manual.aptosid.com/de/welcome-de.htm
  8. http://manual.aptosid.com/
  9. http://www.ing.unibs.it/openfwwf/
  10. http://manual.aptosid.com/en/firmware-en.html
  11. http://manual.aptosid.com/en/firmware-en.html
  12. http://manual.aptosid.com/
  13. http://manual.aptosid.com/en/hd-install-en.htm
  14. http://aptosid.com/index.php?module=Content&func=view&pid=9
  15. http://aptosid.com/index.php?name=PNphpBB2
  16. http://oscar.aptosid.com/irc://irc.oftc.net:6667/#aptosid
  17. http://oscar.aptosid.com/index.php?module=news&func=display&sid=21&theme=Printer