Welcome Fedora Quality Planet

Hello, I’d like to introduce a new sub-planet of Fedora Planet to you, located at http://fedoraplanet.org/quality/ (you don’t need to remember the URL, there’s a sub-planet picker in the top right corner of Fedora Planet pages that allows you to switch between sub-planets).

Fedora Quality Planet will contain news and useful information about QA tools and processes present in Fedora, updates on our quality automation efforts, guides for package maintainers (and other teams) how to interact with our tools and checks or understand the reported failures, announcements about critical issues in Fedora releases, and more.

Our goal is to have a single place for you to visit (or subscribe to) and get a good overview of what’s happening in the Fedora Quality space. Of course all Fedora Quality posts should also show up in the main Fedora Planet feed, so if you’re already subscribed to that, you shouldn’t miss our posts either.

If you want to join our effort and publish some interesting quality-related posts into Fedora Quality Planet, you’re more then welcome! Please see the instructions how to syndicate your blog. If you have any questions or need help, ask in the test mailing list or ping kparal or adamw on #fedora-qa freenode IRC channel. Thanks!

Welcome Fedora Quality Planet

UEFI for QEMU now in Fedora repositories

I haven’t seen any announcement, but I noticed Fedora repositories now contain edk2-ovmf package. That is the package that is necessary to emulate UEFI in QEMU/KVM virtual machines. It seems all licensing issues having been finally resolved and now you can easily run UEFI systems in your virtual machines!

I have updated Using_UEFI_with_QEMU wiki page accordingly.

Enjoy.

UEFI for QEMU now in Fedora repositories

‘Package XXX is not signed’ error during upgrade to Fedora 24

Many people hit issues like this when trying to upgrade to Fedora 24:

 Error: Package a52dec-0.7.4-19.fc24.x86_64.rpm is not signed

You can easily see that this is a very widespread issue if you look at comments section under our upgrade guide on fedora magazine. In fact, this issue probably affects everyone who has rpmfusion repository enabled (which is a very popular third-party repository). Usually the a52dec package is mentioned, because it’s early in the alphabet listing, but it can be a different one (depending on what you installed from rpmfusion).

The core issue is that even though their Fedora 24 repository is available, the packages in it are not signed yet – they simply did not have time to do that yet. However, rpmfusion repository metadata from Fedora 23 demand that all packages are signed (which is a good thing, package signing is crucial to prevent all kinds of nasty security attacks). The outcome is that DNF rejects the transaction for being unsecure.

According to rpmfusion maintainers, they are working on signing their repositories and it should be done hopefully soon. So if you’re not in a hurry with your upgrade, just wait a while and the problem will disappear soon (hopefully).

But, if you insist that you want to upgrade now, what are your options?

Some people suggest you can add --nogpgcheck option to the command line. Please don’t do that! That completely bypasses any security checks, even for proper Fedora packages! It will get you vulnerable to security attacks.

A much better option is to temporarily remove rpmfusion repositories:

$ sudo dnf remove 'rpmfusion-*-release'

and run the upgrade command again. You’ll likely need to add --allowerasing option, because it will probably want to remove some packages that you installed from rpmfusion (like vlc):

$ sudo dnf system-upgrade download --releasever=24 --allowerasing

This is OK, after you upgrade your system, you can enable rpmfusion repositories again, and install the packages that were removed prior to upgrade.

(I recommend to really remove rpmfusion repositories and not just disable them, because they manage their repos in a non-standard way, enabling and disabling their updates and updates-testing repos during the system lifecycle according to their needs, so it’s hard to know which repos to enable after the system upgrade – they are not the same as were enabled before the system upgrade. What they are doing is really rather ugly and it’s much better to perform a clean installation of their repos.)

After the system upgrade finishes, simply visit their website, install the repos again, and install any packages that you’re missing. This way, your upgrade was performed in a safe way. The packages installed from rpmfusion might still be installed unsafely (depending whether they manage to sign the repo by that time or not), but it’s much better than to upgrade your whole system unsafely.

To close this up, I’m sorry that people are hit by these complications, but it’s not something Fedora project can directly influence (except for banning third-party repos during system upgrades completely, or some similar drastic measure). This is in hands of those third-party repos. Hopefully lots of this pain will go away once we start using Flatpak.

‘Package XXX is not signed’ error during upgrade to Fedora 24

AMD Radeon R9 270 experience in Fedora 23

Two years ago I purchased AMD Radeon R9 270 graphics card and wrote about my experience in Fedora 20 and also experience in Fedora 21 (Rawhide at that time). I decided to post an update to this, especially after recent news of AMD and Ubuntu deprecating fglrx (catalyst) proprietary driver.

Overall, I have to say the opensource radeon driver made huge progress in the last two years, and I don’t regret my purchase at all. Quite the opposite, I believe I’ve made the best choice possible by picking AMD. Basically everything I complained about in the past got fixed or improved. The dynamic power management works without a glitch. None of the X11 rendering operations are slow anymore. Support for vendor fan speed profiles has been implemented, so my card it now completely silent. All desktop rendering glitches went away a long time ago. The regular daily desktop usage is completely perfect and issue free, and actually noticeably superior even to current intel driver (which was known for its stability and reliability). The intel driver regressed a lot in the last 6 months or so, when developers started rewriting some core parts, while radeon driver remains completely bug-free in my experience.

The situation is of course more interesting when it comes to gaming. There were large quality and performance leaps in the radeon driver. The driver gained support for OpenGL 4.1 and higher versions of OpenGL are expected to be implemented in the next months. That itself fixed a lot of games which refused to run before. Performance also went up significantly. On Fedora 20/21 I complained that Dota 2 ran with 5-10 FPS on low settings. Now I can play it on ultra settings with 80 FPS. Of course this is an extreme example, but it shows that things really improved a lot. It also helps that Fedora is very active in packaging latest graphics driver stack and we usually run on a very recent version of the driver (compared to e.g. Ubuntu, which is quite conservative in this).

I won’t claim that everything it top-notch, though. There are still a few games that don’t run or don’t run well enough. The performance is also not yet up to the catalyst speed. But for a person like me, who owns many indie titles from various bundles, plays a few selected AAA titles from time to time, and can reboot to Windows in the absolutely worst case, is the current situation actually very good. And it seems to be improving constantly. The radeon driver development team is very responsive and if you write a reasonable request or a bug report, they really try to implement it or fix it (for example they implemented GPU-based display scaling on my request).

If you are interested which titles run on my Radeon R9 270 and how well, I made a profile on opengamebenchmarks.org and benchmarked most of my Steam library. You can have a look at my benchmarked games.

dota2-fps
FPS benchmark for Dota 2 on Radeon R9 270

As you can see, many even very graphics intensive games run quite well. For example Witcher 2 is infamous for how slow the Linux port is (it’s emulated by a proprietary wrapper similar to Wine), yet I can play it between 40-60 FPS depending on graphics detail. I was quite surprised.

If you are into gaming, I encourage you to submit your game benchmarks as well, so that we have an easy way to see how individual graphics and graphics vendors perform in games on Linux. I recently packaged voglperf and glxosd for Fedora, so it should be easy for your to install these benchmarking tools.

After considering all of this, I don’t really mind that AMD is deprecating catalyst. I understand that there are still use cases for catalyst, but most of the times the radeon driver is now a serious (and often better) alternative. If this means that AMD team will free up their hands from maintaining catalyst and will be able to put more people into radeon driver development (or the catalyst replacement which they plan to have on top of the opensource amdgpu kernel driver), it’s a good message for majority of Linux users.

AMD Radeon R9 270 experience in Fedora 23

glxosd and voglperf now available for Fedora in COPR

For all our gaming enthusiasts, I packaged glxosd and voglperf for Fedora and you can find them in my COPR repositories: glxosd COPR and voglperf COPR.

These tools allow you to have FRAPS-like features on Linux, i.e. show an overlay in OpenGL games/apps to display current FPS, and also capture the frame times into a file and plot them to a graph later. So you can now use it with any Linux game and fine-tune its graphics settings to match your preferred performance. Or you can see when your CPU or GPU is overheating. Or you can contribute to Open Game Benchmarks. Or something else.

This is an example of the glxosd overlay in action (don’t worry, its output is configurable):

glxosd-chivalry.png
glxosd overlay

And if you want, you can later plot the performance into such pretty graphs using this awesome glxosd analyser web page:

glxosdGraph-fps.png
fps graph
glxosdGraph-frametimes.png
frame times graph

And this is an example of the voglperf overlay (top left corner):

voglperf-xcom.png
voglperf overlay

And a generated graph:

voglperf-frametimes.png
frame times graph

There are other similar tools which you can use, but I know about any that is generic and has all these features. There is of course the Steam FPS overlay, but you can only use it for Steam games, and it can’t log frame information. There’s also GALLIUM_HUD, but that’s only available for Gallium-enabled drivers (radeon, nouveau) and also can’t log frame information. These two new tools should work with any driver and can be used for any game/app.

You can find installation instructions in the linked COPR repos. I do not intend to move these packages to official Fedora repos, but if somebody is willing to get their hands dirty and work on that, great, please contact me and I’ll try to help.

Enjoy!

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glxosd and voglperf now available for Fedora in COPR

Fedora videos from DevConf 2016 now available

145px-devconf-cz_logo

Even if you’ve been to DevConf personally, you surely missed a lot of very interesting talks and workshops. All the videos are now available. Here are the Fedora related ones:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLU1vS0speL2YytY0-1oxuNWXmfd1BHSd6

And here is the full list:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLjT7F8YwQhr-Ox8LZY8VFrZHFkApOduBi

Enjoy!

Fedora videos from DevConf 2016 now available

AMD Radeon R9 270 experience again, this time in Fedora Rawhide (21)

Last week I’ve written about my experience with AMD Radeon R9 270 card in Fedora 20. I have received much advice and feedback in the comments below and some people nudged me to try the latest opensource driver (it’s been a month since Fedora 20 release and OSS world clearly moves fast). So that’s what I did. This post is a follow-up to the previous one, just containing information about the latest changes in the RadeonSI driver. I haven’t tested Catalyst, because I already covered the latest version in the previous article and I don’t expect any major changes just by changing Fedora version.

I did all my testing on Fedora Rawhide (to be Fedora 21 in a distant future). In order to get newer OpenGL support, I used llvm 3.4 packages – those are not yet pushed to Rawhide’s repository, but they should be hopefully merged soon and are available in a special build tag for the moment. I used mesa git 2014-01-10, xorg-x11-drv-ati git 2014-01-12 and xorg-x11-glamor git 2014-01-15 (including a patch for faster gtk lines drawing) – all of this compiled on a machine with llvm 3.4. I was running on nodebug kernel 3.13 rc8 (beware of my mistakes). Packages for S3TC compression (libtxc_dxtn) were installed.

The changes in RadeonSI since Fedora 20

These are the major changes that I spotted in the short time:

  • Dynamic power management is enabled automatically. You no longer need to adjust the kernel command line, the card scales its speed according to the load automatically. This is brought by kernel 3.13. One less thing to care about, great.
  • GTK primitives rendering is much faster. The developers were very active in addressing the issue and provided several patches. They are not yet committed into the main branch, but one of them is now even included in Fedora packages by default. The rendering speed is not yet on par with other drivers (as you can see in the tests below), but it’s at least an order of magnitude faster. I have no problems with LibreOffice Calc or Motif-like GUIs anymore, everything runs perfectly. Many thanks to radeonsi developers.
  • You’ll get OpenGL 3.1/3.0 version support instead of OpenGL 2.1. This is great news, because it allows more games to run, especially the commercial ones. There’s still a long way to go to the current OpenGL 4.4 specification, but this helps with compatibility a lot.
  • There are some desktop rendering glitches. I’ve seen a small rendering issues with message tray icons in GNOME. Some of the icons sometimes became invisible (totally transparent). You could still click on them, but you could not see them. I’ve also seen others report this problem, so I assume it’s known and hopefully will be fixed soon. I haven’t seen this problem back on Fedora 20. There are also some other minor glitches, for example very occasionally there is a graphical artifact instead of some letter rendered on the web by Firefox. But that is very rare, can be fixed by highlighting the text and happens on Fedora 20 as well.
    Update: The invisible icon bug seems to have been fixed the next day after I published this. I still see some issues, but they are most probably related to GNOME in general and not to radeonsi driver.

In general I’ve been very pleased by the recent development, the developers are responsive and they have improved the driver a lot recently.

Gaming

I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the number of games that run and their performance have improved substantially. And I mean substantially. On Fedora 20 half of my Steam games crashed or there were some serious issues with them. Now only 10% crash (some of that might be caused by llvm 3.4, according to the crash messages) and another 15% are either slower or experience graphical issue. However, the majority now runs just fine.  I attribute this mainly to the OpenGL 3.1/3.0 support. Here’s my updated list of Steam games I tested, compare Fedora 20 RadeonSI column with Fedora Rawhide RadeonSI column:

Game compatibility list
Game compatibility list

Performance-wise there have been some improvements as well, probably at around 10% or so in average. You can see the updated Phoronix Test Suite graphs below. The commercial games felt a bit better as well.

Phoronix Test Suite benchmark results

The bad news is that we’re still not there. The situation improved sharply, but there’s still a large percentage of games which can’t be played. The performance also varies wildly. For example Dota 2 was totally unplayable even with low quality settings, you could see 5-10 FPS easily in larger battles. On the other hand, Left 4 Dead 2 or Team Fortress 2 seemed very well playable (I spent max 5-10 minutes in these games, so the real gameplay results might vary).

Conclusion

If you want to play on Linux with an AMD graphics card and an opensource driver, you still need to be a modest gamer. You must not mind if some of your games run very slow or not at all. However, the recent progress has been very good and it seems that AMD together with community developers try real hard to provide a fully functional opensource driver. I’m very glad for that. Hopefully Linux users won’t need to choose between freedom (plus out-of-the-box functionality) and performance in the near future. By the way, I decided to keep the AMD card in order to support OSS-compatible companies.

Update: I have written a follow-up with my experiences from Fedora 23.

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AMD Radeon R9 270 experience again, this time in Fedora Rawhide (21)