All posts by Mark Trompell

Goodby Foresight

Little more than a year ago I posted about the bright future of foresight linux.
Well it looks like this won't happen any more.
Yesterday Michael announced our decision to bury (or at least it feels like this) foresight linux.
I've been involved in foresightlinux for ~ 10 years and it's hard when such a long period ends. I will miss foresight and the people that formed it.
Special Thanks to Ken Vandine who started that whole thing 10+ years ago.
Here is the announcement:

The Foresight Linux Council has determined that there has
been insufficient volunteer activity to sustain meaningful new
development of Foresight Linux. Faced with the need either to
update the project's physical infrastructure or cease operations,
we find no compelling reason to update the infrastructure.

Therefore, around the end of May, the following will be shut down:
* Software repositories (Foresight Linux and legacy rBuilder Online
* JIRA and Confluence servers
* Shared development infrastructure
* Mailing lists, including these lists

The domain will remain as an informal "alumni
association" for an indefinite amount of time, along with the
project IRC channels for as long as they are in use.

Volunteers to host read-only copies of the JIRA/Confluence
and/or mailing list archives should respond to
foresight-devel (at) in the next few days,
while the lists are still operational.

Hosting the repositories in read-only mode would be non-trivial;
requiring approximately 2.5TB of storage; simply moving the data
would be a substantial task. Do not assume that the repository
contents will be retained.

The Foresight Linux Council would like to extend our thanks to the
Software Freedom Conservancy, our corporate home, for their support
of Foresight Linux and of software freedom generally. We would also
like to thank SAS Institute for providing physical infrastructure and
hosting for the past two and a half years, as well as for offering
to refresh the infrastructure. This decision to retire Foresight
Linux was entirely the council's.

To those of us who have been a part of this community for up
to ten years, this feels a little like a death. If you wish to
celebrate the life of this project, please discuss soon on the
foresight-devel (at) list or on IRC on the #foresight-devel channel when and how to do so.

On behalf of the Foresight Linux Council,

Michael K Johnson

The bright future of Foresight Linux

Refining Foresight


Foresight is what I use for almost a decade now (and that means almost the whole time since it was created by Ken Vandine).
It was originally based on rPath Linux and Foresight 2.0 still is.
So rpath doesn't exist anymore (it was aquired by SAS a while ago) and our existing base is getting outdated to a point where maintenance is getting a burden.


There were several options to solve this issue.
1) build foresight 3 from scratch
2) rebuild an existing distribution from source and use it as a base
3) base on an existing (vital) distribution

Which one

Actually we discussed all these, but given our manpower we chose to base our new shiny Foresight on Fedora as is, so that we can focus again on providing a stable modern rolling binary distribution.

The Plan and Progress

So what we're doing is importing all! of Fedora20 into our own repositories using a tool called mirrorball
It will create Sourcepackages for conary containing the matching rpms and srpms and build conary packages from them.
I'm not going into the details here. You can look some up on our foresight-devel mailinglist
The initial import and built is already done and we're now in the process of creating conary groups from the information of the comps.xml
when that is done it should be possible already to adopt a fresh install of fedora20 for use with conary packagemanager.
Next step will be doing regular updates and imports of the fedora20 repository.
Then we will build foresight on top of this.
Creating groups like we want them, adding artwork and extras. Import rpmfusion repositories until we have a foresight that matches our needs.
And of course finding a way to easily install foresight and convert existing fedora installations.

Why not...

...just use fedora?
Well first we all got to love foresight as a distribution and a community.
And we love conary. Conary is pretty strict when it comes to dependency resolution. We already found packaging issues of fedora20 just by importing and rebuilding it with conary. foresight is a rolling distribution and we hope that with the adopting of fedora we can make it possible to just roll from fedora20 to fedora21 painlessly. Conary has rollbacks since it's beginning and it's a great packagemanager that helped us maintaining a rolling binary distribution for almost 10 years now.

important strategic decisions

Posting our recent decisions for Foresight Linux as sent to the mailing list by doniphon:

With the ongoing mess with the gtk2 -> gtk3 migration, followed by
the announcement of the gnome reschedule, and the gnome-shell/unity
rift, we do think our 2 major desktops gnome and xfce are rendered
unusable for the unforeseeable future. Same counts for kde as nokia
started to drop support for qt. Therefore we decided to focus our work
on getting in e19, a major enhancement to enlightements e17, using an
improved and hw accelerated curses library, done by us on a still
private bitbucket repository. This change also involves getting rid of
the much hated combination of pulseaudio/alsa in favour of the much more
modern and stable OSS 4.2, and entirely dropping Xorg and evolving to
Xfree2k. We're looking foreward to provide a superior user experience
soon with fl:3++. We'll shortly set the e19 repository to public, so you
all can benefit (and contribute) after signing our standard contribution
agreement that cedes all your present and future rights to Paris Hilton.
As a side note we'll be moving our default kernel to MinixNG too.

Have a nice day.

Porto, 1th April 2011

The Foresight Linux Council

A new panel plugin

I eventually created my first xfce panel plugin. Since foresight started to use indicator-applet and notify-osd, I wanted to have a native plugin to avoid using indicator-applet with xfapplet.
Today, I got it working. For now it's located at the Foresight Linux hg server.

indicate new messagesand show them

It still needs some tweaking, like translating the only string that can be visible and do proper resizing of the icon.
But for now it works. It needs indicator-applet from 0.2 branch.
Concerning Foresight Xfce Edition. It's still on my list, I almost released a set of isos, but I had some issues with them, that need to be solved first. Expect them soonish (as always).

xfce trunk

Some of you may have recognized that xfce-4.6 alpha (aka pinkie) still isn't released.
I just decided to pack xfce directly from trunk.
It's available at
there are some minor problems when updating to, so that you probably need to remove some packages not needed anymore.
It's not build automaticly from trunk (yet) and I still use the xfce goodies from fl:2.
using trunk for xfce-goodies would be a next step though.
Here are 2 screnshots:

xfce & thunar
This is xfce with thunar and a "rolled in" Terminal

xfce without thunar
But thunar hides the mouse, so I closed it

Future of Foresight Linux – Xfce Edition

There haven't been much updates on Xfce Edition for a while, because
I was busy with re{decorating,novating} my apartment, planning my upcoming wedding, my job and so on.
Here are some News, I have changed Plans for Xfce Edition a little bit. So read on.
When I had a look at the plans for Xfce 4.6, I realized, that Xfce 4.6 might be closer than I thought (there will probably be delay, as it is software (think of gnu/hurd or dnf)). Anyways here is the new plan. It's pretty simple: "Concentrate on 4.6. Go with the Milestones and have a final shortly after Xfce 4.6 is released".
Some development will take place on, to not break all the Xfce 4.4 things wie already have on There is a mailinglist too. Helping hands are welcome.

Xfce Edition alpha1

We eventually put out the long promised alpha1 of Foresight Xfce Edition.
It's not perfect (that's why we call it alpha1), but works for me since a long time.
We're still missing some applications, and xfce goodies.
Openoffice is replaced by abiword and gnumeric. And there is no compiz in the default install (that's a feature).
Get it here
Feedback and Comments (and helping hands) are welcome.

whaawmp 0.2.10

Jeff just released a bugfix release for whaawmp. It doesn't lockup anymore, if xvideo isn't available and it works with other imagesinks too now.
I hope to put out an alpha of Foresight Linux Xfce Edition this week eventually.
We will see. Get latest whaawmp while waiting :-)

whaawmp 0.2.8

Today Jeff, released whaawmp 0.2.8.
Check it out here.
There is a release for Python 2.4 too.
On to Xfce Edition. I still hope to get an iso out this week.
I'm thinking about replacing OO.o with abiword/gnumeric on default installation, if it reduces the iso size enough to fit on one CD.
But there are still things missing, so I will probably end up with a bigger image anyway.
Let's get it out for testing...