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Entries from April 2012.

Paris - Spring 2012

So I'm back from a week in Paris. A few thoughts about it, with good and bads.
Bad news first:
- I was a bit overwhelmed by the number of immigrants, while not much more than in London these ones seemed more out of control[1].
- Quite an aggressive city, many people looked like about to burst, particularly some of the above. At times I was really afraid/nervous. I also witnessed for the first time a theft (in the Metro).
- Serious lack of green. Hardly any grass anywhere, even in the parks; the few green patches were fenced or guarded by "Keep off the grass" or similar signs.
- Traffic is crazy and the air is polluted. In some parks and other areas there's a very fine white dust which in combination with wind made walking around quite annoying.
- Lots of beggars and many streets and Metro stations were just _stinking_ of urine - including some higher profiles places; perhaps Paris needs more public toilets.

And some good things:
- The architecture of the buildings, whether new or old, is very nice. I was particularly impressed with the massive style of older royal/imperial buildings like the Louvre.
- The food.. Well, you can tell this nation has a cult for food. Lots of nice and various dishes, tons of cheese, sea food, bread, you name it - the French have it and it's Good. Probably the best in Europe.
- I want proper Boulangeries and Patisseries in London!
- A LOT less FAT people when compared to London, especially women. It's a bit ironic that for a nation with a passion for eating they're in such a good shape.
- Very FEW McDonalds, KFCs and so on. I don't know if I've seen more than 2-3 McDonalds the whole time I was there. That was quite nice.
- I loved their habit of taking a break at noon and go eat & drink in restaurants. This is obviously being done in many cities/countries, but in Paris is done at a very massive and visible scale. It was nice to witness and be part of it.
- Paris is a city with a high density and it's easy to cover good parts of it by foot; otherwise the Metro stations/stops are quite frequent and ticket fares are significantly lower than in London making it an efficient system to go around.
- The old cemeteries are very very nice, quiet, beautiful architecture and big names to visit around.

- To top it off, our hosts were fantastic! The weather, too, around or over 20 degrees the whole time we were there. No clouds!

[1] - Please don't label me a racist or xenophobe, I myself am a immigrant. I do believe all men & women are born equal, it's just that I don't condone certain behaviour that seems to be more frequent in certain circles or communities, that's all.

ROSA 2012 Marathon

Update! - In the meanwhile Rosalab have officially announced the beta:

Right; it's been happening for a while but now there's this web page that kind of makes things more "official":

To quote from that web page:
"ROSA 2012 Marathon is a LTS (long time support) release with guaranteed security and software updates for 5 years. Based on Mandriva/ROSA 2011 repositories with lots of improvements and updates. It is recommended for Enterprise, SMB and SOHO which do not need the "bleeding edge" technology, but require stable software and ability to work for a long time without reinstalling the system. This is the first release completely built using the ABF system."

So it looks like Rosa Labs, the Russian group behind most of what's happening now at Mandriva S.A. has got enough of shareholders dicking around and forked the distribution? It would seem so.

Mageia has a step sister in ROSA now, the newest Mandriva fork. Or is Mandriva slowly being renamed to ROSA? Things are getting interesting again.

By the looks of it the distribution is still in testing but the nightlies look at least usable; there's no final release date yet.
Here are some download links for the testing ISOs:

Use on your own risk, there's no official announcement yet. RPMs in a yum friendly format

As a result of my recent work on LibreOffice RPMs for EL6 and several discussions on the CentOS mailing list I decided to set up a yum repository with the RPM packages officially released by The Document Foundation.
Why? Because sometimes the people, even the EL kind, want the latest and greatest[1]. Plus, this one should really be easy to mantain as all the hard work is done by the Document Foundation, I just do some untarring and createrepo.
What I do basically is download all their tarballs, decompress, put all the RPMs in a nice repository for 32 and 64 bit arches then call them all nicely from a "meta-package" I entitled, after the source web site. I also create meta-packages for the localisation RPMs, so everyone can have LibreOffice in their native language only a "yum install" away.
This should also be great with keeping up to date as newer packages will be installed when "yum update" runs and if we manage to get delta rpms working then updates will also be in the megabytes, not hundred of megabytes.

Trade-offs? Yes, some:
1. No Selinux integration. This doesn't seem a problem just yet, but could become in the future.
2. These packages do not play nicely with the stock ones, so the one from the distribution need to be removed... but this only is needed once.

To use this repo do the following:
- uninstall the stock packages: yum remove openoffice* libreoffice*
- install the repo: rpm -ivh
- install the software: yum install

If you need to install additional localised support do it like this:
yum install
yum install ... and so on; you can run "yum info*" to see all the packages.

This should work on RHEL, CentOS, ScientificLinux, Fedora and other distros based on those.

If you run into issues or have suggestions get in touch at rpm at

[1] - For the more patient of you RHEL 6.3 will bring LibreOffice 3.4.5 which should satisfy many people.