Parsidora 15 and a special feature: Ubuntu Hardware Driver Installer (Jockey)


Parsidora 15 – the third version of Parsidora Fedora Remix – is going to be released soon. Hopefully, it is going to be an interesting release. It is more polished and better integrated than previous releases. It both provides better features for Persian users and better support for international users. You can easily disable all features specific to Persian users in the installation time by un-checking a single package group.

However, it is going to have a new experimental feature as a surprise for its users: Jockey. Jockey is the tool used by Ubuntu to install and manage third-party drivers.

Jockey in Fedora

Jockey in Fedora

Porting such a software to Parsidora was one of my goals from the beginning. I didn’t want to support non-free drivers by installing them by default, but a tool which can detect required drivers is nice since some users will need to install such drivers anyway. And I wanted something like the Ubuntu’s driver installer software, therefore I decided to look at the code to see if I can use some parts of it. Finally, I did it a few days ago; but I didn’t expect to be able to prepare it for Parsidora 15. Jockey is an Ubuntu tool, so I expected to have a hard time porting it to Fedora/Parsidora. However, I was surprised to see that “Jockey was designed to be distribution agnostic and fulfill the need of different distributions, driver vendors, and system integrators.” And to a great extent, it really is. Even better, it has a reference implementation which uses PackageKit as its package management backend! This means that the upstream version of Jockey is even more compatible with Fedora than Ubuntu (the Ubuntu specific version is maintained in a separate branch)!! I should thank Ubuntu developers for building a tool which can be used by others too. :)

Finding out that porting Jockey to Fedora could be easier than what I thought before, I decided to give it a try. While the reference implementation basically works, it needs some integration work. Also, it was not completely compatible with Fedora 15′s PackageKit, so some changes in some parts of the code were needed. I also needed to configure it in a way to be able to detect and install required RPMFusion hardware drivers. Finally, it needs a SELinux module to work correctly when SELinux is enabled. A basic version is ready, and will be available in Parsidora 15, but it still needs more integration work (Like integrating with Gnome 3 notifications) which I’ll hopefully do for Parsidora 16. Finally, I might go with adding it to Fedora or RPMFusion repositories (since it doesn’t provide anything useful without such a third party repository).

We have received many positive feedback about Parsidora so far :). We do not have lots of users, but it seems that we are going in the right direction to serve our target users. I’ll write more about Parsidora 15 features soon.

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23 responses to this post.

  1. Great feature for Parisdora. keep rocking Hedayat :)

    Reply

  2. Now, it would be interesting to submit this for review in Fedora. I wonder what the outcome would be…

    Reply

  3. Wow that’s great!
    Aside from Parsidora, it’s a great step towards making Fedora a better choice for the masses.

    Reply

  4. Hey Hedayat,

    Great job! I have been working on this for my Kororaa Fedora Remix too (http://kororaa.org) and have been in contact with the upstream developer, Martin Pitt.

    Have you been in contact with him? I’m sure they would love to receive your contributions upstream, you have gotten further than I have. I will send him an email, letting him know of your great work.

    All the best!

    Cheers,
    Chris

    Reply

    • Hey Chris,
      Thanks :)
      No, I have not contacted him, but I’ve filled a bug with a patch as a beginning. Thank you for letting me know about these.

      Finally, good luck with Kororaa :)

      Reply

      • Hey Hedayat,

        I have ported Jockey to Yum which should provide a much cleaner implementation for Fedora (rather than using PackageKit). I’m working on getting it going with Kororaa, but I think you should use it for your remix too :-)

        Theoretically it should be a drop-in replacement (oslib.py), but I haven’t done much testing on it yet so there are probably bugs.

        If you’re interested, the code’s available on my github account:

        https://github.com/csmart/jockey/tree/fedora

        Feel free to fork it, or whatever. Let me know if you need any help, or want to collaborate!

        Thanks,
        Chris

      • Hi Chris,
        Sounds interesting! Thanks for letting me know about it. I’ll look at it soon, and let you know about my opinions. :)
        Thanks

  5. Posted by DDevine on August 1, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Good idea… It would be great if this would be allowed into Fedora. Maybe there is a way for legal to work around the issues, what if the user had to specifically accept the legal responsibilities?
    This would actually make a *notable* improvement to the user experience (one of the very few things left to improve, IMO).

    Reply

    • I am not sure what legal implications are there preventing this from going in Fedora. AFAIK the package itself is just “informative”, letting know the user when a it detects a chipset supported by binary blobs, then handling the info to the package manager.

      This looks much like the automatic installation of codecs: you are prompted to search for the mp3 coded once you click on a mp3 file, then if you have rpmfusion configured you get the codec.

      Reply

      • Posted by DDevine on August 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm

        New users are the target of this application and probably don’t have RPMFusion already installed.
        I might check out the current “missing codec” popup and assess the usability in regards to its’ use-case.

        If Jockey behaves the same way as the missing codec thing then I can’t fathom why it would be refused by Fedora. It’s *really* useful and abides by the licensing rules.

      • Actually, it is currently not suitable to be included in Fedora since currently, it should depend on a package in RPMFusion to provide info about hardware supported by it (I’ve already started the discussion in RPMFusion). If it is going to be included in Fedora, we should handle it a little different: like codecs and printer drivers, the info should be encoded into package provides. And in that case, it could be even possible to provide almost the same functionality by PackageKit itself! I should check to see how printer drivers are handled right now and if we can use the same logic here.

        Thanks for your interest :)

  6. [...] Posted on August 17, 2011 by valent| Leave a comment Guys from Parsidora Fedora Remix have migrated Ubuntu Hardware Driver Installer to [...]

    Reply

  7. Really nice work, we will be trying to implement Jockey also in Fusion Linux Remix:

    http://fusionlinux.org/2011/08/17/ubuntu-hardware-driver-installer-on-fusion-linux/

    Cheers,
    Valent.

    Reply

    • :) Thanks. That should be easy. The only thing that I’m worried about is that it needs more testing on real hardware.
      BTW, I’m still trying to find the best way to put it into RPMFusion and implement the requirements.

      Reply

  8. [...] (another Fedora Remix) has also been working on Jockey, but using the PackageKit implementation (I’ve sent them a message to see if they are [...]

    Reply

  9. [...] (another Fedora Remix) has also been working on Jockey, but using the PackageKit implementation (I’ve sent them a message to see if they are [...]

    Reply

  10. Posted by Ariel on August 31, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Hi ! The GNOME 3 fallback mode works in Parsidora? I prefere the older appearance of GNOME interface. Thanks.

    Reply

    • Hi,
      Yes, Parsidora provides all what Fedora provides (except packages for languages other than English and Persian (in DVD), which are still available from the repositories). It can be used as a replacement for Fedora, as it is 100% compatible.

      Reply

  11. [...] version of Jockey(0.9.6) following upstream jockey releases. Parsidora 15 was the first distro coming with Jockey in the Fedora world. It was interesting for others too, as it was added to Fedora Utils, and some [...]

    Reply

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