Archive for July, 2011

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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