2013-04-09

Fedora 19 Alpha Testing: What you need to make sausage.

This blog is part of a series on installing Fedora 19 and testing its "parts".  This section will be prettified with links to the other parts if I get a chance.

Here are the ingredients to hardware testing a Fedora release in the Alpha and early Beta stages:

  1. Patience and being able to project patience. Release time is a frantic time for QA and developers, and people get cranky quickly. You will spend a lot of time waiting for answers or fixes, and you may need to explain the problem in detail multiple times, and multiple ways. [This usually happens with visual bugs where each person sees something slightly different due to fonts, monitors, graphics cards, etc.]
  2. You will need an email address that you can use to register to bugzilla and various mailing lists as needed. You can get an email address at mail.google.com, outlook.com, or mail.yahoo.com (or a dozen other ones.) The instructions for doing this is outside the scope of this tutorial.
  3. You will need a bugzilla.redhat.com account. If you do not have an account already, please go to https://bugzilla.redhat.com/createaccount.cgi to set up the account.
  4. You should have access to an irc client of some sort. Currently I am using the Linux version of xchat2 which came set up for the Freenode servers that Fedora and many other Free/Libre/Open Software groups use. I highly recommend registering a nick as outlined at http://www.wikihow.com/Register-a-User-Name-on-Freenode .
  5. You will need some sort of hardware to test with. I am going to use two different systems to start off with. The first system is an already installed Linux box to download and write the ISOs with. You can use Windows or MacOSX if you know what you are doing.. I don't so won't be.
    In choosing hardware you need to make sure you have reasonably  new hardware... I find that hardware over 5 years old is usually too old for day to day testing anymore. Not that the hardware may not be up to the task, but if you run into an issue that could be hardware related, it is probably never going to be fixed.For this round of testing I am going to be using an Asus A52F laptop from 2011. It contains
    • Pentium i5,
    • Intel graphics,
    • 4GB of memory,
    • and an EFI boot menu with its BIOS.
    I picked this laptop up on a clearance sale when the model was being replaced with a newer version. This allowed me to get it for under $400.00 which has allowed for various testing over the years.
  6. Backup media. I am going to be using a USB-2.0 500 GB USB drive, and will be backing up before I reinstall, and then restoring afterwords. I will document how to make backups with Fedora 19 when I get to that stage. 
  7. Some installation media. In the long ago past, I used CD-roms and DVD-roms for this exclusively, but for this release I am using a 16GB San Disk which was on sale. This was useful for testing the early test candidates which had a bug that made them larger than the 4GB that a DVD can hold. 
  8. You will need a test image. You can get these from a mirror of alt.fedoraproject.org (from http://mirrors.fedoraproject.org/publiclist/)
    lftp http://alt.fedoraproject.org/
    lftp alt.fedoraproject.org:/pub/alt> cd /pub/alt/stage
    lftp alt.fedoraproject.org:/pub/alt/stage> dir
    drwxr-xr-x  --  ..                   
    drwxr-xr-x            -  2013-03-21 04:15  19-Alpha-TC1
    drwxr-xr-x            -  2013-03-26 02:06  19-Alpha-TC2
    drwxr-xr-x            -  2013-03-29 04:08  19-Alpha-TC3
    drwxr-xr-x            -  2013-04-04 00:40  19-Alpha-TC4
    drwxr-xr-x            -  2013-04-05 03:41  19-Alpha-TC5
    drwxr-xr-x            -  2013-04-05 08:20  deltaisos
    drwxr-xr-x            -  2012-02-02 12:29  ec2
    drwxr-xr-x            -  2013-01-28 20:48  rawhide-20130128
    drwxr-xr-x            -  2013-03-01 18:45  rawhide-20130301
    lftp alt.fedoraproject.org:/pub/alt/stage> cd 19-Alpha-TC5/Fedora/x86_64/iso/
    lftp alt.fedoraproject.org:/pub/alt/stage/19-Alpha-TC5/Fedora/x86_64/iso> dir
    drwxr-xr-x  --  ..
    -rw-r--r--          260  2013-04-05 05:24  Fedora-19-Alpha-TC5-x86_64-CHECKSUM
    -rw-r--r--         4.7G  2013-04-05 05:23  Fedora-19-Alpha-TC5-x86_64-DVD.iso
    -rw-r--r--         312M  2013-04-05 05:15  Fedora-19-Alpha-TC5-x86_64-netinst.iso
    lftp alt.fedoraproject.org:/pub/alt/stage/19-Alpha-TC5/Fedora/x86_64/iso> mget Fedora-19-Alpha-TC5-x86_64-DVD.iso
    
  9. If the ISO is below 4.2 GB in size, you should be able to cut it to a DVD. In this case though the DVD install is larger than that so it will need to be cut directly to a USB key or booted via PXE or some other method. In this case we will be using a USB key. On the system you downloaded the ISO, we will use the dd command to write to the key.
    $ sudo -i 
    Password: @$@$#@$##@
    # lsusb # find out what the USB is
    # dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=1024 count=100 # voudou. I do this because it is needed on some keys.
    # dd if=/home/smooge/Downloads/Fedora-19-Alpha-TC5-x86_64-DVD.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=1024
    
    On a USB-2 key, you are going to have a peak write of 15MB/s.. more likely 4 to 8MB/s since the bus is shared between USB devices. Be prepared to wait 5 to 10 minutes for it to finish writing. In a different terminal read the dd man page so you can see how to "track" how much is written if you want.
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