Even though we didn’t have the fortune to meet each other in person like we did last year, AOSCC 2018 has been productive and a whole heap of fun. While there’s obviously no picture of the event this time, we do have a full log of the sessions over the two weeks for your reference.
This year’s conference was constituted by a series of topic, with 14 topics discussed across 16 sessions over the span of two weekends. The purpose of this news post is to provide a summary of decisions made and changes planned for the coming year - so you’ll know what to expect. There are lots of things to talk about so… Let’s dive in.
Friends of our community never disappoints in terms of creativity and sense of humour… And this year is no exception. Out of 40 nominated codenames, the community voted “Fsck” to be the codename of AOSC OS Core 6. Fsck, file system consistency check, or an elegant rendition of a widely used profanity - like how Fsck was originally called…
*Dennis Ritchie: “So fsck was originally called something else”* *Question: “What was it called?”* *Dennis Ritchie: "Well, the second letter was different"*
This year’s default wallpaper was made by Tianhao Chai with Blender - titled “Campanula”.
“Campanula” also comes in two variants, one with an alternative layout, and another rendered in a “neon light” style. All these wallpapers could be downloaded here.
We have also received 39 wallpaper submissions from our community members, currently available for download here
AOSC OS will continue to evolve around a Core, and with Core 6, we expect to make some major changes in terms of version updates and build configurations.
-mtune=parametre will now point to
core2, which should marginally improve binary performance on newer AMD64 devices.
AOSC OS Core 6 will come as a part of the next wave of major updates, expected in December.
Two of the most notable changes planned are the switch to a seasonal update model, and the introduction of a third system update branch/channel. Allow me to break it down a little bit…
This change originated largely originated from the time and scheduling trouble we have had since the last summer’s switch to monthly update cycles - as there’s simply too little time for us to make it happen (and too little of us, mind you), and we did not have a concrete policy on feature planning and freezing periods.
With this new update model, the change is not limited to (obviously) switching to a seasonal schedule to provide stable updates. With this new model, extensive changes are made to how AOSC OS is maintained and updated - known patch releases (typically,
z in a
x.y.z version format) will be provided for “stable” channel users, a month-long freezing period will be set in place for the “testing” channel, a strategy to align update cycles with upstream LTS branch updates is also introduced.
The “stable” channel will also become our focus of maintenance, which we find a bit “left behind” and starved of updates. While this tend not to break things - since security updates were practically the only updates pushed to this channel - the channel also suffered from lack of backported bugfix due to the aforementioned time and scheduling issues. A good example of this issue is best demonstrated in this severely delayed update cycle, where on the “stable” channel a graphical bug that prevented transparency to be displayed on Plasma panels on deviced with Intel GMA/Core Graphics - while this was addressed when libGLVND was introduced in the “testing” channel, though for the extensive changes required to introduce this library and the fact that we did not have enough time to investigate for a more minimalistic approach to fix this issue, this “fix” was then never backported to the “stable” channel.
Users of the “testing” channel can also expect more stability in the future, as updates will go through a process of automatic testing and auditing before landing in this channel. This will be discussed in the section below.
This update channel is intended as a “No Man’s Land”, where immediate version updates are uploaded, and tested automatically, before landing in the “testing” channel.
The “explosive” channel is also introduced to aid in feature freezing and release scheduling, as freezing for users of both channels will no longer hinder package updates - to reduce time waste, which could in turn hinder updates for the next cycle.
The branch is also limited to the
amd64 port of AOSC OS - due to computational limitations, we chose not to build any “explosive” updates on the other ports, they will in turn receive updates merged from the “explosive” branch, while build fixes for these ports will be merged back to “explosive”.
Again, this channel is not intended to be used by anyone - not even the developers themselves. If you feel obliged to update with this channel, you are on your own.
On the question of security updates, we are looking to expand user notifications beyond GitHub issues and our
email@example.com mailing list. In the future, security advisories will be posted as a brief list here on the Portal.
We are also seeking help on security vulnerable discovery, reporting, fixing, and testing - please do contact us at
#aosc or at our Telegram group if you are interested.
We will implement two overlays in the coming year - in the form of an extra repository:
AVX2+Overlay, for AVX2-enabled (Advanced Vector Extensions 2) devices, where most devices with Intel Haswell (4th Generation Core) processors or newer, and all AMD Ryzen are supported.
G4+Overlay, intended for PowerPC-based Apple Macintosh computers with a G4 processor or newer - where AltiVec is available.
Both overlays aimed to produce higher performance binaries with optimisations for these newer, vector-based instruction sets (or SIMD) - this can provide performance uplift in certain applications, as benchmarked by Phoronix in the case of AVX2 in 2013.
However, these optimisations may come with a price of higher power consumption and heat output - as briefly described in this Super User Post. In our current plan, users will be made aware if an overlay repository is available for their device(s), though it will not be enabled by default automatically. We plan to conduct more up-to-date performance, power consumption, and thermal testings in the future.
One of the longest running discussion among the AOSC OS users and developers has been the introduction of Live media and a system installer. For system installation and configuration, LiveKit will be similar to GParted Live - a lightweight toolkit environment.
An installation program is also planned, inspired by the Which Wich order form - a single-page installation configurator. More details will come once the implementation process begins.
RescueKit takes on roughly the same idea, though it is assembled as a RAM disk image that is bootable right from the GRUB menu - where users could boot into to repair their AOSC OS installation. Additionally, users will be able to package a backup of their current system as a system tarball, which could be in turn installed by the system installer, as discussed above.
In the question of system releases, we plan on maintaining a seasonal update cycle, much like the aforementioned seasonal update model - with additional system releases made available in case of major security vulnerabilities.
In the coming months, a community-wide platform for goods and devices exchange will be implemented to provide friends in and around the community with community goods such as the legendary (?) AOSCC sticker packs and other souvenirs.
Community developers could also request for compiling/testing/… devices on this platform, which will be provided by community members or other developers as a donation.
This has already been quite a long news post, so it might not be in the interest of information and transparency to keep extending this post. Here is a brief (and incomplete) list of things we’ve discussed and decided upon, in no particular order…
armel; and PowerPC 32-bit Big Endian,
powerpc) will have minimalised configurations to remove features unsuitable or unapplicable to their performance and platform support.
With the lessons learned from AOSCC 2018, we will no longer hold community-wide poll on next year’s meeting location unless anyone could secure a venue before hand. Therefore, next year’s meeting location is not yet known, and hopefully we will get some choices in the near future.
And with such, the re-cap of AOSCC 2018 is now complete, AOSCC 2018 had been quite a productive conference and will surely point a clearer direction for our community projects in the coming year. Look forward to see you again in AOSCC 2019!
— Mingcong Bai
It’s been nearly three months without any posting on the Portal - these have certainly been three busy months for us. Our community is still alive - just check out our GitHub Organisation… A more detailed “what’s-up” post will be made on a later date.
But anyways, let’s get to the subject.
Unfortunately, AOSCC 2018 will not be held in Wuhan as promised from our last AOSCC Re-cap due to some reasons out of our hands - and for this particular reason, we were unable to obtain any viable venues for our annual gathering/conference. Therefore, we will be doing this online instead - (hopefully) same discussions, same community-wide polls, and same fun.
AOSCC 2018 will take place on an open Telegram Group, which is synchronised with an IRC channel (which we will have to make another post about, since we are not yet ready with that). While another Telegram Group will be made available to attendees to cast their votes.
As most participants and contributors to AOSC projects are Chinese speakers, we will limit our discussion languages to Chinese Simplified and Chinese Traditional - while English could certainly be viable, it may still hinder your ability to participate in our discussions, as we would have to switch back and forth between languages.
The 2018 online gathering and conferences will take place across two weekends, the weekend of July 21st, and the weekend of July 28th. A detailed schedule could be found on the event read-me file linked below - though be advised that all discussion sessions are organised according to the China Standard Time (UTC+8) considering the geographic distribution of community members, so do convert and plan ahead of time if you do not reside in this particular timezone.
For more details about the organisation, scheduling, and rules of the gathering and conferences, please take a read at our AOSCC 2018 README. We look forward to see you this weekend!
As per tradition, we will be voting community-wide on a (meme-worthy) codename for the next AOSC OS Core release series, and also for a default wallpaper for the AOSC OS releases of the coming year. Here’s how you could participate…
This year’s AOSC OS Core codename will be named after a word or two-word phrase headed by the letter “F” (as natural succession to Core 3’s “Cyanflame”, Core 4’s “Duang-Duang”, and the current Core 5’s “eMMC”). With additonal constraints…
While we do not necessarily block nominations, any codename submitted that violates any of the four rules above will be invalidated - and of course, you will be notified. You are free to nominate more than one codename.
Otherwise, please submit your codename nomination by July 21st (UTC) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next year’s (from this July to the next) AOSC OS system releases/distributions will apply a new set of wallpapers, and one that will be used as the default for all releases. If you would like to submit and compete for the “default” status…
If you would like to submit your work to be a part of the default wallpapers collection…
Any submission that violates any of the rules above will be invalidated, and you will be notified of this incident, along with our evaluation.
Otherwise, please submit your wallpaper(s) by July 28th (UTC) at email@example.com.
If you have any questions or concerns, please file an issue at our AOSCC GitHub repository.
— Mingcong Bai
Here’s a re-cap of our 4th AOSCC, in Guangzhou. Similar to last year, our annual gathering lasted 3 days. Numerous of our community developers shared their review of community development, and presented the path forward for our community in the coming year. Though Day 3 was disorganised as ever (LOL), it could be safely assumed that virtually everybody was having great fun attending this year’s community gathering.
Without getting ahead of ourselves, here’s a very quick re-cap, as promised:
Several community matters are determined, as usual, on Day 1:
Finally, several things could be expected from AOSC OS:
Unfortunately we were unable to provide live coverage of our gathering due to networking constraints in the venue, we are currently going through our video recording and uploading to our community YouTube channel.
Details regarding next year’s AOSCC in Wuhan will be posted later this year, and towards summer next year.
AOSCC 2017 (the 4th intallment) will kick off tomorrow at 10 A.M. UTC+8 in Guangzhou! Please do not hesitate to join us at this three-day gathering (with over 50 sign-ups so far!) where we discuss, share, and have fun. If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s not too late, the signup will not close until the end of Day 3 - if you could still make it!
Please sign up here. Again, no need to provide your real name here, we are using this form purely for statistics purposes.
For those who are coming tomorrow, please make sure that you enter from the North-East Gate at Guangdong University of Technology at H.E.M.C. Maps to the gate could be found below, there will be people from the Electronic Engineering Club and AOSC leading the way tomorrow!
This year’s AOSCC is imminent. In about three day’s time (July 14th to 16th), community developers and friends will gather in Guangzhou to discuss the past year and plan for the next. This will be followed by free talks in which community members shares their experience with working for F/OSS projects and skills with using them.
We are happy to announce that our AOSCC schedule is now final! As usual, AOSCC 2017 will be a three-day event…
For detailed schedules in multiple languages, please check out the links below…
Please do stay the whole way though, as we will be voting for the meet-up location next year, codename for AOSC OS Core 5; not to mention lucky dips on Day 1 and Day 2, thanks to our sponsors (listed below).
What would happen on Day 3 then, you might be wondering? The last day of AOSCC will be a day of workshop, here’s a list of topics/activities we have planned, everyone’s free to join us to learn and practice some new skills!
AOSCC 2017 will not be possible without the generous sponsorship of our friends…
Again, a big thank you for your help!
We screwed up a bit with the timing for this Dev. Update (LOL), the whole article below was intended for April Fools, and only for a laugh… Don’t panic.
We know we’ve just released an issue of development update, but there was just too much going on in the past week that we feel obliged to tell you about them. There has been major changes in our community, and especially with AOSC OS.
As users of modern technologies, we often times find ourselves looking back at our older devices and computers and thought, why not put AOSC OS on them and make them useful again? This exact thought has led to our PowerPC 32-bit port which runs on Apple Macintoshes with G3 processors - many of which more than 17 years old now. So here’s what we did: We started a port to the Intel i486 architecture (and of course it runs on any newer Intel x86 compatible devices as a 32-bit system).
You may be pleasantly surprised on how fast your 486DX4, Pentium, and Pentium II are when running AOSC OS. They all run XFCE4 just fine, with at least an ISA/VLB graphics card, you will be able to run it with desktop composition turned on (fancy shadows and all that jazz…).
If we take a look at this screenshot of AOSC OS running on a Pentium 4 laptop (and of course, AOSC OS is blazing fast on it)…
You may have noticed a website running with no window decoration or any form of toolbars, and a system property window from Windows Me (?!). Well, as most of our developers have experienced Microsoft Windows 98, a great operating system (albeit not free and open source, nor did it Respect Our Freedom™), we admired the idea of having a web page displayed right at the desktop so you could get to know the newest information online without relying on the complicated Conky…
As for the system properties window, we have worked alongside some old dudes from the Windows Development Team to better integrate older Windows applications with AOSC OS. The integration was so great and complete that even these core Windows components could run and correctly identify themselves! Great huh? Be happy for us.
So far AOSC OS has been ported to various kinds of CPU architectures, but we have not enough people to maintain them. After extensive discussions, we plan to sell all our AMD64 devices in favour of a POWER8-based build farm - and thus deprecating support of AMD64 by the end of 2017. Instead, PPC64el and RV64g will be mainly supported.
For those of you who uses AOSC OS on their AMD64 devices, please migrate to any other architectures we still support. There are things we had to give up for others to work better, and unfortunately AMD64 is one that has to go…
To better serve our community members, and to aid our development effort, we have decided to create the following community-run departments in… our community:
On this note, we should all applaud for The Department of Shocking News, for their great efficiency in service since their establishment on yesterday. Richard Fortsworth Saltenfishery have produced a report on the heavy usage of unclosed parentheses in their chat history on the #aosc channel, and produced a lengthy paper titled “Shocking! And Here’s the Reason Why AOSC Members Are Using Unclosed Parentheses in their Conversations…”, and literally, the title is all that the paper contains, so you didn’t miss anything here.
(Here below is a public service announcement from our community member Staph Zhang…)
We are proud to announce that a new research center on anthropoids including great ape and human, is established with recent funding from n.s.f.
The Anthropoid Observational Study Center advances science and health by providing access to data obtained from observation of anthropoids. Proudly supported by and fully integrated with the AOSC OS, we are the world’s first observational study center that use computational resources to observe and obtain data from anthropoids, especially those with some fundamental knowledge of programming and Internet browsing.
As our valuable research participants, we welcome your input through using of our AOSC OS. As our valuable researchers, we also welcome you to use our AOSC OS to empower your researches through the use of the following software packages available:
This research has obtained prior approval through the Institutional Review Board of the Anthon Open Science Committee.
To help our developers through their long days of packaging, localization, infrastructure, and chatting workloads, we have set up an online service for purchasing snacks and drinks - exclusively for our developers and contributors. Here below is a quick look at our menu:
Developers and contributors rejoice, and enjoy your meals!
It’s that time of a year again (to look back), and I am very glad to say that 2016 has been a great year for all of us.
Lots of news and happenings around our projects, and we have got couple of new faces to our community’s development effort - most notably, Yi “Everette” Rong, who kickstarted the big endian PowerPC ports for AOSC OS, and to top things off, made an experimental go at AOSC OS on Windows 10 with his WSAOSC (Wa-Sao-sk) installer, check it out here.
Not to be out done, Icenowy Zheng made an explosive progress on AOSC OS’s ARM ports with her aosc-mkrawimg and aosc-os-arm-boot-flasher projects. Dozens of images are released for Allwinner devices and Raspberry Pi, and Kernel updates on these devices got more and more intuitive.
Progress on our localization effort were looking better than ever, we have continued our effort with Simplified Chinese localization for FOSS projects. GNOME, MATE, Audacious, Freedesktop.org, etc. have received our continued support in this particular area. Most notably, with joint effort from Arthur Wang, Zixing Liu, and I personally, Wine’s zh_CN translation had reached 100% completion for the first time since 1993 - and yes, that’s when the project started.
Looking ahead, 2017 will be equally if not more interesting for AOSC. Development will be resumed on AST’s Startup Toolkit with a brand new UI and more universal support for Linux distributions other than AOSC OS; RISC-V will (potentially) see its first commercial hardware debut, and thus a new port for AOSC OS is imminent; ACBS, a replacement for our ABBS will bring better reliability, multi-tree support (forest.conf), and security to our AOSC OS packaging work. And of course, AOSC OS will see more improvement on dependencies, installation support, and user experience.
Before we get carried away, this has been an awesome year coordinating this community and working with all of you guys. And here to my sincere gratitude, and I wish all of you a happy new year!
— Mingcong Bai
Can’t believe it’s already been half a decade (and I have grown so old from who I was when AOSC has just got started in 2011). But nevertheless, happy birthday, AOSC! And I am so proud of you - not for you being the biggest or the best community, but the most honest and progressive of all communities!
I remember when I said that we shall bring creativity to China - for China only - and bring technology advancement to high school students… And of course, I also remember that I had once said to all my earliest friends and collegues that we shall leave the community when we finish high school, and let the new generation bring in new ideas and achievements…
But as here I stand today, the community means so much for me, and for all those contributed along the way to simply leave the community alone (and to be honest, we are still very small, way smaller than we had anticipated… “way back when”). Projects and ideas still piles up from within the community, and our most important project in the community, AOSC OS, have just released its first feature update to the fourth generation Core.
It is truly incredible when looking back half a decade ago, to see the past, naive selves. The challenges and criticism we faced in the years have only made us a better community, with more and more mature thoughts and methodologies. Back in 2011 when AOSC OS was still a custom release of OpenSUSE made in the SUSE Studio - who would have thought that we could one day become a full-fledged independent Linux Distribution with six (and the 7th coming) architectural ports? And back when we were attacked for being a bunch of crybabies, who would have thought that we could be one of the strongest Chinese Simplified/Traditional localization workforce for great open source projects like GNOME, Wine, and FreeDesktop.org? And back when we still were afraid to show our work to others in the field, who would have thought that we could deliver patches, bug reports, and suggestions to upstream projects in great quantities?
I do realize that we are still largely an unestablished community when compared to virtually anything else, with less than 20 people active for development. But today, in AOSC’s birthday, it will only do justice to our beloved community to continue our optimistic moods, and to hang onto our work ethics - to never question what we could achieve, and only to question if we have done the best for our projects.
Looking ahead, there are still lots of great ideas yet to be implemented, like a more integrated collaboration infrastructure for our developers, and new ports and improvements to our AOSC OS. There will be more challenges ahead, and even questions to our own ways - but fear not, we are known to be a… well, good crowd of people to say the least - to make the possible from unlikelihood. We have always did, and we always will.
My dear friends and collegues, as the founder of this community, please accept my most sincere gratitude. This community could never have been what it is today without you, nor could I struggle alone.
— Mingcong Bai
A big thank you to Tianhao (James) Chai for creating the banner for our 5th anniversary in Minecraft (and on AOSC OS too)!
And here is a map for this “monument”.
So here’s a (very) late recap on the 3rd AOSCC (AOSC Conference) held in Shanghai, on July 16-18. Several first’s were achieved this year:
Several community matters were determined for the coming year:
Friends of our community have kindly taken some nice photographs during AOSCC, and they are listed below:
More details about AOSCC 2017 will be posted later this year, and hopefully we will see you again in Guangzhou (good luck staying cool in the summer)!