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Filed under: Fedora — Thomas @ 12:45 am

12:45 am

I was just as excited as everyone when revisor hit Fedora. I think I even remember helping those guys out getting started, at a FUDCon hotel in Boston where I was too jetlagged. But I could be misremembering.

But every time there was a new Fedora, I tried out revisor again because I was hoping to do a simple Live CD showing off Fluendo stuff, like Elisa and Flumotion. And it just never worked. I think in F-8 it was trying to install both an i586 and i686 kernel at the same time, then complaining that those rpms shared the same files. In F-7 it just threw tracebacks for everything I tried. And I just don’t know if I’m alone here, and everyone else is happily spinning these custom distros using revisor.

Maybe it’s because there are so goddamn many options that I keep chosing the wrong ones ? Maybe I should actually break out my editor and fix the bugs I run into ? I created a bug report for my current issue, but I found only 3 bugs against revisor. So I checked some more and apparently there’s an upstream Trac (can’t blame those guys for not wanting to use the mutant RedHat Bugzilla).

My bug’s not in there (though there are a lot more bugs, so that’s comforting, it means people use it). There’s no New Ticket at the top, but also no way to register for an account. There’s a helpful link to create a new ticket on the front page, but of course that just tells me off for not having TICKET_CREATE privileges.

I guess that also means I’m not filing tickets for the following problems just yet:

  • Using the F accelerator both for File (menu) and Forward (button)
  • Having a Quit button at the bottom right during the whole process
  • being told my password is wrong in two (not one) dialogs in a row
  • not getting graphical feedback on the above-mentioned exception
  • a bunch of missing images the console complains about
  • not defaulting to the distro you’re actually running (If I’m running F-9, why would I want to create a CentOS live-cd by default ?)
  • Not having a keyboard accelerator for “Get Started” (the only way to do anything useful on the first page
  • Having to click “Apply” when changing “Configuration Section to Use” dropdown to select a different distro
  • Not having a simple way to save a set of choices before it starts the long process of building the install media (how do you guys develop this software if you have to click all the options again every time ?)
  • (this one is my favourite) every time I came on the page where I was forced to give a root password, I would end up with a dialog saying my password didn’t match, and sure enough, the first one was missing an asterisk. Turns out that revisor has a bug where, after I click the entry box to start typing my root password, it ignores the first character I type there. It is almost impossible not to run into the double dialog bug I mentioned above
  • Default Desktop: choice between GNOME and KDE. Except that both radio buttons are checked (I didn’t even know that was possible) and there’s no way to uncheck them. I guess it’s one way to settle an eternal conflict users imagine there being :)
  • After working around the bug I filed (by adding /bin/bash before the script’s path), and lots of console spew, and half an hour of waiting, it again died with a traceback on the console and no UI feedback:

    File “/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/revisor/pkgorder.py”, line 36, in
    import iutil
    ImportError: No module named iutil

    Apparently this is a module that’s part of anaconda. Maybe revisor could use a general-purpose exception handling dialog that at least tells you to file a bug ?

  • After working around THAT bug, another one:

    File “/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/revisor/pkgorder.py”, line 95, in addPackages
    revisor.misc.resolve_dependencies_ugly(yumobj, logger)
    NameError: global name ‘yumobj’ is not defined

What I’d really like to know is, has any of you fedora heads been able to use Revisor successfully ? If so, which options did you pick ? Someone have a “5 minute click only these things” guide to revisor that is 100% guaranteed to work so I can at least see that this thing can be made to work ? Or should I be switching to Ubuntu to make live cd’s instead ?

And to the revisor guys, don’t take this the wrong way. I feel guilty for never actually having tried to do proper bug reports (I considered the bugs straightforward and easy to see, so I thought it was still in the experimental stage, until I noticed it was touted as one of the big features of Fedora).

I now realize I should actually push you guys a little, provide some useful feedback, and some ideas for improvement. Because your tool obviously struck a nerve, and I want this to be good, and deserve the place it has been given. So, please start by telling me how you want me to report bugs.

And I’m going to go out on a limb and wager a guess that you guys only test your TRUNK versions, not the versions that actually get packaged and shipped with Fedora. You would help your project immensely by making sure some basic Q&A gets done on the versions you actually package and ship, because there is a lot of low-hanging fruit there.


  1. You should have trac privileges if you log into your fedora account. It is really bad if we are defaulting to CentOS in fedora. Defaulting to CentOS in CentOS is fine but Fedora should default to Fedora . As Revisor is on my list of items I eventually need to integrate I’m going to take a look into your issues and at least prod the revisor team.

    Comment by John (J5) Palmieri — 2008-6-27 @ 3:42 am

  2. Holy sh** and there is an apply button. WTF is that?

    Comment by John (J5) Palmieri — 2008-6-27 @ 3:43 am

  3. As J5 says you need to log in using your Fedora Account System username/password to report a bug. We require logins to reduce the amount of spammage. This is the default anyway, project admins have the ability to change that if they want.

    Comment by Jeff Ollie — 2008-6-27 @ 5:26 am

  4. The signup/new ticket process is a hurdle for spammers, apparently.

    fedorahosted: trac: new ticket


    fedorahosted: trac: login/logout


    Comment by Hey Man — 2008-6-27 @ 1:18 pm

  5. I think the basic problem is that everybody who makes live CD’s with Fedora uses livecd-creator directly, and doesn’t want a GUI. So revisor gets no testing. (It’s not really clear to me that this is a problem well suited to a GUI … making a live CD usually takes several tries, during which you are repeatedly editing the kickstart file.)

    Right now I’d characterize revisor as an “attractive nuisance” … people who want to build a live CD with Fedora spend time trying it out, it doesn’t work at all, they waste a bunch of time, then they use livecd-creator from the command line, and that works great.

    Comment by Owen Taylor — 2008-6-27 @ 2:03 pm

  6. Thank you Thomas for the immensely constructive feedback.

    Comment by Jeroen van Meeuwen — 2008-6-30 @ 10:08 pm

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