Programming and writing about it.

echo $RANDOM

Category: FOSS

Fedora Scientific Spin Update

The Fedora Scientific 20 Spin will have a number of new packages: notably, it will now include the Python 3 tool chain for the Python libraries for scientific/numerical computing. If you are interested to check it out, download a nightly from here.

Testing the applications/libraries

It took me 3 releases to figure out – or rather, sit down to do it. Anyway, here it is now. I have created a Wiki page where I want to list scripts/other ways to sanity test the various packages/applications that are being shipped. I believe it will help in two ways:

  • Often, the entire functionality of a tool/library is split into more than one package and hence pulling in only the main package is no guarantee that the tool/library/application will work.
  • We may also be able to catch genuine bugs/faults in the packages being shipped. (Think of things like missing shared library dependency, etc)

So, please add whatever you can to the wiki page. Just simple ways to see if the application/library actually works.

My plan is to collect whatever I/we gather there into a git repository somewhere and run it prior to/during releases to see everything is working as expected.


  • Download a nightly compose from here¬†(The usual warning against testing in-progress Fedora releases apply)
  • Add scripts/tests to the wiki page here

If you find a problem, leave a comment here, or add to the wiki page.


You may see that the nightlies are failing, but this should be fixed soon (See this bug). You can still download a TC5 build from here which has all the packages that are going to be shipped, except for sagemath.

Once again, thanks are due to the packagers actually packaging all this software that makes Fedora Scientific possible.


The Codebreakers

I just watched “The Codebreakers” which is a BBC Documentary on FOSS and Development. A two-part documentary, The Codebreakers was aired on BBC World TV during May 2006. It investigates how poor countries are using FOSS applications for development, and includes stories and interviews from around the world. A 40-minute version of The Codebreakers is now available for free download online.

The famous digital divide is getting wider. A two-part documentary, The Codebreakers aired on BBC World starting 10 May 2006 examines whether free/open source software (FOSS) might be the bridge?

FOSS contains ‘source code’ that can be used, copied, studied, modified and redistributed without restriction. It has been around for over 20 years but most PC owners are not aware that the Internet search engines and many computer applications run on FOSS.

“It’s not that FOSS has had a bad press, it has had no press because there is no company that ‘owns’ it,” says executive producer Robert Lamb. “But we found that in the computer industry and among the afficionados, it is well known and its virtues well understood.”

The crew of the independent producers who made the film went to nearly a dozen countries around the world to see how the adoption of FOSS presents opportunities for industry and capacity development, software piracy reduction, and localization and customization for diverse cultural and development needs.

Stories from The Codebreakers include computer and Internet access for school children in Africa, reaching the poor in Brazil, tortoise breeding programmes in the Galapagos, connecting villages in Spain, and disaster management in Sri Lanka. The documentary also includes interviews from key figures around the world.

Intel, IBM, Sun and Microsoft all seem to agree that FOSS is a welcome presence in computer software. According to Jonathan Murray of Microsoft “The Open Source community stimulates innovation in software, it’s something that frankly we feel very good about and it’s something that we absolutely see as being a partnership with Microsoft.”

Download and other links available at