Planet HantsLUG

March 25, 2015

Debian Bits

Hewlett-Packard Platinum Sponsor of DebConf15

HPlogo

We are very pleased to announce that HP has committed support of DebConf15 as Platinum sponsor.

"The hLinux team is pleased to continue HP's long tradition of supporting Debian and DebConf," said Steve Geary, Senior Director at Hewlett-Packard.

Hewlett-Packard is one of the largest computer companies in the world, providing a wide range of products and services, such as servers, PCs, printers, storage products, network equipment, software, cloud computing solutions, etc.

Hewlett-Packard has been a long-term development partner of Debian, and provides hardware for port development, Debian mirrors, and other Debian services (HP hardware donations are listed in the Debian machines page).

With this additional commitment as Platinum Sponsor, HP contributes to make possible our annual conference, and directly supports the progress of Debian and Free Software, helping to strengthen the community who continue to collaborate on their Debian projects throughout the rest of the year.

Thank you very much, Hewlett-Packard, for your support of DebConf15!

Become a sponsor too!

DebConf15 is still accepting sponsors. Interested companies and organizations may contact the DebConf team through sponsors@debconf.org, and visit the DebConf15 website at http://debconf15.debconf.org.

by Laura Arjona Reina at March 25, 2015 02:00 PM

Alan Pope

Making a Portable Persistent Ubuntu USB Stick

I recently wanted to make a slightly modified persistent bootable USB stick running a recent version Ubuntu. I made some notes and have put them here in case they’re useful to anyone else. It’s a bit of a manual process which could probably be streamlined / automated. This was just what I did as a one-off, take from it what you will.

USB3 sticks in a USB3 port work best as USB2 can be a bit on the slow side, especially for IO intensive operations like package installation or compiling.

Note: A few people have pointed out the fragility and short lifespan of USB sticks. This same procedure can be used to install on a hard disk or SSD in a USB enclosure. Once the image is copied to the external storage, simply use gparted to resize it up to take all available space.

The goal I had was to make an image which can be copied to USB stick to provide a persistent bootable Ubuntu SDK development environment. This could be useful for people who don’t run Ubuntu as their primary OS (Yes, these people exist, I know right!?) but want to dabble in Ubuntu application development. It’s also handy if you’re running an App Dev School where the computers aren’t yours, or run some other OS. The students could potentially take the sticks away with the full OS and all their work on. Just make the image and then copy it to multiple sticks before the class starts.

I also wanted to make it ask for locale and user details on first boot, so it could be easily configured and used in any language. This is pretty easy given the Ubuntu installer has all of that built in.

I used Ubuntu 14.10 i386 (but also tried with Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS) and an 8GB USB stick which leaves a couple of GB over for work. Obviously a larger stick gives more space to the user. It turned out though that using an 8GB USB stick was a bit tight for SDK work. I ended up with 76MB left after creating one 15.04 armhf kit. Maybe 8GB is good for desktop and qml/html5 only development (although still a bit tight), but not for cross architecture or other binary builds. 16GB would have enough room for multiple kits and could build binaries for devices.

Some of these steps can be done in the background while you do other things. It’s not a massively time consuming task if you have a decent connection and fast USB stick / hard disk, but as I mentioned, is a bit manual.

The result is a USB stick which you can boot from and work off with data saved to the stick. You can optionally enable home directory encryption during the final end-user setup if that’s important to you.

Step 1 – Prep

Have an 8GB (or larger) USB 3 stick handy. I am using Kingston 8 GB USB 3.0 DataTraveler G4 Flash Drive and later Kingston Technology 16GB Data Traveler G4 USB 3.0 Flash Drive. Faster sticks are available of course, but I wanted something cheap to prototype on.
Have a laptop with a USB 3 port (or ports) and supports kvm. I did all this on my Ubuntu Vivid Vervet (15.04) Thinkpad X220 laptop which has a single USB3 port.
Make a directory on a local disk to store scratch image – will need 16GB or more space
Install qemu-kvm and gddrescue on host
Download ubuntu-14.04.1-desktop-i386.iso from http://releases.ubuntu.com/14.10/. (torrent link).

Step 2 – Installation of base system

Make a blank image on local disk
dd if=/dev/zero of=./disk_image bs=1M count=7500
This should result in a file a bit under 8GB.
e.g.

alan@deep-thought:/data/usb⟫ dd if=/dev/zero of=./disk_image bs=1048576 count=7500
7500+0 records in
7500+0 records out
7864320000 bytes (7.9 GB) copied, 34.468 s, 228 MB/s

Install Ubuntu into the image using kvm
sudo kvm -m 2048 -cdrom ~/Downloads/ubuntu-14.10-desktop-i386.iso -hda ./disk_image -boot d
This should boot off the ISO

QEMU_425

At the A11Y (person = keyboard) icon, hit space

QEMU_426

At the boot menu, choose language (this is just language for the installer, user will later choose which language to use)

QEMU_427

Press F3 and choose keyboard layout

QEMU_428

Press F4 and choose OEM install

QEMU_429

Pick “Install” from the menu.

QEMU_430

QEMU_431

Follow the installer prompts as normal. I configured with no swap, but use the entire disk for an ext4 volume for the root filesystem.
Set a password for the oem user, which will be thrown away later, and the user will get to set their own password.
Shut-down at the end

Step 3 – Install the SDK

This is the part where you make the modifications to the image (if any). I wanted to install the Ubuntu SDK.

Optionally at this point, make a backup of your cleanly installed Ubuntu 14.10.1 system
cp ./disk_image ./ubuntu_14.10_install_backup

Boot the previously created install (note the additional options – these are handy)
sudo kvm -m 2048 -hda ./disk_image -chardev stdio,id=mon -mon mon
Once booted to the desktop, in the terminal on the host at the (qemu) prompt type this to switch the VM to the console (which is faster to do stuff than the GUI :) ):-
(qemu) sendkey ctrl-alt-f1
Login to the tty with the oem user/password set in Step 2.
Follow the usual guide to install the SDK and update the system:-
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-sdk-team/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-sdk
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get clean
sudo apt-get autoremove

Shut down the vm
sudo shutdown -h now

Optionally at this point, make a backup of your “SDK-installed” (or modified in whatever way you choose) OEM mode Ubuntu 14.10 system
cp ./disk_image ./ubuntu_14.10_install_sdk_oem_backup

Note: At this point you can boot the disk image and do further customisation – maybe adding other packages which may be of use, but I stopped here.

Step 4 – Prepare the OEM image for ‘shipping’

This is the point where we flip the switch in the installed image before handing it off to another user. On first boot they will get prompted to set locale and configure a new user.

Boot the previously created install which has the SDK installed
sudo kvm -m 2048 -hda ./disk_image
Click the “Prepare for shipping to end user” icon on the desktop – this sets the system to be ready for the first-boot experience for a new user
Shut down the system

Step 5 – Test this all worked

Make a copy of the master image for testing
cp ./disk_image ./testing_oem_install
Boot the test image to try it out
sudo kvm -m 2048 -hda ./testing_oem_install
At this point you should be prompted for the usual post-install setup tasks including language / locale / username & password. Setup as you would a normal machine
Open the SDK (or whatever you installed), test it all works
I tried creating a kit and do other SDK related things
Shutdown when done
Delete the test image
rm ./testing_oem_install

Step 6 – Copy the OEM image to a USB stick for shipping / use

Now we have a ‘final’ image (and optionally some backups) we can copy this to a stick for use by us / someone else. We can of course make more than one by doing this step multiple times with different sticks. On my system as you can see it took ~30 mins to copy the image to the stick. Faster, more expensive sticks may be better, these were pretty cheap.

Copy the disk image to an appropriately sized USB stick
sudo ddrescue -d -D --force ./disk_image /dev/sdX

e.g.

alan@deep-thought:/data/usb⟫ time sudo ddrescue -D -d --force disk_image /dev/sdc
GNU ddrescue 1.19
Press Ctrl-C to interrupt
rescued: 7864 MB, errsize: 0 B, current rate: 1966 kB/s
ipos: 7864 MB, errors: 0, average rate: 4884 kB/s
opos: 7864 MB, run time: 26.83 m, successful read: 0 s ago
Finished

real 26m51.682s
user 0m1.212s
sys 0m30.084s

Step 7 – Test & use the stick

Put the USB stick in a computer set to boot from external media.
Test that you get a desktop and the usual OEM prompts you got in Step 5.
If that works then you can do step 5 again for the same stick or as many sticks as you have.

Success!

Comments and suggestions welcome!

by popey at March 25, 2015 10:55 AM

March 18, 2015

Debian Bits

DebConf15 welcomes new sponsors

The organization of DebConf15 (from 15 to 22 August 2015, in Heidelberg, Germany) is going smoothly, the call for proposals is open and today we want to provide some updates about our sponsors.

Twelve more companies have joined our nine first sponsors in supporting DebConf15. Thank you to all of them!

Our third Gold sponsor is the Matanel Foundation, which encourages social entrepreneurship in all over the world.

IBM, the technology and consulting corporation, has also joined the DebConf15 sponsorship at a Gold level.

Google, the search engine and advertising company, has increased its sponsorship level from Silver to Gold.

Mirantis, 1&1 (which is also one of Debian's service partners), MySQL and Hudson River Trading have committed sponsorship at Silver level.

And last but not least, six more sponsors have agreed to support us at Bronze level: Godiug.net, the University of Zurich, Deduktiva, Docker, DG-i (which is also one of Debian's service partners), and PricewaterhouseCoopers (which also provides consultancy support for DebConf15).

The DebConf15 team is very thankful to all the DebConf sponsors for their support.

Become a sponsor too!

DebConf15 is still accepting sponsors. Interested companies and organizations may contact the DebConf team through sponsors@debconf.org, and visit the DebConf15 website at http://debconf15.debconf.org.

by Laura Arjona Reina at March 18, 2015 03:00 PM

Alan Pope

FOSDEM 2015 Field Report

A little late, but here’s my report from attending FOSDEM 2015 back at the start of February.

I’ve been to FOSDEM a few times in the past, but not for the last few years. It happened to co-incide with other events, or other family things took priority and then got out of the habit, so I’d not ended up going for 6 years or so!

This year at the last minute I applied for some funds to go, was accepted and made the most of it. I’ve listed below all the talks & sessions I went to, with some brain dump notes I took about some of them. At the bottom I listed some sessions which I didn’t enjoy or get a lot out of, but are listed for completion. I’ve also linked directly to the videos of the talks if they’re available at the time of writing. If not I’ve linked to the directory they should appear in at some point in the future.

A GPS watch made of free software and hardware – Federico Vaga, Matthieu Cattin
Video: http://video.fosdem.org/2015/main_track-hardware/gps_watch__CAM_ONLY.mp4

Recycle your Android devices for anything: run real Linux on them – David Greaves
Talk video:- http://video.fosdem.org/2015/devroom-embedded/sailfishos.mp4

  • Room was pretty packed with quite a few Jolla / SailfishOS friendly people at the front – managed to score myself a Jolla beanie hat from them :)
  • I was interested in this talk because it was focussed mostly on porting Mer & SailfishOS to Android devices.
  • We have a similar porting guide in Ubuntu but ours was outdated and inaccurate. This was fixed recently.
  • The Mer project had a nice overview of ports status online (https://wiki.merproject.org/wiki/Adaptations/libhybris), which I’ve shamelessly stolen for Ubuntu (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1uUHF463g4f4L5ljWZf0l7b4VAevM-twHag4ZoEd_TNc/edit?usp=sharing)
  • Interested in the community they’re building specifically around porting – dedicated irc channel, irc meetings and real world meet-ups are something we should probably consider for our (Ubuntu) porters because right now I think our porters feel a bit helpless at times

Are distributions really boring and a solved problem? – Lucas Nussbaum
Video: http://video.fosdem.org/2015/devroom-distributions/distributions_boring_solved_problem.mp4

  • Illuminating talk about some of the problems the Debian project faces currently
  • As I’m not a Debian developer it was interesting to me to learn a bit about the Debian Sausage Factory and some of the issues they/we face

GCompris goes Qt Quick with the help of KDE – Bruno Coudoin
Video: http://video.fosdem.org/2015/devroom-desktops/gcompris_goes_qt_quick_with_the_help_of_kde__CAM_ONLY.mp4

  • A quick talk from Bruno about the work he’s done to port GCompris to the Qt framework
  • Learned that the development model for GCompris includes using In-App-Purchases on non-free platforms (Google Play store) to fund development of Open Source projects.

Copyleft in Europe: How does copyleft interact with Exhaustion Of Rights – Amanda Brock, Andrew Katz
Video: http://video.fosdem.org/2015/devroom-legal_and_policy_issues/copyleft_in_europe__CAM_ONLY.mp4

  • This was a super fascinating and slightly complex legalese talk which I admit I didn’t completely follow, but Amanda and Andrew made it digestable for a layman such as myself :)

Fork and Ignore: Fighting a GPL Violation By Coding Instead – Bradley M. Kuhn
Video: http://video.fosdem.org/2015/devroom-legal_and_policy_issues/fork_and_ignore__CAM_ONLY.mp4
Slides: http://ebb.org/bkuhn/talks/LinuxCon-North-America-2014/kallithea.html

  • Brilliant talk from Bradley, one of the highlights from FOSDEM. Slides above are from a different event, but same talk as far as I can tell.
  • Was enlightening to see an alternative way to deal with a GPL violation than the default which seems to be to take legal action and sue
  • Not all forks are bad :)

Ubuntu on phones and beyond – Michał Sawicz
Video: http://video.fosdem.org/2015/devroom-desktops/ubuntu_on_phones_and_beyond__CAM_ONLY.mp4

  • Michał gave a brief talk to a pretty packed room about the current state of Ubuntu for devices, and the future direction
  • Turned into more of a Q&A, which was beneficial as much of the audience had questions to ask
  • Was interesting to see some of the same questions come up again and again
  • Depressing to still get “Haha! LOL Amazon shills” comments and questions

Mobile == Web – Stormy Peters
Video: http://video.fosdem.org/2015/devroom-desktops/mobile_web__CAM_ONLY.mp4

  • Call to arms to developers to make their sites work well on the web for the next generation of smart phone users
  • Disappointed to see yet another Mozilla person preach about openness from the confines of a MacBook running OSX

Maintaining & Growing a technical community – Ali Spivak
Video:- http://video.fosdem.org/2015/devroom-mozilla/ud2218a_maintaining_growing_technical_community__CAM_ONLY.mp4

  • Ali gave some illuminating stats about contributions to the Mozilla project and how that fluctuates over time
  • Lots of info about what motivates people to contribute to open source projects and Mozilla in particular
  • “Being open is no good if nobody can find your resources” – we (Ubuntu) have some fixes to do there

Internet all the things – using curl in your device – Daniel Stenberg
Video:- http://video.fosdem.org/2015/devroom-embedded/curl_device.mp4

  • This was one of my favourite talks from FOSDEM. Learning how many projects use a simple (hah) tool like curl
  • Even learned about some command line options in curl that I’d not seen or used before.
  • Worth a watch

Living on Mars: A Beginner’s Guide – Ryan MacDonald
Video:- http://video.fosdem.org/2015/keynotes/closing_fosdem__CAM_ONLY.mp4

  • Fantastic talk to round off FOSDEM 2015. Ryan gave a fast-paced & entertaining talk about the Mars One mission plan and his part in it.

Porting Tizen:Common to open source hardware devices – Phil Coval
Video:- http://video.fosdem.org/2015/devroom-embedded/open_hw_tizen.mp4

  • Another porting talk (to go along with the Jolla one above) specifically talking about porting Tizen to Open Hardware
  • Interesting to hear about the Sunxi community build up around porting

Reached milestones and ongoing development on Replicant – Paul Kocialkowski
Video:- http://video.fosdem.org/2015/devroom-embedded/replicant_embedded_freedom.mp4

  • Fascinating talk detailing what lengths Paul goes to in order to develop a fully Free Software implementation of Android
  • In short, it’s not ‘finished’, and with the limited number of devices it’s possible to ‘open up’ probably won’t be any time soon

GNOME – creating ripples in the Linux eco-system – Sri Ramkrishna
Video:- http://video.fosdem.org/2015/devroom-desktops/gnome_creating_ripples_in_the_linux_ecosystem__CAM_ONLY.mp4

  • I was somewhat disappointed in this talk as it seemed to be billed as showcasing the best of what GNOME have done over the years, but came across as poorly thought through and the points a bit laboured.

Servo (the parallel web browser) and YOU! – Josh Matthews
Video:- http://video.fosdem.org/2015/devroom-mozilla/ud2218a_servo_and_you.mp4

  • Josh did a great job of showing the state of Servo right now and where gaps exist in the functionality, certainly worth watching for the Servo demo alone

by popey at March 18, 2015 12:40 PM

March 16, 2015

Debian Bits

Debian is now welcoming applicants for Outreachy and GSoC Summer 2015

We'd like to reshare a post from Nicolas Dandrimont.

Hi all,

I am delighted to announce that Debian will be participating in the next round of Outreachy and GSoC, and that we are currently welcoming applications!

Outreachy logo

Outreachy helps people from groups underrepresented in free and open source software get involved. The current round of internships is open to women (cis and trans), trans men, genderqueer people, and all participants of the Ascend Project regardless of gender.

GSoC 2015 logo

Google Summer of Code is a global program, sponsored by Google, that offers post-secondary student developers ages 18 and older stipends to write code for various open source software projects.

Interns for both programs are granted a $5500 stipend (in three installments) allowing them to dedicate their summer to working full-time on Debian.

Our amazing team of mentors has listed their project ideas on the Debian wiki, and we are now welcoming applicants for both programs.

If you want to apply for an internship with Debian this summer, please fill out the template for either Outreachy or GSoC. If you’re eligible to both programs, we’ll encourage you to apply to both (using the same application), as Debian only has funds for a single Outreachy intern this round.

Don’t wait up! The application period for Outreachy ends March 24th, and the GSoC application period ends March 27th. We really want applicants to start contributing to their project before making our selection, so that mentors can get a feel of how working with their intern will be like for three months. The small task is a requirement for Outreachy, and we’re strongly encouraging GSoC applicants to abide by that rule too. To contribute in the best conditions, you shouldn’t wait for the last minute to apply :-)

I hope we’ll work with a lot of great interns this summer. If you think you’re up for the challenge, it’s time to apply! If you have any doubts, or any question, drop us a line on the soc-coordination mailing list or come by on our IRC channel (#debian-soc on irc.debian.org) and we’ll do our best to guide you.

by Ana Guerrero Lopez at March 16, 2015 08:45 PM

March 14, 2015

Debian Bits

apt install dpl-candidate: Mehdi Dogguy

0. Who are you and what is your history with Debian Project?

I guess this part is well covered in my platform.

1. What is your most proud moment as Debian Developer?

I am pretty proud of having been part of the few who implemented the first automatic dependency resolver for OCaml programs and libraries in Debian packages. It was really the first one in the OCaml community and we were quite proud of it. But that was done before I become a Debian Developer.

As a DD, I have to admit I am quite proud to be part of the Release Team. It is a fantastic team where there is so much to do. Helping the team means something to me, and I invested a considerable amount of time (a few months) working on reviewing patches for Squeeze and helping to get it ready by our standards. My best moment was Squeeze's release, my first Debian release as Release Team member.

2. In your opinion what is the strongest part of Debian Project?

I am not sure we can identify one single strength of the Debian project. But, when I think about your question, I remember something I've heard many times: “Debian is about people”. I have to admit that I didn't realize it myself until I heard it for the first time and I completely share the idea! For me, all the technical side of the project comes after the community. With time, I think we managed to build a strong community. Many contributors became friends with time. We are seeing many Developers having babies and bringing them to Debian events. I find that really amazing.

3. And what is the weakest part of Debian Project?

Our strength is somehow also our weakness. We are humans and make mistakes. We have feelings and some discussions get heated sometimes. It is not easy to keep everyone calm and focused. We have seen the damage that was caused to our core community last year with all the flamewars. Many people lost their motivation and we have seen some of them stepping down. We are also having troubles on-boarding new contributors, which is a problem today because some teams are under-staffed and could become an even bigger issue on the longer term.

4. How do you intend to resolve the weakest part?

An effort has already been made on this front. We can mention the introduction of the Code of Conduct and the diversity statement, for example. Both are important and make us a more welcoming and caring community.

In my platform, I mentioned some ideas about recruitment and change management. I believe that both sides will help us to get a stronger community. Moreover, a DPL should act as a mediator to help some situation get through. This is one of the DPL tasks that is not formally identified and is usually under-estimated.

5. DPL term lasts for one year - what would you challenge during that term and what have you learned from previous DPL's?

Personally, the main thing I have learned from past DPLs is that communication is very important. A DPL should dedicate time to communicate about ongoing actions and achievements. It is also important to remind a few things even if it may sound repetitive or trivial:

  • Why such action/subject is important.
  • What actions have been tried/done in the past.
  • What progress has been made since last time.
  • What is possibly the next step.

If the communication is only about listing some actions, many people will miss its essence and its goals. It is even more important when we know that some actions may take years (thus, several DPL terms) to complete.

If I am elected as DPL, I'd really like to help the project to publish a roadmap. I think it is very important to set goals to the project to better explain our philosophy and approach in the Free Software world. This may also help to attract new contributors which may be interested by one or some items. Of course, I will not work on that subject only. I invite you to read the rest of my platform to see the other ideas.

6. What motivates you to work in Debian and run for DPL?

Many many things. And more importantly, many many people

As many of us, I like programming and socializing. It feels nice to be part of such a big project and where you can do many different things. I contribute to Debian because I find it fun and let me meet people I will not have been able to meet elsewhere.

In my platform, I tried to identify ideas I'd like to see implemented, or at least started. Since Debian is a do-ocracy, I thought I could try to get them implemented by myself. I think that those ideas are important for the Debian community and will help us moving forward. Running for DPL is also another way of contributing to Debian and I'd feel honored to represent Debian.

by Zlatan Todorić at March 14, 2015 07:36 PM

apt install dpl-candidate: Gergely Nagy

0. Who are you and what's your history with Debian Project?

I'm a little mouse behind a keyboard, going by the nickname "algernon". I used to be a lot of things: a flaming youth, an application manager, package maintainer, upstream, ftp-assistant, a student, a mentor, a hacker. In the end, however, I am but a simple, albeit sometimes crazy person.

I did a number of things within Debian - mostly small and marginal things, mind you. With a little break, I've been here for over a decade, and am planning to stay for at least another.

1. What's your most proud moment as Debian Developer?

At last year's LinuxTag, I was wandering around a stand where they sold Raspberry Pis (with cases and other accessories). I had a nice chat with one of the staffers there, inquired about the price (including the case, of course), and a few other things. He asked a few things back: what I'll be using it for, and so on. After it turned out that I'm a Debian Developer, and syslog-ng hacker, he went to the back, and emerged a few minutes later with a boxed up Pi, and gave it to me as a gift, for working on Debian.

This was an incredibly touching moment, in many, many ways.

2. In your opinion what is the strongest part of Debian Project?

That's hard to say, to be honest. There are a good number of things Debian is incredibly strong at, and it would be hard to arbitrarily pick one. Quality, responsibility, safety, predictability are all areas we are very good at. But those are the qualities of the OS. As a project, we are remarkably well organised, given the volunteer & distributed nature of the project.

3. And what is the weakest part of Debian Project?

While we can resolve and work with technical issues in a reasonable manner, the project as a whole is rather lacking in all other areas. To grow beyond being the creators of the Universal OS, we, as a project, need to pursue goals beyond the OS.

Being part of GSoC and Outreachy are great steps forward. But we still have a lot of internal issues that need to be resolved. Areas such as innovation, team work, where we're in dire need of improvement.

4. How do you intend to resolve the weakest part?

As explained in my platform, my primary goal is to remove roadblocks. The DPL can do very little alone, his time and powers are better spent on enabling those who have the required skills and desires, to pursue those.

5. DPL term lasts for one year - what would you challenge during that term and what have you learned from previous DPL's?

The most valuable thing I learned from past DPLs is that the expectations are sky-high, yet, a significant portion of what the DPL does is very different than what I imagined in past years.

I'd like to challenge the status quo of the DPL being a nearly full-time job.

6. What motivates you to work in Debian and run for DPL?

I'm in it for the fame and glory, of course! And because my Tamagotchi told me to.

But on a more serious tone, my main motivation to work on Debian is because contributing makes me happy. It satisfies my hunger for doing useful work. Debian is - in my opinion - the perfect platform to give back to the wider Free Software community. Similarly, my motivation to run for DPL is to allow Debian to be a stronger member of that greater

by Zlatan Todorić at March 14, 2015 07:35 PM

apt install dpl-candidate: Neil McGovern

0. Who are you and what's your history with Debian Project?

My name's Neil, I've been involved with Debian for over 10 years now. I've held a variety of roles, from the SPI board, writing policy and secure testing team, to being one of the Release Managers for Squeeze and Wheezy.

1. What's your most proud moment as Debian Developer?

Probably the release of Squeeze, my first as RM. It was the end of a great effort to get the release out. I particularly remember at the end of DebConf 10 in New York going to the local Disney store and buying every single small squeeze plush toy they had, so I could send a thank you gift to the rest of the release team! Another perhaps was when I first got my Debian kilt.

2. In your opinion what is the strongest part of Debian Project?

I think this is our social contract. It guides us, and is what we all agree on. This is our promise to ourselves, to the wider open source community and to our users.

3. And what is the weakest part of Debian Project?

At a push, I'd say it's the variety of packages we have in the archive. I'm not sure it's weakness, but it's certainly a challenge. It becomes exponentially harder to ensure that everything integrates well as you add more packages. To have made it do so this far is quite impressive.

4. How do you intend to resolve the weakest part?

Well, see the section in my platform on PPAs, and modernising our build and infrastructure system Wouldn't it be great if you could stage a package against all of stable, testing and unstable, and see what fails to build and where, with live build logs on all architectures?

5. DPL term lasts for one year - what would you challenge during that term and what have you learned from previous DPL's?

I think my primary role as DPL for 2015 would be to get a great start of development for Stretch. The start of a new release cycle is the exact time to implement wide changes that are potentially disruptive. Every couple of years we seem to relax after the release, rather than get geared up for the next one, and then time passes, and plans slip, and before we know it, the freeze is fast approaching. If we start planning /now/, then we can hopefully enter the freeze with fewer RC bugs, which should be great news for everyone! For the second part, I've talked to a lot of the previous DPLs, and worked with them in one role or another. The main thing I was told was that I shouldn't try and do everything I planned on. It's hard work, and all sorts of things pop up that derail your original plans.

6. What motivates you to work in Debian and run for DPL?

The people involved. I've met and worked with some of my greatest friends due to the project. The work, dedication and commitment of those over the years is outstanding. Most of these people are still with us, and unfortunately, a few are not. Whenever I'm feeling disheartened or annoyed, usually due to a giant flame-war then I simply remember that what we're doing is truly remarkable, and the effort that everyone has put in over the years isn't something that should be taken for granted.

by Zlatan Todorić at March 14, 2015 07:34 PM

Steve Kemp

Moving to Newcastle

Although things are not 100% certain it seems highly likely we'll be moving to Newcastle in five months time.

If I seem distracted/absent/busy over the next month or two this will be a good excuse!

March 14, 2015 12:00 AM

March 12, 2015

Debian Bits

DebConf15: Call for Proposals

The DebConf Content team is pleased to announce the Call for Proposals for the DebConf15 conference, to be held in Heidelberg, Germany from the 15th through the 22nd of August, 2015.

Submitting an Event

In order to submit an event, you must be registered as an attendee of DebConf15. If you have any questions about the registration process, please check the related information on the conference website.

Once registered, go to "Propose an event" and describe your proposal. Please note, events are not limited to traditional presentations or informal sessions (BoFs). We welcome submissions of tutorials, performances, art installations, debates, or any other format of event that you think would be beneficial to the Debian community.

Please include a short title, suitable for a compact schedule, and an engaging description of the event. You should use the field "Notes for Content Team" to provide us information such as additional speakers, scheduling restrictions, or any special requirements we should consider for your event.

Regular sessions may either be 20 or 45 minutes long (including time for questions) and will be followed by a 10 or 15 minutes break, respectively. Other kinds of sessions (like workshops) could have different durations. Please make sure to choose the most suitable duration for your event and justify any special requests.

Timeline

The first batch of accepted proposals will be announced in May. If you depend on having your proposal accepted in order to attend the conference, please submit it as soon as possible so that it can be considered during this first evaluation period.

All proposals must be submitted before June 15th, 2015 to be evaluated for the official schedule.

Topics and Tracks

Though we invite proposals on any Debian or FLOSS related subject, we will have some broad topics arranged as tracks for which we encourage people to submit proposals. The currently proposed list is:

  • Debian Packaging, Policy, and Infrastructure
  • Security, Safety, and Hacking
  • Debian System Administration, Automation and Orchestration
  • Containers and Cloud Computing with Debian
  • Debian Success Stories
  • Debian in the Social, Ethical, Legal, and Political Context
  • Blends, Subprojects, Derivatives, and Projects using Debian
  • Embedded Debian and Hardware-Level Systems

If you have ideas for further tracks, or would like to volunteer as a track coordinator, please contact content@debconf.org. In order for a track to take place during DebConf15, we must have received a sufficient amount of proposals on that specific theme. Track coordinators will play an important role in inviting people to submit events.

Video Coverage

Providing video of sessions amplifies DebConf achievements and is one of the conference goals. Unless speakers opt-out, official events will be streamed live over the Internet to promote remote participation. Recordings will be published later under the DebConf license, as well as presentation slides and papers whenever available.

Contact and Thanks to Sponsors

DebConf would not be possible without the generous support of all our sponsors, especially our platinum sponsor HP. DebConf15 is still accepting sponsors; if you are interested, please get in touch!

You are welcome to contact the Content Team with any concerns about your event, or with any ideas or questions ambout DebConf events in general. You can reach us at content@debconf.org.

We hope to see you all in Heidelberg!

by Ana Guerrero Lopez at March 12, 2015 09:20 PM

Debian Project Leader elections 2015

It's that time of year again for the Debian Project: the elections of its Project Leader! Starting on April 1st, and during the following two weeks, the Debian Developers will vote to choose the person who will guide the project for one year. The results will be published on April 15th and the term for new the project leader will start on April 17th, 2015.

Lucas Nussbaum who has held the office for the last two years won't be seeking reelection this year and Debian Developers will have to choose between three candidates:

Gergely Nagy and Neil McGovern previously ran for DPL in past years; it's the first run for Mehdi Dogguy.

The campaigning period started today and will last until March 31st. The candidates are expected to engage in debates and discussions on the debian-vote mailing list where they'll reply to questions from users and contributors.

by Ana Guerrero Lopez at March 12, 2015 10:00 AM