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Daily DebConf

May 31, 2015 17:27 , by Unknown - | No one following this article yet.

We are preparing this daily for you to follow what happens day-to-day during a debconf or some meeting debian. If you are attending one at the moment, share your notes here.

Michael Prokop: DebConf16 in Capetown/South Africa: Lessons learnt

July 19, 2016 20:48, by Daily DebConf - 0no comments yet

DebConf 16 in Capetown/South Africa was fantastic for many reasons.

My Capetown/South Africa/Culture/Flight related lessons:

  • Avoid flying on Sundays (especially in/from Austria where plenty of hotlines are closed on Sundays or at least not open when you need them)
  • Actually turn back your seat on the flight when trying to sleep and not forget that this option exists *cough*
  • While claims to take energy saving quite serious (e.g. “turn off the lights” mentioned at many places around the campus), several toilets flush all their water, even when trying to do just small™ business and also two big lights in front of a main building seem to be shining all day long for no apparent reason
  • There doesn’t seem to be a standard for the side of hot vs. cold water-taps
  • Soap pieces and towels on several toilets
  • For pedestrians there’s just a very short time of green at the traffic lights (~2-3 seconds), then red blinking lights show that you can continue walking across the street (but *should* not start walking) until it’s fully red again (but not many people seem to care about the rules anyway :))
  • Warning lights of cars are used for saying thanks (compared to hand waving in e.g. Austria)
  • The 40km/h speed limit signs on the roads seem to be showing the recommended minimum speed :-)
  • There are many speed bumps on the roads
  • Geese quacking past 11:00 p.m. close to a sleeping room are something I’m also not used to :-)
  • Announced downtimes for the Internet connection are something I’m not used to
  • WLAN in the dorms of UCT as well as in any other place I went to at UCT worked excellent (measured ~22-26 Mbs downstream in my room, around 26Mbs in the hacklab) (kudos!)
  • WLAN is available even on top of the Table Mountain (WLAN working and being free without any registration)
  • Number26 credit card is great to withdraw money from ATMs without any extra fees from common credit card companies (except for the fee the ATM itself charges but displays ahead on-site anyway)
  • Splitwise is a nice way to share expenses on the road, especially with its mobile app and the money beaming using the Number26 mobile app

My technical lessons from DebConf16:

  • ran into way too many yak-shaving situations, some of them might warrant separate blog posts…
  • finally got my hands on gbp-pq (manage quilt patches on patch queue branches in git): very nice to be able to work with plain git and then get patches for your changes, also having upstream patches (like cherry-picks) inside debian/patches/ and the debian specific changes inside debian/patches/debian/ is a lovely idea, this can be easily achieved via “Gbp-Pq: Topic debian” with gbp’s pq and is used e.g. in pkg-systemd, thanks to Michael Biebl for the hint and helping hand
  • David Bremner’s gitpkg/git-debcherry is something to also be aware of (thanks for the reminder, gregoa)
  • autorevision: extracts revision metadata from your VCS repository (thanks to pabs)
  • blhc: build log hardening check
  • Guido’s gbp skills exchange session reminded me once again that I should use `gbp import-dsc –download $URL_TO_DSC` more often
  • sources.debian.net features specific copyright + patches sections (thanks, Matthieu Caneill)
  • dpkg-mergechangelogs(1) for 3-way merge of debian/changelog files (thanks, buxy)
  • meta-git from pkg-perl is always worth a closer look
  • ifupdown2 (its current version is also available in jessie-backports!) has some nice features, like `ifquery –running $interface` to get the life configuration of a network interface, json support (`ifquery –format=json …`) and makotemplates support to generate configuration for plenty of interfaces

BTW, thanks to the video team the recordings from the sessions are available online.

Simon Désaulniers: [GSOC] Week 5&6 Report

July 10, 2016 18:06, by Daily DebConf - 0no comments yet

During week 5 and 6, I have been to the debian conference 2016. It was really interesting meeting with a lot of people all so involved in Debian.

Key signing party

Each year, this is a really important tradition: people gather together and exchange GPG public key fingerprint and sign each other’s keys. This contributes greatly to the growth of the web of trust.

I did exchange public key fingerprint with others. It was the first opportunity become more connected in the PGP web of trust. I think this is something that needs to make its way to the less technical people so that everyone can benefit from the network privacy features. There is support for some mail clients like Thunderbird, but I think there is still work to do there and mostly there is work to do about the opinion or point of view people have about encryption ; people don’t care enough and they don’t really know what encryption can do for them (digital signature, trust and privacy).

Ring now part of Debian

During the first week at debcamp, Alexandre Viau, an employee at Savoir-Faire Linux and a also a Debian developer (DD for short), has packaged Ring for Debian. Users can now install Ring like so:

$ sudo apt-get install ring

This is an important moment as more people are now going to easily try Ring and potentially contribute to it.

Presentating Ring

Alexandre Viau and I have been thinking about presenting Ring at debconf 2016. We finally did it.

Wouter Verhelst: DebConf16 videos now live

July 5, 2016 9:58, by Daily DebConf - 0no comments yet

I've been tweaking the video review system which we're using here at debconf over the past few days so that videos are being published automatically after review has finished; and I can happily announce that as of a short while ago, the first two files are now visible on the meetings archive. Yes, my own talk is part of that. No, that's not a coincidence. However, the other talks should not take too long ;-)

Future plans include the addition of a video RSS feed, and showing the videos on the debconf16 website. Stay tuned.

Gunnar Wolf: Got the C.H.I.P.s for DebConf!

July 4, 2016 13:17, by Daily DebConf - 0no comments yet

I had my strong doubts as to whether the shipment would be allowed through customs, and was happily surprised by a smiling Graham today before noon. He handed me a smallish box that arrived to his office, containing...

Our fifty C.H.I.P. computers, those I offered to give away at DebConf!

The little machines are quite neat. They are beautiful little devices, including even a plastic back (so you can safely work with it over a conductive surface or things like that). Quite smaller than the usual Raspberry-like format. It has more than enough GPIO to make several of my friends around here drool about the possibilities.

So, what's to this machine besides a nice small ARM CPU, 512MB RAM, wireless connectivity (Wifi and bluetooth)? Although I have not yet looked into them (but intend to do so very soon!), it promises to have the freest available hardware around, and is meant for high hackability!

And not that it matters — But we managed to import them all, legally and completely hassle-free, into South Africa!

That's right — We are all used to the declaring commercial value as one dollar mindset. But... The C.H.I.P.s are actually priced at US$9 a piece. The declared commercial value is US$450. South Africans said all their customs are very hard to clear — But we were able receive 50 legally shipped computers, declared at their commercial value, without any hassles!

(yes, we might have been extremely lucky as well)

Anyway, stay tuned — By Thursday I will announce the list of people that get to take one home. I still have some left, so feel free to mail me at gwolf+chip@gwolf.org.

Elena 'valhalla' Grandi: Debconf streaming and kudos to the video team

July 3, 2016 13:56, by Daily DebConf - 0no comments yet

Debconf streaming and kudos to the video team

With http://debconf16.debconf.org/ being in South Africa, a lot of people (like me) probably weren't able to attend and are missing the cheese and wine party, mao games and general socialization that is happening there.

One thing we don't have to miss, however, are the talks: as usual the video team https://wiki.debconf.org/wiki/DebConf16/Videoteam is doing a great job recording and https://debconf16.debconf.org/video/live-streaming/ all talks so that people can still participate a bit from their home.

What they do, however, requires a lot of manpower, so if you are attending Debconf please consider volunteering https://wiki.debconf.org/wiki/Videoteam/roles_for_volunteers to help: from my experience last year they are very nice people who are welcoming towards new contributors and they have periodical training sessions to help people getting started with the various tasks. More informations about video team meetings and training session are in the topic of the IRC channel, #debconf-video@OFTC.

I don't think there are cookies involved (which just proves that the video team isn't evil), but you may get a t-shirt and you will get a warm fuzzy feeling of having helped people around the world.

@Debian #debconf

Paul Wise: DebConf16 Open Festival day 1

July 3, 2016 5:17, by Daily DebConf - 0no comments yet

Today was day one of the DebConf16 Open Festival and I attended the open hardware panel, part of the talk about Code For South Africa, shirish's experiences and the DebConf new folks session.

The open hardware panel was a wide ranging discussion between bdale, Andy and indiebio. bdate talked about the experiences he has had with his rocketry hardware. bdale said "Make concious decisions about what you are buying", referencing a case where he investigated, found a GPL violation and didn't buy. Various people care about openness of different layers of the hardware. Off-the-shelf products are very strongly integrated, which is great for makers but means that people who care about lower layers like CPU micro-architecture aren't able to participate. Andy said "We are just beginning to come out of the shareware stage [of open hardware]". bdale mentioned the companies who do hardware production as a service from design files. Later in the pub some folks mentioned j-core, an open re-implementation of SuperH processors.

I missed most of the code4sa talk unfortunately, but it was about government services and open data.

shirish covered his journey through life to Debian. His youth, how satellite TV and knowledge of the outside world came to India around the time of the Iraq war. His experience accessing the Internet for the first time, uncensored vs the usual censorship in India's media. His experiences of Windows 95 viruses and crashes. He learned of PCTwist Linux through a magazine cover. His initial install was not a success but eventually managed to break through and install a desktop, but experienced network and other issues. Eventually he encountered Ubuntu and began contributing bug reports. His experiences there led him to Debian. He began blogging about Debian. In the last few years he and others have been going around the country doing mini-DebConfs at institutes around India. The first question was predictably about having a DebConf in India and how shirish might like to get more involved. DebConf in India sounds like a possibility some day and shirish was thinking about getting involved in publicity, marketting and the Debian installer.

The DebConf new folks session was a great intro to DebConf for folks new to the community. There were some quite excellent touches added to this year's version of the event by indiebio and Rhonda.

I also got some things done. Usual spam reporting. Reviewed wiki RecentChanges. Talked to the chromium-bsu/MacPorts maintainer about AX_CHECK_GL brokenness. Filed Debian wishlist bug #829292 asking to update autoconf-archive. Redirected a Hurd porterbox request to the exodar admin and quickly found out I was wrong to do that, rectified. Then we found out the LDAP sync to exodar was broken. Replied to someone who intends to sell Debian pre-installs. Thanked BunsenLabs folks for joining the derivatives list. Applied reproducible builds patch for cats from Chris Lamb. Heard about awesome new terminal-mode screensaver. Moo! Prepared a blog post about check-all-the-things.

Jonathan Carter: So, that was DebCamp16!

July 2, 2016 20:57, by Daily DebConf - 0no comments yet
Picture: Adrian Frith

University of Cape Town, host location to DebConf 16. Picture: Adrian Frith

What an amazingly quick week that was

Our bid to host DebConf in Cape Town was accepted nearly 15 months ago. And before that, the bid itself was a big collective effort from our team. So it’s almost surreal that the first half of the two weeks of DebCamp/DebConf is now over.

Things have been going really well. The few problems we’ve had so far were too small to even mention. It’s a few degrees colder than it usually is this time of the year and there’s already snow on the mountains, so Cape Town is currently quite chilly.

Hacking by the fire at the sports club

Gathering some heat by the fire at the sports club while catching up to the world the day before it all started.

All Kinds of Quality Time

I really enjoyed working with the video team last year, but this year there was just 0 time for that. Working on the orga team means dealing with a constant torrent of small tasks, which is good in its own way because you get to deal with a wide variety of Debian people you might not usually get to interact with, but video team problems are more fun and interesting. Next year I hope to do a lot more video work again. If you’re at DebConf over the next week, I can highly recommend that you get involved!

Video team hacking away at problems

Video team members hacking away at problems late at night during DebCamp

The first time I met Debian folk was early in 2004. I worked at the Shuttleworth Foundation as “Open Source Technical Co-ordinator” at the time, and Mark Shuttleworth had them over for one of the early Ubuntu sprints in Canonical’s early days. I was so intimidated by them back then that I could hardly even manage to speak to them. I was already a big free software fan before working there, but little did I even dream to think that I would one day be involved in a project like Ubuntu or Debian. My manager back then encouraged me to go talk to them and get involved and become a Debian Developer and joked that I should become highvoltage@debian.org. I guess that was when the initial seeds got planted and since then I’ve met many great people all over the world who have even became friends during UDS, DebConf, BTS and other hackfests where Debianites hang out. It gave me a really nice warm feeling to have all these amazing, talented and really friendly people from all over coming together in this little corner of the world to work together on projects that I think are really important.

Finding a warm space to work in the Happy Feet hack lab

Finding a warm space to work in the Happy Feet hack lab

Oh the Chicken

Back at DebConf12, someone (I don’t remember the exact history) brought a rubber chicken to DebConf who was simply called “Pollito” (“chicken” in Spanish). Since then the chicken has grown into somewhat of a mascot for DebConf. Back in 2012 I already imagined that if we would ever host a DebConf, I’d make a little of picture book story about Pollito. Last year after DC15, when bringing Pollito over, I created a little story called “Pollito’s first trip to Africa“. I was recovering from flu while putting that together and didn’t spend much time on it, but it turned out to be somewhat of a hit. I was surprised to see it in the #debconf topic ever since I posted it :)

We gave a tour of the campus on the first and second days and it was quite time consuming and there was no way we could do it every day for the rest of DebCamp, so on the 2nd day I smacked together a new rush job called “Pollito’s Guide to DC16“. The idea was that newcommers could use it as a visual guide and rely on others who have been there for a while if they get stuck. I wish I had the time to make it a lot nicer, but I think the general idea is good and next year we can have a much nicer one that might not be quite as Pollito focused.

Pollito's Guide to DC16

Pollito’s Guide to DC16

Debian Maintainer

After all these years, I finally sat down and applied to become a Debian Maintainer, and the application was successful (approved yesterday \o/). Now just for the wait until my key is uploaded to the keyring. I haven’t yet had time to properly process this but I think once the DebConf dust settles and I had some time to recover, I will be ecstatic.

Some actual DebCampy work

Everywhere I go, I see people installing a bunch of GNOME extensions on their Debian GNOME desktops shortly after installation using http://extensions.gnome.org/ (I noticed this even at DebCamp!). A few months ago I thought that it’s really about time someone package up some of the really popular ones. So I started to put together some basic packaging for AIMS Desktop around a month ago. During the last few days of DebCamp, things were going well enough with the organisational tasks that I had some time to do some actual packaging work and improve these so that they’re ready for upload to the Debian archives. The little DebCamp time I had ended up being my very own little extension fest :)

I worked on the following packages which are ready for upload:

  • gnome-shell-extension-pixelsaver
  • gnome-shell-extension-move-clock
  • gnome-shell-extension-dashtodock
  • gnome-shell-extension-remove-dropdown-arrows

I worked on the following packages which still need minor work, might be able to get them in uploadable state by the end of DebConf:

  • gnome-shell-extension-trash-applet
  • gnome-shell-extension-topicons
  • gnome-shell-extension-taskbar
  • gnome-shell-extension-refresh-wifi
  • gnome-shell-extension-disconnect-wifi
  • gnome-shell-extension-hide-activities
  • gnome-shell-extension-impatience

The actual packaging of GNOME extensions is actually pretty trivial. It’s mostly source-only JavaScript with some CSS and translations and maybe some gsettings schemas and dialogs. Or at least, it would be pretty trivial, but many extensions are without licenses, contain embedded code (often JavaScript) from other projects, or have no usable form of upstream tarball, to name a few of the problems. So I’ve been contacting the upstream authors of these packages where there have been problems, and for the most part they’ve been friendly and pretty quick to address the problems.

So that’s it, for now.

I couldn’t possibly sum up the last week and everything that lead up to it in a single blog post. All I can really say is thank you for letting me be a part of this very special project!

Paul Wise: DebCamp16 day 8

July 2, 2016 5:21, by Daily DebConf - 0no comments yet

Apply wget security update to mentors.debian.net. Poke the DebConf video team about archiving the one Debian & stuff podcast episode. Discuss exclusion, privilege & DebConf. Usual spam reporting. Review wiki RecentChanges. Fix some typos from RecentChanges. File Debian wishlist bug #829177 against bugs.debian.org. Mention the recent post about breaking Android full-disk encryption on the exploits Debian wiki page. Answer questions about recommended build configuration for chromium-bsu from the maintainer of it in FreeBSD. Mention that HTML SRI could help secure initial Debian downloads. File Debian bug #829199 against file and add workaround in derivatives census. Report broken boss-gnome source package to BOSSLinux folks on IRC. Delete and re-download Parsix apt folder to stop hash sum mismatches. File Debian minor/wishlist bugs #829209/#829211/#829212 against cypher-lint. Add a porterbox guest account for one of the RTC GSoC students. Extend the expiry of another guest account. Direct query about the excuses HTML to the release team. File Debian bug #829241 against fonts-play. Discuss accessibility, life, the universe and rakia.

Paul Wise: DebCamp16 day 7

July 1, 2016 5:38, by Daily DebConf - 0no comments yet

Usual spam reporting. Review wiki RecentChanges. Provide feedback for the staging site of the new codebase for screenshots.d.n. Redirect bugs-search.d.o complaint to the BTS maintainers. Point out pastebinit already supports fpaste.org. Polish chromium-bsu, make a new upstream release to fix Debian RC bug #822711. Upload screenshot of chromium-bsu menu. Notify chromium-bsu package maintainers in other distros (hug whohas). Avoid checking WAV files for spelling errors in cats. Make the old PTS download i18n data over https. File #829092 to get the per-package i18n data to use https for links. Point someone on mentors to the Debian PHP group wiki page.

Paul Wise: DebCamp16 day 6

June 29, 2016 20:49, by Daily DebConf - 0no comments yet

Redirect one person contacting the Debian sysadmin and web teams to Debian user support. Review wiki RecentChanges. Usual spam reporting. Check and fix a derivatives census issue. Suggest sending the titanpad maintainence issue to a wider audience. Update check-all-the-things and copyright review tools wiki page for licensecheck/devscripts split. Ask if debian-debug could be added to mirror.dc16.debconf.org. Discuss more about the devscripts/licensecheck split. Yesterday I grrred at Debian perl bug #588017 that causes vulnerabilities in check-all-the-things, tried to figure out the scope of the issue and workaround all of the issues I could find. (Perls are shiny and Check All The thingS can be abbreviated as cats) Today I confirmed with the reporter (Jakub Wilk) that the patch mitigates this. Release check-all-the-things to Debian unstable (finally!!). Discuss with the borg about syncing cats to Ubuntu. Notice autoconf/automake being installed as indirect cats build-deps (via debhelper/dh-autoreconf) and poke relevant folks about this. Answer question about alioth vs debian.org LDAP.