Hi (again), I'm Zack, and this is my blog. Have a look at the most recent posts below, or browse the tag cloud here on the right.
Archives are available as well.
You can leave comments on my posts by following the relevant link associated to each post. Alternatively, you can mail me comments; note that unless otherwise requested, I will add mailed comments in the comment feeds.
org-mutt with org-mode >= 8
Thanks to Don I just remembered that I haven't yet announced org-mutt support for org-mode >= 8. Let's catch up!
Since a few weeks I've been aware of the fact that my mutt/org-mode glue, AKA org-mutt, was no longer working with org-mode >= 8, due to the ditching of org-remember in favor of org-capture. Allegedly, org-capture should have been backward compatible, but it clearly is not.
I've just updated the canonical org-mutt blog post, so that the documentation in there is up to date again. If you're using org-mutt, I suggest to refer to the Git repository as the canonical location for future updates, if any.
Thanks Don, thanks Mako!
all your ctag (and checksum) are belong to us
A few months after the initial announcement, here are some news about the sources.d.n service. I've been late in blogging this, but most of it has been implemented by myself and Matthieu Caneill during DebConf13, which has been a great DebConf, totally exceeding my expectations (and they were already fairly high!).
First, you might have noticed some user-visible changes:
on the same topic, when browsing through a package and using regex search, you'll now search by default within that package, allowing to focus your searches more easily than before. (You can easily override this by editing the search box and removing the
for the data geeks (or the wannabe host), there are now disk usage stats (note that they don't include the database size, though, see below for that)
the website also got a significant facelift, as part of which we have moved the detailed explanations of what the service is about out of your way. You now immediately get to the various browsing options.
On the other hand, under the hood:
to implement ctags and sha256 searches we needed a serious DBMS, so we switched from SQLite to PostgreSQL.
Again, for the data geek: storing ctags/sha256 for all of sources.d.n content with decent indexes takes about 37 GB, for about 160 million rows in the ctags table and 20 million rows in the checksums one. (Currently filenames are duplicated between the two tables so, probably, the DB disk size might be reduced some.)
together with the switch to a serious DBMS, the update logics has been completely rewritten in Python (from Bash...), and should now be entirely transactional.
... and given it was going to be Python anyhow, better to enjoy what it has to offer, no? So there is now a plugin mechanism that makes it easier to add extra data extractors, triggering them at each package update. Currently there are plugins for sha256sum, ctags, and sloccount (even though the latter is not yet exposed via the web interface). An added benefit of this is that if you want to deploy debsources elsewhere, you can easily disable the most time consuming extractors: running ctags and sha256sum on the fabulous 3 chromium/libreoffice/linux is not for the faint of disks...
we now receive push updates from the Debian mirror network, so that you'll get updates on sources.d.n as soon as a package hits Debian mirrors (+ processing time, which is about 15-20 minutes on the average update run). Many thanks to Simon Paillard and Adam Lackorzynski for their help in setting this up.
As you usual, your bug reports (and patches!) are more than
welcome, just check
BUGS before reporting to avoid duplicates.
all Debian source are belong to us
TL;DR: go to http://sources.debian.net and enjoy.
Debsources is a new toy I've been working on at IRILL together with Matthieu Caneill. In essence, debsources is a simple web application that allows to publish an unpacked Debian source mirror on the Web.
You can deploy Debsources where you please, but there is a main
instance at http://sources.debian.net
sources.d.n for short) that you will probably find
sources.d.n follows closely the Debian
archive in two ways:
- it is updated 4 times a day to reflect the content of the Debian archive
- it contains sources coming from official Debian suites: the
usual ones (from oldstable to experimental),
*-backports(from Wheezy on)
sources.d.n you can therefore browse the
content of Debian source packages with usual code viewing features
like syntax highlighting. More interestingly, you
can search through the source code (of unstable
only, though) via integration with http://codesearch.debian.net.
You can also use
sources.d.n programmatically to
versions or link to specific
lines, with the possibility of adding contextual
pop-up messages (example).
In fact, you might have stumbled upon
already in the past few days, via other popular Debian services
where it has already been integrated. In particular:
codesearch.d.n now defaults to show results via
sources.d.n, and the PTS has grown new "browse
source code" hyperlinks that point to it. If you've ideas of other
Debian services where
sources.d.n should be
integrated, please let me know.
I find Debsources and
sources.d.n already quite
useful but, as it often happens, there is still a lot
TODO. Obviously, it is all Free Software
(released under GNU AGPLv3). Do not hesitate to report new bugs
and, better, to submit patches for the outstanding ones.
- Matthieu Caneill is the
main developer of Debsources web front-end;
sources.d.nwouldn't exist without him.
- others have already contributed patches to integrate
sources.d.nwith other services, in particular:
- many thanks to Michael Stapelberg (for
- Paul Wise (for PTS integration).
- many thanks to Michael Stapelberg (for
- a full list of contributors is available and eagerly waiting for new additions
- IRILL has kindly provided
sponsoring for Matthieu's initial development work on Debsources,
and offered both the server and hosting facilities that power
PS in case you were wondering: at present
sources.d.n requires ~381 GB of disk
space to hold all uncompressed source packages, plus ~83 GB for the
local (compressed) source mirror
Torno sul tema di Debian sulla stazione spaziale internazionale. Dopo l'intervento a Caterpillar sono stato contattato anche da il Resto del Carlino ed ho con piacere rilasciato un intervista sull'argomento a Simone Arminio. Si è rivelata un'ottima occasione per parlare non solo di Debian e stazioni spaziali, ma anche di software libero in generale e delle occasioni di crescita che offre all'Italia. Che sono a portata di mano, basta saperle cogliere.
L'intervista è sul Resto del Carlino del 19 Giugno, ed è anche disponibile qui sotto, in formato PDF:
Qualche giorno fa ho partecipato alla trasmissione radiofonica Caterpillar su Radio 2, per parlare dell'adozione di Debian sulla stazione spaziale internazionale. La NASA ha infatti deciso di sbarazzarsi di tutti i laptop che ancora giravano su Windows e di migrarli a Debian, con ottime motivazioni. Il nostro Luca Parmitano "smanetterà" sul sistema operativo cui contribuisco da ormai una dozzina d'anni. YAY!
Ne ho parlato con molto piacere in diretta con il Dott. Cirri, il buon Maggioni, ed il resto della banda di Caterpillar lo scorso 30 maggio.
Dato che non è più disponibile sul sito di Caterpillar, ho reso disponibile qui sul sito la prima parte della puntata in podcast. Il mio intervento inizia al minuto 19" circa.
Dear Project Members,
"Now that I have your attention, I would like to make the following delegations:"
... nah, scrap that. In my last day in office I first of all owe you a report of DPL activities for the last reporting period of this term, i.e. March 8th until today. Here it is!
At LibrePlanet (see below) I've discussed at length with Karen Sandler as GNOME representative the possibility of Debian participation in the FOSS Outreach Program for Women. I've then proposed that we do participate and, as you might have read on d-d-a, we're now doing that. Many thanks to the volunteer co-organizers for Debian participation in the program: Mònica Ramírez Arceda, Ana Guerrero López, and Patty Langasek.
A couple of years of work with the auditors has come together. At
elgar.debian.org:/srv/accounting.debian.org/ledger/you can now find Debian monetary transactions for the 2010-2013 period. Note that:
1) They are not all of our transactions, most notably because we haven't yet managed to get access to all our bank transactions at SPI (while we do have access to other transactions there, e.g. donations). Given the relevance of the missing transactions for our budget, this is a blocker for producing meaningful public periodic reports of Debian finances. This is clearly annoying, but I'm confident that our feedback to SPI over the past years has helped them better understand our needs and improve. I hope this could be finally solved during the next DPL term. And,
2) Donor names have been anonymized in the ledger files, in wait of a donation system that allow to express privacy preferences. Complete donation information is available in the companion ledger.git repository, which is accessible to auditors only.
I'd like to thank the Debian auditors, and in particular Martin Michlmayr, for their amazing work on this over the past 3 years.
As you might have noticed, we now have an official Debian Project blog, finally entering the brave new Web 1.5 era I've only helped "politically" here and there with this over the years, and I'm happy to see it live. Your thanks for this should go to the blog editors---Francesca Ciceri and Ana Guerrero Lopez---and to DSA for making it real. A proper delegation for the editors is pending and I'm confident the next DPL will pick it up.
Over the past month or so I've attended and spoken on behalf of Debian in the following occasions:
"Debian and GNU" talk at LibrePlanet 2013; slides are available. Many thanks to John Sullivan and the Free Software Foundation for inviting me to talk at their main conference. My presence there has also been a chance to reassess the status of collaboration with FSF (see John's brief summary) and discuss further technical collaboration with the Trisquel maintainers.
"Legal issues from a radical community angle" keynote at the yearly workshop of FSFE's European Legal Network; slides are available. The talk has also been covered by a LWN feature article last week (the link should become unembargoed for non-LWN subscribers starting tomorrow).
I've approved the budget for the following forthcoming sprints:
Also, we've bought a 3-year warranty pack for the disk array that powers ftp-master.d.o (~900 USD).
On the income side, Brian Gupta has started an interesting matching fund experiment, in order to raise funds for the forthcoming DebConf13. The matching fund will be open until April 30th, so your help in spreading news would be welcome. Many thanks to Brian for the idea and to his company, Brandorr Group, for funding it.
Legal Spring Cleaning
I've finally cleaned up the pile of pending legal matters (but I'm sure new ones will show up for the delight of the next DPL :-P)
one is merely internal for firstname.lastname@example.org: our procedures for (n)acks on incoming requests has now been vetted by our legal advisors
the second one is relevant for our mentors.debian.net service: one of the blockers to officialize it as mentors.debian.org have historically been DMCA-related concerns. We now have a DMCA policy for (wannabe) mentors.d.o, which I've shared with the service maintainers and DSA. This specific part should no longer be a concern.
the last one concerns the possibilities of playing DVDs with Debian. We now have legal guidelines on how to include installer packages that allow to do so; that should allow us to have a decent solution for our users in the Jessie time frame.
Once again, I'd like to thank SFLC for the pro bono and very high quality legal advice they keep on offering to Debian.
- I've mentioned last month that, as a Debian representative, I've joined a working group by the Italian public administration (PA) that should define procurement rules for software in the PA at large, together with representatives of other well-known FOSS initiatives (e.g. KDE, FSFE). The first meetings have now been held and I've participate in some, for the moment on my own budget. I'll check with the next DPL the feasibility of keep on doing so on in the future.
Now, before I get sentimental, let me thank Gergely, Lucas, and Moray for running in the recently concluded DPL election. Only thinking of running and then go through a campaign denote a very high commitment to the Project; we should all be thankful to them.
Then I'd like to congratulate Lucas for his election. I've known him for a long time, and I can testify about his clear vision of the role Debian has to play in Free Software and on what Debian needs to improve to do so. Best wishes for the term ahead, Lucas!
Finally, I'd like to thank you all for the support you've shown me over the past 3 years. Serving as DPL is a great honor, but also a very demanding job. Thank to you all, and to how cool Debian is, it has been for me an incredibly rewarding experience. I had no idea what I were doing when I embarked on this adventure, but in hindsight I don't regret any of it. See you around, as I don't plan to be anywhere far away from Debian anytime soon.
PS the day-to-day activity logs for March and April 2013 are
available at the usual place
Dear project members, here's another report of DPL activities, this time for a period longer than usual (February + 1st week of March), so that the next one will be at the very end of the current DPL term.
As you know, we are now well within the DPL election process. And we have 3 valuable candidates running. I encourage all of you to participate in the discussions on -vote, and ask questions about project vision, goals, and improvements. It's something that is rarely as intense as during campaigning, so don't miss the chance!
You might have noticed a sharp decrease in the count of RC bugs affecting Wheezy; that is largely due to the Release Team, who started the usual final sweep of RC triaging before release. Please thank them for their work, ... but don't give up on our collective work yet! You can still help up in the usual ways (NMUs, severity adjustments, unblock reviews, etc).
The technical committee had to deal with a rather urgent issue during last month (
#699808). I mention it here only to applaud their efficiency in doing so: 4 days to reach a decision. Resorting to tech-ctte shall always remain a last resort in Debian, but when it comes to that it's useful to know that we can count on a wise and speedy answer.
As the previous term was about to end, I've agreed with the Kurt Roeckx to re-appoint him as Project Secretary for another year.
Following up to last month news, we've now assembled a team of admins for Debian participation into Google Summer of Code 2013 and delegated them for the task. Many thanks to David, Nicolas, Paul, and Sukhbir for volunteering, as well as to last year admins for their help in reaching out to interested volunteers.
On a related note, we've until March 28th to propose projects and/or volunteer as (co-)mentor for GSoC 2013.
I've worked with the press and publicity teams to announce the new trademark policy more widely and call for producing Wheezy merchandise. Apparently, we are now also being cited as a reference on how to strike a balance between free software and trademark (unfortunately the article is behind a paywall now).
In related news, Brian Gupta has volunteered to help with answering email@example.com inquiries and has already helped a lot in streamlining the process and keeping track of past requests (thanks!)
Following a -project inquiry by Thomas Koch, I've investigated with SPI the possibility of assigning to them the copyright for (code) contributions to Debian. The bottom line is that at present there is no safe way to do that with SPI; that might change in the future.
As agreed at a DPL helpers meeting, we are trying to federate interests in Debian sponsoring and fund-raising. Part of the goal is avoid duplication of efforts DebConf- and sponsoring for other Debian activities; and part is establishing a more stable income flow for Debian (to ease long-term budget decisions). If you have experience and interest in this area, please join the debian-sponsors-discuss list on Alioth.
Together with auditors, we have updated reimbursement procedures to better keep track of both outstanding and past requests. Main difference is that you'll now have to mail a RT queue instead of firstname.lastname@example.org directly. Check the wiki page for details.
At the beginning of February, I've attended FOSDEM 2013, together with many other Debian people. I didn't have any specific talk this year, but it's been a chance to talk F2F about several ongoing issues (see logs), and help mediating in some conflicts. I've also accepted the invitation to participate in the GNOME Advisory Board meeting, together with Laurent Bigonville of our GNOME team. No report of that has been prepared as of yet (sorry about that), but we have both reported "live" to the rest of the team on IRC.
It looks like my last month as DPL will be quite busy. Next week I'll be first in New York City, delivering an invited Debian talk at NYLUG (thanks a lot to Brian Gupta and Tom Limoncelli for the invitation). Then I'll head to LibrePlanet 2013 to talk about the relationship between Debian and GNU (thanks to John Sullivan for the invitation). Finally, at the beginning of April, I'll be in Amsterdam to deliver a talk about Debian experience with various legal issues across the years, at the yearly FSFE Legal and Licensing Workshop (thanks to Karsten Gerloff for the invitation).
Both trips (LibrePlanet and FSFE) will be on Debian budget. While I usually insist on having travel sponsorship from inviting entities, in this cases I've accepted to do otherwise given they are free software non profits like Debian.
I've been invited to represent Debian at Distro Recipes. Due to a conflict with FSFE workshop I couldn't make, so I've looked for substitutes. Lucas Nussbaum and Jonas Smedegaard have kindly accepted to go in my stead and deliver two talks, one about QA and the other about Pure Blends; thanks folks!
A couple of months ago I've mentioned that I had filed an application, as Debian representative, to participate in a working table to define software procurement rules for the Italian public administration. Good news: my application has been accepted, together with those of other well-known FOSS communities and organizations (e.g. KDE, FSFE). I'll keep you posted of how it goes.
Let's go back to elect a new DPL and release Wheezy now,
PS the day-to-day activity logs for February and March 2013 are
available at the usual place
(insert here: I've been to FOSDEM, I got a nasty
flu, and other
$lame_excuses for the delay in
sending out this report)
Dear Project Members, here's the monthly DPL activity report, this time for January 2013.
About the next DPL
This is the last DPL report before the start of the election process for the next term: around early March, about 20 days from now, the Secretary will send out the call for nominations. I'd like to respond (also) here to inquiries I'm receiving these days: I will not run again as DPL. So you have about 20 days to mob^Wconvince other DDs to run, or decide to run yourself. Do not to wait for the vary last minute, as that makes for lousy campaigns. I'm available to give feedback about my DPL experience to prospective candidates, ... and also to join mobbing^Wconvincing actions toward potential candidates. Just contact me.
Call for helps
Last year delegation for Google Summer of Code Admins has expired and the program for 2013 will likely start soon. I'm looking for volunteer admins for this year, to organize Debian activities in the program. If you're interested, please contact me.
In January we had a couple of related discussions on -project about DFSG §10 and maintaining an authoritative list of DFSG-free licenses. The latter would be an important contribution to the Free Software "political" ecosystem. An ikiwiki-based infrastructure to maintain such a list has been created by ftp-masters but needs to be populated. At this point we need volunteers willing to review licenses already present in main and fill them in. If you're interested, please review the discussion and manifest yourself on email@example.com, where coordination about this work will happen.
The long standing issue of writing a proper (outbound) trademark policy for Debian marks has been completed. I've reviewed on -project outstanding items from the last discussion, and documented how they've been implemented in a new policy draft. Later on, I've published the updated policy draft on our website.
Complementary to the above, Ian Jackson has summarized the state of the discussion about our (inbound) trademark policy, i.e. what to do when accepting in the Debian archive software subject to trademark. It looks like we are close to conclusion on that front too.
I've worked with representatives of Debian France, on the shared interest in having the association become a Debian Trusted Organization (per Constitution §9.3). We're not yet ready to start the 2 weeks discussion period to accept the orga as such (see Constitution §5.1.11), but I'd like to do that soon. So I encourage all of you to find out about the association, which is run by well-known project members.
Work has gone on also on the front of supporting Debian installation in public "clouds". Thanks to Arnaud Patard, Jose Miguel Parrella Romero, Pierre Couzy, and Gianugo Rabellino, we now have Debian testing images for Microsoft Azure. Together with Amazon EC2, this is the second large provider supporting Debian via images maintained by Debian Developers. More providers are welcome, exactly as more hardware/CD vendors shipping Debian are always welcome. If you want to contribute support for other providers just show up on the -cloud mailing list and say so. Some documentation effort in view of Wheezy are in need of help too, in order to let our users know about "cloud" options, see #695681.
The DPL helpers experiment goes on. We have had 2 more IRC meetings in January (see the minutes). Documentation of the "team" communication channels (mailing list, IRC, Git, etc.) is now available from the DPL wiki page.
I've given an invited Debian talk at Polytech'Grenoble, as part of a free software event organized for students of local universities. Slides of the talk are available. I'd like to thank Vincent Danjean for the event organization.
Let's release Wheezy now!
PS the day-to-day activity log for January 2013 is available at
the usual place
Happy new year, Debian!
To celebrate, here are some freshly posted, bits from the DPL for December 2012.
Dear Project Members, happy new year!
Here goes another report of DPL activities, this time for December 2012. This issue of the DPL-monthly is skinnier than usual: during the past month I've been struck by the catastrophe also known as "family holiday season", enjoying a solid 10 day break from computer-related activities.
I've been invited to talk about Debian and its opportunities in the field of education (for both students and teachers) at the fOSSa conference in Lille, France. Slides of the talk I delivered there are available.
On related news, I've gladly accepted an invitation to talk at the next LibrePlanet conference in Boston, next March. It will be the occasion to discuss the status of collaboration with the FSF and the GNU Project. (FWIW, I'm trying to secure travel sponsorship with the conference organizers, but if that won't turn out to be possible I plan to go on Debian funds, as I consider this event important enough to do so.)
The debian.eu saga is over! DNS is now under control of DSA, currently as a redirection to debian.org as for many other ccTLD, and we have now paid the corresponding transfer costs.
The saga about the relicensing of www.d.o content, on the other hand, is still ongoing. But we made progress! Bradley Kuhn has kindly offered his experience to complete the relicensing part --- and most notably for dealing with contributions from people we haven't been able to contact. Due to busy-ness we will proceed further only in a few months, but in the meantime there is some work to do on our side, as documented in #388141.
In conformance with the periodic hardware maintenance plan (the goal of which is, I remind you, having all Debian hardware under warranty) we have bought extended warranty for the storage array that serves project machines hosted at UBC ECE (~830 CAD). Thanks goes to Luca Filipozzi for taking care of the order part.
As they did last year, Amazon kindly renewed their offer of AWS credit to be used for Debian related purposes, such as QA rebuilds. This year they offered us 8'000 USD of credit which, according to projections from last year usage, should be enough for QA rebuilds and buildd usage for events like BSP. Many thanks to Lucas Nussbaum and James Bromberger for reaching out to Amazon contacts and making this possible.
The experiment of sharing the load of DPL responsibilities within a larger team still ongoing. We held one more IRC meeting in December (and skipped one due to holiday season…). Logs are available at the usual place.
Also, I've now started moving the DPL-related part of my own TODO list to the dpl-helpers.git repository. The idea is to further reduce SPOF and ease the transition to the next DPL.
BTW: this is my last-3 report as DPL. If you haven't yet started encouraging project members you think could do a good job as DPL to apply, you should better hurry up!
Collaboration with the outer world
I've signed the OSI affiliate membership agreement on behalf of Debian. This is just a long overdue formalization of the decision to join of a few months ago. The signed version is available in the DPL document archive on master.d.o, and it has been publicly discussed with other projects on the OSI affiliates mailing list.
As requested, I've provided a quote for FSF's restricted boot campaign, that we have subscribed as a project a while ago.
Thanks to the prod of various people (hi, Sune!), I've noticed an interesting call by the Italian government to representatives of FOSS communities, to form a group of experts that will have to decide the criteria to adopt in the public administration. The call is in Italian, but an article in English on the matter has been posted on the Joinup website of the European Commission. I've therefore submitted an application as Debian representative and, if accepted, I'll be happy to push for criteria that too often leaves high quality and well reputed community-based distributions out of the door for futile reasons (e.g. corporate "certifications").
That's all for last year, enjoy the new one, which will soon see a new Debian release out of the door. And to make it happen sooner, let's go back fix RC bugs!
PS the day-to-day activity log for December 2012 is available at
the usual place