Posted a week ago, already deferred back then, this report is even more deferred now! But as there are people interest in knowing what the "DPL job" is about even among non debian-devel-announce subscribers, here is a blog-conveyed reproduction, for the records.

Dear project members,
here is my monthly DPL activity report, this time for last March. It is delayed by a couple of weeks because, myself being both incumbent and candidate DPL, I preferred not to use d-d-a during the voting period unless really needed. Apologies for the delay (or the unneeded paranoia, you name it).

As a side effect of the delay, the results of the DPL election are now known. I'd like to thank all the people who took part in the elections: voters, people who asked questions on -vote, the secretary, and obviously Gergely and Wouter, without whom the campaign wouldn't have allowed to discuss relevant aspects of Debian "politics".

Thanks for your trust. I'll do my best to match your expectations.

... and just to remind you what you've just asked for, here goes the BigMonthlyBlurb!

Highlight: long-term hardware replacement planning

The highlight for this month is long term planning of hardware replacement. It's something I've been discussing with DSA for quite a while and on which DSA has worked hard during the recent sprint. As a result, we now have a quite ambitious 5-year hardware replacement plan that will guarantee that all machines in production are under warranty at any given time (with the nice side effect of generally better performances, as they go hand in hand with newer hardware).

The current estimated cost per year is 29'000 USD. That does not yet include buildds and porter-boxes, so it is expected to increase a bit to cover all our hardware needs. But we expect it not increase too much, as we tend to get explicit hardware donations to cover arch-specific needs.

Given the current state of Debian finances and donation trends, the plan looks sustainable for at least 2-3 years. But this assessment still needs to be refined as soon as, together with the auditors, we'll manage to obtain the history of past Debian transactions, in particular from SPI. We've been waiting for this for about 5 months now, but I'm positive it could become a reality in the next weeks. In the meantime, it is surely safe to start with the plan for the next 1-1.5 years, so I'll give green light to DSA for the first acquisitions as soon as they're ready for it.

When implemented, this plan will increase our ability to rely on hardware. But it also means we will need to become a bit more organized about fund-raising. The discussion started with the sprint report has some insights about how to do that. As part of this, we'll also need to share resources (e.g. contact databases, people, etc.) among the yearly DebConf fund-raising initiatives and the initiatives mentioned in the aforementioned discussion.

Ongoing discussions

  • A couple of important clarifications on how to deal with trademark-encumbered software in the Debian archive have been posted to -project. It seems to me there might be consensus on the overall topic, but we need to write down guidelines for maintainers (and possibly a project position statement?). I could use some help on that front, so if you've followed the discussion and/or have an interest in trademark and free software, please get in touch.

  • To put an end to the long and glorious life of DEP-5, I've marked it as ACCEPTED given that it has been "implemented" in February via inclusion in the debian-policy package. You still have some time to port your debian/copyright-s to it before the Wheezy freeze.

  • I've been contacted by the DuckDuckGo about a revenue sharing agreement for the inbound traffic they already get from Debian browsers. I've informed -project proposing to accept it and that has spawned a discussion that has won us an LWN article. I haven't yet summarized the thread proposing a way forward; I'll do so shortly.

  • as part of a discussion on unofficial "debian" repositories, I've proposed to open up the list of * domains. As nobody disagreed, consensus has been quickly reached and the announced change is now imminent. Thanks to Carsten Hey and Gerfried Fuchs for their help in figuring out the details of the last discussion on the matter and DSA for their feedback.

Summer of Code

Debian has been accepted as an organization for the Google Summer of Code. At the time these bits go out, the student application deadline has also elapsed. In March I've contributed a few project ideas and chased potential mentors for them, when I thought the project could be important for Debian and the prospective student. I'm happy that one (a dak building block needed for the implementation of PPAs and more) has found both mentors and students. We'll see if any of the corresponding student proposal is retained and how it goes.


I've given an interview, about Debian and Free Software in general, to La Repubblica, one of the major newspapers in Italy. The interview is available online, but only in Italian. If some kind (and Italian-speaking) soul would like to translate it into English, I'll be happy to publish the translation as well. (update 22/04/2012: Matteo Cortese has contributed an English translation of the interview, which I'll make available shortly)

Legal stuff

In order to transfer ownership of the Debian trademark in Japan to SPI, I've contacted the current owners (all Japanese Debian Developers or contributors) to do the needed paperwork. I've been blessed by the help of Kenshi Muto that has taken the matter in his hands. He is now navigating through Japanese trademark procedures, a subject neither myself nor SPI lawyers were familiar with. Thanks also to Jonathan McDowell who has done the needed paperwork, SPI-side.


Plenty of sprints and sprint reports in March!: Debian Med, DSA, DAM/FrontDesk. Everything should also be available from the wiki sprint page where you can find info to organize your team sprint.

Assets miscellanea

  • I've signed the annual memorandum of understanding with the financial entity that will help us with local expenditures for DebConf12 in Nicaragua. This year is ISIC, with whom we have an important trust path via Norman Garcia Aguilar, member of the DebConf orga team.

  • After discussion with auditors, we've resolved to set a 1 year deadline for reimbursement requests. The reason is that it's a PITA to keep track of longer-running requests (yes, they do happen!) and they add uncertainty to our available finances. There can be exceptions, but please help on this front by timely requesting reimbursements after travels or other expenses.


PS the boring day-to-day activity log for March is available at master:/srv/leader/news/bits-from-the-DPL.txt.201203