Fresh from the oven, monthly report of what I've been working on as DPL during January 2012.

Dear Developers,
here is another monthly report of what happened in DPL-land, this time for January 2012. There's quite a bit to report about --- including an insane amount of legal-ish stuff --- so please bear with me. Or not.

Legal stuff

  • Webmaster heroes have decided to tackle the long standing issues of copyright and licensing of the Debian website. I've accepted to help them out in reaching consensus with license choice and I'm happy to report that we've managed to pick a DFSG-free license (BSD-ish) for future contributions. Webmasters will soon contact contributors to re-license old contributions (or get rid of them), so hopefully will have a DFSG-free website RSN. Many thanks go to David Prévot for successfully tackling such a can of worms.

  • I've sought a second legal advice on the constraints that trademarks (might) impose on the work-flow of a distro like Debian. Luckily, it is coherent with one I've sought in the past so I'm now in condition to wrap up the "trademark vs DFSG" thread on -project with the missing legal information. Hopefully, I'll find time to do that sometime next week.

  • I've restarted discussions with the Debian France association so that they can become a Debian Trusted Organization (as per Constitution 9.3). Members of the board of the association seem to be interested and I'm positive it could happen fairly soon. The importance of this is that we could use a back-up association in Europe to hold Debian assets, to complement the services that FFIS are already offering us.

  • Thanks to the contributions of Benjamin Mako Hill and SPI lawyers, I've now what I consider a final draft of a trademark policy for Debian trademarks. Before proposing it to you, I'm waiting for some feedback from another umbrella organization for Free Software projects, that is working on a trademark policy for all their associated projects. As many Free Software projects are seeking trademark protection these days, I see benefits in having uniform (and sane!) policies. I hope to be able to gather the feedback I still miss this week-end at FOSDEM, and let you know shortly after that. Once this is done, we'll also be able to (finally!) relicense all kinds of Debian logos under a DFSG-free license.

    On this front, I've also updated with the information needed to contact us about trademark usage; hopefully it'll reduce the burden of answering to such inquiries.

  • With the help of Kenshi Muto, Fumitoshi Ukai, Ishikawa Mutsumi, Shuzo Hatta, and Yasuhiro Araki we've started the process to move the Debian trademark in Japan from individuals (who are present or past members of the Debian JP association) to SPI. That would help dealing with these matters, as well as ensure that important Debian assets are held by Debian Trusted Organizations.

  • I remind you that we've an ongoing complaint with the current registrant of, domain that we believe Debian should legitimately own. Lawyers at SPI has now formally contacted the current owner and hopefully we'll be able to solve the issue amicably in the next months.

  • Some of the past legal advice I sought for PPA came handy in a discussion on the legal risks of running a service like, hopefully addressing part of the issues in turning that into

  • Patent policy for the Debian archive is now ready as well and I also have a patch for the website ready to be merged. I'm just waiting for the final blessing from SPI (lawyers) to go ahead and publish it.

Most of the above wouldn't have been possible without the precious help of folks at SFLC working for SPI and Debian. Be sure to thank SFLC for what they're doing for us and many other Free Software projects.


Nobody stepped up to coordinate the artwork collection for Wheezy I've mentioned last month, so I've tried to do a little bit of that myself. The -publicity team is now preparing the call for artwork and hopefully we'll send it out RSN. In case you want to help, there is still a lot of room for that; just show up on the debian-desktop mailing list.


A Debian Med sprint has happened in January, and Andreas Tille has provided a nice and detailed report about it. Some more sprints are forthcoming this spring, how about yours?


  • We got from SPI a prepaid and rechargeable credit card that we can use for expenses or other kind of guarantees. Many thanks to Michael Schulteiss, SPI treasurer, for his help with that. Using it, we've redeemed 10k$ of credits offered to us by Amazon, that (thanks to ongoing work by Lucas Nussbaum) we're going to use to make our QA rebuilds independent from the underlying computing infrastructure.

  • Thanks to the help of Luca Capello, we advanced quite a bit on forming the Debian Event Box kit that should make it easier to set up Debian booth at FOSS events. We bought the machine for it (for about ~755 CHF) and the box to contain it will soon be on its way as well. If you're at FOSDEM, tend to the Debian booth to check it out (and possibly help out with the technical setup).

  • We've got quite a bit of donations during the December holidays. I've took the chance to thank donors, discuss what we do with donations and the status of publishing periodic Debian budgets.

  • Pinged by Yves-Alexis Perez, I've now properly documented the fact that DDs are welcome to apply for hardware sponsoring, in case the hardware can be used to help/improve their Debian work. As suggested by Yves-Alexis, you can also advocate other DDs for hw sponsoring.

  • Given hardware invariably age and that we can afford it, I've prodded DSA to prepare a general hardware replacement plan for our machines. Planning will go on this week-end and FOSDEM (thanks to Martin Zobel-Helas and Faidon Liambotis for their presence here) and I hope to have an approved machine replacement plan well before the end of the current DPL term (although I'm usually optimist...).

Important stuff going on

Other important stuff has been going on in various area of the project in January. I'd like to point your attention to a couple of things:

  • People active on debian-mentors have proposed an improved work-flow to deal with sponsoring/mentoring requests, based on the usage of a new pseudo package "sponsorship-requests". Thanks to Ansgar Burchardt, Jakub Wilk, Arno Töll, and Gregor Herrmann for working on this.

  • Raphael Hertzog has kickstarted work on DEP-2, as a way to rationalize the flow of package-related information that (co-)maintainers get. Discussion about the idea are ongoing on the debian-qa mailing list.


  • Work has further progressed in reaching out to companies with an interest in giving support for, and contributing to Debian. Thanks to Alexander Wirt the technical work is now done and some sort of governance policy has been decided. Further step for me is to announce it properly hoping to reach out to as many interested companies as possible. I hope to finalize that in the next month. (If you're working for such a company and you happen to read this, feel free to reach out to me already.)

  • I've completed an old todo item setting up and documenting, service that has been requested for collaborative work during various kinds of online events. Help is welcome to help administering the service (see doc).

  • SPI has clarified the role of project representatives and, as a consequence of that, I (as DPL) no longer receive SPI board discussions addressed to board@spi. That is good not only for the sanity of my inbox, but also because it puts all projects affiliated to SPI at the same level of communication within SPI. Thanks to Robert Brockway for his work on this.

In the unlikely case you've read thus far, thanks for your attention! Happy Debian hacking.

PS as usual, the boring day-to-day activity log is available at master:/srv/leader/news/bits-from-the-DPL.*