Monthly DPL bits, fresh from the oven.

Tip to feel good about the release #476: before reading this, grab and fix one of the RC bugs affecting Wheezy. Done? Now you're ready for a slightly less exciting report of DPL activities.


  • I've wrapped up a couple of years of discussions with FSF representatives, proposing a joint working group on FSF' assessment of Debian Free-ness. Some news coverage ensued. The discussion list that has been set up welcomes participants and, in particular, could use some more DDs, fond of Debian principles but also interested in external review of our free/non-free separation.

  • DebConf12 has happened!, and many of us attended it. Due to family reasons I've been able to attend only DebCamp and DebConf day-0, just in time to deliver the traditional "bits from the DPL" speech. Among other topics, in the speech I've discussed governance scaling issues in our governance, and in particular about the role of the DPL --- issue which I'm partly trying to address with the "DPL helpers" initiatives. Slides and videos of the talk are available.

    As many others DebConf people, I took part in Nicaraguan TV shows about DebConf, showing a good deal of interest by the local media in our presence. I don't have links to the recordings yet, but I suspect DebConf orga people will provide them as soon as they're available.

  • Many others DebConf12 events are relevant for future Project directions. I went through many of the events I've missed thanks to the work of the video team and of the gobby note takers. I recommend doing the same. Some events are particularly relevant to recent project-wide discussions, such as EFI, hijacking, and the release process … and I'm sure you'll find more :-) If you're a DebConf12 speaker and produced slides, please upload them to penta, so that they could be used as future reference.


  • On the hardware front, we bought another server according to DSA's "5-year plan". It will be used as a ganeti node at the man-da hosting location. We bought it thanks to donated money, for a total of ~6'600 EUR.

  • (After ~8 months of pestering,) we got from SPI a data dump of Debian financial transactions there. Thanks for this result goes to the SPI Board and in particular to Robert Brockway and Joerg Jaspert. This was the last blocker to produce detailed financial reports for the past couple of years of Debian activities. Unfortunately, it still is a blocker: Debian auditors found out that the data dump is not complete. SPI will send us remaining data soon™, but I don't have an ETA, unfortunately.

  • An ftpmasters sprint is being organized and I've been happy to approve its budget. Help is still needed on the -sprints list to keep up with the organization part of sprints, including activities like documenting sprints to show donors what we do with their help.

Logo & trademark

  • to stop the absurdity of not using the official logo ("with Debian") as part of our official theme, I advanced a bit on the topic of relicensing the logo under a DFSG-free license. I sought a second legal advice to SFLC (as requested by the SPI board). They confirm we can safely do the relicensing (without undermining our rights on contained marks) under a license like dual LGPLv3+ / CC-BY-SA, provided that a suitable trademark policy is in place …

  • … which is why I've posted to -project a trademark policy draft, based on legal advice from SFLC. I've gather useful feedback already, but more is welcome. Note that, as Russ very eloquently put it, we do not particularly enjoy thinking about which restrictions we put on the usage of our marks. But given we do have (and use) those marks, we should better empower the legal owners (SPI in this case) to properly defend them. Our specification for the policy to SFLC has been "as free as possible", and that is what we're trying to achieve.

Note that the actual logo relicensing should be done by SPI, via their board, upon request of mine (as Debian Project liaison). We won't make it for the next SPI board meeting, as it is on 4 days away. But we can aim for the subsequent meeting, on September 13th. If all goes well (big "if"), we will enjoy a DFSG-free logo after that date.

Internal organization

Recent flurry of re-organization in the tech-ctte --- which I somewhat triggered pushing for periodic meetings --- seems to be proceeding well. I'm very happy about it, as we all need to trust that tech-ctte decisions will be not only sound, but also prompt. If you're interested into this topic, some recent evidence of the ongoing reorganization and its result can be found in their DebConf12 BoF, minutes of the last meeting, a set of forthcoming GRs, and the recent great decision of posting decisions results to d-d-a (as it happened for node/nodejs). Kudos to tech-ctte members for the recent activism!

I haven't worked on it myself directly, but I highlight Enrico's work on server side archival of NM conversations. It has the potential of enabling automatic detection of stuck NM processes. I'm a bit rusty as AM now, but I think missing that ability is one of the main remaining causes of frustration when joining Debian. So, if you are an AM, please opt-in and use this feature with your appicants. If you are not an AM… why not? :-)


Some misc legal stuff:

  • I got the legal advice we asked about the possibility of turning into an official service. The worry there was about the potential copyright infringements by mentees. In the end, we don't need to worry about that, provided we've clear contact points (and "reasonable" timing…) for removing infringing material once it's been reported, and that we declare our public policy about that. I've a draft policy document to start with. I'll soon contact mentors.d.n to adapt it where needed and have it vetted by SPI before going live.

  • I've worked with GNOME maintainers (thanks in particular to Jordi Mallach) to rework the mixed Debian/GNOME logo on their alioth project page, to stay on the safe side and avoid any ambiguity wrt GNOME trademark policy.

… and some misc "political" stuff:

  • we've been happy to accept an invitation to attend the GNOME Advisory Board meeting at GUADEC: Jord (thanks, again!) kindly accepted to represent Debian there. An early report has been posted on his blog, a more detailed one is forthcoming to -project.

  • OSI has discussed with their affiliates the possibility of signing the Declaration of Internet Freedom. On behalf of Debian, I've vouched for it. By the way, I'm serving pro tempore as Debian liaison at OSI, but if there are people interested in doing that, I'll be happy to consider handing over the responsibility to other (it's a quite lightweight one, at present).

Happy RC bug squashing,

PS the boring day-to-day activity log for July 2012 is available at master:/srv/leader/news/bits-from-the-DPL.txt.201207