Lars Wirzenius: Debian, 2003


Sunday, November 16, 2003

Debian: convmv

Sponsored an upload of convmv, a tool for changing the character set or encoding of filenames (not the contents of files). I'm going to need it once I start converting to UTF-8. Also fixed a bug in publib (upstream and in Debian), specifically its base64 functions. This triggered a "failure to build from source" bug, which I also fixed. All in all, relatively speaking a very productive weekend as far as Debian is concerned, though in absolute terms it's pretty much nothing.

The convmv program reminded me that I need to start looking for a modern, Unicode-capable editor in earnest.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Debian: New Maintainer process

It took much too long, but I've finally read all the archives of the debian-newmaint mailing list. I'll just refresh myself on the new maintainer process web pages, and then I'll offer myself as an application manager.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Debian: Release schedule for sarge

Anthony Towns has published his release schedule for the next Debian stable release. I can't decide whether he's a genius or a lunatic, but at least he's ambitious and he may know what he's talking about. Good.

From my point of view, there are three things I need to do: fix the couple of bugs in my own packages, hack upstream Lodju so that it is ready to be included in the next Debian release, and help with Debian bug fixing in general.

That is actually quite a large chunk of my free time, given my current work load. I should probably use my free time more efficiently and not spend so much of it in apathy, staring at the screen, occasionally saying something on IRC. I want to do that, too, but I needn't do it quite as much. Lazy bugger, me.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Debian: Debian is ten years old

Today marks the tenth anniversary for Debian. Yay! The celebrations in Helsinki are pretty minor, though: we're going out for dinner. Other people in Finland seem to go to Turku, and hopefully they'll have a good time.

Friday, August 1, 2003

Debian: Dueling banjos

Weird mail of the day:

Could you please send me the sheet music for Dueling Banjos

Debian's developer mailing list gets this request at least once per year. No-one knows why. I can't imagine how you would duel with banjos.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Debian: New maintainer process

The Debian process for accepting new maintainers is, once again, under fire. As far as I understand the process, it is a basically healthy one, but has two problem areas.

First, there's too few people processing applicants. There's enough of them that it isn't a catastrophe, but it adds unnecessary waiting to the process, when applicants have to wait for their Application Manager.

Secondly, and more importantly, the final step is extremely slow and non-transparent. The Debian Account Manager, or DAM, has the final say on whether an application for Debian membership is accepted or rejected, and, if accepted, for actually creating the account. At the moment, there is only one person doing the job: James Troup. He does a lot of other things for Debian as well, and this probably is part of the reason he is so slow. The slowness is bad, but his habit of not telling what he is doing and why is worse. People who have passed the Application Manager checks are now left waiting, sometimes for months, for the DAM to do something, and get no feedback at all why they are kept waiting. Also, the queue is not processed FIFO, which makes things worse, when some people get through the queue in days.

The DAM queue now has some applicants that have been waiting for several years. Rumor has it that they are effectively rejected, but due to a desire to avoid a flame war over them, they are not formally rejected. This is also bad, and needs to be handled.

In a moment of insanity, I've decided to see if I can become an additional DAM. I met James Troup, the current DAM, at DebConf3, and he proposed that I first become an AM to be familiar with the process. I'm doing that, now. Let's see what happens.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Debian: Debcamp/DebConf3 is over

Debcamp/DebConf3 is over. It was quite fun, and inspiring, but not very productive for me. Other people were more productive, though. I suspect I'm just not made for hacking in a large room with twenty other people: I get distracted by the noise, if nothing else. The biggest benefit for me was to meet people in person; this tends to change my perception of them. They aren't a random e-mail address anymore, they are a person.

Group picture of DebConf3.

I took a group picture of DebConf3.

On several evenings, I was conned to walking extreme stretches. Well, extreme for me, anyway, especially given that both my pairs of sandals proved to be incompatible with walking long distances (I have the blisters to prove it). On one night, it was a hunt for sushi (the kitchen had closed; after trying three or four additional restaurants -- closed, age limits too high, wouldn't accept credit cards -- we ended up at a hot dog kiosk).

Another night, we went to the Vigeland park, with nice if a bit weird statues, and a very nice park. Two new blisters, but a nice experience otherwise.

I didn't get to see more of Oslo's tourist attractions. Oslo wasn't the reason I went there, but Debian, so I'm not complaining.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Debian: Keyring analysis, EoC for Debian, portraits

I'm finishing this stage of the development of my keyring analysis tool. It's still pretty slow, at about 30 minutes for the full keyring, and could probably be sped up a lot by rewriting it in C, but I'm too lazy. I've been unable to find a better algorithm for finding the shortest path from each key to every other key than iterating Dijkstra's algorithm for each key. Algorithmic improvements don't look too good, either, therefore. But at least it seems to work. I'm doing the final run now, will put up the report probably tomorrow.

I've been talking to liiwi and other Debian listmasters about switching from the Smartlist mailing list manager to something better on Naturally, I'm proposing my own software, Enemies of Carlotta, but I'd even be happy with Mailman. I've offered to make any necessary changes to EoC they may require, but if they want a web management interface, it'll probably be better to choose Mailman.

I've also shot portraits of a couple of people. They'll go up in a permanent gallery once I've hacked on Lodju a bit, but for now they are in a temporary location. (Update: I removed the temporary one due to disk space concerns.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Debian: Debcamp, day 2

My second day at Debcamp. I thought I had slept well and long, but still during the day I felt sleepy. The mattress is really hard, even if softer than the floor, and perhaps that mattered.

I spent most of today on my scripts for computing the strongly connected sets within the Debian keyring. Talked to Peter Palfrader (weasel) about it and he encouraged me. I seem to be unable to concentrate properly and it's taken me all day to get anywhere. Perhaps it is not such a good idea to hack in a room with twenty other hackers after all. Or possibly I'm just stupid.

The script is really, really slow, and takes an hour to run with the full Debian keyrings. I started writing a version that uses Dijkstra's algorithm for computing the paths, but didn't quite finish it today. Something to do tomorrow.

Juggling at DebConf3.

People relaxing during the evening.


I've seen these in several toilets in Oslo.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Debian: Debcamp

Have arrived at Debcamp, after sleeping an hour at home and about an hour on the plane. Feeling absurd and confused. Need mattress.

Conflicting signs at Debconf3.

I may not be the only one who is absurd.

Managed to fix a couple of bugs in my packages, after weeks or months of delay. Tomorrow, I will hopefully get something done for real.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Debian: Preparing for Debcamp/Debconf3

Preparations for the trip to Debcamp and Debconf3 progress, as they should, since I'm leaving in less than 48 hours. I have my suitcase back, I have upped my insurance limit to cover my laptops and camera, and I even bought a tin of meat balls so that I have some food when I come back home late at night.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Debian: Debcamp: mattress situation

I had a brilliant idea today about sleeping arrangements for Debcamp: I'll buy a cheap foam mattress in Oslo. This will not very expensive (about 40 euros) and will be massively more comfortable than anything I can bring with me from Finland. Also, much better than an inflatasble one, I'm pretty sure.

Debcamp and Debconf are getting nearer, and I'm slowly becoming more excited about it. Also about my other week of vacation that will immediately follow. I have a feeling that I'm leaving work stuff horribly unfinished, but that would probably happen regardless of what state they were in, unless I really didn't have anything to do at work. Whee.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Debian: Debconf3 plane tickets

I bought the plane tickets for the Debcamp/Debconf3 trip today and confirmed my registration at the event. I'm therefore committed to sleeping for a week in a sleeping bag on a gym hall floor, not being able to afford a hotel. Let's hope that a week of hacking is worth this.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Debian: Dueling banjos

Occasionally, Debian mailing lists get the strangest mails. For example, today debian-devel, the main development list, got the following mail.

I was wondering if you would send me the sheet music for dueling banjoes - I want to transpose it for other instruments -

That's the whole mail, except for the headers. This isn't the first time someone's wanted Debian to provide dueling banjos. It happens occasionally. I still don't know how you duel with banjos.

Friday, June 6, 2003

Debian: Debconf3

I've decided to go Debconf3, the third Debian conference, and also the the week long hackathon, Debcamp, that precedes it. It is in Oslo so it's pretty close, which makes things easier. Now I need to maybe figure out a talk to give and maybe figure out things I could and should do at debcamp, and prepare for them.

Thursday, June 5, 2003

Debian: Developer meeting

Yesterday some Debian people in the Helsinki area met, both developers and hangarounds. Florian Lohoff is visiting Helsinki on a work trip and a bunch of us met him and had dinner and a key exchange. I took a photo.

Debian people.

Richard Braakman, Jukka Neppius, Jesus Climent, Teemu Hukkanen, Florian Lohoff, and Jaakko Niemi. If you look closely, you can see the sleeve of Richard's girl friend as well, but she's camera shy.