What I publish on Planet Debian and Planet Ubuntu

Up to now, Planet Debian and Planet Ubuntu were syndicating the main feed of my blog. I changed this recently (remember, I explained how I created my custom WordPress feed). Read on to learn why and subscribe to the main feed now if you want to get all my Debian/Ubuntu articles in the future.

Planet Debian/Ubuntu are supposed to be windows into the lives of the contributors. Whatever they are doing. Obviously you get a lot of infos about Debian and Ubuntu since most contributors spend a lot of time working on those distributions. Due to this, those planets have also become dedicated medias to exchange between contributors.

The problem I had is that my blog is more than just a place where I speak of what I do within Debian. As part of my evil plan, I set out my blog to become a great documentation resource for Debian/Ubuntu users. So when I wrote articles for users and/or beginners (like 5 reasons why a Debian package is more than a simple file archive or How to rebuild Debian packages), I got some remarks that it was “odd” to have those articles on Planet Debian because most contributors knew those things already.

The bottom line is that from now on I’ll decide on a case by case whether the article is suitable for Planet Debian&Ubuntu based on my feelings (and the feedback I get by email). But if you enjoyed my articles for users, I invite you to directly subscribe to my blog to make sure you’ll get them all in the future:

By the way I would like to thank you all. This blog has been created last July and I’m glad to have already more than 1400 regular followers (spread over RSS/email/Twitter/Identi.ca/Facebook, not counting the thousands that read me via Planet Debian/Ubuntu).

I hope you’ll enjoy 2011 with me, and continue sharing the articles you like.

Update: if you want you can also subscribe to a feed containing only the articles not published on Planet Debian/Ubuntu. It’s here: http://raphaelhertzog.com/feed/notonplanets/.

What Debian & Ubuntu topics would you like to read about?

A woman enjoying this blogAfter having looked back at the first months of this blog, I also want to look forward and see how I can improve its content. If you’re a Debian/Ubuntu user and/or contributor, I want this blog to be a truly useful resource for you. What kind of articles would you like me to write?

I have lots of ideas but I can’t do everything. I’ll share some of them so that you can discuss them:

  • New in Debian testing: a regular column covering changes affecting testing users.
  • Short presentations of software available in Debian/Ubuntu (like debaday.debian.net used to do).
  • Articles covering wishlist bugs on developers-reference so that they can be easily reused to improve the documentation!
  • Interviews of Debian contributors.
  • Description of small tasks that one can do to start contributing.

Pleases discuss and share your ideas in the comments. Don’t limit yourself to the above list, you know better than me what you need: tell me what kind of documentation was lacking in your daily usage of Debian/Ubuntu, or what could have been better explained while you tried to contribute to Debian/Ubuntu.

While I set no limits on Debian/Ubuntu topics that I accept to cover, my main focus is around documentation for end-users and/or contributors.

If you prefer you can also send your feedback with Identi.ca, Twitter or leave a comment in the entry for this article in my facebook page.

Secret figures of a Debian/Ubuntu blogger: what you liked most on raphaelhertzog.com

Chart goes up on screenI launched raphaelhertzog.com this summer (taking over the English content of my former multi-lingual blog), when I decided that I would be more serious about blogging on Debian/Ubuntu related topics. On September, I decided to write 2 articles per week and up to now I managed to keep the schedule.

Two of my articles were published by Linux Weekly News, those are much more researched than the average blog article (they are tagged with [LWN] in the list below).

The most popular articles

Most people read my blog through the RSS feed which happens to be syndicated on Planet Debian and Planet Ubuntu. According to the feedburner’s statistics, the top-5 articles are:

  1. 5 reasons why I still contribute to Debian after 12 years (32700 views)
  2. [LWN] Understanding Membership Structures in Debian and Ubuntu (31700 views)
  3. Social Micropayment Can Foster Free Software, Discover Flattr (30100 views)
  4. Everything you need to know about conffiles: configuration files managed by dpkg (29900 views)
  5. How to make 110.28 EUR in one month with free software and Flattr (29400 views)

But I also have occasional readers visiting my blog because my articles are announced on Identi.ca, Twitter and Facebook (and they circulate on social networks, thanks to those who are sharing them!). The top-5 articles according to the statistics of my website are:

  1. 5 reasons why I still contribute to Debian after 12 years (6000 views)
  2. [LWN] Can Debian offer a Constantly Usable Testing distribution? (5000 views)
  3. Understanding Debian’s release process (1500 views)
  4. Flattr FOSS (1400 views, not an article but I regularly blog about this project)
  5. Can Debian achieve world domination without being on Facebook? (1100 views)

The most flattered

Since I am using Flattr on my blog, it can be interesting to see the articles which generated lots of flattr micro-donations. The top-3 articles are my articles about Flattr (1, 2, 3). Excluding articles related to Flattr, the top-5 is:

  1. 5 reasons why I still contribute to Debian after 12 years (12 flattr)
  2. The secret plan behind the “3.0 (quilt)” Debian source package format (10 flattr)
  3. How to use multiple upstream tarballs in Debian source packages? (5 flattr)
  4. [LWN] Understanding Membership Structures in Debian and Ubuntu (4 flattr)
  5. Do You Want a Free Debian Book? Read on. (4 flattr)

Most articles get 2 to 3 flattr clicks.

The most commented

I usually get 4-5 comments on most articles but some generate much more feedback:

  1. [LWN] Can Debian offer a Constantly Usable Testing distribution? (40 comments)
  2. 5 reasons why I still contribute to Debian after 12 years (22 comments)
  3. Can Debian achieve world domination without being on Facebook? (15 comments)
  4. How to generate different dependencies on Debian and Ubuntu with a common source package (14 comments)
  5. [LWN] Understanding Membership Structures in Debian and Ubuntu (12 comments)


Here are my conclusions based on the above figures:

  • Writing about your Debian/Ubuntu work and your long term involvement makes for highly popular content that spreads well.
  • In-depth and well researched articles (like those written for LWN) do not generate more flattr revenues than the average article even if they take 4 to 8 times as long to write.
  • People are more likely to flattr you for your free software contribution than for the value they get out of your article.
  • People care a lot about the Debian release process, and like to discuss the topic.

If you also appreciate the above-linked articles, you should click here to subscribe to my email newsletter.

Reorganization of my blog, please update your feeds

Up to now I had a single blog hosted on ouaza.com, I used to blog in French and in English on many topics, even though free software and Debian was the main topic. Sometimes I avoided blogging on something because it would not really match the expectations of my readers (and of the various planets syndicating my blog). And I have always been annoyed by the fact that English readers were second-class on my blog because everything was configured in French.

So I decided to fix this once for all, I have created two new blogs in addition to ouaza.com. The latter is now my private blog (in French) with everything that is not free software related. And free software will be the topic of my 2 new blogs :

I have setup some HTTP redirections on various feed URLs but if you were subscribed to my main feed, you’re now redirected to the new English feed and you might want to subscribe to the French one to continue reading my articles in French. In any case, you might want to update the feed URL that you used.

I also profited from this reorganization to switch to WordPress 3.0 and the 3 blogs are hosted on the same installation thanks to the new multisite feature and to the domain mapping plugin. The main regression in those changes is that I’m back to the (new) default theme of WordPress with the standard header image. I would like to personalize them but I have no graphics skills… but if you do and would like to work on this for me, please get in touch. I’ll make sure you get your pony in return. :-)

More changes concerning those blogs are in the pipe but that will be the topic of other posts. Thanks for following !

Blogging considerations and updates concerning the French planet

Since the policy of the Debian planet is to not restrict content to Debian-related stuff, I switched the URL of my feed in PlanetDebian to include any English content that I might blog about. Don’t be afraid, I’m not going to overwhelm you with random crap. I’m currently trying to blog more in French instead.

Since I maintain the French Debian planet, I decided to apply the same policy for the French version (and announced it here). At the same time I also created a planet for the French-speaking Debian users who happen to blog… it’s hosted on the same server at http://planet-fr.debian.net/users/ and its policy is a bit more strict as it only allows free-software related content.

For all those reasons, I recategorized my articles so that I can now provide an english-only feed and a french-only feed. The first one is used on planet.debian.org and the second one on planet-fr.debian.net.

Continuing on this blogging frenzy, I upgraded WordPress to the latest version, I installed the subscribe-to-comments plugin and translated it to French. Thus it’s now possible to have a sane discussion in the comments of my blog articles!