My Free Software Activities in September 2015

My monthly report covers a large part of what I have been doing in the free software world. I write it for my donators (thanks to them!) but also for the wider Debian community because it can give ideas to newcomers and it’s one of the best ways to find volunteers to work with me on projects that matter to me.

Debian LTS

This month I have been paid to work 8 hours on Debian LTS. In that time, I mostly did CVE triaging (in the last 3 days since I’m of LTS frontdesk duty this week). I pushed 14 commits to the security tracker. There were multiple CVE without any initial investigation so I checked the status of the CVE not only in squeeze but also in wheezy/jessie.

On unpaid time, I wrote and sent the summary of the work session held during DebConf. And I tried to initiate a discussion about offering mysql-5.5 in squeeze-lts. We also have setup lts-security@debian.org so that we can better handle embargoed security updates.

The Debian Administrator’s Handbook

Debian Handbook: cover of the jessie editionI spent a lot of time on my book, the content update has been done but now we’re reviewing it before preparing the paperback. I also started updating its French translation. You can help review it too.

While working on the book I noticed that snort got removed from jessie and the SE linux reference policy as well. I mailed their maintainers to recommend that they provide them in jessie-backports at least… those packages are relatively important/popular and it’s a pity that they are missing in jessie.

I hope to finish the book update in the next two weeks!

Distro Tracker

I spent a lot of time to revamp the mail part of Distro Tracker. But as it’s not finished yet, I don’t have anything to show yet. That said I pushed an important fix concerning the mail subscriptions (see #798555), basically all subscriptions of packages containing a dash were broken. It just shows that the new tracker is not yet widely used for mail subscription…

I also merged a patch from Andrew Starr-Bochicchio (#797633) to improve the description of the WNPP action items. And I reviewed another patch submitted by Orestis Ioannou to allow browsing of old news (see #756766).

And I filed #798011 against bugs.debian.org to request that a new X-Debian-PR-Severity header field be added to outgoing BTS mail so that Distro Tracker can filter mails by severity and offer people to subscribe to RC bugs only.

Misc Debian work

I filed many bugs this month and almost all of them are related to my Kali work:

  • 3 on debootstrap: #798560 (request for –suite-config option), #798562 (allow sharing bootstrap scripts), #7985604 (request to add kali related bootstrap scripts).
  • 3 requests of new upstream versions: for gpsd (#797899), for valgrind (#800013) and for puppet (#798636).
  • #797783: sbuild fails without any error message when /var/lib/sbuild is not writable in the chroot
  • #798181: gnuradio: Some files take way too long to compile (I had to request a give-back on another build daemon to ensure gnuradio migrated back to testing, and Julien Cristau suggested that it would be better to fix the package so that a single file doesn’t take more than 5 hours to build…)
  • #799550: libuhd003v5 lost its v5 suffix…

Thanks

See you next month for a new summary of my activities.

My Free Software Activities in August 2015

My monthly report covers a large part of what I have been doing in the free software world. I write it for my donators (thanks to them!) but also for the wider Debian community because it can give ideas to newcomers and it’s one of the best ways to find volunteers to work with me on projects that matter to me.

Debian LTS

This month I have been paid to work 6.5 hours on Debian LTS. In that time I did the following:

  • Prepared and released DLA-301-1 fixing 2 CVE in python-django.
  • Did one week of “LTS Frontdesk” with CVE triaging. I pushed 11 commits to the security tracker.

Apart from that, I also gave a talk about Debian LTS at DebConf 15 in Heidelberg and also coordinated a work session to discuss our plans for Wheezy. Have a look at the video recordings:

DebConf 15

I attended DebConf 15 with great pleasure after having missed DebConf 14 last year. While I did not do lots of work there, I participated in many discussions and I certainly came back with a renewed motivation to work on Debian. That’s always good. 🙂

For the concrete work I did during DebConf, I can only claim two schroot uploads to fix the lack of support of the new “overlay” filesystem that replaces “aufs” in the official Debian kernel, and some Distro Tracker work (fixing an issue that some people had when they were logged in via Debian’s SSO).

While the numerous discussions I had during DebConf can’t be qualified as “work”, they certainly contribute to build up work plans for the future:

As a Kali developer, I attended multiple sessions related to derivatives (notably the Debian Derivatives Panel).

I was also interested by the “Debian in the corporate IT” BoF led by Michael Meskes (Credativ’s CEO). He pointed out a number of problems that corporate users might have when they first consider using Debian and we will try to do something about this. Expect further news and discussions on the topic.

Martin Kraff, Luca Filipozzi, and me had a discussion with the Debian Project Leader (Neil) about how to revive/transform the Debian’s Partner program. Nothing is fleshed out yet, but at least the process initiated by the former DPL (Lucas) is again moving forward.

Other Debian work

Sponsorship. I sponsored an NMU of pep8 by Daniel Stender as it was a requirement for prospector… which I also sponsored since all the required dependencies are now available in Debian. \o/

Packaging. I NMUed libxml2 2.9.2+really2.9.1+dfsg1-0.1 fixing 3 security issues and a RC bug that was breaking publican. Since there’s no upstream fix for more than 8 months, I went back to the former version 2.9.1. It’s in line with the new requirement of release managers… a package in unstable should migrate to testing reasonably quickly, it’s not acceptable to keep it unfixed for months. With this annoying bug fixed, I could again upload a new upstream release of publican… so I prepared and uploaded 4.3.2-1. It was my first source only upload. This release was more work than I expected and I filed no less than 3 bug to upstream (new bash-completion install path, request to provide sources of a minified javascript file, drop a .po file for an invalid language code).

GPG issues with smartcard. Back from DebConf, when I wanted to sign some key, I stumbled again upon the problem which makes it impossible for me to use my two smartcards one after the other without first deleting the stubs for the private key. It’s not a new issue but I decided that it was time to report it upstream, so I did it: #2079 on bugs.gnupg.org. Some research helped me to find a way to work-around the problem. Later in the month, after a dist-upgrade and a reboot, I was no longer able to use my smartcard as a SSH authentication key… again it was already reported but there was no clear analysis, so I tried to do my own one and added the results of my investigation in #795368. It looks like the culprit is pinentry-gnome3 not working when started by the gpg-agent which is started before the DBUS session. Simple fix is to restart the gpg-agent in the session… but I have no idea yet of what the proper fix should be (letting systemd manage the graphical user session and start gpg-agent would be my first answer, but that doesn’t solve the issue for users of other init systems so it’s not satisfying).

Distro Tracker. I merged two patches from Orestis Ioannou fixing some bugs tagged newcomer. There are more such bugs (I even filed two: #797096 and #797223), go grab them and do a first contribution to Distro Tracker like Orestis just did! I also merged a change from Christophe Siraut who presented Distro Tracker at DebConf.

I implemented in Distro Tracker the new authentication based on SSL client certificates that was recently announced by Enrico Zini. It’s working nice, and this authentication scheme is far easier to support. Good job, Enrico!

tracker.debian.org broke during DebConf, it stopped being updated with new data. I tracked this down to a problem in the archive (see #796892). Apparently Ansgar Burchardt changed the set of compression tools used on some jessie repositorie, replacing bz2 by xz. He dropped the old Packages.bz2 but missed some Sources.bz2 which were thus stale… and APT reported “Hashsum mismatch” on the uncompressed content.

Misc. I pushed some small improvement to my Salt formulas: schroot-formula and sbuild-formula. They will now auto-detect which overlay filesystem is available with the current kernel (previously “aufs” was hardcoded).

Thanks

See you next month for a new summary of my activities.

My Free Software Activities in June 2015

My monthly report covers a large part of what I have been doing in the free software world. I write it for my donators (thanks to them!) but also for the wider Debian community because it can give ideas to newcomers and it’s one of the best ways to find volunteers to work with me on projects that matter to me.

Debian LTS

This month I have been paid to work 14.5 hours on Debian LTS. In that time I did the following:

  • CVE triage: I pushed 24 commits to the security tracker. I also setup a rotation with other paid contributors. That way this task doesn’t rely on me exclusively.
  • Reviewed a libapache-mod-jk update and sent DLA-240-1.
  • Prepared and released DLA-257-1 on libwmf fixing one CVE.
  • Reviewed a shibboleth-sp2 update and sent DLA-259-1. Lacking a proper test setup, the tests done were minimal.
  • Prepared and released DLA-260-1 on hostapd fixing one CVE.
  • Prepared and released DLA-261-1 on aptdaemon fixing one CVE.
  • I started to work on a wishlist bug for tracker.debian.org: displaying open security issues in stable releases is important to catch the attention of package maintainers. Right now it only displays something when security issues are open in unstable.

Other Debian work

Distro Tracker. I fixed a few issues that were affecting the tracker: SSL access to the BTS soap interface was not working due to changes in the way SSL certificates are managed on Debian machines (see #787410 for details of a similar problem), and the bugs panel disappeared for a while (see #787163). I also merged some minor changes from Christophe Siraut and James McCoy.

The Debian Administrator’s Handbook. After some exchanges with Osamu Osuaki of the debian-doc team, we agreed to host a copy of my (DFSG-free) book on debian.org so that it can be better promoted to newcomers who are discovering Debian. It’s over there. I made some changes to the official package (notably integrating all available translations) to make this possible.

Packaging. I uploaded two new release of publican to unstable (4.3.0 and 4.3.1), although I had to cheat by building them in stretch due to a build failure in unstable caused by a libxml2 regression (see #766884). I fixed two small bug reported against the package: a badly documented license (#787993) and a request to replace the dependency on perlmagick to libimage-magick-perl (#789223).

I uploaded zim 0.63 and a new gnome-shell-timer for GNOME 3.16 compatibility.
And I sponsored python-requirements-detector (#789497) as a prerequisite for prospector (a package that I requested some time ago in #781165). I also took care of a stable update of python-reportlab (#787806) at the request of a customer.

Kali related contributions. In Kali, we rely heavily on reprepro to manage our archive. It works rather well for us but over time we identified some annoying issues. I just reported some of them:

  • It should be able to keep unreferenced files for a few days before deleting theme (#788105).
  • It should be possible to clone a distribution in a single command (#788843).
  • It should be possible to rename a distribution in a single command (#788846).

live-build is another important tool for us and when we started using new codenames for our releases, we re-discovered some problems and this time we submitted a bug report with some suggestion to make it more generic (#789800) and committed a small fix to avoid a stupid failure when the release is unknown to live-build.

Misc stuff

Hardware support issue. I have some problems to get some USB disks detected during boot of my Intel NUC, so I sent a bug report to the linux USB developers. It’s a weird issue and rather annoying as it means that my private NAS stops working after each reboot (until I powercycle the external disk enclosure).

My websites. You might have noticed some changes on raphaelhertzog.com and raphaelhertzog.fr. I have deployed new themes that should be mobile-friendly and I also deployed proper https support with free certificates from wosign.com (until letsencrypt.org is ready for general usage). Same goes for the freexian.com webpage hosting our Debian LTS sponsorship offer.

Thanks

See you next month for a new summary of my activities.

My Free Software Activities in May 2015

My monthly report covers a large part of what I have been doing in the free software world. I write it for my donators (thanks to them!) but also for the wider Debian community because it can give ideas to newcomers and it’s one of the best ways to find volunteers to work with me on projects that matter to me.

Debian LTS

This month I have been paid to work 10.25 hours on Debian LTS. In that time I did the following:

  • CVE triage: I pushed 28 commits to the security tracker.
  • Reviewed an exactimage update and an imagemagick update (prepared by their respective maintainers).
  • Prepared and released DLA-229-1 on libnokogiri-ruby fixing one CVE.
  • Prepared and released DLA-230-1 on eglibc fixing one CVE.

Other Debian work

Package Tracker. The Debian system administrators upgraded the machine hosting tracker.debian.org to jessie and I dealt with the fallout. Fixing the Apache configuration was easy but DACS also broke and I had to disable it (thus breaking login via sso.debian.org). Fortunately Enrico Zini and Martin Zobel-Helas debugged the problem and restored it.

Sponsorship. I sponsored a dolibarr upload and many tryton-modules-* uploads to bring Tryton 3.6 to Debian (and granted DM rights on the newly introduced packages to Matthias Behrle who is maintaining those packages).

Misc stuff. I discussed multiple feature requests with Dmitry Smirnov for dh-linktree.

Packaging. I uploaded a new upstream version of cpputest. I did that twice actually because the first version had failing tests (see #784674). I also filed #784959 on blhc because I saw what looked like a false positive report for a missing hardening flag.

I uploaded Django 1.8 to experimental. This is a major upstream release and shall ideally only be uploaded to sid after having reported problems on reverse dependencies. I doubt we will have the time to do this…

I started working on Publican 4.3.0 but the test suite fails and it’s not even the fault of publican for once. It’s a bug in libxml apparently.

Thanks

See you next month for a new summary of my activities.