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 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 since January 2014

If you follow my blog closely, you noticed that I skipped all my usual monthly summaries in 2014. It’s not that I stopped doing free software work, instead I was just too busy to be able to report about what I did. As an excuse, let me tell you that we just moved into a new house which was in construction since may last year.

The lack of visible activity on my blog resulted in a steady decrease of the amount of donations received (January: 70.72 €, February: 71.75 €, March: 51.25 €, April: 39.9 €, May: 40.33 €). Special thanks to all the people who kept supporting my work even though I stopped reporting about it.

So let’s fix this. This report will be a bit less detailed since it covers the whole period since the start of the year.

Debian France

Preparations related to general assemblies. The year started with lots of work related to Debian France. First I took care of setting up limesurvey with Alexandre Delanoë to handle the vote to pick our new logo:
The new logo of Debian France

I also helped Sylvestre Ledru to finalize and close the accounting books for 2013 in preparation for the general assembly that was due later in the month. I wrote the moral report of the president to be presented to the assembly. And last step, I collected vote mandates to ensure that we were going to meet the quorum for the extraordinary assembly that was planned just after the usual yearly assembly.

The assemblies took place during a two days mini-debconf in Paris (January 17-18) where I was obviously present even though I gave no talk besides announcing the logo contest winner and thanking people for their participation.

Assemblée générale 2014 de Debian France
The Debian France members during the general assembly

It’s worth noting that the extraordinary assembly was meant primarily to enshrine in our bylaws the possibility to act as a trusted organization for Debian. This status should be officialized by the Debian project leader (Lucas Nussbaum) in the upcoming weeks since we answered satisfactorily to all questions. Our paypal donation form and the accounting tools behind it are ready.

Galette packaging and members map. I managed to hand over the package maintenance of galette to François-Régis Vuillemin. I sponsored all his uploads and we packaged a new plugin that allows to create a map with all the members who accept to share their location. The idea was to let people meet each other when they don’t live far away… with the long term goal to have Debian France organized activities not only in Paris but everywhere in France.

New contributor game. Last but not least, I organized a game to encourage people to do their first contribution to Debian by offering them a copy of my book if they managed to complete a small Debian project. We got many interesting projects but the result so far seem to be very mixed. Many people did not complete their project (yet)… that said for the few that did substantial work, it was rather good and they seem to be interested to continue to contribute.

Debian France booth at Solutions Linux in Paris. Like each year, I spent two days in Paris to help man the Debian France booth at Solutions Linux. We had lots of goodies on sale and we made more than 2000 EUR in earnings during the two days. I also used this opportunity to try to convince companies to support the new Debian LTS effort.

Debian France booth at Solutions Linux
Tanguy Ortolo and Fernando Lagrange behind the Debian France booth

The Debian Administrator’s Handbook

In the last days of 2013, we released the wheezy update of the book. Then I quickly organized everything needed so that the various translation teams can now focus their efforts on the latest release of the book.

Later (in February) I announced the availability of the French and Spanish translations.

Debian Squeeze LTS

When the security team called for help to try to put in place long term support for Squeeze, I replied positively because I’m convinced that it’s very important if Debian wants to stay an acceptable choice in big deployments and because I knew that some of my customers would be interested…

Thus I followed all the discussions (on a semi-private list first and then on debian-lts@lists.debian.org) and contributed my own experience. I have also taken up the responsibility to coordinate with the Debian contributors who can be hired to work on Squeeze LTS so that we have a clear common offer for all the companies who have offered financial support towards Squeeze LTS. Expect further news on this front in the upcoming days/weeks.

Tryton

I have been a long time user of SQL-Ledger to manage the accounting of my company Freexian. But while the license is free software, the project is not. It’s the work of a single developer who doesn’t really accept help. I have thus been considering to move to something else for a long time but never did anything.

This year, after some rough evaluation, I decided to switch to Tryton for my company. It’s probably not a wise choice from a business perspective because that migration took me many hours of unpaid labor but from a free software perspective it’s definitely better than everything else I saw.

I contributed a lot of bug reports and a few patches already (#3596, #3631, #3633, #3665, #3667, #3694, #3695, #3696, #3697) mainly about problems found in the French chart of accounts but also about missing features for my use case.

I also accepted to sponsor Matthias Berhle, who is maintaining the official Debian packages of Tryton. He’s already a Debian maintainer so it’s mainly a matter of reviewing new source packages and granting him the required rights.

Misc Debian work

  • Updated publican to version 4 and then 4.1.2. Required a new perl module that I requested to the Perl team in
    #736816.
  • Updated to python-django-debug-toolbar and python-django-jsonfield for Django 1.6 compatibility.
  • Filed bugs on packages depending against linux-image that got dropped (on request of Ben Hutchings)
  • Filed #734866 and #734869 against bash/dash to request that they properly drop privileges in setuid context.
  • Updated gnome-shell-timer.
  • Created “Services” pages on the wiki for the PTS and its replacement.
  • Worked on distro-tracker together with the participants of the new contributor game.
  • Orphaned feed2omb with #742601.
  • Tried in vain to fight against silliness of Debian specific changes in syslinux (see #742836).
  • Preliminary EFI support in live-build (see #731709).
  • Updated python-django to 1.6.5 in unstable, 1.4.5+deb7u7 in wheezy-security and 1.6.5-1~bpo70+1 to wheezy-backports.
  • Sponsored dolibarr, python-suds, a zim backport, a ckeditor NMU to fix an RC bug, libapache2-mod-form, ledgersmb.
  • Filed bugs on the fly: #749332 (new upstream release of libjs-jquery-cookie), #749498 (problem with Files-Excluded and https URL for copyright-format 1.0), #747354 (bug in clamav-milter init script), #747101 (git-import-orig should offer a –download option).
  • Filed tickets on mirrorbrain to make it work better with Debian mirrors: update to #26 (avoid error 404 on files still available on some mirrors) and #150 (auto-disable outdated mirrors).

Thanks

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