My Free Software Activities in November 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 21.25 hours on Debian LTS. During this time I worked on the following things:

  • From November 2nd to November 8th, I was handling the LTS frontdesk, triaging new CVE, filing bugs, and ensuring timely answers on the mailing list. I pushed 26 commits to the security tracker. While investigating CVE-2015-7183 I discovered more embedded copies of nspr (which resulted in #804058). I also commented on the upstream fix for CVE-2015-5602 which looked like insufficient.
  • Prepared and released DLA-339-1 on libhtml-scrubber-perl fixing one CVE.
  • Prepared and released DLA-350-1 on eglibc with a non-trivial backport fixing one CVE.
  • Prepared and released DLA-353-1 on imagemagick fixing two security issues without CVE yet (and marking one as not-affecting squeeze).
  • Added a third patch after review by the upstream author on my still pending bouncycastle update. The upstream author asked me to further defer the update as they have some related fixes coming up.
  • I did preparatory work for DLA-352-1 by identifying the upstream commits that fixed the security issue.
  • I spent some time checking issues that have been assigned for a long time without any visible progress being made in the hope to unblock them (libvncserver, pound, quassel).

The Debian Administrator’s Handbook

Now that the English version has been finalized for Debian 8 Jessie (I uploaded the package to Debian Unstable), I concentrated my efforts on the French version. The book has been fully translated and we’re now finalizing the print version that Eyrolles will again edit.

Paris Open Source Summit

On November 18th and 19th, I was in Paris for the Paris Open Source Summit. I helped to hold a booth for Debian France during two days (with the help of François-Régis and several others).

François Vuillemin, Juliette Belin and Raphaël Hertzog
François-Régis Vuillemin, Juliette Belin and Raphaël Hertzog

On the booth, we had the visit of Juliette Belin who created the theme and the artwork of Debian 8 Jessie. We lacked goodies but we organized a lottery to win 12 copies of my French book.

Debian packaging work

Django. After two weeks of preparation for revers dependencies, I uploaded Django 1.8 to unstable and raised the severity of remaining bugs. Later I uploaded a new upstream point release (1.8.6). I also handled a release critical bug first by opening a ticket upstream and then by writing a patch and submitting it upstream. I uploaded 1.8.7-2 to Debian with my patch.

I also submittted another small fix which has been rejected because the manual page is generated via Sphinx and I thus had to file a bug against Sphinx (which I did). A work-around has been found in the mean time.

apt-xapian-index NMU. A long time ago, I filed a release critical bug against that package (#793681) but the maintainer did not handle it. Fortunately Sven Joachim prepared an NMU and I just uploaded his work. This resulted in another problem due bash-completion changes that Sven promptly fixed and I uploaded a second NMU a few days later.

Gnome-shell-timer. I forwarded #805347 to gnome-shell-timer issue #29 but gnome-shell-timer is abandoned upstream. On a suggestion of Paul Wise, I tried to get this nice extension integrated into gnome-shell-extensions but the request has been turned down. Is there anyone with javascript skills who would like to adopt this project as an upstream developer? It’s a low maintenance project with a decent and loyal user base.

Misc. I fixed bug #804763 in zim which was the result of a bad Debian-specific patch.
I sponsored pylint-plugin-utils_0.2.3-2.dsc for Joseph Herlant to fix a release critical bug. I filed 806237 against lintian. I filed more tickets upstream, related to my Kali packaging work: one against sddm, one against john

Other Debian-related work

Distro-Tracker. I finally merged the work of Orestis Ioannou on bug #756766 which added the possibility to browse old news of each package.

Debian Installer. I implemented two small features that we wanted in Kali: I fixed #647405 to have a way to disable “deb-src” lines in generated sources.list files. I also filed #805291 to see how to allow kernel command line preseeding to override initrd preseeding… the fix is trivial and it works in Kali. I just have to commit it in Debian, I was hoping to get an ack from someone in charge before doing it.


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

My Free Software Activities in September 2014

This is my monthly summary of my free software related activities. If you’re among the people who made a donation to support my work (26.6 €, thanks everybody!), then you can learn how I spent your money. Otherwise it’s just an interesting status update on my various projects.

Django 1.7

Since Django 1.7 got released early September, I updated the package in experimental and continued to push for its inclusion in unstable. I sent a few more patches to multiple reverse build dependencies who had asked for help (python-django-bootstrap-form, horizon, lava-server) and then sent the package to unstable. At that time, I bumped the severity of all bug filed against packages that were no longer building with Django 1.7.

Later in the month, I made sure that the package migrated to testing, it only required a temporary removal of mumble-django (see #763087). Quite a few packages got updated since then (remaining bugs here).

Debian Long Term Support

I have worked towards keeping Debian Squeeze secure, see the dedicated article: My Debian LTS report for September 2014.

Distro Tracker

The pace of development on slowed down a bit this month, with only 30 new commits in the repository, closing 6 bugs. Some of the changes are noteworthy though: the news now contain true links on bugs, CVE and plain URLs (example here). I have also fixed a serious issue with the way users were identified when they used their Alioth account credentials to login via

On the development side, we’re now able to generate the test suite code coverage which is quite helpful to identify parts of the code that are clearly missing some tests (see bin/ in the repository).

Misc packaging

Publican. I have been behind packaging new upstream versions of Publican and with the freeze approaching, I decided to take care of it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as easy as I had hoped and found numerous issues that I have filed upstream (invalid public identifier, PDF build fails with noNumberLines function available, build of the manual requires the network). Most of those have been fixed upstream in the mean time but the last issue seems to be a problem in the way we manage our Docbook XML catalogs in Debian. I have thus filed #763598 (docbook-xml: xmllint fails to identify local copy of docbook entities file) which is still waiting an answer from the maintainer.

Package sponsorship. I have sponsored new uploads of dolibarr (RC bug fix), tcpdf (RC bug fix), tryton-server (security update) and django-ratelimit.

GNOME 3.14. With the arrival of GNOME 3.14 in unstable, I took care of updating gnome-shell-timer and also filed some tickets for extensions that I use: and

git-buildpackage. I filed multiple bugs on git-buildpackage for little issues that have been irking me since I started using this tool: #761160 (gbp pq export/switch should be smarter), #761161 (gbp pq import+export should preserve patch filenames), #761641 (gbp import-orig should be less fragile and more idempotent).


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

My Debian activities in August 2011

This is my monthly summary of my Debian related activities. If you’re among the people who made a donation to support my work (91.44 €, thanks everybody!), then you can learn how I spent your money. Otherwise it’s just an interesting status update on my various projects.

Dpkg work

When I came back from Debconf, I merged my implementation of dpkg-source --commit (already presented last month). I continued some work on the hardening build flags but it’s currently stalled waiting on Kees Cook to provide the required documentation to integrate in dpkg-buildflags(1).

Following a discussion held during DebConf, Michael Prokop has been kind enough to setup a git-triggered auto-builder of dpkg (using Jenkins). You can now help us by testing the latest git version. Follow those instructions:

$ wget -O - | sudo apt-key add -
$ sudo sponge /etc/apt/sources.list.d/dpkg-git <<END
deb dpkg main
$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

On the bug fixing side I took care of #640198 (minor man page update), #638291 (a fix to correctly handle hardlinks of conffiles), #637564 (the simplification logic of union dependencies was broken in some cases) and #631494 (interrupting dpkg-source while building a native source package left some temporary files around that should have been cleaned).

WordPress update

I released WordPress 3.2.1 in unstable (after having taken the time to test the updated package on my blog!) and fixed its RC bug (#625773). In the process I discovered a false positive in lintian (I reported it in 637473).

Gnome-shell-timer package

From time to time, I like to use the Pomodoro Technique. That’s why I was an user of timer-applet in GNOME 2. Now with the switch to GNOME 3, I lost this feature. But I recently discovered gnome-shell-timer, a GNOME Shell extension that provides the same features.

I created a Debian package of it and quickly filed some bugs while I was testing it (two usability issues and an encoding problem)

QA Work

During DebConf I met Giovanni Mascellani and he was interested to help the QA team. He started working on the backlog of bugs concerning the Package Tracking System (PTS) and submitted a bunch of patches. I reviewed them and merged them but since they were good, I quickly got lazy and got him added to the QA team so that he can commit his fixes alone. It also helps to build trust when you have had the opportunity to discuss face to face. 🙂


That’s not so much compared to usual but to my defense I also took 2 weeks of vacation with my family. But somehow even in vacation I can’t really forget Debian. Here’s my son:


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