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.
I handled a new LTS sponsor that wanted to see wheezy keep supporting armel and armhf. This was not part of our initial plans (set during last Debconf) and I thus mailed all teams that were impacted if we were to collectively decide that it was OK to support those architectures. While I was hoping to get a clear answer rather quickly, it turns out that we never managed to get an answer to the question from all parties. Instead the discussion drifted on the more general topic of how we handle sponsorship/funding in the LTS project.
Fortunately, the buildd maintainers said they were OK with this and the ftpmasters had no objections, and they both implicitly enacted the decision: Ansgar Burchardt kept the armel/armhf architectures in the wheezy/updates suite when he handled the switch to the LTS team, and Aurélien Jarno also configured wanna-build to keep building armel/armhf for the suite. The DSA team did not confirm that this change was not interfering with one of their plans to decommission some hardware. Build daemons are a shared resource anyway and a single server is likely to handle builds for multiple releases.
This month I registered for DebConf 16 and submitted multiple talk/BoF proposals:
- Kali Linux’s Experience of a Debian Derivative Based on Testing (Talk)
- 2 Years of Work of Paid Contributors in the Debian LTS Project (Talk)
- Using Debian Money to Fund Debian Projects (BoF)
I want to share the setup we use in Kali as it can be useful for other derivatives and also for Debian itself to help smooth the relationship with derivatives.
I also want to open again the debate on the usage of money within Debian. It’s a hard topic but we should really strive to take some official position on what’s possible and what’s not possible. With Debian LTS and its sponsorship we have seen that we can use money to some extent without hurting the Debian project as a whole. Can this be transposed to other teams or projects? What are the limits? Can we define a framework and clear rules? I expect the discussion to be very interesting in the BoF. Mehdi Dogguy has agreed to handle this BoF with me.
Unfortunately, when I wanted to upload it to unstable, the test suite did not ran. I pinned this down to a sqlite regression. Chris Lamb filed #820225 and I contacted the SQLite and Django upstream developers by email to point them to this issue. I helped the SQLite upstream author (Richard Hipp) to reproduce the issue and he was quick to provide a patch which landed in 3.12.1.
Later in the month I made another upload to fix an upgrade bug (#821789).
GNOME 3.20. As for each new version, I updated gnome-shell-timer to ensure it works with the new GNOME. This time I spent a bit more time to fix a regression (805347) that dates back to a while and that would never be fixed otherwise since the upstream author orphaned this extension (as he no longer uses GNOME).
I have also been bitten by display problems where accented characters would be displayed below the character that follows. With the help of members of the GNOME team, we found out that this was a problem specific to the cantarell font and was only triggered with Harfbuzz 1.2. This is tracked in Debian with #822682 on harfbuzz and #822762 in fonts-cantarell. There’s a new upstream release (with the fix) ready to be packaged but unfortunately it is blocked by the lack of a recent fontforge in Debian. I thus mailed debian-mentors in the hope to find volunteers to help the pkg-fonts team to package a newer version…
Misc Debian/Kali work
Distro Tracker. I started to mentor Vladimir Likic who contacted me because he wants to contribute to Distro Tracker. I helped him to setup his development environment and we fixed a few issues in the process.
Bug reports. I filed many bug reports, most of them due to my work on Kali:
- #820288: a request to keep the wordpress package installable in older releases (due to renaming of many php packages)
- #820660: request support of by-hash indices in reprepro
- #820867: possibility to apply overrides on already installed packages in reprepro
- #821070: jessie to stretch upgrade problem with samba-vfs-modules
- #822157: python-future hides and breaks python-configparser
- #822669: dh_installinit inserts useless autoscript for System V init script when package doesn’t contain any
- #822670: dh-systemd should be merged into debhelper, we have systemd by default and debhelper should have proper support for it by default
See you next month for a new summary of my activities.