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bits from the DPL: some oldies

Dear Developers, another month has passed, time for another update of what has been going on in DPL-land. Since the last update of mine—released shortly after the recent elections [1]—has been mostly about “DPL interaction tips & tricks”, this one will cover the time span from mid April to now. Better get started …



… with some oldies. The -devel discussion frenzy started in April has
continued through May and has seen various important technical
discussions converge to some stable point. To recap:

– The discussion on throw away debs / source only uploads seems to have
settled with rough consensus on going ahead. A humble attempt of mine
at summarizing the final state is at [2]. Our beloved ftp-masters will
take over from there.

– The discussion on time based freezes has reached a similar stable
point, with (yet another) summary attempt of mine (biased as you
please) being available at [3]. A Release Team sprint is planned for
the near future (see below) and has the time based freezes on its
agenda already.

– The big newcomer in the -devel discussion arena has been “rolling”.
For those of you who have succumbed under the discussion load, the so
called “rolling” proposal is about providing a “testing like” suite
meant to be used by final users rather than as a device to prepare
stable releases. The abundance of “quotes” is well deserved: there are
several different views about the proposal, as well as the important
concern of how to avoid diverting away energies from the next stable
release. Rolling is another of the topics in the sprint agenda of our
beloved release team. In the meantime you can catch up with past
discussions about rolling in various ways: perusing the list archives
starting at [4], checking out the (midway) discussion summary by Lucas
[5], or by skimming directly to a concrete (and apparently quite
consensual) implementation plan proposed by Joss [6].

Since we are often quick at pointing out bad discussion behavior but
slow at doing the same with good discussion behavior, let me point out
that discussing on -devel has become more and more useful in recent
times. The above three examples show that we can discuss without running
in circles, even when starkly opposed positions are at play. It really
is about time to drop some of our self-fulfilling prophecies about
discussions on -devel; go tell your friends! :-) (… and possibly come
back with patches, given that discussions are only half of the story in
Free Software).



I’ve attended a couple of events in Europe on behalf of the project.

– LinuxTag 2011 in Berlin (Germany), where I’ve been invited [7] to
deliver the speech “Debian: 18 years and counting”. Slides of my talk
are available at [8]. More generally, Debian has been very much
present at LinuxTag 2011; a nice report has been posted by Hauke at
[9] and a way less nice by me at [10].

At LinuxTag, I’ve also been in touch with several representatives of
FSFE, who I thanked for their support to Debian in the occasion of the
awards we have recently won [11]. Together with Martin Michlmayr I’ve
also joined a (impromptu) cross-distribution roundtable on the topic
of how to encode, in a machine readable format, copyright and license
information related source packages. I’ve answered several questions
about DEP5 and its relationship with SPDX. There is a lot of interest
around this topic and people are looking at what we are doing in
Debian with great interest.

– Ellak Conference 2011 [12] in Athens and Thessaloniki (Greece), where
I’ve been invited to present the Debian project and its peculiarities.
Slides for my two speeches there are at [13].

Ellak is the Greek Free and Open Source Software Society and is very
much interested in contributing to Debian in various ways. Part of the
reason for attending their annual conference has also been to finalize
discussions with them, which have been going on in the past few
months, on how they can contribute to the organization of Debian
sprints [14]. They have already declared their interest in offering
organization help for Debian sprints [15] and they are now in the
process of choosing suitable venues. If you are based in Greece and
into Debian, you might want to get in touch with them about this

[15] (Greek only)


… and while we are talking about sprint, you’ve probably noticed that
we have had another one in the past month by the relentless Alioth
admins. See the sprint report linked from [16] to get a feeling of the
amount of work they’ve poured into it.

I’ve also approved the budget for the Release Team sprint, which will be
held this upcoming weekend with several important topics on its agenda

Do I need to remember, once more, that you can haz yur sprint too [14]?



In bureaucratic land, I’ve discussed at length with SPI to figure out
the legal constraints for setting a so called “PPA” service. Such a
service should enable Debian Developers to provide, under their own
responsibility, unofficial Debian packages benefiting from the usual
archive and buildd toolchain. To cut a long story short: this is
possible and we can have it without the bottleneck of a centralized “NEW
queue”. Nonetheless there will be a few constraints to avoid getting SPI
(or other Debian-related people) into trouble, such as it being an
opt-in service and being quick to react if illicit content get, by
mistake, uploaded to some PPA.

With SPI, I’m also discussing how to extend the coverage of the debian
trademark to other countries (a topic which is itself related to the ADR arbitration, on which I’m [eagerly] waiting for feedback
from the SPI board).


DebConf11 preparation are going on, even though you should thank the
DebConf team for them rather than yours truly. Nonetheless I’ve been
happy to approve the budget for another edition of the DebConf newbies
initiative [18,19].

I’ve also submitted several DPL-related events to the conference
program, in the hope to bring even more transparency on the governance
of Debian. If accepted, there will be BoFs and talks about: how we use
money in Debian, how sprints are organized, the usual ‘bits from the
DPL’ report, and a “DPL wannabe (and HOWTO) BoF”. If you either have DPL
experience to share or if you are considering applying in the future,
feel free to contact me for the organization of any of those events.


Thanks for reading thus far (in case you did)
and happy Debian hacking!

PS as usual, the boring day-to-day activity log is available at

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