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bits from the DPL for June 2011

Dear Developers, another month, another bit(s). (This report was meant to be sent out about a week ago, so it covers happenings in DPL land for June. Bear with me for further news shortly after the end of DebConf.)

Highlights
==========

There are various topics deserving an highlight this month, either
because I’ve been involved in them one way or another and you should
know about that, or because I’d like to point your attention to them.
Better get started…

RFH: debbugs
————

The first highlight for this update is a Request For Help around
debbugs, the software that powers our bug tracking service [1]. The BTS
is serving us well but, together with the current debbugs maintainers
[2], we believe it deserves some bit more people-power (that is the case
for many teams, but one at a time we can fix all of them :-P). As an
experiment, we’re therefore trying to have a debbugs mentoring sprint
[3] in the next few months. Don has kindly agreed to mentor newbies
through the code base and I’d like to thank him for that. The sprint can
also be a nice occasion to learn your way through debbugs code,
triage/squash some of its bugs, and—pet peeve of mine—improve
support for the backports bug work-flow [5]. If you are interested in
participating or help out with the organization, please follow-up to [3]
(ignoring my embarrassing typo, pretty please).

[1] http://bugs.debian.org
[2] http://wiki.debian.org/Teams/Debbugs
[3] http://lists.debian.org/debian-debbugs/2011/07/msg00000.html
[4] http://bugs.debian.org/bugs.debian.org
[5] http://lists.debian.org/debian-backports/2011/06/msg00027.html

Time-based freezes
——————

A few days ago the Release Team has sent (part 1 of) a report [6] from
their recent sprint [7]. Among the various news items, I’d like to
highlight a very important one: for this release cycle, we’re giving a
try to *time-based freezes*. I found that quite exciting; it means we
now know, 1 year in advance, that we will freeze Wheezy in June 2012
(well, it actually means we are *trying* to do that, it’s up to all of
us, collectively, to deliver). That gives time to all maintainers to
finalize their plans for Wheezy and also, for those who need it, to make
arrangements with upstreams in order to have a long term supportable
release ready for June 2012. I encourage all maintainers to go ahead
*now* and make such arrangements with upstreams, where possible and
useful.

[6] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2011/06/msg00003.html
[7] http://wiki.debian.org/Sprints/2011/Release

Python helpers
————–

Although it’s not really my job to do that, I think several people not
subscribed to -python will appreciate knowing that the Debian Python
community has recently converged on a single stack of helpers for
packaging Python stuff (see [8] for a nice fantasy tale ^W^W report
about that). That solves, at least part of, the long running issues
around Python governance in Debian. python-{central,support} “war” is no
more. I’d like to thank all the Debian Python people for taking this
important step.

[8] http://lists.debian.org/debian-python/2011/06/msg00136.html

IRC sessions
————

According to my memory, we have agreed in various discussions that
Debian will benefit from periodic training sessions (on IRC). I think
the same is true for periodic team meetings, as they are fun ways to get
work done together, and for any other gathering. That is why I salute
the recent new wave of IRC sessions organized by Francesca Ciceri [9]
(thanks!). I’ve been happy to help out a little bit with the setup and
to participate in the first “ask the DPL” session (logs are at [10]).
Another session has happened already and more are planned [9]. I
encourage all of you to participate to sessions, propose yourself as a
“speaker” on the wiki page, and peruse the #debian-meeting channel for
regular IRC meetings.

[9] http://wiki.debian.org/IRC/debian-meeting
[10] http://meetbot.debian.net/debian-meeting/2011/debian-meeting.2011-06-22-19.01.log.html

Interviews
==========

I’ve given a few interviews as of recently:

– an interview for the Muktware tech blog [11] (in English)
– an interview for the Comunità Digitali tech blog [12] (in Italian)
– an interview for an article about the whole “rolling” discussion (in
English, but still to appear)

[11] http://www.muktware.com/news/10/2011/1383
[12] http://comunitadigitali.blogosfere.it/2011/06/linux-intervista-a-stefano-zacchiroli-debian-project-leader-per-essere-parte-di-debian-ora-basta-mol.html

Sprints
=======

A couple of sprints have been approved by me and/or happened in June:

– a Release Team sprint (see [7] above)
– a DebianEdu sprint [8]

Remember: you can haz yut sprint too! Just follow the instructions [18].

[8] http://wiki.debian.org/Sprints/2011/DebianEduSprint
[18] http://wiki.debian.org/Sprints

Derivatives
===========

On the topic of derivatives, we got a status report [9] about the
completion of the first of DEX initiatives (done within the Ubuntu
chapter of DEX, and called “ancient-patches”). We’re now looking for
further DEX initiatives which, I remind you, are about closing a
technical gap—in terms of, for example, number of patches to be merged
or other metrics—that exists between Debian and one of its derivative
distribution. If you have in mind a technical area where Debian could
benefit from merging back work done in some of its derivatives, please
bring it up on the -derivatives mailing list.

If you are interested in the area of working with derivatives, I’ll be
co-hosting, together with other -derivatives people, a sort of “review”
talk [10] about that at DebConf, which you’re welcome to join.

[9] http://lists.debian.org/debian-derivatives/2011/06/msg00010.html
[10] https://penta.debconf.org/penta/submission/dc11/event/761

Miscellanea
===========

– after investigations done over the past few weeks, we’ve finally filed
the application to extend Debian (US) trademark to UK, EU, China, and
Japan (and payed the corresponding fee)

– I think we could greatly benefit from comparing governance mechanisms
we have in Debian with those of other projects. That is why, in the
context of the Debian/Society track I’m co-organizing with Daniel Kahn
Gillmor, we’ve called for an event submission about that [11]. If
you’re an expert on the topic and if you’re attending DebConf11 please
let us know, we might be able to find you at slot for presenting it
(no guarantees, though)

– there has been an interesting (and IMHO important) discussion about
hardware certification on -project (see [12] and follow-ups). An
interesting option of having a community-based framework for reporting
which hardware works and which doesn’t with Debian is in need of a
champion: speak up if you are up to the task!

Looking forward
===============

I’ll be traveling a bit on behalf of Debian over the summer (and I need
your input to represent you better).

– On July 12 I’ll be in Lisbon at a workshop [13] organized by Caixa
Magica [14], a derivative distribution that recently moved from an RPM
based system to a DEB based one. They are basing their distro on a
mixture of Debian and Ubuntu packages and they invited me to know more
about the interactions among Debian derivatives.

– The day before that, on July 11, I’ll deliver an invited speech about
Debian at the ACM workshop OSDOC’11 [15]

– At the end of August, I’ll participate and talk at the GNU Hackers
Meeting to be held in Paris [16]. The GNU hackers has invited me to
talk about Debian relationship with upstreams and also to discuss our
point of view on the Debian/GNU relationship. To that end, I’ve called
for input on -project [17] and already got very useful feedback
(thanks to anyone who replied up to now). But of course I could use
more feedback! If you are maintaining some GNU software in Debian
please check [17] and get back to me.

[11] http://upsilon.cc/~zack/blog/posts/2011/06/debian_society_track_at_debconf/
[12] http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2011/06/msg00001.html
[13] http://moss.dcti.iscte.pt/index.php?s_id=12
[14] http://www.caixamagica.pt/
[15] http://eurosigdoc.acm.org/osdoc2011/
[16] http://www.gnu.org/ghm/2011/paris/
[17] http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2011/06/msg00036.html

Thanks for bearing with me til the end of this report.
That’s all, folks.

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

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