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bits from the DPL for November 2011

Dear Project Members, another month has passed, it’s time to bother you again about what has happened in DPL land in November (this time, with even less delay than the last one, ah!).

Call for Help: press/publicity team

I’d like to highlight the call for help by the press / publicity
teams. They are “hiring” and have sent out a call for new members a
couple of weeks ago [1]. The work they do is amazing and is very
important for Debian, as important as maintaining packages or fixing RC
bugs during a freeze. It is only by letting the world know what Debian
is and what we do, that we can keep the Project thriving. And letting
the world know is exactly what the publicity and press teams [2] do. If
you’re into writing, blogging, or simply have a crush for social media,
please read the call and “apply”!



November has apparently been the “let’s interview the DPL” month. I’ve
spent quite some time giving interviews to interested journalists about
various topics. For both my embarrassment and transparency on what I’ve
said on behalf of Debian, here are the relevant links:

– audio interview with Karen Sandler [3] for the Free as in Freedom [4]
oggcast by herself and Bradley M. Kuhn
– text interview with Raphael Hertzog for the People behind Debian
series [5]
– text interview for the Linux Certification Institute Italy (LICI) [6]
(note: the original of this one is in Italian [7]; the English version
is a translation by LICI)
– video interview with Amber Granger during last UDS [8]



– the Video Team sprint [9] approved in October has happened at
beginning of November; report is still pending but the organizers are
on it

– Christian Perrier reported [10] about his trip to India mini-DebConf,
even that he attended on behalf of the Project. I find amazing both
the outcome of the event and Christian’s report, a very good example
of how to inform the Project when acting on behalf of it

– the hardware replacement for {ftp,lists}.d.o I’ve mentioned last month
has been ordered, has arrived, and DSA have already put their hands on
it for the setup. Many thanks to DSA and in particular to Martin
Zobel-Helas for the logistics

– as an administratrivia, I’ve asked SPI to setup for Debian a “gift”
credit card, i.e. a credit card with a limited, refillable budget. It
is needed for using (with a safeguard) credits offered to the Project
by public cloud providers (e.g. [11]), as well as to use various kinds
of services that we need from time to time


Legal advice (work in progress)

– I’ve sought and got from a former SPI lawyer a first legal advice on
the relationships among trademark law and the procedures of a Free
Software distro like Debian when distributing software subject to
trademarks. I’m still waiting to seek a second advice from the current
SPI lawyers (whom I’ve been keeping busy with other stuff). In the
meantime I’ve pending a summary of what I’ve got thus far in the
trademark-vs-DFSG thread [12]. Stay tuned there!

– I’ve been working with SPI lawyers on a proposal of software patent
policy that I think we should advertise to make explicit the position
of the Debian Project on software patents. I see it as a
continuation/completion of the FAQ we have already published on the
subject [13]. I’ll let you know as soon as we reach a stable draft,
that should be pretty soon.


Relationships with others

– I’ve been approached by members of the board of the OpenSource
Initiative (OSI), about the soon to be open OSI affiliation program.
They’d like to know if Debian is interested in being affiliated to
OSI. I think we should and I’ll eventually start a discussion on this
topic. In the meantime, I welcome feedback from anyone who is
interested in the topic.

– Thanks to the interest of Andrew Pollock, LaMont Jones, Florian Weimer
and the Security Team, we are discussing with ISC to have Debian —
as a project, rather than as individuals who just happen to maintain
ISC software in Debian — become member of all forums relevant for
software we distribute (BIND, NTP, DHCP). They are doing all the
coordination work, but I’ve anticipated I’ll be happy to pledge for
Debian membership.

– I’ve taken the first step to reach out to companies that have a
strategic interest in Debian. According to discussion I’ve had with
representative of such companies, they often face similar challenges
in offering Debian support and in contributing back to Debian. I think
we should offer a forum for them to discuss and find synergies, as
well as explain our needs to them. An official mailing list [14] might
be such a place.

Once we have a suitable forum ready, I’ll propose to the press team to
send out a corresponding call for companies. In the meantime, if you
happen to know, or even work for, companies that might be interested,
please ask them to get in touch with me.



– I’ve had a chance to discuss with the editors of the SPDX
specification about its relationship with DEP-5. Thanks to the help of
Dominique Dumont work is already in progress to have a mutual
converter among the two formats. Also, although with some bumps, work
on finalizing DEP-5 has finally restarted.

– an interesting thread of a while ago is in need of some work to
produce a useful outcome, i.e. a set of security guidelines for
DDs. If you’re willing to help, have a look at [15,16]

– some more mediation-fu has been going on during November; have a look
at my daily logs below if you care about the details


Thanks for reading thus far,
and happy hacking.

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

— Stefano Zacchiroli zack@{,,} . o . Maître de conférences …… …… . . o Debian Project Leader ……. @zack on ……. o o o « the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

One Response to “bits from the DPL for November 2011” »

  1. Pingback by bits from the DPL for November 2011 | – Your one … | Linux Blog — December 11, 2011 @ 9:46 am

    […] about what has happened in DPL land in November (this time, with even less delay. Original post: bits from the DPL for November 2011 | – Your one … This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged another-month, dpl, month, project, […]

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