Dear Developers, here is a status update of what has been going on in DPL land during
December 2011. It is shorter than usual as I took a couple of vacation periods off during last month, for family reasons.
Call for help: Wheezy artwork organization
On the -desktop and -publicity lists, we’ve been discussing  how to
organize the activities that will bring us a coherent visual identity
for the Wheezy desktop, as the -desktop folks did for past releases. We
should start well in advance, to have enough time to explore all
possibilities and invite artwork contributions from the broader Debian
community. Yves-Alexis Perez did an amazing job at organizing that for
Squeeze, but has made clear he is not available to do the same for
Wheezy . After discussing with him, it seems that nobody has yet
volunteered to do that for Wheezy yet.
I’m hereby calling for volunteers willing to work on that. I’ve
subscribed to the -desktop list and I’ll try to help myself, but I feel
we need someone willing to pick up the organization part. It will likely
include stuff like: help the -publicity team to write a call for
artwork, organize a poll to choose, etc. Please contact me or simply
show up on email@example.com if you can help with this.
Auditor work ramping up
We’ve almost always been struggling for transparency in Debian budgets.
The money dealings we do at SPI are quite visible, but other assets, as
well as money hosted at other trusted organizations, are too scattered
and not always as accessible as they should. … which is close to
unacceptable for a project soliciting donations. Historically, we’ve
always had trouble finding people capable and willing to work on
non-technical stuff, and accounting / auditing work is a perfect example
During December I’ve raised again the issue with the current auditors to
discover, with great pleasure!, that work is ramping up. In particular,
in December I’ve spent quite some time helping Martin Michlmayr (in his
capacity of Debian Auditor) to reconstruct expenses I’ve approved since
I’ve became DPL, while he was injecting them in *ledger. Martin is now
positive we can aim at publishing detailed and comprehensive budgets,
spanning all Debian trusted organizations, in the coming months.
While I’m on the subject of money, in December I’ve approved usage of
very little Debian money (< 70 USD) to provide sbuild instances to
attendees of the Portland BSP  (credits for the idea goes to Steve
Langasek and Kees Cook). Despite the low amount of money, I mention this
as an example of how the resources we have can be used to improve the
experience of people trying to improve Debian. Feel free to come forward
to me with similar ideas!
I’ve also authorized the payment of the machines we’ve bought to replace
the venerable kassia and liszt, for a grand total of 11’792.9 EUR.
Relationships with others
The Creative Commons process for version 4.0 of their pool of licenses
has started. Has observed by Paul Wise , we should better follow it
to ensure that CC license flavors who are currently compatible with DFSG
(as CC BY-SA 3.0), stay so in their new versions. Gunnar Wolf has kindly
volunteered to monitor the discussion on behalf of Debian. Thanks to
him, and to Paul Wise for the heads up.
I’ve gladly accepted an invite by representatives of other distributions
to join a panel at FOSDEM 2012 about local user groups (e.g. Fedora
ambassadors, LoCo groups for Ubuntu, etc). As you might remember, I
think we should have similarly organized initiatives in Debian as well,
because they are very useful in training future generations of Debian
project members. I’ve gladly accepted the invite and I’ll try to present
before then some ideas on how a similar organization could work for
Debian. Thanks a lot to Wouter Verhelst, for getting me in the loop of
this cross-distro discussion.
The rest of my DPL activities for December 2011 can be summarized as
“steady progress” on a variety of topics such as: the -companies list,
the patent policy for Debian archive, the trademark policy, and a couple
of long running “disputes” about Debian trademark. None of them have
reached yet a point worth any sort of announcement. If you care about
the gory details, please have a look at the DPL daily logs on
Happy Debian hacking!
– Stefano Zacchiroli