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bits from the DPL for January 2012

Dear Developers, here is another monthly report of what happened in DPL-land, this time for January 2012. There’s quite a bit to report about — including an insane amount of legal-ish stuff — so please bare with me. Or not.

Legal stuff

– Webmaster heroes have decided to tackle the long standing issues of
copyright and licensing of the Debian website [1,2]. I’ve accepted to
help them out in reaching consensus with license choice and I’m happy
to report that we’ve managed to pick a DFSG-free license (BSD-ish) for
future contributions. Webmasters will soon contact contributors to
re-license old contributions (or get rid of them), so hopefully will
have a DFSG-free website RSN. Many thanks go to David Prévot for
successfully tackling such a can of worms.


– I’ve sought a second legal advice on the constraints that trademarks
(might) impose on the work-flow of a distro like Debian. Luckily, it
is coherent with one I’ve sought in the past so I’m now in condition
to wrap up the “trademark vs DFSG” thread on -project [3] with the
missing legal information. Hopefully, I’ll find time to do that
sometime next week.


– I’ve restarted discussions with the Debian France association so that
they can become a Debian Trusted Organization (as per Constitution
§9.3). Members of the board of the association seem to be interested
and I’m positive it could happen fairly soon. The importance of this
is that we could use a back-up association in Europe to hold Debian
assets, to complement the services that FFIS are already offering us.

(thread in French)

– Thanks to the contributions of Benjamin Mako Hill and SPI lawyers,
I’ve now what I consider a final draft of a trademark policy for
Debian trademarks. Before proposing it to you, I’m waiting for some
feedback from another umbrella organization for Free Software
projects, that is working on a trademark policy for all their
associated projects. As many Free Software projects are seeking
trademark protection these days, I see benefits in having uniform (and
sane!) policies. I hope to be able to gather the feedback I still miss
this week-end at FOSDEM, and let you know shortly after that. Once
this is done, we’ll also be able to (finally!) relicense all kinds of
Debian logos under a DFSG-free license.

On this front, I’ve also updated with
the information needed to contact us about trademark usage; hopefully
it’ll reduce the burden of answering to such inquiries.

– With the help of Kenshi Muto, Fumitoshi Ukai, Ishikawa Mutsumi, Shuzo
Hatta, and Yasuhiro Araki we’ve started the process to move the Debian
trademark in Japan from individuals (who are present or past members
of the Debian JP association) to SPI. That would help dealing with
these matters, as well as ensure that important Debian assets are held
by Debian Trusted Organizations.

– I remind you that we’ve an ongoing complaint with the current
registrant of, domain that we believe Debian should
legitimately own. Lawyers at SPI has now formally contacted the
current owner and hopefully we’ll be able to solve the issue amicably
in the next months.

– Some of the past legal advice I sought for PPA came handy in a
discussion [12] on the legal risks of running a service like, hopefully addressing part of the issues in turning
that into


– Patent policy for the Debian archive is now ready as well and I also
have a patch for the website ready to be merged. I’m just waiting for
the final blessing from SPI (lawyers) to go ahead and publish it.

Most of the above wouldn’t have been possible without the precious help
of folks at SFLC [13] working for SPI and Debian. Be sure to thank SFLC
for what they’re doing for us and many other Free Software projects.



Nobody stepped up to coordinate the artwork collection for Wheezy I’ve
mentioned last month [11], so I’ve tried to do a little bit of that
myself. The -publicity team is now preparing the call for artwork and
hopefully we’ll send it out RSN. In case you want to help, there is
still a lot of room for that; just show up on the debian-desktop mailing



A Debian Med sprint has happened in January, and Andreas Tille has
provided a nice and detailed report about it [5]. Some more sprints are
forthcoming this spring, how about yours?



– We got from SPI a prepaid and rechargeable credit card that we can use
for expenses or other kind of guarantees. Many thanks to Michael
Schulteiss, SPI treasurer, for his help with that. Using it, we’ve
redeemed 10k$ of credits offered to us by Amazon, that (thanks to
ongoing work by Lucas Nussbaum) we’re going to use to make our QA
rebuilds independent from the underlying computing infrastructure.

– Thanks to the help of Luca Capello, we advanced quite a bit on forming
the Debian Event Box kit [6] that should make it easier to set up
Debian booth at FOSS events. We bought the machine for it (for about
~755 CHF) and the box to contain it will soon be on its way as well.
If you’re at FOSDEM, tend to the Debian booth to check it out (and
possibly help out with the technical setup).


– We’ve got quite a bit of donations during the December holidays. I’ve
took the chance to thank donors, discuss what we do with donations and
the status of publishing periodic Debian budgets in [7].


– Pinged by Yves-Alexis Perez, I’ve now properly documented the fact
that DDs are welcome to apply for hardware sponsoring, in case the
hardware can be used to help/improve their Debian work [9,10]. As
suggested by Yves-Alexis [8], you can also advocate *other* DDs for hw


– Given hardware invariably age and that we can afford it, I’ve prodded
DSA to prepare a general hardware replacement plan for our
machines. Planning will go on this week-end and FOSDEM (thanks to
Martin Zobel-Helas and Faidon Liambotis for their presence here) and I
hope to have an approved machine replacement plan well before the end
of the current DPL term (although I’m usually optimist…).

Important stuff going on

Other important stuff has been going on in various area of the project
in January. I’d like to point your attention to a couple of things:

– People active on debian-mentors have proposed an improved work-flow to
deal with sponsoring/mentoring requests [14], based on the usage of a
new pseudo package “sponsorship-requests”. Thanks to Ansgar Burchardt,
Jakub Wilk, Arno Töll, and Gregor Herrmann for working on this.


– Raphael Hertzog has kickstarted work on DEP-2 [15], as a way to
rationalize the flow of package-related information that
(co-)maintainers get. Discussion about the idea are ongoing on the
debian-qa mailing list.



– Work has further progressed in reaching out to companies with an
interest in giving support for, and contributing to Debian. Thanks to
Alexander Wirt the technical work is now done and some sort of
governance policy has been decided. Further step for me is to announce
it properly hoping to reach out to as many interested companies as
possible. I hope to finalize that in the next month. (If you’re
working for such a company and you happen to read this, feel free to
reach out to me already.)


– I’ve completed an old todo item setting up and documenting [17,18], service that has been requested for
collaborative work during various kinds of online events. Help is
welcome to help administering the service (see [18]).


– SPI has clarified the role of project representatives and, as a
consequence of that, I (as DPL) no longer receive SPI board
discussions addressed to board@spi. That is good not only for the
sanity of my inbox, but also because it puts all projects affiliated
to SPI at the same level of communication within SPI. Thanks to Robert
Brockway for his work on this.

In the unlikely case you’ve read thus far, thanks for your attention!
Happy Debian hacking.

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

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