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FTPMaster Meeting September 2012 Report

Hello world, As previously announced[1] we had a FTP Team meeting from the 14th to the 20th of September in Fulda, working on various parts of the archive software.

[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2012/09/msg00001.html

Team changes
============
And just like in that mail, let us start here with the team itself,
though this time it is no introduction. We have taken the meeting as an
opportunity to promote Ansgar to FTPMaster, so you all might want to
send him your condolences now. Yay, we are back with 3 active
FTPMasters.

DMUA / DM changes
=================
Ansgar already announced[2] this on this list earlier, but it is part of
the meeting and also important enough to warrant another mentioning:

We have implemented a new interface for managing DM permissions and will
stop using the DMUA flag on the 24th of November, please read his mail
and the various followups for more information on how you might be
affected.

[2] https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2012/09/msg00008.html

Pdiff generation
================
For some time the Debian archive provided diff files to support
incremental updates for Packages, Sources and Contents files, but
neither the way these diffs were generated, nor the usefulness of the
result were particularly great.

The two major problems with those pdiffs have been
– the slowness on the user side when fetching many small files,
applying them, in a one-by-one way, which almost always lets user
disable them if their uplink is just a little faster than, say, ISDN.

– the way they are handled on our side. Get one trouble somewhere in
the series and the old code had you delete ALL the history of that
and start it anew – as such forcing the redownload of big files for
the users.

To address those issues the code has been adjusted so that it allows us
to merge older diffs together in such a way that a user only has to
download at most two diffs to end up with the final result as apt wants
it. Compared to previously having up to 56 files to apply (if you don’t
update daily), this is a huge improvement.

We are now also keeping internal state for a longer time than just one
run, so in case we run into any trouble with the generation of those
files, we can easily redo those steps, no longer forcing a complete
erasure. This new code is not yet merged, but we plan to do so pretty
soon now.

Backports merge
===============
While our original plan was to have backports.debian.org merged into the
main archive during the meeting, this didn’t happen for personal reasons
outside the scope of this mail. But even so, we have had a lot of code
changes related to the merge, adding a set of features to dak allowing
us to grant rights to seperate groups of people so that they can
“micro-manage” a defined subset of our larger installation. Like, in
this case, the backports people for the backports “sub”-archive.

This is all ready, merged and live, and we intend to do the actual
merger of the archives somewhere in the next weeks, depending on the
availability of us and the backports team.

Minor improvements
==================
Besides the above major points we also have a number of minor
improvements implemented:
– The security archive will soon check the checksums of uploaded files
against those from the main archive. This should ensure that no
upstream tarball accidently has slightly different contents on
security – later on breaking the migration to proposed-updates.
– Some parts of dak now use a less-priviledged user for their actions.
– Better error messages for packages that were rejected due to missing
files or corrupted hashes.
– and multiple other small bug fixes.

Thanks
======
We would like to thank everyone who has donated[3] to the Debian
Project, for making this productive meeting possible.

We also have to thank the Office Factory Fulda[4], who generously hosted
us for this week.

[3] http://www.debian.org/donations
[4] http://www.office-factory.net/


Thanks, Joerg
for the FTP Team

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