Hi (again), I'm Zack, and this is my blog. Have a look at the most recent posts below, or browse the tag cloud here on the right.
Archives are available as well.
You can leave comments on my posts by following the relevant link associated to each post. Alternatively, you can mail me comments; note that unless otherwise requested, I will add mailed comments in the comment feeds.
Qualche giorno fa ho partecipato alla trasmissione radiofonica Caterpillar su Radio 2, per parlare dell'adozione di Debian sulla stazione spaziale internazionale. La NASA ha infatti deciso di sbarazzarsi di tutti i laptop che ancora giravano su Windows e di migrarli a Debian, con ottime motivazioni. Il nostro Luca Parmitano "smanetterà" sul sistema operativo cui contribuisco da ormai una dozzina d'anni. YAY!
Ne ho parlato con molto piacere in diretta con il Dott. Cirri, il buon Maggioni, ed il resto della banda di Caterpillar lo scorso 30 maggio.
Dato che non è più disponibile sul sito di Caterpillar, ho reso disponibile qui sul sito la prima parte della puntata in podcast. Il mio intervento inizia al minuto 19" circa.
Dear Project Members,
"Now that I have your attention, I would like to make the following delegations:"
... nah, scrap that. In my last day in office I first of all owe you a report of DPL activities for the last reporting period of this term, i.e. March 8th until today. Here it is!
At LibrePlanet (see below) I've discussed at length with Karen Sandler as GNOME representative the possibility of Debian participation in the FOSS Outreach Program for Women. I've then proposed that we do participate and, as you might have read on d-d-a, we're now doing that. Many thanks to the volunteer co-organizers for Debian participation in the program: Mònica Ramírez Arceda, Ana Guerrero López, and Patty Langasek.
A couple of years of work with the auditors has come together. At
elgar.debian.org:/srv/accounting.debian.org/ledger/you can now find Debian monetary transactions for the 2010-2013 period. Note that:
1) They are not all of our transactions, most notably because we haven't yet managed to get access to all our bank transactions at SPI (while we do have access to other transactions there, e.g. donations). Given the relevance of the missing transactions for our budget, this is a blocker for producing meaningful public periodic reports of Debian finances. This is clearly annoying, but I'm confident that our feedback to SPI over the past years has helped them better understand our needs and improve. I hope this could be finally solved during the next DPL term. And,
2) Donor names have been anonymized in the ledger files, in wait of a donation system that allow to express privacy preferences. Complete donation information is available in the companion ledger.git repository, which is accessible to auditors only.
I'd like to thank the Debian auditors, and in particular Martin Michlmayr, for their amazing work on this over the past 3 years.
As you might have noticed, we now have an official Debian Project blog, finally entering the brave new Web 1.5 era I've only helped "politically" here and there with this over the years, and I'm happy to see it live. Your thanks for this should go to the blog editors---Francesca Ciceri and Ana Guerrero Lopez---and to DSA for making it real. A proper delegation for the editors is pending and I'm confident the next DPL will pick it up.
Over the past month or so I've attended and spoken on behalf of Debian in the following occasions:
"Debian and GNU" talk at LibrePlanet 2013; slides are available. Many thanks to John Sullivan and the Free Software Foundation for inviting me to talk at their main conference. My presence there has also been a chance to reassess the status of collaboration with FSF (see John's brief summary) and discuss further technical collaboration with the Trisquel maintainers.
"Legal issues from a radical community angle" keynote at the yearly workshop of FSFE's European Legal Network; slides are available. The talk has also been covered by a LWN feature article last week (the link should become unembargoed for non-LWN subscribers starting tomorrow).
I've approved the budget for the following forthcoming sprints:
Also, we've bought a 3-year warranty pack for the disk array that powers ftp-master.d.o (~900 USD).
On the income side, Brian Gupta has started an interesting matching fund experiment, in order to raise funds for the forthcoming DebConf13. The matching fund will be open until April 30th, so your help in spreading news would be welcome. Many thanks to Brian for the idea and to his company, Brandorr Group, for funding it.
Legal Spring Cleaning
I've finally cleaned up the pile of pending legal matters (but I'm sure new ones will show up for the delight of the next DPL :-P)
one is merely internal for email@example.com: our procedures for (n)acks on incoming requests has now been vetted by our legal advisors
the second one is relevant for our mentors.debian.net service: one of the blockers to officialize it as mentors.debian.org have historically been DMCA-related concerns. We now have a DMCA policy for (wannabe) mentors.d.o, which I've shared with the service maintainers and DSA. This specific part should no longer be a concern.
the last one concerns the possibilities of playing DVDs with Debian. We now have legal guidelines on how to include installer packages that allow to do so; that should allow us to have a decent solution for our users in the Jessie time frame.
Once again, I'd like to thank SFLC for the pro bono and very high quality legal advice they keep on offering to Debian.
- I've mentioned last month that, as a Debian representative, I've joined a working group by the Italian public administration (PA) that should define procurement rules for software in the PA at large, together with representatives of other well-known FOSS initiatives (e.g. KDE, FSFE). The first meetings have now been held and I've participate in some, for the moment on my own budget. I'll check with the next DPL the feasibility of keep on doing so on in the future.
Now, before I get sentimental, let me thank Gergely, Lucas, and Moray for running in the recently concluded DPL election. Only thinking of running and then go through a campaign denote a very high commitment to the Project; we should all be thankful to them.
Then I'd like to congratulate Lucas for his election. I've known him for a long time, and I can testify about his clear vision of the role Debian has to play in Free Software and on what Debian needs to improve to do so. Best wishes for the term ahead, Lucas!
Finally, I'd like to thank you all for the support you've shown me over the past 3 years. Serving as DPL is a great honor, but also a very demanding job. Thank to you all, and to how cool Debian is, it has been for me an incredibly rewarding experience. I had no idea what I were doing when I embarked on this adventure, but in hindsight I don't regret any of it. See you around, as I don't plan to be anywhere far away from Debian anytime soon.
PS the day-to-day activity logs for March and April 2013 are
available at the usual place
Dear project members, here's another report of DPL activities, this time for a period longer than usual (February + 1st week of March), so that the next one will be at the very end of the current DPL term.
As you know, we are now well within the DPL election process. And we have 3 valuable candidates running. I encourage all of you to participate in the discussions on -vote, and ask questions about project vision, goals, and improvements. It's something that is rarely as intense as during campaigning, so don't miss the chance!
You might have noticed a sharp decrease in the count of RC bugs affecting Wheezy; that is largely due to the Release Team, who started the usual final sweep of RC triaging before release. Please thank them for their work, ... but don't give up on our collective work yet! You can still help up in the usual ways (NMUs, severity adjustments, unblock reviews, etc).
The technical committee had to deal with a rather urgent issue during last month (
#699808). I mention it here only to applaud their efficiency in doing so: 4 days to reach a decision. Resorting to tech-ctte shall always remain a last resort in Debian, but when it comes to that it's useful to know that we can count on a wise and speedy answer.
As the previous term was about to end, I've agreed with the Kurt Roeckx to re-appoint him as Project Secretary for another year.
Following up to last month news, we've now assembled a team of admins for Debian participation into Google Summer of Code 2013 and delegated them for the task. Many thanks to David, Nicolas, Paul, and Sukhbir for volunteering, as well as to last year admins for their help in reaching out to interested volunteers.
On a related note, we've until March 28th to propose projects and/or volunteer as (co-)mentor for GSoC 2013.
I've worked with the press and publicity teams to announce the new trademark policy more widely and call for producing Wheezy merchandise. Apparently, we are now also being cited as a reference on how to strike a balance between free software and trademark (unfortunately the article is behind a paywall now).
In related news, Brian Gupta has volunteered to help with answering firstname.lastname@example.org inquiries and has already helped a lot in streamlining the process and keeping track of past requests (thanks!)
Following a -project inquiry by Thomas Koch, I've investigated with SPI the possibility of assigning to them the copyright for (code) contributions to Debian. The bottom line is that at present there is no safe way to do that with SPI; that might change in the future.
As agreed at a DPL helpers meeting, we are trying to federate interests in Debian sponsoring and fund-raising. Part of the goal is avoid duplication of efforts DebConf- and sponsoring for other Debian activities; and part is establishing a more stable income flow for Debian (to ease long-term budget decisions). If you have experience and interest in this area, please join the debian-sponsors-discuss list on Alioth.
Together with auditors, we have updated reimbursement procedures to better keep track of both outstanding and past requests. Main difference is that you'll now have to mail a RT queue instead of email@example.com directly. Check the wiki page for details.
At the beginning of February, I've attended FOSDEM 2013, together with many other Debian people. I didn't have any specific talk this year, but it's been a chance to talk F2F about several ongoing issues (see logs), and help mediating in some conflicts. I've also accepted the invitation to participate in the GNOME Advisory Board meeting, together with Laurent Bigonville of our GNOME team. No report of that has been prepared as of yet (sorry about that), but we have both reported "live" to the rest of the team on IRC.
It looks like my last month as DPL will be quite busy. Next week I'll be first in New York City, delivering an invited Debian talk at NYLUG (thanks a lot to Brian Gupta and Tom Limoncelli for the invitation). Then I'll head to LibrePlanet 2013 to talk about the relationship between Debian and GNU (thanks to John Sullivan for the invitation). Finally, at the beginning of April, I'll be in Amsterdam to deliver a talk about Debian experience with various legal issues across the years, at the yearly FSFE Legal and Licensing Workshop (thanks to Karsten Gerloff for the invitation).
Both trips (LibrePlanet and FSFE) will be on Debian budget. While I usually insist on having travel sponsorship from inviting entities, in this cases I've accepted to do otherwise given they are free software non profits like Debian.
I've been invited to represent Debian at Distro Recipes. Due to a conflict with FSFE workshop I couldn't make, so I've looked for substitutes. Lucas Nussbaum and Jonas Smedegaard have kindly accepted to go in my stead and deliver two talks, one about QA and the other about Pure Blends; thanks folks!
A couple of months ago I've mentioned that I had filed an application, as Debian representative, to participate in a working table to define software procurement rules for the Italian public administration. Good news: my application has been accepted, together with those of other well-known FOSS communities and organizations (e.g. KDE, FSFE). I'll keep you posted of how it goes.
Let's go back to elect a new DPL and release Wheezy now,
PS the day-to-day activity logs for February and March 2013 are
available at the usual place
(insert here: I've been to FOSDEM, I got a nasty
flu, and other
$lame_excuses for the delay in
sending out this report)
Dear Project Members, here's the monthly DPL activity report, this time for January 2013.
About the next DPL
This is the last DPL report before the start of the election process for the next term: around early March, about 20 days from now, the Secretary will send out the call for nominations. I'd like to respond (also) here to inquiries I'm receiving these days: I will not run again as DPL. So you have about 20 days to mob^Wconvince other DDs to run, or decide to run yourself. Do not to wait for the vary last minute, as that makes for lousy campaigns. I'm available to give feedback about my DPL experience to prospective candidates, ... and also to join mobbing^Wconvincing actions toward potential candidates. Just contact me.
Call for helps
Last year delegation for Google Summer of Code Admins has expired and the program for 2013 will likely start soon. I'm looking for volunteer admins for this year, to organize Debian activities in the program. If you're interested, please contact me.
In January we had a couple of related discussions on -project about DFSG §10 and maintaining an authoritative list of DFSG-free licenses. The latter would be an important contribution to the Free Software "political" ecosystem. An ikiwiki-based infrastructure to maintain such a list has been created by ftp-masters but needs to be populated. At this point we need volunteers willing to review licenses already present in main and fill them in. If you're interested, please review the discussion and manifest yourself on firstname.lastname@example.org, where coordination about this work will happen.
The long standing issue of writing a proper (outbound) trademark policy for Debian marks has been completed. I've reviewed on -project outstanding items from the last discussion, and documented how they've been implemented in a new policy draft. Later on, I've published the updated policy draft on our website.
Complementary to the above, Ian Jackson has summarized the state of the discussion about our (inbound) trademark policy, i.e. what to do when accepting in the Debian archive software subject to trademark. It looks like we are close to conclusion on that front too.
I've worked with representatives of Debian France, on the shared interest in having the association become a Debian Trusted Organization (per Constitution §9.3). We're not yet ready to start the 2 weeks discussion period to accept the orga as such (see Constitution §5.1.11), but I'd like to do that soon. So I encourage all of you to find out about the association, which is run by well-known project members.
Work has gone on also on the front of supporting Debian installation in public "clouds". Thanks to Arnaud Patard, Jose Miguel Parrella Romero, Pierre Couzy, and Gianugo Rabellino, we now have Debian testing images for Microsoft Azure. Together with Amazon EC2, this is the second large provider supporting Debian via images maintained by Debian Developers. More providers are welcome, exactly as more hardware/CD vendors shipping Debian are always welcome. If you want to contribute support for other providers just show up on the -cloud mailing list and say so. Some documentation effort in view of Wheezy are in need of help too, in order to let our users know about "cloud" options, see #695681.
The DPL helpers experiment goes on. We have had 2 more IRC meetings in January (see the minutes). Documentation of the "team" communication channels (mailing list, IRC, Git, etc.) is now available from the DPL wiki page.
I've given an invited Debian talk at Polytech'Grenoble, as part of a free software event organized for students of local universities. Slides of the talk are available. I'd like to thank Vincent Danjean for the event organization.
Let's release Wheezy now!
PS the day-to-day activity log for January 2013 is available at
the usual place
Happy new year, Debian!
To celebrate, here are some freshly posted, bits from the DPL for December 2012.
Dear Project Members, happy new year!
Here goes another report of DPL activities, this time for December 2012. This issue of the DPL-monthly is skinnier than usual: during the past month I've been struck by the catastrophe also known as "family holiday season", enjoying a solid 10 day break from computer-related activities.
I've been invited to talk about Debian and its opportunities in the field of education (for both students and teachers) at the fOSSa conference in Lille, France. Slides of the talk I delivered there are available.
On related news, I've gladly accepted an invitation to talk at the next LibrePlanet conference in Boston, next March. It will be the occasion to discuss the status of collaboration with the FSF and the GNU Project. (FWIW, I'm trying to secure travel sponsorship with the conference organizers, but if that won't turn out to be possible I plan to go on Debian funds, as I consider this event important enough to do so.)
The debian.eu saga is over! DNS is now under control of DSA, currently as a redirection to debian.org as for many other ccTLD, and we have now paid the corresponding transfer costs.
The saga about the relicensing of www.d.o content, on the other hand, is still ongoing. But we made progress! Bradley Kuhn has kindly offered his experience to complete the relicensing part --- and most notably for dealing with contributions from people we haven't been able to contact. Due to busy-ness we will proceed further only in a few months, but in the meantime there is some work to do on our side, as documented in #388141.
In conformance with the periodic hardware maintenance plan (the goal of which is, I remind you, having all Debian hardware under warranty) we have bought extended warranty for the storage array that serves project machines hosted at UBC ECE (~830 CAD). Thanks goes to Luca Filipozzi for taking care of the order part.
As they did last year, Amazon kindly renewed their offer of AWS credit to be used for Debian related purposes, such as QA rebuilds. This year they offered us 8'000 USD of credit which, according to projections from last year usage, should be enough for QA rebuilds and buildd usage for events like BSP. Many thanks to Lucas Nussbaum and James Bromberger for reaching out to Amazon contacts and making this possible.
The experiment of sharing the load of DPL responsibilities within a larger team still ongoing. We held one more IRC meeting in December (and skipped one due to holiday season…). Logs are available at the usual place.
Also, I've now started moving the DPL-related part of my own TODO list to the dpl-helpers.git repository. The idea is to further reduce SPOF and ease the transition to the next DPL.
BTW: this is my last-3 report as DPL. If you haven't yet started encouraging project members you think could do a good job as DPL to apply, you should better hurry up!
Collaboration with the outer world
I've signed the OSI affiliate membership agreement on behalf of Debian. This is just a long overdue formalization of the decision to join of a few months ago. The signed version is available in the DPL document archive on master.d.o, and it has been publicly discussed with other projects on the OSI affiliates mailing list.
As requested, I've provided a quote for FSF's restricted boot campaign, that we have subscribed as a project a while ago.
Thanks to the prod of various people (hi, Sune!), I've noticed an interesting call by the Italian government to representatives of FOSS communities, to form a group of experts that will have to decide the criteria to adopt in the public administration. The call is in Italian, but an article in English on the matter has been posted on the Joinup website of the European Commission. I've therefore submitted an application as Debian representative and, if accepted, I'll be happy to push for criteria that too often leaves high quality and well reputed community-based distributions out of the door for futile reasons (e.g. corporate "certifications").
That's all for last year, enjoy the new one, which will soon see a new Debian release out of the door. And to make it happen sooner, let's go back fix RC bugs!
PS the day-to-day activity log for December 2012 is available at
the usual place
Just posted, bits from the DPL for November 2012.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- / Pop-up advertisement. Breaking news. Help the Release Team  by reviewing \ | pending unblock requests. Oh, and by fixing RC bugs too. | | | | : http://nthykier.wordpress.com/2012/12/09/wheezy-release-progress-december/ | \---------------------------------------------------------------------------------/
Dear Project Members, here is another (delayed) monthly report of DPL activities, this time for November 2012.
In November, I've kept on helping the work of the debian-cloud initiative that I've announced last month. Some work went into setting up the usual infrastructure pieces (mailing list, pseudo-package in the BTS), some other into paperwork: on behalf of Debian, James Bromberger has opened an account on the Amazon Marketplace. That enabled us to deliver the first milestone: official Debian Squeeze images for Amazon EC2 (I keep it short here, but you can find more info in various places). More work is needed, and ongoing, to support other public clouds, better document Debian availability there, etc. You can help! Just show up on -cloud.
I've then spent quite some time in November getting up to speed with the status of DebConf13 organization. For the first time, this year we have implemented the "budget approval" process that I've introduced a couple of years ago. The budget I've reviewed looked good and it's balanced (meaning that the event should be self-sustained, at least that's the theory); so I've been happy to approve it. I'm looking forward, once again, to meet many of you in Switzerland this summer!
Together with Enrico Zini (with his DAM hat on) I've also helped Kevin Carrillo, a PhD student from New Zealand, to finalize and advertise a survey of newcomer experiences in Debian. The hope is to learn more about what works and what can be improved in our NM process, possibly learning from other FOSS projects that are also participating in the survey.
As a last highlight, the "dpl-helpers" initiative I've spam-ed you with several times is keep on going. We held 2 more IRC meetings during November and we have also worked on the infrastructure: we now have a mailing list and a Git repo associated to the "dpl" project on Alioth. To ease handing over pending tasks to the next DPL, I'm also working with DSA to set up some DPL related request tracker queues.
BTW, this is my last-4 report as DPL, if you haven't yet thought at who you want as next DPL and started bothered him/her, you better hurry up!
I've given an invited talk about Debian and our relationships with companies at the yearly FOSS seminar of France Telecom / Orange
on related news, the minutes of the Debian/Ubuntu relationship session at the last UDS have now been posted to -derviatives; some addendum has been discussed in the resulting thread
We have finally got the certificate from the Japan Patent Office, confirming that ownership of Debian trademark there has been transferred to SPI. Many thanks to Kenshi Muto for his help on this matter over the past several months.
We have also finally been transferred ownership of the debian.eu domain, from its previous owner (formally: the domain is now owned by FFIS, the Trusted Organization we rely upon the most in Europe).
We got our first "donation" from DuckDuckGo for revenue sharing over the past 3 months. It's about 150 USD, which answers the worries that excessive profit from this kind of deals might influence our judgement. The precondition is far from being satisfied.
That's all for now,
let's go back releasing Wheezy,
PS the day-to-day activity log for November 2012 is available at
the usual place
rc bugs, cloud, and getting involved
Once again, the organization has been great and the average quality of the talks have been very high. I'd say talk quality is now totally up to par with the yearly full blown DebConf (and yes, talks have been in English ). If I had to single the talk that intrigued me the most, I'd name Joss' talk on large GNOME deployments: it's full of insights on the GNOME architecture and of tips useful to all power users, no matter the size of your GNOME "deployment". For more info on the talks have a look at the program. To catch up with the talks you missed you can peruse the slides there and/or keep an eye on http://video.debian.net, where we usually post conference videos "when they are ready".
At the conference I've also witnessed the usual healthy mix of country origins that I remember from the previous Paris mini DebConf. Once again I've been happy to meet (and host!) Debian friends from many countries including Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Finland, … you name it. Kudos to the organizers (hi Sylvestre and Mehdi!) and to all the volunteers who made this possible.
On my part, I didn't have any full blown talk scheduled
ETOOMANYTALKS struck me this month…) but I did book
two lightning talks slots that I've used for:
- rambling on RC bugs and the effects of long freezes on Debian
- presenting the debian-cloud initiative, which is rather new but incredibly active and effective despite its infancy
On the subject of lightning talks, I also recommend to promote Lucas' talk on how to get involved in Debian. It's dense and straight to the point, able to both convey useful tips and point wannabe contributors to the most useful contributions they can make to Debian.
In recent times we have worked quite a bit to improve the NM process, i.e. the process newcomers go through to become members of the Debian Project. As it happens, I've just read Nathan's recent post on his NM experience and I think it is a perfect example of the joining experience we are trying to offer to all newcomers.
But examples, be them positive or negative, are only anecdotal. To evaluate a process one needs actual data and someone analyzing them, ideally with a scientific approach. This is why I'm happy to host below a guest blog post by Kevin Carillo, who is doing a pretty thorough scientific study about how newcomers join a wide range of Free Software projects, including KDE, OpenSUSE, GNOME, and Debian, of course!
TL;DR: if you started contributing to Debian after January 2010, there's a survey for you; participating will help us improving the NM process even further.
Kevin's guest blog post follows.
Newcomer experience in Debian and other FOSS communities - Survey
My name is Kevin Carillo. I am a PhD student currently living in Wellington (New Zealand) and I am doing some research on Free/Open Source Software communities.
If you have started contributing to the Debian project after January 2010 (within approximately the last 3 years), I would like to kindly request your help. I am interested in hearing from people who are either technical or non-technical contributors, and who have had either positive or negative newcomer experiences.
The purpose of the research is to work out how newcomers to a FOSS community become valued sustainable contributors.
The survey is online and will be available until Tuesday, 27 November, 2012.
Inspiration from Debian New Member
Debian is a successful community that keeps attracting new contributors and that relies on a very unique way to handle the integration of new contributors: the New Member process.
The idea behind the NM process is that it is some sort of filtering procedure allowing to only retain the individuals who have the potential to become valued sustainable contributors in Debian. Within Debian, there is a lot of enthusiasm and pride around the NM process as it seems to be functioning pretty well but the question is: Is this really enough to ensure that Debian remains a healthy and growing community? How does it compare to the way newcomers are integrated in other large projects such as KDE, GNOME, or in other non-Linux related communities such as Mozilla?
I have to admit that the Debian NM process has been among the main sources of inspiration that made me embark in this research project. I have kept being quite impressed when talking to people who had gone through the process as all of them came out of it with a real passion for the project and love for its community.
When reflecting on the reasons why the NM process succeeds, I have a feeling it is some instance of ritualized socialization. In other words, barriers and initiation rituals that require some effort from newcomers, generate members with higher commitment and sense of identification towards the Debian community.
What do newcomers really experience?
The main assumption that motivated this project is that attracting new members has become crucial for a large majority of FOSS communities but this is not a sufficient condition to ensure the success and prosperity of a project. A proportion of a community's newcomers must contribute to the well-being and growth of the community.
Keeping all that in mind, FOSS projects have thus to do a good job at "socializing" their newcomers and turning them into 'good' contributors. Doing a good job here means that FOSS projects shall ensure that they help generate citizenship-like behaviors from newcomers by designing appropriate newcomer programs and procedures.
FOSS communities rely on a wide array of initiatives to facilitate the integration of newcomers but it seems like the other side of the coin is less understood: What do newcomers really experience? And how does this influence their contributions and actions within a project?
How is this study going to help Debian?
The data will help gain insights about the experience of newcomers within the Debian community. In addition, it will allow to understand how to design effective newcomer initiatives to ensure that Debian will remain a successful and healthy community.
The dataset will be released under a share-alike ODbL license so that Debian contributors can extract as much value as possible from the data. Since this survey also involves other large FOSS projects such as Mozilla, KDE, Gnome, Ubuntu, Gentoo, OpenSUSE, and NetBSD, it will also be possible to compare practices across projects in order to identify what works from what does not work when facilitating the integration of newcomers.
About the survey
This survey is anonymous. The raw dataset of everything one fills in the survey will be released under the ODbL. Since all the questions but one are optional, one is free to control the amount of information they are giving away about themselves.
I expect the survey to take around 20 minutes of your time.
If you know members of the Debian community who you think would be interested in completing it, please do not hesitate to let them know about this research.
--- Kevin Carillo
Freshly baked, bits from the DPL for October 2012.
Dear Project Members,
another month, another periodic report of DPL-ish activities, this time for October 2012.
Debian on public clouds
I've spent quite some time to improve Debian presence on the so called "public clouds". Following up to an inquiry of a fellow developer, I've reached out to Microsoft to investigate the possibility of having Debian as an option on Windows Azure. Around the same time, I've been approached by Amazon to have Debian as an option on the AWS marketplace. In both cases, we will need to overcome challenges of various kinds, at the technical (e.g. image preparation), bureaucratic (e.g. terms of the agreements we'll need to accept to be present), and political (e.g. chain of trust, platform freedom) levels.
Up to now, discussions have been going on mostly in private, simply because they started as 1-to-1 inquiries and continued from there, but there is no good reason they should remain so. Hence, thanks to the listmasters and in particular Alexander Wirt, we have setup the new debian-cloud mailing list. If you are interested in these topics please join the list.
For both Azure and AWS there is good progress on the technical part already; summaries will soon be posted on the list so that we are all on the same page. Similarly, I'll post there status reports about the bureaucratic requirements. And of course there is no reason to focus on specific clouds, if you'd like to support others and are willing to put some work to that end, please join the list and let us know.
DPL helpers meeting
I've already bothered you—at least in my last platform and DebConf13 talk—with observations about how non-scalable the DPL job is. After having collected applications of DPL helpers for a while, I've finally sat down and tried to put those applications into good use. The idea is simple: to the extend of possible, we should shift from a one-man-band job to a more "board-like" job, with people sharing an agenda, a list of outstanding tasks, and public communication. We have started slowly, setting up the #debian-dpl IRC channel and running periodic bi-weekly meetings there. You can find the meeting minutes and full logs at the usual place.
We are still ramping up, so we don't have yet "fancy" stuff like a mailing list or an issue tracker entry, but they're in the working. Some of the outcome are starting to show, too (e.g. as part of recent discussions on 3rd party orphaning, or on our inbound trademark policy, or even in the forthcoming DMCA policy to make mentors.d.n an official project service).
It's an experiment and a big challenge. I'm, for one thing, not yet convinced there are enough people interested in sharing the load of DPL duties (that look boring, for many tech geeks) in the long run. But I'm also convinced that the sustainability of the Debian organization model depends on this, so it's worth trying. If you're interested in the challenge and willing to volunteer some of your time, please join us on #debian-dpl . I'll take care of keeping the project informed of further evolution, in particular about the communication channels we will pick for day to day activities and accountability.
Events / public communication
I've spent most of my remaining Debian time in October attending events on behalf of the Project, in particular:
I've attended and delivered a Debian speech at the yearly LinuxDay event in Turin, Italy. Slides of my talk are available
I've then attended the by-yearly Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) in Copenhagen, representing Debian there. I've met a bunch of people there, generally vouching for more (and more (and more…)) collaborating at the Debian-Ubuntu border. I've also attended the traditional Debian-Ubuntu "health check" session, presenting there the topics I've collected on the -derivatives list. A report of the session is pending, but I should have successfully talked Stefano Rivera into posting it to -derivatives soon g.
On the topic of public communication, I've also coordinated with the press team an answer to a press inquiry about Secure Boot (which has become part of this article), and happily vouched for the Ubuntu charity marathon, adding some Debian challenges to it.
Assets and legal stuff
on the logo relicensing, one pending matter from last month was the non-free-ness of the so called "official" logo. Discussion continued, but we had no consensus in ditching it completely. Rather, I've proposed to bless as "official" Debian logo the free one, and rename the other for what it is, a "restricted" Debian logo. The change was consensual and has been implemented
our account creation request to softchoice.com has been approved, meaning that we can now more easily buy hardware in North America, reducing a bit the bureaucratic burden associated to individual purchases. Thanks to DSA, and Luca Filipozzi in particular, for his help with this matter
there are a couple of legal matters on which there have been progress, but still inconclusive. Just to mention that they haven't been forgotten, they are the DMCA policy for mentors.d.o and the appropriate presentation for a forthcoming libdvdcss installer package in the archive
sadly, we have found no volunteer admin for the Google Code-In initiative, so we won't participate this year
the end of 2012 is approaching, sprint-wise, we have had roughly the same number of sprints than the previous year (8 vs 9). Please start planning your sprints for 2013, so that we can minimize travel costs and bring more people at the event!
Now let's all go back to RC Bug squashing to make Wheezy a reality. SPAM-my link of the month is http://udd.debian.org/bugs.cgi and its various "views" at the bottom of the page.
PS the day-to-day activity log for October 2012 is available at
the usual place
Just posted to d-d-a, bits from the DPL for Septemer 2012.
here is the periodic report of DPL activities, this time related to September 2012 (posted here with some delay, as I've been traveling oversea on behalf of Debian for the past few days).
Help needed: Google Code-In
The Google Code-In (GCI) initiative is about to start again. We don't have a great track record of participating into it, and that's a pity. The initiative revolves around small tasks that other Free Software projects have come to call "easy hacks", showing how effective they're in attracting new volunteers. To participate, we need both mentors and admins. If you're interested see Ana's call for help and please volunteer on the soc-coordination list.
Related to this, you've probably seen the report of our participation in GSoC 2012. I'd like to thank all students, mentors, and admins for a very well organized edition.
Logo relicensing & other assets
The DFSG-relicensing of the Debian logo, which I've mentioned in recent updates, has now happened. The so called Debian "Open Use" logo, in both variants (with and without "Debian") is now dually licensed under LGPL3+ / CC-BY-SA 3.0. The change has been made effective with a resolution of the SPI Board of Directors.
Note that the so called "official" logo, which we seem to use very little, is still released under the terms of a non-free license. Discussion is ongoing on -project to stop promoting it. If you're using it or if you've arguments in favor of against that, please participate in the discussion.
I've got from SFLC an updated draft of the new proposed trademark policy, implementing most of the changes requested during related August discussions on -project. I'll post it for review there shortly.
The Japanese Trademark Office (JPO) has sent us the final confirmation that trademark transfer request (from individuals Debian contributors in the area to SPI) has happened. We've paid the needed fee of 457 CHF to conclude the transaction.
We finally settled a domain transfer agreement with the current owner of the debian.eu. Technically, the domain will be transferred to FFIS in the coming weeks.
Core teams (non-)news
Quite some core teams are in the process of changing their formations these weeks, but most are still pending proper delegation (or equivalent). So here are just a few "teasers":
as you might have read in the ftp-master sprint report, we have a new ftp-master: congrats Ansgar! (delegation update pending, but no suspense here)
we have a new front-desk member (delegation pending + suspense)
we have a new debian policy team (delegation pending + suspense)
the tech-ctte is in the process of selecting a new candidate to fill the vacant seat. I've nominated a couple of candidates myself, and I'm now waiting for tech-ctte recommendations as per Constitution §6.2.
On related news, the tech-ctte has now dealt with the conflict on Python interpreter maintenership, which was also the longest standing issue brought before them. Having invested quite some energy in that issue myself, I'm delighted to see it finally addressed.
I hope to finalize all the pending tasks above this month.
I've spent quite some time to plan my participation in events I'll be attending during October on behalf of Debian, such as the ACM Reflections conference in Urbana-Champaign (at the time of writing, this has already happened), the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Copenhagen, and the LinuxDay event in Turin.
PS the day-to-day activity log for September 2012 is available
at the usual place