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DEX update

I've been a bit busy with work and life recently, and wanted to catch up
with DEX and discuss what's happening.

= Ubuntu: ancient-patches =

The status page[0] is a bit broken (see the Infrastructure section below), but
here's a summary of the open issues from my previous update:

dhcp3.client-send-hostname.patch (Open)

    Still waiting for new upstream 4.2.0 which is said to provide upstream
    functionality which obsoletes this patch

dhcp3.deroot-server.diff (Open)

    Ongoing discussion with the maintainers about what to do.  The current
    upstream in Debian and Ubuntu provides some of the functionality of this
    patch, but not all, and possibly not in a compatible way.

sysklogd.no-root.diff (Closed)

    Now merged into Debian sid.  However, Martin Pitt pointed out that this
    could now be greatly simplified thanks to newer functionality in the
    Linux kernel.  I think that further improvement is beyond the scope of
    DEX, though, so I'm considering this done.

sysvinit-quietinit.patch (Closed)

    No response from the bug submitter to
    http://lists.debian.org/debian-derivatives/2011/03/msg00052.html and the
    patch is dropped from Ubuntu.  I've marked it obsolete.

[0] http://dex.alioth.debian.org/ubuntu/ancient-patches/status/

= Ubuntu: big-merges =

Based on discussion at the Ubuntu Developer Summit, the consensus was that
this should be our next primary focus.

The mission is to identify the top N packages in terms of the
size/complexity/agony of the delta between Debian and Ubuntu, and do
whatever is needed to bring the packages into sync.

Because I'll be changing jobs and moving countries soon, I'm not in a good
position to lead this project, but I would really like to see it happen.

This project needs a champion!  It could be you!  Will you volunteer?

= Ubuntu: python2.7 transition =

Meanwhile, Allison has proposed an Ubuntu DEX project to coordinate the
Python 2.6→2.7 transition:

This will involve not only merging patches from Ubuntu into Debian, but also
fixing problems in Debian directly to avoid creating a delta in the first

= Infrastructure =

Alioth recently underwent major maintenance, and is running on different
servers with different configurations.  This has resulted in some
breakage which affects DEX.

In particular, pushing to the git repository no longer updates the website,
because ikiwiki is not installed.  This is noted as an "open question" in
the Alioth migration status document at http://titanpad.com/yyhfwA9Pyr.

If someone knows how to work around this, it would be greatly appreciated,
as we can't update the website until it is fixed, and there is no ETR.

Meanwhile, Nathan Handler submitted a proposal to the Google Summer of Code
to work on infrastructure for DEX, and it was accepted!  He has posted a
couple of updates so far to explain what he's working on:


Including a nice looking user interface mockup.

Nathan's tool will provide an easy way to keep track of progress on DEX
projects, taking into account the specialized requirements of a
cross-distribution effort.  This will be a welcome replacement for the quick
hack we used in ancient-patches, and should be much faster and easier to
update, as well as better looking. :-)

= DebConf =

There will be several people from this list at DebConf, and there is a DEX
BoF session registered.  It's a bit hard to link to, but is listed on

If you're attending DebConf, please plan to join the BoF.  I unfortunately
won't be able to attend myself due to scheduling conflicts, but Stefano and
others will be there who I'm confident can make good use of the opportunity
to work together in person.

 - mdz

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