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Debian Project Leader report for 2005-05-08

The second of my reports as Debian Project Leader is now available.  You
may read it in HTML format at:

...or in ReStructured Text format[1], below.  If you find ReStructured text
format difficult to understand, you can use lynx to dump a plain text
version of the URL above:

  $ lynx -dump http://people.debian.org/~branden/dpl/reports/2005-05-08.html

[1] http://docutils.sourceforge.net/rst.html

Debian Project Leader Report for 2005-05-08

This report begins with some big news, so let's get right to it...

Sarge Release Challenges and Progress
Those who have been living in a cave for the past few days will be
pleased to know that `Sarge has frozen`_.

Needless to say, our work is far from finished; now, more than ever, we
need people testing upgrades from woody and testing fresh installs based
on `debian-installer`.  The release management team has been kept busy
processing last-minute force-it-into-sarge requests, and combatting the
onslaught of `release critical bugs`_, which is always a challenge --
today, for example, nine release-critical bugs were closed, but nine
were opened as well.

While there is much work before us before we can truly celebrate, it's
not too soon to let ourselves feel a bit of satisfaction in achieving
this milestone.  It's been a very long time in coming, and every
developer who has worked on our archive, build daemon, and security
infrastructures, every developer who has fixed a release-critical bug,
every developer who has worked on `debian-installer`, every developer
who has provided a translation for a user interface or piece of
documentation, and every developer who has contributed to making Debian
GNU/Linux better documented, easier to use, and more powerful deserves a
share of the credit.

I personally feel a bit of renewed vigor and determination towards
getting this release out the door, and I hope you do too.  With our
critical infrastructure in place and humming along, it's just a matter
of some hard work to make the Sarge release happen.  That doesn't daunt
me; we've always been good at hard work.

Hardware Infrastructure Issues
In my `first DPL report`_, I mentioned that Steve McIntyre had helped
get us out of the bad situation we were in with respect to ARM build
daemons.  He helpfully followed up with some more details.  These
machines, which were purchased from `Simtec Hardware`_, look beefy
indeed to those used to NetWinders and PDAs.

* `toffee`: 300 MHz StrongARM-110, 256 MB RAM, 40GB IDE HDD
* `grieg`: 300 MHz StrongARM-110, 160 MB RAM, 160GB IDE HDD
* `cats`: 380 MHz StrongARM-110, 64 MB RAM, 20GB IDE HDD

Steve is hosting `toffee` and `grieg`, and Vince Sanders is hosting

On 29 April, `europa` and `elara`, two malfunctioning ARM machines that
were putting the hurt on us in the first place, were restored to working
order by Woody Suwalski, the site administrator at Xandros_.  On each
machine, a new hard drive has been installed, and each is running
up-to-date Debian unstable with 2.6.11 kernels.  A decision is still
pending from DSA on whether to put these machines back into the build
daemon network.  Even if not, the machines may be useful as general
development machines accessible to Debian developers -- presently, there
is only one, `debussy` and it is running Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 ("woody").
Another, `rameau`, is `listed as down and being relocated`_.

Wichert Akkerman and the other Debian System Administrators are
concerned about the persistent shortages of disk space on `costa` and
`klecker`.  These are only machines that appear to be in urgent need of
upgrades over the next year or so.  I'll be working with the system
administration team and potential donors to get this situation squared

Woody Security Update Challenges and Progress
In my `first DPL report`_, I observed that some security updates had
been stalled for weeks because the unavailability of build daemons for
the ARM architecture.  In speaking with people, I've found out why this
is, and as you might expect it has to do with manageability issues.
If a security upload that is missing one or more arches is approved,
that architecture never appears on `security.debian.org`, unless a
binary-only NMU is later done for the architecture.  That in turn makes
point releases more of a headache, with version skew (even if
binary-only) among the architectures.

Debian Assets
Since my previous report I've gotten a somewhat clearer picture of
Debian's worldwide asset situation, though it's still not perfect.
Here's a summary of what I've learned.

* United States and Canada: `Software in the Public Interest, Inc.`_
  (SPI), has USD 52,108.36, of which most (probably on the order of USD
  45k) is Debian's.  John Goerzen is the President, and Jimmy Kaplowitz
  is the Treasurer.  The most recent Treasurer's report is for March
  2005, and is available to SPI members on the `spi-private` mailing
  list (`Message-ID: <20050412173301.GZ13593@mail.kaplowitz.org>`).
  Remember that all Debian developers are eligible to become `members of
* United Kingdom: Debian UK Society, has GBP 1774.22.  The only
  officer I know of in this organization is Steve McIntyre, but he
  appears to be doing plenty.  The `Debian UK Society Treasurer's report
  for April 2005`_ is online.  (Beware, `chiark`'s `pipermail`
  installation apparently doesn't grok quoted-printable message
* Italy: Christian Surchi is managing some funds for Debian within the
  Assoli Association, but I haven't yet received a reply from him.
* Switzerland: Marc Schaefer periodically collects donations and sends
  them along to another organization, which I think is `ffis e.V.`_.
  Unfortunately, I have not been able to reach Marc to clarify this
  because he has been (probably inadvertently) `blocking my mail`_.
* France: Julien Blache currently holds EUR 477 for Debian.  He is
  working on setting up a charitable organization in France.
* Germany: `ffis e.V.`_ holds an undetermined amount of money for
  Debian.  Joey Schulze, who wears many hats in Debian (and is also a
  Board member of SPI), is the only contact I know of.  I haven't yet
  mailed him an inquiry.
* Brazil: `Associação SoftwareLivre.org`_ (ASL) holds approximately USD
  10,000 for Debian.  Gustavho Noronha Silva is our primary contact.  My
  previous report was mistaken due to misinterpretation on my part --
  there are no plans to create a new organization.  The Brazilian Debian
  developers who have been in touch with me seem to be perfectly happy
  with ASL.
* Australia: `Linux Australia`_ (LA) holds funds for Debian.  Anthony Towns
  is their Treasurer, and ask me last month to get back in touch with him
  in mid-May for a summary of Debian's finances with LA, and I plan to
  do so over the coming week.

Hardware Donation Offers
Klaus Ade Johnstad of `Skolelinux`_ has "tons of old equipment" he'd
like to donate to Debian developers in or near Norway.  He has some old
SPARCs, SGI O2 boxes, some RAID controllers, and other unmentionables.
Mr. Johnstad says he's already donated one SGI O2 to each of two Debian
developers in Greece.  I've put him in touch with our `Hardware
Donations Team`_, so please contact them, and maybe we can make a match.

Jorge Valente has an Digital Workstation system he'd like to donate to a
Debian developer in the United Kingdom.  He says it consists of an Alpha
processor, 2GB RAM, a couple of SCSI drives and some odds and ends.
Again, if you're in the U.K. and interested, please contact our `Hardware
Donations Team`_.  It's worth noting that the Alpha port is in need of
personnel -- perhaps you can help!

Leadership Team Status Report
The DPL Team has not formally met since 24 April, mainly due to numerous
scheduling conflicts among its members.  We're working to arrange a
meeting this week.

The `minutes of the 24 April DPL Team meeting`_ were posted on 29 April.

Interviews and Public Appearances
On 25 April, I had a `brief IRC interview with Sean Michael Kerner`_ which
focused on vendor sponsorship and Debian asset management.

Along with a number of Debian Developers, both Bdale Garbee and Enrico
Zini of the leadership team were on hand from 5 to 6 May in Castellon,
Spain (near Valencia), at Lliurex's second annual `Congrés de Programari
Lliure`_.  Lliurex is a Custom Debian Distribution (CDD), and a CDD
working group meeting was held alongside the main conference.

My employer, `Progeny` is sponsoring my travel to `FISL 6.0`_, at the
end of the month, and the organizers are sponsoring my lodging.  I am
scheduled to give a `presentation on where Debian is going`_, which I
was just told about this week.  :)

Internal Communications
Some highlights from the `leader@debian.org` mailbox over the past
couple of weeks follow.

I received several replies to my previous report, most of which offered
information about Debian's assets in various countries, or contact
information for people who do.  I have also communicated with several
people regarding ARM hardware -- clearly, many people are desirous of
ensuring that we never again face the type of bad situation we just
extricated ourselves from.

I also received the DebConf 5 attendance sponsorship budget from Andreas
Schuldei.  Assuming all expenditures are approved, the rest of the
budget works out, and we have no cancellations (there will inevitably be
some), we'll be spending about EUR 28,000 to bring 75 people to the
conference.  There will be many people in attendance that I look forward
to meeting or seeing again, including someone named "Brandon Robinson"
[sic]. :)

I received an interview request from Andy Channelle of the UK
publication Linux Format, but unfortunately was unable to get my
response to him because he's `blocking my mail`_.  A freelancer for the
`Gartner Group`_ also contacted me with a very long message, to which
I'm not sure how to reply yet.

I'm curious to know how you feel I am fulfilling my responsibilities as
Debian Project Leader.  You can reach me at ``leader@debian.org``.

``$Id: 2005-05-08.rst 170 2005-05-09 06:07:42Z branden $``

.. _Sarge has frozen: http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2005/05/msg00001.html
.. _release critical bugs: http://bugs.debian.org/release-critical/
.. _first DPL report: http://people.debian.org/~branden/dpl/reports/2005-04-24.html
.. _Simtec Hardware: http://www.simtec.co.uk/
.. _Xandros: http://www.xandros.com/
.. _listed as down and being relocated: http://db.debian.org/machines.cgi?host=rameau
.. _Software in the Public Interest, Inc.: http://www.spi-inc.org/
.. _members of SPI: http://www.spi-inc.org/membershipguidelines
.. _Debian UK Society: http://wiki.earth.li/DebianUKSociety
.. _Debian UK Society Treasurer's report for April 2005: http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/pipermail/debian-uk/2005-May/010317.html
.. _ffis e.V.: http://www.ffis.de/
.. _blocking my mail: http://deadbeast.net/~branden/homepage/mailblock.html
.. _Associação SoftwareLivre.org: http://www.softwarelivre.org/
.. _Linux Australia: http://www.linux.org.au/
.. _Skolelinux: http://www.skolelinux.org/no/
.. _Hardware Donations Team: http://www.debian.org/donations#equipment_donations
.. _minutes of the 24 April DPL Team meeting: http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2005/04/msg00401.html
.. _brief IRC interview with Sean Michael Kerner: http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/3500321
.. _Congrés de Programari Lliure: http://www.lliurex.net/congresii/val/index.htm
.. _FISL 6.0: http://fisl.softwarelivre.org/6.0/
.. _presentation on where Debian is going: http://fisl.softwarelivre.org/papers/pub/
.. _Gartner Group: http://www.newsfactor.com/story.xhtml?story_id=27311

.. vim:set ai et sts=4 sw=4 tw=72:

G. Branden Robinson
Debian Project Leader

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