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Bits from the DPL: Looking back

Hey all,

It's been a while since I've posted anything DPLish to dda, so to avoid
ending up with a traditionally long aj-esque spiel, I'm splitting the
stuff I want to talk about between two posts. We'll see how that works

First bit of news is that we've tweaked the "2IC" role that I announced
back in April [0]: as of the 25th of July, Steve's been added to the
leader@debian.org alias, and listed as "assistant leader" on Debian's
organisation page [1]. It's been a pleasure to work with Steve up to
this point [2], and I'm looking forward to continuing to share the load
of the DPL role with him.

 [0] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2006/04/msg00015.html
 [1] http://www.debian.org/intro/organization
 [2] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2006/05/msg00003.html

Speaking of gender-specific pronouns, over the past few months the Debian
Women project has had a number of successes worth noting, including
official inclusion under debian.org [3], and a couple of the Debian
Women proteges being accepted as developers, namely Marcela Tiznado [4]
and Erinn Clark [5]. Amaya Rodrigo, was interviewed by a major Spanish
newspaper [6] on the goals, successes and trials that Debian and the
Debian Women project have had in encouraging women to be involved in the
project. Finally, Fedora have also recently introduced a similar project,
Fedora Women [7], which joins KDE Women, Gnome Women and Ubuntu Women
in following the Debian Women project's lead in this sort of integration.

 [3] http://lists.debian.org/debian-women/2006/06/msg00058.html
 [4] http://lists.debian.org/debian-newmaint/2006/05/msg00031.html
 [5] http://lists.debian.org/debian-newmaint/2006/06/msg00038.html
 [6] http://amayita.livejournal.com/74715.html
 [7] http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Women

One thing I've been very lax about, is congratulating the DebConf 6
organising team, particularly Andreas Schuldei and Gunnar Wolf for
organising and running a pretty impressive conference under, at times,
quite trying circumstances. In part, the conference was overshadowed
by some of the problems or controversies that ensued, letting us forget
the rather more important successes -- such as some great work by Latin
American Debianites, which we can look forward to seeing continue at
some regional miniconfs, starting with Colombia in just over a week [8],
or the integration of the GUI installer into d-i [9], or the work done
to improve Debian's approach to internationalisation [10], which has
since resulted in an important step towards fully localised systems in
the form of initial support for translated package descriptions [11].

As mentioned on debian-project [12], DebConf 7 will be taking place in
Edinburgh next year -- the local team are expecting to confirm the exact
venue and dates in a couple of weeks, once the massive Edinburgh Festival
season finishes, at which point there'll be a less subtle announcement.

 [8] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2006/08/msg00002.html
 [9] http://wiki.debian.org/DebianInstaller/GUI
[10] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2006/06/msg00003.html
[11] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2006/07/msg01323.html
[12] http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2006/07/msg00045.html

During the DPL election, one of the issues discussed was stable release
management -- and concurrently with that, Martin Schulze resigned [13]
from his long standing role as stable release manager (having originally
stepped up to that position in early 2001 [14]), and Andreas Barth and
Martin Zobel-Helas took over the role [15]. While we were successful in
getting 3.1r2 out in a reasonably timely manner [16], unfortunately it's
taken much longer than we'd hoped to implement some of the changes to
handling stable updates, with the result that 3.1r3 wasn't able to be
released in June-July as hoped [17]. Happily, I've found time to do a
reasonable bit of the work I'd been planning, and with some of the nice
work done by Julien Danjou in reporting the status of the SRM work queue
[18], we're now well and truly back on track, with the additional benefit
that future stable releases should be much easier to manage.

[13] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2006/03/msg00008.html
[14] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2001/03/msg00008.html
[15] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2006/03/msg00009.html
[16] http://lists.debian.org/debian-announce/debian-announce-2006/msg00001.html
[17] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2006/06/msg00007.html
[18] http://ftp-master.debian.org/proposed-updates.html

One final thing I'd like to mention is that I had the opportunity
recently to accompany Rusty Russell (wearing his "Linux Australia
Intellectual Property advisor" suit and tie, rather than his usual
"l33t kernel hacker" t-shirt and cap) to a meeting with the Australian
Attorney-General's department regarding the drafting of changes to the
Australian copyright act concerning how we handle technological protection
measures -- you might know it better by the acronym "DMCA", or perhaps as
"digital restrictions management".  While the best outcome we could hope
for was restricted by the already signed Free Trade Agreement with the
United States, we were very pleased to have been given a serious hearing
before the drafting began, and as things stand, the approach that the
government is taking appears to be one that will allow distributions such
as Debian to produce and distribute competitive free players for legally
acquired content. Linux Australia will continue to monitor developments
in this area over the coming months, of course, but at present it seems
we have cause for some cautious optimism.

But that's enough for today -- so effusive optimism will need to wait
for the next mail. :)


Anthony Towns
Debian Project Leader

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