[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Bits from the DPL: Looking forward

Hey all!

I said back in August I was going to split what I wanted to say into
two parts; and since the first part was "Looking back", naturally enough
the second one is "Looking forward". With all the controversy recently,
you might think there's not all that much to look forward to -- but
you'd be wrong. Let's have a look.

First, let's take the release. As you might have read in the recent
release update, most of the major release blockers are now either
finished or in the process of being completed. Something you might not
have realised is that the discussions on how to deal with firmware seem
to have reached something approaching a consensus with Manoj's recent
amendment to Frederik's proposal [0], which seems to have support from
the release managers, the kernel team, and -legal folks. Some of the
more interesting release goals seems to still be well on track as well,
thanks to the efforts of teams like -boot, SELinux and the X Strike
Force doing such an excellent job on their respective packages. And
that's all the excuse I need to mention the coolness that is compiz,
which has finally made it's way to unstable -- kudos to Thierry Reding,
and his sponsor David Nusinow; it's always nice when someone else does
the work to make your campaign promises [1] happen. :)

  [0] http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2006/09/msg00566.html
  [1] http://www.debian.org/vote/2006/platforms/ajt

We should be able to look forward to a few more bits of niftyness
like that making its way into etch and being stabilised for release
shortly; but probably the most important release activities over the
next little while will be bug fixing.  In aid of that there are a
number of bugsquash parties planned -- and not just virtual ones,
either. This past weekend, eg, there was a BSP in Utrecht in the
Netherlands [2], thanks to the support of NLnet, Universiteit Utrecht,
and Study Association A-Eskwadraat. In the past month there have been
BSPs in Vienna (Switzerland) [3], Julich (Germany) [4], and San Cristobal
(Venezuela) [5]. And still to come are BSPs in Zurich (Switzerland) [6]
and Dijon (France) [7].  Many of these events have been sponsored, either
to provide a venue and networking, or to help people travel to the venue,
which is both really helpful to getting the event off the ground, and is
both an excellent and a cheap way of helping Debian. If you're interested
in helping to organise a BSP, you probably want to see the BSP hosting
wiki page [8], or the BSP Marathon wiki page [9] for more information,
and start talking to local Debianites to get something off the ground.

  [2] http://wiki.debian.org/BSP_Utrecht_2006
  [3] http://wiki.debian.org/BSP2006Vienna
  [4] http://wiki.debian.org/BSP/de/credativ
  [5] http://wiki.debian.org/BSPVenezuela
  [6] http://wiki.debian.org/BSP/ch/Marathon
  [7] http://wiki.debian.org/TanneriesBSP
  [8] http://wiki.debian.org/HostingBSP
  [9] http://wiki.debian.org/BSPMarathon

Debian's not just about getting a release out on time though (luckily,
some would say :), and BSPs aren't the only excuse Debian hackers have to
get together. If you've been following d-d-a or DWN, you'll have heard
about the Latin-American Debian miniconfs in Colombia in August [10]
and Venezuela [11] coming up in a little over a week, or the meeting in
Cuba from June [12], or Steve's visit to La Laguna, Tenerife on Debian's
behalf for their free software conference last month [13], or the
internationalisation meeting in Extremadura, Spain also in September [14],
or other various events [15] that have had a Debian presence.

 [10] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2006/08/msg00002.html
 [11] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2006/09/msg00019.html
 [12] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2006/08/msg00010.html
 [13] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2006/09/msg00009.html
 [14] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2006/09/msg00012.html
 [15] http://www.debian.org/events/

Beyond that, the plans for next year's DebConf in Edinburgh are also
well underway, with final negotiations with the venue for things like
24/7 access and cabling being just about complete [16] -- so hopefully
there'll be an official announcement with dates and more information
pretty soon. There's a whole bunch of neat stuff comming from the DC7
team, none of which they'll let me mention until they're ready. :)

Of course, even while that's being organised, people are getting serious
about where DebConf will be held in 2008 [17]. AIUI, the theory is that
DebConf will change continents each year, and there's been interest shown
from Japan [18], Argentina and Venezuela [19], as well a thoughts about
holding the 2009 DebConf in Canada [20] or Thailand [21].

 [16] http://lists.debconf.org/lurker/message/20060926.202139.f5a73674.en.html
 [17] http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2006/09/msg00137.html
 [18] http://wiki.debian.org/DebConf/Japan
 [19] http://wiki.debian.org/DebConf8
 [20] http://wiki.debian.org/DebConf/Montreal
 [21] http://wiki.debian.org/DebConf/Thailand

As more people from more countries get involved in Debian, it's become
more important to have local ways of dealing with local activities -- and
that's resulted in the formation of Debian-specific groups like Debian
JP [22], Debian UK [23] or Debian France [24]. These groups are great
both for actually holding money and helping sponsors support Debian,
but also for actually getting stuff happening locally too -- whether it
be conferences or BSPs or dinners or whatever else; and there are a few
more in the works at the moment too.

 [22] http://www.debian.or.jp/index.html.en
 [23] http://wiki.earth.li/DebianUKSociety
 [24] http://france.debian.net/

Of course, the main entity providing corporate/structural support for
Debian has always been Software in the Public Interest; which has always
had the goal of being about more than just Debian. Over the past year it's
taken some major steps towards that goal, with the active participation
of PostgreSQL as well as Debian and OFTC, as well as the recent addition
of other projects such as the Open Voting Foundation and FreeDesktop.org.

SPI has also been working on improving its handling for donations and
other financial responsibilities; both to avoid repeating mistakes like
losing donations or not being able to provide detailed statements of
accounts, and to avoid problems in the future by making sure that all
their processes can be fully audited and are financially sound; all of
which will hopefully justify the faith that Debian and other projects
have put in SPI over the years.

Beyond that, the recent constitutional change [25] moves us towards
encouraging donations to more organisations than SPI, which should
hopefully mean we end up with money available nearer the people who are
actually organising meetings and otherwise improving Debian, rather than
having most of it centralised in the US. 

This sort of organisational decentralisation makes it difficult to know
what's going on, which makes it difficult for people to know whether or
not they can or should use Debian funds for activities -- whether that
be organising meetings, or getting reimbursements for travel costs,
or other activities that improve Debian. In aid of making that less
of a problem, Kalle Kivimaa has volunteered to act as Debian Auditor
[26], and keep track of all the various assets being held for Debian
by different organisations and in different countries, and how it gets
spent. That's a pretty big task, so initially Kalle's focussing on Europe,
but even that's going to be a major undertaking. Hopefully we can look
forward to a first report in the next few months anyway, though. :)

 [25] http://www.debian.org/vote/2006/vote_003
 [26] http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2006/08/msg00149.html

Hrm. Well, I don't know about you, but "writing long emails to d-d-a"
isn't actually that high on my list of things to look forward to, so I
think I might stop already. :)


Anthony Towns
Debian Project Leader

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

Reply to: