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DebConf10 DPL report: comm., CUT, RC, init, derivatives, ...

Dear developers,
  here is the promised DPL report from DebConf10. I post it not only as
the usual periodic report, but also to point at some DebConf10 events
which might be relevant for future project activities.


I've delivered the classic "bits from DPL" talk [10] at DebConf. I won't
discuss it here, but both slides [11] and recordings [10] are available.

  [10] http://penta.debconf.org/dc10_schedule/events/569.en.html
  [11] http://git.upsilon.cc/cgi-bin/gitweb.cgi?p=talks/201008-debconf10-dpl.git;a=blob_plain;f=dpl-bits.pdf;hb=pdf 

I've also had two interviews with social science researchers (Gabriella
Coleman and Fernando) on several Debian/DPL-related topics. The texts
will be available, although it might take some time to write it down as
the interviews were tape recorded.

CUT (Constantly Usable Testing) BoF

Before DebConf10 we had yet another discussion that stumbled upon Joey
Hess' CUT proposal [6]. As I'm mean *g*, I started annoying^Wprodding
Joey to have a CUT BoF at DebConf10. He agreed and ended up organizing,
together with Lucas Nussbaum, one of the most crowded BoF of the
conference [7].  I'm personally quite excited about CUT, as it has the
potential to provide a quite unique in the context of today FOSS

After the BoF, an Alioth project has been spawned [8] and discussions
are flourishing on its mailing list [9]. If you are interested check out
the archives or wait for a summary on -project which AFAIK is being
prepared these days.

  [6] http://kitenet.net/~joey/code/debian/cut/
  [7] http://penta.debconf.org/dc10_schedule/events/681.en.html
  [8] https://alioth.debian.org/projects/cut
  [9] https://alioth.debian.org/mail/?group_id=100532

RC squashing activities

I've hosted a BoF on RC bug squashing via NMUs [12]. While it is not
strictly DPL-ish, I mention it here because it gave to the participants
the clear impression that (properly done!) NMUs are welcome and
considered a very useful tool to release in a more "collaborative"
manner. Such a culture is important for the sustainability of our
release process and to help the release team, especially these days,
when we are close to the Squeeze release. Watch the video and go NMU an
RC bug fix :-)

  [12] http://penta.debconf.org/dc10_schedule/events/609.en.htm

Along the same lines, shortly before DebConf10 Micah Anderson contacted
me to organize some RC bug squashing activity during the conference. The
result of discussions with him, Gregor Hermann, and Mehdi Dogguy (in
fact, they did most of the work) has been RCBC [3,4] a Release Critical
Bug squashing Contest, with prize contributions from generous sponsors
such as Marvell, HP, and Pearson. RCBC stats are impressive, with more
than 200 bugs fixed in both Squeeze and Lenny. For more info see check
the wiki page and the closing DebConf10 plenary [5].

  [3] http://wiki.debconf.org/wiki/DebConf10/RCBC#RC_Bug_Squashing_Contest
  [4] http://upsilon.cc/~zack/blog/posts/2010/07/RCBC_-_release_critical_bugs_contest/
  [5] http://penta.debconf.org/dc10_schedule/events/645.en.html

init system(s)

When I attended the Ubuntu Development Summit (UDS) a few months ago, I
chatted with Scott James Remnant (Upstart upstream) about how to best
evaluate Upstart support in Debian. One of my suggestions has been to
have a BoF on the matter at DebConf, which he kindly volunteered to
organize [13]. The BoF has been attended by people as varies as upstream
authors, boot loader maintainers, policy team, etc.

While I'm by no mean an authoritative voice in wrapping up the BoF, I'm
quite excited at an idea which was quite popular during the BoF: instead
of *transitioning* from one init system to another, Debian can rather
show how to *support* multiple init systems. The first needed step to go
there will be support in policy for that and AFAIK it will be worked on
by the policy team in the near future; check the policy BTS for info.

  [13] http://penta.debconf.org/dc10_schedule/events/635.en.html


After my talk at UDS a few months ago, I invited Ubuntu folks to do the
same at our conferences. Jorge Castro---Ubuntu responsible of
collaboration with upstream---has kindly accepted and delivered an
interesting "Collaboration between Ubuntu and Debian" talk [18].

Additionally, Matt Zimmerman hosted a "Debian derivatives BoF" [19].
Unfortunately the BoF room didn't have video coverage, but minutes have
(just) been posted to the -derivatives@lists.d.o mailing list.

  [18] http://penta.debconf.org/dc10_schedule/events/636.en.html
  [19] http://penta.debconf.org/dc10_schedule/events/669.en.html

Collaboration with SFLC

Being in New York I took the chance to meet in person some FOSS
sensitive entities which are in the area and care about Debian. In
particular, I've been talking a lot with Eben Moglen and other people
from SFLC (which, BTW, has contributed to the success of DebConf10, both
in terms of monetary sponsoring and in terms of events organized
for/with us) about collaboration possibilities.

During the question time of the "Patent Absurdity" video projection
[14], we have announced the start of collaboration in writing reports
that will help Debian, and other distribution like us, to better
understand and document legal implications of our day to day
activities. A proper collaboration announcement is being prepared and
will follow soon.

  [14] http://penta.debconf.org/dc10_schedule/events/613.en.html

DebConf & Debian

Following some pre-DebConf10 discussions among myself and the DebConf
orga team on the topic of conference budget, a couple of BoFs have been
organized. In particular, Pablo Duboue has hosted one on the topic of
travel sponsorship [15], while myself and Holger Levsen have hosted one
on the long outstanding issue of the (formal) relationship between
DebConf and Debian [16]. Of course, no decision has been taken during
the BoFs, as not all interested parties could be assumed to be present.
On both subjects, discussions will re-start shortly on the debconf-team
mailing list, aiming at clarifying both aspects before the full "release
cycle" of DebConf11.

  [15] http://penta.debconf.org/dc10_schedule/events/622.en.html
  [16] http://penta.debconf.org/dc10_schedule/events/658.en.html
  [17] http://lists.debconf.org/mailman/listinfo/debconf-team

Wrap up

The above pointers to DebConf10 events are by no means exhaustive, they
are only those somehow related to DPL activity. There is interesting
stuff for the Debian community in possibly any single DebConf10 event.
Thanks to the outstanding work of the video team, recordings of almost
all DebConf10 events are available [1]. In case you have missed a
specific event or the conference all together, I encourage you to check
out the recordings. In the same spirit, I encourage all speakers and
event organizers to provide slides, minutes, and other support material
as attachments in Penta [2] and to post them to the most relevant
mailing lists, so that they are more widely available.

  [1] http://video.debian.net
  [2] http://penta.debconf.org/dc10_schedule/events.en.html

Happy Squeeze hacking,

PS the usual boring day-to-day activity log, including DebConf10 days,
   is available at <master:/srv/leader/news/bits-from-the-DPL.*>

Stefano Zacchiroli -o- PhD in Computer Science \ PostDoc @ Univ. Paris 7
zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} -<>- http://upsilon.cc/zack/
Dietro un grande uomo c'è ..|  .  |. Et ne m'en veux pas si je te tutoie
sempre uno zaino ...........| ..: |.... Je dis tu à tous ceux que j'aime

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