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bits from the DPL for September 2011

Dear Developers,
  September has been a relatively quiet month in DPL-land. I guess most
people from the northern hemisphere were bracing for the impact of the
end of vacations (myself included) and didn't have time bothering me.
Good! Below you can find a report of what has happened in DPL land
during the last month.


Before that, let me highlight that this is the right moment to ramp up
our efforts for Wheezy. The planned freeze date [1] is June 2012 ---
only 6 months away --- and there are quite a few [2] RC bugs to squash
before then. In parallel with the amazing transition tracking work done
by the release team [3], we need all of you to take care of fixing RC
bugs in both the packages you maintain and anywhere else in the archive
(via *properly done* NMUs, as documented in the Developer's
Reference). Sharing the responsibility of releasing is the only way to
freeze Wheezy as planned, and then to deliver it up to our usual

[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2011/06/msg00003.html
[2] http://bugs.debian.org/release-critical/
[3] http://release.debian.org/transitions/


There have been quite some discussions I'd like to point your attention

- On maintainers/porters responsibilities [9]. I've tried, with little
  success TBH, to give a summary of it in [10]. The best bottom line I
  can draw from it is that maintainers and porters should work together,
  trying to leave traces of their interactions in bug logs. As an
  extreme solution, only after everything else has been attempted and
  having informed the release team, maintainers could go ahead and file
  removal request for binary packages on specific architectures.

- I've made the "private email aliases considered harmful" point [10],
  in a somehow unrelated thread. I ask you to watch out for interactions
  in Debian that could happen only through private email addresses.
  There are some cases where they are warranted (e.g. security or
  privacy concerns), but having regular activities of a team going
  through private email aliases harms us in so many ways. Please point
  me to project areas that could benefit from improvements on this
  front, ... unless you can just go ahead and fix the issue!

- The long running discussion about the length of DPL has progressed
  quite a bit; a new summary is at [12].

- I've proposed [13] a minimal change to the naming of the NM process,
  trying to reduce confusion and at the same time being more fair with
  people willing to join Debian to work on tasks other than packaging.
  Final choice on this front is in the hands of Front Desk.

- Ubuntu people have been discussing their mentoring and sponsoring
  procedures [14]. As there is room for many synergies with Debian in
  those areas, I've been happy to provide some feedback and put them in
  touch with active -mentors and debexpo people. Many thanks to Allison
  Randal for getting me into the loop.

- Following up my exchanges with GNU Hackers, a proposal to improve the
  experience of upstreams when dealing with debbugs has been posted to
  -devel [19]. It is quite consensual, it just needs a wannabe debbugs
  hacker to make it real!

[9] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2011/08/msg00685.html
[10] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2011/09/msg00133.html
[11] http://lists.debian.org/debian-www/2011/09/msg00062.html
[12] http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2011/09/msg00002.html
[13] http://lists.debian.org/debian-newmaint/2011/09/msg00071.html
[14] https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2011-September/034105.html
[19] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2011/09/msg00224.html


The sprint documentation [15] has been update to point to
debian-sprints@lists.d.o (the list you should contact if you want to
have a Debian sprint) instead of pointing to a bottleneck-ish DPL.
Also, we have started collecting a list of Debian-friendly venues to
have sprints at [16]; I'd appreciate if someone could go through that
page and add missing venues (for instance, the fact that Linux Hotel is
missing from that page is a bit of a shame...). Finally, I've prepared a
"reimbursement HOWTO" at [17]. That document needs a bit of help [18] as
well, in particular by filling in details about SPI and Debian UK

Forthcoming sprints I've recently approved are: a video team sprint in
November, a Debian Med sprint in January, [ADD YOURS HERE].

[15] http://wiki.debian.org/Sprints
[16] http://wiki.debian.org/Sprints/Venues
[17] http://wiki.debian.org/Teams/DPL/Reimbursement
[18] http://lists.debian.org/debian-sprints/2011/09/msg00004.html 

Legal-ish stuff

I've answered various questions from our lawyers in order to progress
towards a first new draft of our trademark policy.  Unfortunately,
things have slowed down a bit recently and we haven't yet a first draft
to propose. I'll try to relaunch it for the next months.  In the
meantime, we've setup <trademark@d.o>, that is meant to become the
contact point for Debian trademark permissions and other inquiries.

I've also shared with SPI the results of our internal "trademark
poll". Everything is now also available at [19]. Thanks a lot to Robert
Brockway of the SPI board for his help on this. For what concerns
official documents and the like, I've shared them with SPI for long term
storage (as they are the legal owners of trademarks); DDs can access all
of it as part of the DPL archive at <master.d.o:/srv/leader/archive/>.

Finally, I've asked legal advice about a couple of topics.  The first
one has been about the risks of including _specific_ DMCA-encumbered
software in the archive and they seem to be pretty severe (unless we
want to resurrect something like non-us, $god forbids!); I'm available
to proxy similar requests of legal advice when needed.  The second one
has been about the legal responsibilities of ftp-masters on the content
of the archive. This is still going on, but I'm trying to ensure our
procedures put responsibilities on individual developers doing "bad
stuff" (e.g. shipping copyright-infringing material) rather than
concentrating those risks on a few people.

[19] http://www.spi-inc.org/corporate/trademarks/


As another news related to our interactions with GNU Hackers last month,
GNU's debbugs instance has been opened up to project hosted on Savannah
[20]. That should potentially ease the pain of DDs that reported issues
in dealing with Savannah's BTS. Many thanks to Paul Wise who reached out
to GNU's debbugs maintainers on this topic.

[20] http://debbugs.gnu.org/Using.html


I've gladly ratified with a delegation the addition of Jan Hauke Rahm to
the NM Front Desk [4].

[4] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2011/09/msg00002.html

Communications and events

A while ago I've been interview on the subject of the amount of Debian
Derivatives and the reasons of their existence. I've recently published
that interview on my blog and I share it here for disclosure [5].

Looking forward, I will attend a couple of events on behalf of Debian in

- on October 22nd I'll be in Parma, Italy, for the annual "Linux Day"
  event organized by LUGs all around the country [6]

- starting October 31st, I'll be in Orlando, Florida, for the Ubuntu
  Developer Summit [7], where I've been invited. I'd like to present
  there Debian's point of view on the evolution of Debian-Ubuntu
  relationships since the last time I've spoken there about it [8].  To
  that end I'll need your input and I'll send a separate call for
  feedback. But if you already have thoughts to share, by all means mail
  them to me!

[5] http://upsilon.cc/~zack/blog/posts/2011/09/why_there_are_so_many_debian_derivatives/
[6] http://parma.linux.it/news/2011/09/gnulinux-day-2011
[7] https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UDS-P
[8] http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2010/05/msg00084.html

Happy Debian hacking.

PS as usual, the boring day-to-day activity log is available at
Stefano Zacchiroli     zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} . o .
Maître de conférences   ......   http://upsilon.cc/zack   ......   . . o
Debian Project Leader    .......   @zack on identi.ca   .......    o o o
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

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