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Debian Installer team monthly meeting minutes (20051214 meeting)

(reply-to: debian-boot)

The eigth Debian Installer team meeting was held from 21:00UTC to 22:24UTC
on Wednesday December 14th 2005.

There were about 80 people connected to the channel during the meeting
and 17 of them spoke during the meeting at least once.

The full log of the meeting is available at

Beta2 plans

Most of the meeting discussions were directed at plans for a D-I Etch
beta2 release.

Graphical installer (G-I)

Most activities regarding G-I have recently been focused on fonts handling.

Most needed fonts for non Latin languages are in the process of being
identified. Davide Viti coordinates this work on a Wiki page

Two work directions are being explored simultaneously:

-font "reduction" to remove glyphs which could conflict with glyphs
 provided by other more specialized (and nicer) fonts

-font "prioritization" so that, depending on the language, specialized fonts
 have some priority over others

It is agreed that releasing the g-i daily images with "the current
font status" is a good way to expose this work to discussion. 

Finding the Good Fonts is still work in progress:
-Arabic done
-Hebrew OK
-Korean probably OK
-Japanese and Chinese on their way and converging to an acceptable solution
-Cyrillic would be OK with DejaVuSans but probably a newer version which
 requires a newer fontforge
-Indic still needs work, we need more input from debian-in people

In general, we still need to sollicitate input especially for non
Latin languages. Releasing G-I daily images with the current font
status will be a good way to do so.

Include G-I in the D-I beta2 release?

The main blocker which actually prevents an official release of G-I is
the udeb dependency issue which currently prevents g-i images to be
rebuildable without having udebs in localudebs/

So, a decision to include G-I as a full component of beta2 is very
likely to delay beta2 too much in case issues currently blocking beta2
are quickly solved (see below).

The current decision is to release G-I as an Alpha version aside from
beta2, maybe this time with (netinst) CD images.

G-I meeting in Estremadura

The G-I contributors will try to hold a work meeting inside the
"Estremadura meetings" proposed recently
A date in a very near future would be most appropriate. 

Davide Viti volunteered to try arranging this: find who would come and
get in touch with both Andreas Schuldei and the local organisers. The
January 18-22 timeslot seems the best, but is very short notice.

Beta2 release plans

Several subtopics were discussed about beta2 release:

  Kernel issues

First of all, if we want beta2 to have an updated kernel (and we do),
we need at least 2.6.14 in testing.

Then issues with initrd generators have to be solved. 2.6.14 still has
a few RC bugs and yaird and initramfs-tools have problems with quite a
few configurations. 

2.6.14 has been decided to default with yaird by the kernel team so we
should focus on this (unless we want to skip it... which will certainly
delay beta2). 2.6.15 will default to initramfs-tools.
D-I's base-installer already has support for initramfs-tools and is
prefered slightly because it has less dependencies.

These issues MUST be the main focus of D-I contributors starting from
now. Stopping any other risky change has been decided.

The general discussion showed ... that more discussion is needed. The
first decision seems to be: 2.6.14 or 2.6.15? 2.6.15 is to be released
in the next two weeks, according to Maximilian Attems.
This decision is primarily for the kernel team to take; d-i can but

  Network interfaces - Discover/udev

These two topics were unrelated in the agenda but have proven to be related.

It is currently very likely that systems with two network interfaces
will end up with both switched on the installed system after the
reboot. This is of course a blocker.

The discussion showed that sticking with discover while udev is used may be
the main reason for this.

An agreement to try abandoning discover has been reached (we can
revert this is it breaks too much stuff). This is very likely to break
some parts of D-I on some architectures, but the general feeling is
that keeping discover will add hacks over hacks.

The D-I team will certainly need some external help (Colin Watson
suggested brining Scott James Remnant on the topic as he maintains
Ubuntu's udev) as well as closer work with Marco d'Itri who
maintains udev in Debian.

A lot of more detailed issues about this topic can be seen in the meeting log.

  New busybox

An update of busybox for a few issues is needed ("umount -a" fix,
"readlink -f" patch). Syncing with upstream if a new upstream release
exists would be nice but not mandatory.
(Editorial note: it turns out there is no new upstream release.)

The team agrees to try releasing a new one... possibly prepared by Bastian
Blank who's the usual maintainer.

  Ports status

The feedback on Frans' mail about kernel status
(http://lists.debian.org/debian-boot/2005/12/msg00370.html) is
somewhat disappointing, except for m68k.

A general feeling is a decreasing interest from porters regarding D-I issues
while at the same time we still have to manage kernel transitions.

Not all architectures have 2.6 kernel support in D-I and work possibly
earlier than a few days before a D-I release would be welcomed.
Maximilian Attems will work on the alpha port.

  String freeze

Beta1 had no string freeze at all and only the half of translators
were able to catch up before the release. Moreover, no dedicated
"translation uploads" took place.

For beta2, we all agree that a general translation upload of all D-I
packages will be needed.

To avoid delaying the development too much, a soft string freeze of
about 2 weeks is suggested by the i18n team. This allows refocusing
our translators in D-I translation for a short moment. A "soft string
freeze" means that changes are not strictly prohibited but should,
except for packages which won't be included in the release, be
discussed before being applied.

  Partman-auto-lvm (pal) and partman-crypto

pal seems ready for being included in a release which will expose it
to a wider audience. Its priority is changed to Standard.

partman-crypto is currently, according to its maintainer, not ready
for a release (moreover, initramfs-tools need work for encrypted root
partition support).

  Beta2 release schedule

Frans, with his release manager hat on, will propose a general
schedule real soon now. The target is still end January, but it is
very strongly connected to work on kernel issues (see above).

Installation Guide

It is planned to be frozen for string changes for the last sarge/etch release.
A release is scheduled for early January and will be the last release with
a Sarge version and an Etch version.

Then development should focus on Etch and document what's currently
missing or too old (for instance, things that have been moved from 2nd
stage to 1st stage).

D-I bug squashing party

It still has to be organized (post-meeting comment: maybe some help
for Joey on this issue would be welcomed). A weekend in January
(possibly 7-8) would be a good moment and should focus on issues
related to the upcoming release.

A later BSP, immediately after the beta2 release could then focus on
more "wishlist-style" features that are sleeping in the BTS.

This was a quite long meeting with a lot of topics to be discussed. Thanks
to all participatns who made efforts to stay on track and succeeded.

The next D-I team meeting is scheduled for Saturday January 14th,

The meeting ends up at 22:24 with no more topics to discuss formally
(but a lot of informal discussion later!).

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