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Report from the i18n sprint in Paris, aka "towards i18n.debian.org"

(this report is also available at http://wiki.debian.org/I18n/Sprint2012Report)

From June 15th until June 17th, IRILL[1] (Paris, France) hosted the
Debian i18n Sprint, seven people were present.  These are the minutes,
results and notes from our work, it is a brief description but
hopefully complete of what we have done and what is still

We would like to thank IRILL for hosting us. In addition, our thanks to the
many donors[2] whose contributions have permitted the project to subsidize
transportation and lodging.


Martin Bagge
Martijn van Oosterhoust
Martin Zobel-Helas

Nicolas François
Simon Paillard
Christian Perrier

Felipe Augusto van de Wiel

We also had appearances of our hosts, namely Stefano Zacchiroli and Sylvestre Ledru, as well as a short visit by Julien Cristau.

Our previous scenario

Since 2006, Debian i18n uses churro, a machine hosted in Spain by Junta de
Extremadura. This machine runs our core services: i18n.debian.net and
ddtp.debian.net, which were expanded and improved over the last few years
and are used spread Debian community.

In late 2011 and early 2012, churro started giving signals of its age and
we had some failures, which led us to this Sprint, which the main goal was
migrating i18n infrastructure and services to official Debian infrastructure,
administered by DSA (Debian System Administrators), while at the same time,
taking the opportunity to improve and document our tools and processes.


We took several key decisions before starting the implementation work:
 * We'll keep i18n.debian.net and ddtp.debian.net running on "churro" in parallel with i18n.debian.org and ddtp.debian.org, that will allow us to finish the migration while fixing some scripts and reducing the migration/conversion downtime
 * We'll run the services as locally installed scripts and eventually prepare packages (as in Debian packages)
 * We wanted to reorganize repositories, add scripts not under versioncontrol, expand documentation before improving what exists
 * We'll use a GIT repository under git.debian.org
 * We'll continue to go on with the debian-l10n project on Alioth

Machines setup

Thanks to DSA Team we now have two virtual machines:

 * tye.debian.org hosting i18n.debian.org / l10n.debian.org
 * dukas.debian.org hosting ddtp.debian.org

Having Martin Zobel-Helas attending the meeting allowed the team to better
learn about processes related to DSA-managed machines (account creations,
including accounts for non-DD users, packages installation, general system
administration of DSA machines) and thus better understand the impact on
our processes.

Proper email (ingoing and outgoing, with antispam measures) is working on
tye and dukas, that will allow us to keep supporting the most used and
widely preferred interface of Debian community: the email.

A full source mirror in NFS-mounted and can be used by local utilities
(such as those gathering the material). We want to reduce the effort of
looking into all source packages (more about this on Future Plans).

Team members have SSH access as well as the needed sudo authorizations.

We also started working to identify the needed packages by gen-material
and spider in order to create virtual packages named "i18n.debian.org"
and "ddtp.debian.org". These virtual packages are now in the debian.org
tree of the repository and have been pulled in by DSA.

VCS for scripts and services

The existing SVN repository has been converted to git, with four trees at the
 * compendia: scripts related to translation compendia generation
 * ddtp: all DDTP and DDTSS scripts. Martijn synchronized theVCS with scripts that are in production on churro
 * debian-l10n: general team material (documentation, reports, etc.)
 * dl10n: all dl10n utilities as well as various robot scripts, l10n material gathering script, mailing lists spiders, etc.

The existing SVN is now declared obsolete, except for the packaging trees it
contains (pootle, translate-toolkit, virtaal). It will be up to maintainers
of these packages to move them in git if they want. The suggested name is

We also took the chance and did a pending cleanup. The content of the old
(unused debian-l10n.delete) CVS repository has been removed.

You can take a look at our new repositories:


debian-l10n Alioth project

Some cleaning was done on the project. It has two admins (Christian Perrier
and Nicolas François) and only active members have been kept as project
members (plus people who maintain some packages under the debian-l10n

Unused services (forums, trackers, etc.) have been shutdown.

Working services

 * tye (i18n.debian.org / l10n.debian.org)
   - The daily extraction of the unstable and testing material is working.

   - The coordination databases have been re-initialized
     And the automation of the re-initialization process has been improved.

   - dl10n-spider is processing the mailing lists hourly to generate the
     coordination pages: 

   - The daily generation of the i18n nmu priorities is working

   - early work on factorization of scripts

 * dukas (ddtp.debian.org)
   - DDTP/DDTSS software is installed but not yet configured.
   - ddtp.debian.net will stay in production for now, while ddtp.debian.org
     will be used to develop a new platform.
   - http://ddtp.debian.org is working (but is of course NOT the production site!)
   - http://ddtp.debian.org/ddtp_schema.pdf has a schema of interactions in 
     the DDTP/DDTSS

Future plans

Once we finish polishing the services and scripts we will send an email to
synchronize with website team and PTS team about the needed changes in URLs
and to closely monitor the transition. That also aims to inform our users
about such changes, so everybody can be aware if anything appears to be
broken, not working or malfunctioning.

As this sprint has been incredibly useful when it comes at team building, we
already planned two future gatherings of the i18n team:

 * another sprint in January or early February 2013, very certainly in Europe,
   Paris being apparently a good candidate for it.
 * a team work session scheduled for DebCamp 2013, before DebConf 13, in

We're also seriously considering a GSOC 2013 project. A few ideas have been
 * rework the dl10n bots
   - implementation of a new mail parser for robots (to replace dl10n-spider,
     and have a more robust database)
   - implementation of a new script to gather material from the archive (e.g.
     using lintian farm or dak Metadata)
 * work on BTS usertags
 * redesign of the ddtp website so it conforms more to the Debian style
 * implementation of a ddtp client ui, so work can be done without the web

It was an incredibily productive weekend and it was quite a while since
Debian i18n team had a meeting and worked together. We still have many
challenges in terms of internationalization and translation in Debian,
so all help is more than welcome, please join us on IRC or mail lists
to share ideas on how we can improve Debian.

  IRC: #debian-i18n at irc.debian.org
  Mail lists:
    debian-l10n-devel at lists.alioth.debian.org
    debian-i18n at lists.debian.org

1. http://www.irill.org/
2. http://www.debian.org/donations

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