Search Results: "Adam D. Barratt"

5 September 2012

Raphaël Hertzog: My Debian Activities in August 2012

This is my monthly summary of my Debian related activities. If you re among the people who made a donation to support my work (88.41 , thanks everybody!), then you can learn how I spent your money. Otherwise it s just an interesting status update on my various projects. This month has again been a short one since I have mostly been in vacation during the last 2 weeks. Dpkg Things are relatively quiet during the freeze. I only took care of fixing 3 bugs: a regression of 3.0 (quilt) (#683547), a segfault of dpkg-query -W -f (commit) and a bad auto-completion for French users (#685863). Testing the upgrade to wheezy We got several reports of wheezy upgrade that failed because dpkg ran the trigger while the dependencies of the package with pending triggers are not satisfied. Unfortunately fixing this in dpkg is not without problems (see #671711 for details) so Guillem decided to defer this fix for Jessie. My suggestion of an intermediary solution has fallen in limbo. Instead we now have to find solutions for each case where this can fail (example of failure: 680626). Another way to avoid those errors is to ensure that triggers are run as late as possible. We can improve this in multiple ways. The first way is to modify most triggers so that they use the interest-noawait directive. In that case, the packages activating the trigger will be immediately marked as configured (instead of triggers-awaited ) and the trigger will thus not need to be run as part of further dependency solving logic. But as of today, there s no package using this new feature yet despite a nudge on debian-devel-announce. :-( The second way is to modify APT to use dpkg no-triggers, and to let the trigger processing for the end (with a last dpkg configure -a call). I requested this early in the wheezy timeframe but for various reasons, the APT maintainers did not act on it. I pinged them again in #626599 but it s now too late for wheezy. I find this a bit sad because I have been using those options for the entire wheezy cycle and it worked fine for me (and I used them for a dist-upgrade on my wife s laptop too). It would have been good to have all this in place for wheezy so that we don t have to suffer from the same problems during the jessie upgrade, but unless someone steps up to steer those changes, it seems unlikely to happen. Instead, we re back to finding klumsy work-arounds in individual packages. Packaging I prepared security updates for python-django (1.4.1 for unstable,
1.2.3-3+squeeze3 for stable). I packaged a new upstream version for cpputest (3.2-1). I reviewed ledgersmb 1.3.21-1 prepared by Robert James Clay and asked him to prepare another version with further fixes. I released nautilus-dropbox 1.4.0-2 with supplementary changes of my own to support https_proxy and to display better diagnostic information when the download fails. With the help of Paul van der Vlis and Michael Ziegler, we did what was required to be able to migrate python-django-registration 0.8 to Wheezy even though it s a new upstream version with backwards incompatible changes. Thanks to Adam D. Barratt who unblocked the package, we now have the right version in Wheezy despite the fact that I missed the freeze deadline. Debian France Julien Cristau reminded the board of Debian France that we have to elect officers (President, Secretary, Treasurer) as the current officers have withdrawn. I was somewhat afraid that nobody would take over so I pinged each member to try to get new volunteers. We now have volunteers (me, Julien Danjou and Sylvestre Ledru) and we re waiting until Julien finds some time to run the election. Misc With the help of DSA, I setup antispam rules for the alias because I was getting tired by the amount of spam. In the process, they asked me to write a wiki page for to document everything so that they can refer to it for future queries. I did it but it looks like that they did not apply my patch yet. I also tested an upstream patch for gnome-keyring (see bugzilla #681081) that reintroduces the support of forgetting GPG passphrases after a specified amount of time. Thanks See you next month for a new summary of my activities.

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3 May 2011

Raphaël Hertzog: My Debian activities in April 2011

This is my monthly summary of my Debian related activities. If you re among the people who support my work, then you can learn how I spent your money. Otherwise it s just an interesting status update on my various projects. GNOME 3 packaging Right after the GNOME 3 release, I was eager to try it out so I helped the pkg-gnome team to update some of the packages. I did some uploads of totem, totem-pl-parser, gvfs, mutter, gnome-shell, gnome-screensaver. I also kept people informed via my blog and prepared a pinning file for adventurous users who wanted to try it out from experimental (like me). One month later, I m still using GNOME 3. There are rough edges still, but not so many. And I m starting to get used to it. Debian Rolling planning Debian Rolling is a project on my TODO list for quite some time. I decided it was time to do something about it and started a series of articles to help clarify my ideas while getting some early feedback. My goal was to prepare a somewhat polished proposal before posting it to a Debian mailing list. But as usual with Murphy s law, my plan did not work out as expected. Almost immediately after my first post the discussion started on debian-devel:
At this point it s a discussion thread of several hundreds of messages (there are several screens of messages like the one above). Many of the sub-threads have been interesting, but the general discussions mixed too many different things so that there s no clear outcome yet. Lucas Nussbaum tried to make a summary. Obviously I must adjust my plan, there s lots of feedback to process. I accepted to drive a DEP together with Sean Finney to help structure the part of the discussion that focuses on allowing development to continue during freezes. But I m also eager to fix the marketing problem of testing and have the project recognize that testing is a product in itself and that end-users should be encouraged to use it. Package Tracking System maintenance The Package Tracking System is an important tool for Debian developers, and it has been broken by some change on the Bug Tracking System. I worked around it quite quickly so that few people noticed the problem but Cron kept reminding me that I had to properly fix it. I ended up doing it last week-end. While working on the PTS, I took the opportunity to merge a patch from Jan Dittberner to enhance the news RSS feed that the PTS provides. And I also integrated information from (thanks to Mehdi Dogguy for reminding me #549115). Multiarch update Not much new this month. I fixed two bugs in the multiarch dpkg branch thanks to bug reports from Ubuntu users (LP 767634, LP 756381). I m still waiting on Guillem Jover finishing his review of the multiarch branch. I m pinging him from time to time but it looks like multi-arch is no longer in his short term priority list. :-( I ve been running this code for more than 2 months and it works fine. I want to see it merged. I m ready to update my code should anything need to be changed to please Guillem. But without any feedback we re in a deadlock. Misc dpkg work While fixing a bug in update-alternatives (found in one of the valid reports on launchpad), I noticed that there was room for improvements in the error messages output by update-alternatives. I changed them to reuse the same strings that were already used in other parts of dpkg. The result is that there are a few strings less to translate (always a nice thing for the poor translators who have to deal with the thousands of strings that dpkg contains). I also tried to fix some of the most cryptic error messages in dpkg (see #621763) but that work is stalled at the request of Guillem. Book update We (me and Roland Mas) are almost done with the update of our French book for Debian Squeeze. It will hit the shelves in July or September. I m starting to prepare the fundraising campaign to make an English translation of it. We ll use for this. On my blog I have been pleased to interview Meike Reichle, it s the first women that I have interviewed in the series but it s certainly not the last one. I also interviewed Adam D. Barratt, one of our tireless release managers. Thanks Many thanks to the people who gave me 180.35 in March and 235.37 in April. That represents 1.5 and 2 days of work for those months. See you next month for a new summary of my activities.

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7 April 2011

Raphaël Hertzog: People behind Debian: Adam D. Barratt, release manager

Adam D. Barratt is a Debian developer since 2008, in just a few years he got heavily involved to the point of being now Release manager , a high responsibility role within the community. He worked hard with the other members of the release team to make Squeeze happen. You could expect the release managers to have some rest after a big release, but it s not really the case. With the long freeze, loads of transitions have accumulated and they are now busy to get all those updated packages in the new testing (wheezy). Despite this Adam took some time to answer my questions. He shares with us his impression on the Squeeze release, his opinion on time-based freezes (regular/predictable freeze) and much more. Read on. My questions are in bold, the rest is by Adam. Who are you? I m a 31 year old software developer and part-time sysadmin for a software and IT services company based in the south of England. I have no children, no pets and a long-suffering partner who puts up with me spending far too much time tinkering with things and people making fun of her Macbook during Debconf. As well as being on the release team, I m a member of the maintainer teams for devscripts and lintian. Can you describe your journey in Debian and in the release team? I was introduced to Debian as part of an infrastructure upgrade at work, moving from a set of Red Hat and Solaris-based systems. As part of that, we submitted some bugs for issues we found during the upgrade and for small patches we included in some software to add extra functionality we wanted. From that starting point I became more interested in Debian in general and began following some of the mailing lists and IRC channels. When Julian Gilbey asked for help with the maintenance of devscripts, I submitted some patches for some of the outstanding bug reports and was invited to join the team which was being created to handle maintenance for the package. One of the then Release Managers was also on the team and asked if I d be interested in working on a couple of updates they wanted to the scripts which generate the proposed-updates overview pages. I added the new functionality which was merged in to the live scripts and a little while later I was invited to join the team, shortly before Debconf 9. As most readers will be aware, we unfortunately reached a point during last year where we didn t have anyone filling the Release Manager role. During that period, I became more active in handling transitions and requests for updates to stable and as time went on more people started to suggest that I should put myself forward for the position, or refer to me as already being RM. I procrastinated over the decision for some time but after discussions during Debconf 10 I came round to the idea that we should have the RM role filled again and agreed to take it on, together with Neil. The rest, as they say How much time do you usually spend working for the release team ? I ve been trying to work out how to usefully answer this question. My initial answer was approximately two hours each day , but the longer I thought about it the more I started debating exactly what I should include under the umbrella of release work; after some to-and-fro I ve decided to stick with my initial answer. During periods when Debian is frozen and particularly in the lead up to the release that time commitment increases significantly, particularly over weekends. I m reliably informed that at that point the correct answer to the question is too much time . :-) What s your own retrospective of the Squeeze release? What went well and what needs to be improved? Overall, I believe the release went well and that we should all be proud of the Squeeze release. The parts of the release cycle which highlighted the need for improvement all share, imo, a single root cause communication, particularly around freeze-related plans. We worked hard during the freeze itself to improve our communication with the rest of the project and want to continue in that vein during the Wheezy cycle. One thing that I personally found quite difficult at times before the freeze was keeping track of the transitions which were still waiting for a place in the queue; it s also something that we could improve on at this early stage of the Wheezy cycle. In order to help us keep a clear overview of requests for transitions, stable updates and binNMUs, it would be helpful if they could be filed as appropriately user-tagged bugs. This not only allows us to easily get an overview of the status of requests from the BTS but also aids transparency by allowing anyone else to do so; as a useful additional feature, it means that we can use the BTS s blocking functionality to indicate reasons why a request cannot be fulfilled right now. Are you in favor of time based freeze? I think there s merit in having a time frame that we can work towards in order to achieve the goals which we set ourselves for the release, as individual maintainers, maintenance teams and a project. I do have concerns that even with such a time frame in place there will still be uploads made very close to the proposed freeze point and transitions which may be unfinished, for example because of an unforeseen entanglement with or reliance on the transition of another package. One thing I m interested in is how exact and specific that time frame should be and the balance between predictability and being able to achieve everything we want for a great release; this is something we can cover in the debate on this subject which I know many people have strong opinions about. What are your plans for Debian Wheezy? The Wheezy to-do list I started before the final Squeeze release begins multiarch, multiarch, multiarch . It looks like we re finally going to get that achieved during this release cycle, thanks to a great deal of hard work from various people. I m also interested in seeing the C.UTF-8 locale standardised throughout Debian and continuing to work on our tools and processes to make tracking of transitions and stable updates simpler (or at least appearing to be so :-) and more transparent. With my package maintenance hats on, I d like to help ensure that both devscripts and lintian are able to keep pace with changes in the development landscape in Debian (e.g. more useful package diffing for source format v3 packages) and continue to be tools that are an integral part of package development in Debian. Some people (including me) would like a rolling distribution constantly usable by end-users. Do you think that the release process currently geared towards producing stable can be accommodated to support this? I m not yet convinced that the concept of a rolling, constantly usable distribution can be easily integrated in to the workflow that exists around preparing stable releases in Debian. The testing distribution was created as, and continues to be used as, a tool to enable the release team to create the next stable release that it happens to be something that people can use every day for much of the time is mostly a happy side-effect of the fact that we don t gratuitously break it, but is by no means guaranteed to be the case early in the release cycle or during large, disruptive, transitions. It s been suggested that testing and rolling could be basically the same for most of the cycle, with rolling then continuing to be updated when testing is frozen. This would essentially mean an extra suite which is only used for a few months every couple of years or so, which is one of the things that testing was intended to avoid (i.e. the old frozen suite) and seems like a lot of overhead to introduce in order to reduce disruption to some users during the freeze. The early part of the release cycle also tends to include a number of larger transitions which often require packages to either be removed from testing or broken as part of migrating the transition, if they are not able to be successfully updated in time. What s the biggest problem of Debian? The thing that I ve been noticing myself becoming frustrated by recently is a tendency to debate the minor details of proposals, rather than concentrating on getting the key points right to begin with. Clearly for some projects such as multiarch the details may be as important as the big picture, but in most cases the people working on a development should be allowed to look after the smaller details themselves. That s not meant to imply that feedback from other parts of the project should not be welcomed, simply that if we consider Debian to be a do-ocracy then we need to permit people the freedom to do . Is there someone in Debian that you admire for their contributions? All previous release managers, for making the job look much easier than it seems when you re in the hot seat . :-) Outside of the release team, Joey Hess for his contributions to various parts of the Debian development environment over the years, such as debhelper and debian-installer, and Colin Watson for his enviable willingness to tackle a wide variety of different projects within Debian.
Thank you to Adam for the time spent answering my questions. I hope you enjoyed reading his answers as I did. Subscribe to my newsletter to get my monthly summary of the Debian/Ubuntu news and to not miss further interviews. You can also follow along on, Twitter and Facebook.

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23 March 2010

Russ Allbery: Lintian 2.3.4

It's been nearly two months since the previous release, so lots had accumulated in the bug tracker. This release resolves a bunch of various false positives, fixes a few minor issues with the pages, and applies all the patches that were in the BTS that were ready to go in. It doesn't have any of the pending larger changes, since we wanted to get the smaller fixes out quickly. The current tentative plan is that the next release will be 2.4.0 and will include several large structural changes that various people have been working on, including the conversion of the manual to DocBook. All plans are, of course, pending finding enough time. It's amazing how effective Lintian can be given that it uses a bunch of guesswork and loose regexes to parse everything from init scripts to debian/rules files. We do have a bunch of accumulated wishlist bugs that aren't going to be fixed without writing better and more thorough parsing, particularly for shell scripts, but it boggles me just how far you can get with some dead-simple heuristics. Thanks very much to Adam D. Barratt and Raphael Geissert who have kept things going while I've been eaten by work, and particularly to Raphael for doing the last two releases and a ton of work with the security update.

9 March 2009

Russ Allbery: Lintian 2.2.7

This release had more annoying globalish changes than any release that I remember recently. There were lots of little changes across all files, lots of internal reorganization, and lots of tweaks and little changes to match behavior changes elsewhere in the infrastructure. It's all movement towards a more maintainable code base, but it's not as much fun as fixing lots of bugs. This release should fix the occasional problems that people saw with checking source packages (sorry about that, my fault) and somewhat faster performance due to a bunch of work by Raphael Geissert. It also incorporates changes from debhelper 7.2.3, including removing the requirement that one call install-docs and update-menus in maintainer scripts. That work is now handled by triggers (except for menu-methods files). This was supposed to be the Policy 3.8.1 release, but I ran out of time today. I'm still hoping to get to that very soon (before 2.2.7 propagates into testing), but there were enough important fixes in this that I didn't want to delay it further. I'm running into a bit of a problem with Lintian at the moment. It's a lot of fun, and we're making a ton of progress, but it's taking me roughly a day a week to really keep up with the incoming bugs and patch submissions and do a proper job of merging them (which is more than just applying them). This really isn't sustainable. I have a bunch of other things that I want to do, both inside Debian and outside, and I'm going to have to reduce the amount of time that I'm spending on Lintian soon. I hate to do that, since it's great to stay this up-to-date and see this high pace of change, but things may start backing up a bit in the near future. As usual, thank you very much to Adam D. Barratt and Raphael Geissert for all of their work, without which this release wouldn't have been possible.

3 January 2009

Russ Allbery: Lintian 2.1.4

Lintian 2.1.4 has just been uploaded to unstable. I'm trying to stick to a weekly schedule for releases while the pace of development justifies it, so this upload is a week after the previous upload. (We're targetting only unstable at this point and don't plan on having any of these versions release with lenny. Lintian is the sort of package for which the freeze isn't as relevant as it is for typical end-user packages.) It fixes 13 bugs and, most importantly, cleans up all the bugs that were tagged patch in the BTS. There are lots of minor changes, including a lot of new tags for random problems. The one that will catch the most people is that dh_clean -k is now deprecated in favor of dh_prep (thanks, Adam D. Barratt!). I got to spend a lot of time this week working with the new Lintian test suite and link it a great deal. I've converted some of the more targetted old test cases to the new framework and sent out a long message to the team list on things that I'd like to add to it. The complete test suite now takes a lot longer to run, since it's broken down into more separate test cases and each one is a package build, but we're making up for that by making it easier to run all test cases that apply to a specific tag. There aren't many structural changes in this release, just a lot of bug cleanup and random fixes. I think at least one more bug-fix release is needed to get the pending bugs back to where I like to have them (under 100 total), and then I have a large backlog of structural improvements that I'd like to work on. It's unclear, of course, how much time I'll have to work on that. I could happily make a full time job out of working on Lintian (well, for a few months, at least). I wish I could spend this much time working on it during the rest of the year, but I can still enjoy getting to dig into it during occasional vacations, and hopefully I'll be able to do a few things during work weeks. Many of the patches that went into this release were based on work by Raphael Geissert. Thanks to him for all of his work on Lintian.

28 December 2008

Russ Allbery: Lintian 2.1.3

Over the last couple of days, I've found some time to work on Lintian for the first time in quite a while. It's been a good feeling both for getting back to a project that I've done very little on for several months and finally feeling energized about a coding project. I think after a week of vacation, I'm starting to recover my energy. I uploaded Lintian 2.1.3 earlier today and am currently doing a fresh archive-wide run for This version has several new checks for watch files from Raphael Geissert, several fixes for the lintian.d.o output, a few other random bug fixes, and an attempt to tackle unversioned shared libraries in a more comprehensive fashion. Shared libraries with an SONAME that doesn't contain a version number can't be represented in the shlibs system (but can in the symbols system), so Lintian always reports them as missing from shlibs when they're installed in public directories. That's not really the right tag, since they don't belong in shlibs. The more basic problem is that, except for a few special cases mostly coming from libc, they really don't belong in public directories. With no versioning in the SONAME, we can't handle changes to the ABI without completely changing the library name and can't use the shlibs system to manage them. Most of the libraries in this situation are actually private libraries for one particular application. As Policy already says, those libraries shouidn't be installed in public directories like /usr/lib; they should be installed in private subdirectories of /usr/lib for that application. The biggest group of offenders here currently seems to be KDE; for some reason, unless I'm missing something, this seems to be a semi-standard KDE way of doing things. This version of Lintian will hopefully handle this better. Such libraries won't be expected to be in shlibs files and won't get erroneous tags about not being listed there. We'll also do a better job of distinguishing between versioned shared libraries and shared library names that just contain a hyphen. Such unversioned libraries will get a separate tag pointing at the portion of Policy that says to put private libraries and plugins in a subdirectory instead of /usr/lib. Thanks as always to Frank Lichtenheld, Adam D. Barratt, and Jord Polo for all the hard work they've been putting into Lintian. It's gotten much better over the few months that I've not been able to work on it, which is making me more excited to get back to it and do more.

21 September 2008

Frank Lichtenheld: Lintian 2.0.0~rc2 in experimental

For the impatient reader: New lintian in experimental, please test and give feedback. You will miss most changes though unless you read the rest of the post (Hint, Hint ;)) During the past week I've uploaded new lintian versions to experimental which we designated to be release candidates for 2.0.0. Code-wise the changes are not that much more intrusive than for many of our past releases, but they change the way lintian classifies tags in a fundamental way, thanks due to the hard work of Jord Polo in his Google Summer of Code project (mentored by Marc Brockschmidt). Lintian Tag Classification, old and new Previously lintian classified tags only in one dimension, in the categories "Info", "Warning", and "Error". While this worked reasonably well, the difference between the categories was not very well defined. The general idea was that everything violating a "must" in Debian Policy or endangering the building or usage of the package should be an "Error", i.e. something very similar to the definition of RC bugs (except that not all "must"s in Policy are deemed worthy of filing RC bugs). Some errors were downgraded to "Warning" or even "Info" though on the basis that their detection was too prone to false positives. Due to this it was a long existing desire to split the classification of tags into two dimensions, one for the impact/importance of the tag, and one for the certainty of its correct detection. This should make it easier for people to interpret and/or filter the output. At various points in the last few years people began to work on this but quickly gave up, usually overwhelmed by the sheer number of tags (728 in 2.0.0~rc2) to classify anew and to make sure that the old and new categorisation could exist side-by-side (because breaking backwards compatibility was not really feasible). Finally this year Jord Polo decided to tackle this task as a Google Summer of Code project, with great success. Tags are now classified in two dimensions "Severity" (with the possible values wishlist, minor, normal, important, serious, which are intentionally very close to the available severities in the Debian bug tracking system), and "Certainty" (possible values: wild-guess, possible, certain). A third classification by "Source" (i.e. Policy, Developers Reference, ...) is planned but not yet fully implemented. For backwards compatibility there is a mapping of these new classification to the old ones (which lead to a few reclassifications of tags). The default output of lintian is unchanged. The new output formats that support the classification are still experimental (see below). How to use it You can specify exactly which levels of Severity and Certainty you want to have displayed with the new --display-level (-L) option. Please see the manual page for the details, but to give you an idea, the default behaviour (i.e. "show warnings and errors" in the "old" vocabulary) is equivalent to specifying
-L ">=important" -L "+>=normal/possible" -L +minor/certain
And to get a report with only severe tags we're very certain of, you could use
-L ">=important/certain"
which will only display tags that have severity "important" or "serious" and a certainty of certain. There is also the (intentionally undocumented) option --exp-output which allows you to play with some experiments we're doing with the output format. --exp-output format=letterqualifier will give you an output very similar to the "classic" one, but with additional information about severity and certainty. --exp-output format=colons gives you a colon-separated format which includes all the possible information lintian currently has available during tag output and which should be easily machine-consumable. Note that these formats are experimental and might be changed at any point without notice. If you're interested in using alternative formats for lintian output, please join the mailing list and talk to us about it. Etc. Other changes include the usual share of bug fixes and of course: New tags Credits This lintian release is brought to you by (sorted by number of changesets):

22 July 2008

Russ Allbery: Tired now

Last week, Stanford University hosted Cartel, a gathering of several schools that share similarities of infrastructure and IT problems. I was one of the coordinators, handled most of the content for the web site, helped prepare the agenda, and presented for three of the segments. It's considerably more work hosting and coordinating one of these than just attending one, even with the travel. Jeff Altman and Derrick Brashear, the other two OpenAFS gatekeepers, were also in town for half of Cartel and stayed through Friday, so we went out to dinner several times, played a great deal of Fluxx, talked about the state of the world, and caught up. This was all great and very informative, but I'm also an introvert, which means that no matter how much I'm enjoying social interaction, it's also extremely tiring. I'm still fairly wiped; I'm getting more done (and got more done last weekend) than I really expected, but I expect I'll be paying the price all the way through this week. (And then I have more company from out of town that I've been looking forward to for months, but which will then take its own toll, which means it's likely I'm going to be exhausted until well into August.) So, I'm currently looking at all the things I want to do and trying to tell myself that not only is it okay that they're not all going to get done right away, but I need to make a concerted effort to take time to relax, try to work less than 40 hours this week (after working 56 last week), and spend more time reading. Of course, writing reviews is one of the other things that I'm currently a bit behind on.... Debian is freezing for lenny next weekend. If I have a few moments, I may do final uploads of OpenAFS (to clarify that hppa isn't a supported platform) and kstart (a long-awaited new upstream release that adds a flag saying not to get forwardable tickets, needed if one has a krb5.conf configuration saying to get them and a site policy that says you can't). gnubg could stand another upload, but I probably won't get to that. The Shibboleth packages are all in good shape except that they don't all have complete copyright files for all the Autotools helper stuff, which is very not important. Thankfully, the freeze is basically meaningless for Lintian, which will continue apace (and Adam D. Barratt continues to take much of the load off by doing a ton of commit work), and means that Debian Policy work should actually slow. My intention is to make the next normative release of Policy shortly after the lenny release, which gives us plenty of time to work on more changes for the next version. I plan on somewhat ignoring both for a bit while I catch up on other things, since I released Lintian 1.24.2 on the 13th (which I see I never announced here — whoops). In other news, I finally started the process of moving services from systems I own and have to fix to systems where someone else owns the hardware and has to fix it when it breaks by buying a VM from Panix. I still need to sort out my DNS situation and get more direct control over my zone file now that I have somewhere I can run my own DNS server so that I can start moving services there, but so far, so good. I'm extremely impressed by their service and capabilities and already have all of my Git repositories on the system and gitweb set up once I get DNS updated.

30 June 2008

Russ Allbery: General update

It's been a while since I've posted anything except reviews and I'm overdue for a general update. With the Kerberos upgrade project finished last month, I'm currently in the wonderful situation of not having any large active projects at work and being given time to generally catch up. With luck, I'll have a couple more months of that before things really heat up. I only have to consult on a few projects and otherwise can deal with all the operational issues that I'd been putting off. A lot of my time lately has been spent on Puppet configuration cleanup and improvements, and there's at least another solid week of that to go, as well as a pile of overdue documentation to write. On the Debian side, Lintian has moved to a new Git repository and Adam D. Barratt has started committing directly. Frank has also had time to do a lot of work, which means that Lintian development is proceeding quite well without a lot of active attention on my part. That's been wonderful and has given me time to focus on other things. Most of my Debian effort of late has gone into the new Shibboleth packaging team and review of Shibboleth 2.0 packages, the last of which was uploaded last week and is sitting in NEW. Thanks to Ferenc W gner for the fine work! All the packages are now in Git and migrated to Alioth and there's a wiki page for the packaging team. Scott Cantor, the primary upstream developer, has joined the mailing list and has been extremely helpful and responsive. Sam Hartman has also migrated the krb5 packaging repository to Git and Alioth, and last Friday I finally finished migrating the openafs repository. Both are unfortunately rather huge since they contain all the historic upstream tarballs (extracting that would have been hideously complicated to do as part of the migration), but they shouldn't grow nearly as much now that we can use pristine-tar. This is the heart of the Kerberos and AFS packaging; there's now just kerberos-configs and my two PAM modules to move (more on the complexities of the PAM module Git migration in a later post). On the personal front, I've been travelling a lot lately, but that will now calm down for a while. I have some company next month, though, and hopefully will be up for it by then (right now, I just want to hole up in my apartment and do my own thing and not interact for a bit). I've been reading George Orwell: An Age Like This (1920-1940), the first of a four-volume collection of his letters, essays, and reviews. I was inspired to buy the first volume after reading one of his essays on-line after a Usenet discussion some time back, and I'm delighted I did. It took me a bit to get into it, but now I'm finding it absolutely fascinating. Orwell has a talent for concise and accurate descriptions of life (primarily of the poor) that capture the emotional tone as well as the surface details. That's mixed with interesting book reviews (I love reading book reviews), intriguing tidbits on his writing process and how he viewed being a writer, and snippets of the day-to-day of his life that have survived in letters. It's rather like reading a blog, and Orwell is a good enough writer that even his unparagraphed, abbreviated commentary in letters is full of memorable turns of phrase or observations. If you like that sort of thing, I recommend it highly. I'm going to buy the remaining three volumes and read the whole collection, plus quite likely pick up Orwell's other books besides 1984 and Animal Farm.