Search Results: "Carl Chenet"

5 November 2014

Carl Chenet: Send the same short message on Twitter,, Diaspora* and a lot more

Follow me on or Twitter or Diaspora*diaspora-banner This is a feedback about installing a self hosted instance of Friendica on a Debian server (Jessie). If you re not interested in why I use Friendica, just go to Prerequisite for Friendica section below. Frustration about social networks Being a huge user of short messages, I was quite frustated to spend so much time on my Twitter account. To be quite honest, there is no much I like about this social network, except the huge population of people being potentially interested in what I write. twitter-logo I also have been using (now powered by for a while. But I tried for a while to manage both networks and Twitter by hand and it was quite painful. And something was telling me another social network was going to appear from nowhere one of these days and I ll be just horrible to try to keep it up this way. identica-logo So I was looking for a scalable solution not asking too much personal investment. Subscribing to Diaspora* some days ago on the Framasphere pod, tintouli told me to try Friendica. Hmmm, what s Friendica ? f-intro Friendica is a content manager you can plug on almost anything: social networks (Facebook, Twitter,, Diaspora*, ), but also WordPress, XMPP, emails I m in fact just discovering the power of this tool but to plug it on my different social network accounts was quite a good use case for me. And I guess if you re still reading, for you too. I tried to use some shared public servers but I was not quite happy with the result, one connector was still missing or public servers were really unstable. So I m at last self hosting my Friendica. Here is how. Prerequisite for Friendica You need to install the following packages: # apt-get install apache2 libapache2-mod-php5 php5 php5-curl php5-gd php5-mysql mysql-server git Having a already self-modified /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini, I encountered a small issue with libCurl and had to manually add the following line in the php.ini: Setting up MySQL Connect to MySQL and create an empty database with a dedicated user: # mysql -u root -pV3rYS3cr3t -e create database friendica; GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON friendica.* TO friendica@localhost IDENTIFIED BY R3AlLyH4rdT0Gu3ss mysql Setting up Apache My server hosts several services, so I use a subdomain If you use a subdomain, of course check you do have declared this subdomain in your DNS zone. apache-logo I use SSL encryption with a wildcard certificate for all my subdomains. My Friendica data are stored in /var/www/friendica. Here is my virtual host configuration for Friendica stored in the file /etc/apache2/sites-available/friendicassl.conf : <VirtualHost *:443>
DocumentRoot /var/www/friendica/
DirectoryIndex index.php index.html
ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/friendica-error-ssl.log
TransferLog /var/log/apache2/friendica-access-ssl.log SSLEngine on
SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/certs/mydomain/
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/private/
SSLVerifyClient None <Directory /var/www/friendica/>
AllowOverride All
Options FollowSymLinks
Order allow,deny
Allow from all
</VirtualHost> After writing the configuration file, just launch the following commands and it should be good for the Apache configuration: # a2ensite friendicassl && /etc/init.d/apache2 reload friendica-trust Setting up Friendica Get the master zip file of Friendica, copy it on your server and decompress it. Something like : # cd /var/www/ && wget && unzip && mv friendica-master friendica You need to give www-data (Apache user) the rights to write in /var/www/friendica/view/smarty3/ : # chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/friendica/view/smarty3 && chmod -R ug+w var/www/friendica/view/smarty3 Ok, I guess we re all set, lets launch the installation process! Using your web browser, connect to First step you ll see the installation window which checks the prerequisite before installing. Complete if something is missing.

First window of the Friendica installation process

Second step asks the host/user/password of the database, complete and the installation process starts. Hopefully all goes just fine. Next you ll have to create a /var/www/friendica/.htconfig.php with the content that the last page of the installation process provides. Just copy/paste, check the rights of this file and now you can connect again to see the register page of friendica at the url . Pretty cool! Register a user That s a fairly easy step. You just need to check before that your server is able to send emails, because the password is going to be sent to you by email. If it is ok, you should now identify on the welcome page of friendica and access your account. That s a huge step to broadcast your short messages everywhere, but we have some last steps before being able to send your short messages on all the social networks we need. A small break, create an app for twitter on To send your short messages to Twitter, you need to create an app on Just check you re logged in Twitter and connect to Create an app called with a unique name (apparently), then go to the Keys and Access tokens page, note the consumer key and the consumer secret. You ll later need the name of the app, the consumer key and the consumer secret. friendica-decentralized-network Install and configure the addons Friendica uses an addon system in order to plug on the different third-parties it needs. We are going to configure Twitter, and the Diaspora* plug. Let s go back to our server and launches some commands: # cd /tmp && git clone && cd friendica-addons # tar xvf twitter.tgz -C /var/www/friendica/addon # tar xvf pumpio.tgz -C /var/www/friendica/addon # cp -a diaspora /var/www/friendica/addon You need to modify your /var/www/friendica/.htconfig.php file and add the following content at the end: // names of your addons, separated by a comma $a->config['system']['addon'] = pumpio, twitter, diaspora ; // your Twitter consumer key
$a->config['twitter']['consumerkey'] = P4Jl2Pe4j7Lj91eIn0AR8vIl2 ; // your Twitter consumer secret
$a->config['twitter']['consumersecret'] = 1DnVkllPik9Ua8jW4fncxwtXZJbs9iFfI5epFzmeI8VxM9pqP1 ; // you Twitter app name $a->config['twitter']['application_name'] = whatever-twitter ; banner_friendica Connect again to Friendica. Go to settings => social networks, you will see the options for Twitter, and Diaspora*. Complete the requested information for each of them. Important options you should not forget to check are: Twitter Diaspora* Done? Now it s time to send your first broadcasted short message. Yay! Send a short message to your different social networks Connect to Friendica, click on the network page, write your short message in the Share box. Click on the lock lock, you ll see the following setup: friendica-post-default It means your short messages will be broadcasted to the three networks. Or more, it s up to you! That s my setup, feel free to modify. Now close the lock window and send your message. For me it takes some time to appear on Twitter and Diaspora* and it immediatly appears on Last words friendica-stand Friendica offers to take back the control of your data, by broadcasting content on different media from a single source. While self hosting, you keep your data whatever happends and are not subject to companies losing your data like recently Twitpic. Moreover the philosophy behind Friendica pushed me to dig and test the solution What about you? How do you proceed to broadcast your short messages? Does Friendica offer a good solution in your opinion? Are you interested in the philosophy behind this project? Feel free to share your thoughs in the comments. LAST MINUTE: hey, this article is on Hacker News, don t hesitate to vote for it if you liked it!

14 January 2014

Carl Chenet: My Debian contributions in January 2014

Follow me on or Twitter One of my resolutions for 2014 is to keep trying harder to talk about my Debian contributions. So here it is, on a monthly basis this time I hope, quite short this month because I m leaving for holidays at the end of the week and I think I won t have time to contribute more this month. Debian packages Below are some packages I updated recently: 1. Brebis, the fully automated backup checker I successively packaged Brebis, the fully automated backup checker, versions 0.6 to 0.9 (the latter is today in Debian Sid and Jessie) since my last Debian activities blog posts (in french).

Anisette, the mascot of the Brebis Project

2. Pycallgraph, a Python library that creates call graphs for Python programs Pycallgraph is one of the first Debian packages I have been maintaining. So when I noticed it was upgraded after so much time I was really eager to package the new version 1.0.1. Now available in Debian Sid! Just belown an example of the generated graph for the application Belier, a sysadmin tool. pycallgraph 3. Belier, the SSH connection generation tool Nothing really new for Belier, the SSH connection generation tool but I updated the package in order to update the configuration of the Debian package and get rid of some warning messages. Kind of maintenance job I kept avoiding and avoiding, until now. Bug report I d like to take a few seconds to talk about an interesting bug report about the need for a nagios3-dev package I created asking for a new nagios3-dev or nagios3-headers package to offer a simple access to the headers of Nagios for the developers of Nagios external modules. In Nagios, some headers are generated after the ./configure, meaning it may be platform dependent. I (and not only me, the same request was active already by someone other Nagios module developers) thought it was simple to ask the Nagios3 Debian package maintainer to offer these files in a dedicated package. It seems until now people just add the missing files in tarball of their app or in their Debian packages, even if these Nagios headers are not really part of this application. In my opinion, that s why Build-Depends packages are for, don t you think? nagios It seems it is not so simple. I could not understand why it was more important to prevent Debian users who need these files to access these files in a convenient way than letting them to put theses files in there own source tarball/repository. The maintainer told me it could break things. Sure. But we all know an external module of any app often relies on a really specific version of this app. That s nothing new, thats how external modules work. That s not every apps in the world which could provide a stable API to ease the development of external modules. But at least they give access to their dev files or headers when they are FOSS. But feel free to explain to me. After all, the bug reports are still not tagged as "won t fix" ;) Your turn now :) I d be delighted to have your opinions in the comments of this blog post.

30 December 2013

Carl Chenet: Virtual environments with Python 3.3

Follow me on or Twitter One of the major features of Python 3.3 is the new venv module, allowing the creation of Python virtual environments on your system. 1. What is a virtual environment? A virtual environment is a directory dedicated to the execution of your Python applications. Activating your virtual environment will force Python to execute in this directory as the top level of this directory was the root of your file system. The virtual environments are interesting because of the independence they have toward the host they run on, especially when you want to install several versions of Python or if you want to install lots of dependencies without being the system administrator of the host. python-logo-master-v3-TM If you are a Python developer, you must know virtualenv. This really nice application offers a nice way to create Python virtual environment. Moreover it comes with pip already installed in your virtual environment, in order to install other dependencies you need in a really convenience way. Starting from Python 3.3, the module venv of the Python standard library offers the users to create virtual environments. This new feature will encourage all users to create virtual environments to develop their own Python applications, which is a good practice. Thanks to the experiences of several applications being used in the Python community, the module venv was written to be really efficient and widely available. The Python Enhancement Proposal 405 (PEP405) offers a really interesting reading if you wish to find more information about this topic. 2. Creating a virtual environment with Python 3.3 With Python 3.3 comes pyvenv-3.3, allowing to create Python virtual environment:
$ pyvenv-3.3 myvirtualenv
$ cd myvirtualenv/
$ tree .
    python -> python3.3
    python3 -> python3.3
    python3.3 -> /usr/bin/python3.3
As we can see, three directories were created.
$ cat pyvenv.cfg 
home = /usr/bin
include-system-site-packages = false
version = 3.3.2
Just before moving on, if you want to use the existing modules in your global site-packages directory on your system, the option system-site-packages is available. 3. Activate the virtual environment Lets activate our virtual environment. We need to use the bin/activate file in this environment:
$ source bin/activate 
(myvirtualenv) $
A change in our prompt indicated the good activation of the virtual environment. 4. Installing applications in the virtual environment But playing around with only the default Python interpreter is not really funny. Lets download pip, the Python installer, but before that we need a dependency setuptools:
(myvirtualenv) $ curl -o
 % Total % Received % Xferd Average Speed Time Time Time Current
 Dload Upload Total Spent Left Speed
 100 11356 100 11356 0 0 18507 0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:-- 18495
(myvirtualenv) $ curl -o
 % Total % Received % Xferd Average Speed Time Time Time Current
 Dload Upload Total Spent Left Speed
 100 543k 100 543k 0 0 685k 0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:-- 685k
Now lets install Setuptools and Pip:
(myvirtualenv) $ python3.3
 Extracting in /tmp/tmpxlrv7q
 Now working in /tmp/tmpxlrv7q/setuptools-2.0
 Installing Setuptools
... (lots of lines)...
Installed /tmp/myvirtualenv/lib/python3.3/site-packages/setuptools-2.0-py3.3.egg
 Processing dependencies for setuptools==2.0
 Finished processing dependencies for setuptools==2.0
(myvirtualenv) $ python3.3
 Downloading/unpacking pip
 Downloading pip-1.4.1.tar.gz (445kB): 445kB downloaded
 Running egg_info for package pip
 ... (lots of lines)...
 Successfully installed pip
 Cleaning up...
Ok now we re ready to use pip to install anything we need in our virtual environment. Lets think one more second about what we did: we install the Setuptools and the Pip application inside our virtual environment, with nothing written on our main system. Now lets try to install Brebis, the fully automated backup checker, and run it in this environment:
(myvirtualenv) $ pip-3.3 install brebis
 Downloading/unpacking brebis
 Downloading brebis-0.8.tar.gz
 Running egg_info for package brebis
Installing collected packages: brebis
 Running install for brebis
 changing mode of build/scripts-3.3/brebis from 644 to 755
changing mode of /tmp/myvirtualenv/bin/brebis to 755
 Successfully installed brebis
 Cleaning up...
We re now ready to launch Brebis, executing in our virtual environment:
(myvirtualenv) $ brebis -h
usage: brebis [-h] [-c DIR] [-C DIR] [-d DELIMITER] [-g] [-G] [-l FILE]
 [-L DIR] [-O DIR] [-v] 
Fully automated backup checker
positional arguments:
 archives archives to check
optional arguments:
 -h, --help show this help message and exit
 -c DIR, --configpath DIR
 the path to the configurations
 -C DIR, --output-conf-dir DIR
 the directory to store the configuration file
 -d DELIMITER, --delimiter DELIMITER
 delimiter of the fields for the list of files
 -g, --gen-list generate a list of files inside a backup
 -G, --gen-full generate the configuration file and the list of files
 for the backup
 -l FILE, --log FILE the log file
 -L DIR, --output-list-dir DIR
 the directory to store the list of files inside an
 archive or tree
 -O DIR, --output-list-and-conf-dir DIR
 the directory to store the configuration file and the
 list of files inside an archive or tree
 -v, --version print the version of this program and exit
For more information:
So we get an execution of the Brebis application inside our virtual environment, installed from our virtual environment with tools installed only in the virtual environment. That s a big step that such a feature is now included in the standard library. In the future, you will enjoy the possibility to create new virtual environments for each Python version right out of the box. Moreover, using the upgrade option of the pyvenv command, you will upgrade, if needed, your virtual environment in a really easy and straightforward way, making environments adaptable in time. What about you? What do you think about the Python 3 virtual environments and their features, given your own needs? Feel free to use the comments section of this post.

25 December 2013

Carl Chenet: X-mas present: Brebis 0.9, the fully automated backup checker, released

Follow me also on Twitter Just in time for this 2013 Christmas, the Brebis Project released Brebis "Bouddhinette" 0.9. Hope you ll enjoy our X-mas present ;) Reminder: Brebis is the fully automated backup checker, a CLI software developed in Python, allowing users to verify the integrity of archives (tar,gz,bz2,lzma,zip) and the state of the files inside the archives. You will find more information about Brebis features on the Brebis Project homepage. What s new? The major features for this release are:

Anisette, the proud mascot of the Brebis Project

The extensive list of the supported features is available on the Brebis Project homepage. Get Brebis The official archive of Brebis 0.9 is available here. Feedback about Brebis What do you think about the Brebis project ? We at the Brebis Project welcome any feedback about Brebis. Feel free to comment on this blog, to subscribe to the Brebis-users mailing list, by Twitter or email me directly at
Official website:

19 November 2013

Carl Chenet: Yarn: a scenario testing tool

Follow me also on Twitter Those who follow me on Twitter may have read my recent tweet about Yarn, a really nice software by Lars Wirzenius I discovered the last week-end while attending the Mini-Debconf UK in Cambridge. To make a long story short, Yarn allows the user to write scenarios of the executions of softwares. This scenario will be automatically played by Yarn which also returns the overview of the execution, with the goal to test the behaviour of these softwares. 1. Small example of how to use Yarn Let s have a look of how to use Yarn with a real example. The scenario will test if the software Brebis, a fully automatized backup checker, executes in an expected way. We can proceed as follow :
  1. set up the test environment
  2. launch a command with the software under test in the test environment
  3. verify the execution of the test
This is an example of a Yarn scenario file, the file is formatted using the Markdown syntax:
    SCENARIO basic brebis execution
    GIVEN setting up brebis
    AND generating backup configuration with brebis
    WHEN brebis verifies a backup
    THEN verify brebis output
    IMPLEMENTS GIVEN setting up brebis
    hg clone $DATADIR/brebis
    mkdir -p $DATADIR/brebis/yarn-test
    cp $DATADIR/brebis/functional-tests/expected-generated-list-for-tar-archive/expected-generated-list-for-tar-archive.tar.gz $DATADIR/brebis/yarn-test
    IMPLEMENTS GIVEN generating backup configuration with brebis
    $DATADIR/brebis/ -G $DATADIR/brebis/yarn-test/expected-generated-list-for-tar-archive.tar.gz
    IMPLEMENTS WHEN brebis verifies a backup
    $DATADIR/brebis/ -c $DATADIR/brebis/yarn-test -l $DATADIR/brebis/yarn-test/brebis.log
    IMPLEMENTS THEN verify brebis output
    if [ -s $DATADIR/brebis/yarn-test/brebis.log ]; then return 1; else return 0; fi
2. Result of the execution of the Yarn scenario Yarn provides at the end of the scenario an overview of the execution, as show below: $ yarn brebis-scenario
Scenario test suite PASS, with 1 scenarios (4 total steps), in 16.4 seconds 3. Details of the Yarn scenarios The five first lines are basically your scenario. Each step takes a keyword and a sentence to identify a step. You define a name with the SCENARIO keyword. The next step, GIVEN, allows generally the setup of the test environment. It is possible of course to define different steps with the keywork AND. Once the environment setup has been completed, we launch the test with the keyword WHEN. At last we check the result of the execution with THEN. It is worth noting that if you need further steps after checking the result of the execution, you can use FINALLY. Very helpful while setting up the test environment is the variable $DATADIR, automatically initialized by Yarn. It provides the path to a temporary directory where you can store files during the execution of your scenario. This directory is by default removed at the end of the scenario. Now the real trick: at each step I described above is associated shell commands to execute thanks to the IMPLEMENTS keyword.It s in my opinion a great way to increase the understanding of what the scenario really does. In a short glance of the first lines, if the names of the steps are carefully chosen, you will understand what the scenario does without needing to read the actual shell code. Simple and efficient. 4. More about Yarn Yarn is written in Python and now available in Debian in the package cmdtest. The sources are available here. In my opinion, if you were looking for this kind of tool, Yarn is in a really good direction. This project is still young but the core features do the job and the upstream is eager to receive feedbacks (and patches) :) Some links: Interested in Yarn? What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments of this post.

9 November 2013

Carl Chenet: Brebis 0.8, the fully automated backup checker, released

Follow me also on Twitter The new version of Brebis "Claquette" 0.8 was published two days ago. Brebis is a fully automated backup checker. Brebis does not create backups. It only performs controls on them. Brebis is able to detect a corrupted archive compressed with different formats (tar, gzip, bzip2, lzma and zip), automatically checking the integrity of your archives and lots of parameters of the files inside these archives or inside a tree of files and provide detailed reports if unexpected states are detected. Check out the list of the supported features. What s new? The main features of this new version are:
  • new parameter sha512 in the Brebis configuration file to verify the authenticity of the list of files.
  • support for a GPG signed configuration file of Brebis, allowing to verify the authenticity of the backup checking configuration.
The official archive of Brebis 0.8 is available in Debian Sid or from sources at The documentation has improved and a full example of how to secure you backup checking process is now available. Feedback about Brebis What do you think about the Brebis project ? We at the Brebis Project welcome any feedback about Brebis. Feel free to comment on this blog, to subscribe to the Brebis-users mailing list, by Twitter or email me directly at
Official website:

16 October 2013

Carl Chenet: Brebis 0.7, the fully automated backup checker

Follow me on or Twitter The new version of Brebis Chevillette 0.7 was published two days ago. Brebis is a fully automated backup checker. Brebis does not create backups. It only performs controls on them. Brebis is able to detect a corrupted archive compressed with different formats, automatically checking the integrity of your archives and lots of parameters of the files inside these archives or inside a tree of files and provide detailed reports if unexpected states are detected. Check out the list of the supported features. What s new? The main features of this new version are:
  • new option -G or gen-full to generate from you archive (or from your tree of files) the configuration file and the list of files you need to run Brebis.
  • new parameter target to check the target of a link
Complete example of installing, configuring and running Brebis How to install from your package manager Brebis is available in Debian, FreeBSD, Archlinux and Frugalware. Use your favorite package manager to install it. How to install from the sources
# wget
# tar zxvf brebis-0.7.tar.gz && cd brebis-0.7
# python3.3 install --install-scripts=/usr/bin
# mkdir /etc/brebis
What you need before running brebis Our goal is to check on a regular basis the archive /backups/monthly-backup.tar.gz. Brebis needs two files in order to correctly run: a configuration file with general parameters and the list of files with all their parameters. Don t be afraid, both of theses files will be generated by Brebis with the following command:
# brebis -G /backups/monthly-backup.tar.gz
# ls /backups/
monthly-backup.tar.gz monthly-backup.conf monthly-backup.list
All the files inside your archives have been detected and their names and parameters (uid, gid, mode, md5, ) have been written in the file monthly-backup.list. More information about those files. How to configure Brebis Lets save /backups/monthly-backup.list in /etc/brebis: # mv /backups/monthly-backup.list /etc/brebis For /backups/monthly-backup.conf, we just modify the files_list parameters:
We also save monthly-backup.conf in /etc/brebis: # mv /backups/monthly-backup.conf /etc/brebis Use Brebis Using Brebis is as simple as: # brebis -c /etc/brebis/ -l /var/log/brebis.log If there is not any difference between the current state of your backup and your list of file, the logfile /var/log/brebis.log will be empty. If any difference happens, they will be reported in /var/log/brebis.log. Show time. I m modifying the md5 hash sum of a file in /etc/brebis/monthly-backup.list, during the next run of brebis, I get the following content in brebis.log:
WARNING:root:1 file with unexpected hash while checking
WARNING:root:toto/titi hash is ce4f8cacd8fc702bdd03531b9447818b.
Should have been ce4f8cacd8fc702bdd03531b94478184.
As you can read, Brebis reports a difference between what was expected and what it checks. Now it s easy to do the same for any backup you want to check on a regular basis. Just add something like the next line in /etc/crontab: 01 00 * * * root brebis -c /etc/brebis/ -l /var/log/brebis.log A brebis run will happen every day at midnight to check your backup. Every configuration files in the directory /etc/brebis/ will be inspected. Feedback about Brebis We at the Brebis Project welcome any feedback about Brebis. Feel free to subscribe to the Brebis-users mailing list, by Twitter or email me directly at
Official website:

4 February 2013

Rapha&#235;l Hertzog: My Free Software Activities in January 2013

This is my monthly summary of my free software related activities. If you re among the people who made a donation to support my work (84.25 , thanks everybody!), then you can learn how I spent your money. Otherwise it s just an interesting status update on my various projects. Debian Packaging In one of my customer projects, I had to use libwebsockets and since it was not packaged for Debian, I filed a Request For Package (RFP #697671). I discovered a fork of this library on github and decided to mail the original author and the author of the fork to learn a bit more about the reason of the fork. It turns out that they miscommunicated and that the original author was interested by most of the improvements. The fork still exists but the important fixes and most of the improvements have been merged (and he released a version 1.0 after that!). Furthermore the original author setup a bug tracker to better organize the project and so that the author of the fork can submit patches and be sure that they won t be forgotten (as it happened in the past). I spend quite some time discussing with both parties but at the end I m pleased to see that good progress has been made (although nobody stepped up to maintain this package in Debian). I packaged zim 0.59 (an important bugfix release) and wordpress 3.5.1 (with several security fixes). I updated the dpkg-dev squeeze backports to version 1.16.9~bpo60+1 on request of Daniel Schepler. This backport led me to file #698133 on kgb-client because the bot literally spammed the #debian-dpkg IRC channel for multiple hours by resending old commit notices that got merged in the squeeze-backports branch. BTW, they need help to get this issue fixed. I updated python-django-registration to fix a compatibility issue with python3-sphinx (see #697721 for details). Misc Debian Stuff Serious bug with salt. I filed a grave bug on salt (#697747 ) and prepared the upload to fix the issue on request of the maintainer. In the mean time, the maintainer orphaned the package. Franklin G. Mendoza already announced its willingness to take over but this package deserves multiple maintainers since this is a good piece of software that is getting more and more popular. net-retriever and alternate keyrings. I filed a wishlist bug (#698618) on net-retriever to request a way for derivatives to use another keyring package (i.e. not debian-archive-keyring-udeb) without having to fork net-retriever. Linux 3.7 on armel/armhf. I helped the kernel maintainers to fix the 3.7 kernel on armel/armhf by reporting on IRC the results of successive failing kernel rebuilds on those architectures (this kernel version is only in experimental). Carl9170 firmware. I also pinged the kernels maintainers about a missing firmware for the carl9170 driver (already reported in #635840) and Ben Hutchings took care of re-activating its inclusion in upstream s linux-firmware.git and then uploaded firmware-free 3.2 to Debian. Thanks Ben! New QA team member. And to finish with the miscellaneous stuff, I helped Holger Levsen to be added to the qa group so that he could integrate his awesome work on automated QA checks with Jenkins. Debian France Preparation for Solutions Linux. The people organizing the village of associations in the Solutions Linux conference have asked all organizations to apply for a booth if they wanted one. Last year Carl Chenet took care of organizing this and this time we had to find someone else. I made multiple call for volunteers (on the mailing list, on my blog) without much success but I finally managed to convince Tanguy Ortolo to take care of this. Thank you Tanguy! Get in touch with treasurer who disappeared. During the transition with the former Debian France officers, it has been said that Aur lien G r me another former treasurer of Debian France had entirely disappeared together with some papers that he never gave to his successor. I didn t want to give up on this without at least trying to get in touch by myself so after multiple tries (over IRC, phone, and snail mail), and some weeks without answers, he got back to me, explaining that he s currently in a foreign country and that he will take care of that next time that he comes in France. \o/ New website in preparation. Replacing the single-page website webpage with a more comprehensive website is an important goal. Alexandre Delano provided a basic ikiwiki setup inspired by I cleaned it and integrated it in a git repository on our machine. There s thus a new test website on Tanguy Ortolo and Fernando Lagrange immeditaly made some small improvements but since then nobody stepped up to further complete the website. I ll try to do this in February and put the new website in production. Paypal and handling of members. We installed a paypal plugin in galette so that members can renew their membership online. I asked Christian Bayle to try it out and we found some issues that I reported upstream and that got fixed. But this is only the first step, we want to go much further and automate all the membership handling, from membership renewal mail reminders up to integration in the accounting system. To this end, I filed some new tickets in the Galette tracker and completed some that were already opened: #490, #368 and #394. We requested a quote for those tickets and Debian France is going to fund the work on those tickets so that we have a 100% free software solution for our needs. Thanks See you next month for a new summary of my activities.

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1 December 2012

Rapha&#235;l Hertzog: My Free Software Activities in November 2012

This is my monthly summary of my free software related activities. If you re among the people who made a donation to support my work (692.20 , thanks everybody!), then you can learn how I spent your money. Otherwise it s just an interesting status update on my various projects. Misc packaging I updated the publican package (a tool for publishing material authored in DocBook XML) with version 3.0, a major new upstream version. As with any important update, it had its share of problems and I created two patches that I sent upstream. I uploaded the package to experimental since we re in freeze. The Debian Administrator s Handbook Since the translation teams have been working for a few months, I wanted to put the result of their work online. I did it and I blogged about it on By the way, we have a Polish translation that just started. This took quite some time because many translators were not well versed with Docbook XML and its structure. So I fixed their mistakes and asked the Weblate developer (Michal Cihar) to implement new checks to avoid those basic XML mistakes. I also added a couple of build scripts to the git repository to make it easier to rebuild translations in multiple formats. I used this opportunity to file a couple of bugs I encountered with Publican (concerning ePub output mainly, and custom brands). I also blogged about our plans to update the book for Wheezy. Roland started to work on it but I did not have the time yet. Debian France The officers (president, treasurer, secretary) have just changed and we had to organize the transition. As the new president, I got administrator access on our Gandi virtual machine ( as well as access to our bank account. I got also got a bunch of administrative papers retracing the history of the association. Carl Chenet (the former president) gave them to me during the mini-debconf that was organized in Paris. Indeed, Sylvestre Ledru and Mehdi Dogguy organized our second mini-debconf Paris and they did it very well. It was a great success with over 100 attendants each of the 2 days it lasted (November 24-25th). Carl managed a merchandising booth that was well stuffed (Luca Capello also brought goodies of I gave small lightning talk to present the ideas behind my Librement project (it s about funding free software developers). BTW I have not been very good at it, it was only my second lightning talk and I have been a bit too verbose. The talk did not fit in my 5 minutes time slot ;-) Back from the mini-debconf, I have been trying to delegate some projects (like get a real website, improve the work-flow of members management, update our server which was still running Lenny). Julien Cristau was willing to upgrade the server did not exactly knew how to upgrade the kernel (it s a bit special since Gandi manages the kernel on the Xen hypervisor side). So I took care of this part and also did some cleanup (adding a backup with its associated remote disk, tweaking the email configuration). And Julien completed the upgrade on November 30th. Alexandre Delano volunteered to have a try at the website and Emmanuel Bouthenot has been looking a bit to see if there was something better than Galette to handle our members. It looks like we ll stay with Galette but have to take care of upgrading it to a newer version. I also processed the first membership applications and organized a vote to extend the board of administrators (since we have two vacant seats). On Monday, we should be back to 9 administrators. Librement Except for the talk during the mini-debconf, I did not do much on this project. That said I got an answer from the Autorit de Contr le Prudentiel saying that I might be eligible for the exemption case (see discussion of last month) and that I should fill out a form to get a confirmation. I also contacted who might be able to provide the services I need (their E-money manager product in particular). They have the required accreditation as a banking/credit institution and are willing to partner with enterprises who setup platforms where you must manage flows of money between several parties. I m now waiting for details such as the cost of their various services. I expect to have much more to show next month I m working with two developers to implement the first building blocks of all this. Thanks See you next month for a new summary of my activities.

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6 November 2012

Rapha&#235;l Hertzog: My Free Software Activities in October 2012

This is my monthly summary of my free software related activities. If you re among the people who made a donation to support my work (120.46 , thanks everybody!), then you can learn how I spent your money. Otherwise it s just an interesting status update on my various projects. Dpkg At the start of the month, I reconfigured dpkg s git repository to use KGB instead of the discontinued CIA to send out commit notices to IRC (on #debian-dpkg on OFTC, aka I didn t do anything else that affects dpkg and I must say that Guillem does not make it easy for others to get involved. He keeps all his work hidden in his private for 1.17.x branch and refuses to open an official jessie branch as can be seen from the lack of answer to this mail. On the bright side, he deals with almost all incoming bugs even before I have a chance to take care of them. But it s a pity that I can never review any of his fixes because they are usually pushed shortly before an upload. Misc packaging I helped to get #689336 fixed so that the initrd properly setups the keymap before asking for a passphrase for an encrypted partition. Related to this I filed #689722 so that cryptsetup gains a dependency ensuring that the required tools for keymap setup are available. I packaged a new upstream version of zim (0.57) and also a security update for python-django that affected both Squeeze and Wheezy. I uploaded an NMU of revelation (0.4.13-1.2) so that it doesn t get dropped from Wheezy (it was on the release team list of leaf packages that would be removed if unfixed) since my wife is using it to store her passwords. I sponsored a new upstream version of ledgersmb. Debian France We managed to elect new officers for Debian France. I m taking over the role of president, Sylveste Ledru is the new treasurer and Julien Danjou is the new secretary. Thank you very much to the former officers: Carl Chenet, Aur lien Jarno and Julien Cristau. We re in the process of managing this transition which will be completed during the next mini-Debconf in Paris so that we can exchange some papers and the like. In the first tasks that I have set myself, there s recruiting two new members for the boards of directors since we re only 7 and there are 9 seats. I made a call for volunteers and we have two volunteers. If you want to get involved and help Debian France, please candidate by answering that message as soon as possible. The Debian Handbook I merged the translations contributed on (which led me to file this wishlist bug on Weblate itself) and I fixed a number of small issues that had been reported. I made an upload to Debian to incorporate all those fixes But this is still the book covering Squeeze so I started to plan the work to update it for Wheezy and with Roland we have decided who is going to take care of updating each chapter. Librement Progress is annoyingly slow on this project. Handling money for others is highly regulated, at least in the EU apparently. I only wanted an escrow account to secure the money of users of the service but opening this account requires either to be certified as a payment institution by the Autorit de contr le prudentiel or to get an exemption from the same authority (covering only some special cases) or to sign a partnership with an established payment institution. Being certified is out of scope for now since it requires a minimum of 125000 EUR in capital (which I don t have). My bank can t sign the kind of partnership that I would need. So I have to investigate whether I can make it fit in the limited cases of exemption or I need to find another payment institution that is willing to work with me. Gittip uses Balanced a payment service specialized in market places but unfortunately it s US-only if you want to withdraw money from the system. I would love a similar service in Europe If I can t position Librement as a market place for the free software world (and save each contributor the hassle to open a merchant account), then I shall fallback to the solution where Librement only provides the infrastructure but no account, and developers who want to collect donations will have to use either Paypal or any other supported merchant account to collect funds. That s why my latest spec updates concerning the donation service and the payment service mentions Paypal and the possibility of choosing your payment service for your donation form. Thanks See you next month for a new summary of my activities.

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2 July 2012

Rapha&#235;l Hertzog: My Debian Activities in June 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 (168.12 , thanks everybody!), then you can learn how I spent your money. Otherwise it s just an interesting status update on my various projects. Dpkg This month, I resumed my work on dpkg. I concentrated my efforts on some polishing of the 3.0 (quilt) format. With the latest version (1.16.6 which was uploaded to unstable shortly before the freeze), dpkg-source restores the source tree in a clean state after a failed patch application (#652970), doesn t overwrite the patch header from the pre-existing automatic patch, updates automatically debian/source/include-binaries during dpkg-source commit, and supports a new no-unapply-patches option for those who dislike the auto-unapplication at the end of the process when the patches were not applied at the start. I wanted to go further and offer a new feature that could insert the automatic patch at the bottom of the quilt series but I have been short on time to complete this feature. I just managed to factorize all the quilt handling in a dedicated Perl module (Dpkg::Source::Quilt) to have cleaner code in the module handling the source format (Dpkg::Source::Package::V3::quilt). For those who wonder, this feature is meant primarily for the X Strike Force team which maintains packages in Git and are doings lots of upstream cherry-picks (to fix regressions, etc.). But they also use quilt on top of that tree to keep some lasting Debian specific changes. With the 1.0 format, the automatic diff is a bit messy but at least it gets smaller automatically when a new upstream release gets out, there s nothing to clean out. I d like them to be able to use 3.0 (quilt) while keeping their workflow. I m leaning towards allowing --auto-commit=first:cherry-picks that would name the automatic patch cherry-picks and put it in the first position in the quilt series. (Opinions welcome on that feature, BTW) Packaging There s been quite some packaging in this last month before the freeze:
  • I packaged CppUTest (a test framework for C/C++), and I wrote an article about it.
  • I prepared a stable update of Publican to fix a missing dependency. I also updated the unstable version to include a backport of a fix that some user requested me to include.
  • I updated dh-linktree to improve its documentation (following a discussion that happened on debian-devel) and to deal properly with trailing slashes in its input (#673408).
  • I sponsored dblatex 0.3.4-1 and ledgersmb 1.3.18-1.
  • I updated gnome-shell-timer to a new upstream snapshot that was tagged as compatible with GNOME 3.4 (#6776516).
  • I packaged wordpress 3.4 and spent a whole day triaging the old bugs that accumulated. A few days later I developed a new infrastructure to properly manage plugins/themes/language files. The canonical directory where the user is expected to drop his custom plugins/themes is now in /var/lib/wordpress/wp-content/ and the official plugins/themes are installed there with symlinks pointing back to /usr/share/wordpress/wp-content/ where they actually reside.
  • I wanted to commit 2 patches for the developers-reference but then I noticed that some translations were complete and were waiting for an upload. So I cleaned the packaging (switch to dh) and I uploaded version 3.4.8 before committing the patches for #678710 and #678712.
While doing all this packaging work, I found 2 possible improvements that I filed as bug reports:
  • #676606: debcommit should be able to identify alone that a new release is prepared (when the distribution field of the changelog changes from UNRELEASED to something else).
  • #679132: lintian outputs false positives for the tag package-uses-local-diversion when neither local nor package is given on the dpkg-divert command line.
Debian France Booth at Solutions Linux From June 19th to June 21th, I manned the Debian France booth at Solutions Linux together with Carl Chenet, Tanguy Ortolo and other members of the association. We answered lots of questions, sold all t-shirts and umbrellas that Carl imported from Germany and Switzerland (we really need to get our own merchandising stuff produced in France!), got people to join the association. We also presented a printed copy of the Debian Administrator s Handbook and of the corresponding French book. You can see Carl, me and Tanguy on this picture (click on it to see a bigger picture, thanks to S bastien Dubois of Evolix for this one!):
I know lots of people are preparing for Debconf but I decided to not attend this year, the price of the air plane ticket was a bit too hefty for me and it was also in partial conflict with our family vacations. I thought about attending the Libre Software Meeting instead but alas I won t go there either (but Roland Mas will be there!), I have too much work to complete before my own vacation in 2 weeks. Thanks See you next month for a new summary of my activities.

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29 March 2012

Carl Chenet: Debian developer

I received the email yesterday and was like wow, I m in . I would like to thank: Sorry for the other readers who will find this post boring, but it means a lot to me :)

4 February 2012

Carl Chenet: FOSDEM 2012

See you there!

27 November 2011

Carl Chenet: Brebis: fully automated backup checker

You make backups? That s great! But are they usable? The very day you will need your backup to restore your infrastructure, are you sure this backup you make three months ago contains the only file you need to restart your production environment? Are you sure this backup is not corrupted? Are you sure you do not store irrelevant or empty files instead of the ones you will need one day? Brebis is a fully automated backup checker. Brebis is written in Python 3 (>=3.2) and comes under the GPLv3 license. The current version is 0.4 (direct download). Some features (extensive list of features available here):
  • Support of tar files, compressed with gzip or bzip2 or not, zip files, gzip or bzip2 files and uncompressed trees of files.
  • Identify corrupted archives, unexpected size or type for an archive, associated wrong hash sums, Unix rights and owner users/groups of the archive thanks to a list you provide.
  • Inside the archive, identify missing files, unexpected ones, unexpected size of a file, wrong associated hash sums, unexpected mode, type or owner users/groups for a file thanks to a list you provide or generate from a given archive.
Official website:
Brebis on and

3 June 2011

Rapha&#235;l Hertzog: My Debian activities in May 2011

This is my monthly summary of my Debian related activities. If you re among the people who made a donation to support my work, then you can learn how I spent your money. Otherwise it s just an interesting status update on my various projects. I have been Doing some work towards Debian Rolling At the start of the month, the discussions about Debian rolling were still very active on debian-devel. Declaring that testing would be rolling did not make it (as I hoped), the argument that some RC bugs last for far too long in that distribution carried the discussion and thus the most consensual proposition ended up being the one of Josselin Mouette were rolling would be testing plus a few selected cherry-picked packages from unstable. I believe it s a workable solution if we only care about a subset of architectures. Otherwise the same reasons that keep the fixed packages out of testing would probably also apply for rolling. Given this, I did setup britney (the software that controls testing) on my laptop to investigate how we can create rolling. It turns out britney is a very specialized software with very few configuration knobs. At the same time Joachim Breitner made a proposition that immediately grabbed my attention. He suggests to use SAT solvers to find out the set of packages that should migrate from unstable to testing. I thought that rolling would be a good testbed for this new implementation of britney (which he calls SAT-britney) so I jumped right in this project. I was not at all familiar with this science field, so I looked up quite some documentation: I learned that all SAT solvers expect the problem to be presented in CNF form, and that DIMACS was the file format of choice to represent those boolean constraints. Several SAT solvers are available in Debian and picosat appears to be one of the best. Then I started some early coding/prototyping to play with the concept. You can find the result in this git repository, you can grab a copy with git clone git:// There s not much yet, except some Python code to generate a SAT problem that can be fed to a SAT solver. But I really look forward to this project. Representing Debian during Solutions Linux During the second week, I spent 3 days in Paris to help manage the Debian booth at Solutions Linux. We have responded to lots of queries but most visitors already knew Debian, and many of them use it at work and/or at home. We tried to recruit those people as new members for Debian France, the local association. We also sold all our remaining goodies. The Ubuntu people were interviewed by France 3 (an important TV channel) and we took this opportunity (with the consent of the Ubuntu guys) to show our Debian t-shirts in the background: you can watch the video here (in French), you can see me with Carl Chenet at 1:21. We have also been interviewed by Intelli n TV: here and here (both in French). I m not very good at this exercise. :-) Improving dpkg triggers The third week was a vacation week, in theory I should have stayed away from my computer but I really wanted to take this opportunity to improve the state of dpkg triggers in Debian. I already covered my work in another article: Trying to make dpkg triggers more useful and less painful. The result is not merged yet, I just asked a question to all package maintainers who are using triggers to be able to decide whether I ll merge it as is, or if I can make the new behavior the default one. Supporting users after Alioth s migration When I came back from my vacation, many services provided by were non-functional after a migration to a new setup that involves two machines instead of one. Given that I used to be an Alioth admin, I know that in those periods you tend to be get bogged down on many user support requests. So I re-joined #alioth on IRC and tried to help a bit. I did investigate some of the reported problems and prepared fixes (updated scripts, configuration files, etc.) for some of the issues. I also created a list of remaining issues that should have lasted only a few days but that s still active because there are still regressions left. The most important things still missing are:
  • proper support for delegation of rights. We used ACL setup by the admins in the past. With the new FusionForge, each project admin should be able to delegate rights to external roles . There s a Debian Developer role already but trying to grant him right fails
  • access to the Ultimate Debian Database. Many tools rely on this database to work.
  • anonymous FTP access to download project files.
  • clear guidelines on how we re supposed to deal with websites that are updated by VCS hooks.
  • clear guidelines on how we re supposed to deal with personal git repositories
Improving the 3.0 (quilt) source format I have made some proposals to change the way the new source format would work. The goals are to be less painful for packagers who are using a VCS, and to avoid unexpected changes slipping through a new patch generated by dpkg-source. It seems that the proposals are relatively consensual so I ll implement them at some point. Missing in action on my blog I did a lots of stuff for Debian between travel and vacation, and in the remaining time, I did not manage to write many articles for my blog. In fact, besides the article on my triggers work mentioned above I only published one interview: People behind Debian: Steve Langasek, release wizard. I ll try to do better this month! Thanks Many thanks to the people who gave me 151.61 in May. See you next month for a new summary of my activities.

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31 October 2010

Lucas Nussbaum: Mini DebConf Paris 2010

So, I m (almost) back from the first edition of MiniDebConf Paris, which was a success thanks to the great organizing skills in panic mode of Carl Chenet and Mehdi Dogguy. I think that everybody is already looking forward to the next edition. I met lots of people, and it was great to be able to finally put faces on names from the french free software community. I gave two talk there, the first one on Debian and Ubuntu (slides), the second one on Debian Quality Assurance (slides), which both went well (I think). I also hacked a bit:
  • I added tags and claimed by to UDD Bugs Search.
  • I worked on my piuparts replacement (which really needs a sexy name ; I m open to suggestions), processing the results, making some improvements to the script, and filing 16 RC bugs.
If you want to help me, here are some easy tasks that need takers (it s unlikely that I ll be able to tackle them anytime soon):
  • One missing thing in UDD Bugs Search is information about the deferred/delayed queue. Unfortunately, the ftp-masters status information is not available in a machine-parseable format.
    • Improve dak code to also export the data in a machine-parseable format (JSON, YAML). I was told the changes are to be done in dak/
    • Write the corresponding UDD importer (actually, that s a 30 mins job for me, so I could easily find time to do it if the data was available).
    Update: done!
  • Another missing thing is comments (as on I don t really have good ideas about how to implement them, so if you want to tackle that with your own idea, go ahead. (It s probably easy to setup a copy of bugs.cgi on alioth if you are not a DD). The CGI is in Ruby.
  • Help me process the logs of my piuparts replacement, and file the bugs. I don t have any good scripts to automate bug filings yet. You need a good understanding of packages dependencies and maintainers scripts, but it s a good way to learn, too. (I would need to regenerate the full results first, so talk to me if you are interested)
One of the other things I d like to do is discuss ways to improve the synchronization of UDD (currently, it s synchronized at arbitrary times, while we could sync Sources+Packages just after dinstall, for example).

Stefano Zacchiroli: mini debconf paris - success

I'm just back home after Paris mini-DebConf. I'm happy, excited, and exhausted almost as if it had been a full fledged DebConf. That's enough in my book to consider the event a complete success. As far as I know, it has been the first mini-DebConf held in Paris and about 150 people have come to attend the event from all over Europe. Off the top of my head I've met friends from at least: Spain, UK, France (obviously!), Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Greece. I'm still very much impressed by such a diverse attendance. Initially, I had planned the first "DPL strike" ever (i.e. not doing anything DPL-related) for the duration of the conference, in order to take part into the BSP. That agenda has been pretty much subverted by a last minute emergency, by chatting with loads of people, and by actually finalizing the Debian Sprint Program, which had been at the top of my Debian TODO list for quite a while now. Nonetheless, I've managed to advance a bit on a couple of RC bugs, which belong to the "annoying/pointless/but-still-valid" category. They are not solved yet, but I hope to have good news to share soon. Bottom line: I loved the event. and I've even managed to avoid getting killed by my (local) family for taking part in a Debian-weekend after an almost full week of Debian traveling, which is another success on its own right :-) Closing advice: beside some last minute legwork, I did essentially nothing to organize this mini-DebConf, your kudos should be better directed to Carl Chenet and Mehdi Dogguy for the organization. Other gifts such as bug fixes can be directed to the speakers, sponsors, and loads of other helpers from Debian France and not in particular Xavier Oswald, Valessio Brito, Tanguy Ortolo, Nattie Mayer-Hutchings, Luca Capello, Stephane Glondu, and others which surely I'm forgetting to mention here (sorry about that). Kudos folks ... let's do it again next year! (SCNR)

9 September 2010

Christoph Berg: belier

Sometimes remote accounts are only reachable with a series of ssh/su/sudo commands. Using ProxyCommands in .ssh/config works for simple cases, but not with several hops, or if passwords have to be entered. The belier tool takes as input a series of user@hostname strings and will produce an expect script that does the actual login work.
$ cat input
user@host1 root pw1
user2@host2 pw2
$ bel -e input
$ cat
#!/usr/bin/expect -f
set timeout 10
spawn ssh -o NoHostAuthenticationForLocalhost=yes -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no  user@host1
expect -re  "(% # \\$) $"
send -- "su - root\r"
expect ":"
send -- "pw1\r"
expect -re  "(% # \\$) $"
send -- "ssh -o NoHostAuthenticationForLocalhost=yes -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no  user2@host2\r"
expect -re  @[^\n]*: 
send -- "pw2\r"
expect -re  "(% # \\$) $"
interact +++ return
The generated script uses ugly ssh options, but is easily edited. Now I need the same thing for scp... Update: Carl Chenet, belier's author, kindly pointed me to the documentation which has examples how belier can set up ssh tunnels to copy files.

28 June 2010

Carl Chenet: Debian maintainer

As some of you may (or more certainly may not) have noticed reading the Debian Project News, I recently became a Debian maintainer. A hugh thanks to Sandro Tosi (morph) and Piotr O arowski (piotr) for their careful reviews of my work. And thanks to Raphael Hertzog (buxy) to pull the trigger for the beginning of my involvment in Debian. I can t wait to attend Debconf 2010. See you there ! Follow me on

31 May 2010

Carl Chenet: pykickstart in Debian

The python-pykickstart package just landed in sid. If you wish to create or modify your kickstart configuration file from python, pykickstart is developed by Redhat fellows in order to make your job with kickstart easier. Kickstart aims to make automated systems installations for redhat/fedora.