Search Results: "David Paleino"

16 September 2013

Debian Med

DebConf 13 report (by Andreas Tille) General impression unofficial  Scenic Hacklab I'm beginning my DebConf report in an unofficial "Scenic Hacklab" right at the edge of the lake in Yverdon. This is the right place to memorise the last days. When I started from this place cycling to Le Camp 12 days ago I was full of great expectations and what should I say - the reality has even beaten these. Once it comes about comparing DebConfs even if it is an unfair comparison due all the differences my secret long term favourite was Helsinki very closely followed by Argentina and also very closely followed by all the other great DebConfs I joined (and I joined all in Europe). Would Le Camp be able to beat it? The short answer is: Yes, it is now my favourite DebConf while I think I do not suffer from the last-Debconf-was-the-best-DebConf-syndrome (and I realised there are others thinking the same). As you might probably know I'm a bit addicted to swimming. While Helsinki had admittedly the better conditions I was at least able to fix the distance issue using my bicycle. (Hey, those Le Camp photographers did a great job in hiding the fact that you can not actually touch the lake right from the meadow of Le Camp.) Being able to have my bicycle at DebConf scored some extra points. However, the really great view of the lake, the inspiring "Scenic Hacklab" which was my favourite place has bumped DebConf13 at first place in my personal ranking. So it comes quite natural to say: "Kudos to the great organisation team!" They did a Swiss-like precise work and perfectly succeeded in hiding any problems (I assume there were some as always) from the attendees so everything went smooth, nice and shiny for the attendees. The local team was even precise in setting up great weather conditions for DebConf. sunrise over  the lake While saying thanks to the local team I would like to also explicitly thank Luca Capello who has quite some share that this DebConf was possible at all (while I have to decrease my DebConf score one point because he was not really there - Luca to bad that you were not able to come full time!) Also thanks to Gunnar and Gannef who helped remotely (another score down because I were missing them this year as well). Even if it was my favourite DebConf I was not able to work down my todo list fully (which was not only uploading one package per day which I at least statistically fullfilled). But that's probably a general feature of todo lists anyway. One item was definitely done: Doing my daily swimming BoF. I actually was able to do the other parts of the triathlon which was skipped by Christian and have done in summary about 150km cycling with 3500m elevation and estimated 7-8km swimming (0m elevation ;-)). Considering the great view at sunrise over the lake I was not hating my "Senile bed escape" disease too much (I was every day waking up at sunset) - it was simply a great experience. I will never forget seeing water drips glimmering like gold inside the morning sun while seeing the Alps panorama in the distant. I hope I was able to help all interested swimmers with the DebConf Beach Map which was just a by-product of my activities in DebCamp. Speaking about OSM: I was astonished that the area was way less covered than I expected. Thanks to several DebConf attendees the situation became better and the map does not only show random trees in the wild but also the tracks leading to these. (Remark: It was no DebConf attendee who is responsible for plastering the map with single trees.) While I had my mapping focus basically close to the edge of the lake I was also able to even map my very own street. :-) I clearly remember one specific mapping tour when I was invited by the DPL: He convinced me to join him on a bicycle tour and since I was afraid to get fired I joined him instead to keep on hacking. Also Sorina was brave enough to join us on the tour and she did quite well. (Sorina, do you remember the agreement about your work on the installer? ;-)) Lucas described the tour as: going uphill on only asphalted roads. Sorina and me were witnessing the mighty DPL powers when we left the wood around Le Camp to reach the described road: The asphalt was just put onto the road - no doubt that it was done on the immediate demand of mighty DPL. :-) DebCamp time was flying like nose dive and a lot of known (and unknown) faces arrived at Le Camp. What I really liked a lot this year was that several really young children has pulled down the average age of DebConf attendees. I clearly remember all the discussion one year ago what to do about children. As always the issue was solved in a typical Debian way: Just do it and bring your children - they had obviously a great time as well. I think the youngest child was 2 months and the oldest "child" above 20. ;-) Actually Baptiste Perrier did great in making the C&W party a success and had obviously a nice time. (I wished my son would have been able to come as well but he needs to write his bachelor s thesis in physics. :-() It was nice to see the kids using all playing facilities and communicating with geeks. Also I would like to point out that even the very young attendees had their share at the success of DebConf: Just think of the three "bell ringing assistants" who helped me ringing the bells for lunch and dinner. I've got this cool job from Didier in the beginning of DebCamp. I must say having some real bells ringing is by far nicer than just the "lunch / dinner starts in 10 minutes" from IRC bot. The only thing I did not understand was that people did not considered ringing the bells at 8:00 for breakfast as a good idea. Regarding the food in general I would also like to send kudos to the kitchen: It was tasty, freshly prepared, regional food with a good change rate. I really liked this. Extra points for having the chance to sit outside when eating. Talks But lets have a look into the conference programme. I'd really recommend watching the videos of the talks Bits from the DPL (video) and Debian Cosmology (video). I considered both talks as entertaining and interesting. I also really hope that the effort Enrico Zini started in Debian Contributors (video) will be successful. I had some talks and BoFs myself starting with Why running a Blend (video) and I admit that (as usual) the number of attendees was quite low even if I think there is some proof (see below) that it is interesting for way more people who should consider working more "blendish" in their team. Do you know how to recruit one developer per year and relax the man power problem in your team? Feel free to watch the video. We have confirmation that ten DDs of our team have considered to join Debian only because Debian Med exists. Admittedly biology and medicine are really leaf topics inside the Debian universe. So if even this topic that has a very tiny share of the Debian users is able to attract this level of attention - how many more people could we win for multimedia, games, GIS and others? So if you feel you are quite overworked with your packaging and you have no time this is most probably wrong. The amount of time is basically a matter of priorities you set for your tasks. Try to put some higher priority onto using the just existing Blends tools I explained in my talk to attract more users and developers to your team and by doing so spread the workload over more people. It works, the prove was given in my main talk. So before you start working on a specific package you should wonder who else could have an even stronger interest to get this work done and provide him with some additional motivation and help to get the common goal done. The interesting thing is that my BoF about How to attract new developers for your team (video) - which was a simple report about some by-product of the Blends work - made it into the main talk room and got way more attention. For me this is the proof that the Blends concept itself is probably badly perceived as something like "a few outsiders are doing damn specific stuff which is not really interesting for anybody else" instead of what is really is: Smoothing the way from specific upstream applications to the end user via Debian. Once you see the video of this BoF you can observe how my friend Asheesh Laroia became more and more excited about the Blends concept and admitted what I said above: We should have more Blends for different fields. Funnily enough Asheesh asked me in his excitement to talk more about Blends. This would have been a really good suggestion ten years ago. At DebConf 3 in Oslo I had my very first talk about Blends (at this time under the name "Debian Internal Projects"). I continuously kept on talking about this (MiniDebConf Peking 2005, DebConf 5, Helsinki (video), DebConf 7, Edinburgh (video), DebConf 8, Mar del Plata (video), DebConf 9, C ceres (video), MiniDebConf Berlin 2010 (video in German), MiniDebConf Paris 2010 (not video recorded), DebConf 11, Banja Luka (video) ... and these are only (Mini)DebConfs my talks page is full of this topic) and every new year I try different ways to communicate the idea to my fellow Debianistas. I'm wondering how I could invent a title + abstract avoiding the term Blends, put "Git", "release" and "systemd versus upstart" in and being able to inform about Blends reasonably by not becoming to off topic with the abstract. I also registered the Debian Science round table. I admit we were lacking some input from remote via IRC which used to be quite helpful in the past. The attendees agreed upon the handling of citations in debian/upstream files which was invented by Debian Med team to create even stronger bounds to our upstream developers by giving their work extra reward and providing users with even better documentation (see my summary in Wiki). As usual I suggested to create some Debian Science offsprings like "Debian Astronomy", "Debian Electronics", "Debian Mathematics", "Debian Physics" etc. who could perfectly leave the Debian Science umbrella to get a more fine grained structure and a more focused team to enhance the contact to our users. Unfortunately there is nobody who volunteers to take over the lead for such Blends. I have given a short summary about this BoF on the Debian Science mailing list. In the Debian Med meeting I have given some status report. No other long term team members were attending DebConf and so I gave some kind of introduction for newcomers and interested people. I touched also the DebiChem topic which maintains some packages that are used by biologists frequently and so we have a good connection to this team. Finally I had registered three BoFs in Blends I'm actually not (or not yet) active part of. My motivation was to turn the ideas I have explained in my main talk into specific application inside these teams and helping them to implement the Blends framework. In the first BoF about Debian GIS I have shown the usual team metrics graphs to demonstrate, that the one packaging team Pkg-OSM is in danger to become MIA. There are only three persons doing actual uploads. Two of them were at DebConf but did not joined the BoF because they do not consider their contribution to Pkg-OSM as a major part of their general Debian work. I will contact the main contributor David Paleino about his opinion to move the packages step by step into maintenance of Debian GIS packaging team to try to overcome the split of two teams that are sharing a good amount of interest. At least if I might become an Uploader for one of the packages currently maintained by Pkg-OSM I will move this to pkg-grass-devel (which is the name of the packaging team of Debian GIS for historical reasons). The attendees of the BoF have considered this plan as sensible. Moreover I talked about my experiences with OSGeo Live - an Ubuntu derivative that tries to provide a full tool chain to work on GIS and OSM problems ... basically the same goal as Debian GIS has just provided by the OSGeo project. I'm lurking on OSGeo mailing list when I asked explicitly I've got the answer that they are working together with Debian GIS and are using common repository (which is IMHO the optimal way of cooperation). However, it seems that several protagonists of OSGeo Live are underestimating the resources provided by Debian. For instance there was a question about Java packaging issues but people were not aware about the existence of the debian-java mailing list. I was able to give an example how the Debian Med team managed to strengthen its ties to BioLinux that is also an Ubuntu derivative for biologists. At our first Debian Med sprint in 2011 we invited developers from BioLinux and reached a state where they are using the very same VCS on Alioth where we are maintaining our packages. At DebConf I was able to upload two packages where BioLinux developers did certain changes for enhancing the user experience. My "work" was just bumping the version number in changelog and so we did profit from the work of the BioLinux developers as well as they are profiting from our work. I plan to dive a bit more into Debian GIS and try to strengthen the connection to OSGeo Live a bit. The next BoF was the Debian Multimedia meeting. It was nice that the current leader of Ubuntu Studio Kaj Ailomaa joined the meeting. When I was explaining my ideas about cooperation with derivatives I repeated my detailed explanation about the relation with BioLinux. It seems every topic you could cover inside Debian has its related derivative. So to me it seems to be quite natural to work together with the developers of the derivative to join forces. I actually consider a Blend a derivative done the right way = inside Debian. The final work for the derivers that might be left for them is doing some shiny customising of backgrounds or something like this - but all the hard work could and should be done in common with the relevant Debian team. My dream is to raise such relevant teams inside Debian ... the Blends. Finally the last BoF of this series was the Debian Games meeting. As always I presented the team metrics graphs and the Debian Games team members who attended the BoF were quite interested. So it seems to be some unknown fact that team metrics are done for several teams in side Debian and so I repeat the link to it for those who are not yet aware of it. As a result of the BoF Debian Games team members agreed to put some more effort into maintaining their Blends tasks. Moreover Miriam Ruiz wants to put some effort into reviving Debian Jr. Regarding Debian Jr. there was an interesting talk about DouDouLinux - in case you might want to watch the video I'd recommend skipping the first 30min and rather watch the nice live demo. There was also an ad hoc BoF about Debian Jr scheduled to bring together all people interested into this cute project and Per Anderson volunteered to take over the lead. I have given a summary about this specific BoF at the Debian Jr list. For some other talks that I'd regard as remarkable for some reasons: I'd regard the talk "Debian-LAN" by Andreas Mundt as some hidden pearl because it did not got a lot of attention but after having seen the video I was quite impressed - specifically because it is also relevant for the Blends topic. Memories I also liked "Paths into Debian" by Moray Allan (and I was only able to enjoy the latter talks thanks to the great work of the video team!) because it also scratched the same topic I was concerned about in my mentoring talk. Related to this was in my opinion also "Women in Debian 2013" were we tried to find out reasons for the lack of woman compared to other projects and how to overcome this issue. Geert hovering  over the grass Besides the talks I will probably never forget two specific moments that make DebConf so special. One of these moments is recorded on an image that clearly needs no words - just see Geert hovering over the grass. Another strong moment in my personal record was in the DebConf Newbies BoF "First time at DebConf" that unfortunately was not recorded but at least for this statement it would have been very great if we would have some reference better than personal memory. Aarsh Shah a GSoC student from India suddenly raised up and said: "Four months ago I was not even aware that Free Software exists. Now I'm here with so many people who are totally equal. If I will tell my mother at home that I was standing in the same queue where the Debian Project Leader was queuing up for food she will never believe me." He was totally excited about things we are regarding as normal. IMHO we should memorise moments like this that might be part of the key to success in cultures, where Debian is widely unknown and very rarely in use. Amongst these not scheduled great moments the scheduled day trip was also a great thing. I had a really hard time to decide what tour I might join but ended up in the "long distance walking (or should I say running) group". Inspired by the "running Bubulle" who was flashing between the walking groups we went uphill with 5.4km/h which was a nice exercise. Our destination the large cliff was an exciting landscape and I guess we all enjoyed the dinner organised by the "Trout cabal". ;-) say goodby to  friends So I had a hard time to leave Le Camp and tried hard to make sure my memories will remain as long as possible. Keeping some signs attached to my bicycle, conserving the "Scenic Hacklab" sign for my private "scenic hacklab @ home" was one part. I also have cut some branches of the Buxus sempervirens in Le Camp and have put them in my garden at home (where I create some hedgerow from places where I spent some great time). These will probably build a great part of the hedgerow ... Thanks for reading this longish report. Looking forward to see you all in Germany 2015 (or earlier) Andreas. Scenic Hacklab  @ home

21 November 2012

David Paleino: Wicd .deb packages

Hello world, it's been a long time since I last posted something. Today, I want to let the world know about the availability of Debian packages for wicd. Since the release cycle of wicd is somewhat slow, I decided to provide automatically-built Debian packages for the latest revision of the upstream repository. The automatic build process is possible thanks to Jenkins and the great jenkins-debian-glue, by Michael Prokop. Here's the APT snippet, for those who dare:
# For the "upstream" version of wicd
deb wicd main
The repository is signed with a separate GnuPG key, which I signed with my main keys. You can download it or retrieve it from a keyserver, then you should add it to your APT keyring:
$ gpg --keyserver --recv-keys 4D00F190
# gpg --export 4D00F190   apt-key add -
Obviously these builds are not guaranteed to work :) but, since I myself use these autobuilt packages, I usually try to fix problems as soon as I notice them. If you find bugs, or have proposals to improve wicd, please report them on launchpad!

20 July 2012

David Paleino: Editable QComboBox with QAbstractTableModel

Dear Lazyweb, I'm working on a personal PyQt4 project for my parents' office, and I need to autocomplete an editable QComboBox. I can't use a standard Qt model (I need to store python objects in it), so I subclassed QAbstractTableModel. Here it is, it's a fairly generic subclass of QAbstractTableModel, with variable number of columns:
class QGenericTableModel(QAbstractTableModel):
    def __init__(self, columns, parent=None, *args):
        super(QGenericTableModel, self).__init__(parent, *args)
        self.columns = columns
        self.headers =  
        self.table = []
    def rowCount(self, parent=QModelIndex()):
        return len(self.table)
    def columnCount(self, parent):
        return self.columns
    def row(self, row):
        return self.table[row]
    def setData(self, index, value, role):
        if index.isValid() and role == Qt.EditRole:
            row = index.row()
            t = self.table[row]
            if index.column() >= self.columns:
                return False
            if isinstance(value, QVariant):
                t[index.column()] = value.toString().simplified()
                t[index.column()] = value
            self.emit(SIGNAL('dataChanged'), index, index)
            return True
        return False
    def data(self, index, role = Qt.DisplayRole):
        if not index.isValid():
            return QVariant()
        if (index.row() >= len(self.table)) or (index.row() < 0):
            return QVariant()
        if role == Qt.DisplayRole:
            return QVariant(self.table[index.row()][index.column()])
        return QVariant()
    def insertRow(self, row, parent=QModelIndex()):
        self.insertRows(row, 1, parent)
    def insertRows(self, row, count, parent=QModelIndex()):
        self.beginInsertRows(parent, row, row+count-1)
        for i in xrange(count):
            self.table.insert(row, ['',]*self.columns)
        return True
    def removeRow(self, row, parent=QModelIndex()):
        self.removeRows(row, 1, parent)
    def removeRows(self, row, count, parent=QModelIndex()):
        self.beginRemoveRows(parent, row, row+count-1)
        for i in reversed(xrange(count)):
        return True
    def flags(self, index):
        if not index.isValid():
            return Qt.ItemIsEnabled
        return super(QGenericTableModel, self).flags(index)   Qt.ItemIsEditable
    def headerData(self, column, orientation, role = Qt.DisplayRole):
        if role != Qt.DisplayRole:
            return QVariant()
        if orientation == Qt.Horizontal:
            if column >= self.columns:
                return QVariant()
            return self.headers[column]
        return QVariant()
    def setHeaderData(self, column, orientation, value, role = Qt.EditRole):
        self.headers[column] = value
It might not be perfect, but it works, and it's all that matters at the moment (since it's my first serious PyQt4 project). Oh, well, it worked until I tried to use it with an editable QComboBox. And here's the app code (for the full working code, insert the above class right after the imports):
import sys
from PyQt4.QtGui import *
from PyQt4.QtCore import *
app = QApplication(sys.argv)
model = QStandardItemModel()
for i, word in enumerate(['saluton', 'gxis la revido', 'hello', 'goodbye']):
    item = QStandardItem(word)
    model.setItem(i, 0, item)
#model = QGenericTableModel(1)
#for i, word in enumerate(['saluton', 'gxis la revido', 'hello', 'goodbye']):
#    model.insertRow(i)
#    index = model.index(i, 0)
#    model.setData(index, word, Qt.EditRole)
combo = QComboBox()
filterModel = QSortFilterProxyModel(combo)
completer = QCompleter(combo)
if combo.isEditable():
    app.connect(combo.lineEdit(), SIGNAL('textEdited(QString)'), filterModel.setFilterFixedString)
Now, try running it. It works well when I use a QStandardItemModel. Then, try decommenting the part where I use my subclassed model: it just doesn't work: clicking on any item makes the QComboBox not change its currentIndex, and this only happens if the combobox is editable. I suspect I'm forgetting to override some function in my model, but I don't know what exactly to override, and Google didn't help me. This is also backed up by the fact that the exact same behaviour shows up when, instead of a QComboBox, I try to autocomplete on a QLineEdit. So, dear readers: can anyone explain what is happening? Thanks in advance! UPDATE: it turned out that the culprit was the following bit inside data():
        if role == Qt.DisplayRole:
            return QVariant(self.table[index.row()][index.column()])
Adding also Qt.EditRole to the list of possible choices fixed the bug. YAY!

30 June 2012

Luca Falavigna: FTP Team stats during Wheezy development

Already chilled by Wheezy freeze? It s been a long ride since the release of Squeeze, and your beloved FTP Team tried to assist our tireless developers and contributors at its best. Here are some hot stats to give you a figure about what happened behind the scenes. Since the release of Squeeze, 7462 .changes files with NEW components were processed by dak, with an average of 14.660 NEW packages per day. On the FTP Team side, we had 6877 accepts (13.511 per day), 641 rejects (1.259 per day) and 280 comments to maintainers (0.550 per day). This table represents the activity by single team member:
Login Accepts Rejects Comments
ansgar 407 accepts (0.800 per day) 71 rejects (0.139 per day) 53 comments (0.104 per day)
dak 12 accepts (0.024 per day) 1 rejects (0.002 per day) 0 comments (0.000 per day)
dktrkranz 4319 accepts (8.485 per day) 381 rejects (0.749 per day) 104 comments (0.204 per day)
joerg 100 accepts (0.196 per day) 12 rejects (0.024 per day) 1 comments (0.002 per day)
mhy 214 accepts (0.420 per day) 14 rejects (0.028 per day) 5 comments (0.010 per day)
stew 67 accepts (0.132 per day) 16 rejects (0.031 per day) 7 comments (0.014 per day)
tolimar 1480 accepts (2.908 per day) 93 rejects (0.183 per day) 84 comments (0.165 per day)
twerner 278 accepts (0.546 per day) 53 rejects (0.104 per day) 26 comments (0.051 per day)

Who were the most prolific maintainers who got a NEW processing? Here is our special top ten:
  1. Debian Perl Group (559 accepts)
  2. Debian Haskell Group (491 accepts)
  3. Debian Ruby Extras Maintainers (285 accepts)
  4. Debian Java Maintainers (257 accepts)
  5. Debian Med Packaging Team (164 accepts)
  6. Debian Multimedia Maintainers (160 accepts)
  7. Debian Fonts Task Force (156 accepts)
  8. Debian Javascript Maintainers (137 accepts)
  9. Debian Python Modules Team (129 accepts)
  10. Debian Qt/KDE Maintainers (98 accepts)
That doesn t reflect the real developers, though. Here s our Changed-By top ten:
  1. Clint Adams (216 accepts)
  2. Jonas Smedegaard (208 accepts)
  3. Ben Hutchings (203 accepts)
  4. Joachim Breitner (153 accepts)
  5. TANIGUCHI Takaki (112 accepts)
  6. Alessio Treglia (101 accepts)
  7. David Paleino (95 accepts)
  8. Nicholas Bamber (76 accepts)
  9. Mathieu Parent (68 accepts)
  10. Jeff Breidenbach (63 accepts)
Clint rocks with tons of Haskell packages, followed by Jonas (mostly Perl packages), and Ben (kernel uploads). Italian cabal stands still, with Alessio and David respectively at 6th and 7th place ;)

How long does a package stay in NEW? Some more, some less, but the average is 3 days, 15 minutes and 21 seconds. Now go and check your dak mails to see whether you had a fast processing or not :) liblog4ada 1.2-1 surely had, as it was accepted after 30 seconds! gsoap 2.7.17-1 was not so lucky, it took 103 days, 8 hours, 20 minutes and 43 seconds to clear NEW, but then made its way to the archive. Better late than never ;)

FTP Team is not just accepting NEW packages, but also removing obsolete ones. Here are some details about this task:

FTP Team also took care of override changes:

23 October 2011

Luca Falavigna: Stats, more stats and, guess what? Even more stats!

We all love stats, don t we? So, here we go! Let s start with a graph: NEW graph It shows the number of packages in the NEW queue since last year. You can see a big drop during April 2011, and a reasonably low rate during the last six months. You could think fellow Debian Developers stopped to upload NEW packages. Sorry, you re wrong! :) Since Squeeze release, 3.832 .changes files with NEW components were processed by dak, with an average of 14,85 NEW packages per day. On the FTP Team side, we had 3.732 accepts (14,47 per day), 339 rejects (1,31 per day) and 178 comments to maintainers (0,69 per day).
Who were the most prolific maintainers who got a NEW processing? Here is our special top ten:
  1. Debian Haskell Group (362 packages)
  2. Debian Perl Group (343 packages)
  3. Debian Java Maintainers (161 packages)
  4. Debian Ruby Extras Maintainers (124 packages)
  5. Debian Multimedia Maintainers (100 packages)
  6. Debian Fonts Task Force (96 packages)
  7. Debian Med Packaging Team (79 packages)
  8. Debian Install System Team (61 packages)
  9. Debian Javascript Maintainers (54 packages)
  10. Debian Python Modules Team (50 packages)
That s bad packaging teams cannot bake cookies!
Let s do the same with Changed By, this time:
  1. Ben Hutchings (159 packages)
  2. Joachim Breitner (138 packages)
  3. Clint Adams (134 packages)
  4. Jonas Smedegaard (124 packages)
  5. TANIGUCHI Takaki (97 packages)
  6. Nicholas Bamber (61 packages)
  7. Alessio Treglia (60 packages)
  8. maximilian attems (54 packages)
  9. David Paleino (51 packages)
  10. Torsten Werner (45 packages)
Much better now go and heat up your ovens, we know who you are ;)
Another nice aspect to look at is the speed of NEW processing. Some maintainers were very happy for a fast NEW processing, someone even complained for having been too quick! :) So, let s find out which upload was the quickest ever. Try to gamble a bit before reading the answer, to see whether you are near to the real value ;) Alessio Treglia, you probably already know, because your gwc_0.21.16~dfsg-1 upload has been processed in 41 seconds (yes, forty-one seconds!). Here s an excerpt from ftp-master log to certify it:
20110516120252 process-upload dak Processing changes file gwc_0.21.16~dfsg-1_amd64.changes
20110516120258 process-upload dak Moving to new gwc_0.21.16~dfsg-1_amd64.changes
20110516120339 process-new tolimar NEW ACCEPT: gwc_0.21.16~dfsg-1_amd64.changes
Alex was the super-fast FTP Team member behind the quickest accept, do you want to beat him? Join FTP Team ;)

9 September 2011

Rapha&#235;l Hertzog: People behind Debian: Enrico Zini, member of the New Maintainer Frontdesk

Enrico ZiniEven though Enrico is not smiling on this picture, he s one of the friendliest Debian person that I know. I always enjoy his presentations because he can t refrain from inserting jokes or other funny tricks. :-) That said he s serious too, there s lots of good stuff that he has developed over the years (starting with Debtags) and he has put a lot of effort in reforming the New Maintainer process. Read on to learn more about his various projects. Raphael: Who are you? Enrico: Hi, I m Enrico Zini, a DD from Italy. I m 35 and I work as a freelance Free Software developer. One of my historical roles in Debian is taking care of Debtags, but that is not all I do: my paid work led me to write and maintain some weather forecast related software in Debian, and recently I gained a Front Desk hat, and then a DAM hat. Raphael: How did you start contributing to Debian? Enrico: It was 2001, I was at uni, I was using Debian. At some point I wanted to learn packaging so I read through the whole Policy from top to bottom. Then I thought: why package only for myself? . There were many DDs at my uni, and it only seemed natural to me to join Debian as well. Evidently this was also natural for Zack [Note from editor: Stefano Zacchiroli], who had become DD 6 months earlier and didn t hesitate to advocate me. I found the Policy and the Developer s Reference to be very interesting things to read, and I welcomed my AM s questions as an excuse to learn more. I completely understand those people who have fun trying to answer all the questions in the NM templates while they wait for an AM. With my super DAM powers I can see that my AM report was submitted on October 16, 2001 by my AM Martin Michlmayr, and that James Troup created my account 9 days later, on October 25. Raphael: You have a special interest in the New Maintainer (NM) Process since you are a Debian Account Manager (DAM) and a member of the NM Frontdesk. Thanks to your work the process is much less academic/bureaucratic than it used to be. Can you remember us the main changes? Enrico: One of the first things I noticed when I become a Front Desk member is that there was a tendency to advocate people too early, thinking by the time they ll get an AM, they ll know enough . Unfortunately, this didn t always work, and once the real NM process started it would turn into a very long and demotivating experience both for the applicant and for the AM. So we tried raising the bar on advocacies, and that seems to have helped a lot. If people join NM when they are ready, it means that NM is quick and painless both for them and their AMs, who are therefore able to process more applicants. We also did a rather radical cleanup of the NM templates , which are a repository of questions that Application Managers can ask to their applicants. We realized that AMs were just sending the whole templates to their applicants, so we moved all non-essential questions to separate files, to drastically reduce the amounts of questions that are asked by default. Other improvements in the NM process came from other parts of Debian: nowadays there are lots of ways to learn and gradually gain experience and reputation inside the project before joining NM, which means that we get many candidates who we can process quickly. For example, packages can now be uploaded via sponsors, and the Mentors project helps new contributors to find sponsors and get their first packages reviewed. Then one can now become Debian Maintainer and take full responsibility of their own packages, gaining experience and reputation. The idea of working in teams also helped: big teams like the Perl, Python, KDE, Ocaml, Haskell teams (and many more) are excellent entry points for people who have something to package. But Debian is not just for packagers, and one could join teams like the Website team, the Press and Publicity team, the Events and Merchandise team or their local translation team. Becoming DDs the non-uploading way is not just for non-technical people: one could enjoy programming but not packaging. An interesting way to get involved in that way is to help writing or maintaining some of the many Debian services. Note that I m not suggesting this as a way to learn how to program, but as a way to get involved in Debian by writing code. Finally, we started to appreciate the importance of having people activities in Debian explicitly visible, which means that the more obviously good work one has done in Debian, the less questions we need to ask. Jan Dittberner s DDPortfolio is an excellent resource for AMs and Front Desk, and I m maintaining a service called minechangelogs that for people who have done lots of work in Debian is able to fully replace the Tasks&Skills parts of the NM process. Raphael: What are your plans for Debian Wheezy? Enrico: For Wheezy I hope to be able to streamline and simplify Debtags a bit more. At Debconf11 I had a conversation with FTP-masters on how to make some tags more official, and I now have to work a bit more on that. I d also like to considerably downsize the codebase behind the debtags package, now that its job is quite clear and I don t need to experiment with fancy features the way I did in the past. I have to say that I enjoy programming more than I enjoy packaging, so most of my plans in Debian are not tied to releases. For example, I d like to finish and deploy the new NM website codebase soon: it would mean to have a codebase that s much easier to maintain, and in which it s much easier to implement new features. I d also like to design a way to allow maintainers to review the tag submission to their own packages instead of having to wait for me or David Paleino to do a regular review of all the submissions. Finally, I d like to promote the usage of apt-xapian-index in more cutting-edge packaging applications. And to design a way to maintain up to date popcon information in one s local index. And improve and promote those services that I maintain, and I tend to often have ideas for new ones. Raphael: If you could spend all your time on Debian, what would you work on? Enrico: If I could spend all my time on Debian, I would do a lot of software development: I love doing software development, but most of my development energy is spent on my paid work. I guess I would start my all your time in Debian by taking better care of the things that I m already doing, and by promoting them better so that I wouldn t end up being the only person maintaining them. After that, however, I reckon that I do have a tendency of noticing new, interesting problems in need(?) of a solution, and I guess I would end up wildly experimenting new ideas in Debian much like a victorian mad scientist. Which reminds me that I most definitely need minions! Where can I find minions? Raphael: You re the author of the Debian Community Guidelines. I have always felt that this document should be more broadly advertised. For example by integrating it in the Developer s Reference. What do you think? Enrico: The DCG was really a collection of tips to improve one s online communication, based on ideas and feedback that I collected from pestering many experienced and well-respected people for some time. Like every repository of common sense, I think it should be widely promoted but never ever turned into law. It wouldn t be a bad idea to mention it in the Developer s Reference, or to package it as a separate file in the developers-reference package. The reasons I haven t actively been pushing for that to happen are two: there isn t much in the DCG that is specific to Debian, and I don t have the resources to do a proper job maintaining it. It d be great if somebody could take over its maintenance and make it become some proper, widespread, easy-to-quote online reference document, like one of those HOWTOs that all serious people have read at some point in their lives. Raphael: What s the biggest problem of Debian? Enrico: It s sometimes hard to get feedback or help if you work on something unusual. That is partly to be expected, and partly probably due to me not having yet learnt how to get people involved in what I do. Raphael: What motivates you to continue to contribute year after year? Enrico: Debian keeps evolving, so there is always something to learn. And Debian is real, so everything I do is constantly measured against reality. What more intellectual stimulation could one possibly want? Raphael: Is there someone in Debian that you admire for their contributions? Enrico: I don t think I could reasonably list everyone I admire in Debian: pretty much in every corner of the project there is someone, sometimes not very well known, who is putting a lot of Quality in what they do. Someone who decided that X should work well in Debian or that Debian should work well for Y or that Z is something Debian people can rely on and makes sure that it is so. Those are the people who make sure Debian is and will be not just a hobby, but a base upon which I can rely for my personal and working life.
Thank you to Enrico for the time spent answering my questions. I hope you enjoyed reading his answers as I did.

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8 June 2011

Matt Zimmerman: DEX finishes first batch of derivative patches for Debian

It s been a few months since Zack and I announced the DEX project, which aims to improve the Debian ecosystem by working jointly with derivative distributions. Our first milestone The goal of our first project, nicknamed ancient-patches, was to clear out an old batch of a few hundred Ubuntu patches whose status was unclear. We couldn t tell which ones had been merged into Debian, which were waiting in the BTS, and which had yet to be submitted to Debian. All of them were several years old. I m pleased to announce that this project is now complete. Thanks to help from David Paleino, Colin Watson, Nathan Handler and Steve Langasek, we were able to clear over 95% of the patches in a matter of days. These were the easy ones: patches which were obsolete, or had already been applied. We discussed the remainder, and resolved all of the patches whose status was still unclear. This left the harder ones: patches stalled in the BTS, and patches where there was no consensus about what to do with them. One of the stalled patches was merged into Debian via an NMU, eliminating the delta between Debian and Ubuntu. Another had been submitted to Debian by a third party, but was no longer shipping in Ubuntu, so we considered it obsolete for purposes of this project. This has left only two patches out of the original list of 277. Both of them are filed in the BTS and have been discussed with the relevant maintainer team. One of them is expected to be obsoleted when a new upstream version is packaged, which implements similar functionality. The other is being discussed with the upstream developers, but there is no conclusion yet about whether it can be merged upstream or in Debian. Conclusions Although we weren t quite able to clear the whole list, we still consider the project to be a success because: What s next In the most recent DEX update on debian-derivatives, I highlighted a few important events for DEX: We re looking forward to seeing DEX develop further. If you d like to get involved, come and join us on the debian-derivatives mailing list or IRC (#debian-derivatives on freenodeOFTC). Matt Zimmerman and Stefano Zacchiroli

12 April 2011

David Paleino: Bash-Completion 1.3-2: now with triggers!

Today I uploaded bash-completion 1:1.3-2 to the experimental branch of Debian. This package uses dpkg triggers to achieve an overdue goal: speedup shell loading by not even looking into completions for unavailable commands. The mechanism is simple: a trigger is activated when a package installs something in one of the usual $PATH directories, and it creates symlinks for the appropriate completions. This upload also features a change in the layout: completions were moved out of /etc/, so you won't be annoyed anymore during upgrades (and, let's say it, they shouldn't have been there since the beginning). However /etc/bash_completion.d/ is still around for compatibility reasons. If you want to enable a completion, just symlink it there from /usr/share/bash-completion/completions/. If there are enough requests, I might do a simple compenable/compdisable script to create them. I'd appreciate if adventurous people could test it, and report bugs (if any, hopefully). And don't be scared by the tons of messages about removed conffiles :) Please beware that the "detection mechanism" of appropriate completions is not entirely foolproof: it might need some hacking upstream (adding meta-headers to completion files?), so I'll try to improve it in future.

29 March 2011

David Paleino: View a specific SVN revision on web

I just found this out, so I'm posting it, since it might be useful both as a reminder, and for others to read. Suppose you have a "classical" Subversion web interface, like This will show you the last revision by default. What if you want to see a particular revision? I found this by googling a bit:
So, say, using the above example, you want to see the sites/ directory of revision 20000: here you are (compare with current). This obviously works with files too.

16 March 2011

Matt Zimmerman: DEX: Debian and its derivatives, getting things done together

Since I resumed active status in Debian, I ve been thinking about how to bridge the gap between Debian and its derivatives*. I ve spoken at length with Zack, the attendees of the Derivatives BoF at DebConf 10, and the fine folks at the Derivatives Front Desk about the technical and social issues affecting derivative projects, and could probably write a very thorough series of blog posts on the subject. Instead, Zack and I decided to try doing something about it: we have begun a project to test out a new approach to the problem. Introducing DEX DEX is all about action: merging patches, fixing bugs, crunching data, whatever is necessary to get changes from derivatives into Debian proper. DEX doesn t try to change the way any existing project works, but adds a fast path for getting code from one place to another. DEX is a joint task force where developers from Debian and its derivatives work together on this common goal. As a pilot project, we ve established an Ubuntu DEX Team focused on merging code from Ubuntu into Debian. With members from both projects, we hope to be able to resolve blockage anywhere in the pipeline. Whatever needs to get done in order to merge an Ubuntu patch, someone in the Ubuntu DEX team will know what to do. If we get good results with Ubuntu, we hope that other derivatives will follow. With thanks to David Paleino, we re excited that the Utnubu project is merging into DEX as it aligns well with their goals. I m very grateful to have Colin Watson and James Westby signed up to contribute as well. Our first project is simple: turn this list green. This is an archive of quite old patches from Ubuntu, most of which have probably been merged already or made obsolete, but they pre-date any kind of tracking system so they need to be verified. Once that s done, we ll move on to a new project with a new todo list. If you want to see Debian benefit from technical work done in derivatives, DEX is a chance for you to act together to make it happen. If you work on a derivative and want to carry a smaller delta, come and join us. I m sure we ll learn a lot from this experience. * There are many instances of great cooperation between Debian and derivative distributions, including joint package maintenance teams, and some derivatives are even part of the Debian project. Nonetheless, there are areas were most people I ve spoken to agree that we need to do better. This is what I ve referred to as the gap .

4 March 2011

David Paleino: Optional argument with \newcommand in LaTeX

In LaTeX, it seems like you can't define a command with a really optional argument, using \newcommand. You can make commands with arguments having a default value though. Now, I found myself in need of having such a functionality. I had to google a while, but finally found it, so I'm posting it here, both to share knowledge and to remember it in future :) Suppose you want to do something like \mycmd foo and \mycmd foo bla , doing different things (in my case, I needed to add the second argument enclosed by parenthesis in the TOC and other places, but only if it was present) Here's the code:
\def\mycmd#1 \def\tempa #1 \futurelet\next\mycmd@i % Save first argument
\def\mycmd@i \ifx\next\bgroup\expandafter\mycmd@ii\else\expandafter\mycmd@end\fi %Check brace
\def\mycmd@ii#1 ... %Two args
\def\mycmd@end ... %Single args
In the last two lines of the code, use \tempa for your first argument, and #1 for your second optional argument. If you need spaces there (maybe as part of some text), be sure to escape them with a backslash \. I think it's expandable for additional arguments, but I haven't tried, and I don't feel like getting my hands dirty with TeX yet ;)

21 February 2011

David Paleino: Code::Blocks is now in Debian!

After almost six years from the original ITP bug #304570, we finally have Code::Blocks in Debian. Enjoy it, and please report any bug you might find. Also, this is a complex package, so if anyone wants to step up as co-maintainer, or maybe make a "Debian Code::Blocks Team", I'm all for it!

20 February 2011

David Paleino: Getting network devices with Python and udev - 2

Thank you Ben for your kind reply :) In my first post, I was trying to distinguish Ethernet-like device types. Here's the final code:
import gudev
client = gudev.Client(['rfkill', 'net'])
for dev in client.query_by_subsystem('net'):
    if dev.get_sysfs_attr_as_int("type") != 1:
    driver = dev.get_driver()
    if not driver:
        parent = dev.get_parent()
        if parent:
            driver = parent.get_driver()
    # available: wlan, wwan, wimax
    if dev.get_devtype() == 'wlan':
        type = 'Wireless'
        type = 'Wired'
    print type, dev.get_name(), driver, dev.get_sysfs_path()
However, I have a few remarks. First, I don't understand why ethernet devices don't have a "devtype" attribute. How can I be sure that, failing to be "wlan", "wwan" or "wimax", it's a wired one? (not that any other kind of device comes to my mind, heh). Second, I had to look through Linux sources to find the possible values for DEVTYPE; in particular, I grepped for device_type structs inside ./drivers/net/. And the documentation you pointed me to, while being useful for other reasons (the rfkill support), didn't solve my doubts about the sysfs hierarchy. Rather, your comment about DEVTYPE helped quite a lot in this particular problem. Thank you! :)

17 February 2011

David Paleino: Getting network devices with Python and udev

UPDATE I wrote a new article based on Ben Hutching's response. Just a quick post, mainly as a reminder for when I'll try to implement this in WICD:
import gudev
client = gudev.Client(['rfkill', 'net'])
for dev in client.query_by_subsystem('net'):
    if dev.get_sysfs_attr_as_int("type") != 1:
    driver = dev.get_driver()
    if not driver:
        parent = dev.get_parent()
        if parent:
            driver = parent.get_driver()
    print type, dev.get_name(), driver, dev.get_sysfs_path()
This will print all network devices with ethernet-encapsulated packets (that's what sysfs type "1" is). Here's the output on my system:
eth0 e1000e /sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:19.0/net/eth0
wlan0 b43 /sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1c.1/0000:10:00.0/ssb0:0/net/wlan0
I'm still missing how to reliably detect if a device is a "wired" or a "wireless" one. I suspect that checking the existence of /phy80211 would be enough, but I can't really tell, and seems like I'm not able to find an exhaustive sysfs reference manual.

6 February 2011

David Paleino: Bash-Completion 1.3 released

After almost 8 months from the previous release, the Bash Completion Team is proud to announce the release of bash-completion 1.3! Nothing really innovative in this release. Just "boring" new completions, and bugfixes :) For some stats, this release features 184 completions, the previous (1.2) had 168. For more numbers, please read previous posts. New completions are obviously welcome! Apart from the usual team members (Ville Skytt , Freddy Vulto, Guillaume Rousse and me), we've had contributions from (in no particular order): Anton Khirnov, Paul Walmsley, Miklos Vajna, Andrej Gelenberg, Stephen Gildea and Andrey G. Grozin. Thank you people for helping us! The exciting things will arrive with 2.0. So stay tuned, and enjoy the new bash-completion! -- David

15 December 2010

David Paleino: Feli a Zamenhofa Tago!

Sorry for the triple-language post ;) Today, Dec. 15, it's Zamenhof Day. Let's everybody celebrate Esperanto! Oggi, 15 Dicembre, lo Zamenhof Day. Festeggiamo tutti l'Esperanto! Hodia , 15-a de decembro, estas la Zamenhofa Tago. Festu iuj la Esperanton!
Esperanto flag

29 November 2010

David Paleino: Using Git tutorial for Debian-Women

On the 25th of November I held a training session for the Debian Women project, about Using Git. A transcript of the session is available. The session took 2,5 hours, more than I really expected (one hour less), but I had many questions asked. There were ~160 attendants, but many of those asking questions seem to have missed that this was a "basic" session, for people who never used it. All in all, it was a great experience. While preparing the talk, I had the chance to re-read some forgotten manpages, which clarified some points, so it was really useful for me as well :) Given the kind of questions I had, it would be nice to have an "Advanced Git" session, maybe in January-February. Any volunteers? I'll sure be attending it :) FYI, the next session will be held by POX (Piotr O arowski) next Thursday (Dec, 2). It will be about Python libraries/application packaging, you'll have to read the introductory session as a pre-requisite.

19 November 2010

David Paleino: Low-memory madness

When your console looks like:
# free -m
-bash: fork: Cannot allocate memory
Something's definitely wrong.

16 October 2010

David Paleino: How to: database-less local map rendering with Mapnik and OSM

Here's a quick howto for local map rendering, using python, mapnik and data from OpenStreetMap. This tutorial shows how to create a stylesheet for mapnik from scratch, if you're looking for how to tweak OpenStreetMap's mapnik rendering, I plan to write a tutorial on PostGIS-driven rendering at a later time. This post is not for those who want to make a local slippy map, nor those who want to render different areas of big dumps (think of big national dumps). We'll render some features of a residential area of a city with buildings mapped. We'll get a small dump of the area for this, using the XAPI. First, you need to install mapnik. On Debian-like systems, it should be as easy as:
# apt-get install python-mapnik
Then, you need some python code to use the mapnik library. Let's call it
import mapnik
# Configuration
style = 'style.xml'
output = 'output.svg'
width = 1280
height = 800
bbox = '12.58664,37.65759,12.5945,37.66325'
# Don't touch below!
bbox = bbox.split(',')
ll = mapnik.Coord(float(bbox[0]), float(bbox[1]))
tr = mapnik.Coord(float(bbox[2]), float(bbox[3]))
mymap = mapnik.Map(width, height)
mapnik.load_map(mymap, style)
map_bbox = mapnik.Envelope(ll, tr)
mapnik.render_to_file(mymap, output)
For the purposes of this post, we're going to create a 1280x800 map -- adjust that to suit your needs -- and we specified a bounding box corresponding to that area. That's composed as west,south,east,north coordinates. Be sure to get them right :-). Now we need to write a Mapnik stylesheet, we'll call it style.xml. That's a XML document, you can find the documentation at the official website. The skeleton of a stylesheet is as follows:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Map bgcolor="lightblue" srs="+proj=latlong +datum=WGS84">
<Style name="...">
<Layer name="...">
The stylesheet has an arbitrary number of Style elements and an arbitrary number of Layer elements. The former class of elements define the appearance of the features, while the latter defines where to get data from. Each layer has a Datasource child: here's where you say where to get your data from. We're going to use the osm input plugin, which lets you parse the dump directly. This has some drawbacks: But works great for small dumps. In this tutorial, we want to pretty render a residential area, so we first need to render the road network. This will mainly be made of highway=residential roads. Each style can have one or more Rule element. These define what elements that particular style should apply to. Each rule can have different rendering settings. The given dump has different roads: residential, unclassified, tertiary and secondary. Let's add a rule for each. Here's the first of them:
 <Filter>[highway] = 'residential'</Filter>
  <CssParameter name="stroke">#ffffff</CssParameter>
  <CssParameter name="stroke-width">5</CssParameter>
  <CssParameter name="stroke-linejoin">round</CssParameter>
  <CssParameter name="stroke-linecap">round</CssParameter>
 <TextSymbolizer name="name" face_name="DejaVu Sans Book" size="8" fill="#000" halo_radius="1" spacing="300" placement="line" />
It is quite straightforward: you define what elements the rule should apply to, and then add some symbolizer. For a detailed description of each symbolizer, please read the documentation. The example dump also has a railway and some steps. To render them, we use the stroke-dasharray property:
 <Filter>[highway] = 'steps'</Filter>
  <CssParameter name="stroke">#ff0000</CssParameter>
  <CssParameter name="stroke-width">5.0</CssParameter>
  <CssParameter name="stroke-dasharray">2,1</CssParameter>
 <Filter>[railway] = 'rail'</Filter>
  <CssParameter name="stroke">#222222</CssParameter>
  <CssParameter name="stroke-width">3</CssParameter>
  <CssParameter name="stroke-linejoin">round</CssParameter>
  <CssParameter name="stroke">white</CssParameter>
 <CssParameter name="stroke-width">1</CssParameter>
  <CssParameter name="stroke-linejoin">round</CssParameter>
  <CssParameter name="stroke-dasharray">10,20</CssParameter>
Also here, it is quite simple. The values given to stroke-dasharray determine the size of the dashes, and they can be alternated. So, for the steps we have 2px of #ff0000 and 1px of trasparency, while for the rail we have 10px of white and 20px of #222222. What if we want to add some markers to the map? Easy, just use another symbolizer, called PointSymbolizer:
 <Filter>[highway] = 'stop'</Filter>
 <PointSymbolizer width='10' height='22' file='stop.png' type='png' allow_overlap='true' opacity='1.0' />
Here we mark stop signals with a pre-rendered stop.png (only png and tiff are currently supported, and svg support is only in the development version). What to do next? Well, we can make this map really nice. We'll render buildings with a pseudo-3D effect, which, however, does not reflect real heights -- but it's rather nice to see. How to achieve this? BuildingSymbolizer is the answer.
 <Filter>[building] &lt;&gt; ''</Filter>
  <CssParameter name="fill">#00ff00</CssParameter>
  <CssParameter name="fill-opacity">0.4</CssParameter>
  <CssParameter name="height">0.00007</CssParameter>
Here we just draw building=*. Regarding the height, you need to play a bit -- it took a while before I found a good value of it. One thing missing in this stylesheet, is the rendering of coastlines. Since we don't have a coastline here, I'm skipping it, but the easy way is: use another rule. This is really just a trick; OpenStreetMap renders the coastline in a different way respect to other features, that's why I'm using this trick. I'm not posting the whole stylesheet, but you can download it. You can also get the script, the OSM dump and the stop.png image. Now, you should be able to just do:
$ ./
and you will have your map in output.svg :-) Here's what you would get if you use the files provided above (click to see the original SVG version):

9 October 2010

David Paleino: Simple Python and Vala XML parsers

As some of you might know, I'm an OpenStreetMaper. In the last month, during those bits of spare time I had, I wrote a set of python scripts which compute some statistics over an OSM dump. I do this by parsing the whole XML tree, and national dumps are pretty huge (italy.osm is ~4G nowadays, and is not as well-mapped as Germany!), so I needed a way to do this without creating a memory-hungry beast. With Python, I could succesfully do this:
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
import xml.etree.cElementTree as etree
def parse(filename):
    source = open(filename)
    context = etree.iterparse(source, events=("start", "end"))
    context = iter(context)
    event, root =
    for event, elem in context:
        if event == "end":
        print elem.tag
if __name__ == '__main__':
    import sys
And here the results:
$ /usr/bin/time ./ ~/osmstats/dumps/italy.osm.bz2.20100912.out 1>/dev/null
413.22user 6.15system 8:57.80elapsed 77%CPU (0avgtext+0avgdata 21200maxresident)k
7739552inputs+0outputs (10major+1470minor)pagefaults 0swaps
However, since some time, I wanted to learn Vala, so I tried to do this very same task with it. Here's the code:
using Xml;
class XmlParser  
    public void parse_file(string path)  
        var handler = SAXHandler();
        void* user_data = null;
        handler.startElement = start_element;
        handler.user_parse_file(user_data, path);
    public void start_element(string name, string[] attr)  
        stdout.printf("%s\n", name);
int main(string[] args)  
    var parser = new XmlParser();
    return 0;
You need to compile it with: valac --pkg libxml-2.0 xml.vala And here's the result:
$ /usr/bin/time ./xml ~/osmstats/dumps/italy.osm.bz2.20100912.out 1>/dev/null
122.01user 4.03system 3:14.61elapsed 64%CPU (0avgtext+0avgdata 6352maxresident)k
7738984inputs+0outputs (0major+461minor)pagefaults 0swaps
Both these codes are, however, CPU-hungry. But at least they don't swap :-) Needless to say that I'm planning to switch my scripts to Vala for 2.0.