Search Results: "Jonathan Carter"

4 October 2021

Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities for 2021-09

Here s a bunch of uploads for September. Mostly catching up with a few things after the Bullseye release. 2021-09-01: Upload package bundlewrap (4.11.2-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-09-01: Upload package calamares (3.2.41.1-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-09-01: Upload package g-disk (1.0.8-2) to Debian unstable (Closes: #993109). 2021-09-01: Upload package bcachefs-tools (0.1+git20201025.742dbbdb-1) to Debian unstable (Closes: #976474). 2021-09-02: Upload package fabulous (0.4.0+dfsg1-1) to Debian unstable (Closes: #983247). 2021-09-02: Upload package feed2toot (0.17-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-09-02: Merge MR!1 for fracplanet.2021-09-02:2021-09-02: 2021-09-02: Upload package fracplanet (0.5.1-6) to Debian unstable (Closes: #980808). 2021-09-02: Upload package toot (0.28.0-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-09-02: Upload package toot (0.28.0-2) to Debian unstable. 2021-09-02: Merge MR!1 for gnome-shell-extension-gamemode. 2021-09-02: Merge MR!1 for gnome-shell-extension-no-annoyance. 2021-09-02: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-no-annoyance (0+20210717-12dc667) to Debian unstable (Closes: #993193). 2021-09-02: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-gamemode (5-2) to Debian unstable. 2021-09-02: Merge MR!2 for gnome-shell-extension-harddisk-led. 2021-09-02: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-pixelsaver (1.24-2) to Debian unstable (Closes: #993195). 2021-09-02: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-dash-to-panel (43-1) to Debian unstable (Closes: #993058, #989546). 2021-09-02: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-harddisk-led (25-1) to Debian unstable (Closes: #993181). 2021-09-02: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-impatience (0.4.5+git20210412-e8e132f-1) to Debian unstable (Closes: #993190). 2021-09-02: Upload package s-tui (1.1.3-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-09-02: Upload package flask-restful (0.3.9-2) to Debian unstable. 2021-09-02: Upload package python-aniso8601 (9.0.1-2) to Debian unstable. 2021-09-03: Sponsor package fonts-jetbrains-mono (2.242+ds-1) for Debian unstable (Debian Mentors request). 2021-09-03: Sponsor package python-toml (0.10.2-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2021-09-03: Sponsor package buildbot (3.3.0-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2021-09-03: Sponsor package python-strictyaml (1.4.4-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2021-09-03: Sponsor package python-absl (0.13.0-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2021-09-03: Merge MR!1 for xabacus. 2021-09-03: Upload package aalib (1.4p5-49) to Debian unstable (Closes: #981503). 2021-09-03: File ROM for gnome-shell-extension-remove-dropdown-arrows (#993577, closing: #993196). 2021-09-03: Upload package bcachefs-tools (0.1+git20210805.6c42566-2) to Debian unstable. 2021-09-05: Upload package tuxpaint (0.9.26-1~exp1) to Debian experimental. 2021-09-05: Upload package tuxpaint-config (0.17rc1-1~exp1) to Debian experimental. 2021-09-05: Upload package tuxpaint-stamps (2021.06.28-1~exp1) to Debian experimental (Closes: #988347). 2021-09-05: Upload package tuxpaint-stamps (2021.06.28-1) to Debian experimental. 2021-09-05: Upload package tuxpaint (0.9.26-1) to Debian unstable (Closes: #942889). 2021-09-06: Merge MR!2 for connectagram. 2021-09-06: Upload package connectagram (1.2.11-2) to Debian unstable. 2021-09-06: Upload package aalib (1.4p5-50) to Debian unstable (Closes: #993729). 2021-09-06: Upload packag gdisk (1.0.8-3) to Debian unstable (Closes: #993732). 2021-09-06: Upload package tuxpaint-config (0.17rc1-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-09-06: Upload package grapefruit (0.1_a3+dfsg-10) to Debian unstable. 2021-09-07: File ROM for gnome-shell-extension-hide-activities (). 2021-09-09: Upload package calamares (3.2.42-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-09-09: Upgraded peertube.debian.social to PeerTube 3.4.0. 2021-09-17: Upload calamares (3.2.43-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-09-28: Upload calamares (3.2.44.2-1) to Debian unstable.

11 August 2021

Bits from Debian: Debian User Forums changes and updates.

DebianUserForums Several issues were brought before the Debian Community team regarding responsiveness, tone, and needed software updates to forums.debian.net. The question was asked, who s in charge? Over the course of the discussion several Debian Developers volunteered to help by providing a presence on the forums from Debian and to assist with the necessary changes to keep the service up and running. We are happy to announce the following changes to the (NEW!) forums.debian.net, which have and should address most of the prior concerns with accountability, tone, use, and reliability: Debian Developers: Paulo Henrique de Lima Santana (phls), Felix Lechner (lechner), and Donald Norwood (donald) have been added to the forum's Server and Administration teams. The server instance is now running directly within Debian's infrastructure. The forum software and back-end have been updated to the most recent versions where applicable. DNS resolves for both IPv4 and IPv6. SSL/HTTPS are enabled. (It s 2021!) New Captcha and Anti-spam systems are in place to thwart spammers, bots, and to make it easier for humans to register. New Administrators and Moderation staff were added to provide additional coverage across the hours and to combine years of experience with forum operation and Debian usage. New viewing styles are available for users to choose from, some of which are ideal for mobile/tablet viewing. We inadvertently fixed the time issue that the prior forum had of running 11 minutes fast. :) We have clarified staff roles and staff visibility. Responsiveness to users on the forums has increased. Email addresses for mods/admins have been updated and checked for validity, it has seen direct use and response. The guidelines for forum use by users and staff have been updated. The Debian COC has been made into a Global Announcement as an accompanyist to the newly updated guidelines to give the moderators/administrators an additional rule-set for unruly or unbecoming behavior. Some of the discussion areas have been renamed and refocused, along with the movement of multiple threads to make indexing and searching of the forums easier. Many (New!) features and extensions have been added to the forum for ease of use and modernization, such as a user thanks system and thread hover previews. There are some server administrative tasks that were upgraded as well which don't belong on a public list, but we are backing up regularly and secure. :) We have a few minor details here and there to attend to and the work is ongoing. Many Thanks and Appreciation to the Debian System Administrators (DSA) and Ganneff who took the time to coordinate and assist with the instance, DNS, and network and server administration minutiae, our helpful DPL Jonathan Carter, many thanks to the current and prior forum moderators and administrators: Mez, sunrat, 4D696B65, arochester, and cds60601 for helping with the modifications and transition, and to the forum users who participated in lots of the tweaking. All in all this was a large community task and everyone did a significant part. Thank you!

10 May 2021

Jonathan Carter: Free software activities for 2021-04

Here are some uploads for April. 2021-04-06: Upload package bundlewrap (4.7.1-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-04-06: Upload package calamares (3.2.39.2-1) to Debian experimental. 2021-04-06: Upload package flask-caching (1.10.1-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-04-06: Upload package xabacus (8.3.5-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-04-06: Upload package python-aniso8601 (9.0.1-1) to Debian experimental. 2021-04-07: Upload package gdisk (1.0.7-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-04-07: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-disconnect-wifi (28-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-04-07: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-draw-on-your-screen (11-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-04-12: Upload package s-tui (1.1.1-1) to Debian experimental. 2021-04-12: Upload package speedtest-cli (2.1.3-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-04-19: Spnsor package bitwise (0.42-1) to Debian unstable (E-mail request). 2021-04-19: Upload package speedtest-cli (2.1.3-2) to Debian unstable. 2021-04-23: Upload package speedtest-cli (2.0.2-1+deb10u2) to Debian buster (Closes: #986637)

18 April 2021

Bits from Debian: Debian Project Leader election 2021, Jonathan Carter re-elected.

The voting period and tally of votes for the Debian Project Leader election has just concluded, and the winner is Jonathan Carter! 455 of 1,018 Developers voted using the Condorcet method. More information about the results of the voting are available on the Debian Project Leader Elections 2021 page. Many thanks to Jonathan Carter and Sruthi Chandran for their campaigns, and to our Developers for voting.

17 March 2021

Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities 2021-02

The last few weeks was really tough time-wise due to a whole bunch of personal things requiring attention. At least that is cooling down now, in the meantime, here s last monght s uploads (16 days late, yikes!). Hope everyone is doing well out there. 2021-02-02: Upload package python-strictyaml (1.1.1-2) to Debian unstable (Initial source-only upload). 2021-02-03: Upload package bundlewrap (4.4.2-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-02-03: Upload package python-aniso8601 (8.1.1-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-02-15: Upload package desktop-base (11.0.1-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-02-15: Upload package rootskel-gtk (11.0.1) to Debian unstable. 2021-02-16: Upload package btfs (2.24-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-02-16: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-multi-monitors (23-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-02-16: Upload package xabacus (8.3.4-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-02-19: Upload package bundlewrap (4.5.0-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-02-19: Upload package calamares (3.2.36-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-02-19: Upload package calamares (3.2.36-1~bpo10+1) to Debian buster-backports. 2021-02-19: Upload package bundlewrap (4.5.1-1) to Debian unstable.

2 February 2021

Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities 2021-01

Yikes, my head is still spinning from what a crazy month January was. Only managed to squeeze in a few uploads. I ve also been working on an annual DPL summary that I got to about 80% in December and was barely able to touch it during January, might end up simplifying it just so that I can get it released. In the meantime there s a lot of interesting stuff happening, stay tuned :) 2021-01-08: Sponsor package python-strictyaml (1.1.1-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2021-01-12: Sponsor package buildbot (2.10.0-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2021-01-12: Sponsor package peewee (3.14.0+dfsg-2) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2021-01-12: Sponsor package crashtest (0.3.1-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2021-01-12: Sponsor package sqlobject (3.9.0+dfsg-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2021-01-12: Upload package kpmcore (29.12.1-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-01-12: Upload package xabacus (8.3.2-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-01-13: Upload package partitionmanager (20.12.1-1) to Debian unstable. 2021-01-13: Review package clikit (Waiting on dependencies) (Python team request). 2021-01-26: Upload package gdisk (1.0.6-1) to Debian unstable.

21 January 2021

Russell Coker: Links January 2021

Krebs on Security has an informative article about web notifications and how they are being used for spamming and promoting malware [1]. He also includes links for how to permanently disable them. If nothing else clicking no on each new site that wants to send notifications is annoying. Michael Stapelberg wrote an insightful posts about inefficiencies in the Debian development processes [2]. While I agree with most of his assessment of Debian issues I am not going to decrease my involvement in Debian. Of the issues he mentions the 2 that seem to have the best effort to reward ratio are improvements to mailing list archives (to ideally make it practical to post to lists without subscribing and read responses in the archives) and the issues of forgetting all the complexities of the development process which can be alleviated by better Wiki pages. In my Debian work I ve contributed more to the Wiki in recent times but not nearly as much as I should. Jacobin has an insightful article Ending Poverty in the United States Would Actually Be Pretty Easy [3]. Mark Brown wrote an interesting blog post about the Rust programming language [4]. He links to a couple of longer blog posts about it. Rust has some great features and I ve been meaning to learn it. Scientific America has an informative article about research on the spread of fake news and memes [5]. Something to consider when using social media. Bruce Schneier wrote an insightful blog post on whether there should be limits on persuasive technology [6]. Jonathan Dowland wrote an interesting blog post about git rebasing and lab books [7]. I think it s an interesting thought experiment to compare the process of developing code worthy of being committed to a master branch of a VCS to the process of developing a Ph.D thesis. CBS has a disturbing article about the effect of Covid19 on people s lungs [8]. Apparently it usually does more lung damage than long-term smoking and even 70%+ of people who don t have symptoms of the disease get significant lung damage. People who live in heavily affected countries like the US now have to worry that they might have had the disease and got lung damage without knowing it. Russ Allbery wrote an interesting review of the book Because Internet about modern linguistics [9]. The topic is interesting and I might read that book at some future time (I have many good books I want to read). Jonathan Carter wrote an interesting blog post about CentOS Streams and why using a totally free OS like Debian is going to be a better option for most users [10]. Linus has slammed Intel for using ECC support as a way of segmenting the market between server and desktop to maximise profits [11]. It would be nice if a company made a line of Ryzen systems with ECC RAM support, but most manufacturers seem to be in on the market segmentation scam. Russ Allbery wrote an interesting review of the book Can t Even about millenials as the burnout generation and the blame that the corporate culture deserves for this [12].

2 January 2021

Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities for 2020-12

Here s a list of some Debian packaging work for December 2020. 2020-12-01: Sponsor package mangohud (0.6.1-1) for Debian unstable (mentors.debian.net request). 2020-12-01: Sponsor package spyne (2.13.16-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-12-01: Sponsor package python-xlrd (1.2.0-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-12-01: Sponsor package buildbot for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-12-08: Upload package calamares (3.2.35.1-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-12-09: Upload package btfs (2.23-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-12-09: Upload package feed2toot (0.15-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-12-09: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-harddisk-led (23-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-12-10: Upload package feed2toot (0.16-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-12-10: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-harddisk-led (24-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-12-13: Upload package xabacus (8.3.1-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-12-14: Upload package python-aniso8601 (8.1.0-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-12-19: Upload package rootskel-gtk (1.42) to Debian unstable. 2020-12-21: Sponsor package goverlay (0.4.3-1) for Debian unstable (mentors.debian.net request). 2020-12-21: Sponsor package pastel (0.2.1-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-12-22: Sponsor package python-requests-toolbelt (0.9.1-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-12-22: Upload kpmcore (20.12.0-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-12-26: Upload package bundlewrap (4.3.0-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-12-26: Review package python-strictyaml (1.1.1-1) (Needs some more work) (Python team request). 2020-12-26: Review package buildbot (2.9.3-1) (Needs some more work) (Python team request). 2020-12-26: Review package python-vttlib (0.9.1+dfsg-1) (Needs some more work) (Python team request). 2020-12-26: Sponsor package python-formencode (2.0.0-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-12-26: Sponsor package pylev (1.2.0-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-12-26: Review package python-absl (Needs some more work) (Python team request). 2020-12-26: Sponsor package python-moreorless (0.3.0-2) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-12-26: Sponsor package peewee (3.14.0+dfsg-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-12-28: Sponsor package pympler (0.9+dfsg1-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-12-28: Sponsor package bidict (0.21.2-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request).

10 December 2020

Jonathan Carter: CentOS Stream, or Debian?

It s the end of CentOS as we know it Earlier this week, the CentOS project announced the shift to CentOS stream. In a nutshell, this means that they will discontinue being a close clone of RHEL along with security updates, and instead it will serve as a development branch of RHEL. As you can probably imagine (or gleam from the comments in that post I referenced), a lot of people are unhappy about this. One particular quote got my attention this morning while catching up on this week s edition of Linux Weekly News, under the distributions quotes section:

I have been doing this for 17 years and CentOS is basically my life s work. This was (for me personally) a heart wrenching decision. However, i see no other decision as a possibility. If there was, it would have been made.Johnny Hughes
I feel really sorry for this person and can empathize, I ve been in similar situations in my life before where I ve poured all my love and energy into something and then due to some corporate or organisational decisions (and usually poor ones), the project got discontinued and all that work that went into it vanishes into the ether. Also, 17 years is really long to be contributing to any one project so I can imagine that this must have been especially gutting.

Throw me a freakin bone here I m also somewhat skeptical of how successful CentOS Stream will really be in any form of a community project. It seems that Red Hat is expecting that volunteers should contribute to their product development for free, and then when these contributors actually want to use that resulting product, they re expected to pay a corporate subscription fee to do so. This seems like a very lop-sided relationship to me, and I m not sure it will be sustainable in the long term. In Red Hat s announcement of CentOS Stream, they kind of throw the community a bone by saying In the first half of 2021, we plan to introduce low- or no-cost programs for a variety of use cases - it seems likely that this will just be for experimental purposes similar to the Windows Insider program and won t be of much use for production users at all. Red Hat does point out that their Universal Base Image (UBI) is free to use and that users could just use that on any system in a container, but this doesn t add much comfort to the individuals and organisations who have contributed huge amounts of time and effort to CentOS over the years who rely on a stable, general-purpose Linux system that can be installed on bare metal.

Way forward for CentOS users Where to from here? I suppose CentOS users could start coughing up for RHEL subscriptions. For many CentOS use cases that won t make much sense. They could move to another distribution, or fork/restart CentOS. The latter is already happening. One of the original founders of the CentOS project, Gregory Kurtzer, is now working on Rocky Linux, which aims to be a new free system built from the RHEL sources. Some people from Red Hat and Canonical are often a bit surprised or skeptical when I point out to them that binary licenses are also important. This whole saga is yet another data point, but it proves that yet again. If Red Hat had from the beginning released RHEL with free sources and unobfuscated patches, then none of this would ve been necessary in the first place. And while I wish Rocky Linux all the success it aims to achieve, I do not think that working for free on a system that ultimately supports Red Hat s selfish eco-system is really productive or helpful. The fact is, Debian is already a free enterprise-scale system already used by huge organisations like Google and many others, which has stable releases, LTS support and ELTS offerings from external organisations if someone really needs it. And while RHEL clones have come and gone through the years, Debian s mission and contract to its users is something that stays consistent and I believe Debian and its ideals will be around for as long as people need Unixy operating systems to run anywhere (i.e. a very long time). While we sometimes fall short of some of our technical goals in Debian, and while we don t always agree on everything, we do tend to make great long-term progress, and usually in the right direction. We ve proved that our method of building a system together is sustainable, that we can do so reliably and timely and that we can collectively support it. From there on it can only get even better when we join forces and work together, because when either individuals or organisations contribute to Debian, they can use the end result for both private or commercial purposes without having to pay any fee or be encumbered by legal gotchas. Don t get caught by greedy corporate motivations that will result in you losing years of your life s work for absolutely no good reason. Make your time and effort count and either contribute to Debian or give your employees time to do so on company time. Many already do and reap the rewards of this, and don t look back. While Debian is a very container and virtualization friendly system, we ve managed to remain a good general-purpose operating system that manages to span use cases so vast that I d have to use a blog post longer than this one just to cover them. And while learning a whole new set of package build chain, package manager and new organisational culture and so on can be uhm, really rocky at the start, I d say that it s a good investment with Debian and unlikely to be time that you ll ever felt was wasted. As Debian project leader, I m personally available to help answer any questions that someone might have if they are interested in coming over to Debian. Feel free to mail leader_AT_debian.org (replace _AT_ with @) or find me on the oftc IRC network with the nick highvoltage. I believe that together, we can make Debian the de facto free enterprise system, and that it would be to the benefit of all its corporate users, instead of tilting all the benefit to just one or two corporations who certainly don t have your best interests in mind.

1 December 2020

Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities for 2020-11

This month just went past way too fast, didn t get to all the stuff I wanted to, but managed to cover many essentials (not even listed here) that I ll cover in follow-up posts. In particular, highlights that I m thankful for are that we ve selected the final artwork for Bullseye. We ve also successfully hosted another two MiniDebConfs. One that was gaming themed, and a Brazilian event all in Portuguese! Videos are up on Debian s PeerTube instance (Gaming Edition Brazil) and on the DebConf video archive for direct download. Remember to take care of yourself out there! Physical safety is high on everyone s mind in these times, but remember to pay attention to your mental health too. It s ok if you won t hit all your usual targets and goals in these times, don t be too hard on yourself and burn out! 2020-11-01: Upload package gtetrinet (0.7.11+git20200916.46e7ade-2~bpo10+1) to Debian buster-backports. 2020-11-01: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-disconnect-wifi (26-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-11-02: Merge MR!2, MR!4 and MR!5 for zram-tools, follow 3-way merge closing MR!1 and MR!3. 2020-11-02: Upload package zram-swap (0.3.3-1) to Debian unstable (Closes: #917643, #928439, #928443). 2020-11-02: Close live-installer bugs #646704 (fix released a few years ago already), #700642 (nothing left to fix), #835391 (unproducible on latest images), #847446 (graphical d-i installer no longer provided). #714710 (problem not present on latest installation media) 2020-11-02: File ROM for calcoo (#973638) no longer maintained upstream, GTK-2 only. 2020-11-03: Upload package bundlewrap (4.2.2-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-11-03: Upload package feed2toot (0.14-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-11-03: Upload package feed2toot (0.14-2) to Debian unstable. 2020-11-03: Upload package flask-autoindex (0.6.6-2) to Debian unstable. 2020-11-03: Upload package flask-caching (1.9.0-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-11-03: Upload package flask-restful (0.3.8-5) to Debian unstable. 2020-11-08: Upload package s-tui (1.0.2-2) to Debian unstable (Closes: #961534). 2020-11-09: Merge MR!1 for bluefish (remove old icon). 2020-11-10: Upload package bluefish (2.2.12-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-11-10: Upload package calamares (3.2.33-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-11-11: Upload package calamares-settings-debian (11.0.4-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-11-17: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-multiple-workspaces (22-1) to Debian-unstable. 2020-11-24: Sponsor package xmodem (0.4.6+dfsg-2) for Debian unstable (Python Team request). 2020-11-24: Sponsor package python-opentracing (2.4.0-1) for Debian unstable (Python Team request). 2020-11-24: Sponsor package python-css-parser (1.0.6-1) for Debian unstable (Python Team request). 2020-11-24: Review package buildbot (2.8.4-1) (Needs some more work) (Python Team request). 2020-11-24: Review package gbsplay (0.0.94-1) (Needs some more work) (Games Team request). 2020-11-24: Sponsor package goverlay (0.4.2-1) for Debian unstable (Games Team request). 2020-11-24: Sponsor package lutris (0.5.8-1) for Debian unstable (Games Team request). 2020-11-24: Review package mangohud (0.5.1-1) for Debian unstable (Needs some more work) (Games Team request). 2020-11-24: Sponsor package vkbasalt (0.3.2.3-1) for Debian unstable (Games Team request). 2020-11-25: Sponsor package starfighter (2.3.3-1) for Debian unstable (Games Team request). 2020-11-25: Sponsor package pentobi (18.3-1) for Debian unstable (Games Team request). 2020-11-30: Sponsor package lutris (0.5.8-1) for Debian unstable (Games Team request) (New upload).

31 October 2020

Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities for 2020-10

Another month, another bunch of uploads. The freeze for Debian 11 (bullseye) is edging closer, so I ve been trying to get my package list in better shape ahead of that. Thanks to those who worked on fixing lintian.debian.org and the lintian reports on the QA pages, those are immensely useful and it s great to have that back! 2020-10-04: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-draw-on-your-screen (8-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-05: Sponsor package flask-restful (0.3.8-4) for Debian unstable (Python Team request). 2020-10-05: Sponsor package python-potr (1.0.2-3) for Debian unstable (Python Team request). 2020-10-06: Sponsor package python-pyld (2.0.3-1) for Debian unstable (Python Team request). 2020-10-06: Sponsor package flask-openid (1.2.5+dfsg-4) for Debian unstable (Python Team request). 2020-10-06: Sponsor package qosmic (1.6.0-4) for Debian unstable (E-mail request). 2020-10-07: File removal for gnome-shell-extension-workspace-to-dock (RC Buggy, no longer maintained: #971803). 2020-10-07: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-pixelsaver (1.20-2) to Debian unstable (Closes: #971689). 2020-10-07: Upload package calamares (3.2.31-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-07: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-dashtodock (69-1) to Debian unstable (Closes: #971654). 2020-10-08: Sponsor package python3-libcloud (3.020-1) for Debian unstable. 2020-10-09: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-dashtopanel (40-1) to Debian unstable (Closes: #971087). 2020-10-09: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-draw-on-your-screen (8.1-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-12: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-pixelsaver (1.24-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-14: Sponsor package python3-onewire (0.2-1) for Debian unstable (Python Team request). 2020-10-15: Sponsor package cheetah (3.2.5-1) for Debian unstable (Python Team request). 2020-10-15: Sponsor package xmodem (0.4.6+dfsg-1) for Debian unstable (Python Team request). 2020-10-15: Sponsor package ansi (0.1.5-1) for Debian unstable (Python Team request). 2020-10-15: Sponsor package cbor2 (5.2.0-1) for Debian unstable (Python Team request). 2020-10-16: Upload package calamares (3.2.32-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-17: Upload package calamares (3.2.32.1-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-18: Upload package kpmcore (4.2.0-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-18: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-draw-on-your-screen (9-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-18: Upload package bundlewrap (4.2.1-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-18: Upload package bcachefs-tools (0.1+git20201017.8a4408-1~exp1) to Debian experimental. 2020-10-18: Upload package calamares (3.2.32.1-2) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-18: Upload package partitionmanager (4.1.0-2) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-19: Upload package kpmcore (4.2.0-2) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-21: Upload package calamares (3.2.32.1-3) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-21: Upload package calamares-settings-debian (11.0.3-1) to Debian unstable (Closes: #969930, #941301). 2020-10-21: Upload package partitionmanager (4.2.0-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-21: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-hard-disk-led (22-1) to Debian unstable (Closes: #971041). 2020-10-21: Merge MR!1 for catimg (Janitor improvements). 2020-10-21: Sponsor package r4d (1.7-1) for Debian unstable (Python Team request). 2020-10-22: Upload package aalib (1.4rc5-47) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-22: Upload package fabulous (0.3.0+dfsg1-8) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-22: Merge MR!1 for gdisk (Janitor improvements). 2020-10-22: Merge MR!1 for gnome-shell-extension-arc-menu (New upstream URLs, thanks Edward Betts). 2020-10-22: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-arc-menu (49-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-22: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-draw-on-your-screen (10-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-22: Merge MR!1 for vim-airline (Janitor improvements). 2020-10-22: Merge MR!1 for vim-airline-themes (Janitor improvements). 2020-10-22: Merge MR!1 for preload (Janitor improvements). 2020-10-22: Upload package aalib (1.4rc5-48) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-22: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-trash (0.2.0-git20200326.3425fcf1-1). 2020-10-26: Upload package bcachefs-tools (0.1+git20201025.742dbbdb-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-10-26: Sponsor package dunst (1.5.0-1) for Debian unstable (mentors.debian.net request).

1 October 2020

Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities for 2020-09

This month I started working on ways to make hosting access easier for Debian Developers. I also did some work and planning for the MiniDebConf Online Gaming Edition that we ll likely announce within the next 1-2 days. Just a bunch of content that needs to be fixed and a registration bug then I think we ll be ready to send out the call for proposals. In the meantime, here s my package uploads and sponsoring for September: 2020-09-07: Upload package calamares (3.2.30-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-09-07: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-dash-to-panel (39-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-09-08: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-draw-on-your-screen (6.2-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-09-08: Sponsor package sqlobject (3.8.0+dfsg-2) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-09-08: Sponsor package bidict (0.21.0-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-09-11: Upload package catimg (2.7.0-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-09-16: Sponsor package gamemode (1.6-1) for Debian unstable (Games team request). 2020-09-21: Sponsor package qosmic (1.6.0-3) for Debian unstable (Debian Mentors / e-mail request). 2020-09-22: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-draw-on-your-screen (6.4-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-09-22: Upload package bundlewrap (4.2.0-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-09-25: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-draw-on-your-screen (7-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-09-27: Sponsor package libapache2-mod-python (3.5.0-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-09-27: Sponsor package subliminal (2.1.0-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request).

13 September 2020

Jonathan Carter: Wootbook / Tongfang laptop

Old laptop I ve been meaning to get a new laptop for a while now. My ThinkPad X250 is now 5 years old and even though it s still adequate in many ways, I tend to run out of memory especially when running a few virtual machines. It only has one memory slot, which I maxed out at 16GB shortly after I got it. Memory has been a problem in considering a new machine. Most new laptops have soldered RAM and local configurations tend to ship with 8GB RAM. Getting a new machine with only a slightly better CPU and even just the same amount of RAM as what I have in the X250 seems a bit wasteful. I was eyeing the Lenovo X13 because it s a super portable that can take up to 32GB of RAM, and it ships with an AMD Ryzen 4000 series chip which has great performance. With Lenovo s discount for Debian Developers it became even more attractive. Unfortunately that s in North America only (at least for now) so that didn t work out this time.

Enter Tongfang I ve been reading a bunch of positive reviews about the Tuxedo Pulse 14 and KDE Slimbook 14. Both look like great AMD laptops, supports up to 64GB of RAM and clearly runs Linux well. I also noticed that they look quite similar, and after some quick searches it turns out that these are made by Tongfang and that its model number is PF4NU1F. I also learned that a local retailer (Wootware) sells them as the Wootbook. I ve seen one of these before although it was an Intel-based one, but it looked like a nice machine and I was already curious about it back then. After struggling for a while to find a local laptop with a Ryzen CPU and that s nice and compact and that breaks the 16GB memory barrier, finding this one that jumped all the way to 64GB sealed the deal for me. This is the specs for the configuration I got:

This configuration cost R18 796 ( 947 / $1122). That s significantly cheaper than anything else I can get that even starts to approach these specs. So this is a cheap laptop, but you wouldn t think so by using it.
I used the Debian netinstall image to install, and installation was just another uneventful and boring Debian installation (yay!). Unfortunately it needs the firmware-iwlwifi and firmare-amd-graphics packages for the binary blobs that drives the wifi card and GPU. At least it works flawlessly and you don t need an additional non-free display driver (as is the case with NVidia GPUs). I haven t tested the graphics extensively yet, but desktop graphics performance is very snappy. This GPU also does fancy stuff like VP8/VP9 encoding/decoding, so I m curious to see how well it does next time I have to encode some videos. The wifi upgrade was nice for copying files over. My old laptop maxed out at 300Mbps, this one connects to my home network between 800-1000Mbps. At this speed I don t bother connecting via cable at home. I read on Twitter that Tuxedo Computers thinks that it s possible to bring Coreboot to this device. That would be yet another plus for this machine. I ll try to answer some of my own questions about this device that I had before, that other people in the Debian community might also have if they re interested in this device. Since many of us are familiar with the ThinkPad X200 series of laptops, I ll compare it a bit to my X250, and also a little to the X13 that I was considering before. Initially, I was a bit hesitant about the 14 form factor, since I really like the portability of the 12.5 ThinkPad. But because the screen bezel is a lot smaller, the Wootbook (that just rolls off the tongue a lot better than the PF4NU1F ) is just slightly wider than the X250. It weighs in at 1.1KG instead of the 1.38KG of the X250. It s also thinner, so even though it has a larger display, it actually feels a lot more portable. Here s a picture of my X250 on top of the Wootbook, you can see a few mm of Wootbook sticking out to the right.
Card Reader One thing that I overlooked when ordering this laptop was that it doesn t have an SD card reader. I see that some variations have them, like on this Slimbook review. It s not a deal-breaker for me, I have a USB card reader that s very light and that I ll just keep in my backpack. But if you re ordering one of these machines and have some choice, it might be something to look out for if it s something you care about. Keyboard/Touchpad On to the keyboard. This keyboard isn t quite as nice to type on as on the ThinkPad, but, it s not bad at all. I type on many different laptop keyboards and I would rank this keyboard very comfortably in the above average range. I ve been typing on it a lot over the last 3 days (including this blog post) and it started feeling natural very quickly and I m not distracted by it as much as I thought I would be transitioning from the ThinkPad or my mechanical desktop keyboard. In terms of layout, it s nice having an actual Insert button again. This is things normal users don t care about, but since I use mc (where insert selects files) this is a welcome return :). I also like that it doesn t have a Print Screen button at the bottom of my keyboard between alt and ctrl like the ThinkPad has. Unfortunately, it doesn t have dedicated pgup/pgdn buttons. I use those a lot in apps to switch between tabs. At leas the Fn button and the ctrl buttons are next to each other, so pressing those together with up and down to switch tabs isn t that horrible, but if I don t get used to it in another day or two I might do some remapping. The touchpad has en extra sensor-button on the top left corner that s used on Windows to temporarily disable the touchpad. I captured it s keyscan codes and it presses left control + keyscan code 93. The airplane mode, volume and brightness buttons work fine. I do miss the ThinkPad trackpoint. It s great especially in confined spaces, your hands don t have to move far from the keyboard for quick pointer operations and it s nice for doing something quick and accurate. I painted a bit in Krita last night, and agree with other reviewers that the touchpad could do with just a bit more resolution. I was initially disturbed when I noticed that my physical touchpad buttons were gone, but you get right-click by tapping with two fingers, and middle click with tapping 3 fingers. Not quite as efficient as having the real buttons, but it actually works ok. For the most part, this keyboard and touchpad is completely adequate. Only time will tell whether the keyboard still works fine in a few years from now, but I really have no serious complaints about it. Display The X250 had a brightness of 172 nits. That s not very bright, I think the X250 has about the dimmest display in the ThinkPad X200 range. This hasn t been a problem for me until recently, my eyes are very photo-sensitive so most of the time I use it at reduced brightness anyway, but since I ve been working from home a lot recently, it s nice to sometimes sit outside and work, especially now that it s spring time and we have some nice days. At full brightness, I can t see much on my X250 outside. The Wootbook is significantly brighter even (even at less than 50% brightness), although I couldn t find the exact specification for its brightness online. Ports The Wootbook has 3x USB type A ports and 1x USB type C port. That s already quite luxurious for a compact laptop. As I mentioned in the specs above, it also has a full-sized ethernet socket. On the new X13 (the new ThinkPad machine I was considering), you only get 2x USB type A ports and if you want ethernet, you have to buy an additional adapter that s quite expensive especially considering that it s just a cable adapter (I don t think it contains any electronics). It has one hdmi port. Initially I was a bit concerned at lack of displayport (which my X250 has), but with an adapter it s possible to convert the USB-C port to displayport and it seems like it s possible to connect up to 3 external displays without using something weird like display over usual USB3.

Overall remarks When maxing out the CPU, the fan is louder than on a ThinkPad, I definitely noticed it while compiling the zfs-dkms module. On the plus side, that happened incredibly fast. Comparing the Wootbook to my X250, the biggest downfall it has is really it s pointing device. It doesn t have a trackpad and the touchpad is ok and completely usable, but not great. I use my laptop on a desk most of the time so using an external mouse will mostly solve that. If money were no object, I would definitely choose a maxed out ThinkPad for its superior keyboard/mouse, but the X13 configured with 32GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD retails for just about double of what I paid for this machine. It doesn t seem like you can really buy the perfect laptop no matter how much money you want to spend, there s some compromise no matter what you end up choosing, but this machine packs quite a punch, especially for its price, and so far I m very happy with my purchase and the incredible performance it provides. I m also very glad that Wootware went with the gray/black colours, I prefer that by far to the white and silver variants. It s also the first laptop I ve had since 2006 that didn t come with Windows on it. The Wootbook is also comfortable/sturdy enough to carry with one hand while open. The ThinkPads are great like this and with many other brands this just feels unsafe. I don t feel as confident carrying it by it s display because it s very thin (I know, I shouldn t be doing that with the ThinkPads either, but I ve been doing that for years without a problem :) ). There s also a post on Reddit that tracks where you can buy these machines from various vendors all over the world.

7 September 2020

Arturo Borrero Gonz lez: Debconf 2020 online, summary

Debconf2020 logo Debconf2020 took place when I was on personal vacations time. But anyway I m lucky enough that my company, the Wikimedia Foundation, paid the conference registration fee for me and allowed me to take the time (after my vacations) to watch recordings from the conference. This is my first time attending (or watching) a full-online conference, and I was curious to see first hand how it would develop. I was greatly surprised to see it worked pretty nicely, so kudos to the organization, video team, volunteers, etc! What follows is my summary of the conference, from the different sessions and talks I watched (again, none of them live but recordings). The first thing I saw was the Welcome to Debconf 2020 opening session. It is obvious the video was made with lots of love, I found it entertaining and useful. I love it :-) Then I watched the BoF Can Free Software improve social equality. It was introduced and moderated by Hong Phuc Dang. Several participants, about 10 people, shared their visions on the interaction between open source projects and communities. I m pretty much aware of the interesting social advancement that FLOSS can enable in communities, but sometimes is not so easy, it may also present challenges and barriers. The BoF was joined by many people from the Asia Pacific region, and for me, it has been very interesting to take a step back from the usual western vision of this topic. Anyway, about the session itself, I have the feeling the participants may have spent too much time on presentations, sharing their local stories (which are interesting, don t get me wrong), perhaps leaving little room for actual proposal discussions or the like. Next I watched the Bits from the DPL talk. In the session, Jonathan Carter goes over several topics affecting the project, both internally and externally. It was interesting to know more about the status of the project from a high level perspective, as an organization, including subjects such as money, common project problems, future issues we are anticipating, the social aspect of the project, etc. The Lightning Talks session grabbed my attention. It is usually very funny to watch and not as dense as other talks. I m glad I watched this as it includes some interesting talks, ranging from HAM radios (I love them!), to personal projects to help in certain tasks, and even some general reflections about life. Just when I m writing this very sentence, the video for the Come and meet your Debian Publicity team! talk has been uploaded. This team does an incredible work in keeping project information flowing, and social networks up-to-date and alive. Mind that the work of this team is mostly non-engineering, but still, is a vital part of the project. The folks in session explain what the team does, and they also discuss how new people can contribute, the different challenges related to language barriers, etc. I have to admit I also started watching a couple other sessions that turned out to don t be interesting to me (and therefore I didn t finish the video). Also, I tried to watch a couple more sessions that didn t publish their video recording just yet, for example the When We Virtualize the Whole Internet talk by Sam Hartman. Will check again in a couple of days. It is a real pleasure the video recordings from the conference are made available online. One can join the conference anytime (like I m doing!) and watch the sessions at any pace at any time. The video archive is big, I won t be able to go over all of it. I won t lie, I still have some pending videos to watch from last year Debconf2019 :-)

6 September 2020

Jonathan Carter: DebConf 20 Online

This week, last week, Last month, I attended DebConf 20 Online. It was the first DebConf to be held entirely online, but it s the 7th DebConf I ve attended from home. My first one was DebConf7. Initially I mostly started watching the videos because I wanted to learn more about packaging. I had just figured out how to create binary packages by hand, and have read through the new maintainers guide, but a lot of it was still a mystery. By the end of DebConf7 my grasp of source packages was still a bit thin, but other than that, I ended up learning a lot more about Debian during DebConf7 than I had hoped for, and over the years, the quality of online participation for each DebConf has varied a lot. I think having a completely online DebConf, where everyone was remote, helped raise awareness about how important it is to make the remote experience work well, and I hope that it will make people who run sessions at physical events in the future consider those who are following remotely a bit more. During some BoF sessions, it was clear that some teams haven t talked to each other face to face in a while, and I heard at least 3 teams who said This was nice, we should do more regular video calls! . Our usual communication methods of e-mail lists and IRC serve us quite well, for the most part, but sometimes having an actual conversation with the whole team present at the same time can do wonders for dealing with many kind of issues that is just always hard to deal with in text based mediums. There were three main languages used in this DebConf. We ve had more than one language at a DebConf before, but as far as I know it s the first time that we had multiple talks over 3 languages (English, Malayalam and Spanish). It was also impressive how the DebConf team managed to send out DebConf t-shirts all around the world and in time before the conference! To my knowledge only 2 people didn t get theirs in time due to customs. I already posted about the new loop that we worked on for this DebConf. It was an unintended effect that we ended up having lots of shout-outs which ended up giving this online DebConf a much more warmer, personal feel to it than if we didn t have it. I m definitely planning to keep on improving on that for the future, for online and in-person events. There were also some other new stuff from the video team during this DebConf, we ll try to co-ordinate a blog post about that once the dust settled. Thanks to everyone for making this DebConf special, even though it was virtual!

31 August 2020

Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities for 2020-08

Debian packaging 2020-08-07: Sponsor package python-sabyenc (4.0.2-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-08-07: Sponsor package gpxpy (1.4.2-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-08-07: Sponsor package python-jellyfish (0.8.2-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-08-08: Sponsor package django-ipwire (3.0.0-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-08-08: Sponsor package python-mongoengine (0.20.0-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-08-08: Review package pdfminer (20191020+dfsg-3) (Needs some more work) (Python team request). 2020-08-08: Upload package bundlewrap (4.1.0-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-08-09: Sponsor package pdfminer (20200726-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-08-09: Sponsor package spyne (2.13.15-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-08-09: Review package mod-wsgi (4.6.8-2) (Needs some more work) (Python team request). 2020-08-10: Sponsor package nfoview (1.28-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-08-11: Sponsor package pymupdf (1.17.4+ds1-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-08-11: Upload package calamares (3.2.28-1) to Debian ubstable. 2020-08-11: Upload package xabacus (8.2.9-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-08-11: Upload package bashtop (0.9.25-1~bpo10+1) to Debian buster-backports. 2020-08-11: Upload package live-tasks (11.0.3) to Debian unstable (Closes: #942834, #965999, #956525, #961728). 2020-08-12: Upload package calamares-settings-debian (10.0.20-1+deb10u4) to Debian buster (Closes: #968267, #968296). 2020-08-13: Upload package btfs (2.22-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-08-14: Upload package calamares (3.2.28.2-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-08-14: Upload package bundlewrap (4.1.1-1) to Debian unstable. 2020-08-19: Upload package gnome-shell-extension-dash-to-panel (38-2) to Debian unstable) (Closes: #968613). 2020-08-19: Sponsor package mod-wsgi (4.7.1-1) for Debian unstable (Python team request). 2020-08-19: Review package tqdm (4.48.2-1) (Needs some more work) (Python team request). 2020-08-19: Sponsor package tqdm (4.48.2-1) to unstable (Python team request). 2020-08-19: Upload package calamares (3.2.28.3-2) to unstable (Python team request).

30 August 2020

Jonathan Carter: The metamorphosis of Loopy Loop

Dealing with the void during MiniDebConf Online #1 Between 28 and 31 May this year, we set out to create our first ever online MiniDebConf for Debian. Many people have been meaning to do something similar for a long time, but it just didn t work out yet. With many of us being in lock down due to COVID-19, and with the strong possibility looming that DebConf20 might have had to become an online event, we rushed towards organising the first ever Online MiniDebConf and put together some form of usable video stack for it. I could go into all kinds of details on the above, but this post is about a bug that lead to a pretty nifty feature for DebConf20. The tool that we use to capture Jitsi calls is called Jibri (Jitsi Broadcasting Infrustructure). It had a bug (well, bug for us, but it s an upstream feature) where Jibri would hang up after 30s of complete silence, because it would assume that the call has ended and that the worker can be freed up again. This would result in the stream being ended at the end of every talk, so before the next talk, someone would have to remember to press play again in their media player or on the video player on the stream page. Hrmph. Easy solution on the morning that the conference starts? I was testing a Debian Live image the night before in a KVM and thought that I might as well just start a Jitsi call from there and keep a steady stream of silence so that Jibri doesn t hang up. It worked! But the black screen and silence on stream was a bit eery. Because this event was so experimental in nature, and because we were on such an incredibly tight timeline, we opted not to seek sponsors for this event, so there was no sponsors loop that we d usually stream during a DebConf event. Then I thought Ah! I could just show the schedule! .

The stream looked bright and colourful (and was even useful!) and Jitsi/Jibri didn t die. I thought my work was done. As usual, little did I know how untrue that was. The silence was slightly disturbing after the talks, and people asked for some music. Playing music on my VM and capturing the desktop audio in to Jitsi was just a few pulseaudio settings away, so I spent two minutes finding some freely licensed tracks that sounded ok enough to just start playing on the stream. I came across mini-albums by Captive Portal and Cinema Noir, During the course of the MiniDebConf Online I even started enjoying those. Someone also pointed out that it would be really nice to have a UTC clock on the stream. I couldn t find a nice clock in a hurry so I just added a tmux clock in the meantime while we deal with the real-time torrent of issues that usually happens when organising events like this.
Speaking of issues, during our very first talk of the last day, our speaker had a power cut during the talk and abruptly dropped off. Oops! So, since I had a screenshare open from the VM to the stream, I thought I d just pop in a quick message in a text editor to let people know that we re aware of it and trying to figure out what s going on.
In the end, MiniDebConf Online worked out all right. Besides the power cut for our one speaker, and another who had a laptop that was way too under-powered to deal with video, everything worked out very well. Even the issues we had weren t show-stoppers and we managed to work around them.

DebConf20 Moves Online For DebConf, we usually show a sponsors loop in between sessions. It s great that we give our sponsors visibility here, but in reality people see the sponsors loop and think Talk over! and then they look away. It s also completely silent and doesn t provide any additional useful information. I was wondering how I could take our lessons from MDCO#1 and integrate our new tricks with the sponsors loop. That is, add the schedule, time, some space to type announcements on the screen and also add some loopable music to it. I used OBS before in making my videos, and like the flexibility it provides when working with scenes and sources. A scene is what you would think of as a screen or a document with its own collection of sources or elements. For example, a scene might contain sources such as a logo, clock, video, image, etc. A scene can also contain another scene. This is useful if you want to contain a banner or play some background music that is shared between scenes.

The above screenshots illustrate some basics of scenes and sources. First with just the DC20 banner, and then that used embedded in another scene. For MDCO#1, I copied and pasted the schedule into a LibreOffice Impress slide that was displayed on the stream. Having to do this for all 7 days of DebConf, plus dealing with scheduling changes would be daunting. So, I started to look in to generating some schedule slides programmatically. Stefano then pointed me to the Happening Now page on the DebConf website, where the current schedule block is displayed. So all I would need to do in OBS was to display a web page. Nice! Unfortunately the OBS in Debian doesn t have the ability to display web pages out of the box (we need to figure out CEF in Debian), but fortunately someone provides a pre-compiled version of the plugin called Linux Browser that works just fine. This allowed me to easily add the schedule page in its own scene. Being able to display a web page solved another problem. I wasn t fond of having to type / manage the announcements in OBS. It would either be a bit prone to user error, and if you want to edit the text while the loop is running, you d have to disrupt the loop, go to the foreground scene, and edit the text before resuming the loop. That s a bit icky. Then I thought that we could probably just get that from a web page instead. We could host some nice html snippet in a repository in salsa, and then anyone could easily commit an MR to update the announcement. But then I went a step further, use an etherpad! Then anyone in the orga team can quickly update the announcement and it would be instantly changed on the stream. Nice! So that small section of announcement text on the screen is actually a whole web browser with an added OBS filter to crop away all the pieces we don t want. Overkill? Sure, but it gave us a decent enough solution that worked in time for the start of DebConf. Also, being able to type directly on to the loop screen works out great especially in an emergency. Oh, and uhm the clock is also a website rendered in its own web browser :-P
So, I had the ability to make scenes, add elements and add all the minimal elements I wanted in there. Great! But now I had to figure out how to switch scenes automatically. It s probably worth mentioning that I only found some time to really dig into this right before DebConf started, so with all of this I was scrambling to find things that would work without too many bugs while also still being practical. Now I needed the ability to switch between the scenes automatically / programmatically. I had never done this in OBS before. I know it has some API because there are Android apps that you can use to control OBS with from your phone. I discovered that it had an automatic scene switcher, but it s very basic. It can only switch based on active window, which can be useful in some cases, but since we won t have any windows open other than OBS, this tool was basically pointless.
After some quick searches, I found a plugin called Advanced Scene Switcher. This plugin can do a lot more, but has some weird UI choices, and is really meant for gamers and other types of professional streamers to help them automate their work flow and doesn t seem at all meant to be used for a continuous loop, but, it worked, and I could make it do something that will work for us during the DebConf. I had a chicken and egg problem because I had to figure out a programming flow, but didn t really have any content to work with, or an idea of all the content that we would eventually have. I ve been toying with the idea in my mind and had some idea that we could add fun facts, postcards (an image with some text), time now in different timezones, Debian news (maybe procured by the press team), cards that contain the longer announcements that was sent to debconf-announce, perhaps a shout out or two and some photos from previous DebConfs like the group photos. I knew that I wouldn t be able to build anything substantial by the time DebConf starts, but adding content to OBS in between talks is relatively easy, so we could keep on building on it during DebConf. Nattie provided the first shout out, and I made 2 video loops with the DC18/19 pictures and also two Did you know cards. So the flow I ended up with was: Sponsors -> Happening Now -> Random video (which would be any of those clips) -> Back to sponsors. This ended up working pretty well for quite a while. With the first batch of videos the sponsor loop would come up on average about every 2 minutes, but as much shorter clips like shout outs started to come in faster and faster, it made sense to play a few 2-3 shout-outs before going back to sponsors. So here is a very brief guide on how I set up the sequencing in Advanced Scene Switcher.
If no condition was met, a video would play from the Random tab.
Then in the Random tab, I added the scenes that were part of the random mix. Annoyingly, you have to specify how long it should play for. If you don t, the no condition thingy is triggered and another video is selected. The time is also the length of the video minus one second, because
You can t just say that a random video should return back to a certain scene, you have to specify that in the sequence tab for each video. Why after 1 second? Because, at least in my early tests, and I didn t circle back to this, it seems like 0s can randomly either mean instantly, or never. Yes, this ended up being a bit confusing and tedious, and considering the late hours I worked on this, I m surprised that I didn t manage to screw it up completely at any point. I also suspected that threads would eventually happen. That is, when people create video replies to other videos. We had 3 threads in total. There was a backups thread, beverage thread and an impersonation thread. The arrow in the screenshot above points to the backups thread. I know it doesn t look that complicated, but it was initially somewhat confusing to set up and make sense out of it.
For the next event, the Advanced Scene Switcher might just get some more taming, or even be replaced entirely. There are ways to drive OBS by API, and even the Advanced Scene Switcher tool can be driven externally to some degree, but I think we definitely want to replace it by the next full DebConf. We had the problem that when a talk ended, we would return to the loop in the middle of a clip, which felt very unnatural and sometimes even confusing. So Stefano helped me with a helper script that could read the socket from Vocto, which I used to write either Loop or Standby to a file, and then the scene switcher would watch that file and keep the sponsors loop ready for start while the talks play. Why not just switch to sponsors when the talk ends? Well, the little bit of delay in switching would mean that you would see a tiny bit of loop every time before switching to sponsors. This is also why we didn t have any loop for the ad-hoc track (that would have probably needed another OBS instance, we ll look more into solutions for this for the future).
Then for all the clips. There were over 50 of them. All of them edited by hand in kdenlive. I removed any hard clicks, tried to improve audibility, remove some sections at the beginning and the end that seemed extra and added some music that would reduce in volume when someone speaks. In the beginning, I had lots of fun with choosing music for the clips. Towards the end, I had to rush them through and just chose the same tune whether it made sense or not. For comparison of what a difference the music can make, compare the original and adapted version for Valhalla s clip above, or this original and adapted video from urbec. This part was a lot more fun than dealing with the video sequencer, but I also want to automate it a bit. When I can fully drive OBS from Python I ll likely instead want to show those cards and control music volume from Python (what could possibly go wrong ). The loopy name happened when I requested an @debconf.org alias for this. I was initially just thinking about loop@debconf.org but since I wanted to make it clear that the purpose of this loop is also to have some fun, I opted for loopy instead:
I was really surprised by how people took to loopy. I hoped it would be good and that it would have somewhat positive feedback, but the positive feedback was just immense. The idea was that people typically saw it in between talks. But a few people told me they kept it playing after the last talk of the day to watch it in the background. Some asked for the music because they want to keep listening to it while working (and even for jogging!?). Some people also asked for recordings of the loop because they want to keep it for after DebConf. The shoutouts idea proved to be very popular. Overall, I m very glad that people enjoyed it and I think it s safe to say that loopy will be back for the next event.
Also throughout this experiment Loopy Loop turned into yet another DebConf mascot. We gain one about every DebConf, some by accident and some on purpose. This one was not quite on purpose. I meant to make an image for it for salsa, and started with an infinite loop symbol. That s a loop, but by just adding two more solid circles to it, it looks like googly eyes, now it s a proper loopy loop! I like the progress we ve made on this, but there s still a long way to go, and the ideas keep heaping up. The next event is quite soon (MDCO#2 at the end of November, and it seems that 3 other MiniDebConf events may also be planned), but over the next few events there will likely be significantly better graphics/artwork, better sequencing, better flow and more layout options. I hope to gain some additional members in the team to deal with incoming requests during DebConf. It was quite hectic this time! The new OBS also has a scripting host that supports Python, so I should be able to do some nice things even within OBS without having to drive it externally (like, display a clock without starting a web browser).

The Loopy Loop Music The two mini albums that mostly played during the first few days were just a copy and paste from the MDCO#1 music, which was:

For shoutout tracks, that were later used in the loop too (because it became a bit monotonous), most of the tracks came from freepd.com: I have much more things to say about DebConf20, but I ll keep that for another post, and hopefully we can get all the other video stuff in a post from the video team, because I think there s been some real good work done for this DebConf. Also thanks to Infomaniak who was not only a platinum sponsor for this DebConf, but they also provided us with plenty of computing power to run all the video stuff on. Thanks again!

24 August 2020

Jonathan Carter: DebConf 20 Sessions

DebConf20 is happening from 23 August to 29 August. The full is schedule available on the DebConf20 website. I m preparing (or helping to prepare) 3 sessions for this DebConf. I wish I had the time for more, but with my current time constraints, even preparing for these sessions took some careful planning!

Bits from the DPL Time: Aug 24 (Mon): 16:00 UTC. The traditional DebConf talk from the DPL, where we take a look at the state of the Debian project and where we re heading. This talk is pre-recorded, but there will be a few minutes after the talk for questions. https://debconf20.debconf.org/talks/9-bits-from-the-dpl/

Leadership in Debian BOF/Panel Time: Aug 27 (Thu): 18:00 UTC. In this session, we will host a panel of people who hold (or who have held) leadership positions within Debian. We ll go through a few questions for the panel and then continue with open questions and discussion. https://debconf20.debconf.org/talks/46-leadership-in-debian-bofpanel/

Local Teams Time: Aug 29 (Sat): 19:00 UTC. We already have a number of large and very successful Debian Local Groups (Debian France, Debian Brazil and Debian Taiwan, just to name a few), but what can we do to help support upcoming local groups or help spark interest in more parts of the world? In this BoF, we ll discuss the possibility of setting up a local group support team or a new delegation that will keep track of local teams, manage budgets and get new local teams bootstrapped. https://debconf20.debconf.org/talks/50-local-teams/

14 August 2020

Jonathan Carter: bashtop, now in buster-backports

Recently, I discovered bashtop, yet another fancy top-like utility that s mostly written in bash (it uses some python3-psutil and shells out to other common system utilities). I like its use of high-colour graphics and despite being written in bash, it s not as resource heavy as I would have expected and also quite snappy (even on a raspberry pi). While writing this post, I also discovered that the author of bashtop ported it to Python and that the python version is called bpytop (hmm, doesn t quite have the same ring to it), which is even faster and less resource intensive than the bash version (although I haven t tried that yet, I guess I will soon ). I set out to package it, but someone beat me to it, but since I m also on the backports team these days, I went ahead and backported it for buster. So if you have backports enabled, you can now install it using apt install bashtop -t buster-backports . Dylan A ssi, who packaged bashtop in Debian, has already filed an ITP for bpytop, so we ll soon have yet another top-like tool in our collection :-)

11 August 2020

Jonathan Carter: GameMode in Debian

What is GameMode, what does it do? About two years ago, I ran into some bugs running a game on Debian, so installed Windows 10 on a spare computer and ran it on there. I learned that when you launch a game in Windows 10, it automatically disables notifications, screensaver, reduces power saving measures and gives the game maximum priority. I thought Oh, that s actually quite nice, but we probably won t see that kind of integration on Linux any time soon . The very next week, I read the initial announcement of GameMode, a tool from Feral Interactive that does a bunch of tricks to maximise performance for games running on Linux. When GameMode is invoked it:

How GameMode is invoked Some newer games (proprietary games like Rise of the Tomb Raider , Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia , Total War: WARHAMMER II , DiRT 4 and Total War: Three Kingdoms ) will automatically invoke GameMode if it s installed. For games that don t, you can manually evoke it using the gamemoderun command. Lutris is a tool that makes it easy to install and run games on Linux, and it also integrates with GameMode. (Lutris is currently being packaged for Debian, hopefully it will make it in on time for Bullseye).

Screenshot of Lutris, a tool that makes it easy to install your non-Linux games, which also integrates with GameMode.

GameMode in Debian The latest GameMode is packaged in Debian (Stephan Lachnit and I maintain it in the Debian Games Team) and it s also available for Debian 10 (Buster) via buster-backports. All you need to do to get up and running with GameMode is to install the gamemode package. GameMode in Debian supports 64 bit and 32 bit mode, so running it with older games (and many proprietary games) still work. Some distributions (like Arch Linux), have dropped 32 bit support, so 32 bit games on such systems lose any kind of integration with GameMode even if you can get those games running via other wrappers on such systems. We also include a binary called gamemode-simulate-game (installed under /usr/games/). This is a minimalistic program that will invoke gamemode automatically for 10 seconds and then exit without an error if it was successful. Its source code might be useful if you d like to add GameMode support to your game, or patch a game in Debian to automatically invoke it. In Debian we install Gamemode s example config file to /etc/gamemode.ini where a user can customise their system-wide preferences, or alternatively they can place a copy of that in ~/.gamemode.ini with their personal preferences. In this config file, you can also choose to explicitly allow or deny games. GameMode might also be useful for many pieces of software that aren t games. I haven t done any benchmarks on such software yet, but it might be great for users who use CAD programs or use a combination of their CPU/GPU to crunch a large amount of data. I ve also packaged an extension for GNOME called gamemode-extension. The Debian package is called gnome-shell-extension-gamemode . You ll need to enable it using gnome-tweaks after installation, it will then display a green controller in your notification area whenever GameMode is active. It s only in testing/bullseye since it relies on a newer gnome-shell than what s available in buster.

Running gamemode-simulate-game, with the shell extension showing that it s activated in the top left corner.

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