Search Results: "Luca Filipozzi"

25 July 2017

Gunnar Wolf: Getting ready for DebConf17 in Montreal!

(image shamelessly copied from Noodles' Emptiness) This year I will only make it to DebConf, not to DebCamp. But, still, I am very very happy and excited as the travel date looms nearer! I have ordered some of the delicacies for the Cheese and Wine party, signed up for the public bicycle system of Montreal, and done a fair share of work with the Content Team; finally today we sent out the announcement for the schedule of talks. Of course, there are several issues yet to fix, and a lot of things to do before traveling... But, no doubt about this: It will be an intense week! Oh, one more thing while we are at it: The schedule as it was published today does not really look like we have organized stuff into tracks But we have! This will be soon fixed, adding some color-coding to make tracks clearer on the schedule. This year, I pushed for the Content Team to recover the notion of tracks as an organizative measure, and as something that delivers value to DebConf as a whole. Several months ago, I created a Wiki page for the DebConf tracks, asking interested people to sign up for them. We currently have the following tracks registered:
Andreas Tille
Debian Science
Michael Banck
Cloud and containers
Luca Filipozzi
Systems administration, automation and orchestation
Gunnar Wolf
We have two tracks still needing a track coordinator. Do note that most of the tasks mentioned by the Wiki have already been carried out; what a track coordinator will now do is to serve as some sort of moderator, maybe a recurring talkmeister, ensuring continuity and probably providing for some commentary, giving some unity to its sessions. So, the responsibilities for a track coordinator right now are quite similar to what is expected for video team volunteers but to a set of contiguous sessions. If you are interested in being the track coordinator/moderator for Embedded or for Systems administration, automation and orchestation or even to share the job with any of the other, registered, coordinators, please speak up! Mail and update the table in the Wiki page. See you very soon in Montreal!

9 November 2015

Daniel Pocock: RTC: announcing XMPP, SIP presence and more

Announced 7 November 2015 on the debian-devel-announce mailing list. The Debian Project now has an XMPP service available to all Debian Developers. Your email identity can be used as your XMPP address. The SIP service has also been upgraded and now supports presence. SIP and XMPP presence, rosters and messaging are not currently integrated. The Lumicall app has been improved to enable rapid setup for SIP users. This announcement concludes the maintenance window on the RTC services. All services are now running on jessie (using packages from jessie-backports). XMPP and SIP enable a whole new world of real-time multimedia communications possibilities: video/webcam, VoIP, chat messaging, desktop sharing and distributed, federated communication are the most common use cases. Details about how to get started and get support are explained in the User Guide in the Debian wiki. As it is a wiki, you are completely welcome to help it evolve. Several of the people involved in the RTC team were also at the Cambridge mini-DebConf (7-8 November). The password for all these real time communication services can be set via the LDAP control panel. Please note that this password needs to be different to any of your other existing passwords. Please use a strong password and please keep it secure. Some of the infrastructure, like the TURN server, is shared by clients of both SIP and XMPP. Please configure your XMPP and SIP clients to use the TURN server for audio or video streaming to work most reliably through NAT. A key feature of both our XMPP and SIP services is that they support federated inter-connectivity with other domains. Please try it. The FedRTC service for Fedora developers is one example of another SIP service that supports federation. For details of how it works and how we establish trust between domains, please see the RTC Quick Start Guide. Please reach out to other communities you are involved with and help them consider enabling SIP and XMPP federation of their own communities/domains: as Metcalfe's law suggests, each extra person or community who embraces open standards like SIP and XMPP has far more than just an incremental impact on the value of these standards and makes them more pervasive. If you are keen to support and collaborate on the wider use of Free RTC technology, please consider joining the Free RTC mailing list sponsored by FSF Europe. There will also be a dedicated debian-rtc list for discussion of these technologies within Debian and derivatives. This service has been made possible by the efforts of the DSA team in the original SIP+WebRTC project and the more recent jessie upgrades and XMPP project. Real-time communications systems have specific expectations for network latency, connectivity, authentication schemes and various other things. Therefore, it is a great endorsement of the caliber of the team and the quality of the systems they have in place that they have been able to host this largely within their existing framework for Debian services. Feedback from the DSA team has also been helpful in improving the upstream software and packaging to make them convenient for system administrators everywhere. Special thanks to Peter Palfrader and Luca Filipozzi from the DSA team, Matthew Wild from the Prosody XMPP server project, Scott Godin from the reSIProcate project, Juliana Louback for her contributions to JSCommunicator during GSoC 2014, Iain Learmonth for helping get the RTC team up and running, Enrico Tassi, Sergei Golovan and Victor Seva for the Prosody and prosody-modules packaging and also the Debian backports team, especially Alexander Wirt, helping us ensure that rapidly evolving packages like those used in RTC are available on a stable Debian system.

1 September 2015

Raphaël Hertzog: My Free Software Activities in August 2015

My monthly report covers a large part of what I have been doing in the free software world. I write it for my donators (thanks to them!) but also for the wider Debian community because it can give ideas to newcomers and it s one of the best ways to find volunteers to work with me on projects that matter to me. Debian LTS This month I have been paid to work 6.5 hours on Debian LTS. In that time I did the following: Apart from that, I also gave a talk about Debian LTS at DebConf 15 in Heidelberg and also coordinated a work session to discuss our plans for Wheezy. Have a look at the video recordings: DebConf 15 I attended DebConf 15 with great pleasure after having missed DebConf 14 last year. While I did not do lots of work there, I participated in many discussions and I certainly came back with a renewed motivation to work on Debian. That s always good. :-) For the concrete work I did during DebConf, I can only claim two schroot uploads to fix the lack of support of the new overlay filesystem that replaces aufs in the official Debian kernel, and some Distro Tracker work (fixing an issue that some people had when they were logged in via Debian s SSO). While the numerous discussions I had during DebConf can t be qualified as work , they certainly contribute to build up work plans for the future: As a Kali developer, I attended multiple sessions related to derivatives (notably the Debian Derivatives Panel). I was also interested by the Debian in the corporate IT BoF led by Michael Meskes (Credativ s CEO). He pointed out a number of problems that corporate users might have when they first consider using Debian and we will try to do something about this. Expect further news and discussions on the topic. Martin Kraff, Luca Filipozzi, and me had a discussion with the Debian Project Leader (Neil) about how to revive/transform the Debian s Partner program. Nothing is fleshed out yet, but at least the process initiated by the former DPL (Lucas) is again moving forward. Other Debian work Sponsorship. I sponsored an NMU of pep8 by Daniel Stender as it was a requirement for prospector which I also sponsored since all the required dependencies are now available in Debian. \o/ Packaging. I NMUed libxml2 2.9.2+really2.9.1+dfsg1-0.1 fixing 3 security issues and a RC bug that was breaking publican. Since there s no upstream fix for more than 8 months, I went back to the former version 2.9.1. It s in line with the new requirement of release managers a package in unstable should migrate to testing reasonably quickly, it s not acceptable to keep it unfixed for months. With this annoying bug fixed, I could again upload a new upstream release of publican so I prepared and uploaded 4.3.2-1. It was my first source only upload. This release was more work than I expected and I filed no less than 3 bug to upstream (new bash-completion install path, request to provide sources of a minified javascript file, drop a .po file for an invalid language code). GPG issues with smartcard. Back from DebConf, when I wanted to sign some key, I stumbled again upon the problem which makes it impossible for me to use my two smartcards one after the other without first deleting the stubs for the private key. It s not a new issue but I decided that it was time to report it upstream, so I did it: #2079 on Some research helped me to find a way to work-around the problem. Later in the month, after a dist-upgrade and a reboot, I was no longer able to use my smartcard as a SSH authentication key again it was already reported but there was no clear analysis, so I tried to do my own one and added the results of my investigation in #795368. It looks like the culprit is pinentry-gnome3 not working when started by the gpg-agent which is started before the DBUS session. Simple fix is to restart the gpg-agent in the session but I have no idea yet of what the proper fix should be (letting systemd manage the graphical user session and start gpg-agent would be my first answer, but that doesn t solve the issue for users of other init systems so it s not satisfying). Distro Tracker. I merged two patches from Orestis Ioannou fixing some bugs tagged newcomer. There are more such bugs (I even filed two: #797096 and #797223), go grab them and do a first contribution to Distro Tracker like Orestis just did! I also merged a change from Christophe Siraut who presented Distro Tracker at DebConf. I implemented in Distro Tracker the new authentication based on SSL client certificates that was recently announced by Enrico Zini. It s working nice, and this authentication scheme is far easier to support. Good job, Enrico! broke during DebConf, it stopped being updated with new data. I tracked this down to a problem in the archive (see #796892). Apparently Ansgar Burchardt changed the set of compression tools used on some jessie repositorie, replacing bz2 by xz. He dropped the old Packages.bz2 but missed some Sources.bz2 which were thus stale and APT reported Hashsum mismatch on the uncompressed content. Misc. I pushed some small improvement to my Salt formulas: schroot-formula and sbuild-formula. They will now auto-detect which overlay filesystem is available with the current kernel (previously aufs was hardcoded). Thanks See you next month for a new summary of my activities.

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27 March 2014

Gunnar Wolf: Getting rid of rodents

So a good friend of mine talked about something in the debian-private mailing list. And we should not disclose that something outside such a sensible space without his approval. But Jakub is right. Once the discussion goes over to only messages talking about non-private stuff, the discussion should be moved to a non-private area. After all, we will not hide problems yada yada, right? So, not knowing where in the Debian lists this should go to, it will land on my blog, reformatting mail to make sense in this media:
Luca Filipozzi dijo [Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 03:36:49PM +0000]:
Or don't use a mouse. When I started getting shoulder strain from using a mouse too much, I switched to an Adesso touchpad keyboard and was very happy with the positive outcome. I'm a touch (that's punny) less efficient with the touchpad compared to a mouse, but the lack of permanent injury and ongoing pain is worth it.
Right. I also have this keyboard (same brand even, different model). The keyboard is not that good (keys are not as smooth as in my previous, stock-Dell keyboard), but not having to move my right hand just to feed the rodent has made my back way way happier. I even feel better using a trackpad than a mouse (mabye because I use too much my netbook?). Luca, just out of curiosity: Did you ever manage to recognize the keyboard under the Synaptics driver, or to get it running under ChordMiddle or Emulate3Buttons? I had to fall to a ugly hack, mapping the "XF86Search" key to the middle button by telling my window manager (i3) to "bindsym X86Search exec xdotool click 2".
[ this can be declassified at any time ]
my contributions to this thread too...
my contribution unclassified, also
My classifications remain contributed. Do as you will with my bits of this message.

6 November 2013

Olivier Berger: Generating WebID profiles for Debian project members

I ve been investigating the generation of WebID profiles for Debian project members for some time. After earlier experiments on, in a static and very hackish manner, I ve investigated the use of Django. Django is no random choice, as it is being used in several ongoing efforts to rewrite some Debian Web services. Among these is a new LDAP UserDir, which could replace the current version which runs, started by Luca Filipozzi and Martin Zobel-Helas. I ve worked on integrating some of the LDAP querying code written by Luca together with the Django WebID provider app written by Ben Nomadic (both modified by me), and the result is a bit hackish for the moment. It s very early, but allows the generation of WebID profiles for Debian project members, using data queried in Debian s LDAP directory, and adding TLS certs to the profiles. The TLS certs could in principle be used later as a WebID + TLS authentication mechanism. There s plenty of work ahead, and this may never be deployed, but as an example see the kind of way such WebID profile documents may look (in Turtle format) :
@prefix cert: <> .
@prefix foaf: <> .
@prefix rdf: <> .
@prefix rdfs: <> .
@prefix wot: <> .
@prefix xml: <> .
@prefix xsd: <> .
<> a foaf:PersonalProfileDocument ;
    foaf:primaryTopic <> .
<#gpgkey> a wot:Pubkey ;
    wot:fingerprint "ACE46EBD89F6656D6642660BE941DEDA7C5BB6A5" ;
    wot:pubkeyAddress <ttps://> .
<> a foaf:Person ;
    cert:key [ a cert:RSAPublicKey ;
            rdfs:label "key made on [...] on my laptop" ;
            cert:exponent 65537 ;
            cert:modulus "bb7d5735181c7687a09abf3c88a064513badfe351f14fc2d738978a7f573d12eb831140a7a02c579f31f4617c14145493aeff4009832ba7fd1c579d6da92f68cd4437072266b000451d6eb45c03cd00b20e1f2230d83bdc3caeebb317e6618dd38a3f53abbbb2b6495a893495d3df685a2f0f599be8a74ef88841ce283dd8f65"^^xsd:hexBinary ],
        [ a cert:RSAPublicKey ;
            rdfs:label "key made on [...] on my laptop" ;
            cert:exponent 65537 ;
            cert:modulus "b078dedb61d215348adaa3315f478eca803513a8750753255f50fd335e3b6afdafd385afb62878edc412bbbc0c125d1805abef2920cb3dccb94d818b4973435f4f312ddfad960db7b7ec4522036e5c1fb1e5d7154756a97e924075b301cdf95e97e3bb665a97cdf0187c2aa229939962b0e9975dfb97c71ea60384af465aa40726fe8a2a1dd504da6a168e7f80fc37a1363d5f583a1a8d4f8253af0e7e5c0f3d2fabb61dd9cde17aba328022fd4be4e0214f407d83a95ec06b2d70c61835bb78ba3b46e8b82be3a4d6d53d88a94123144ef9b7a7c97e9396767505f34995488c62bcd697180f92244c82147a71a5b86a25f2c8ddf0ea965fc8ced8d6b84cff97"^^xsd:hexBinary ] ;
    foaf:homepage <> ;
    foaf:mbox "" ;
    foaf:name "Olivier Berger" ;
    foaf:nick "obergix" ;
    wot:hasKey <#gpgkey> .
If you re interested in WebID in the frame of Debian project services, see the discussion list.

4 January 2013

Stefano Zacchiroli: bits from the DPL for December 2012

Happy new year, Debian! To celebrate, here are some freshly posted, bits from the DPL for December 2012.
Dear Project Members, happy new year! Here goes another report of DPL activities, this time for December 2012. This issue of the DPL-monthly is skinnier than usual: during the past month I've been struck by the catastrophe also known as "family holiday season", enjoying a solid 10 day break from computer-related activities. Talks Assets DPL helpers Collaboration with the outer world That's all for last year, enjoy the new one, which will soon see a new Debian release out of the door. And to make it happen sooner, let's go back fix RC bugs! Cheers.
PS the day-to-day activity log for December 2012 is available at the usual place master:/srv/leader/news/bits-from-the-DPL.txt.201212

6 November 2012

Stefano Zacchiroli: bits from the DPL for October 2012

Freshly baked, bits from the DPL for October 2012.
Dear Project Members,
another month, another periodic report of DPL-ish activities, this time for October 2012. Highlights Debian on public clouds I've spent quite some time to improve Debian presence on the so called "public clouds". Following up to an inquiry of a fellow developer, I've reached out to Microsoft to investigate the possibility of having Debian as an option on Windows Azure. Around the same time, I've been approached by Amazon to have Debian as an option on the AWS marketplace. In both cases, we will need to overcome challenges of various kinds, at the technical (e.g. image preparation), bureaucratic (e.g. terms of the agreements we'll need to accept to be present), and political (e.g. chain of trust, platform freedom) levels. Up to now, discussions have been going on mostly in private, simply because they started as 1-to-1 inquiries and continued from there, but there is no good reason they should remain so. Hence, thanks to the listmasters and in particular Alexander Wirt, we have setup the new debian-cloud mailing list. If you are interested in these topics please join the list. For both Azure and AWS there is good progress on the technical part already; summaries will soon be posted on the list so that we are all on the same page. Similarly, I'll post there status reports about the bureaucratic requirements. And of course there is no reason to focus on specific clouds, if you'd like to support others and are willing to put some work to that end, please join the list and let us know. DPL helpers meeting I've already bothered you at least in my last platform and DebConf13 talk with observations about how non-scalable the DPL job is. After having collected applications of DPL helpers for a while, I've finally sat down and tried to put those applications into good use. The idea is simple: to the extend of possible, we should shift from a one-man-band job to a more "board-like" job, with people sharing an agenda, a list of outstanding tasks, and public communication. We have started slowly, setting up the #debian-dpl IRC channel and running periodic bi-weekly meetings there. You can find the meeting minutes and full logs at the usual place. We are still ramping up, so we don't have yet "fancy" stuff like a mailing list or an issue tracker entry, but they're in the working. Some of the outcome are starting to show, too (e.g. as part of recent discussions on 3rd party orphaning, or on our inbound trademark policy, or even in the forthcoming DMCA policy to make mentors.d.n an official project service). It's an experiment and a big challenge. I'm, for one thing, not yet convinced there are enough people interested in sharing the load of DPL duties (that look boring, for many tech geeks) in the long run. But I'm also convinced that the sustainability of the Debian organization model depends on this, so it's worth trying. If you're interested in the challenge and willing to volunteer some of your time, please join us on #debian-dpl . I'll take care of keeping the project informed of further evolution, in particular about the communication channels we will pick for day to day activities and accountability. Events / public communication I've spent most of my remaining Debian time in October attending events on behalf of the Project, in particular: On the topic of public communication, I've also coordinated with the press team an answer to a press inquiry about Secure Boot (which has become part of this article), and happily vouched for the Ubuntu charity marathon, adding some Debian challenges to it. Delegations As largely overdue matters, I've finalized the delegations mentioned last month, namely: FTP masters, New Members Front Desk, and Policy editors. Assets and legal stuff Miscellanea Now let's all go back to RC Bug squashing to make Wheezy a reality. SPAM-my link of the month is and its various "views" at the bottom of the page. Cheers.
PS the day-to-day activity log for October 2012 is available at the usual place master:/srv/leader/news/bits-from-the-DPL.txt.201210

18 August 2011

Rapha&#235;l Hertzog: People behind Debian: Peter Palfrader, Debian System Administrator

You might not know who Peter is because he s not very visible on Debian mailing lists. He s very active however and in particular on IRC. He was an admin of the OFTC IRC network at the time Debian switched from Freenode to OFTC. Nowadays he s a member of the Debian System Administration team who runs all the servers. If you went to a Debconf you probably met him since he s always looking for new signatures of his GPG key. He owns the best connected key in the PGP web of trust. He also wrote caff a popular GPG key signing tool. Raphael: Who are you? Peter: I m Peter Palfrader, also known as weasel. I m in my early 30s, born and raised in Innsbruck, Austria and am now living and working in Salzburg, Austria. In my copious free time, other than help running Debian s servers I also help maintaining the Tor project s infrastructure. Away from the computer I enjoy reading fiction (mostly English language Science Fiction and Fantasy), playing board games and going to the movies. Weather permitting, I also occasionally do some cycling. Raphael: How did you start contributing to Debian? Peter: I installed my first Debian the week slink came out. That was Debian 2.1 for the youngsters, in early 1999. The one thing I immediately liked about slink was that Debian s pppd supported RAS authentication which my university s dial-up system required. No way I d go back to SuSE 5.3 when I had working Internet with my Debian box. :) During that year I started getting involved in the German language Debian channel on IRCnet which got me in contact with some DDs. Christian Kurz (<shorty>) was working on Debian QA at the time and he asked my help in writing a couple of scripts. Some of that work, debcheck, still produces parts of the qa.d.o website, tho the relevance of that nowadays is probably negligible. While trying to learn more Perl earlier, I had written a program to produce syntax highlighted HTML for code snippets in various languages. I didn t really know what I was doing but it kinda worked, and probably still does since I still get mail from users every now and then. I figured that it would be really nice if people could just get my software together with Debian. According to code2html s Debian changelog the initial release of the package was done on a weekday at 2:30 in the morning early in 2000, and if my memory serves me correctly, shorty uploaded it shortly afterwards. I started packaging a couple of other piece of software and in the same year I sent my mail to the debian account managers to register my intent to become a DD. No new developers where being accepted at that time since the DAMs wanted to overhaul the entire process so I wasn t surprised to not get any immediate reply. Of course what the silence also meant was that the mail had been lost, but I only learned of that later when I took all my courage to ask DAM about the status of application a couple months later. Once that was sorted out I was assigned an AM, did the usual dance, and got my account late in November 2000. Raphael: Four years ago, the Debian System Administration team was a real bottleneck for the project and personal conflicts made it almost impossible to find solutions. You were eager to help and at some point you got dropped as a new member in that team. Can you share your story and how you managed the transition in the difficult climate at that time? Peter: Ah, that was quite the surprise for an awful lot of people, me included. Branden Robinson, who was our DPL for the 2005-2006 term, tried to get some new blood added to DSA who were at the time quite divided. He briefly talked to me on IRC some time in summer 2005, telling me I had come recommended for a role on the sysadmin team . In the course of these 15 minutes he outlined some of the issues he thought a new member of DSA would face and asked me if I thought I could help. My reply was cautiously positive, saying that I didn t want to step on anybody s toes but maybe I could be of some assistance. And that was the first and last of it, until some fine November day two years later I got an email from Phil Hands saying I ve just added you to the adm group, and added you to the debian-admin@d.o alias. and welcome on board . *blink* What!? My teammates at the time were James Troup (elmo), Phil Hands (fil), Martin Joey Schulze and Ryan Murray (neuro). The old team, while apparently not on good terms with one another, was however still around to do heavy lifting when required. I still remember when on my first or second day on the team two disks failed in the raid5 of aka ries. Neuro did the reinstall once new disks had arrived at Brown University. I m sure I d have been way out of my league had this job fallen to me. Fortunately my teammates were all willing and able to help me find whatever pieces of information existed that might help me learn how does its stuff. Unfortunately a lot of it only existed in various heads, or when lucky, in one of the huge mbox archives of the debian-admin alias or list. Anyway, soon I was able to get my hands dirty with upgrading from sarge to etch, which had been released about half a year earlier. Raphael: I know the DSA team has accomplished a lot over the last few years. Can you share some interesting figures? Peter: Indeed we have accomplished a lot. In my opinion the most important of these accomplishment is that we re actually once again a team nowadays. A team where people talk to one another and where nobody should be a SPoF. Since this year s debconf we are six people in the admin team: Tollef Fog Heen (Mithrandir) and Faidon Liambotis (paravoid) joined the existing members: Luca Filipozzi, Stephen Gran, Martin Zobel-Helas, and myself. Growing a core team, especially one where membership comes with uid0 on all machines, is not easy and that s why I m very glad we managed to actually do this step. I also think the infrastructure and our workflows have matured well over the last four years. We now have essential monitoring as a matter of course: Nagios not only checks whether all daemons that should be running are in fact running, but it also monitors hardware health of disks, fans, etc. where possible. We are alerted of outstanding security updates that need to be installed and of changes made to our systems that weren t then explicitly acked by one of us. We have set up a centralized configuration system, puppet, for some of our configuration that is the same, or at least similar, on all our machines. Most, if not all, pieces of software, scripts and helpers that we use on infrastructure is in publicly accessible git repositories. We have good communication with other teams in Debian that need our support, like the ftp folks or the buildd people. As for figures, I don t think there s anything spectacular. As of the time of our BoF at this year s DebConf, we take care of approximately 135 systems, about 100 of them being real iron, the other virtual machines (KVM). They are hosted at over 30 different locations, tho we are trying to cut down on that number, but that s a long and difficult process. We don t really collect a lot of other figures like web hits on or downloads from the ftp archive. The web team might do the former and the latter is pretty much impossible due to the distributed nature of our mirrors, as you well know. Raphael: The DSA team has a policy of eating its own dog food, i.e. you re trying to rely only on what s available in Debian. How does that work out and what are the remaining gaps? Peter: Mostly Debian, the OS, just meets our needs. Sure, the update frequency is a bit high, we probably wouldn t mind a longer release cycle. But on the other hand most software is recent enough. And when it s not, that s easy to fix with backports. If they aren t on already, we ll just put them there (or ask somebody else to prepare a backport for us) and so everybody else benefits from that work too. Some things we need just don t, and probably won t, exist in Debian. These are mainly proprietary hardware health checks like HP s tools for their servers, or various vendors programs to query their raid controller. HP actually makes packages for their stuff which is very nice, but other things we just put into /usr/local, or if we really need it on a number of machines, package ourselves. The push to cripple our installers and kernels by removing firmware was quite annoying, since it made installing from the official media next to impossible in some cases. Support for working around these limitations has improved with squeeze so that s probably ok now. One of the other problems is that especially on embedded platforms most of the buildd work happens on some variation of development boards, usually due to increased memory and hard disk requirements than the intended market audience. This often implies that the kernel shipped with Debian won t be usable on our own machines. This makes keeping up with security and other kernel fixes way more error prone and time intensive. We keep annoying the right people in Debian to add kernel flavors that actually boot on our machines, and things are getting better, so maybe in the future this will no longer be a problem. Raphael: If you could spend all your time on Debian, what would you work on? Peter: One of the things that I think is a bit annoying for admins that maintain machines all over the globe is mirror selection. I shouldn t have to care where my packages come from, apt-get should just fetch them from a mirror, any mirror, that is close by, fast and recent. I don t need to know which one it was. We have deployed geodns for a while ago, and it seems to work quite well for the coarse granularity we desired for that setup, but geodns is an ugly hack (I think it is a layer violation), it might not scale to hundreds or thousands of mirrors, and it doesn t play well with DNSSEC. What I d really like to see is Debian support apt s mirror method that I think (and I apologize if I m wronging somebody) Michael Vogt implemented recently. The basic idea is that you simply add deb mirror:// or something like that to your sources.list, and apt goes and asks that server for a list of mirrors it should use right now. The client code exists, but I don t know how well tested it is. What is missing is the server part. One that gives clients a mirror, or list of mirrors, that are close to them, current, and carry their architecture. It s probably not a huge amount of work, but at the same time it s also not entirely trivial. If I had more time on my hands this is something that I d try to do. Hopefully somebody will pick it up. Raphael: What motivates you to continue to contribute year after year? Peter: It s fun, mostly. Sure, there are things that need to be done regularly that are boring or become so after a while, but as a sysadmin you tend to do things once or twice and then seek to automate it. DSA s users, i.e. DDs, constantly want to play with new services or approaches to make Debian better and often they need our support or help in their endeavors. So that s a constant flow of interesting challenges. Another reason is that Debian is simply where some of my friends are. Working on Debian with them is interacting with friends. I not only use Debian at I use it at work, I use it on my own machines, on the servers of the Tor project. When I was with OFTC Debian is what we put on our machines. Being a part of Debian is one way to ensure what Debian releases is actually usable to me, professionally and with other projects. Raphael: Is there someone in Debian that you admire for their contributions? Peter: That s a hard one. There are certainly people who I respect greatly for their technical or other contributions to Debian, but I don t want to single anybody out in particular. I think we all, everyone who ever contributed to Debian with code, support or a bug report, can be very proud of what we are producing one of the best operating systems out there.
Thank you to Peter for the time spent answering my questions. I hope you enjoyed reading his answers as I did. Subscribe to my newsletter to get my monthly summary of the Debian/Ubuntu news and to not miss further interviews. You can also follow along on, Twitter and Facebook.

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