Welcome back for the last part of the reviews. You may want to look at the previous parts : part 1
and part 2
Debian CDs and DVDs take up a huge mount of space on download servers. Using jigdo
to download those images can significantly reduce the amount of bandwidth and space needed on the central servers. Unfortunately, jigdo currently needs special client software to be downloaded/installed first. Adding support directly into a browser-based application could
potentially make a very big difference for first-time users here.
Jigdo was created in 2001. It allowed to create ISOs from .debs grabbed from regular mirrors. It eliminated the need to duplicate the entire contents of the package repository into ISO files for each release, or even more importantly, for weekly snapshots of testing/unstable/whatever.
You may find the complete proposal from the student here
. The original idea originated from the Debian-CD people, who wanted to explore ideas about creating a light web client. The project was mentored by Steve McIntyre, who developed a new version of the Jigdo tools, jigit
, which is much more efficient.
Dustin Rayner was a 5th year senior undergraduate student at the Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I studied Computer Engineering for 3 years as a Computer Engineering student before deciding to pursue a Mathematics and Computer Science degree.
If the proposal is tried again, the student would be requested to have much more experience with Java (and possibly ActiveX). Those would be much more efficient for the task, as they are the most used technologies among on-line anti-virus scanners, which have a workload somewhat similar to Jigdo.
I could not find further public involvement of Dustin Rayner within Debian.
Aptitude-gtk, usability and GTK+ GUI for the Aptitude package manager
A GTK+ GUI for Aptitude that will work alongside improved current ncurses and command-line interfaces. This will offer an alternative to Synaptic with an interface design geared toward usability and advanced functionality.
Debian currently supports multiple non-command-line package managers, the most used being Synaptic and Aptitude. Synaptic uses a GTK+ interface but offers no command-line mode. Aptitude offers a command-line mode but no X interface, although it offers a ncurses interface.
Comparing the interfaces of Synaptic and Aptitude reveal many design differences. Although Synaptic may be more accessible to beginners, Aptitude offers many interface behaviors and functions that are useful to the regular to advanced users : fully hyperlinked tabbed navigation between packages and versions of packages, mostly modeless interface, interactive dependency conflict resolver
was introduced by the student in coordination with Daniel Burrows, the mentor and developer of Aptitude.
Obey Arthur Liu was a 22 year old french student of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Grenoble Institute of Technology - ENSIMAG, in France. Did I mention that he s also yours truly ? If you want to know more, you might be interested in my previous post
This project was successful. The interface was mostly done and functional by the end of the summer. Daniel merged the code into the main post-lenny branch. Development is still ongoing and packages
are released into Experimental. For further information, just read the rest of my blog.
I could find some further public involvements of Obey Arthur Liu within Debian. Doh!
Lintian for fuller automated setups
lintian, the Debian package checker, at the moment presents possible problems in three categories: errors, warnings and informational messages. This leads to several problems, most importantly that the severity and certainty of a check can t be expressed separately. In the course of this project, the student should design and implement in lintian an improvement of the current situation, for example by using a two-letter code (one for certainty, one for severity).
This project would make lintian errors much more fine-grained and help in maintaining pertinent quantitative analysis of package quality.
The project was mentored by Marc Brockschmidt. The project proposal
was commonly introduced by the Lintian team
: Jord Polo Bard s has done a lot of work with translation in Catalan, his native tongue. He can usually be found on #debian-catalan. He also maintains a few packages as a DM.
This project was successful. The classification was entirely done. Jord also helped with the new lintian.debian.org
website. The Lintian team was very satisfied with the revamped errors list and new website. They have an immediate impact on packages quality reporting.
Jord is still active within Debian, helping package a few games.
Debexpo, a generic web-based package repository
is currently a very specialized web-based repository that allows everybody to contribute software packages to Debian without the need to be a Debian Developer
(or Debian Maintainer
). It has successfully helped simplifying the sponsoring process in the last years. However it needs to be refactored and in the process should be turned into a generic piece of software that can be used for other Debian source/binary package repositories, too.
Mentors is a very good initiative to recruit new packages maintainers (and needs your help!) and the software underlying it could be reused for many different purposes (think PPA).
The project was mentored by Christoph Haas. The project proposal
was commonly introduced by the mentors team.
Jonny Lamb was a Computer Science student in the United Kingdom. He was already quite involved within Debian, maintaining a lot of significant packages.
This project was successful. The whole proposal was perfectly executed. Jonny now continues to develop debexpo, with the mailing-lists and commit logs showing interesting activity. Of course, help for debexpo is appreciated to get it into full shape.
Jonny has since become a Debian Developer (here is his AM report
). Congratulations to him.
It s nice to end on a nice note isn t it ? Now that we re done with the individual reports, I m going to write down my recommendations report. Hopefully it will help with next year s Summer of Code.