Michal Čihař - Blog Archives for Debian

Useful parameters for Lintian

Every time I review some package for sponsoring, I usually end up suggesting to fix some of more picky things which lintian finds. It looks like everybody is using default set of checks and does not look at others. Indeed the defaults tell about things which are really errors or need override, but --pedantic and --display-info show also useful hints. However you need to take them more as a suggestions than as a errors.

What I usually find interesting is --pedantic, because it tells about several things, which might be good idea to have in your package. Missing Homepage in debian/control is one of them and I believe this should exist for every package which has a homepage.

The --display-info (or just -I) is also useful, for example it does spell checking of texts in binaries and man pages. Registration into doc-base is also useful integration into the system and you should definitely do it if the package provides documentation in HTML.

To run these checks every time, you can create alias in your ~/.bashrc:

alias lintian='lintian -I --pedantic'

Sonata and others in Debian

There seems to be a little bit of confusion caused by my new year blog post, so it's probably best to clarify that right now.

I'm not going to give up maintenance of mpd related packages right now.. I've even not yet asked for adopting and I clearly have no plans on orphaning the package completely if nobody will step up.

Anyway if somebody is interested help is always welcome (though most of time you will spent on these packages is forwarding bugs upstream) and I can of course still do package uploads when he is not a Debian developer. All sources are stored in public VCS, so ready for cooperation.

New year

It's new year (for almost 18 hours here) and it's time to balance a bit what has happened in year 2010.

I'm not going to expose details from my personal life and anything related to work, so all what remains are open source projects where I am active.

For phpMyAdmin it was year of quite big changes, most of them beeing agreed on Fosdem 2010. We have migrated to git from svn, what was great step forward and I really like the change. It was also decided to use gettext (or rather php-gettext) for translations in upcoming release. I can see this move (together with online translation service) has definitely attracted more contributors (hey, but there are still many languages not translated, you're welcome!). Also we've participated in Google Summer of Code 2010, what lead to several big projects being merged into our code base (see my summary for more details). All in all, we're heading to 3.4 release in first months of 2011, which will be quite major step and hopefully heading in right direction.

In Gammu and Wammu, there were lot of code improvements, most of them probably going into Gammu SMS Daemon (the latest one being unified SQL backend removing lot of code duplication). Another major improvement is The Gammu Manual covering everything from Gammu command line, through SMSD up to python and C API. On the other side I've bought me a Symbian based phone, which does not work with Gammu and I use Series60-Remote for that, so my interest in Gammu has declined a bit.

Even though I've started adopting some packages in Debian, so it looked like I will end up with much more than last year, but at the end I've decided I'm too overloaded with some of them (and don't use them anymore), so I've given some for adoption and got rid of nanoblogger (and nanoblogger-extra) and looking for somebody to pick up gpointing-device-settings. Maybe all mpd related packages will follow soon, because I currently do not use mpd, so it limits quite a bit my ability to test them.

And of course: Happy New Year 2011!

CTest not submitting to IPv6 dashboard

For some time, I observed that Gammu test dashboard does not get updates from my Debian box. Looking the CTest logs, the problem was in using IPv6 even when the box does not have it enabled:

Failed to connect to 2001:1528:136:dead:beef::1003: Network is unreachable

Due to lack of time I ignored it, but it looks all what was needed is to update curl. The bug was caused by using c-ares resolver, which for some reason favors AAAA records even when the system has no IPv6.

Cleanup of personal Debian repository

When I accidentally looked at my personal Debian repository, I realized that it is time to remove obsolete things from it.

There were packages for polld, for which which I don't see need anymore (it is now properly handled by kernel), hacked acpid packages, which were doing special things for Toshiba M30 notebook (which I don't use with Linux anymore and nobody else probably knew about these packages) or wmmp, a Window Maker applet for MPD, which I haven't used for quite a long time. All those are gone now and I don't think anybody will miss them (if you do, please tell me).

What stayed there are daily snapshots of dictionaries for StarDict and gnaughty package, which was rejected as possibly causing troubles.

Czech foreign words dictionary in Debian

Yesterday, stardict-czech got accepted to Debian. So there is yet another useful dictionary for Czech users available in Debian without need to use my repository (however daily builds are still available there).

The dictionary is built from ABZ.cz: slovník cizích slov using my set of scripts, which are also capable of converting other dictionaries.

Thanks to FTP masters team for accepting new package even in freeze, when they are busy with other things. Great work guys.

What things to flattr?

With increasing popularity of Flattr (114,057 € has gone through the Flattr system in two months), several people start to recommend what things to flattr. I'm not going into this business, however they seem so find interesting things for me so you might like it as well.

The Flattr Free and Open Source Software by Raphaël Hertzog is actually thing which has attracted me to the Flattr. It collects recommendations how to tag your free software on Flattr and each month it publishes five recommendations which projects to flattr.

The other thing I've noticed is list made each month by Evgeni Golov, which I've mostly noticed because increasing popularity of phpMyAdmin on Flattr, because he was really fast in advertising it :-).

New PGP key

More than year ago, I've generated mysel new PGP key (4096 bit RSA), with intention to migrate to it sooner or later. Being little pushed by Bits from keyring-maint, I've decided the right time is about now.

As I was giving the key for signing in past more than year, it already has quite a lot of signatures (actually more than the old key). You might notice that the old key has signed far more keys. This is mostly caused by simple fact that I did use both keys for signing, while only giving new one to be signed.

So if you're among these people who signed the old one (0x36E75604), please check the transition document and consider signing my new key (0x42B7511D).

GPointingDeviceSettings for sale

Today I decided to ask for adopter of GPointingDeviceSettings. The single reason is that I no longer have hardware (touchpad) needed to diagnose most of bugs which appear within it.

So if you want to get a(nother) Debian package to maintain, go ahead for it.

The sources are in collab-maint svn and currently use svn-buildpackage:


Should the new maintainer need package sponsoring, I'm definitely available.

Configuring system for SSD

I decided to upgrade my notebook to SSD disk. The disk replacement went easy, installed fresh Debian on it and now comes the tricky part how to properly tune system to use as much as SSD can provide.

The first obvious thing for me is changing IO scheduler. But which one to choose? Most of howtos seem to suggest noop or deadline, without stating benefits of each. For now I've chosen deadline, without string coninfidence, that I'm doing the right thing.

The next major part of tips includes removing filesystem journalling. Well I think journalling exists for good reason and disabling it won't help me much (no, I really don't want to wait for fsck after each crash).

The last tweak seems to be using tmpfs for any temporary data (/tmp) or even for logs. For /tmp it might make sense, on cost of loosing available memory (or swapping it out, what really does not help the SSD anyway). However I definitely don't want to loose my logs on every reboot.

Maybe I'm missing some bit, but the only important thing seems to be the IO scheduler.