Michal Čihař - Blog Archives for Debian

PPA for Debian

There seem to be lot of momentum in discussions about making Debian testing more attractive to users on debian-devel mailing list (see Lucas's summary for summary of the lengthy discussion).

One of the raised points there is that Debian misses equivalent of Ubuntu's PPA or openSUSE build service. As Debian is usually about do-ocracy, it will be there once it will be implemented, but I still don't think it is always useful to have such thing.

The problem with both (but this is especially the case for openSUSE build service) is that you need to add dozens of home: projects with questionable quality of the software. This usually leads to horrible mess, especially in case of incompatible libraries with different build options (anybody using wxWidgets?).

It can definitely lower barrier for people to create packages for the distro, but is it really good to lower barrier that much? I'd really prefer new things to be uploaded to Debian itself without need to use any external repositories, it would ensure at least some level of quality and compatibility with other packages.

Bloating dependencies

It looks like many peoples decided it is right time to bloat my system with stuff I don't use.

The first think I did not like when squeeze went out was libpcsclite1 pulling pcsd and hal into my system. This is being solved on two fronts - porting pcsd to udev (in #612971) and disabling libpcslite1 support in wpasupplicant. Both of them being good ideas.

What actually drove me to writing this post is today's update, where aptitude suddenly wanted to install whole latex and thus using about 760MiB of extra disk space. I know disk space is supposed to be cheap these days, but it's not that cheap with SSD in notebook. The culprit turned out to be doxygen, which up to now happily lived without single bit of latex, but now needs it (though temporarily according to changelog).

I know it is tempting to enable every possible feature in your package, but in same cases it is really not something what most of people would appreciate.

German-Czech dictionary for Debian

Okay, I finally decided it's about time to make Debian package out of German-Czech dictionary for which I'm providing builds for StarDict.

Daily snapshots are (as usual) available in my Debian repository and the monthly builds will be uploaded to Debian (once it passes NEW queue).

The dictionary currently lists only few words, but I hope it will improve in near future.

Debian packages for sale

I've decided to try to get rid of some more Debian packages. The main reason being that I don't use MPD anymore so following packages are for sale:

I will continue to upload new versions (should there be any) until somebody steps up, but that's pretty much all I can do.

PS: And there is still gpointing-device-settings for sale as well.

Upgrading to Squeeze

Squeeze was released this weekend and it's time to slowly migrate servers to it. The first to upgrade came the ones backing up phpMyAdmin demo server. Reason for trying them first is they have mostly same setup as other, while definitely not being critical to run all the time. For simple reasons that users break them time to time as well :-).

Everything went surprisingly smoothly, the only problematic thing being no availability of MariaDB packages for Squeeze right now. But it does not matter that much, as Lenny packages still work fine.

There should be no visible changes on the servers, but in case there is something broken, please let me know.

While having experience with upgrading database servers, I went to production database server and it is now running Squeeze as well. What still remains is the server doing virtualization, but I prefer to do this in time when I can quickly get to the housing, in case something goes wrong with the reboot.

Going to FOSDEM 2011

It looks like I will make it again to visit FOSDEM this year. This time it won't be meeting of whole phpMyAdmin team, but just few members but I hope to meet other people in person as well.

If you have something you would like to discuss with me in person there, it's best time to let me know so that we can schedule it.

I'm going to FOSDEM, the Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting

PS: It looks like it might be good timing for Debian release party as well :-).

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.