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Wed, 23 Dec 2009

Merry Season Greetings

This poem is only in German language, but I hope you can forgive me to run it in my English language feed nevertheless. I send you the best season greetings, have a nice time, use it well, relax and think about it. :)

Weihnachtsgedicht 2009

Vor ungefähr zweitausend Jahren
glaubt man, wurde ein Mann geboren
glaubt man, dass es Gottes Sohn gewesen ist
glaubt man, der uns alle erlösen sollte

Irgendwann später
dachte man, das wäre ein Grund, daran zu denken
dachte man, es wäre ein Grund, in sich zu kehren
dachte man, es wäre eine besinnliche Zeit

Heute jedoch
stresst man, um nur ja Geschenke für alle zu finden
stresst man, weil jeder überall mit einem feiern will
stresst man, um sich besonders gütig zu zeigen

Ich wünsche mir, dass
wir helfen, uns zurück zu erinnern
wir helfen, uns zurück zu besinnen
wir helfen, wieder ruhiger zu werden

Ich wünsche euch ein erlöstes, besinnliches,
gütiges und ruhiges Weihnachtsfest!

/haiku | permanent link | Comments: 0

Sun, 22 Nov 2009

stable RC Bug Squashing

Others are doing it, so I thought I'd join in, too. Though, from a different perspective. Often enough people claim that package maintainers don't seem to care about their packages anymore once they did hit stable because they say it isn't as easy to update packages in stable. While this is partly true it still doesn't send a too good impression to have a high and increasing release-critical bug count for stable.

UDD makes it easy. It has a field affects_stable in its bugs table, and the view bugs_rt_affects_stable is even yet better. I fiddled together two short statements that help me to find release-critical bugs for stable:

SELECT b.id FROM bugs_rt_affects_stable bas
   LEFT JOIN bugs b ON bas.id=b.id
   WHERE b.severity IN ('serious', 'critical', 'grave')
   AND b.id NOT IN (select bau.id from bugs_rt_affects_unstable bau)
   ORDER BY b.id;

The second statement is without the AND clause to see all open release-critical bugs. Going through this list isn't too complicated, and I already found a good rush of bugs to mark as not affecting stable because the reason for the bug only appeared after the lenny release. I could list their bugnumbers, but it's currently up to 39 such bugs since yesterday and I don't want to bore you with it, actually it didn't involve any touching of the package—but it will definitely make it easier to find the real release-critical bugs that do affect stable and should get addressed in an update to it.

Still lots to do, 39 bugs down isn't the world when the barrier is set to about 1500. Though, it's still more than 2% and this is something that makes me a bit happy.

/debian | permanent link | Comments: 0

Tue, 10 Nov 2009

Things that make me happy

  • when people upload to Debian with an @ubuntu.com email address
  • even better, if they do that when they are DDs (so with a @debian.org address)

Yeah! Actually, doing so shows several things: That the collaboration between Debian and Ubuntu actually works out. That people that feel more attached to Ubuntu also do care for Debian. And that those people started to realize that contributing things back to Debian actually does reduce their own workload with respect to not having to maintain seperate patches, with the benefit of all involved parties.

So big kudos to you people being able to look over the corner of your little universe and see the bigger picture for the benefit of all!

/debian | permanent link | Comments: 0

Fri, 16 Oct 2009

Signing Jokes in Contracts

It is great to see that the collaboration between Debian and Ubuntu is improving; and I don't say that just because it probably can't be much better within the Debian/Ubuntu Games Team, we have people from both distributions working inside the team and most of the packages don't carry Ubuntu specific patches (anymore) because of that.

Actually, seeing that things do go pretty well in that area made me consider signing up to become a MOTU. To do that one has to sign the Ubuntu Code of Conduct (CoC) which is a fairly good document, actually. I wish there would be something similar within Debian that is considered binding, it would be able to reduce quite some tough and rough times, actually. It is about and explains to be considerate, be respectful, be collaborative, what to do when you disagree, when you are unsure and wants you to step down considerately. If these principles would be carried out amongst all the free software communities (and I really mean carried out and not just be there and grow old) I expect it would be much more welcoming for new people. And it's not too hard to do your part for it (... says the person who just recently had to excuse for her behavior).

Anyway, there is this one part with the CoC that itches me. It's not that one has to sign it with their GnuPG key, but related to it. Making it a requirement to sign it gives the document a much more official character, actually gives it the feeling and impression of a contract and I expect it is meant to carry that feeling. Though, there is this one part in it that I consider off for such a document:

Nobody knows everything, and nobody is expected to be perfect in the Ubuntu community (except of course the SABDFL).

Given that the acronym SABDFL refers to Mark Shuttleworth it means that one has to expect him to be impeccable—which I am sorry but cannot sign. I don't expect that from anyone else but myself, even Mark is only human and can make mistakes. Even though it's obvious that this is a tongue-in-cheek kind of joke which might be meant to make it clear that the Ubuntu community isn't just sterile having this in a document that is expected to get signed by contributors is just an extremely bad idea.

Sorry, Ubuntu, as long as this joke is part of the CoC I can't sign it with clean conscience, no matter how much I would sign the rest of it a thousands' time. It really makes me wonder how many others actually did read the "contract" carefully that they are signing but on the other hand simply didn't care. There is too many site signup stuff out there that noone reads neither.

/debian | permanent link | Comments: 0

Tue, 06 Oct 2009

Perception of Image-Hack

In my last blog entry I used the term "image-hack". It seems like it has been considered to have a negative feeling attached to it. Even though I consider this very amusing in a community that likes to pride itself with the term "hackers" I guess I can understand why people consider it a negative term. Even though technically a mockup of a website in image form actually feels just a crude hack it wasn't meant to belittle what pixelgirl has produced. Her image-hack looks extremely well.

Unfortunately no further contact after the debconf was established and personally I'm not convinced how the tiny image would work for other pages besides the start page—and removing the DSAs and News from the start page is a no-go, we actually do receive positive feedback for that. So it is what it is, an image-hack. An extremely well done one, but still just that.

/debian | permanent link | Comments: 0

New Face, Part 2

Like written in a former blog entry I am working on preparing for getting Kalle's Debian Redesign tested and installed. Even though some unfortunate events happened which made me reconsider my efforts and a lot of things changed for me I am still up with the effort. Mostly because I didn't became part of the webmasters just to chicken away in the face of obstacles, and also not just because yet another image-hack did pop up that neither showed anything usable or overall-thoughts or actual code/concepts or even tried to get in contact with the webteam.

I only remember to have received positive feedback in which I also include minor change suggestions like that the exact hits and other hits sections in the packages site aren't as clearly distinguishable as before. I have of course forwarded these to Kalle and we are looking for a solution that would go with the style. Speaking of the packages site I finally managed to get the packages from the main pool displayed too so it shouldn't behave differently to the old one anymore in that respect (see e.g. wesnoth for some more distributed package).

The next step I finished these last days was setting up a testsite for www as you can find it on www.deb.at. Please notice that you might want to surf that site in English (either change your Accept-Language settings or click on the English links at the bottom of the pages) because some of the changes are only recognizable there; like, the main page in other languages look immensely different.

Where to go from here? Kalle also has proposal for the BugTracking System and the Planet so that targets are the obvious next steps. I can't tell yet when they will be done, depends on how complicated it is to set up an environment for it, but I will keep you updated.

/debian | permanent link | Comments: 0

Thu, 01 Oct 2009

Times Are Changing

Since I returned from this year's debconf quite a lot things have changed in my life. One thing I knew way before debconf already, I switched jobs. I was working for a pretty long time (and also through great times) for Silver Server, for well over 6 years. Let's see what I can do in and for my new job. I'm still only pretty short there yet and I being to understand what's going on (and what could need improvements in some workflows) but it's too early to see that more precisely.

On a small side-note, the job change also required me to switch my mobile phone number because the old one was a company's number. I now have a private one that I don't fear of losing anymore. If you subtract the number 3933309527644 from my old one you have my new one. On the other hand you can always ask me for it in case you had my old one and wonder. ;)

Besides my mobile phone number other smaller things have changed over time too. Most of you noticed that I'm neither using my @ist.org nor my @debian.org address anymore because they did carry the wrong nick. And given that everyone was switching their gnupg keys I did so too. Like before I again created separate keys for private usage and for Debian usage. I'm not really following the procedure of sending out signing requests to people who have signed my old key(s), personally I don't follow them myself so I don't expect others to do. They are though cross-signed with the old ones just to be on the save side to keep the WoT not losing connections.

Also I finally got around to set up my own ejabberd server and did create my a new jabber ID that I also plan to keep. It is the same as my private mailaddress as you can see linked above in the key for private usage. ;) One of the reasons for the server is by the way also a testbed for the packaging of ejabberd which will get moved into team maintenance with the next upload which will be the next upstream version, 2.1.

But the biggest and most important change in my life is that I will have to rethink my spare time spending quite a lot because there will be something demanding a lot of time starting in about march next year. An extremely fortunate change and almost as happy one even though it means that I won't be able to attend next year's debconf in NY, but I hope the people whom I told that I will be there aren't too disappointed by this announcement. Sorry! :)

/debian | permanent link | Comments: 0

Wed, 29 Jul 2009

New Face, imploding

I'm extremely uneasy. Not because of some release team announcement that if one would have tried to think along after the interview with Mark Shuttleworth got around was already clear back then. It was talking about that the Debian release will propalby get adjusted to match Ubuntu's LTS releases. It isn't a big secret that the next Ubuntu LTS release will be 10.04. And counting backward from that the freeze in december is just the obvious consequence.

What I actually am uneasy about is Agnieszka's Redesign talk. Just to make things clear I want to congratulate her on what she produced. It definitely looks nice and the reactions during the talk were quite clear on that.

But, there are several issues surrounding this that makes me actually thinking about resigning from the webteam as a whole and reduce my precious time that I invest into Debian. The reason might not be as obvious, but it contains some interesting corner data:

  • Agnieszka did thank Sledge for his good help. So at least part of the DPL team was aware of it. Some weeks ago Luk, the other part of the DPL team, contacted me and said that he is acting with his DPL team hat on and that there were mails coming in to them about how to create some progress for the website. I told Luk that I am already working on getting Kalle's proposal integrated. It was cool to him and he thanked me and wished me well with the progress, but neither he nor Sledge did tell me anything about Agnieszka's work.
  • Agnieszka also did thank stockholm about his help. stockholm is part of the "marketing" team (yeah, there was one appointed two years ago; didn't you notice all their great work by now??). Anyway, eventually stockholm have heard about me efforts and did stumble by in #debian-www on IRC. He asked about the new design and who's working on it, I showed him what was there at that time already and all he said was "Cool". Again no mentioning of Agnieszka's work neither.
  • Like I wrote yesterday almost all of the mockups sent in contained only of images (if there even were multiple) which are hard to really decide upon—especially when they are as tiny and not clearly visible like in this presentation. Questions that were raised in the direction of wether this would actually work out were muted with the magic CSS waving; unfortunately CSS can't do magic. And with the images it's hard to decide wether it actually would work for accessibility reasons and the other things I already mentioned yesterday.
  • We try very carefully to not have duplication of work in the area of packaging through the terms of ITPs. Great! We try to avoid some few hours invested in an area where we have very well over thousands of contributors. But it seems to be proper to just through away days, weeks, months of invested time, effort and energy in an area that we seriously lack contributors.

Way to go, Debian. Seriously disappointed, seriously annoyed, seriously demotivated.

/debian | permanent link | Comments: 0

Tue, 28 Jul 2009

New Face for the Website

Not sure if you do follow the debian-www mailinglist, but from time to time there are people mailing about that they would like to give our website a new face. Most of the time people just do some mockup in some painting tool without realizing that there is a lot more behind it, with respect to translation and sublayers and accessibility requirements. After mentioning these kind of things, most people go away.

Then there was Kalle Söderman. He took a deeper look behind it, started working for himself in 2007, did notice that there is not only www.d.o but also packages.d.o (or rather wesnoth as example), wiki.d.o, planet.d.o, bugs.d.o and others too. So he started to think about something that might work cross-service, and actually did work with the code and not a painting tool. And even though he didn't hear much from people when he presented it first he kept thinking about it.

This did manage to catch my interest and I started to think about how to move forward from here. I started to contact him and started to mail back and forth about his proposal, started to set up some small testing sites (again: testing sites. They aren't meant to be finished, likewise the proposal from Kalle isn't finished yet), and this is where we are currently: On packages.deb.at/wesnoth you can see a clone of our pkg.d.o that uses his template, feel free to exchange wesnoth with your favourite package—even though be notified that it doesn't get its data regularly updated, I don't want people to use it instead of the main site and that it somehow currently doesn't show packages from the main archive but only the external sources that are used. It's just there to get you the idea.

And we also have a working testing theme for the wiki which works directly in there (thanks to Paul Wise for installing the part that needs to sit on the server side): Follow the instructions on Kalle's page about the wiki if you like to have it enabled.

I am currently trying to get something for testing set up for bugs.d.o and www.d.o; for the later I have to send kudos to Martin Zobel-Helas for giving me a prod and a system to do it on (even though he didn't originally knew that I would want to abuse it for the theme testing ;)). For the time being you can find some more of Kalle's thoughts on his Site about his proposals together with some few pages as examples, but I will keep you lot updated about major progress on this in here.

The work that I invest here is mostly about finding out how much work it actually would be to get things changed, and also because I like what Kalle did. He invested a lot of time and I guess the outcome deserves to have some further exposure. Unlike than in other areas things aren't carved in stone yet, which even Kalle is full aware of, but things have to get started somewhere. Enjoy, send (constructive) feedback (like The distinction on the new pkg.d.o proposal between Exact hits and Other hits isn't clear enough!) and acknowledge that others are doing stuff that many people in the last years did chicken out from.

/debian | permanent link | Comments: 0

Wed, 08 Jul 2009

Full Moon

On monday there were extremely heavy rainfall. This made it even more surprising that I was able to see the moon so clear and beautiful while driving home by night. It did motivate me to write the following Haikus which I want to share with you:

full moon shining down
it is calming and peaceful
even when cloudy

in all its silence
not much that matters and counts
giving you comfort

just watch its bright light
it does not care for others
think about yourself

/haiku | permanent link | Comments: 0

Fri, 19 Jun 2009

Strangest problem, ever

I think I can consider this issue the strangest problem that I ever had encountered. I am unable to enter @ or € (or any key that requires the alt-gr switch on German keyboard) in iceweasel, evolution, pidgin, gucharmap but am having no troubles in all other applications I tried (kword, OpenOffice.org, abiword, gvim, urxvt) in an current squeeze system.

If anyone has any idea or hint what might be the cause of this I would be more than grateful!

/debian | permanent link | Comments: 0

Wed, 01 Apr 2009

Twitter: "technically wrong"

It's quite interesting. Twitter has this snippet in its registration page: By clicking on 'Create my account' above, you confirm that you are over 13 years of age and accept the Terms of Service. At least currently when you click it leads you to a page that says: Something is technically wrong. I'm very happy to accept that, but I have this strange feeling that it's not what they intended to have there...

/misc | permanent link | Comments: 0

Wed, 07 Jan 2009

Understanding Debian

It's always enlightning how some people see how Debian works. Or not. It seems to get more and more common that instead of filing a bugreport people seem to consider it appropriate to rather rant in their blogs about it. That will definitely get things fixed and done and motivates everyone involved to work on the issues that they get notified about only through third-party. And of course it's absolutely alright to change an application directly, not use dpkg-divert or similar, and then complain wildly about how unfair an upgrade of the package replaced that file.

And, Andrew, there wasn't a DSA about CVE-2008-2236 because it was considered a too minor issue for that. Thanks for the fish. Did you btw. try the version from the upcoming lenny release? It's not like it's not directly installable in etch because of dependencies...

Only once I would hope that people that are that deeply involved in Debian (like, being Debian Developers or long-time contributors) would do things like random users do: File the things they are annoyed with, even if they are as minor and awkward as some of the bugreports I receive for wesnoth.

/debian | permanent link | Comments: 0

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