Week 12: Happy birthday debian!

From time to time I am asked why I do such a boring thing as working on a many years old application, dealing with code and bugs from the last decade, an even more boring commandline only application and finally why all this for free and for this crazy “linux” thing which isn’t even called Ubuntu…

It’s sometimes hard to answer this in a good way as you need to educate the questioner all the way through GNU, free beer vs free software, linux, debian, package management to APT. In two minutes and most of them get distracted by “free beer”… and there are many of them. So many that you could sometimes come to the (false) conclusion that you are the only one. Okay, in debian that is unrealistic with > 900 DDs, many DMs and a few more contributors without an official status, but the tendency to feel a bit “alone” is still everytime you look around in a class and see everywhere non-debian and mostly even non-linux operation systems running. And even if you made it so far to find an debian-related user you still have the way down to APT… its not completely uncommon to hear: “Oh yeah, fine, but pretty oldschool isn’t? Good that someone developed a replacement for it. Its called $graphical-apt-frontend!” And you know that you talk with an expert if he says “I use aptitude exclusively. I have even purged apt with it…”

So everything you expect in the morning opening your emails is maybe a bunch of bugreports – but not today, today a lot of messages started with “thanks”! Nice difference and a very cool idea! So a big thanks for this thank-project. I hope this project helps a bit in motivating contributors to continue their work and might even motivate more people to start contributing 🙂

Contribution is the perfect keyword for the real content of the post: A few upgrade-related bugs needed to be debugged like #591882 there we are still in the process to understand all failed package upgrades – beside that a few small fixes like a corrected LongDesc handling and improving my testframework.

The upgrade “fix” we call “FixByInstall” is btw a quite interesting thing as it looks like an error to commit it. Very few lines of code, but they introduce an autoinstall enabled MarkInstall call in the resolver which is a premiere… and dangerous but it fixes a problem and maybe all the thinking about ways it could possibly break which can’t be produced in testcases by now is not needed… We will see.

The rest of the week was spent with writing in nearly endless amount of emails to bugreports, discussions and even to APT2 annoucements, threads and ITPs. So much, that i don’t want to comment that further expect that you can find most of it in my crosspost to merge the independent threads: http://lists.debian.org/deity/2010/08/msg00107.html

I recommend to try running the posted APT3 brainfuck code btw, just save the code as apt3 and run it with beef (apt-get install beef before of course if needed).

For my own reference, the APT3 brainfuck code is:
++++++++++
[>+>+++>++++++>++++++++>++++++++++>+++++++++++<<<<<<-]
>>>+++++.>.++++.<<++.>>>++.>+.+++.<-.>++++.<.>----.<<<<+.<.

And no, APT3 was not a direct reaction to APT2 – it was an initial a bad joke I told a few people before and on the UDS in Dallas 2009 referring to cupt written in perl… And because people tend to misunderstand me then I say such stuff: I have nothing against cupt nor APT2 (expect name) and I even like them for giving interesting ideas what to do next… and next is currently to finalize APT in the hope that it will migrate to unstable and testing some time in the future. Also, GSoC starts to come to an end… and this week report has also reached his end. See next week for more…

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About DonKult

computer science student at the technical university of Darmstadt (Hesse, Germany, Europe, Earth) living in Erbach (Rheingau).
This entry was posted in Debian GSoC 2009. Bookmark the permalink.

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