Merry package management days!

There are times that everyone seems to be interested in package management and usually we call this time “Christmas”. A single person gets the job of sending every child in the world more or less at the same time one or more presents – that sounds completely impossible. You know, there are even pseudo scientific studies that Chris Kringle would melt instantly in the try to travel fast enough… Yet alone, the production of all these presents at a single place hidden from the rest of the world. But is it really unrealistic? Linux has a marketshare under 1% and is therefore perfectly hidden for the majority of people. Debian provides more than 30.000 packages – more than any single person will ever need and such a number is by far not easy.
Many people are working on this, still, there is a single team responsible for the final shipment: The release team, unbelievable that this works out… the release team has only a single advantage: Debian has no predefined release day – debian releases then ready. 🙂

Anyway i am losing track, i want to say something completely different: I am personally not a big fan of this kind of “package management”. I mean, why do we need special days to exchange gifts? Don’t get me wrong, i love these days with the family and friends, but i am very happy that my family erased this strange requirement to get something for everyone as this generates only stress and even a whole new market-segment after Christmas which is happily served by eBay and co… (given that they even show ads regarding this each year after Christmas).

So, in conclusion, have fun with your family!
(And be sure to trust your package management, you know that there is only one ;))

P.S.: These days are the cause for my inactivity in any serious APT business but i will (hopefully) be back 2011, just in case you wonder…

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Hello world!

The Internet is strange.
It is full of websites and some even include lists.
Lists full of questions for example like this one:
A small symbol picture teasing an interview with me

Don’t worry, this post is really a Déjà-vu. My (now well known) stranger from across the street was interviewed by Raphaël Hertzog and reacted in a for him very typical fashion:

Would you accept to be interviewed?

My very first reaction was: Are you sure you wrote to the right person?
Obviously, its unlikely that you mean somebody else with that name…
But still: Interviewing me?

This internet thingy is really strange. Good that i am away now for the weekend with “my” kids (without internet of course), so i can relax a bit and be shocked again next week… “great” (at the time you read this, the interview or both, i am already away, so i can’t link to it now, will include a link later)

But let me answer the question you very likely have on your lips: No, i am not sunburnt. The picture shows me in Italy (you might remember: ROMA 2010) so it could be cause of exposure to sun, but in reality the picture is very blue-tinted because of a bus-window between me and the camera (You don’t trust me?), so this complexion is gimp’ed. As you can see, i am not a pro… but the other picture options would be even worse.

Its interesting, i was told already months ago that it was hard to find in the massive ROMA collection a picture depicting me. That caused a serious headache for my fellows trying to create a presentation with entertaining pictures to show at a revival without showing someone too often — or too few in my case. I laughed after i was told it was so hard. You know, this horrible evil laugh nobody wants to listen to…
And now i was hit by the very same problem… self-owned.

i am sleeping in a train The only other option (expect of groupphotos maybe) can be seen on the left. If we would ask my kids, they would say that this pictures shows all i did on the seventeen hours travel – and thats properly the truth. 🙂 Still, not very useful from an interview point of view.

So on the weekend now one of my goals will be to get some usable pictures. Who knows then the next website on the internet wants to show a picture of me together with my name…

But one interview is enough for now. It’s not that it is bad to be interviewed, Raphael did a great job after all as i am not an easy client, but talking isn’t one of my hobbies, even if its written talk (which isn’t in conflict with writing a lot as you can see and as my kids can tell you).

So, and now enough of boring chit-chat. If you have additional questions, just ask.

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Nothing to see here. Move along!

Ah, no, it’s not that bad. It’s just that nothing too exiting happened the last week(s). Okay, GSoC ended, I got my shirt, semester started, I created a new gpg key, my university annoyed me to death with the introduction of TuCaN(‘t), a great UDS happened, lots of talking, the DPL signed my new key while Michael can’t, people nag me even harder to become DM eventually, I have still not started a key-transition, fixed a bunch of bugs, reading over the list of open bugs to close a few, started to work on some very funky very secret features in a not-yet pushed apt-next branch, my university annoyed me even more, exercises I have to do (but don’t want) accumulate, working in various degrees on some young-group leader tasks, emails floating in and being answered maybe and all that stuff…

So, I am not death (jeppy!) just currently not motivated to write anything on my digital toilet walls – but if you want to change it, feel free to flattr me! (SCNR – but reading these kind of threads can be really interesting – and no, I don’t have a flattr account, but I am not on the planet either :))

Anyway, you now know that everything is fine with and for me (mostly) , so no need to stand around here! Move along and fix a bug (or two) – or find another useful thing to do – instead! I guess we will read us soon again. 🙂

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Week 15: live on a razor-edge

In Germany we have an idiom: “Gestern standen wir am Abgrund, heute sind wir einen Schritt weiter” (Yesterday we lived on a razor-edge, today we made a step forward). Another one is: “Lache und sei froh, es könnte schlimmer sein. Und ich lachte und war froh, und es kam schlimmer.” (Laugh and smile, as it could be worse. And I laughed and smiled and it got worse.)
Just to name a few: I still have a bit of a cold, my travel on Monday back home from university was delayed 2 hours and my first draft of this blogpost was eaten on Monday by wordpress site…
A few other annoyances are solved by now, so its getting a bit better, for example: I am back on the gsoc-student-list after I was dropped approximately in early august for unknown reasons.

On the coding front, I fixed a few bugs, including serious or dumb or both, but nothing really noteworthy, even if some reporters have a different view obviously. They even asked for publishing the bug details on the debian.org frontpage as a big announcement…

In general I need to confess, I am a bit demotivated currently. I need to do a lot of (boring and dumb) university stuff including studying for an exam and finishing of bachelor project stuff (writing insane documentation mostly). This leads to something I haven’t experienced much until now: I really care for weekends. Normally, I don’t have a special favor for weekends as I don’t dislike the weekdays in-between, but now… I currently have each weekend a nice action plan completely different to the weekday. On Friday I played a bit chaperon on a 18th birthday party in our fresh and cleaned up basement – its strange how different you can behave if you are “just” four or more years older. 😉 And its not just me, a fellow ROMA attendee invited all others to their new home. She is the same age as me (just half a year older or so) and ahmm, a bit shocked what was required to make a clean sweep after the evening…

Before that I was riding my bike a bit on Sunday or in other words Erbach to Marienthal and back which are around 25km in total. I guess I should have done it with a bit more preparation as my bike wasn’t the best after being mothballed for more than a year, but okay, it was planed differently anyway.

So, as you can see, no really interesting stuff, especially not gsoc related in any way, so I really should come up with an interesting new schedule and title master plan. Lets see what happens after the last exam next week…

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Week 14: APT 0.8.0 in unstable

Sorry, I am (very) late for this week now, but I played a bit dead man the last few days by having a bad cold…

Anyway, the week was used to kick the transition forward, testing a lot and fixing a few bugs (and learning a bit for the now done and upcoming exams). Nothing really interesting in a way that i should talk in length about them… beside that we have APT soon in testing 😀

Oh, and GSoC is now really finally over, so I should get a new naming scheme for my posts. 🙂

So in short: Nothing to see here, keep on walking otherwise you may be infected… we will see us fresh and fit next week – hopefully.

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Week 13: Test it like its hot

GSoC comes to an end in a short while so the last week was reserved for testing APT in all its glory. Not much to say about it beside that I wrote a lot of shellscripts to build packages, build archives from it, sign them, ship them over file as well as http method, can even install packages with dpkg in the test environment and so on. This thankfully showed a few small bugs in the process of writing the tests so many unstable and testing users will not be hit by them 🙂 Yeap, unstable as the releaseteam yesterday gave their go on uploading APT to unstable after many months in experimental. Over the week was also a bugreport on the deity list which made it today to a proper bugreport and blocked the upload until we reassigned it to curl… The bug is strange so it needed a while until I managed to understand why.

Friday was a bit busy as Michael was on holiday while he was requested to fill in some sort of final evaluation: Getting him on phone was a bit complicated, but all worked out well in the end. 🙂

So all in all a boring week. 😉

And this week will be even more boring as I need to prepare for an exam on Thursday…

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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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