Debian LTS Work November 2015

This was my seventh month as a Freexian sponsored LTS contributor. I was assigned 8 hours for the month of November.

As I did last month, I worked on review and testing of the proposed MySQL 5.5 packages for squeeze-lts and did a bit more work on Quassel.  It has been suggested that maybe we ought to just EOL Quassel since backporting the necessary fixes is so complicated.  I think they may be right, but I haven’t quite given up yet.

I reviewed CVE-2015-6360 for SRTP and my assessment was that squeeze-lts was not affected (same for the other Debian releases while I was at it).

I published one security update, it was for libphp-snoopy.  This resolves the outstanding security issues by updating to the newest version as was done for all other Debian releases.

Finally, in the interest of getting better support in tools for Debian LTS, I came up with a patch for the pull-debian-source[1] script in ubuntu-dev-tools so that it will download Debian LTS packages correctly.  Although it took a bit of investigating, the patch turned out to be very simple.  I filed bug #806749.  I also started looking at the distro-info package (thinking I’d need it updated to fix pull-debian-source, which turned out not to be the case), but didn’t finish it yet.  I plan to work on that this month.

[1] Even though this is in ubuntu-dev-tools and not devscripts, there’s really nothing Ubuntu specific about it.

Debian LTS Work October 2015

This was my sixth month as a Freexian sponsored LTS contributor. I was assigned 4 hours for the month of October and I had 4 unused hours from September for a total of 8.

With that time I started working on backporting security fixes for Quassel, but it’s turned into a major project. The commit message for one of the commits between what’s in squeeze-lts and what I was trying to backport is “Reformat ALL the source!”. That’s never a good sign.

I set that aside and focused instead on reviewing the MySQL 5.5 packages that the LTS team is working on. They are getting there, but we need to make sure we have it all right as we don’t want to break existing installations.

This month I hope to continue the work on both these packages.

Resolving Tension …

I just noticed this post with the same title. At least in my case, I feel the tension with the community council is resolved.

In my case I resolved it by resigning from the Kubuntu Council, stopping work on Ubuntu development, and starting to migrate more of my systems to Debian.

For me, the tension is resolved because it’s not my problem any more.

Debian LTS Work August 2015

This was my fourth month as a Freexian sponsored LTS contributor. I was assigned 4 hours which was enough for me to release a fix for screen and review CVEs for libvpx and determine that they did not apply to squeeze-lts. The screen update is covered under DLA 305-1.

Why we care about administrivia (some of it, anyway)

We have enough debate about are things required by policy in Debian that, in my opinion we sometimes lose track of why things are a good idea to begin with. I just had a conversation via GitHub with a potential upstream developer (I’m looking into packaging something he developed) that reminded me about some of the reasons some of the non-code we try to ship are a good idea.

This is a Python based project. References to (manifest) translate to “extra files to put in the tarball” and references to sdist mean the source tarball.

UPSTREAM: Thanks for the pull request. Is there any place where I can find more information about this manifest file, and why it’s important to have one?

ME: There are two files (LICENSE and CHANGELOG) that it would be good to have in the sdist, each for their own reason:
We want LICENSE because since Debian distributes both source and binary we want a copy of the exact license for the code in our source distribution so the the requirements are clear and self-contained. I think this is a good general practice anyway.
We want CHANGELOG so we can ship it in the package documentation to enable users to see what has changed over time with the package. is just a way to add files to the sdist (it’s the normal way in distutils). I’m not that versed in setuptools myself, but I do know there are other ways to do it. What’s important (at least from our point of view) isn’t the file itself, but the added files it would add to the sdist.

If the isn’t shipped with the sdist, then a downstream distributor that modified the package might get a different result. I believe it’s a good general practice to include all the components of a package build system when you ship it.

That’s probably way more information than you wanted …

Debian LTS Work July 2015

This was my third month as a Freexian sponsored LTS contributor. I was assigned 4 hours which was enough for me to release a fix for python-tornado.  This is covered under DLA 279-1.  I also looked at the recent round of security updates for Postfix to see if we should publish an update for postfix 2.7 (which is no longer supported upstream). I haven’t decided for sure since all of the changes are configuration changes that administrators can make on their own and so it’s not clear the risks of breaking working configurations are outweighed on oldoldstable with the benefits of disabling insecure protocols.

Plasma 5 (KDE) In Testing

A few days ago, fellow Qt/KDE team member Lisandro gave an update on the situation with migration to Plasma 5 in Debian Testing (AKA Stretch).  It’s changed again.  All of Plasma 5 is now in Testing.  The upgrade probably won’t be entirely smooth, which we’ll work on that after the gcc5 transition is done, but it will be much better than the half KDE4 SC half Kf5/Plasma 5 situation we’ve had for the last several days.

The issues with starting kwin should be resolved once users upgrade to Plasma 5.  To use the current kwin with KDE SC 4, you will need to add a symlink from /usr/bin/kwin to /usr/bin/kwin_x11.  That will be included in the next upload after gcc5.

Systemsettings and plasma-nm now work.

In my initial testing, I didn’t see anything major that was broken.  One user reported an issue with sddm starting automatically, but it worked fine for me.  During the upgrade you should get a debconf prompt asking if you want to use kdm or sddm.  Pick sddm.

When I tried to dist-upgrade, apt wanted to remove task-kde-desktop.  I let it remove it and some other packages and then in a second step did apt-get install task-kde-desktop.  That pulled it back in successfully along with adding and removing a reasonably large stack of packages.  Obviously we need to make that work better before Stretch is released, but as long as you don’t restart KDE in between those two steps it should be fine.  Lastely, I used apt-get autoremove to clear out a lot of no longer needed KDE4 things (when it asks if you want to stop the running kdm, say no).

Here are a few notes on terminology and what I understand of the future plans:

What used to be called KDE is now three different things (in part because KDE is now the community of people, not the software):

KDE Frameworks 5 (Kf5): This is a group of several dozen small libraries that as a group, roughly equate to what used to be kdelibs.

Plasma (Workspaces) 5: This is the desktop that we’ve just transitioned to.

Applications: These are a mix of kdelibs and Kf5 based applications.  Currently in Testing there are some of both and this will evolve over time based on upstream development.  As an example, the Kf5 based version of konsole is in Unstable and should transition to Testing shortly.

Finally, thanks to Maximiliano Curia (maxy on IRC) for doing virtually all of the packaging of Kf5, Plasma 5, and applications.  He did the heavy lifting, the rest of us just nibbled around the edges to keep it moving towards testing.


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