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Alan Pope: Scopes Contest Mid-way Roundup

Wed, 19/11/2014 - 12:03

I recently blogged about my Ubuntu Scopes Contest Wishlist after we kicked off the Scopes Development Competition where Ubuntu Phone Scope developers can be in with a chance of winning cool devices and swag. See the above links for more details.

As a judge on that contest I’ve been keeping an eye out for interesting scopes that are under development for the competition. As we’re at the half way point in the contest I thought I’d mention a few. Of course me mentioning them here doesn’t mean they’re favourites or winners, I’m just raising awareness of the competition and hopefully helping to inspire more people to get involved.

Developers have until 3rd December to complete their entry to be in with a chance of winning a laptop, tablet and other cool stuff. We’ll accept new scopes in the Ubuntu Click Store at any time though

Robert Schroll is working on a GMail scope giving fast access to email.

Bogdan Cuza is developing a Mixcloud scope making it easy to search for cool songs and remixes.

Sam Segers has a Google Places scope making it easy to find local businesses.

Michael Weimann has been working on a Nearby Scope and has been blogging about his progress.

Dan has also been blogging about the Cinema Scope.

Finally Riccardo Padovani has been posting screenshots of his Duck Duck Go Scope which is already in the click store.

I’m sure there there are other scopes I’ve missed. Feel free to link to them in the comments. It’s incredibly exciting for me to see early adopter developers embracing our fast-moving platform to realise their ideas.

Good luck to everyone entering the contest.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Andy Smith: Paranoid, Init

Tue, 18/11/2014 - 11:00

Having marvelled at the er… unique nature of MikeeUSA’s Systemd Blues: Took our thing (Wooo) blues homage to the perils of using systemd, I decided what the world actually needs is something from the metal genre.

So, here’s the lyrics to Paranoid, Init.

Default soon on Debian
This doesn’t help me with my mind
People think I’m insane
Because I am trolling all the time

All day long I fight Red Hat
And uphold UNIX philosophy
Think I’ll lose my mind
If I can’t use sysvinit on jessie

Can you help me
Terrorise pid 1?
Oh yeah!

Tried to show the committee
That things were wrong with this design
They can’t see Poettering’s plan in this
They must be blind

Some sick joke I could just cry
GNOME needs logind API
QR codes gave me a feel
Then binary logs just broke the deal

And so as you hear these words
Telling you now of my state
Can’t log off and enjoy life
I’ve another sock puppet to create

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Debian Bits: DebConf15 welcomes its first nine sponsors!

Thu, 13/11/2014 - 13:35

DebConf15 will take place in Heidelberg, Germany in August 2015. We strive to provide an intense working environment and enable good progress for Debian and for Free Software in general. We extend an invitation to everyone to join us and to support this event. As a volunteer-run non-profit conference, we depend on our sponsors.

Nine companies have already committed to sponsor DebConf15! Let's introduce them:

Our first Gold sponsor is credativ, a service-oriented company focusing on open-source software, and also a Debian development partner.

Our second Gold sponsor is sipgate, a Voice over IP service provider based in Germany that also operates in the United Kingdom (sipgate site in English).

Google (the search engine and advertising company), Fairsight Security, Inc. (developers of real-time passive DNS solutions), Martin Alfke / Buero 2.0 (Linux & UNIX Consultant and Trainer, LPIC-2/Puppet Certified Professional) and Ubuntu (the OS supported by Canonical) are our three Silver sponsors.

And last but not least, Logilab, Netways and Hetzner have agreed to support us as Bronze-level.

Become a sponsor too!

Would you like to become a sponsor? Do you know of or work in a company or organization that may consider sponsorship?

Please have a look at our sponsorship brochure (also available in German), in which we outline all the details and describe the sponsor benefits. For instance, sponsors have the option to reach out to Debian contributors, derivative developers, upstream authors and other community members during a Job Fair and through postings on our job wall, and to show-case their Free Software involvement by staffing a booth on the Open Weekend. In addition, sponsors are able to distribute marketing materials in the attendee bags. And it goes without saying that we honour your sponsorship with visibility of your logo in the conference's videos, on our website, on printed materials, and banners.

The final report of DebConf14 is also available, illustrating the broad spectrum, quality, and enthusiasm of the community at work, and providing detailed information about the different outcomes that last conference brought up (talks, participants, social events, impact in the Debian project and the free software scene, and much more).

For further details, feel free to contact us through sponsors@debconf.org, and visit the DebConf15 website at http://debconf15.debconf.org.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Kemp: How could you rationally fork Debian?

Sun, 09/11/2014 - 12:16

The topic of Debian forks has come up a lot recently, and as time goes on I've actually started considering the matter seriously: How would you fork Debian?

The biggest stumbling block is that the Debian distribution contains thousands of packages, which are maintained by thousands of developers. A small team has virtually no hope of keeping up to date, importing changes, dealing with bug-reports, etc. Instead you have to pick your battle and decide what you care about.

This is why Ubuntu split things into "main" and "universe". Because this way they didn't have to deal with bug reports - instead they could just say "Try again in six months. Stuff from that repository isn't supported. Sorry!"

So if you were going to split the Debian project into "supported" and "unsupported" what would you use as the dividing line? I think the only sensible approach would be :

  • Base + Server stuff.
  • The rest.

On that basis you'd immediately drop the support burden of GNOME, KDE, Firefox, Xine, etc. All the big, complex, and user-friendly stuff would just get thrown away. What you'd end up with would be a Debian-Server fork, or derivative.

Things you'd package and care about would include:

  • The base system.
  • The kernel.
  • SSHD.
  • Apache / Nginx / thttpd / lighttpd / etc
  • PHP / Perl / Ruby / Python / etc
  • Jabberd / ircd / rsync / etc
  • MySQL / PostGres / Redis / MariadB / etc.

Would that be a useful split? I suspect it would. It would also be manageable by a reasonably small team.

That split would also mean if you were keen on dropping any particular init-system you'd not have an unduly difficult job - your server wouldn't be running GNOME, for example.

Of course if you're thinking of integrating a kernel and server-only stuff then you might instead prefer a BSD-based distribution. But if you did that you'd miss out on Docker. Hrm.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Kemp: Some brief notes on Docker

Sat, 08/11/2014 - 13:33

Docker is the well-known tool for building, distributing, and launching containers.

I use it personally to run a chat-server, a graphite instance, and I distribute some of my applications with Dockerfiles too, to ease deployment.

Here are some brief notes on things that might not be obvious.

For a start when you create a container it is identified by a 64-byte ID. This ID is truncated and used as the hostname of the new guest - but if you ever care you can discover the full ID from within the guest:

~# awk -F/ '{print $NF}' /proc/self/cgroup 9d16624a313bf5bb9eb36f4490b5c2b7dff4f442c055e99b8c302edd1bf26036

Compare that with the hostname:

~# hostname 9d16624a313b

Assigning names to containers is useful, for example:

$ docker run -d -p 2222:22 --name=sshd skxskx/sshd

However note that names must be removed before they can be reused:

#!/bin/sh # launch my ssh-container - removing the name first docker rm sshd || true docker run --name=sshd -d -p 2222:22 skxskx/sshd

The obvious next step is to get the IP of the new container, and setup a hostname for it sshd.docker. Getting the IP is easy, via either the name of the ID:

~$ docker inspect --format '{{ .NetworkSettings.IPAddress }}' sshd 172.17.0.2

The only missing step is the ability to do that magically. You'd hope there would be a hook that you could run when a container has started - unfortunately there is no such thing. Instead you have two choices:

  • Write a script which parses the output of "docker events" and fires appropriately when a guest is created/destroyed.
  • Write a wrapper script for launching containers, and use that to handle the creation.

I wrote a simple watcher to fire when events are created, which lets me do the job.

But running a deamon just to watch for events seems like the wrong way to go. Instead I've switched to running via a wrapper dock-run:

$ dock-run --name=sshd -d -p 2222:22 skxskx/sshd

This invokes run-parts on the creation directory, if present, and that allows me to update DNS. So "sshd.docker.local" will point to the IP of the new image.

The wrapper was two minutes work, but it does work, and if you like you can find it here.

That concludes my notes on docker - although you can read articles I wrote on docker elsewhere.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Kemp: Planning how to configure my next desktop

Thu, 06/11/2014 - 21:26

I recently setup a bunch of IPv6-only accessible hosts, which I mentioned in my previous blog post.

In the end I got them talking to the IPv4/legacy world via the installation of an OpenVPN server - they connect over IPv6 get a private 10.0.0.0/24 IP address, and that is masqueraded via the OpenVPN-gateway.

But the other thing I've been planning recently is how to configure my next desktop system. I generally do all development, surfing, etc, on one desktop system. I use virtual desktops to organize things, and I have a simple scripting utility to juggle windows around into the correct virtual-desktop as they're launched.

Planning a replacement desktop means installing a fresh desktop, then getting all the software working again. These days I'd probably use docker images to do development within, along with a few virtual machines (such as the pbuilder host I used to release all my Debian packages).

But there are still niggles. I'd like to keep the base system lean, with few packages, but you can't run xine remotely, similarly I need mpd/sonata for listening to music, emacs for local stuff, etc, etc.

In short there is always the tendency to install yet-another package, service, or application on the desktop, which makes migration a pain.

I'm not sure I could easily avoid that, but it is worth thinking about. I guess I could configure a puppet/slaughter/cfengine host and use that to install the desktop - but I've always done desktops "manually" and servers "magically" so it's a bit of a change in thinking.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs