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Debian Bits: apt install dpl-candidate: Mehdi Dogguy

Sat, 14/03/2015 - 20:36

0. Who are you and what is your history with Debian Project?

I guess this part is well covered in my platform.

1. What is your most proud moment as Debian Developer?

I am pretty proud of having been part of the few who implemented the first automatic dependency resolver for OCaml programs and libraries in Debian packages. It was really the first one in the OCaml community and we were quite proud of it. But that was done before I become a Debian Developer.

As a DD, I have to admit I am quite proud to be part of the Release Team. It is a fantastic team where there is so much to do. Helping the team means something to me, and I invested a considerable amount of time (a few months) working on reviewing patches for Squeeze and helping to get it ready by our standards. My best moment was Squeeze's release, my first Debian release as Release Team member.

2. In your opinion what is the strongest part of Debian Project?

I am not sure we can identify one single strength of the Debian project. But, when I think about your question, I remember something I've heard many times: “Debian is about people”. I have to admit that I didn't realize it myself until I heard it for the first time and I completely share the idea! For me, all the technical side of the project comes after the community. With time, I think we managed to build a strong community. Many contributors became friends with time. We are seeing many Developers having babies and bringing them to Debian events. I find that really amazing.

3. And what is the weakest part of Debian Project?

Our strength is somehow also our weakness. We are humans and make mistakes. We have feelings and some discussions get heated sometimes. It is not easy to keep everyone calm and focused. We have seen the damage that was caused to our core community last year with all the flamewars. Many people lost their motivation and we have seen some of them stepping down. We are also having troubles on-boarding new contributors, which is a problem today because some teams are under-staffed and could become an even bigger issue on the longer term.

4. How do you intend to resolve the weakest part?

An effort has already been made on this front. We can mention the introduction of the Code of Conduct and the diversity statement, for example. Both are important and make us a more welcoming and caring community.

In my platform, I mentioned some ideas about recruitment and change management. I believe that both sides will help us to get a stronger community. Moreover, a DPL should act as a mediator to help some situation get through. This is one of the DPL tasks that is not formally identified and is usually under-estimated.

5. DPL term lasts for one year - what would you challenge during that term and what have you learned from previous DPL's?

Personally, the main thing I have learned from past DPLs is that communication is very important. A DPL should dedicate time to communicate about ongoing actions and achievements. It is also important to remind a few things even if it may sound repetitive or trivial:

  • Why such action/subject is important.
  • What actions have been tried/done in the past.
  • What progress has been made since last time.
  • What is possibly the next step.

If the communication is only about listing some actions, many people will miss its essence and its goals. It is even more important when we know that some actions may take years (thus, several DPL terms) to complete.

If I am elected as DPL, I'd really like to help the project to publish a roadmap. I think it is very important to set goals to the project to better explain our philosophy and approach in the Free Software world. This may also help to attract new contributors which may be interested by one or some items. Of course, I will not work on that subject only. I invite you to read the rest of my platform to see the other ideas.

6. What motivates you to work in Debian and run for DPL?

Many many things. And more importantly, many many people

As many of us, I like programming and socializing. It feels nice to be part of such a big project and where you can do many different things. I contribute to Debian because I find it fun and let me meet people I will not have been able to meet elsewhere.

In my platform, I tried to identify ideas I'd like to see implemented, or at least started. Since Debian is a do-ocracy, I thought I could try to get them implemented by myself. I think that those ideas are important for the Debian community and will help us moving forward. Running for DPL is also another way of contributing to Debian and I'd feel honored to represent Debian.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Debian Bits: apt install dpl-candidate: Gergely Nagy

Sat, 14/03/2015 - 20:35

0. Who are you and what's your history with Debian Project?

I'm a little mouse behind a keyboard, going by the nickname "algernon". I used to be a lot of things: a flaming youth, an application manager, package maintainer, upstream, ftp-assistant, a student, a mentor, a hacker. In the end, however, I am but a simple, albeit sometimes crazy person.

I did a number of things within Debian - mostly small and marginal things, mind you. With a little break, I've been here for over a decade, and am planning to stay for at least another.

1. What's your most proud moment as Debian Developer?

At last year's LinuxTag, I was wandering around a stand where they sold Raspberry Pis (with cases and other accessories). I had a nice chat with one of the staffers there, inquired about the price (including the case, of course), and a few other things. He asked a few things back: what I'll be using it for, and so on. After it turned out that I'm a Debian Developer, and syslog-ng hacker, he went to the back, and emerged a few minutes later with a boxed up Pi, and gave it to me as a gift, for working on Debian.

This was an incredibly touching moment, in many, many ways.

2. In your opinion what is the strongest part of Debian Project?

That's hard to say, to be honest. There are a good number of things Debian is incredibly strong at, and it would be hard to arbitrarily pick one. Quality, responsibility, safety, predictability are all areas we are very good at. But those are the qualities of the OS. As a project, we are remarkably well organised, given the volunteer & distributed nature of the project.

3. And what is the weakest part of Debian Project?

While we can resolve and work with technical issues in a reasonable manner, the project as a whole is rather lacking in all other areas. To grow beyond being the creators of the Universal OS, we, as a project, need to pursue goals beyond the OS.

Being part of GSoC and Outreachy are great steps forward. But we still have a lot of internal issues that need to be resolved. Areas such as innovation, team work, where we're in dire need of improvement.

4. How do you intend to resolve the weakest part?

As explained in my platform, my primary goal is to remove roadblocks. The DPL can do very little alone, his time and powers are better spent on enabling those who have the required skills and desires, to pursue those.

5. DPL term lasts for one year - what would you challenge during that term and what have you learned from previous DPL's?

The most valuable thing I learned from past DPLs is that the expectations are sky-high, yet, a significant portion of what the DPL does is very different than what I imagined in past years.

I'd like to challenge the status quo of the DPL being a nearly full-time job.

6. What motivates you to work in Debian and run for DPL?

I'm in it for the fame and glory, of course! And because my Tamagotchi told me to.

But on a more serious tone, my main motivation to work on Debian is because contributing makes me happy. It satisfies my hunger for doing useful work. Debian is - in my opinion - the perfect platform to give back to the wider Free Software community. Similarly, my motivation to run for DPL is to allow Debian to be a stronger member of that greater

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Debian Bits: apt install dpl-candidate: Neil McGovern

Sat, 14/03/2015 - 20:34

0. Who are you and what's your history with Debian Project?

My name's Neil, I've been involved with Debian for over 10 years now. I've held a variety of roles, from the SPI board, writing policy and secure testing team, to being one of the Release Managers for Squeeze and Wheezy.

1. What's your most proud moment as Debian Developer?

Probably the release of Squeeze, my first as RM. It was the end of a great effort to get the release out. I particularly remember at the end of DebConf 10 in New York going to the local Disney store and buying every single small squeeze plush toy they had, so I could send a thank you gift to the rest of the release team! Another perhaps was when I first got my Debian kilt.

2. In your opinion what is the strongest part of Debian Project?

I think this is our social contract. It guides us, and is what we all agree on. This is our promise to ourselves, to the wider open source community and to our users.

3. And what is the weakest part of Debian Project?

At a push, I'd say it's the variety of packages we have in the archive. I'm not sure it's weakness, but it's certainly a challenge. It becomes exponentially harder to ensure that everything integrates well as you add more packages. To have made it do so this far is quite impressive.

4. How do you intend to resolve the weakest part?

Well, see the section in my platform on PPAs, and modernising our build and infrastructure system Wouldn't it be great if you could stage a package against all of stable, testing and unstable, and see what fails to build and where, with live build logs on all architectures?

5. DPL term lasts for one year - what would you challenge during that term and what have you learned from previous DPL's?

I think my primary role as DPL for 2015 would be to get a great start of development for Stretch. The start of a new release cycle is the exact time to implement wide changes that are potentially disruptive. Every couple of years we seem to relax after the release, rather than get geared up for the next one, and then time passes, and plans slip, and before we know it, the freeze is fast approaching. If we start planning /now/, then we can hopefully enter the freeze with fewer RC bugs, which should be great news for everyone! For the second part, I've talked to a lot of the previous DPLs, and worked with them in one role or another. The main thing I was told was that I shouldn't try and do everything I planned on. It's hard work, and all sorts of things pop up that derail your original plans.

6. What motivates you to work in Debian and run for DPL?

The people involved. I've met and worked with some of my greatest friends due to the project. The work, dedication and commitment of those over the years is outstanding. Most of these people are still with us, and unfortunately, a few are not. Whenever I'm feeling disheartened or annoyed, usually due to a giant flame-war then I simply remember that what we're doing is truly remarkable, and the effort that everyone has put in over the years isn't something that should be taken for granted.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Kemp: Moving to Newcastle

Sat, 14/03/2015 - 01:00

Although things are not 100% certain it seems highly likely we'll be moving to Newcastle in five months time.

If I seem distracted/absent/busy over the next month or two this will be a good excuse!

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Debian Bits: DebConf15: Call for Proposals

Thu, 12/03/2015 - 22:20

The DebConf Content team is pleased to announce the Call for Proposals for the DebConf15 conference, to be held in Heidelberg, Germany from the 15th through the 22nd of August, 2015.

Submitting an Event

In order to submit an event, you must be registered as an attendee of DebConf15. If you have any questions about the registration process, please check the related information on the conference website.

Once registered, go to "Propose an event" and describe your proposal. Please note, events are not limited to traditional presentations or informal sessions (BoFs). We welcome submissions of tutorials, performances, art installations, debates, or any other format of event that you think would be beneficial to the Debian community.

Please include a short title, suitable for a compact schedule, and an engaging description of the event. You should use the field "Notes for Content Team" to provide us information such as additional speakers, scheduling restrictions, or any special requirements we should consider for your event.

Regular sessions may either be 20 or 45 minutes long (including time for questions) and will be followed by a 10 or 15 minutes break, respectively. Other kinds of sessions (like workshops) could have different durations. Please make sure to choose the most suitable duration for your event and justify any special requests.


The first batch of accepted proposals will be announced in May. If you depend on having your proposal accepted in order to attend the conference, please submit it as soon as possible so that it can be considered during this first evaluation period.

All proposals must be submitted before June 15th, 2015 to be evaluated for the official schedule.

Topics and Tracks

Though we invite proposals on any Debian or FLOSS related subject, we will have some broad topics arranged as tracks for which we encourage people to submit proposals. The currently proposed list is:

  • Debian Packaging, Policy, and Infrastructure
  • Security, Safety, and Hacking
  • Debian System Administration, Automation and Orchestration
  • Containers and Cloud Computing with Debian
  • Debian Success Stories
  • Debian in the Social, Ethical, Legal, and Political Context
  • Blends, Subprojects, Derivatives, and Projects using Debian
  • Embedded Debian and Hardware-Level Systems

If you have ideas for further tracks, or would like to volunteer as a track coordinator, please contact In order for a track to take place during DebConf15, we must have received a sufficient amount of proposals on that specific theme. Track coordinators will play an important role in inviting people to submit events.

Video Coverage

Providing video of sessions amplifies DebConf achievements and is one of the conference goals. Unless speakers opt-out, official events will be streamed live over the Internet to promote remote participation. Recordings will be published later under the DebConf license, as well as presentation slides and papers whenever available.

Contact and Thanks to Sponsors

DebConf would not be possible without the generous support of all our sponsors, especially our platinum sponsor HP. DebConf15 is still accepting sponsors; if you are interested, please get in touch!

You are welcome to contact the Content Team with any concerns about your event, or with any ideas or questions ambout DebConf events in general. You can reach us at

We hope to see you all in Heidelberg!

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Debian Bits: Debian Project Leader elections 2015

Thu, 12/03/2015 - 11:00

It's that time of year again for the Debian Project: the elections of its Project Leader! Starting on April 1st, and during the following two weeks, the Debian Developers will vote to choose the person who will guide the project for one year. The results will be published on April 15th and the term for new the project leader will start on April 17th, 2015.

Lucas Nussbaum who has held the office for the last two years won't be seeking reelection this year and Debian Developers will have to choose between three candidates:

Gergely Nagy and Neil McGovern previously ran for DPL in past years; it's the first run for Mehdi Dogguy.

The campaigning period started today and will last until March 31st. The candidates are expected to engage in debates and discussions on the debian-vote mailing list where they'll reply to questions from users and contributors.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Anton Piatek: DIY LED cupboard lighting

Tue, 10/03/2015 - 12:19

When we moved into our new house last year we found a rather large corner cupboard in the kitchen which was rather difficult to see into because it was so dark. The cupboard was a great size for storing food, and would give plenty of space, however we simply had trouble finding anything in it as all the light was blocked by standing in front of it.

A quick look on online and I decided that some strip LED lights and a 12V PSU should do something to change the situation. You can pick up either for a few quid from banggood.

White 12V self-adhesive LED strip

12V LED Power supply


Of course I didn’t want to be turning lights on and off by hand, as knowing me I’ll just forget to turn them off, so a spare micro switch on the 12V side seemed the appropriate option

Micro switch to turn off lights when cupboard is closed


I think the final result is pretty good, though it does bug me that theres a dead set of LEDs on the top shelf – didn’t notice that before putting them in…

The finished result


One piece of advice I do have is that it is worth buying the little self-adhesive cable tidy anchors for this sort of thing. While the LED strips themselves are self-adhesive, there’s a fair bit of wire linking them all together and trying to stick them out of the way with a hot glue gun like I did is just a recipe for getting very hot fingertips and a mess of hot glue everywhere.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Alan Pope: Awesome Community is Awesome

Mon, 09/03/2015 - 07:00

While flash sales, conferences and trade shows happen, the Community Core Apps project rolls forward landing updates and fixes to Ubuntu Phone applications. Some are default apps on the devices bq customers will soon receive, others are easily installable from the click store. All are maintained by a community of Free Software developers. I’m incredibly proud of the work these people are doing and wanted to highlight some recent updates.

As with all the applications below, if you’d like to get involved in design, documentation, testing, translation or just plain writing code either get in contact with me, or with any of the developers listed below. They’re all very nice people.

Weather Reboot

Andrew Hayzen, Victor Thompson and Nekhelesh Ramananthan got together to help Martin Borho reboot the Weather App with new designs created in collaboration with the Canonical Design Team. With a cleaner look, easier to use user interface, and fewer poke-your-eyes-out colour gradients, the new Weather app is coming along nicely!

Doc Viewer

Stefano Verzegnassi has been working hard on the usability and performance in the Doc Viewer. It now directly pulls documents from ~/Documents on the device and can receive files via Content-Hub such as those downloaded in the browser. Rendering performance has been improved, using multi-core page rendering to make use of the grunt in powerful phones. It’s also now possible to manage documents directly in the app, so you can delete files from ~/Documents with a long-press and some taps, no file manager required. There’s also a Table of Contents revealed from a bottom edge swipe, and a new document grid view.

While not currently a default app in devices, it’s in the store and works really well on all Ubuntu devices. Upcoming is a refinement of the full screen reading experience to remove the header and some improvements to document zooming. Longer term we’re also investigating and prototyping support for common office file formats.


Filippo Scognamiglio recently updated the Terminal app to support configurable keyboard overlays. The overlay is a strip above the default OSK (on screen keyboard) which can be populated with keyboard shortcuts or full commands. These are designed to supplement the OSK and allow fast access to complex keyboard combinations or frequently typed commands. The Terminal app ships with a small number of sample keyboard overlays, but it’s easily user-expandable. Filippo blogged about it, read more there. If you create a cool overlay, do share it, and we may include it in a future update as a default. This update is in the store, available to install on Ubuntu devices.

Upcoming is a user interface change to easily switch on and off the keyboard overlays. So you may have 20 installed, but rarely use some, so can easily switch them off so they don’t clutter the main UI. In addition Filippo is working on breaking up the terminal app into a re-usable component to make it easy to ship click packages containing a command line tool and terminal together. So for example a developer could bundle mutt+terminal in a click package in the store. Clearly not a typical use case for many phone users, but it’ll certainly be useful for our early adopter hacker types


Kunal Parmar has updated the Calendar app with some nice UI and performance improvements. If you sync events with the Calendar then they should show up quicker in the app than previously. He also implemented the ability to move events around the calendar with a long press and drag. More recently we’ve noticed a couple of crashers which we’re trying to get to the bottom of. Renato has a patch for EDS which seems promising! The latest Calendar update is in the store and available for testing as always.

Calculator Reboot

Riccardo Padovani and Bartosz Kosiorek have been completing work on the Calculator ‘reboot’. We received a new design a while back which has been almost completed. We have some more design changes to make, but we plan to release this version to the store shortly as the default Calculator. You can currently test it by installing “Calculator Reboot” from the click store on your Ubuntu device. Feedback (and bugs) welcome as always.


Michael Zanetti and Riccardo Padovani have been really active with the Reminders app the last few weeks. Many bugs fixed, and a new offline mode for those that don’t want to connect to Evernote. There’s so many improvements which will require some additional QA before we upload to the store which should happen next week. This is a major update which has been a long time coming, and I’ll talk more about that in detail when it’s closer to landing.

Update: This update has landed in the store now!


Dan Chapman and Boren Zhang have been implementing designs provided by the Canonical design team in their Dekko Email app. The changes are coming thick and fast, and if you’d like to test some of the new features, then install the “Dekko (beta)” app from the click store.


Nekhelesh Ramananthan pushed a small but important update to the Clock app recently which makes translatable the cities which are listed in the app. Once that landed we asked the Ubuntu translators if they could kindly translate the 200+ strings. Over night ~30 languages were done with more coming in over the weekend. It never ceases to amaze me how fast and attentive the Ubuntu translation communities are!

A massive thank you to all the developers, designers, testers and translators who have helped improve all of these apps. As always, get in touch if you’d like to get involved!

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Kemp: Free hosting, and key-signing

Fri, 06/03/2015 - 01:00

Over the past week I've mailed many of the people who had signed my previous GPG key and who had checked my ID as part of that process. My intention was to ask "Hey you trusted me before, would you sign my new key?".

So far no replies. I may have to be more dedicated and do the local-thing with people.

In other news Bytemark, who have previously donated a blade server, sponsored Debconf, and done other similar things, have now started offering free hosting to Debian-developers.

There is a list of such offers here:

I think that concludes this months blog-posting quota. Although who knows? I turn 39 in a couple of days, and that might allow me to make a new one.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Adam Trickett: DKIM

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 21:55

Recently a friend asked me about SPF and DKIM. I was vaguely aware of them and their generally perceived uselessness. I've never bothered with them but thought I'd look into them for him. SPF was trivial to set up using my Bytemark DNS, and easy to testing using of many on-line email tools.

The challenge is DKIM, I found several sites that explained what to do - they were all variation around a theme and seemed easy enough. Generate a key pair (check), put the public half into your DNS (check), tweak Exim4 (ARGH!!!).

As far as I tell I followed what the web site said and reloaded the Exim config and it looks like it's all loaded into place, the key is readable by Exim, the path is correct but no matter what I do Exim wont add the DKIM signature to my outgoing emails...!

Tags: spf dkim

Categories: LUG Community Blogs