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Thu, 29 Mar 2007

How do you notice...

...that the distribution running on your server is really stable?

After several years you suddenly notice that reportbug is not installed.

And you just wanted to report a wishlist bug...

postet at 22:56 into [Debian] permanent link

Wed, 21 Mar 2007


During the Chemnitzer Linux-Tage I did a workshop about the creation of Debian packages. Now one of my attendees contacted me and asked to review and sponsor hist first package!

After the correction of a small mistake in debian/copyright (done in less than one hour) I uploaded it.

Cool :)

postet at 00:47 into [Debian/events] permanent link

Sun, 18 Mar 2007

[CeBIT] About "Beutelratten"

Two years ago I wondered how one could translate the german (exhibition) idiom Beutelratte.

I must confess, that I forgot the suggestions I got. Sorry.

But thanks to the daughter of the developer representing Scribus here at CeBIT we have a nice sign for them:

No Beutelratten please!

Update: Kevin Mark informed me that the term pack rat is often used at US tradeshows for thise kind of people picking up everything.

postet at 17:49 into [Debian/events/cebit-2007] permanent link

Tue, 06 Mar 2007

Conflict finder script - The next generation

I got some feedback for the script which tries to find conflicting packages I hacked together after the Chemnitzer Linux-Tage.

Seems to be a useful tool, so it might be nice to add it to devscripts?

Some criticized, that it won't work perfectly, since I only check against files mentioned in Contents-<arch>.gz where files / folder created in a maintainer scripts are not listed.

I know that, but I don't know a useful way to solve the problem. It's better than nothing, and maybe I'll find later a way to add support for installation time created files.

Thanks to Kevin Mark and Marc Bockschmidt who pointed me to some improvements for the script, which reduced the time the script takes dramatically! While my first hack needed for a simple package nearly 15 minutes, the new one is down to one or two minutes. Thanks!

So please test it a bit; feedback is alway welcome. You can find the latest version at".

Special thanks to Alexander Wirt and Thomas Viehmann who did proof of concept rewrites in perl and python. Alexanders perl version is quite fast... but needs a huge amount of memory. Thomas' python version is very elegant! You don't need to understand python to understand his script. Nice done, but could need some further improvements; since it takes as much time nearly as my bash script. And since I hope it might be interesting for devscripts maintainer, and I'm not sure if they would like to add a dependency on python, I think my bash script has - for now - the lead :))

The script could still need some improvements. For example tweaking the code a bit; I'm sure many of the things I do with pipes from awk to another awk to sort (or something like that) can be cone my awk itself. I Just don't kno how. And instead of fetching the Contents-<arch>.gz from the main server, the script could tread it from the users prefered mirror... and maybe even support for other downloaders than wget.

postet at 09:14 into [Debian] permanent link

Mon, 05 Mar 2007

Back from Chemnitz

The Chemnitzer Linux-Tage are over and I'm back home. Again it was an outstanding event. Starting from the overall organisation to the social event (and their quiz) to the catering... I'm still stuffed with the buffet of the social event :)

The first thing in the morning I did a workshop about Debian package building. It was very well visited; only two seats were left empty. The visitors were very good; understood most very fast and corrected me a couple of times, when I did copy'n paste mistakes. It was fun to do that, and I got good feedback.

BTW: If you need a small example to show someone how to create a Debian package, you might want to take a look an gnujump. The templates created by dh_make work nearly out of the box (so you can concentrate on explaining what is done, instead of fixing stuff to get it working), while the resulting package has still place for improvements (.menu and .desktop files; splitting the package into a arch dependent and an arch independent; etc.) And most important: It is compiles quite fast, while you still have something to show, so your visitors will see, that you indeed did something.

Talking about the feedback I got after the workshop: One guy asked me about a way to check for conflicting packages, and we all wondered, that there's nothing scripted available, yet. So I promised to hack something together to at least check for conflicting files. The result is available at conflict finder (and later an, as soon as I find out how to setup webdav/svn to allow read access to some repositories and not others).

To check for packages your package should conflict with, you need to first build your package (or we won't know which files are in your package) and give the path to the resulting .deb as the first parameter to the script. If you have a Contents-foo.gz file somewhere on your hard disc, you can specify the path to that file as the second parameter (if you use apt-file or have a local mirror, it'll try to find it; if everything fails the script will try to download one).

Then the script will check for each file of your Debian-Package if there is any other package having the same file. Sounds cool, but is damn slow; the repeated zgrep over the Contents-File is quite time consuming. For a quite small package (xdialog) it took nearly 15 minutes to complete. Wow, when I hacked it together, I wouldn't have thought it would be that slow.

As far as I know Alexander Wirt is already working on an improved version using some kind of database (and perl).

postet at 18:40 into [Debian/events] permanent link

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Alexander Tolimar Reichle-Schmehl lives in Hildesheim / Germany. He's an official Debian Developer. Beside maintaining various packages, his main task is being spokesman and event organizer of the Debian project.