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Sun, 05 Aug 2007

Second anniversary

So an other happy year has passed.

I hope for many more to come :) Love you, Schatz.

postet at 23:33 into [Debian] permanent link

Fri, 15 Jun 2007

How do you explain Debian?

While I already have some experience in explaining this Debian thingy to people, who are more or less familiar with Linux and free software, next week I have a special job: Explain Debian -- and how free software projects work -- to people, who aren't familiar with that.

It's a university course, which just learned the boring theory. Licence work, a bit of history, etc. A complete different audience than I used to speak to: So far all but one of my talks where with people who visited my talk because they were interested in the topic... some came even, just because they like my talks! I'm not yet sure, how to handle that.

Beside the difficult audience (which might be even more difficult, because it's rather hot here), it might be further complicated by the techniques: It's a kind of shared course, a cooperation of the University of Hildesheim and the University of Saarland; slides are transmitted via vnc, audio and video are transmitted in both ways via a software I haven't seen before; half of the audience here half there... and if you ever visited one of my talks, you might know, that I'm a walker type of guy: I run around, gesticulate, point things out on my slides, sometimes I even go right into the audience and talk to people directly. And now I can't really do this, urg.

But all that's solvable, the main questions remains: How do you explain how Debian works, what Debian is, to people who just learned about the four freedoms?

I was asked to aus dem Nähkästchen plaudern. That's a German idiom; don't know how to translate that. In this case it means more or less that they would like to hear stories, not see organigrams.

Well... so far my Idea is to reuse some of my old slides from an old talk1 and add some nice examples, showing the see the need, solve the problem approach. Perhaps I'll use reportbug-ng and debtags as examples.

If you have any ideas, better examples: Feel free to mail me. Would be perfect if I could get your ideas before Monday. Thanks.

1: Note to myself: I really need to sort my talks page out.

postet at 19:55 into [Debian] permanent link

Sat, 02 Jun 2007

Report from the LinuxTag -- Part I (A bit of DebianDay and my talk)

Before I start with my report I need to fulfill my promise for those who stumble here from The URL of the web interface for the package description translation framework is for now: (It's easy: Debian Description translation pproject). There might be some changes after DebConf, our annual conference, which will take place this month. So keep an eye on your language's team mailing list.

But more about Kushal Das later. The first part of my report will cover a bit of our DebianDay and of course especially my talk ;) More will follow later.

Friday was DebianDay and I attended Holger's talk about debian-community. It's a quite interesting project, trying to solve the problem, that there's not much between real DDs and the rest of the world. It's more low level than the Debian maintainers idea floating around for a while: Look around, you'll see much contributors to Debian, who are not maintaining any package.

The idea is basically to have kind of bonuses for contributing to Debian, as a more direct way to say Thanks!. Have look at the website, and think how you could help to get things rolling.

After his talk it was my turn. I did a Debian package building for beginners talk... Well, actually it's a workshop stripped down by the practical part leaving only the slides of the introduction. But who cares ;)

Again I was surprised how many people where interested in that topic. I always thought it's kind of special and not that interesting, but the room was quite stuffed. Some people where even sitting on the floor. I neither counted how many people attended my talk, nor how many seats where available. I guess I had something between 80 and 120? Perhaps Wolfgang Borgert, who moderated DebianDay, can correct me, if I'm wrong.

Since I stripped down a workshop to a talk, I needed to take special care about the timing. Well... I didn't work perfectly. I took a bit too long while answering questions, but I think all in all it was quite right. As usual I took gnujump as example; easy package, works without much tweaking of the templates created by dh_make, and if you have some time left at the end, you can show some additional stuff, like splitting of a -data package.

After the talk I got some quite interesting questions; the three most interesting ones were the following:

  • Non English license texts: One guy asked me about non English licence texts (in his case: A Japanese license text for some special printer driver).
    I asked him, to seek help by a Japanese DD, which might be okay to let the package pass ftpmaster. Sorry, but THIS IS NOT ENOUGH! I just asked Jörg Jaspert, one of the ftpmasters, and the Debian Project need's (of course) a translated version of that licence, as well as a statement of the upstream author, that the translation is okay. Otherwise the translated text has no legal binding and is therefore useless.
  • Installation packages: Packaging non-free stuff, which you need to download yourself, is a) sadly sometimes needed, b) useful for some people who need it and c) some kind of tricky. I could help much here; didn't did anything similar, yet. So I answered to take a look at either flashplugin-nonfree, msttcorefonts or java-package. Question to the others: Is there some kind of common infrastructure to build an installer package upon?
  • The Joomla! problem: Again a thing I have no experience myself in; packaging web applications. According to the Joomla! guy I talked, too, there is a special problem with that (please correct me, if I understood something wrong; as said: webapps aren't my speciality).
    There is demand for Joomla! packages, but so fare none exist. Major problem: While Joomla! is capable of running at multiple aliases, it is not (yet) capable of handling them to serve different content to them. So he wanted to be able to install Debian-Packages to different directories, where he would add different configurations of them. Short term solution could be to install it to /usr/share/ or so, and create a script, creating a symlink farm... long term solution should be to fix Joomla! ;)

So much for now; I'll write some more about the event in general, a goodie from an old friend from Treuchtlingen (rather short; the german entry is longer), and a small talk I had with an other Jörg later... I'm kind of tired right now.

postet at 22:43 into [Debian/events/LinuxTag-2007] permanent link

Tue, 29 May 2007

Donating blood

Sven Mueller wrote a nice blog about how important it is to donate blood. To cite him: Please donate blood if you can. If you are uncomfortable with the choice you made on your first donation, check out other options for donations.

I agree wholeheartedly! I heard from a Lady, who can't donate blood herself, since she doesn't feel comfortable with it -- I can understand it, I hate needles and don't like to see my own blood neither. But she wants to help nonetheless, so she volunteered to help during blood drives: She sits by the people donating blood, talks to them, helps them walk around when they still feel dizzy, give out food and drinks, etc.

postet at 18:59 into [Debian/other] permanent link

Sat, 26 May 2007

Doing stuff I should have done quite some time ago...

Yesterday I did something, I should have done a long time ago. I donated blood. I donated blood several times already, especially when I was in army service and a nearby University hospital called for help, when they where running low. I must confess it wasn't only the feel good factor that motivated me back then; you could donate blood during your duty hours, got some money, something to eat a way better than the normal food we got and additionally you where freed from heavy duty for two days. Even after I got out of military service, I went a couple of times to donate blood.

But for some reason -- I don't know why -- I stopped for a couple of years. Well; the funny thing is, that the German red Cross has often these collect blood sessions in a nearby school, which is on my way back to university, but even that didn't worked. I always had something else in mind or planed for that evening.

However, the other day we found a flier of one of those collect blood sessions yesterday evening. And so we went there... and where surprised how many people wanted to donate blood! I can't remember that I ever had to wait to donate blood, but this time they said they had many first time donors, which need special care.

Rest of the story is easy: After some interesting conversation (You know how that works? -- Yes, I look away, and you do the rest and tell me nothing!), Meike and myself had half a liter less, and enjoyed a very nice meal.

As I already said: I don't understand, why I didn't did it for such a long time; nice atmosphere, nice things to eat, nice people taking care of you... I'm going to donate more often. Perhaps you want to try it, too?

postet at 12:35 into [Debian/other] permanent link

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Alexander Tolimar Reichle-Schmehl lives in Tuttlingen / Germany. Hw works as IT manager (specialized on Unix and SAN/Storage) for an international automotive supplier.