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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


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