Debian Project News - July 29th, 2016

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The Debian Project
Debian Project News
July 29th, 2016

Welcome to this year's third issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community. Topics covered in this issue include:

* Welcome to the Debian Project News!
* Internal News/Happenings
* Events: Upcoming and Reports
* Help needed
* More than just code
* Reports
* Quick Links from Debian Social Media
* Want to continue reading DPN?

Welcome to the Debian Project News!

We hope that you are enjoying the new format of the DPN.

For other news, please read the official Debian Blog Bits from Debian [1], and follow our network feed:


Debian's Security Team releases current advisories on a daily basis (Security Advisories 2016 [2]). Please read them carefully and subscribe to the security mailing list [3].


At the end of this project news we've added a Quick Links section which links to many of the posts made through our other media streams.

Internal News/Happenings

Mate 1.14 in Unstable

Mike Gabriel announced [4] MATE 1.14 was landing in unstable, with builds for the 23 architectures supported by Debian. Mike notes that the greatest change is the switch from GTK2 to GTK3 and that there are some known issues such as when running in an NXv3-based remote desktop session. The team thanks all those who helped getting MATE into Debian.


Misc Developer News

Julien Cristau posted Misc Developer News #41 [5]. Highlights include the new debhelper compat 10 being ready for testing, source packages now being able to include upstream signatures, a change to Apt allowing the use of "by-hash" to avoid hashsum mismatches, minor mirror changes to help the Debian Mirrors network, the "stretch-debug" suite now being populated, and the package init losing its status as Essential and required, so that it can be left out of minimal chroots.


Point releases

Debian "wheezy" 7.11 [6]: the eleventh and final update of oldstable Debian 7 (codename "wheezy") was released on 4 June 2016.


Debian "jessie" 8.5 [7]: the fifth update of stable Debian 8 (codename "jessie") was also released on 4 June 2016.


Changes in the New Member process

Enrico Zini highlights [8] some changes to the New Member process along with a guide to the application process. The [9] site now offers managed self-service for most of the steps, which should aid applicants and advocates to provide input and information and make it easier for Account Managers and Debian Developers to provide input.


These changes help move the NM process forward in several areas, especially helping Debian Account Managers and Front Desk members to concentrate on reviewing and deciding on applications.

Wheezy LTS and the switch to OpenJDK 7

Markus Koschany followed up on the earlier announcement of support [10] and changes for Wheezy LTS. He gave more background information to the decision to switch from OpenJDK 6 to OpenJDK 7 in Wheezy LTS [11], a move prompted by the end of life of Ubuntu 12.04 which uses OpenJDK 6. The switch took into consideration choosing a default for a stable release cycle, the impact that it would have on users, and questioning the need of supporting JDK6 for a short 12 month period of time in contrast to the length of the LTS timeline.


Bits from the DPL

Debian Project Leader Mehdi Dogguy shared news [12] of his activities and happenings inside of the project. He announced changes made to the Newmaint delegation, notes on attending DebConf16 and Sun Camp, appointments to the Anti-Harassment team, a review of reimbursement procedures, and asset purchases.


GCC 6 and binutils for the Debian stretch release

Matthias Klose announced GCC 6 will be the default [13] GNU Compiler Collection for stretch. GCC 6 is available in testing and can be currently made the default on systems by installing the gcc/g++ packages from experimental. Matthias highlighted known build failures, and plans for release. Packages using previous GCC versions will become release critical for the next release.


binutils will be moving from a 12 month release cycle to a 6 month release cycle; expect binutils 2.27 or later for stretch.

New pkg-security team

Gianfranco Costamagna announced a new pkg-security team [14] which will focus on providing a list of security tools maintained by downstream distributions, and merging them back into Debian. The pkg-security team wiki [15] has more information on the team, task, and infrastructure.


General Resolutions

Replace "Chairman" with "Chair" throughout the Debian Constitution [16] - Proposed by Margarita Menterola, with link to discussion [17].


Declassifying debian-private [18] - Proposed by Nicolas Dandrimont, with link to discussion [19].


Events: Upcoming and Reports

* DebConf16 - The annual Debian Developers Conference

Each year the Debian community of Contributors, Developers, and software enthusiasts meets for an annual Conference known as DebConf [20]. This year was the 16th conference, along with its precursor hacking session DebCamp which was held 23 June through 1 July 2016

The conference location for this year was Cape Town, South Africa, the venue was the University of Cape Town (UCT), and the event was hosted by the Engineering Faculty and the Department of Computer Sciences.

DebConf16 [21] officially started 2 July and ended 9 July 2016 with over 280 people attending from all over the world. As Debian is a worldwide community, for those unable to attend, 113 hours of talks in 114 events, BOFs ("Birds of a Feather" discussions), and sessions were recorded and live streamed. A special nod of appreciation to the Video team who reviewed sessions as soon as they were recorded and set up a system to publish the videos automatically; videos may be seen at the Debian meetings archive website [22].

We hope to provide a fuller report of the DebConf16 experience, but as of now most of the attendees are still recovering and blogging about their times and experiences, so please stay tuned.

* Debian activities in FISL17

During the 17th edition of the International Free Software Forum (FISL17) held from 13 July through 16 July at PUCRS in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the Debian project's late founder, Ian Murdock, received a great tribute, in which one of the stages of the event received his name. At the official opening this announcement was greeted with a warm round of applause. More details are available in the news published on the event website (in Portuguese) [23].

The Brazilian Debian community held various activities during FISL17: 6 Lightning Talks on various topics such as Forensics, BTS, Debian Policy, and GSoC. There were also workshops on packaging, the Web of Trust, and a community meeting. The main theme of this meeting was to present the various work fronts and ways of contribution to the community and to attract new contributors. All activities of the Debian community in Brazil can be seen here [24].

As has happened in previous years, the event had exhibition stands for the communities; this space was very important and served as a meeting between members of the Debian community. During the four-day event promotional materials were distributed, and many people sought out the exhibition stand to learn more about the Debian community. Others participated in the Install Fest.

Some photos [25] of the event. Debian Brazil community continues its focus to have a continuous presence in one of the greatest Free Software events in the world, showing the work done and inviting more people to collaborate with the "Universal Operating System".


Upcoming events

* A small reminder that Debian has a Code of Conduct [26] that is to be honoured at all Debian Events and by Developers representing Debian at events and functions. We take pride in our diversity [27] and welcoming environment.

* Reminder: 5 November 2016, transitions freeze for stretch.


Once upon a time in Debian:

* 2005-07-05 GCC 4.0 as the default GCC [28]
* 2008-06-09 lenny beta 2 Debian Installer [29]
* 2010-06-29 Derivatives Front Desk introduced [30]
* 2012-07-02 Bug #680000 reported by Jan Dejemyr [31]


Help needed

Teams needing help

Call for Stretch artwork proposals

Niels Thykier made the official call for proposals for stretch artwork [32]. If you would like, or know of someone who would like, to create a desktop look and feel, be sure to send in your artwork. Submission deadline is 5 September 2016.


Packages needing help:

Currently [33] 800 packages are orphaned [34] and 171 packages are up for adoption [35]: please visit the complete list of packages which need your help [36].


Newcomer bugs

Debian has a newcomer bug tag used to indicate bugs which are suitable for new contributors to use as an entry point to working on specific packages.

There are 182 [37] newcomer bugs available.


More than just code


1,657 people and 19 teams are listed on the Debian Contributors [38] page for 2016.



Debian user Gene Heskett asked how to fix his Iceweasel/Firefox icon and binary mixup [39]... and started one of the largest threads in -user. The discussion covered firefox binaries, what synaptic actually installs and where it installs it to, email etiquette and code of conduct, and the resurfacing of bug #815006 [40] and great news.


Debian user Lisi Reisz posted "Catastrophe - but how? Aptitude goes mad" [41], when a simple aptitude install instead uninstalled everything. The thread gives the recovery, solution and some history on GREP, as well as notes on when to use and when to never use aptitude vs. apt-get.


On the Debian Developers list Steve McIntyre pondered the usefulness of a "Jessie and a half" release [42]. Although the name is not set, the discussion on what to include in this release starts off with a backports-kernel, a rebuilt Debian Installer, X drivers, xserver, and other packages. Thoughts are many arm64, recent amd64, and ppc64el ports would benefit from this release and its net install image.


Tips and Tricks

Keerthana Krishnan shared 10 Git commands every developer should know [43] and A beginner’s guide to Debian Source Packages [44].


Francois Marier shared information on Replacing a failed RAID drive [45] and Cleaning up obsolete config files on Debian and Ubuntu. [46]


Tips and Tricks: Capetown/South Africa Edition

Michael Prokop shared lessons learnt in Capetown [47] at DebConf16.



Outreachy Weekly Reports

Valerie Young starts off Outreachy - Summer of Reproducible Builds [48] with a self introduction and details of what Reproducible Builds are all about.


Week 1 [49], Reproduced the reproducible builds tests website locally, added additional information to INSTALL files, and fixed broken links due to an additional directory.


Week 2 [50], introduction of a templates system using mustache [51], navigation improvements to package pages, started bash to python script conversions.


Week 3 [52], at DebCamp Valerie continued work on python script conversion and added more templates. Objectives presented for creating more mustache templates and continuing work on navigation.


Week 5 [53], distracted by the amazing people of Debian at DebCamp. Plans to finish package set page script, highlight issue with navigation.


Week After DebConf [54], finished the conversion of the package set pages [55] script, replaced the bash code navigation with a mustache template that the python scripts use for the home page [56], redesigned the website by way of rearranging, enabled cross suite and architecture navigation on most pages.


Scarlett Clark - reports on Week 1 [57] of Outreachy, Reproducible Builds. Work started on kapptemplate [58], choqok [59] and plans to fix the source of problem issues by looking into the kconfig_compiler.


Week 2 [60] saw kapptemplate pushed to upstream and a submitted patch for choqok with a review request, work in progress on kxmlgui which was causing unreproducible symbol/debug files.


Week 3 [61] choqok patch approved! Further work with kxmlgui and the start of work in KDE Randa.


Week 5 [62]: kde4libs and kf5 kconfig were pushed upstream, testing a patch to fix umask issues in kapptemplate, the KDE Randa docker image is up and running.


GSOC - WebRTC (Real-Time Communications) and Communications projects

Daniel Pocock introduces us to this year's Debian Summer of Code Students [63] working on WebRTC (Real-Time Communications) and Communications projects.


Mesut Can Gurle [64] is making plugins for genuinely free WebRTC with open standards like SIP, recently creating the WPCall [65] plugin for WordPress.


Keerthana Krishnan [66] has started work on creating a similar plugin for MediaWiki.


Jaminy Prabaharan [67] is working on a tool to help users to find all the phone numbers and ham radio callsigns in old emails.


Simon Désaulniers [68], Olivier Gregoire [69], Nicolas Reynaud [70], and Alok Anand [71] are working on a peer-to-peer alternative to SIP, XMPP and WebRTC, along with Savoir Faire Linux [72] in work on the Ring [73] softphone.






Pranav Jain [74] has been working on streamlining the provisioning of SIP accounts, hoping as well to provide mechanisms for privately operated SIP PBXes such as Asterisk.


Nik Vaes [75] has been working on issues that users of the JAIN SIP library used for Java in Apache Camel and the Jitsi softphone have been facing.


There is also a large Mentoring Team around the Summer of Code Projects for the students.

GSoC - Reproducible Builds in Debian

Satyam Zode started Week 1 [76] with work on the addition of the -hide=profiles flag to diffoscope to provide alternatives for tools and to increase the userbase of diffoscope and contributors. He task-listed: Working towards reading argparse python documentation, debugging code towards solutions, and discussing the problems with the community.


Week 2 and 3 [77] focused on using a prebuilder to duplicate reproducibility issues, the use of which helped find more use cases for-hide=profiles. He also researched the differences between different unreproducible packages, added detailed use cases to Reproducible Builds Hide Profiles Specifications [78], and apprised apkdiff, pkg-diff, and tar to see how they were reading and ignoring input.


Week 4 and 5 [79] Satyam worked on interface design, argument completion, and hiding.buildinfo from.changes files.


GSoC - Improving distributed and secure communication using free software

Simon Désaulnier started his introduction [80] to GSoC by sharing his focus of work on improving distributed and secure communication using free software. Simon will be working on OpenDHT, a component of Ring [81], a secure and distributed voice, video and chat communication platform. OpenDHT is the distributed hash table which allows Ring to keep communications and the platform decentralised.


Simon's roadmap for the project starts with new OpenDHT functionality, maintenance, and data optimisation.

Week 1 [82] started with serialisable structure for remote filtering which allows for expanded sql like queries.


Week 2 [83] Simon fixed a bug issues with a Packaging issue for Python bindings [84] and for dht: consider IPv4 or IPv6 disconnected on operation done [85].


Week 3 and 4 [86] Simon worked on the final version of the queries code library, work now focuses on Value pagination including a redesign of some of the operation callbacks, and optimising announce operations.


Week 5 and 6 [87] at DebConf16 [88] Simon attended a keysigning party and speaks on the web of trust and mentions that Ring is now part of Debian. Simon worked with Debian Developer Alexandre Viau and together they Presented Ring at DebConf 2016 [89].


LTS Freexian Monthly Reports

Debian Long Term Support, June 2016 [90]


Debian Long Term Support, May 2016 [91]


Reproducible Build status/update

Reproducible builds: week 57 in "stretch" cycle [92]


Reproducible builds: week 58 in "stretch" cycle [93]


Reproducible builds: week 59 in "stretch" cycle [94]


Reproducible builds: week 60 in "stretch" cycle [95]


Reproducible builds: week 61 in "stretch" cycle [96]


Reproducible builds: week 62 in "stretch" cycle [97]


Quick Links from Debian Social Media

New Developers and Maintainers - May and June 2016 [98]


Debian Perl Sprint 2016 [99]


Debian 7 Wheezy LTS now supporting armel and armhf [100]


Want to continue reading DPN?

Please help us create this newsletter. We still need more volunteer writers to watch the Debian community and report about what is going on. Please see the contributing page [101] to find out how to help. We're looking forward to receiving your mail at


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This issue of Debian Project News was edited by The Publicity Team with contributions from Giovani Augusto Ferreira, Justin Rye, Holger Wansing.