Planet Debian

Syndicate content
Planet Debian -
Updated: 14 hours 28 min ago

Daniel Pocock: Want to be selected for Google Summer of Code 2016?

Fri, 2015-10-02 12:41

I've mentored a number of students in 2013, 2014 and 2015 for Debian and Ganglia and most of the companies I've worked with have run internships and graduate programs from time to time. GSoC 2015 has just finished and with all the excitement, many students are already asking what they can do to prepare and be selected for Outreachy or GSoC in 2016.

My own observation is that the more time the organization has to get to know the student, the more confident they can be selecting that student. Furthermore, the more time that the student has spent getting to know the free software community, the more easily they can complete GSoC.

Here I present a list of things that students can do to maximize their chance of selection and career opportunities at the same time. These tips are useful for people applying for GSoC itself and related programs such as GNOME's Outreachy or graduate placements in companies.


There is no guarantee that Google will run the program again in 2016 or any future year until the Google announcement.

There is no guarantee that any organization or mentor (including myself) will be involved until the official list of organizations is published by Google.

Do not follow the advice of web sites that invite you to send pizza or anything else of value to prospective mentors.

Following the steps in this page doesn't guarantee selection. That said, people who do follow these steps are much more likely to be considered and interviewed than somebody who hasn't done any of the things in this list.

Understand what free software really is

You may hear terms like free software and open source software used interchangeably.

They don't mean exactly the same thing and many people use the term free software for the wrong things. Not all projects declaring themselves to be "free" or "open source" meet the definition of free software. Those that don't, usually as a result of deficiencies in their licenses, are fundamentally incompatible with the majority of software that does use genuinely free licenses.

Google Summer of Code is about both writing and publishing your code and it is also about community. It is fundamental that you know the basics of licensing and how to choose a free license that empowers the community to collaborate on your code well after GSoC has finished.

Please review the definition of free software early on and come back and review it from time to time. The The GNU Project / Free Software Foundation have excellent resources to help you understand what a free software license is and how it works to maximize community collaboration.

Don't look for shortcuts

There is no shortcut to GSoC selection and there is no shortcut to GSoC completion.

The student stipend (USD $5,500 in 2014) is not paid to students unless they complete a minimum amount of valid code. This means that even if a student did find some shortcut to selection, it is unlikely they would be paid without completing meaningful work.

If you are the right candidate for GSoC, you will not need a shortcut anyway. Are you the sort of person who can't leave a coding problem until you really feel it is fixed, even if you keep going all night? Have you ever woken up in the night with a dream about writing code still in your head? Do you become irritated by tedious or repetitive tasks and often think of ways to write code to eliminate such tasks? Does your family get cross with you because you take your laptop to Christmas dinner or some other significant occasion and start coding? If some of these statements summarize the way you think or feel you are probably a natural fit for GSoC.

An opportunity money can't buy

The GSoC stipend will not make you rich. It is intended to make sure you have enough money to survive through the summer and focus on your project. Professional developers make this much money in a week in leading business centers like New York, London and Singapore. When you get to that stage in 3-5 years, you will not even be thinking about exactly how much you made during internships.

GSoC gives you an edge over other internships because it involves publicly promoting your work. Many companies still try to hide the potential of their best recruits for fear they will be poached or that they will be able to demand higher salaries. Everything you complete in GSoC is intended to be published and you get full credit for it. Imagine a young musician getting the opportunity to perform on the main stage at a rock festival. This is how the free software community works. It is a meritocracy and there is nobody to hold you back.

Having a portfolio of free software that you have created or collaborated on and a wide network of professional contacts that you develop before, during and after GSoC will continue to pay you back for years to come. While other graduates are being screened through group interviews and testing days run by employers, people with a track record in a free software project often find they go straight to the final interview round.

Register your domain name and make a permanent email address

Free software is all about community and collaboration. Register your own domain name as this will become a focal point for your work and for people to get to know you as you become part of the community.

This is sound advice for anybody working in IT, not just programmers. It gives the impression that you are confident and have a long term interest in a technology career.

Choosing the provider: as a minimum, you want a provider that offers DNS management, static web site hosting, email forwarding and XMPP services all linked to your domain. You do not need to choose the provider that is linked to your internet connection at home and that is often not the best choice anyway. The XMPP foundation maintains a list of providers known to support XMPP.

Create an email address within your domain name. The most basic domain hosting providers will let you forward the email address to a webmail or university email account of your choice. Configure your webmail to send replies using your personalized email address in the From header.

Update your ~/.gitconfig file to use your personalized email address in your Git commits.

Create a web site and blog

Start writing a blog. Host it using your domain name.

Some people blog every day, other people just blog once every two or three months.

Create links from your web site to your other profiles, such as a Github profile page. This helps reinforce the pages/profiles that are genuinely related to you and avoid confusion with the pages of other developers.

Many mentors are keen to see their students writing a weekly report on a blog during GSoC so starting a blog now gives you a head start. Mentors look at blogs during the selection process to try and gain insight into which topics a student is most suitable for.

Create a profile on Github

Github is one of the most widely used software development web sites. Github makes it quick and easy for you to publish your work and collaborate on the work of other people. Create an account today and get in the habbit of forking other projects, improving them, committing your changes and pushing the work back into your Github account.

Github will quickly build a profile of your commits and this allows mentors to see and understand your interests and your strengths.

In your Github profile, add a link to your web site/blog and make sure the email address you are using for Git commits (in the ~/.gitconfig file) is based on your personal domain.

Start using PGP

Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is the industry standard in protecting your identity online. All serious free software projects use PGP to sign tags in Git, to sign official emails and to sign official release files.

The most common way to start using PGP is with the GnuPG (GNU Privacy Guard) utility. It is installed by the package manager on most Linux systems.

When you create your own PGP key, use the email address involving your domain name. This is the most permanent and stable solution.

Print your key fingerprint using the gpg-key2ps command, it is in the signing-party package on most Linux systems. Keep copies of the fingerprint slips with you.

This is what my own PGP fingerprint slip looks like. You can also print the key fingerprint on a business card for a more professional look.

Using PGP, it is recommend that you sign any important messages you send but you do not have to encrypt the messages you send, especially if some of the people you send messages to (like family and friends) do not yet have the PGP software to decrypt them.

If using the Thunderbird (Icedove) email client from Mozilla, you can easily send signed messages and validate the messages you receive using the Enigmail plugin.

Get your PGP key signed

Once you have a PGP key, you will need to find other developers to sign it. For people I mentor personally in GSoC, I'm keen to see that you try and find another Debian Developer in your area to sign your key as early as possible.

Free software events

Try and find all the free software events in your area in the months between now and the end of the next Google Summer of Code season. Aim to attend at least two of them before GSoC.

Look closely at the schedules and find out about the individual speakers, the companies and the free software projects that are participating. For events that span more than one day, find out about the dinners, pub nights and other social parts of the event.

Try and identify people who will attend the event who have been GSoC mentors or who intend to be. Contact them before the event, if you are keen to work on something in their domain they may be able to make time to discuss it with you in person.

Take your PGP fingerprint slips. Even if you don't participate in a formal key-signing party at the event, you will still find some developers to sign your PGP key individually. You must take a photo ID document (such as your passport) for the other developer to check the name on your fingerprint but you do not give them a copy of the ID document.

Events come in all shapes and sizes. FOSDEM is an example of one of the bigger events in Europe, is a similarly large event in Australia. There are many, many more local events such as the Debian UK mini-DebConf in Cambridge, November 2015. Many events are either free or free for students but please check carefully if there is a requirement to register before attending.

On your blog, discuss which events you are attending and which sessions interest you. Write a blog during or after the event too, including photos.

Quantcast generously hosted the Ganglia community meeting in San Francisco, October 2013. We had a wild time in their offices with mini-scooters, burgers, beers and the Ganglia book. That's me on the pink mini-scooter and Bernard Li, one of the other Ganglia GSoC 2014 admins is on the right.

Install Linux

GSoC is fundamentally about free software. Linux is to free software what a tree is to the forest. Using Linux every day on your personal computer dramatically increases your ability to interact with the free software community and increases the number of potential GSoC projects that you can participate in.

This is not to say that people using Mac OS or Windows are unwelcome. I have worked with some great developers who were not Linux users. Linux gives you an edge though and the best time to gain that edge is now, while you are a student and well before you apply for GSoC.

If you must run Windows for some applications used in your course, it will run just fine in a virtual machine using Virtual Box, a free software solution for desktop virtualization. Use Linux as the primary operating system.

Here are links to download ISO DVD (and CD) images for some of the main Linux distributions:

If you are nervous about getting started with Linux, install it on a spare PC or in a virtual machine before you install it on your main PC or laptop. Linux is much less demanding on the hardware than Windows so you can easily run it on a machine that is 5-10 years old. Having just 4GB of RAM and 20GB of hard disk is usually more than enough for a basic graphical desktop environment although having better hardware makes it faster.

Your experiences installing and running Linux, especially if it requires some special effort to make it work with some of your hardware, make interesting topics for your blog.

Decide which technologies you know best

Personally, I have mentored students working with C, C++, Java, Python and JavaScript/HTML5.

In a GSoC program, you will typically do most of your work in just one of these languages.

From the outset, decide which language you will focus on and do everything you can to improve your competence with that language. For example, if you have already used Java in most of your course, plan on using Java in GSoC and make sure you read Effective Java (2nd Edition) by Joshua Bloch.

Decide which themes appeal to you

Find a topic that has long-term appeal for you. Maybe the topic relates to your course or maybe you already know what type of company you would like to work in.

Here is a list of some topics and some of the relevant software projects:

  • System administration, servers and networking: consider projects involving monitoring, automation, packaging. Ganglia is a great community to get involved with and you will encounter the Ganglia software in many large companies and academic/research networks. Contributing to a Linux distribution like Debian or Fedora packaging is another great way to get into system administration.
  • Desktop and user interface: consider projects involving window managers and desktop tools or adding to the user interface of just about any other software.
  • Big data and data science: this can apply to just about any other theme. For example, data science techniques are frequently used now to improve system administration.
  • Business and accounting: consider accounting, CRM and ERP software.
  • Finance and trading: consider projects like R, market data software like OpenMAMA and connectivity software (Apache Camel)
  • Real-time communication (RTC), VoIP, webcam and chat: look at the JSCommunicator or the Jitsi project
  • Web (JavaScript, HTML5): look at the JSCommunicator

Before the GSoC application process begins, you should aim to learn as much as possible about the theme you prefer and also gain practical experience using the software relating to that theme. For example, if you are attracted to the business and accounting theme, install the PostBooks suite and get to know it. Maybe you know somebody who runs a small business: help them to upgrade to PostBooks and use it to prepare some reports.

Make something

Make some small project, less than two week's work, to demonstrate your skills. It is important to make something that somebody will use for a practical purpose, this will help you gain experience communicating with other users through Github.

For an example, see the servlet Juliana Louback created for fixing phone numbers in December 2013. It has since been used as part of the Lumicall web site and Juliana was selected for a GSoC 2014 project with Debian.

There is no better way to demonstrate to a prospective mentor that you are ready for GSoC than by completing and publishing some small project like this yourself. If you don't have any immediate project ideas, many developers will also be able to give you tips on small projects like this that you can attempt, just come and ask us on one of the mailing lists.

Ideally, the project will be something that you would use anyway even if you do not end up participating in GSoC. Such projects are the most motivating and rewarding and usually end up becoming an example of your best work. To continue the example of somebody with a preference for business and accounting software, a small project you might create is a plugin or extension for PostBooks.

Getting to know prospective mentors

Many web sites provide useful information about the developers who contribute to free software projects. Some of these developers may be willing to be a GSoC mentor.

For example, look through some of the following:

Getting on the mentor's shortlist

Once you have identified projects that are interesting to you and developers who work on those projects, it is important to get yourself on the developer's shortlist.

Basically, the shortlist is a list of all students who the developer believes can complete the project. If I feel that a student is unlikely to complete a project or if I don't have enough information to judge a student's probability of success, that student will not be on my shortlist.

If I don't have any student on my shortlist, then a project will not go ahead at all. If there are multiple students on the shortlist, then I will be looking more closely at each of them to try and work out who is the best match.

One way to get a developer's attention is to look at bug reports they have created. Github makes it easy to see complaints or bug reports they have made about their own projects or other projects they depend on. Another way to do this is to search through their code for strings like FIXME and TODO. Projects with standalone bug trackers like the Debian bug tracker also provide an easy way to search for bug reports that a specific person has created or commented on.

Once you find some relevant bug reports, email the developer. Ask if anybody else is working on those issues. Try and start with an issue that is particularly easy and where the solution is interesting for you. This will help you learn to compile and test the program before you try to fix any more complicated bugs. It may even be something you can work on as part of your academic program.

Find successful projects from the previous year

Contact organizations and ask them which GSoC projects were most successful. In many organizations, you can find the past students' project plans and their final reports published on the web. Read through the plans submitted by the students who were chosen. Then read through the final reports by the same students and see how they compare to the original plans.

Start building your project proposal now

Don't wait for the application period to begin. Start writing a project proposal now.

When writing a proposal, it is important to include several things:

  • Think big: what is the goal at the end of the project? Does your work help the greater good in some way, such as increasing the market share of Linux on the desktop?
  • Details: what are specific challenges? What tools will you use?
  • Time management: what will you do each week? Are there weeks where you will not work on GSoC due to vacation or other events? These things are permitted but they must be in your plan if you know them in advance. If an accident or death in the family cut a week out of your GSoC project, which work would you skip and would your project still be useful without that? Having two weeks of flexible time in your plan makes it more resilient against interruptions.
  • Communication: are you on mailing lists, IRC and XMPP chat? Will you make a weekly report on your blog?
  • Users: who will benefit from your work?
  • Testing: who will test and validate your work throughout the project? Ideally, this should involve more than just the mentor.

If your project plan is good enough, could you put it on Kickstarter or another crowdfunding site? This is a good test of whether or not a project is going to be supported by a GSoC mentor.

Learn about packaging and distributing software

Packaging is a vital part of the free software lifecycle. It is very easy to upload a project to Github but it takes more effort to have it become an official package in systems like Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu.

Packaging and the communities around Linux distributions help you reach out to users of your software and get valuable feedback and new contributors. This boosts the impact of your work.

To start with, you may want to help the maintainer of an existing package. Debian packaging teams are existing communities that work in a team and welcome new contributors. The Debian Mentors initiative is another great starting place. In the Fedora world, the place to start may be in one of the Special Interest Groups (SIGs).

Think from the mentor's perspective

After the application deadline, mentors have just 2 or 3 weeks to choose the students. This is actually not a lot of time to be certain if a particular student is capable of completing a project. If the student has a published history of free software activity, the mentor feels a lot more confident about choosing the student.

Some mentors have more than one good student while other mentors receive no applications from capable students. In this situation, it is very common for mentors to send each other details of students who may be suitable. Once again, if a student has a good Github profile and a blog, it is much easier for mentors to try and match that student with another project.


Getting into the world of software engineering is much like joining any other profession or even joining a new hobby or sporting activity. If you run, you probably have various types of shoe and a running watch and you may even spend a couple of nights at the track each week. If you enjoy playing a musical instrument, you probably have a collection of sheet music, accessories for your instrument and you may even aspire to build a recording studio in your garage (or you probably know somebody else who already did that).

The things listed on this page will not just help you walk the walk and talk the talk of a software developer, they will put you on a track to being one of the leaders. If you look over the profiles of other software developers on the Internet, you will find they are doing most of the things on this page already. Even if you are not selected for GSoC at all or decide not to apply, working through the steps on this page will help you clarify your own ideas about your career and help you make new friends in the software engineering community.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Sylvain Beucler: Android Free developer tools rebuilds

Fri, 2015-10-02 07:18

I published some Free rebuilds of the Android SDK, NDK and ADT at:

As described in my previous post, Google is click-wrapping all developer binaries (including preview versions for which source code isn't published yet) with a non-free EULA, notably an anti-fork clause.

There's been some discussion on where to host this project at the campaign list.

Build instructions are provided, so feel free to check if the builds are reproducible, and contribute instructions for more tools!

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Norbert Preining: Updates for OSX 10.11 El Capitan: cjk-gs-integrate and jfontmaps 20151002.0

Fri, 2015-10-02 03:52

Now that OSX 10.11 El Capitan is released and everyone is eagerly updating, in cooperation with the colleagues from the Japanese TeX world we have released new versions of the jfontmaps and cjk-gs-integrate packages. With these two packages in TeX Live, El Capitan users can take advantage of the newly available fonts in the Japanese TeX engines ((u)ptex et al), and directly in Ghostscript.

For jfontmaps the changes were minimal, Yusuke Terada fixed a mismatch in ttc index numbers for some fonts. Without this fix, Hiragino Interface is used instead of HiraginoSans-W3 and -W6.

On the other hand, cjk-gs-integrate has seen a lot more changes:

  • add support for OSX 10.11 El Capitan provided fonts (by Yusuke Terada)
  • added 2004-{H,V} encodings for Japanese fonts (by Munehiro Yamamoto)
  • fix incorrect link name – this prevented kanji-config-updmap from the jfontmaps package to find and use the linked fonts
  • rename --link-texmflocal to --link-texmf [DIR] with an optional argument
  • add a --remove option to revert the operation – this does clean up completely only if the same set of fonts is found

For more explanations concerning how to run cjk-gs-integrate, please see the dedicated page: CJK fonts and Ghostscript integration.

For feedback and bug reports, please use the github project pages: jfontmaps, cjk-gs-support.

Both packages should arrive in your local TeX Live CTAN repository within a day or two.

We hope that with this users of El Capitan can use their fonts to the full extend.


Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Junichi Uekawa: Playing with FUSE and git.

Thu, 2015-10-01 17:58
Playing with FUSE and git. I've been playing with FUSE and git to make a file system, for fun. There's already many filesystems that are implemented with FUSE, and there are quite a few ones that implement filesystem for git, but I don't use any of them. I wondered why that is the case but tried to build one anyway. It's in github repository gitlstreefs. I have created several toy file systems in C++. ninjafs is one where it shows ninja targets as files and builds the file target when file is actually needed. They aren't quite as useful yet but an interesting excercise, FUSE was reasonably straightforward to implement simple filesystems with.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Petter Reinholdtsen: French Docbook/PDF/EPUB/MOBI edition of the Free Culture book

Thu, 2015-10-01 07:20

As I wrap up the Norwegian version of Free Culture book by Lawrence Lessig (still waiting for my final proof reading copy to arrive in the mail), my great dblatex helper and developer of the dblatex docbook processor, Benoît Guillon, decided a to try to create a French version of the book. He started with the French translation available from the Wikilivres wiki pages, and wrote a program to convert it into a PO file, allowing the translation to be integrated into the po4a based framework I use to create the Norwegian translation from the English edition. We meet on the #dblatex IRC channel to discuss the work. If you want to help create a French edition, check out his git repository and join us on IRC. If the French edition look good, we might publish it as a paper book on A French version of the drawings and the cover need to be provided for this to happen.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Mike Gabriel: My FLOSS activities in August/September 2015

Thu, 2015-10-01 07:18

Here comes my "monthly" FLOSS report for August and September 2015. As 50% of August 2015 had been dedicated to taking some time off (spending time in Sweden with the family), it happened that even more workload had to be processed in September 2015.

  • Completion of MATE 1.10 in Debian testing/unstable and Ubuntu 15.10
  • Contribution to Debian LTS, Debian packaging
  • Development of GOsa² Plugin SchoolManager
  • Automatic builds for Arctica Project
  • Forking Unity Greeter as Arctica Greeter (with focus on the remote logon part inside Unity Greeter)
Received Sponsorship

My monthly 8h portion of working for the Debian LTS project I had to dispatch from August into September. Thus, I received 16h of paid work for working on Debian LTS in September 2015. For details, see below. Thanks to Raphael Hertzog for having me on the team [1]. Thanks to all the people and companies sponsoring the Debian LTS Team's work.

The development of GOsa² Plugin SchoolManager (for details, see below) was done on contract for a school in Nothern Germany. The code will be released under the same license as the GOsa² software itself.

Completion of MATE 1.10 in Debian testing/unstable and Ubuntu 15.10

In the first half of September all MATE 1.10 packages finally landed in Debian testing (aka stretch). Martin Wimpress handled most of the packaging changes, whereas my main job was being reviewer and uploader of his efforts. Thanks to John Paul Adrian Glaubitz for jumping in as reviewer and uploader during my vacation time.

read more

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Mike Gabriel: Nightly builds for Arctica Project (Debian / Ubuntu)

Thu, 2015-10-01 06:42

I am happy to announce that The Arctica Project can now provide automatic nightly builds of its developers' coding code work.

Packages are built automatically via Jenkins, see [1] for an overview of the current build queues. The Jenkins system builds code as found on our CGit mirror site [2].

NOTE: The Arctica Project's nightly builds may especially be interesting to people that want to try out the latest development steps on nx-libs (3.6.x branch) as we provide nx-libs 3.6.x binary preview builds.

Currently, we only build our code against Debian and Ubuntu (amd64, i386), more distros and platforms are likely to be added. If people can provide machine power (esp. non-Intel based architectures), please get in touch with us on Freenode IRC (channel: #arctica).

This is how you can add our package repositories to your APT system.

Debian APT (here: stretch)

Please note that we only support recent Debian versions (currently version 7.x and above).

$ echo 'deb stretch main' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/arctica.list sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver 0x98DE3101 apt-get update Ubuntu APT (here: trusty)

Please note that we support recent Ubuntu LTS versions only (Ubuntu 14.04 only at the moment).

$ echo 'deb trusty main' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/arctica.list sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver 0x98DE3101 apt-get update


read more

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Michal Čihař: IMAP utils 0.5

Thu, 2015-10-01 06:00

I've just released new version of imap-utils. Main reason for new release was change on PyPI which now needs files to be hosted there.

However the new release also comes with other changes:

  • Changed license to GPL3+.
  • Various coding style fixes.

Also this is first release done from Git repository hosted on GitHub.

Filed under: Coding English IMAP | 0 comments

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Ben Armstrong: Halifax Mainland Common: Early Fall, 2015

Wed, 2015-09-30 18:33

A friend and I regularly meet to chat over coffee and then usually finish up by walking the maintained trail in the Halifax Mainland Common Park, but today we decided to take a brief excursion onto the unmaintained trails criss-crossing the park. The last gasp of a faint summer and early signs of fall are evident everywhere.

Some mushrooms are dried and cracked in a mosaic pattern:

Ferns and other brush are browning amongst the various greens of late summer:

A few late blueberries still cling to isolated bushes here and there:

The riot of fall colours in this small clearing, dotted with cotton-grass, burst into view as we round a corner, set behind by a backdrop of nearby buildings:

The ferns here are vivid, like a slow burning fire that will take the rest of fall to burn out:

We appreciate one last splash of colour before we head back under the cover of woods to rejoin the maintained trail:

So many times we’ve travelled our usual route “on automatic”. I’m happy today we left the more travelled trail to share in these glimpses of the changing of seasons in a wilderness preserved for our enjoyment immediately at hand to a densely populated part of the city.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Chris Lamb: Free software activities in September 2015

Wed, 2015-09-30 18:23

Inspired by Raphaël Hertzog, here is a monthly update covering a large part of what I have been doing in the free software world:


The Reproducible Builds project was also covered in depth on LWN as well as in Lunar's weekly reports (#18, #19, #20, #21, #22).

  • redis — A new upstream release, as well as overhauling the systemd configuration, maintaining feature parity with sysvinit and adding various security hardening features.
  • python-redis — Attempting to get its Debian Continuous Integration tests to pass successfully.
  • libfiu — Ensuring we do not FTBFS under exotic locales.
  • gunicorn — Dropping a dependency on python-tox now that tests are disabled.
Bugs filed Patches contributed
RC bugs

I also filed FTBFS bugs against actdiag, actdiag, bangarang, bmon, bppphyview, cervisia, choqok, cinnamon-control-center, clasp, composer, cpl-plugin-naco, dirspec, django-countries, dmapi, dolphin-plugins, dulwich, elki, eqonomize, eztrace, fontmatrix, freedink, galera-3, golang-git2go, golang-github-golang-leveldb, gopher, gst-plugins-bad0.10, jbofihe, k3b, kalgebra, kbibtex, kde-baseapps, kde-dev-utils, kdesdk-kioslaves, kdesvn, kdevelop-php-docs, kdewebdev, kftpgrabber, kile, kmess, kmix, kmldonkey, knights, konsole4, kpartsplugin, kplayer, kraft, krecipes, krusader, ktp-auth-handler, ktp-common-internals, ktp-text-ui, libdevice-cdio-perl, libdr-tarantool-perl, libevent-rpc-perl, libmime-util-java, libmoosex-app-cmd-perl, libmoosex-app-cmd-perl, librdkafka, libxml-easyobj-perl, maven-dependency-plugin, mmtk, murano-dashboard, node-expat, node-iconv, node-raw-body, node-srs, node-websocket, ocaml-estring, ocaml-estring, oce, odb, oslo-config, oslo.messaging, ovirt-guest-agent, packagesearch, php-svn, php5-midgard2, phpunit-story, pike8.0, plasma-widget-adjustableclock, plowshare4, procps, pygpgme, pylibmc, pyroma, python-admesh, python-bleach, python-dmidecode, python-libdiscid, python-mne, python-mne, python-nmap, python-nmap, python-oslo.middleware, python-riemann-client, python-traceback2, qdjango, qsapecng, ruby-em-synchrony, ruby-ffi-rzmq, ruby-nokogiri, ruby-opengraph-parser, ruby-thread-safe, shortuuid, skrooge, smb4k, snp-sites, soprano, stopmotion, subtitlecomposer, svgpart, thin-provisioning-tools, umbrello, validator.js, vdr-plugin-prefermenu, vdr-plugin-vnsiserver, vdr-plugin-weather, webkitkde, xbmc-pvr-addons, xfsdump & zanshin.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Norbert Preining: 6 years in Japan

Wed, 2015-09-30 17:03

Exactly 6 years ago, on October 1, 2009, I started my work at the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), arriving the previous day in a place not completely unknown, but with a completely different outlook: I had a position as Associate Professor, and somehow was looking forward to an interesting and challenging time.

6 years later I am still here at the JAIST, but things have changed considerably, and my future is even less clear than 6 years ago. So it is time to reflect a bit about the last years.

The biggest achievement

My biggest achievement in these 6 years is probably that I managed to learn Japanese to a degree that I can teach in Japanese (math, logic, etc), can read Japanese books to a certain degree, and have generally no problem communicating in daily life. Said that, there is still a long way to go. Reading, and much more writing, is still requiring concentration and power, far from the natural flow in my other languages. While talking feels rather natural, the complexity of the written language is a huge hurdle. But this is probably the good, the high point of the 6 years, a great challenge, that keeps my mind busy and working and challenged over long time, with still more to do.

The happiest thing

Many events here in Japan were of great fun and enjoyment for me. The rich culture, paired with a spectacular love for traditional handicraft I haven’t seen anywhere else, is a guarantee for enjoyable and intellectually stimulating activities. But the biggest joy of my time here of course was that I found a lovely, beautiful, and caring wife. Not knowing the challenges of an international marriage, I was caught without preparation, and so we had (and still have) rough times due to the cultural differences, and different expectations. But this is what makes life interesting, and so I am always grateful for this chance. Whatever happens in the future, she will be part of my decisions and the center of my life.

The biggest disappointment

Of course, when you live in a country for some time, you learn to know the highs and lows. As someone interested in politics and social systems, Japan is a pain in the butt in many respects. But the biggest disappointment was in a different area: Working environment. While I love my work and had great surroundings, there is something that always is present in the background: Foreigners here are not considered assets, but embellishment. Meaning that they are the first ones to loose their jobs when times are difficult, meaning that they are not considered as full members. After many years at a university here, and with no outlook on a job after March, I can only say, Japan is a country of “Japanese first”, especially when it comes to jobs. Of course, other countries are not that different, but looking at the average mixture of nationalities at universities in Europe or the US, and comparing them to Japanese universities, a bleak image is arising. I enjoyed my time here, I worked hard and did a lot for my university, but the economically hard times make it necessary to change things, and that means getting rid of foreigners.

That is the reason why the work environment is the biggest disappointment in these years.


The future is unclear, as it always was. The dire fate of many researchers. Being in my 40ies without a permanent position and a family, I am forced to think hard what my next options are. The hide-and-seek games of Japanese (and other) universities seem to me less and less an option. Sad as it is, after having worked 20+ years in academics, having done some interesting (for me) research and having managed to secure a name in our community, I am not sure where my future is. Continuing on definite contracts does not sound like a great option for me. Several things for the future come to my mind: starting my own business, work as programmer (maybe Google still wants me after I rejected them 2 years ago), work as mountain guide (have done that for some years before going to Japan). All of that is possible, but my loosing the time to research will always be a pain, since I enjoy cracking my brain on some complicated and deep logical problems.

Whatever comes, I will take it as a chance to learn new things. And in one way or another it will work out, I hope.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Yves-Alexis Perez: Kernel recipes 2015: Hardened kernels for everyone

Wed, 2015-09-30 12:00

As part of my ongoing effort to provide grsecurity patched kernels for Debian, I gave a talk this morning at Kernel Recipes 2015. Slides and video should be available at one point, but you can find the former here in the meantime. I'm making some progresses on #605090 which I should be able to push soon.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Raphaël Hertzog: My Free Software Activities in September 2015

Wed, 2015-09-30 11:12

My monthly report covers a large part of what I have been doing in the free software world. I write it for my donators (thanks to them!) but also for the wider Debian community because it can give ideas to newcomers and it’s one of the best ways to find volunteers to work with me on projects that matter to me.

Debian LTS

This month I have been paid to work 8 hours on Debian LTS. In that time, I mostly did CVE triaging (in the last 3 days since I’m of LTS frontdesk duty this week). I pushed 14 commits to the security tracker. There were multiple CVE without any initial investigation so I checked the status of the CVE not only in squeeze but also in wheezy/jessie.

On unpaid time, I wrote and sent the summary of the work session held during DebConf. And I tried to initiate a discussion about offering mysql-5.5 in squeeze-lts. We also have setup so that we can better handle embargoed security updates.

The Debian Administrator’s Handbook

I spent a lot of time on my book, the content update has been done but now we’re reviewing it before preparing the paperback. I also started updating its French translation. You can help review it too.

While working on the book I noticed that snort got removed from jessie and the SE linux reference policy as well. I mailed their maintainers to recommend that they provide them in jessie-backports at least… those packages are relatively important/popular and it’s a pity that they are missing in jessie.

I hope to finish the book update in the next two weeks!

Distro Tracker

I spent a lot of time to revamp the mail part of Distro Tracker. But as it’s not finished yet, I don’t have anything to show yet. That said I pushed an important fix concerning the mail subscriptions (see #798555), basically all subscriptions of packages containing a dash were broken. It just shows that the new tracker is not yet widely used for mail subscription…

I also merged a patch from Andrew Starr-Bochicchio (#797633) to improve the description of the WNPP action items. And I reviewed another patch submitted by Orestis Ioannou to allow browsing of old news (see #756766).

And I filed #798011 against to request that a new X-Debian-PR-Severity header field be added to outgoing BTS mail so that Distro Tracker can filter mails by severity and offer people to subscribe to RC bugs only.

Misc Debian work

I filed many bugs this month and almost all of them are related to my Kali work:

  • 3 on debootstrap: #798560 (request for –suite-config option), #798562 (allow sharing bootstrap scripts), #7985604 (request to add kali related bootstrap scripts).
  • 3 requests of new upstream versions: for gpsd (#797899), for valgrind (#800013) and for puppet (#798636).
  • #797783: sbuild fails without any error message when /var/lib/sbuild is not writable in the chroot
  • #798181: gnuradio: Some files take way too long to compile (I had to request a give-back on another build daemon to ensure gnuradio migrated back to testing, and Julien Cristau suggested that it would be better to fix the package so that a single file doesn’t take more than 5 hours to build…)
  • #799550: libuhd003v5 lost its v5 suffix…

See you next month for a new summary of my activities.

One comment | Liked this article? Click here. | My blog is Flattr-enabled.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Dominique Dumont: Using custom cache object with AngularJS $http

Wed, 2015-09-30 05:02


At work, I’ve been bitten by the way AngularJS handles cache by default when using $https service. This post will show a simple way to improve cache handling with $http service.

The service I’m working on must perform the followings tasks:

  • retrieve data from a remote server.
  • save data to the same server.
  • retrieve the saved data and some extra information generated by the server to update a UI

At first, I’ve naively used $http.get cache parameter to enable or disable caching using a sequence like:

  1. $http.get(url, {cache: true} )
  2. $
  3. $http.get(url, {cache: false})
  4. $http.get(url, {cache: true})

Let’s say the calls above use the following data:

  1. $http.get(url, {cache: true}) returns “foo”
  2. $ stores “bar”
  3. $http.get(url, {cache: false}) returns “bar”

I expected the next call $http.get(url, {cache: false}) to return “bar”. But no, I got “foo”, i.e. the obsolete data.

Turns out that cache object is completely left alone when {cache: false} is passed to $http.get.

ok. Fair enough. But this means that the value of the cache parameter should not change for a given URL. The default cache provided by $https cannot be cleared. (Well, actually, you can clear the cache under AngularJS’s hood, but that will probably not improve the readability of your code).

The naive approach does not work. Let’s try another solution by using a custom cache object as suggested by AngularJS doc. This cache object should be created by $cacheFactory service.

This cache object can then be passed to $http.get to be used as cache. When needed, the cache can be cleared. In the example above, the cache must be cleared after saving some data to the remote service.

There’s 2 possibilities to clear a cache:

  • Completely flush the cache using removeAll() function.
  • Clear the cache for the specific URL using remove(key) function. The only hitch is that the “key” used by $http is not documented.

So, we have to use the first solution and create a cache object for each API entry point:

angular.module('app').factory('myService', function ($http, $cacheFactory) { var myFooUrl = '/foo-rest-service'; // create cache object. The cache id must be unique var fooCache = $cacheFactory(''); function getFooData () { return $http.get( myFooUrl, { cache: fooCache }); }; function saveFooData(data) { return $ myFooUrl, { cache: fooCache }).then(function() { myCache.removeAll() ; }); } });

The code above ensures that:

  • cached data for foo service is always consistent
  • http get requests are not sent more than necessary

This simple approach has the following limitations:

  • cache is not refreshed if the data on the server are updated by another client
  • cache is flushed when only the browser page is reloaded

If you need more a more advance cache mechanism, you may want to check jmdobry’s angular cache project

All the best

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Dariusz Dwornikowski: Delete until signature in vim

Tue, 2015-09-29 10:13

It has been bugging me for a while. When responding to an email, you often want to delete all the content (or part of the previous content) until the end of the email's body. However it would be nice to leave your signature in place. For that I came up with this nifty little vim trick:

nnoremap <silent> <leader>gr <Esc>d/--\_.*Dariusz<CR>:nohl<CR>O

Assuming that your signature starts with -- and the following line starts with your name (in my case it is Dariusz), this will delete all the content from the current line until the signature. Then it will remove search highlighting, and finally move one line up.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Norbert Preining: Multi-boot stick update: TAILS 1.6, SysresCD 4.6.0, GParted 0.23, Debian 8.2

Tue, 2015-09-29 04:57

Updates for my multi-boot/multi-purpose USB stick: All components have been updated to the latest versions and I have confirmed that all of them still boot properly – although changes in the grub.cfg file are necessary. So going through these explanations one will end up with a usable USB stick that can boot you into TAILS, System Rescue CD, GNU Parted Live CD, GRML, and also can boot into an installation of Debian 8.2 Jessie installation. All this while still being able to use the USB stick as normal media.

Since there have been a lot of updates, and also changes in the setup and grub config file, I include the full procedure here, that is, merging and updating these previous posts: USB stick with Tails and SystemRescueCD, Tails 1.2.1, Debian jessie installer, System Rescue CD on USB, USB stick update: TAILS 1.4, GParted 0.22, SysResCD 4.5.2, Debian Jessie, and USB stick update: Debian is back, plus GRML.

Let us repeat some things from the original post concerning the wishlist and the main players:

I have a long wishlist of items a boot stick should fulfill

  • boots into Tails, SystemRescueCD, GParted, and GRML
  • boots on both EFI and legacy systems
  • uses the full size of the USB stick (user data!)
  • allows installation of Debian
  • if possible, preserve already present user data on the stick

A USB stick, the iso images of TAILS 1.6, SystemRescueCD 4.6.0, GParted Lice CD 0.23.0, GRML 2014.11, and some tool to access iso images, for example ISOmaster (often available from your friendly Linux distribution).

I assume that you have already an USB stick prepared as described previously. If this is not the case, please go there and follow the section on preparing your usb stick.

Three types of boot options

We will employ three different approaches to boot special systems: the one is directly from an iso image (easiest, simple to update), the other via extraction of the necessary kernels and images (bit painful, needs some handwork), and the last one is a mixture necessary to get Debian booting (most painful, needs additional downloads and handwork).

At the moment we have the following status with respect to boot methods:

  • Booting directly from ISO image: System Rescue CD, GNOME Parted Live CD, GRML
  • Extraction of kernels/images: TAILS
  • Mixture: Debian Jessie install
Booting from ISO image

Grub has gained quite some time ago the ability to boot directly from an ISO image. In this case the iso image is mounted via loopback, and the kernel and initrd are specified relatively to the iso image root. This system makes it extremely easy to update the respective boot option: just drop the new iso image onto the USB stick, and update the isofile setting. One could even use some -latest method, but I prefer to keep the exact name.

For both SystemRescueCD, GNOME Partition Live CD, and GRML, just drop the iso files into /boot/iso/, in my case /boot/iso/systemrescuecd-x86-4.6.0.iso and /boot/iso/gparted-live-0.23.0-1-i586.iso.

After that, entries like the following have to be added to grub.cfg. For the full list see grub.cfg:

submenu "System Rescue CD 4.6.0 (via ISO) ---> " { set isofile="/boot/iso/systemrescuecd-x86-4.6.0.iso" menuentry "SystemRescueCd (64bit, default boot options)" { set gfxpayload=keep loopback loop (hd0,1)$isofile linux (loop)/isolinux/rescue64 isoloop=$isofile initrd (loop)/isolinux/initram.igz } ... }   submenu "GNU/Gnome Parted Live CD 0.23.0 (via ISO) ---> " { set isofile="/boot/iso/gparted-live-0.23.0-1-i586.iso" menuentry "GParted Live (Default settings)"{ loopback loop (hd0,1)$isofile linux (loop)/live/vmlinuz boot=live union=overlay username=user config components quiet noswap noeject ip= net.ifnames=0 nosplash findiso=$isofile initrd (loop)/live/initrd.img } ... }   submenu "GRML 2014.11 ---> " { menuentry "Grml Rescue System 64bit" { iso_path="/boot/iso/grml64-full_2014.11.iso" export iso_path loopback loop (hd0,1)$iso_path set root=(loop) kernelopts=" ssh=foobarbaz toram " export kernelopts configfile /boot/grub/loopback.cfg } }

Note the added isoloop=$isofile and findiso=$isofile that helps the installer find the iso images.

Booting via extraction of kernels and images

This is a bit more tedious, but still not too bad.

Installation of TAILS files

Assuming you have access to the files on the TAILS CD via the directory ~/tails, execute the following commands:

mkdir -p /usbstick/boot/tails cp -a ~/tails/live/* /usbstick/boot/tails/

The grub.cfg entries look now similar to the following:

submenu "TAILS Environment 1.6 ---> " { menuentry "Tails64 Live System" { linux /boot/tails/vmlinuz2 boot=live live-media-path=/boot/tails config live-media=removable nopersistent noprompt timezone=Etc/UTC block.events_dfl_poll_msecs=1000 splash noautologin module=Tails initrd /boot/tails/initrd2.img   } ... }

The important part here is the live-media-path=/boot/tails, otherwise TAILS will not find the correct files for booting. The rest of the information was extracted from the boot setup of TAILS itself.

Mixture of iso image and extraction – Debian jessie

As mentioned in the previous post, booting Debian/Jessie installation images via any method laid out above didn’t work, since the iso images is never found. It turned out that the current installer iso images do not contain the iso-scan package, which is responsible for searching and loading of iso images.

But with a small trick one can overcome this: One needs to replace the initrd that is on the ISO image with one that contains the iso-scan package. And we do not need to create these initrd by ourselves, but simply use the ones from hd-media type installer. I downloaded the following four gzipped initrds from one of the Debian mirrors: i386/initrd text mode, i386/initrd gui mode, amd64/initrd text mode, amd64/initrd gui mode, and put them into the USB stick’s boot/debian/install.386, boot/debian/install.386/gtk, boot/debian/install.amd, boot/debian/install.amd/gtk, respectively. Finally, I added entries similar to this one (rest see the grub.cfg file):

submenu "Debian 8.2 Jessie NetInstall ---> " { set isofile="/boot/iso/firmware-8.2.0-amd64-i386-netinst.iso" menuentry '64 bit Install' { set background_color=black loopback loop (hd0,1)$isofile linux (loop)/install.amd/vmlinuz iso-scan/ask_second_pass=true iso-scan/filename=$isofile vga=788 -- quiet initrd /boot/debian/install.amd/initrd.gz } ... }

Again an important point, don’t forget the two kernel command line options: iso-scan/ask_second_pass=true iso-scan/filename=$isofile, otherwise you probably will have to make the installer scan all disks and drives completely, which might take ages.

Current status of USB stick

Just to make sure, the usb stick should contain at the current stage the following files:

/boot/ iso/ firmware-8.2.0-amd64-i386-netinst.iso gparted-live-0.23.0-1-i586.iso grml64-full_2014.11.iso systemrescuecd-x86-4.6.0.iso tails/ vmlinuz Tails.module initrd.img .... grub/ fonts/ lots of files locale/ lots of files x86_64-efi/ lots of files font.pf2 grubenv grub.cfg *this file we create in the next step!!* /EFI BOOT/ BOOTX64.EFI The Grub config file grub.cfg

The final step is to provide a grub config file in /usbstick/boot/grub/grub.cfg. I created one by looking at the isoboot.cfg files both in the SystemRescueCD, TAILS iso images, GParted iso image, and the Debian/Jessie image, and converting them to grub syntax. Excerpts have been shown above in the various sections.

I spare you all the details, grab a copy here: grub.cfg


That’s it. Now you can anonymously provide data about your evil government, rescue your friends computer, fix a forgotten Windows password, and above all, install a proper free operating system.

If you have any comments, improvements or suggestions, please drop me a comment. I hope this helps a few people getting a decent USB boot stick running.


Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Erich Schubert: Ubuntu broke Java because of Unity

Tue, 2015-09-29 04:45

Unity, that is the Ubuntu user interface, that nobody else uses.

Since it is a Ubuntu-only thing, few applications have native support for its OSX-style hipster "global" menus.

For Java, someone once wrote a hack called java-swing-ayatana, or "jayatana", that is preloaded into the JVM via the environment variable JAVA_TOOL_OPTIONS. The hacks seems to be unmaintained now.

Unfortunately, this hack seems to be broken now (Google has thousands of problem reports), and causes a NullPointerException or similar crashes in many applications; likely due to a change in OpenJDK 8.

Now all Java Swing applications appear to be broken for Ubuntu users, if they have the jayatana package installed. Congratulations!

And of couse, you see bug reports everywhere. Matlab seems to no longer work for some, NetBeans appears to have issues, and I got a number of bug reports on ELKI because of Ubuntu. Thank you, not.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Sven Hoexter: HP tooling switches from hpacucli to hpssacli

Mon, 2015-09-28 05:41

I guess I'm a bit late in the game but I just noticed that HP no longer provides the venerable hpacucli tool for Debian/jessie and Ubuntu 14.04. While you could still install it (as I did from an internal repository) it won't work anymore on Gen9 blades. The replacement seems to be hpssacli, and it's available as usual from the HP repository.

I should've read the manual.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets

Clint Adams: He then went on to sing the praises of Donald Trump

Sun, 2015-09-27 16:44

“I like Italian food and Mexican food,” he said.

“Where are you from?” she asked.

“Yemen, but I like Italian food and Mexican food,” he answered.

“You don't like Yemeni food?” she asked.

“Eh, well, it's the thing you grow up with,” he replied. “Do you know Yemeni food?”

“Yes,” she said, “I like حنيذ.”

“Oh, حنيذ is good if you like meat. If you like vegetables, try سلتة.”

“Why wouldn't I like meat?” she demanded.

“You know, every place in Yemen does ﺢﻨﻳﺫ differently. I like the way they do it in the west of Yemen, near Africa,” he said, and proceeded to describe the cooking process.

Categories: FLOSS Project Planets