More DebConf 9 adventures
2 August 2009
Now it looks like it is time to complete my previous post about DebConf 9, after a tiresome journey back from Cáceres to Coruña the 30th, an Igalia assembly the 31st (the first one ever for me :-D), and sleeping for more than 14 hours today.
Fortunately I did not need to travel alone, as Diego came with me to visit Coruña and the journey was more enjoyable than the other way around. To make the most out of the occasion, we followed an alternative route via Ciudad Rodrigo (where we had lunch and bought some red wine, olive oil, and Iberian “embutido”: chorizo, salchichón and cured loin), then Porto (where we saw the bridges by Gustave Eiffel and his disciples), Valença do Minho (where we bought some goods which are sold in Portugal: salted butter, cheese, coffee, guava jelly…) and finally we made a longer stop at Santiago de Compostela in order to see the cathedral and the old town area while eating a sandwich. It took some time to complete the trip, but was far funnier that going alone to Cáceres.
But going back on to DebConf 9, here is the rest of my batch of lectures and events, including summaries of them:
- Free travel instead of free beer: Very nice presentation of photographs from all past DebConf and FLOSS related events, by Andreas Tille who has attended loads of them! This was a quite relaxing event, and the people there made the thing more enjoyable by telling the others about anecdotes and funny things about the places and the things which happened all along the world in past conferences.
- Stable/Volatile/Backports ecosystem: This was a nice chat trying to define how the different Debian repositories should interact between each other. I think that the nicer part was including the not-so-official backports.org repositories, but nothing has been said about including debian-multimedia. It is a good thing to be coherent with the DFSG and being picky with which packages are actually in the main repository, but in my opinion something should be done to support the packages the users want in some way, including debian-multimedia as well.
- Qemu for Debian developers: Not something which could be considered astonishing, but I have learned a couple of nice Qemu tricks with this. This was an interesting introduction for people wanting to make packages for architectures different than the one they are running.
- Drowning in bugs: This was an extremely interesting chat about how it would be possible to actually get people to do bug triaging in Debian. Some solutions were outlined, like having some kind of teams for people to belong to, so they get at least some social recognition (e.g. “look, I am part of the Debian Foo-Bar Bugsquad” and the like), adding a score meter to the BTS like in the Gnome Bugzilla and so on. I think that something which should is being cooked right now will help a lot with this.
- Libvirt, hypervisor independent virtual machine management: I heard before about libvirt, but have always thought that it looked like an unneccessary layer of indirection about THE virtualization technology you want to use. The facts are that it does not have Linux-vServer support (well, it might) and that one gets an interesting feature: remote management of virtual machines. Does that feature that pose much differences from using SSH to open a remote session? Probably if you use Qemu and/or Xen, but I do not see the point of having the additional hassle of another software layer.
- Debian Redesign: Agnieszka aka “pixelgirl” proposed a new design for some stuff related to Debian, logo, colours, fonts and website. Some minor work for boot splash screens and is also there in the pack. It was funny to see how people asked questions about the openness of the license of the new font used for the logo, when the old one has a commercial one… I hope that she does not get annoyed too much by the rest of the community, because I also think there is a real and urgent need to give some love to how things look in Debian. And having people which has the neccessary knowledge to properly design nice things is great, so the community should support her.
- State of the Bug Tracking System: Don Armstrong was making some
improvements and cleanups to the old
debbugsbig code clean-up, and presented to the public one new feature which allows to mirror the state of the BTS and run a local copy. This made all the audience clap hands like crazy, as this allows for speedier operations, especially for searching and filtering in reports.
- Introducing DebConf10: New York will held the next DebConf, which will be also the 10th anniversary of the event. The main venue will be at the Columbia University which looks great for such a thing. The main issue could be problems for people living in certain countries to get a visa so they can travel there the next year, so the organizers will be even providing legal advice and support. I just hope that this will not make the next edition be a “DebConf light” and that people from all around the world is represented the next year.
- Debian on Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices: First of all, as most igalians have a NSLU2, I would want to say that Martin has already found the perfect and improved replacement for them: the Marvell SheevaPlug. It is great to see how well GNU/Linux is spreading over to all kinds of devices and architectures. And it is even nicer to see how the developers have designed a way for seamlessly installing Debian in this kind of devices in such a way that an average user could do it without requiring ninja skills.
That’s a good selection of the lectures and events I attended to. Of course there were some more interesting things, like the conference dinner, the massive group photo, giving a talk (slides here), the odyssey all along Cáceres to find a proper Irish tavern… The pint of Guinness with Gunnar, Gustavo and Diego was one of the best moments of the conference ;-)
Quick summary: going to DebConf 9 was a rewarding experience, even when I ended up extremely tired after it. Let’s try to attend some more conferences anytime soon…