Recent blog entries for jaldhar

Not Just More Information, We Need Consolidation Of Information

So I came home from Connecticut and opened up debian-devel for the first time in four days to find a General Resolution had been proposed to get the amd64 port into the archive and a huge flamewar has resulted. The amd64 porters feel they are being blocked by ftpmaster intransigence and lack of communication. Other people are sickened that Debian, which has always prided itself on doing the right thing not necessarily the popular thing, is now using voting as a means of coercion and the ftpmasters are unfairly being hassled. Who is is the real victim?

I'll tell you who the victim is, it's ME! Why am I forced to have to sift through large piles of crap, just to keep abreast of what's going ? Just kill the threads you aren't interested in I hear some people say. The problem is threads drift. Occasionally, there is some useful and important bit of information amongst the drivel. (Again, remember ajs' social contract bombshell? Delivered during a massive and unrelated tread on debian-vote.) I am subscribed to 18 mailing lists and hang out on IRC a couple of times a week and I still don't know exactly what the deal is with things like the amd64 port. This is a major development one should know about don't you think? If I could devote my life to the project as some people seem to be able to it wouldn't be a problem but I can't do that. God, family, rent, Debian has to take a back seat to all of these nowadays. I don't like this situation. Working on Debian has been both pleasurable and brought me material benefits but something will soon have to give. Of course I could just follow the lead of atleast 50% of the developers (according to recent voting patterns) and just live on the little island of my own packages not paying any attention to what goes on within the project. But doesn't such a view make a mockery of our ideals of openness and collaboration?

Manoj says we should have a little sympathy and respect for the people behind the titles. This is sage advice and I agree. But how about if those people showed a little sympathy for us? I'm sure writing status reports is a boring waste of time but think of how much time is wasted by other people when they aren't written. For a great example of something I wan't to see more of, read Roger Leighs' report about the LSM Free Software Printing Summit. (The only criticism is that it should have been posted to debian-devel-announce.) Frankly if people in key positions can't do something like that once a month, they are a hindrance and should step aside or be replaced. Debian is not a little club anymore. The amount of communication which was adequate in those days is not adequate anymore.

29 Apr 2004 (updated 29 Apr 2004 at 15:53 UTC) »
28 Apr 2004 (updated 28 Apr 2004 at 02:57 UTC) »

Mountains and Molehills

Bah I say! Bah! A vote on the document that defines the very foundation of Debian philosophy is met with resounding apathy. Amongst the ones who did vote some are saying "But we didn't know we were voting for _this_." (Come to Jersey City. The local Democratic party machine loves people like you.) And then aj has to go and posit a totally far out interpretation of the (modest--I actually read them) changes to the social contract that might require us to delay the release of sarge until next year.

The new wording in the social contract says "We promise the Debian system and all its components will be free." This indicates an ideal state which hasn't been reached but we are working towards. We have not lost any honor or credibility etc. by saying "Yes this stuff is important but right now we're doing a release. We promise we'll get to it ASAP post-sarge." All the GR did was make the language explicit. There is no new sentiment expressed in the social contract which wasn't there before. So if we could weasel out of postponing (not ignoring) the GFDL issue for example then, there is no reason why we couldn't do that now. In fact I bet you we will find a way. [update: Steve Langasek is doing just that.] So apart from general confusion and consternation amongst people who are unfamiliar with Debian and some unnecessary wear and tear on my 'd' key, what did all this brouhaha actually acheive?

-- Disgusted, Tonbridge Wells.

Dovecot 1.0 test1 .debs

Now that Timo has released an alpha version of the Dovecot mail server I have prepared .debs and put them on src.braincells.com. Given Timos' caveats about the raw nature of the code (e.g. mbox doesn't work, recent flags are broken,) these packages are deliberatly non-aptable. You need to download them and manually install them with dpkg -i. Do not use them if you are at all worried about potentially losing mail.

My Article In Linuxworld Magazine

I wrote an article about Debian which will appear in the May issue of Linuxworld Magazine. The print version isn't out yet but there is a .PDF you can download here. The article for some strange reason is not in the table of contents, you can find it on pages 44-47.

If you've seen my "Introducing Debian GNU/Linux" flyer, then you'll recognize most of the contents of this article as I basically took that and added some more hyperbole and a goofy headshot.

Shivaratri and Debian-IN

Wednesday night was Mahashivaratri. There was a record crowd at our mandir which meant long delays in getting darshan. I spent the night praying (and drank bhang) so I was totally out of commission on Thursday. Today I'm mostly recovered though.

Speaking of Indian matters, it looks like Debian-IN is finally getting off the ground. I now have a couple of volunteers and the first packages should be along soon.

Shailaja Learns A New Word

Today my daughter (now 27 months old) turned to my wife, pointed to my laptop and said "Jyo mummy, Debian chhe." ("Look Mummy it's Debian.") Is being potty-trained a prerequisite for the new maintainer process?

A Community Replacement for Linuxworld?

Today (well, yesterday by now) I attended a meeting on Debians' behalf of several New York-area free software groups. The meetings agenda was to try and begin to organize a replacement for Linuxworld which as of next year is moving to Boston. Committees were formed to work on various tasks. Yours truly is doing the vital task of name/logo/mission statement brainstorming. More news as it happens.

Using Filenames With '*' In Them In Makefiles

While packaging the latest webmin version I had an interesting time trying to figure out how to do stuff to files with names like config-*-linux. The trouble is '*' gets interpreted as a wildcard character. Normally in bash on the commandline to get a literal '*' you would just do this: config-\*-linux. But in a makefile, it gets converted to config-\\*-linux. Increasing the number of slashes was suggested but to no avail. The correct answer is $$'config-*-linux' (You have to use two dollar signs so it doesn't get interpreted as a make variable.)

Wave Your Freak Flag High!

Februarys' Linux Journal has an article by Doc Searls (the man of bronze?) called "DIY-IT: How Linux And Open Source Are Bringing Do-It-Yourself to Information Technology" which includes the following quote:

"I'm seeing far more Debian than any report gives it credit for", 
says one technologist working for a large vendor that has partnerships 
with Red Hat and SuSE.  "Red Hat and SuSE may sell more, so they show 
up on surveys that follow sales.  But in terms of implementation, Debian 
is pretty big."

So all you stealth Debian users, stand up and be counted!

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