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Data Loss (Lubuntu), Debian Server Retirement and New Debian Developers/Maintainers

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  • Statement Regarding Infrastructure Data Loss

    We still have complete access to the Git repositories hosted on the Phabricator instance, as they have been mirrored to GitHub, however, all of the tasks on our Phabricator instance as well as the wiki and login information for all users has been lost.

    We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, and expect services to be back up before the end of the day Central US time. On a positive note, starting anew has allowed us to refine the way the services are organized on the server, to offer a faster and more secure experience going forward.

  • Goodbye to a 15-year-old Debian server

    It was October of 2003 that the server I’ve called “glockenspiel” was born. It was the early days of Linux-based VM hosting, using a VPS provider called memset, running under, of all things, User Mode Linux. Over the years, it has been migrated around, sometimes running on the metal and sometimes in a VM. The operating system has been upgraded in-place using standard Debian upgrades over the years, and is now happily current on stretch (albeit with a 32-bit userland). But it has never been reinstalled. When I’d migrate hosting providers, I’d use tar or rsync to stream glockenspiel across the Internet to its new home.

    A lot of people reinstall an OS when a new version comes out. I’ve been doing Debian upgrades with apt for ages, and this one is a case in point. It lingers.

    Root’s .profile was last modified in November 2004, and its .bashrc was last modified in December 2004. My own home directory still has a .pinerc, .gopherrc, and .arch-params file. I last edited my .vimrc in 2003 and my .emacs dates back to 2002 (having been copied over from a pre-glockenspiel FreeBSD server).

  • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (January and February 2019)

    The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months:

    Paulo Henrique de Lima Santana (phls)
    Unit 193 (unit193)
    Marcio de Souza Oliveira (marciosouza)
    Ross Vandegrift (rvandegrift)
    The following contributors were added as Debian Maintainers in the last two months:

    Romain Perier
    Felix Yan

UCS 4.4 Release – Admin Diary, Self Services and Windows Domain Trusts

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After the extensive updates of the basic distribution with the release of UCS 4.3, our focus during the development of UCS 4.4 was on the implementation of new functionalities: The enhancements include new functions in Self Services, in the Portal, in Radius Integration and in Services for Windows. In addition, the Admin Diary is a new app with which events on the different systems or in the management system can be tracked and commented.

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Debian: Censorship, Free Software Activities and More on the DPL Situation

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  • What does democracy mean in free software communities?

    Yesterday, a developer posted the message below to the debian-vote mailing list.

    Censors blocked it. It wasn't received by list subscribers and it isn't visible in the debian-vote list archive.

    Can you see any possible way that this message violates the code of conduct used by this free software community?

    In many free software communities, we accept that we contribute without the promise of anything in return.

    In Debian, they gave us the promise of membership. Membership doesn't mean much either, except the right to vote. But it turns out even that was a hollow promise. Enrico Zini from the Debian account managers team simply deleted a candidate from the Debian keyring in the same way that he would delete an unwanted file, just days before elections were announced. Consider the countless things I've done for Debian and free software over more than 20 years, 8 visits to new communities in the Balkans over the last 2 years and acting as an admin in Google Summer of Code, a huge responsibility that brought in significant revenue for Debian.

    When Zini tampered with the keyring, no due process was followed, no reason was given and any reason made up after the fact has no credibility. But making stuff up retrospectively to justify bullying isn't new.

  • Markus Koschany: My Free Software Activities in February 2019

    Welcome to Here is my monthly report that covers what I have been doing for Debian. If you’re interested in Java, Games and LTS topics, this might be interesting for you.

  • Noah Meyerhans: Further Discussion for DPL!

    Further Discussion has been with Debian from the very beginning! Don't you think it's time we gave Further Discussion its due, after all the things Further Discussion has accomplished for the project?

    Somewhat more seriously, have we really exhausted the community of people interested in serving as Debian Project Leader? That seems unfortunate. I'm not worried about it from a technical point of view, as Debian has established ways of operating without a DPL. But the lack of interest suggest some kind of stagnation within the community. Or maybe this is just the cabal trying to wrest power from the community by stifling the vote. Is there still a cabal?

Michael Stapelberg and Debian

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  • Winding down my Debian involvement

    This post is hard to write, both in the emotional sense but also in the “I would have written a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time” sense. Hence, please assume the best of intentions when reading it—it is not my intention to make anyone feel bad about their contributions, but rather to provide some insight into why my frustration level ultimately exceeded the threshold.

    Debian has been in my life for well over 10 years at this point.

    A few weeks ago, I have visited some old friends at the Zürich Debian meetup after a multi-year period of absence. On my bike ride home, it occurred to me that the topics of our discussions had remarkable overlap with my last visit. We had a discussion about the merits of systemd, which took a detour to respect in open source communities, returned to processes in Debian and eventually culminated in democracies and their theoretical/practical failings. Admittedly, that last one might be a Swiss thing.

    I say this not to knock on the Debian meetup, but because it prompted me to reflect on what feelings Debian is invoking lately and whether it’s still a good fit for me.

    So I’m finally making a decision that I should have made a long time ago: I am winding down my involvement in Debian to a minimum.

  • Debian Package Maintainer Steps Down, Complaining About 'Old Infrastructure'

    Michael Stapelberg, maintains "a bunch" of Debian packages and services, and says the free software Linux distro "has been in my life for well over 10 years at this point."

    Today he released a 2,255-word essay explaining why he's "winding down" his involvement in Debian to a minimum, citing numerous complaints including Debian's complicated build stack, waits of up to seven hours before package uploads can be installed, leading to "asynchronous" feedback -- and Debian's lack of tooling for large changes.

Reports From This Weekend's Debian BSP in Cambridge

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The Debian Project mourns the loss of Lucy Wayland

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The Debian Project sadly announces that it has lost a member of its community. Lucy Wayland passed recently.

Lucy was a contributor within the Cambridge (UK) Debian community, helping to organise the Cambridge Mini-DebConf since several years.

She was a strong fighter for diversity and inclusion, and participated in the creation of the Debian Diversity Team, working on increasing the visibility of under-represented groups and providing support with respect to diversity issues within the community.

The Debian Project honours her good work and strong dedication to Debian and Free Software. Lucy's contributions will not be forgotten, and the high standards of her work will continue to serve as an inspiration to others.

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Mozilla Thunderbird and Enigmail Patching

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  • Mozilla Thunderbird 60.5.3 Released for Linux, Windows, and Mac

    Mozilla Thunderbird has just received another update, the second in just a few days, as the parent company is working on refining the experience with the app.

    Now at version 60.5.3, Mozilla Thunderbird comes with a fix for Windows clients, though it’s worth knowing that this update is available not only on Microsoft’s operating system, but also on Linux and macOS.

    According to the official changelog, this update resolves one of the known issues in the previous version and affecting Windows. Mozilla says it managed to fix the bug experienced when using Send to > Mail recipient in Thunderbird on Windows.

    This problem was originally introduced in version 60.5.2, the previous release, and it was included in the known issues section of the changelog.

  • Anarcat: February 2019 report: LTS, HTML mail, new phone and new job

    Finally, Enigmail was finally taken off the official support list in jessie when the debian-security-support proposed update was approved.

News from Debian Cloud Team

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The Debian project has started the freezing process to prepare to release Debian 10 (codename Buster) in the coming months. During the development-cycle time of this release the Debian Cloud team has made progress in many fronts: formalizing the team inside the project, improving our tooling, investing in QA, optimizing the generated images and increasing the number of supported architectures.

Last October, the Debian Project Leader (DPL) officially announced the creation of the Debian Cloud Team and appointed some Debian Developers as Delegates: Lucas Filipozzi (lfilipoz), Steve McIntyre (93sam) and Tomasz Rybak (serpent). The delegates are responsible for the policies, procedures, and services that are necessary for the production and maintenance of the official Debian images for use on cloud providers. The team chose those developers as Delegates because they have no direct involvement with cloud providers (many people in the team provide consultancy or work for cloud providers), avoiding any bias in the decisions made by the team. Moreover, the delegates with the support of Software in the Public Interest (SPI) have been working with some cloud providers (Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS and Google Cloud) to create official Debian accounts in each of them, which will allow us to perform tests and publish Debian community images to their users.

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Plans for /usr in Debian

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  • TC decision on "Merged /usr" - #914897

    The Debian Technical Committee was asked in #914897 to overrule the debootstrap maintainers regarding the "merged `/usr`" default.

  • Debian Sticking With Merged /usr Plan

    For years Debian developers have been planning for a merged /usr concept where the /{bin,sbin,lib}/ directories becoming symbolic links to /usr/{bin,sbin,lib}/. With the upcoming Debian 10 Buster is the initial step of their plan after it was postponed from Debian Stretch.

Debian: The Distro in Space, Debian People Pursue Positions in the Open Source Initiative Board of Directors and Other Development Work

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  • Computer servers 'stranded' in space [Ed: Why the International Space Station uses GNU/Linux]

    A pair of Hewlett Packard Enterprise servers sent up to the International Space Station in August 2017 as an experiment have still not come back to Earth, three months after their intended return.

    Together they make up the Spaceborne Computer, a Linux system that has supercomputer processing power.
    They were sent up to see how durable they would be in space with minimal specialist treatment.

    After 530 days, they are still working.

  • Molly de Blanc: OSI Board elections – 2019

    I’m running for the Open Source Initiative board of directors!

    To be more precise, I’m running for re-election, as I’ve served on the board for the past three years.

  • Elana Hashman: I'm running for the Open Source Initiative Board of Directors

    The 2019 election for the Open Source Initiative Board of Directors is upon us, and I'm running for a seat on the board as an Individual Member.

    The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a shadowy cabal global non-profit organization that is primarily responsible for maintaining the Open Source Definition and list of approved Open Source Licenses, in addition to promoting and representing the wider open source community. If you use or care about open source software, the OSI impacts you!

  • Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in February 2019

    The freeze is approaching, so I only accepted 149 packages and rejected 5 uploads. The overall number of packages that got accepted this month was 229.

    Debian LTS

    This was my fifty sixth month that I did some work for the Debian LTS initiative, started by Raphael Hertzog at Freexian.

  • Ian Jackson: Nailing Cargo (the Rust build tool)

    I quite like the programming language Rust, although it's not without flaws and annoyances.
    One of those annoyances is Cargo, the language-specific package manager. Like all modern programming languages, Rust has a combined build tool and curlbashware package manager. Apparently people today expect their computers to download and run code all the time and get annoyed when that's not sufficiently automatic.

    I don't want anything on my computer that automatically downloads and executes code from minimally-curated repositories like So this is a bit of a problem.

    Dependencies available in Debian

    Luckily I can get nearly all what I have needed so far from Debian, at least if I'm prepared to use Debian testing (buster, now in freeze). Debian's approach to curation is not perfect, but it's mostly good enough for me.
    But I still need to arrange to use the packages from Debian instead of downloading things.

  • Keith Packard: snek-2019-mar

    I've been busy hacking on Snek for the past few weeks and thought I'd post a status report.

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More in Tux Machines

Graphics: Red Hat's Wayland Agenda and AMD Begins Queueing Graphics Driver Changes For The Linux 5.3 Kernel

  • Hans de Goede: Wayland itches summary
    1. Middle click on title / header bar to lower the Window does not work for native apps. Multiple people have reported this issue to me. A similar issue was fixed for not being able to raise Windows. It should be easy to apply a similar fix for the lowering problem. There are bugs open for this here, here and here. 2. Running graphical apps via sudo or pxexec does not work. There are numerous examples of apps breaking because of this, such as lshw-gui and usbivew. At least for X11 apps this is not that hard to fix. But sofar this has deliberately not been fixed. The reasoning behind this is described in this bug. I agree with the reasoning behind this, but I think it is not pragmatic to immediately disallow all GUI apps to connect when run as root starting today.
  • Hans de Goede: Better support for running games under Wayland (with GNOME3/mutter as compositor)
    First of all I do not want people to get their hopes up about $subject of this blogpost. Improving gaming support is a subjects which holds my personal interest and it is an issue I plan to spend time on trying to improve. But this will take a lot of time (think months for simple things, years for more complex things).
  • AMD Begins Queueing Graphics Driver Changes For The Linux 5.3 Kernel
    Being past the Linux 5.2 kernel merge window, AMD's open-source Linux graphics driver developers have already begun queuing changes anticipated for Linux 5.3 via a work-in-progress tree. Given the short time that this 5.3 WIP tree has been around, there isn't too much exciting about the changes -- yet. But surely over the weeks ahead it will get interesting. Making things particularly interesting is that we are expecting initial Navi support to make it for Linux 5.3... In recent weeks AMD began pushing AMDGPU LLVM compiler back-end changes for GFX10/Navi and we expect the AMDGPU DRM kernel driver enablement to come for Linux 5.3. Linux 5.3 will already be arriving after the rumored release of the first Navi graphics cards so having to wait past 5.3 for mainline support would already be tragic. But given the recent LLVM activity, we expect AMD to push out the Navi kernel driver changes soon. For that likely massive patch-set to be reviewed in time, the Navi patches would need to make their debut within the next few weeks.

today's howtos and programming

Fedora 30 Workstation review - Smarter, faster and buggier

Fedora 30 is definitely one of the more interesting releases of this family in a long-time. It brings significant changes, including solid improvements in the desktop performance and responsiveness. Over the years, Fedora went from no proprietary stuff whatsoever to slowly acknowledging the modern needs of computing, so now it gives you MP3 codecs and you can install graphics drivers and such. Reasonable looks, plus good functionality across the board. However, there were tons of issues, too. Printing to Samba, video screenshot bug, installer cropped-image slides, package management complications, mouse cursor lag, oopses, average battery life, and inadequate usability out of the box. You need to change the defaults to have a desktop that can be used in a quick, efficient way without remembering a dozen nerdy keyboard shortcuts. All in all, I like the freshness. In general, it would seem the Linux desktop is seeing a cautious revival, and Fedora's definitely a happy player. But there are too many rough edges. Well, we got performance tweaks after so many years, and codecs, we might get window buttons and desktop icons one day back, too. Something like 6/10, and definitely worth exploring. I am happy enough to do two more tests. I will run an in-vivo upgrade on the F29 instance on this same box, and then also test the distro on an old Nvidia-powered laptop, which will showcase both the support for proprietary graphics (didn't work the last time) and performance improvements, if they scale for old hardware, too. That's all for now. Read more

Events: Automotive at LF, Linux Clusters Institute, Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC)

  • Automotive Linux Summit and Open Source Summit Japan Keynote Speakers and Schedule Announced
    The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source has announced the speaker line up for Open Source Summit Japan and Automotive Linux Summit. One registration provides access to all content at both events, which will be held July 17-19 at the Toranomon Hills Forum in Tokyo. Open Source Summit Japan (OSSJ) and Automotive Linux Summit (ALS) will bring together top talent from companies on the leading edge of innovation including Toyota Motor Corporation, Uber, Intel, Sony, Google, Microsoft and more. Talks will cover a range of topics, with ALS talks on everything from infrastructure and hardware to compliance and security; and OSSJ sessions on AI, Linux systems, cloud infrastructure, cloud native applications, open networking, edge computing, safety and security and open source best practices.
  • Register Now for the 2019 Introductory Linux Clusters Institute Workshop
    Registration is now open for the 2019 Linux Clusters Institute (LCI) Introductory Workshop,which will be held August 19-23, 2019 at the Rutgers University Inn & Conference Center in New Brunswick, NJ. This workshop will cover the fundamentals of setting up and administering a high-performance computing (HPC) cluster and will be led by leading HPC experts.
  • Additional early bird slots available for LPC 2019
    The Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC) registration web site has been showing “sold out” recently because the cap on early bird registrations was reached. We are happy to report that we have reviewed the registration numbers for this year’s conference and were able to open more early bird registration slots. Beyond that, regular registration will open July 1st. Please note that speakers and microconference runners get free passes to LPC, as do some microconference presenters, so that may be another way to attend the conference. Time is running out for new refereed-track and microconference proposals, so visit the CFP page soon. Topics for accepted microconferences are welcome as well.