Martin-Éric RACİNE

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Helsinki, Suomi, EU

Who I am

I've been a Free Software user on various UNIX platforms since 1996. My Linux experience started in 1999 with a failed Red Hat install, followed by a successful Debian install on the same hardware. I have been maintaining a few Debian packages since 2003 and tracking bugs against them on Launchpad since 2005.

However, my main focus in Free Software has always been on business development rather than on software development:

  • Currently: Launching a new product that leverages unpublished ideas I had developed at Linutop and Artec.

  • 2007-2008: Business Development Manager at Artec, a hardware startup that contributes to Coreboot and Linux kernel, and that manufactures the ThinCan.

  • 2006-2007: Established Linutop with French partners, then migrated to the company that designs and manufactures their hardware i.e. Artec.

  • Previous 10 years in various Free Software startups as CTO (network security products), Product Specialist (mobile communication platform), etc.

Conferences and Events

  • Attended Linux Tag in Berlin, in 2008. Involved at the Coreboot and Skole Linux booths.

  • Attended UDS Intrepid in Prague in 2008. Contributed to several sessions.

  • Attended Solutions Linux in Paris in 2008. Involved at the Debian and Ubuntu booths.

  • Attended Linux 15th Anniversary in Helsinki in 2006.

  • Attended Debconf5 in Helsinki in 2005. Leader of the PR team and MC of Debian Day.

My Ubuntu story

I first heard about Ubuntu in 2004 back when Warty was still under development. I tried it and felt that it wasn't ready for public consumption. This changed starting with Breezy and I've been handing out Ubuntu CD's ever since then.

My involvement

  • PPU rights granted for xserver-xorg-video-geode since 2010-02-03.

  • MOTU since 2009-09-10.
  • Member of X team since 2009-08-18.
    • Since 2007, sustained contributions to xserver-xorg-video-geode to ensure that it keeps on working on LTSP clients.

  • Ubuntu member since 2009-07-16.
  • Primary bug contact on Launchpad for all the packages I maintain upstream at Debian.
  • Launchpad user since 2005-06-15.
  • Initiated the impromptu Debian derivatives meeting that took place during Debconf5 in 2005 to facilitate dialog between Debian, Ubuntu, Skole Linux, Maemo and other distributions towards better collaboration on issues of mutual interest.
  • Debian contributor since 2003.

Previous involvement:

  • Formerly involved in CUPS maintenance and in language packs for Estonian, Latvian and Russian.
  • Former member of Linux Tuki ("Linux Support" in Finnish), which is the official Ubuntu support partner for Finland.

Examples of my work / Things I'm proud of


  • Solving the issue of delivering PDF printing capability by standard in Ubuntu.

I maintain CUPS-PDF at Debian and becoming familiar with the more pointy desktop requirements at Ubuntu allowed me to get acquainted with the Ubuntu development model and with members of the Ubuntu desktop and Ubuntu printing teams. Among other things, maintainer script improvements by Till Kamppeter and Martin Pitt were my first in-depth experience of merging Ubuntu changes into an upstream Debian package.

Geode driver

  • Complex situation between Canonical Global Support, one of their paying customers and the Ubuntu X team.

I think that Marc Tardif and David Bensimon (Canonical) and Bryce Harrington (Ubuntu X team) would agree with me that we all learned a lot from this case, because it became a classic example of everything that can go wrong between a corporate entity's professional services department and a community of Ubuntu contributors being dragged into an issue where they are not covered by the department NDA's covenant. Learning how to adjust the dynamics between all players in this bug squashing exercise was quite a learning experience for everyone involved.

Areas of work

I mainly work on support for the Geode CPU platform in Ubuntu:

  • I work a lot with Bryce Harrington of the Ubuntu X Team since I personally maintain the Geode driver.

  • Currently, I'm working with Leann Ogasawara of the QA Team to track down regressions in the Linux kernel that specifically affect the Geode platform.

  • As the Geode is primarily used in thin clients, I've previously worked with the LTSP Team on the same issues.

Things I could do better

Provide more timely responses to bugs, especially as far as uploading fixes. My PPA has been a somewhat useful tool to provide test packages to users, but lacking upload rights to main has sometimes meant that the fix did not make it on time for an Ubuntu release, particularly in cases when time was running out to review an SRU. My current Per Package Uploader Application for xserver-xorg-video-geode is here precisely to prevent this sort of missed opportunity from happening ever again.

Plans for the future


  • Make Ubuntu the #1 Linux distribution in the Educational and Governmental sectors, with a focus on LTSP.
  • Keep on maintaining Geode-related packages to ensure a sustainable support for the Geode platform in Ubuntu.
  • Promote Asterisk and Open Mosix as original LTSP extensions to leverage the CPU power of thin clients.

What I like least in Ubuntu

  • Ubuntu is slowly turning into a Byzantine bureaucracy. The duplication of information between my wiki page and this application form is one example of this.
  • Some bugs are simply never dealt with, because the next Ubuntu release is only 6 months away and it's often simpler to tell the user to try the next version of <package> that is sitting in ubuntu+1 and to presume that newer means better, rather than ever getting around properly investigating the bug that was reported.

My other Free Software contributions


  • Leader of the Linux-Aktivaatori team that handled Debconf 2005 press relations.
  • Master of Ceremony and main organizer of Debian Day at Debconf 2005.
  • Maintainer since 2003.


  • Created the ALSA_on_PPC reference to document the status of ALSA support on PPC hardware.


  • I've known Martin-Eric for quite some time now and I've been a direct witness to his involvement and interest in Ubuntu, including advocacy. I've had to deal with intricate bugs where Martin-Eric provides useful comments, and even fixes Smile :) He's always keen on helping others "the Ubuntu way". -- FabianRodriguez aka MagicFab

  • Working on LTSP, Martin-Eric's help with the Geode driver has been of great help. He's a very capable developer and his contributions to the Ubuntu project have helped a lot of people. I'd be pleased to see him become an Ubuntu member. -- StéphaneGraber - stgraber


If you'd like to comment, but are not the applicant or a sponsor, do it here. Don't forget to sign with @SIG@.

Stéphane Graber

Martin-Éric is doing an amazing work on the Geode X driver and more generally on X and LTSP. Although I never had the chance to sponsor one of his package, I'm sure he's a good packager and he most certainly deserves upload rights and will use them to improve and fix Ubuntu's X. -- stgraber 2009-08-25 13:06:32

Till Kamppeter

I am doing the printing stack for Ubuntu and have observed the developemnt of cups-pdf, handled bug reports, and also contributed by myself to the cups-pdf package. I think Martin-Éric does good work on the package and it would be great if he could simply upload it if he does some change on it. If he has questions, he simply asks me on IRC. I cannot say anything about his X driver packages, but upload rights for cups-pdf he should get. -- till-kamppeter 2009-08-26 07:52:45


As a sponsor, just copy the template below, fill it out and add it to this section. Don't forget to sign with @SIG@.

Bryce Harrington

General feedback

Martin-Éric has been very helpful at keeping tabs on the status of the -geode driver, including taking lead on packaging of it, and pushing for backports. For updates to the Geode driver in the development version of Ubuntu I trust his judgment implicitly.

Areas of Improvement

I will love to see him learn more about extracting specific fixes from a given release, as that will help increase his ability to successfully get fixes SRU'd for prior Ubuntu releases.

Martin Pitt

General feedback

I have sponsored Martin-Eric's packages into Debian and Ubuntu for years, in particular upgrade-system, xserver-xorg-video-geode, and cups-pdf. He knows them inside out, knows enough about packaging, and knows Ubuntu policy such as freezes, and is aware of our support structure (SRUs, LTSes, etc.) In the last years I never had any complaints about those packages.

I welcome him becoming able to upload these himself, and want to thank him for his work so far.


=== General feedback ===
## Please fill us in on your shared experience. (How many packages did you sponsor? How would you judge the quality? How would you describe the improvements? Do you trust the applicant?)

=== Specific Experiences of working together ===
''Please add good examples of your work together, but also cases that could have handled better.''
=== Areas of Improvement ===

CategoryHomepage CategoryMOTUApplication CategoryPerPackageUploaderApplication

MartinEricRacine (last edited 2010-11-02 12:18:21 by ns02)