Dev Week -- Working well with Debian -- nxvl and bddebian -- Mon, Jan 19


(02:02:31 PM) dholbach: next up is nxvl and bddebian!
(02:02:35 PM) creek23: holy! done already. i was just review ing the earlier messages because messages pops too fast :-(
(02:02:37 PM) dholbach: "Working Well With Debian!"
(02:02:38 PM) nxvl: :D
(02:02:49 PM) creek23: oh well. :P
(02:03:09 PM) dlynch: yes, thanks very much
(02:03:16 PM) mneptok: nxvl: is this a how-to on how to configure flame-mail filters and body armor? ;)
(02:03:26 PM) nxvl: mneptok: sort of :P
(02:03:33 PM) creek23: really?!?
(02:03:38 PM) nxvl: creek23: no
(02:03:57 PM) nxvl: well, lets start
(02:04:01 PM) nxvl: Debian is the base upon which Ubuntu is built
(02:04:08 PM) mode (+o nxvl ) by mneptok
(02:04:24 PM) nxvl: Almost all packages in Ubuntu come from Debian, and most are used unchanged
(02:04:37 PM) nxvl: This means that Ubuntu owes a lot to Debian
(02:04:47 PM) nxvl: and should endeavour to maintain a good relationship with them
(02:04:57 PM) nxvl: There are several differences in the way that Debian and Ubuntu are organised
(02:05:16 PM) nxvl: and in the decisions that they have made on some issues that you need to understand in order to work with them most effectively
(02:05:30 PM) nxvl: The biggest difference is that in Debian all packages have a maintainer
(02:05:51 PM) nxvl: which may be a team, who controls the package
(02:06:06 PM) nxvl: They generally make all the decisions about the package
(02:06:13 PM) nxvl: and are normally the only ones to perform uploads
(02:06:22 PM) nxvl: There are some moves away from this, but it remains the status quo
(02:06:37 PM) nxvl: This is different to Ubuntu where in general a package doesn't have a maintainer as such
(02:06:44 PM) nxvl: it is just looked after by all contributors
(02:06:56 PM) nxvl: This has effects on both Ubuntu and Debian
(02:07:13 PM) nxvl: For Ubuntu it means that generally a contributor isn't familiar with a package
(02:07:23 PM) nxvl: and doesn't know the Debian maintainer's opinion on things
(02:07:40 PM) nxvl: For Debian maintainers it means that they generally don't know who to contact if they wish to discuss a package in Ubuntu
(02:08:11 PM) nxvl: The differences in some policy differences can also make it difficult for a Ubuntu contributor to know whether what they are doing also applies to Debian as well
(02:08:22 PM) nxvl: This can be especially true for bugs
(02:08:36 PM) dholbach left the room (quit: "Ex-Chat").
(02:08:38 PM) nxvl: where differing versions of packages
(02:08:47 PM) nxvl: or different dependencies in the chain can hide or expose bugs
(02:09:01 PM) nxvl: It can be helpful to not consider Debian as a "whole"
(02:09:12 PM) nxvl: but more as a group of people who each work in their own little area
(02:09:34 PM) nxvl: You will find that if you contact most of them with a bug report, a patch, or a question they will be very friendly and helpful
(02:09:52 PM) rugby471 left the room (quit: Remote closed the connection).
(02:09:52 PM) nxvl: There are a few people that this wouldn't really apply to, but they are definitely in the minority
(02:10:10 PM) nxvl: You will probably find if you contact them in a friendly manner about a specific issue then they will probably still help you
(02:10:18 PM) nxvl: but it can be a scary thing to do
(02:10:39 PM) nxvl: What I am trying to tell you here is not to let the actions of a noisy few spoil your opinions of the whole community
(02:10:53 PM) nxvl: Ubuntu takes all source packages from Debian that aren't on a blacklist
(02:10:59 PM) nxvl: and automatically "syncs" them in to Ubuntu
(02:11:18 PM) nxvl: This means that the source package is taken unmodified and just rebuilt in the latest development version of Ubuntu
(02:11:41 PM) nxvl: There are certain things that may be done while building which mean that you may get different binary packages
(02:11:52 PM) nxvl: but they do not alter the functionality, for instance
(02:11:57 PM) nxvl:
(02:12:17 PM) nxvl: This process stops at DebianImportFreeze
(02:12:31 PM) nxvl: In order to sync a package after that stage you must file a sync request
(02:12:33 PM) bddebian: Hey I thought it was at 4:00pm?
(02:12:43 PM) nxvl: following the process at
(02:13:02 PM) nxvl: bddebian: :D
(02:13:11 PM) nxvl: Where Ubuntu has to make changes to the package a new upload is done
(02:13:21 PM) ***bddebian checks his calendar
(02:13:37 PM) nxvl: This upload has a version number containing "ubuntu"
(02:13:52 PM) nxvl: which ensures that the package won't be synced without manual action
(02:14:00 PM) nxvl: so that the changes are not lost
(02:14:40 PM) nxvl: When this has been done in the past and a new upload is made to Debian
(02:14:41 PM) nxvl: the package will be eligible for "merging"
(02:15:00 PM) nxvl: This means taking the two versions of the package and reconciling the changes so that you get the new changes from Debian
(02:15:05 PM) nxvl: but also keep the Ubuntu changes
(02:15:15 PM) nxvl: See for more information
(02:15:16 PM) SherokiX: apt-cache show hello; apt-cache showsrc hello; /kpom #ubuntu-es
(02:15:20 PM) SherokiX: utia
(02:15:23 PM) SherokiX: perdon
(02:15:25 PM) SherokiX: sorry
(02:15:37 PM) nxvl: Sometimes when you go to merge a package you will find that the new Debian version includes all the changes that were made in Ubuntu
(02:15:46 PM) nxvl: In that case you perform a sync
(02:15:50 PM) SherokiX: is a error... :S
(02:16:00 PM) nxvl: meaning that again Ubuntu is using Debian's package for that software
(02:16:15 PM) nxvl: now bddebian will tell you how to share with debian
(02:16:20 PM) nxvl: bddebian: stage is all yours
(02:16:36 PM) bddebian: Eeks, sorry I'm late
(02:16:46 PM) ***xnox had a question on the chat channel
(02:16:59 PM) nxvl: 14:14 < xnox> QUESTION: do 0-ubuntu1 get automaticly synced with -1? or are  they still "merged"
(02:17:07 PM) mok0: Thanks nxvl!!!
(02:17:09 PM) nxvl: xnox: it's merged
(02:17:26 PM) nxvl: xnox: in that case is a special merge, but definetely not a sync
(02:17:37 PM) bddebian: Do we need more clarification on that before moving on?
(02:17:51 PM) xnox: nope
(02:17:56 PM) bddebian: OK
(02:18:12 PM) bddebian: There are many ways that you can work together with Debian. For instance
(02:18:25 PM) bddebian: you can share patches, work together to package new upstream versions,
(02:18:26 PM) ***xnox thanks nxvl for intro on the session
(02:18:36 PM) bddebian: coordinate transitions, security fixes. You can even become maintainer
(02:18:46 PM) bddebian: or co-maintainer of a package in Debian so that the package can always
(02:18:56 PM) bddebian: be used unmodified in both with less work.
(02:19:20 PM) bddebian: And of course there are several teams, of which you may join.
(02:19:38 PM) bddebian: For instance, I actually became a member of the Debian Games team before becoming a DD.
(02:20:26 PM) bddebian: OK, moving on..
(02:20:41 PM) bddebian: When you are about to make some changes in Ubuntu you can look to
(02:20:41 PM) bddebian: see whether these apply to Debian as well, and if they do contact the
(02:20:41 PM) bddebian: Debian maintainers and propose that you work together on the issue, or
(02:20:41 PM) bddebian: just send them the result of your work.
(02:21:15 PM) bddebian: It's always a good practice to coordinate your changes with the debian
(02:21:15 PM) bddebian: maintainer, so you can check if there is on his plans, there will never
(02:21:15 PM) bddebian: be or he's working on something like the change you are doing.
(02:21:46 PM) bddebian: Hmm, grammatical error there.
(02:22:59 PM) bddebian: Obviously Ubuntu tends to work a little "faster" than Debian because of the release cycles.
(02:23:31 PM) bddebian: Basically the ideal thing is to try to get your fix or proposed fix to Debian first if it is applicable.
(02:23:53 PM) nxvl: 14:22 < xnox> QUESTION: where you originally Ubuntu user before you stated to  develop Debian? Or have you switched from Debian to use/develop  Ubuntu?
(02:24:12 PM) bddebian: Heh, that's probably too long of a story to get into here. :)
(02:24:55 PM) bddebian: In short, I actually started with Debian, got more into maintenance with Ubuntu and have since gotten more into Debian.
(02:25:26 PM) bddebian: I didn't (and really still don't have) uber hacking sk1llz and Ubuntu as a community was much more welcoming.
(02:26:46 PM) bddebian: Obviously some Debian Developers are much more open/welcome to suggestions, changes, etc.  In many cases Debian Developers are Ubuntu developers.
(02:27:05 PM) bddebian: xnox: Did that answer your question or would you like more detail? :)
(02:28:02 PM) xnox: bddebian: yeap thanks
(02:28:17 PM) bddebian: OK, let's move on to Reporting back to Debian, unless there are any questions.
(02:28:53 PM) phreakalltheway is now known as brianz0r
(02:29:09 PM) bddebian: Many of the bugs on ubuntu are present on debian, but it's important
(02:29:10 PM) bddebian: to keep in mind and be VERY careful is that not every bug on ubuntu
(02:29:10 PM) bddebian: applies to debian, there are software error which are not reproducible
(02:29:10 PM) bddebian: on debian, so if you will ping the maintainer or report back to debian,
(02:29:10 PM) bddebian: you mas be sure it applies, so you don't make the Debian maintainer work
(02:29:10 PM) bddebian: and test looking for a bug that doesn't exist.
(02:29:32 PM) bddebian: s/mas/must/
(02:29:59 PM) bddebian: Obviously this can be a bit difficult if you are strictly running Ubuntu.
(02:30:29 PM) thinkstrohi is now known as strohi
(02:31:00 PM) bddebian: Also if you are going to send your work to them (more on this later) you
(02:31:00 PM) bddebian: must keep in mind that he or she is also a volunteer as you are, they can add
(02:31:00 PM) bddebian: your changes if they think it will help them, but maybe they don't want
(02:31:00 PM) bddebian: to apply them, also they don't want to read long diff files with lots of
(02:31:00 PM) bddebian: changes, it's better to send them small and separate patches with your
(02:31:01 PM) bddebian: changes so they can use the ones they find usefull and discards the ones
(02:31:03 PM) bddebian: who doesn't.
(02:31:28 PM) bddebian: <bullgard4> QUESTION: So the proper way  would be to report to Launchpad?
(02:31:56 PM) bddebian: It really depends on the maintainer.  Many DDs won't pay much attention to LP unfortunately.
(02:32:28 PM) bddebian: If you know it is a bug, I would send it directly to Debian BTS.
(02:32:57 PM) bddebian: If you aren't sure, a quick e-mail to the maintainer (maybe with a link to the LP bug) would probably be good.
(02:34:06 PM) bddebian: That's where timing becomes frustrating.  Some DDs are more responsive than others, obviously.
(02:35:56 PM) bddebian: This is getting a bit better, so let me post the next paragraph that may also help:
(02:36:04 PM) bddebian: Ok, but, what if i'm a triager? You can test if the bugs are also present
(02:36:04 PM) bddebian: on debian and report them back using BTS, being careful on the points
(02:36:04 PM) bddebian: talked about earlier, also, LP and bts have a "link" option so you can have
(02:36:04 PM) bddebian: on the Bug report at LP the link to the debian bug report so it's easier
(02:36:04 PM) bddebian: to keep track of what's going on with the debian bug, also bts has an option
(02:36:04 PM) bddebian: like this that you can use with the command 'forwarded $bug $upstream_url'
(02:36:06 PM) bddebian: so you can have it backwards, so please use the tools to have a better
(02:36:08 PM) bddebian: comunication and avoid the packagers to duplicate efforts on patching.
(02:36:16 PM) Flim1: I can't believe I missed the packaging session, I had a question!
(02:36:45 PM) Flim1: Ooops, sorry, thought I was in chat
(02:36:50 PM) bddebian: NP
(02:37:23 PM) bddebian: OK, any other questions before moving on to Finding Information about Debian packages?
(02:37:32 PM) bddebian: bullgard4: Did that answer your question sufficiently?
(02:38:19 PM) bddebian: OK, let's move on.
(02:38:37 PM) bddebian: There are several places from which you can find information about
(02:38:37 PM) bddebian: packages in Debian. Knowing where to look to find something out
(02:38:37 PM) bddebian: can be quite an art in itself. Luckily there is one place that tries
(02:38:37 PM) bddebian: to gather as much of this information as possible. That place is the
(02:38:37 PM) bddebian: Package Tracking System, known as the PTS.
(02:38:42 PM) bddebian:  
(02:38:53 PM) bddebian: The PTS lives at You can quickly go
(02:38:53 PM) bddebian: to the page for a package using
(02:38:53 PM) bddebian: Note that it works using the source package name, but if you enter
(02:38:53 PM) bddebian: a binary package name you get a helpful redirect page. Let's take
(02:38:53 PM) bddebian: a look at a typical page: Starting
(02:38:54 PM) bddebian: from the top left you can see information about the source package,
(02:38:56 PM) bddebian: such as versions, and the priority. You also have links to the components
(02:38:58 PM) bddebian: of the source package, so using "dget" you can quickly download the current
(02:39:00 PM) bddebian: Debian source package.
(02:39:02 PM) bddebian:  
(02:39:14 PM) bddebian: If you click on the version numbers in the second pane from the top
(02:39:14 PM) bddebian: you are taken to which gives information
(02:39:14 PM) bddebian: about the source package in that version. In the bottom of the left hand
(02:39:14 PM) bddebian: pane you have the binary packages that are produced. Clicking on the name
(02:39:14 PM) bddebian: leads you back to and shows you a page with
(02:39:15 PM) bddebian: information on that version of the binary package. You also have there
(02:39:17 PM) bddebian: links to the bug reports on the package.
(02:39:21 PM) bddebian:  
(02:39:34 PM) bddebian: In the centre of the PTS page you have a "News" section, and at the top
(02:39:34 PM) bddebian: you can have various notices that will appear only if they apply to this
(02:39:34 PM) bddebian: package.
(02:39:35 PM) bddebian:  
(02:39:42 PM) bddebian: In the right hand pane, you have some links to bug reports for the source
(02:39:42 PM) bddebian: package. These include the bug reports on all of the binary packages, but
(02:39:42 PM) bddebian: can also reports on the source package itself, so I usually use these
(02:39:42 PM) bddebian: so that I don't miss them (though they are rare).
(02:39:43 PM) bddebian:  
(02:39:56 PM) bddebian: Below that you can subsribe to the PTS. This means that if you are really
(02:39:56 PM) bddebian: interested in a package you can get emails when things happen with the
(02:39:56 PM) bddebian: package. If you select advanced mode from the drop down menu you can select
(02:39:56 PM) bddebian: what sort of information you would like to receive.
(02:39:58 PM) bddebian:  
(02:40:09 PM) bddebian: Lastly in that column you have links to more information about the package,
(02:40:09 PM) bddebian: including the buildd logs.
(02:40:12 PM) bddebian:  
(02:40:38 PM) bddebian: The other important source of information is the Bug Tracking System, known
(02:40:38 PM) bddebian: as the BTS. If you go to you can see the
(02:40:38 PM) bddebian: page for the gnupg source package. This shows an overview of the bugs, with
(02:40:38 PM) bddebian: them divided in to sections. You can click on a bug report to get more
(02:40:38 PM) bddebian: information.
(02:40:38 PM) bddebian: Email is used to communicate with and control the BTS. You can find
(02:40:40 PM) bddebian: information on doing this at You can also
(02:40:42 PM) bddebian: use "reportbug -B Debian" and the "bts" tool to generate the emails.
(02:41:13 PM) bddebian: There's a lot to digest there..
(02:42:52 PM) bddebian: Debian PTS has actually been going through quite a few changes lately and has gotten some pretty nice information on it now.
(02:49:39 PM) bddebian: OK, so the question came up, does dget download Debian packages or Ubuntu.  It really doesn't matter.  You point dget at a .dsc file and it will pull the corresponding .orig.tar.gz and .diff.gz files.
(02:50:00 PM) ast_ is now known as |ast|
(02:51:23 PM) bddebian: <oliver_g_1> QUESTION: this is probably not nice, but: what happens if I just work on a bug in Launchpad? Will the bugfix eventually reach Debian?
(02:51:43 PM) bddebian: This is actually where some of the friction lies between Debian and Ubuntu.
(02:52:10 PM) bddebian: The answer, unfortunately is, it can.  As I mentioned earlier, it is really up to the maintainer.
(02:53:03 PM) mok0: PTS has links to LP bug pages
(02:53:05 PM) bddebian: If you are looking at the PTS page for gnupg you will see in the bottom right corner, the Ubuntu links page.  It gives a link to LP patches that have been submitted against the package
(02:53:37 PM) bddebian: As a good maintainer, we really should be checking those.
(02:54:38 PM) bddebian: Unfortunately some do not.  Some of it honestly is just ego and some maintainers aren't big fans of Ubuntu.  Some of it is laziness.
(02:55:19 PM) bullgard4: @all: In 7 Minutes there will be a class in #ubuntu-classroom about "Understanding GNOME Technologies".
(02:55:43 PM) bddebian: Doh, let me post the last bit of this session so it is at least up here and we can discuss if needed.
(02:55:45 PM) bddebian: Thanks bullgard4
(02:55:58 PM) bddebian: Submitting a patch to Debian:
(02:56:38 PM) bddebian: I want to talk a little about submitting patches to Debian. I chose this
(02:56:38 PM) bddebian: topic for several reasons. Firstly, it is often requested that Ubuntu
(02:56:38 PM) bddebian: forwards more of its patches to Debian. Secondly, it is quite an easy
(02:56:38 PM) bddebian: thing to do. Thirdly, if Ubuntu pushes all its patches for a package
(02:56:38 PM) bddebian: back to Debian then the package can just be synced in future, reducing
(02:56:39 PM) bddebian: the amount of work it takes to maintain them.
(02:56:41 PM) bddebian: In order to submit a patch to Debian you should first create a standalone
(02:56:43 PM) bddebian: patch that fixes a specific issue. You should then check the BTS to see
(02:56:45 PM) bddebian: if a bug has been filed about the issue. If it has then you can email
(02:56:47 PM) bddebian: the bug report and attach the patch, sending a control command to
(02:56:51 PM) bddebian: tag the bug "patch" ("bts tag #12345 patch").
(02:56:53 PM) bddebian: If there is no bug report already then you should file a new one
(02:56:55 PM) bddebian: which attaches the patch and sets the patch tag directly. You can use
(02:56:57 PM) bddebian: reportbug to do this, but I find it easier to just use my mail client to
(02:56:59 PM) bddebian: do it. You can see one of the mails that I sent at
(02:57:01 PM) bddebian:
(02:57:02 PM) ubot5: Debian bug 451683 in aiksaurus "aiksaurus: Please add a .desktop file" [Wishlist,Fixed]
(02:57:03 PM) bddebian: One thing that we would like you to do when filing bugs in Debian, with
(02:57:05 PM) bddebian: or without a patch, is to set a "usertag" on them. This allows the
(02:57:07 PM) bddebian: bugs to be tracked as one, so that it can be seen where Ubuntu is
(02:57:09 PM) bddebian: contributing back. You can find out how to do this at
(02:57:11 PM) bddebian:
(02:57:13 PM) bddebian: To make all this even more easy if you have well separated changes in
(02:57:15 PM) bddebian: your diff to Debian you can use the submittodebian script in the
(02:57:17 PM) bddebian: ubuntu-dev-tools package. This automates all of the above steps for
(02:57:19 PM) bddebian: you.
(02:57:23 PM) bddebian: I would like to point you to one last thing that will make all of
(02:57:25 PM) bddebian: this easier in an environment where we have multiple people working on
(02:57:27 PM) bddebian: the packages. That is the proposal described at
(02:57:29 PM) bddebian:
(02:57:31 PM) bddebian: If you could all start using this technique when creating patches it will
(02:57:33 PM) bddebian: make it easier to understand what patches are meant for upstream.
(02:57:37 PM) bddebian: My closing comment would be that there are many people involved in
(02:57:39 PM) bddebian: Ubuntu
(02:57:41 PM) bddebian: development that are knowledgeable about Debian, so if you need to
(02:57:43 PM) bddebian: know where to find something, or would like advice about whether a
(02:57:45 PM) bddebian: change is applicable to Debian then you should just ask
(02:59:03 PM) bddebian: My apologies to everyone for cutting short, sounds like we are running out of time.  I'll hang around in #ubuntu-classroom-chat and #ubuntu-motu if you have any specific questions.
(02:59:29 PM) KennethP_ is now known as KennethP
(02:59:40 PM) mok0: Thanks bddebian!
(02:59:50 PM) oliver_g_1: thanks a lot!
(02:59:50 PM) KennethP is now known as KennethP_
(02:59:52 PM) bddebian: And thanks to those that came and especially to nxvl for the content!
(02:59:52 PM) KennethP_ is now known as KennethP
(03:00:01 PM) iulian: Yea, that was interesting, thanks!
(03:00:36 PM) bullgard4: Thank you, bddebian !
(03:00:57 PM) bddebian: And if you happen to see me on, feel free to hit me up privately also.  I'm a new DD but I will do what I can.
(03:01:14 PM) GSMX: thx
(03:01:20 PM) xnox: thank you for the session!
(03:01:29 PM) schmiedc: thx !
(03:01:47 PM) mbudde: Thank you!

MeetingLogs/devweek0901/Debian (last edited 2009-01-19 21:13:59 by pool-71-182-96-163)