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Debian GNU/Linux riscv64 port in mid 2019

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As it can be seen in the first graph, perhaps with some difficulty, is that the percent of arch-dependent packages built for riscv64 (grey line) has been around or higher than 80% since mid 2018, just a few months after the port was added to the infrastructure.

Given than the arch-dependent packages are about half of the Debian['s main, unstable] archive and that (in simple terms) arch-independent packages can be used by all ports (provided that the software that they rely on is present, e.g. a programming language interpreter), this means that around 90% of packages of the whole archive has been available for this architecture from early on.

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Move to pay Debian devs for project work rears its head again

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The idea of paying developers to work on Debian GNU/Linux packages has reared its head again, with senior developer Raphael Hertzog proposing that project funds be used for the purpose.

Hertzog made the suggestion in a reply to a post on one of the project's mailing lists which was part of a thread on the subject "Why do we take so long to realise good ideas?"

"Use the $300,000 on our bank accounts?", he wrote, adding that he had heard of another US$300,000 donation made by Google to the project though he was unable to find any publicly accessible reference to it.

The idea of paying developers for their work on what is a community project was raised 13 years ago by former project leader Anthony Towns, with the reason being the speeding up of development so that releases could take place sooner. The idea did not prove very popular as it was meant to be run outside the project proper and was meant to pay core members for their work.

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Debian: Outreachy, Patches and LTS Work by Raphaël Hertzog

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Bits from Debian: 100 Paper cuts kick-off

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Is there a thorny bug in Debian that ruins your user experience? Something just annoying enough to bother you but not serious enough to constitute an RC bug? Are grey panels and slightly broken icon themes making you depressed?

Then join the 100 papercuts project! A project to identify and fix the 100 most annoying bugs in Debian over the next stable release cycle. That also includes figuring out how to identify and categorize those bugs and make sure that they are actually fixable in Debian (or ideally upstream).

The idea of a papercuts project isn't new, Ubuntu did this some years ago which added a good amount of polish to the system.

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Seeking consensus on dh

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Debian takes an almost completely "hands off" approach to the decisions that Debian developers (DDs) can make in regard to the packaging and maintenance of their packages. That leads to maximal freedom for DDs, but impacts the project in other ways, some of which may be less than entirely desirable. New Debian project leader (DPL) Sam Hartman started a conversation about potential changes to the Debian packaging requirements back in mid-May. In something of a departure from the Debian tradition of nearly endless discussion without reaching a conclusion (and, possibly, punting the decision to the technical committee or a vote in a general resolution), Hartman has instead tried to guide the discussion toward reaching some kind of rough consensus.

The question revolves around an adjunct to the debhelper tool that is used to build many Debian packages. The additional tool is a "command sequencer" for debhelper commands; it is called dh. Debhelper has commands that get invoked from the rules file that is used to build a .deb from the source code and other files that are part of a Debian package. By default, dh steps through a sequence of debhelper commands that should suffice to build many types of packages; if some of the steps need overrides or changes, that can be handled as well. In effect, dh encapsulates the standard way to build a Debian package using debhelper.

But not all packages use dh, so Hartman asked whether the distribution wanted to require, or at least recommend, the use of dh. In that posting to debian-devel, he noted that some have said that a package not using dh has a "package smell", which is an indication that the maintainers should consider fixing it. His question might ultimately boil down to "whether maintainers should be expected to apply well-written patches to convert a package to using dh".

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Tiny Snapdragon 820E module boasts long lifecycle support

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Intrinsyc’s $259 “Open-Q 820Pro μSOM” module runs Android 9 or Debian Linux on a quad-core, up to 2.34GHz Snapdragon 820E and offers long lifecycles, 4GB LPDDR4, 32GB flash, WiFi-ac, and an optional $499 dev kit.

The Open-Q 820Pro μSOM is a pin-compatible drop-in replacement for the two-year old Open-Q 820 µSOM and offers a similar layout and 50 x 25mm footprint. The biggest difference is an upgrade from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 to the faster, second-gen Snapdragon 820E, an embedded-focused version with long lifecycle support. As a result, the Open-Q 820Pro μSOM has a 9 percent faster CPU and 5 percent faster GPU at the same power consumption, claims Intrinsyc.

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Debian: Debian 10.0 "Buster" Plan, LTS Work, DebConf19 Sponsors and Free Culture Book

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  • Debian 10.0 "Buster" Lining Up To Release In Early July

    We now have a tentative release date for the big Debian 10 "Buster" release.

    If no show-stoppers come up in the next few weeks, Debian 10.0 will be making its official debut on Saturday, 6 July. This comes following Debian developers working through around 150 release critical bugs as of a few months ago but everything is now getting ironed out and they are onto the home stretch ahead of this major update succeeding the Debian 9 "Stretch" series.

  • Markus Koschany: My Free Software Activities in May 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.

  • DebConf19 welcomes its sponsors!

    DebConf19 is taking place in Curitiba, Brazil, from 21 July to 28 July 2019. It is the 20th edition of the Debian conference and organisers are working hard to create another interesting and fruitful event for attendees.

    We would like to warmly welcome the first 29 sponsors of DebConf19, and introduce you to them.

    So far we have three Platinum sponsors.

    Our first Platinum sponsor is Infomaniak. Infomaniak is Switzerland's largest web-hosting company, also offering backup and storage services, solutions for event organizers, live-streaming and video on demand services. It wholly owns its datacenters and all elements critical to the functioning of the services and products provided by the company (both software and hardware).

    Next, as a Platinum sponsor, is Google. Google is one of the largest technology companies in the world, providing a wide range of Internet-related services and products as online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, software, and hardware. Google has been supporting Debian by sponsoring DebConf since more than ten years, and is also a Debian partner.

  • More sales number for my Free Culture paper editions (2019-edition)

    The first book I published, Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig, is still selling a few copies. Not a lot, but enough to have contributed slightly over $500 to the Creative Commons Corporation so far. All the profit is sent there. Most books are still sold via Amazon (83 copies), with Ingram second (49) and Lulu (12) and Machette (7) as minor channels. Bying directly from Lulu bring the largest cut to Creative Commons. The English Edition sold 80 copies so far, the French 59 copies, and Norwegian only 8 copies. Nothing impressive, but nice to see the work we put down is still being appreciated. The ebook edition is available for free from Github.

Popcorn SBCs include a Chip reboot plus quad- and octa-core Amlogic models

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Source Parts has gone to Kickstarter to reboot the open-spec Chip SBC as a $49 and up “Original Popcorn.” There are also two “Super Popcorn” models that swap the Allwinner GR8 for a quad-core, Cortex-A53 Amlogic S905D or octa-core -A53 S912.

The nice thing about fully open source SBCs such as Next Thing Co.’s Chip (C.H.I.P.) is that if the company goes under, someone else can pick up the banner and move forward. The Cortex-A8-based (Allwinner GR8) based Chip, which briefly won fame for selling for only $9, has been available for the last two years only in a $49 Chip Pro Dev Kit. That, too, went bye bye last year when Next Thing closed its doors. Now a company called Source Parts has gone to Kickstarter to try to resurrect a improved version of the Chip with an optional “Stovetop” add-on board plus two related Super Popcorn boards.

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Giovanni Mascellani: DQIB, the Debian Quick Image Baker

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Debian supports (either officially or unofficially) a lot of architectures, which is of course a nice thing. Sometimes you want to play with some exotic architecture you are not familiar with, or you want to debug a problem with that architecture, but you do not have a computer implementing that architecture. Fortunately QEMU is able to emulate most of the architectures supported by Debian (ia64 being an exception), however it can be difficult to install it or to find ready-to-use images on the Internet (there are some, but usually they are quite a few years old). Let's also say that for some reason you cannot or do not want to use the Debian porterboxes (maybe you are not a DD, or you want to mess up with the network, or you want to be root). What do you do?

Mostly for the fun of hacking on some exotic architectures, I tried to brew together a little script, the Debian Quick Image Baker (DQIB). It is basically a wrapper that calls qemu-debootstrap with the right options (where "right" means "those that I have experimentally found to work"), with some thin icing layer on top. qemu-debootstrap is basically another wrapper on top of debootstrap, which of course does the heavy lifting, and qemu-user-static, that allows debootstrap to run executables for foreign architectures.

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Debian and Ubuntu Touch Leftovers

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  • CVE-2018-15587 : Debian has Released Security Update for evolution

    Debian has released security update for evolution package.

    This release fixes vulnerability against evolution package.

  • CVE-2019-10149 : Debian has Released Critical Security Update for Exim

    Debian has released security update for exim4 package.

    This release fixes vulnerability against exim4 package.

  • Debian has Released Critical Security Update for qemu

    Debian has released security update for qemu package.

    This release fixes 12 vulnerabilities against qemu package.

  • Debian has Released Security Updates for openjdk 7 and openjdk 8

    Debian has released security update for openjdk-7 and openjdk-8 packages.

    This release fixes three vulnerabilities against openjdk-7 and openjdk-8 packages.

  • Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in May 2019

    Nothing changed compared to last month, so this was again a quiet month. I only accepted 126 packages and rejected 15 uploads. The overall number of packages that got accepted was 156.

  • Ubuntu Touch Nearing Updated Unity 8 + Mir, But Not Yet Full Wayland

    Those at UBports continuing to independently advance Ubuntu Touch have put out a fresh status update on their work, including the long-awaited Unity 8 and Mir upgrade.

    An updated Unity 8 and Mir are inching closer to Ubuntu Touch users, including a Unity 8 that can work together with XWayland. These long-awaited updates are finally moving closer and the version of Mir they are targeting is the latest Mir 1.2 upstream release. They are also switching out their Xmir code for XWayland for the handling of running legacy applications.

    While progress is being made on running Wayland applications, there won't be a near-term or immediate switchover to a complete Wayland experience. By the time they are done with the prep work and other changes for the full Wayland integration on Unity 8, they are likely looking at "some time next year".

  • Ubuntu Touch Q&A 51

    Alan Griffiths – who by the way is the project lead for Mir - replied to another question, concerning Unity8 and Mir, in their new versions. We get lots of questions about all of that and we have never really explained it properly or said why it is so important.

    This is a good time to explain how some of these things fit together. A new Mir version; a new version of Unity 8 which will work together with Xwayland (which will replace Xmir); enabling apps with a toolkit that supports Wayland; migrating existing apps to Wayland; migrating compositor components to Wayland. This is by no means a complete list of all the things that need to be done but those are the core things.

    Marius explained that these things have to be done in in a set order and Alan has very helpfully listed them in that order.

    Marius is actually using Unity 8 on his daily driver device, which is a pain still but nevertheless does work. It is already fairly stable (not as in stable release!) and it is fast. The keyboard crashes though and memory is messed up.

    Unity 8 has to be developed in tandem with Mir. They are dependent on each other and have evolved together. Canonical did some work with the new version of Unity, so of course they did work on Mir to match that. Together, they bring performance improvements, such as with events. They also bring stability improvements.

    Having said all that, the new Unity 8 was being developed mostly for desktop, early on. So it is actually more stable on desktop than on phone at the moment because that is where it started. Rotation issues are an example of issues that really only affect phones.

    The development work then was around the time of 16.04 and 17.04.

    Canonical’s main focus was to deliver new things. Our focus is different because for us, stability is absolutely central. We need to make it usable for everyday users, not just on the desktop but of course most importantly on phones.

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Filesystem Hierarchy Standard

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Hack Computer review

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