Binge-watching Debconf 21

I’ve been catching up on by my binge-watching, and this time it’s DebConf 21 Online, which ran 22-29 August 2021.

Here are the presentations I found interesting and relevant to Ubuntu. Debian is, in some ways, our conjoined twin; we share so many values and people.

Your interests may differ from mine – If you found a gem among the videos, mention it!

Detecting At-Risk Projects in Debian

Using popcon data, researchers found over 4000 at-risk (heavily-used, low-quality) packages of upstream software. In these packages, upstreamed bugs tend to take long to fix while affecting many users. At 13:38 is the slide detailing the 30 most concerning packages, many of which are Gnome and Xorg desktop stack software.

Linux’s 30th Anniversary

Oops, we didn’t send Linux a 30th birthday card (05 October 1991). Nor KDE for 25 (14 October 1996). So I suppose we owe them a tin of apology cookies. But Gnome’s 25 is next year (15 August 1997). And Debian’s 30th anniversary is in two years (16 August 1993). And, of course, Ubuntu’s 20 is approaching (05 March 2004).

Come and meet the Publicity Team!

The Debian Publicity Team leads viewers through the tools Debian volunteers use. They send out and track micronews and news releases (check out !), they intend to re-invigorate and change the focus of the periodic newsletter, they are seeking contributors to translate news, and they are seeking code tinkerers to help refine their tools.

Debian Community Team BoF

The Debian Community Team stated goals are quite different from the Ubuntu Community Team’s goals, despite the similar name. Generally their role is mediation, reducing conflict and finding ways for folks who disagree to still cooperate. One major concern is that Debian contributors are getting older; too few new younger volunteers.

branch2repo – enabling casual contributions to debian-installer

The first 10 minutes includes an engaging and entertaining orientation to how Debian creates their installer. Ubuntu has moved away from this model, and it’s important for Ubuntu folks to understand some of the differences as they begin to contribute to Debian.

Reproducible Buster, Bullseye & Bookworm - where we come from and where we are going and Looking Forward to Reproducible Builds

Reproducible Builds is a concept that has been percolating around for years and slowly developing. Debian has identified pain points with missing package files, scripts, and infrastructure, and has made big progress on many of those pain points…but are still years away from reproducability. Also a call for volunteers for testing and bugfixing. Ubuntu is reported as “not interested it seems.” So if anybody in Ubuntu is looking at this, they’re not getting credit.

Lenovo + Debian - 2021

After the obligatory advertisement, some great technical discussion from the OEM perspective about common wireless problems, hibernation problems, graphics cards, fingerprint readers, and lots of other bugs.

State of KDE/Plasma in Debian

A great overview that essentailly boils down to “It’s good!” Then, a forward-looking review of the current problems and the big stuff in progress (like preparing for Plasma to migrate to Qt6). This is what a well-running team’s annual review should look like.

Providing more “value” without hassle

A hidden gem: Ideas on how to improve the Debian release cycle. At 3:36 is a slide on the “7 Wastes in Software Development.” The vision for improvement looks much more like the Ubuntu 6-month release cycle with a couple adjustments.

src:developers-reference wants your help!

An overview of the Developers Reference Handbook, the challenge of rotting documentation, and a call for volunteers for doc updates and doc translation. Also a review of the papercuts that new volunters can help with…which are organized as a list of bugs (since the handbook is also itself a package).