Category Archives: debian

My Free Software Activities in Jul-Sep 2017

If you read Planet Debian often, you’ve probably noticed a trend of Free Software activity reports at the beginning of the month. First, those reports seemed a bit unamusing and lengthy, but since I take the time to read them I’ve learnt a lot of things, and now I’m amazed at the amount of work that people are doing for Free Software. Indeed, I knew already that many people are doing lots of work. But reading those reports gives you an actual view of how much it is.

Then, I decided that I should do the same and write some kind of report since I became a Debian Developer in July. I think it’s a nice way to share your work with others and maybe inspire them as it happened to me. So I asked some of the people that have been inspiring me how do they do it. I mean, I was curious to know how they keep track of the work they do and how long it takes to write their reports. It seems that it takes quite some time, it’s mostly manual work and usually starts by the end of the month, reviewing their contributions in mailing lists, bug trackers, e-mail folders, etc.

Here I am now, writing my first report about my Free Software activities since July and until September 2017. I hope you like it:

  • Filed bug #867068 in Cannot claim account after former SSO alioth cert expired.
  • Replied a request in private mail for becoming the maintainer for the Monero Wallet, that I declined suggesting to file an RFP.
  • Attended DebConf17 DebCamp but I missed most of Open Day and the rest of the Debian conference in Montreal.
  • Rebuilt libdbd-oracle-perl after being removed from testing to enable the transition to perl 5.26.
  • Filed bug #870872 in Server Error (500) when using a new SSO cert.
  • Filed bug #870876 in make subscription easier to upstreams with many packages.
  • Filed bug #871767 in lintian: [checks/cruft] use substr instead of substring in example.
  • Filed bug #871769 in reportbug: man page mentions -a instead of -A.
  • Suggested to remove libmail-sender-perl in bug #790727, since it’s been deprecated upstream.
  • Mentioned -n option for dpt-takeover in how to adopt pkg-perl manual.
  • Fixed a broken link to HCL in
  • Adopted libapache-admin-config-perl into pkg-perl team, upgraded to 0.95-1 and closed bug #615457.
  • Fixed bug #875835 in libflickr-api-perl: don’t add quote marks in SYNOPSIS.
  • Removed 50 inactive accounts from pkg-perl team in alioth as part of our annual membership ping.

Happy hacking!


Packaging SoftiWARP kernel module for Debian

One of the HPC clusters we have at work has a mixed set of nodes: a few of them have InfiniBand interfaces and the others don’t. A few weeks ago we were requested to install the SoftiWARP kernel module on those nodes that lack the InfiniBand interface. We had already tried to build the module from source and it worked well, but now the challenge was to install it as a Debian package with DKMS, so it would be built for all installed kernel versions on each node.

We use Puppet to manage cluster node configuration, so you may wonder why not using Puppet instead. Well, for one we’re talking about installing the source of a kernel module, with no configuration at all. But there’s also the fact that Puppet delegates to package providers the management of software, which know much better how to deal with software upgrades. Lastly, there’s the challenge of learning something new: though I had previous knowlegde of DKMS, I had no idea on how to make a Debian package out of it.

Fortunately, I found Evgeny Golov‘s DKMS playground on Debian wiki. With those tips and my recently updated experience on packaging Perl modules for Debian, I was confident enough to try my first DKMS Debian package. Actually, it came out quite easy: I just had to adapt debian/rules a bit to accommodate modern debhelper best practices:

#!/usr/bin/make -f
sversion:=$(shell dpkg-parsechangelog|grep "^Version:"|cut -d" " -f2|rev|cut -d- -f2-|rev|cut -d':' -f2)
    dh $@
    dh_installdirs -p$(pdkms)  usr/src/$(sname)-$(sversion)
    cp -a *.txt Makefile *.c *.h debian/$(pdkms)/usr/src/$(sname)-$(sversion)
    sed "s/__VERSION__/$(sversion)/g" debian/ > debian/$(pdkms)/usr/src/$(sname)-$(sversion)/dkms.conf

Funny enough, I spend more time filling the details on debian/copyright and debian/control files than actually setting up DKMS, so big kudos to Evgeni!

Take a look at the full debian packaging for further details. You may notice that this package has a dependency on libsiw-dev (SoftiWARP userland library), which I had to package first and was a bit trickier. More on that next time.