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Friday, 27 May 2005

Two years

On Wednesday, I hit the two year mark as a Debian Developer, but was too busy to take the time to reflect.

I first was introduced to Debian back when I had the ISP, and one of our technical staff suggested that when we replaced a Slackware box, we install Debian on it instead. I remember grappling with this dselect thing, but immediately liking the fact that I didn't have to compile stuff (and deal with all the complexities that went along with it). I'm thinking we're talking about bo here.

I remember when apt first came out, and the first thing you did when you installed a Debian box was download the .deb from http://people.debian.org/~jgg and could bid adieu to this hideous dselect thing. That was good. I then plodded along with Debian for the next 3 years or so, increasing my general Linux fu.

Then I had the opportunity to deploy a large-scale Debian-based Internet gateway at my current place of employment. Somewhat prodigiously, woody had just been released, and I discovered FAI.

Around this time, we also were using Argus to attempt to do data billing of our clients. The existing Debian maintainer was in the NM queue himself, and cracked the shits one day over how long New Maintainer processing was taking and decided to orphan all his packages. As we were reasonably reliant on Argus, I figured this was a good time to get involved and adopting it, and decided to get the ball rolling on becoming a developer myself.

So what have I done in my first two years as a Debian Developer? Not as much as I'd have liked, but still a fair bit. The packages that got me involved in the first place, argus-server and argus-client are in pretty good shape. Upstream is a bit dormant at the moment, and after Sarge releases I plan to look into reworking the maintainer scripts as they're a bit crufty.

I've packaged dstat and elfsign from scratch. I don't think elfsign is terribly popular, but due to the trickle of bug reports that have come in for dstat, I suspect that it has caused a little bit of interest. The upstream author has also seized upon the PTS and I suspect he thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread.

I also adopted simpleproxy and vaiostat (which I've subsequently handed over to someone who still has a VAIO) and become a co-maintainer of dhcp3. I plan on doing a lot of stuff with dhcp3 in the near future.

The two other areas that I've contributed have been debian-installer and QA. The former not as much as I'd have liked, and the latter a reasonable amount.

For the installer, my main contribution was doing some test installs. I also made a few trivial fixes to lvmcfg and mdcfg, as the functionality that both of these provided was important to me. I would have liked to have done a lot more, but d-i has a bit of a learning curve, and I just didn't have enough spare time.

QA on the otherhand, was something I could really sink my teeth into, and I could do as much or as little as I liked, due to the granular nature of the work. When I first started on the list of orphaned packages with the maintainer not set to the QA group, there were I think over 300 packages languishing there. I got stuck into them, and progressively worked through the list, making numerous uploads, suggesting removals, fixing easy to fix bugs.

It's been an enormously educational experience, as there's been some real antiques sitting there, with build systems that predate all of the stuff that is in popular use today. It was fun trying to get a handle on how those packages built so that I could attempt to fix stuff.

So that's been my first two years. I don't know what the next two will bring. I've been in two minds over whether Debian is imploding, and whether I'm better off expending my energies on Ubuntu instead. Things that I guess will help make up my mind are how the Social Contract changes are implemented, what happens with the whole Vancouver Proposal thing, and how long it takes to release etch. Time will tell.

[16:09] [debian] [permalink]

Little Cat

Or "LC" as she is known, is the name of our new cat.

A while ago, we sought permission to keep a cat in our new place, and somewhat to our surprise, we received it. We hadn't raced out and got a cat immediately though.

Someone was advertising at Sarah's work that a 10-year old desexed female cat required rehoming, so we took her. She's settled in really well, but for a cat that is so small, seems to have hollow legs. Seems like we need to work on the food rations a bit yet.

[15:24] [life] [permalink]

Calm before the storm?

Well, with one week of teaching remaining, I have passed through Assignment Hell moderately unscathed. Poor Sarah has hardly seen me for the last three weeks though.

Neither assignment that was due yesterday is spectacularly good, but hopefully I will pass both of them.

Now for exams. Luckily I have managed to get some time off for the week of them so I can do some mad cramming the whole time.

[15:17] [uni] [permalink]