This is Simon McVittie's software development blog. Main site: pseudorandom.co.uk

Debian activities

Most of my recent Debian work has been the usual pkg-telepathy stuff (mainly in experimental while we're frozen), and hacking on the Quake III engine.

Having started working on OpenArena DFSG-freeness as random bug-squashing a year ago, I've accidentally ended up taking over the package. The situation for Debian 6.0 (squeeze) looks something like this:

  • openarena contains both the engine (a modified ioquake3, which I modified further for Debian) and the game logic compiled to native code
  • openarena-data has had the bytecode game logic stripped out, since no Free compiler can produce it; the bytecode has been replaced with stub files that direct our modified engine to load native code

The plan for Quake III in Debian 7.0 (wheezy) has already started in experimental:

  • ioquake3 contains the ioquake3.org port of the Quake III engine, which I've modified to be able to run either Quake III Arena or OpenArena based on runtime options
  • openarena contains the game logic compiled to native code (in experimental it still contains source code for the engine, but it's no longer patched or compiled, and I'll hopefully drop it entirely after the next upstream release), and launcher scripts to run it under the ioquake3 engine
  • openarena-data is much like it is now, although it might move to data.debian.org if that happens
  • quake3 (currently in the NEW queue) contains launcher scripts to run Quake III Arena under the ioquake3 engine, requiring a non-distributable quake3-data package
  • game-data-packager version 23 or later can build the quake3-data package for local use, if you give it pak0.pk3 (from the CD-ROM) and the latest Quake III patch

I haven't been doing as much QA work as the RCBW crowd, but here's some halfway-recent bug squashing in the hope that it motivates others:

I also started looking at the series of bugs regarding Flash not compiled from source, but I mostly got distracted by all the webapps having a contrib/ directory containing a million embedded code copies...

Announcing gfcombinefs

gfcombinefs is a side project I did some work on a few weeks ago. It combines several "shares" of a secret file previously split using Shamir secret sharing, to produce the original secret, and presents it as a file in a FUSE filesystem. It uses libgfshare for the actual mathematics, and expects its input to have been split with the gfsplit tool shipped with libgfshare.

At this stage of development, I suggest not trusting it with important data, like the GnuPG secret keyrings it's designed for. However, I hope that with some feedback from others I can get it into a state where it's ready to be released and packaged (perhaps I'm being unnecessarily conservative, but for something that deals with GnuPG keys, it seems wise to be careful).

Source code is available in a git repository, and I'd welcome contributions, bug reports (other than the limitations that are already listed in the documentation) and in particular, a systematic code audit from someone (the good news is that there isn't very much code, so that shouldn't actually take long).

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RC Bugs of W48-W49

More release critical bug squashing of the "week" (fortnight, really):

Removals from testing and proposed removals from unstable:

Possible candidates for removal:

  • bfm (unmaintained upstream since 2004, declining popcon score)

Other drive-by QA:

RC Bugs of W47

I've been intermittently prodding at the Debian release-critical bug list for some time, but inspired by Zack and Tim I've decided to start keeping track, if only for my own interest.

  • Monday: openipmi Debian bug #474087 + patch (not uploaded since I have no way to test IPMI libraries, not having the appropriate hardware...)

  • Monday: potential candidates for removal:

    • skyutils (RC bug, library with no reverse dependencies since smssend was removed in 2008)
    • libhid (RC bug, RFA since August 2008, mainly exists to support libphidgets)
    • libphidgets (RC bug, RFA since 2007)
    • libnoise (RC bug, library with no reverse dependencies or popcon votes)
  • Thursday: hercules Debian bug #553110 uploaded to DELAYED/7, with various bonus changes including making the copyright file sufficient to satisfy Policy §12.5

  • Friday: spider Debian bug #537631 fixed by a QA upload, fast-forwarding through 8 years of Debian policy and upgrading from debhelper 3 (!) to 7 in the process

In general I've been trying to avoid resurrecting packages that I don't think should be in the archive, even if the fix is trivial. I'm not sure whether that applies to spider; according to popcon, it still has a substantial number of users, so it may be worth keeping even if there are no upstream releases (also, it amused me to convert such an old package to Debhelper 7 and dpkg source format v3).

In the process I've discovered that git-buildpackage makes a great NMU tool. I'll probably be putting all future NMU diffs in my users/smcv directory on git.debian.org (at least until the maintainer acknowledges or rejects the NMU), just because it's a convenient way to give the maintainer a nice queue of individual changes rather than a monolithic diff; if any maintainers decide they'll use git as a result, that's a bonus :-)

telepathy-qt4 0.2.0: first shared library release

This afternoon Andre released telepathy-qt4 0.2.0, the first version that builds a shared library, and I've uploaded it to Debian (it'll get into unstable as soon as it clears the NEW queue).

This is a major milestone for telepathy-qt4: over the course of 16 months' development it's gone from a collection of auto-generated constants (Olli Salli's initial commit, back in July 2008) to a shared library with a frozen API and ABI. We encourage Qt/KDE application developers to treat telepathy-qt4 as the preferred Qt 4 binding for Telepathy.

Andre and the rest of the Telepathy project will continue to add high-level bindings for more Telepathy features over the course of the 0.3.x series; we plan to keep the API and ABI backwards-compatible until shortly before the next milestone, 0.4.0, at which point we'll consider breaking ABI to drop deprecated functionality.

Older posts:

DSpam and how not to do it
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Converting Debian packaging from bzr to git
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Why you shouldn't block on D-Bus calls
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Encrypted root filesystem on a Debian laptop
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Compiling against uninstalled versions of libraries
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Integrating Enemies of Carlotta with Postfix
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Speeding up builds with ccache and icecc
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Spec-writing On A Plane
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\o/
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Implementing D-Bus services with telepathy-glib
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Here's how it works
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A magical xrandr incantation
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