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2011 May 3 [Tuesday]

Building packages from source tutorial by DebianWomen

DW is conducting a packaging tutorial. Do note, this is not a tutorial for upstream package building from source, but still, its worth listening to. Here is Marga's announcement::

Are you enthusiastic about Debian and thinking about contributing? We want to guide you with the basics.

We are convinced that there are a lot of people out there that want to get involved with Free Software but don't know where to start.  For Debian, the most common task you'll do as a contributor is rebuilding a package.

The Debian Women project, in collaboration with the OpenHatch project, will be holding an IRC event to help people that want to compile their first Debian package from source, and apply their first patch.

The event

On Saturday May 7th, two tutorial sessions will be held on #debian-women on irc.debian.org to help people rebuild a package for the first time.
The earlier session, suggested for those that live in Oceania, Asia, Africa and Europe, will be held at 11:00 UTC. 

The later session, suggested for those that live in the Americas, will be held at 22:00 UTC. You can find out the exact time in your timezone by using the timezone converter: http://www.timezoneconverter.com/cgi-bin/tzc.tzc

There will be people available to answer questions and generally help out with any difficulties that might arise all along the day.

More info at http://wiki.debian.org/DebianWomen/BuildItEvent

Intended audience

This event is aimed to anyone who wants to rebuild a Debian package for the first time, it's a simple task that doesn't require any previous knowledge, only a working installation of Debian (or Ubuntu, or other Debian-derived system).  We want to particularly encourage women who want to get involved, to take their first steps in
contributing to Free Software, but everybody is welcome.

More about IRC

IRC is a real-time chat system you can use to get in touch with members of the Debian community. You can connect to IRC through lots of different clients, including xchat, pidgin and konversation.

About Debian Women

The Debian Women project seeks to balance and diversify the Debian Project by actively engaging with interested women and encouraging them to become more involved with Debian. http://women.debian.org

About OpenHatch

OpenHatch is an open source community aiming to help newcomers find their way into free software projects. It works towards this goal through on-line and outreach events. This event is a reappropriation of the OpenHatch "Build it" events.


2010 June 2 [Wednesday]

Pbuilder installation on UbuntuHardy

Pbuilder, constructs a chroot system and builds a package inside the chroot. It is an ideal system to use to check that a package has correct build dependencies and to build clean packages to be tested and distributed. Debian uses pbuilder for packaging and they have lotsa manuals...




Pbuilder manual - Junichi Uekawa


Ubuntu also uses Pbuilder for all their packaging work. Ubuntu has a Packaging Guide but i was following the instruction on the Ubuntu wiki page while trying to install it on hardy. Installed the dependencies and tried to create it.

$sudo pbuilder create --distribution hardy --othermirror "deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu hardy main restricted universe multiverse"

Error!! "Command line parameter [.dsc] is not a valid .dsc file name"

The .pbuilderrc file was supposed to be created automagically but it wasnt.


But it was nigelb and geser to the rescue and its the real-time responses that makes me addicted to IRC but I find it amusing that we use cryptic and terse mode of communication on irc as compared to complete sentences in email/forums. hmmm...not sure if this is good or bad in the long runbut switching modes suddenly makes it kinda weird.

$sudo pbuilder create

$sudo pbuilder update --override-config

Upgrading for distribution hardy
Building the build Environment
extracting base tarball [/var/cache/pbuilder/base.tgz]
creating local configuration
copying local configuration
Installing apt-lines
mounting /proc filesystem
mounting /dev/pts filesystem
policy-rc.d already exists
Refreshing the base.tgz
upgrading packages
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com hardy Release.gpg
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com hardy Release
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com hardy/main Packages
Reading package lists... Done
dpkg - warning: ignoring request to remove lilo which isn't installed.
Obtaining the cached apt archive contents
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
Calculating upgrade... Done
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
build-essential is already the newest version.
dpkg-dev is already the newest version.
apt is already the newest version.
aptitude is already the newest version.
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Copying back the cached apt archive contents
unmounting dev/pts filesystem
unmounting proc filesystem
creating base tarball [/var/cache/pbuilder/base.tgz]
cleaning the build env
removing directory /var/cache/pbuilder/build//15479 and its subdirectories

...and pbuilder was ready to be used.

$sudo apt-get update

Next it was pulling a package to build and source it via wget, apt-get, or dget for the .dsc file from packages.ubuntu.com -- only for packages in the ubuntu repo. If your code sits as a branch on your cvs, it wont be pulled from packages.ubuntu.com.

The 'Packaging from Scratch' section asks you to create a directory before using wget but its a different method when you are using a cvs. If its hosted on LP, use bzr to pull it::

$sudo bzr export -r73 /dest/dir lp:~systers/systers/stable

and make sure you dont create the "/dest/dir" by hand as bzr will protest that the file exists in the target directory but the target dir will be empty. Bzr export needs a non-existing destination as it will create the directory owned to root. Somewhere in the middle of changing the ownership it simply locked me out ...wtf? and the next steps failed quite obviously. Then I had to waste a lot of time deleteing each file and folder.

In between this, Bescom decided to be the royal pita that they usually are, conked off power for half the day-- they had some work being done at the supplying station and the engineer was even kind enough to warn the residents of our area that an electric pole was going to be replaced in the street this week so be prepared for power outages at intermittent intervals of 10-15 minutes outage all day as they would be testing. WTF? Telling him that electrical appliances dont tolerate this well got the stock reply "install an UPS". How kind of him to enlighten us. Dont I just love the way our government servants treat the tax-paying citizens.

Adding to the annoyance, nothing worked after that. dh_make, used to create a template for packaging would not be invoked and I recall reading somewhere that dh_make was supposed to be done right the first time, else it would not work. 

$dpkg-source -x *.dsc
dpkg-source: error: cannot open .dsc file ./*.dsc: No such file or directory

Oh ok, now I need to find out a solution for that as well as how to create a .dsc file for the source pulled from LP.

2010 January 6 [Wednesday]

key signing party with DD Sean Finney


There is a meet today evening for key signing, followed by a dinner. Debian Developer Sean Finney will be there.

People interested for key signing or attending the meet, please feel free to join us.

Venue: Koshy's Restaurant
Time: 18:30 hrs IST


PS: Please carry a copy of your ID (preferably Passport or Driving License) for the Key Signing.


2008 January 14 [Monday]

makar shankranti

Had a very beautiful, yet dangerous visitor who took an hour getting chased out. Last week(end) was tough and tiring, partly because i exerted myself when i felt a l'il better resulting in a relapse. Random bytes like "it can be typhoid, 4 of my friends got it last week" makes me contemplate another round of tests tomorrow, which i dont look forward to at the moment :(

Currently we have 2 DD's and 2 more in the queue and bubulle and sam had attended foss.in as part of Project days so i had suggested that next time Debian can send female DD's if any are interested. That would give the DW project the visibility it deserves. The "why women....." advocacy talks has been overdone over the years so why not showcase DW's remarkable success rate : 10 female DD's at various stages in the developer queue, over the years. I managed to chew helix's and marga's ears about technical talks ... interested :) if the issue of travel sponsorship could be worked out.

ATM i dont feel like crawling through the full mailbox or reading anything at all and its Sankranti but i dont feel the energy at all. My pet peeve is the tendency of DR's (medics) handing out high doses/strong medication without bothering to check for past history/allergies and such-like. Lucre of endless tests and time may be a factor but i am not amused at their careless attitude.

Happy Makar Shankranti/Pongal !!

2007 October 20 [Saturday]

Ubuntu and Utsav

"Ubuntu is strongly based on Debian and (going deeper) GNU/Linux". Many community members are voicing their thoughts in favor of Debian and some have even filed bugs #154274 on LP , since DD's had blogged about not crediting Debian visibly in the latest Gutsy release. Paul had suggested we keep a page similar to MacOSX's "foundations" summary which sounds workable. Ubuntu/Canonical knows and does recognize the foundation on which it is built upon but the website when searched for "Debian" gives this result whilst a search for "GNU/Linux" gave fewer meaningful results. I hope that changes soon and GNU/Linux and Debian get their place under the sun (now is that another TM violation :-P).

Happy shubh Dashera, and with that ends 10 days of fun ...until next year ...:) but hey i still have deepavali to look forward to. Thankfully we have a festival every other month so its nice in a way but too much work [hint: cooking] and socialising. Russell had blogged about caring for your introvert which is so not happening in the Indian context ... I can just imagine the reaction my nosy colleague/neighbour /acquaintance (add people of choice) would have if I had to wave that under their nose, they would probably just tear it up as "bakwas, stop being so snooty".

2007 August 19 [Sunday]

ubuntu in corporate india

The perk I enjoy the most is being able to promote Ubuntu/Linux to the folks I meet as part of work. In the booming Indian IT industry, few know about Linux and for most its usually restricted to RH/Fedora or the myth that Linux is meant only for the geeks or nerdy engineers and developers. For many people (besides the sysadmins/techies) in the IT world here, Debian/Ubuntu/KDE or Gnome is akin to the Latin language ....pretty sad !!

Even though RH is well known and used (by far the most famous in my limited interaction's), many companies don't want to experiment and still balk at support issues and don't really understand the concept of community support. Some even ask why I work for free and dont really understand the philosophy behind the GPL and why a developing nation like ours needs it.

Pressure being high as far as productivity goes, not many companies would want to waste time in experimenting with the unknown. I understand where their concerns arise and they are probably justified in thinking so. Many are surprised to hear about the low female participation in the libre world**1, low development rate on libre platforms, low hardware support for libre drivers, lack of knowledge about GPL and the like.

As someone who does not code for a living but yet volunteers in the FOSS world, I usually don't face much opposition while convincing them to start thinking of Ubuntu as a base for developing software. Its fun telling the corporate management types about the benefits of using Ubuntu-Linux while handing out the Ubuntu CD's and usually get to speak to the tech head or any other decision making authority. Currently I am running out of the latest Ubuntu CD's so if anyone has Shipit CD's to spare, leave a comment.

**1. In India a large number of women work in the IT industry. Hazarding a guess I could say its around 40% of the workforce, probably more, but I have no statistical figures to back it.

2005 October 5 [Wednesday]

Debian has a Sanskrit locale

Finally the long nights of poring through the finer details of grammar for the SA (sanskrit) locale has paid off -- A bug report has been filed in debian to be included belocs-locales-data and package : locales (version: 2.3.5-6). It may take awhile to be included in the distro and flow into Ubuntu but I feel great just having done this. Thanks, Christian!

2005 October 2 [Sunday]

Sanskrit locale sponsored into Debian

Just finished a last minute correction on the SA (Sanskrit) locale. Too many long nights this past week reading about Unicode and Devanagari support, keymaps and key-bindings, on Linux. And as I write this, its past 2 am yet again.... Volunteering can cause insomnia and sleep deprivation.

UPDATE: My Sanskrit (SA) language locale package was sponsored into Debian by Christian Perrier on 03-Oct-2005, available as a Debian package “belocs-locales-data” and in package “locales (version: 2.3.5-6)”. It feels great to see my first technical contribution to Debian become a part of the larger FOSS ecosystem.

2005 September 25 [Sunday]

Sanskrit locale

Recently, I started working on the Sanskrit (SA) locale with Christian bubulle Perrier for Debian. I'm told it is a long process to get the locale package approved, but I have to write the locale first -- for this I have to also learn how revision control systems work, how and why the system needs a locale, UTF-8 and Unicode, and so much more. Hopefully, I will finish it soon and the next Debian release will include the Sanskrit locale that I am writing now.