Week 13: Test it like its hot

GSoC comes to an end in a short while so the last week was reserved for testing APT in all its glory. Not much to say about it beside that I wrote a lot of shellscripts to build packages, build archives from it, sign them, ship them over file as well as http method, can even install packages with dpkg in the test environment and so on. This thankfully showed a few small bugs in the process of writing the tests so many unstable and testing users will not be hit by them 🙂︎ Yeap, unstable as the releaseteam yesterday gave their go on uploading APT to unstable after many months in experimental. Over the week was also a bugreport on the deity list which made it today to a proper bugreport and blocked the upload until we reassigned it to curl… The bug is strange so it needed a while until I managed to understand why.

Friday was a bit busy as Michael was on holiday while he was requested to fill in some sort of final evaluation: Getting him on phone was a bit complicated, but all worked out well in the end. 🙂︎

So all in all a boring week. 😉︎

And this week will be even more boring as I need to prepare for an exam on Thursday…

Week 12: Happy birthday Debian!

From time to time I am asked why I do such a boring thing as working on a many years old application, dealing with code and bugs from the last decade, an even more boring commandline only application and finally why all this for free and for this crazy "linux" thing which isn't even called Ubuntu…

It's sometimes hard to answer this in a good way as you need to educate the questioner all the way through GNU, free beer vs free software, linux, debian, package management to APT. In two minutes and most of them get distracted by "free beer"… and there are many of them. So many that you could sometimes come to the (false) conclusion that you are the only one. Okay, in debian that is unrealistic with > 900 DDs, many DMs and a few more contributors without an official status, but the tendency to feel a bit "alone" is still everytime you look around in a class and see everywhere non-debian and mostly even non-linux operation systems running. And even if you made it so far to find an debian-related user you still have the way down to APT… its not completely uncommon to hear: "Oh yeah, fine, but pretty oldschool isn't? Good that someone developed a replacement for it. Its called $graphical-apt-frontend!" And you know that you talk with an expert if he says "I use aptitude exclusively. I have even purged apt with it…"

So everything you expect in the morning opening your emails is maybe a bunch of bugreports - but not today, today a lot of messages started with "thanks"! Nice difference and a very cool idea! So a big thanks for this thank-project. I hope this project helps a bit in motivating contributors to continue their work and might even motivate more people to start contributing 🙂︎

Contribution is the perfect keyword for the real content of the post: A few upgrade-related bugs needed to be debugged like #591882 there we are still in the process to understand all failed package upgrades - beside that a few small fixes like a corrected LongDesc handling and improving my testframework.

The upgrade "fix" we call "FixByInstall" is btw a quite interesting thing as it looks like an error to commit it. Very few lines of code, but they introduce an autoinstall enabled MarkInstall call in the resolver which is a premiere… and dangerous but it fixes a problem and maybe all the thinking about ways it could possibly break which can't be produced in testcases by now is not needed… We will see.

The rest of the week was spent with writing in nearly endless amount of emails to bugreports, discussions and even to APT2 announcements, threads and ITPs. So much, that i don't want to comment that further expect that you can find most of it in my crosspost to merge the independent threads: http://lists.debian.org/deity/2010/08/msg00107.html

I recommend to try running the posted APT3 brainfuck code btw, just save the code as apt3 and run it with beef (apt-get install beef before of course if needed).

For my own reference, the APT3 brainfuck code is:


And no, APT3 was not a direct reaction to APT2 - it was an initial a bad joke I told a few people before and on the UDS in Dallas 2009 referring to cupt written in perl… And because people tend to misunderstand me then I say such stuff: I have nothing against cupt nor APT2 (expect name) and I even like them for giving interesting ideas what to do next… and next is currently to finalize APT in the hope that it will migrate to unstable and testing some time in the future. Also, GSoC starts to come to an end… and this week report has also reached his end. See next week for more…

Week 11: Roma 2010

As said, last week I was away with "my kids" - 21 + three more advisor + myself. Long travel - ~15 hours - in a special train for all 1000 participations from the diocese Limburg, to finally meet ~55.000 people on the Saint Peter's Square. A cool week full of program and fun but also quite demanding…

I am feeling like my backpack sticker below right now fighting against an enormous backlog, watching some debconf material and trying to speed up again on APT bugfixing. See you hopefully refreshed next week 🙂︎

My GSoC sticker with washed out letters after a demanding week of ROMA

(the sticker looked new at the time I left the house on the 1. Aug…)

Week 10: Do it in order!

Jepp, I am late but working against a week of backlog is hard 😉︎ I intended to publish this post even before my leave but some unexpected requests blocked that, so the long-awaited post for the week before I left…

Another week passed away and so you get the weekly report… a bit earlier as i am on the way to the train-station for my week of in Roma with "my kids", but let us look in the past first:

The week started with a nice bugreport which acquired most of the weeks work: #590438: Removes pseudo-essential package. Okay, the title is a bit misleading as APT doesn't remove it without replacement and it is not limited to (pseudo) essentials but it is most obvious with them. 🙂︎ The problem was that APT removed mawk before installing gawk which both provide awk which is a pseudo essential. So everything needed is "just" to move the installation and configuration of gawk before the removal of mawk. Easy, isn't it? 😉︎

The other thing wasting time without end was to push APT from debian/experimental into Ubuntu Maverick to get it in before they feature freeze and as a testcase for the transition to debian/sid and /testing which will hopefully happen better sooner than later. Some tools have really strange assumptions about the behavior of APT… (yes, I am looking at you sbuild!)

I also spent a bit of time in preparing "my" debconf presentation which will be held by Arthur Liu as I am not around in person nor online at all at that time.

(The last-minute request was btw to drop text from the slides into the speaker notes)

Week 9: Testing stuff

Last week was relatively short. I had to pass an exam on Friday in Net Centric Systems, our bachelor practice asks for a lot of attention (still writing documentation and now even a bit of JSP) and last not least "my kids" (you know, not "my" - I am just the young group leader) starting to get nervous about next week (week 11) in Roma and also started to clean and prepare the old party basement. The basement was closed for at least two years now and looked exactly like this: Bad musty smell, mildew and a lot of (death) bugbears: spiders and alike. Better now but still a lot to do. Anyway, i guess that this is not of common interest. 😉︎

So, what do you did APT related? As usual: answered a few mails (mostly off list this time so no pointers). The biggest point code wise is the enhancement of the apt-cache (r)depends commands - they do share code now instead of maintaining their own code-copies. I did this as I need the commands a bit for my second big think this week which isn't finished yet: A shell-scripted test framework to be able to automate what currently is done manual or never. Its still missing a lot: e.g. setting up environment for dpkg to test complete runs, an easy way to deploy real test deb-packages and a way to test also http connection with a local web server as file is easy to test but not always comparable to the http method which is used far more often in real world - e.g. in the new compressed index feature.

I also mentally start to prepare "my" presentation as each GSoC project is present on DebConf for 5 minutes. I can't be around for it myself as i need to stay here in town respective i am away with my kids next week already as described above. Maybe next time… 🙂︎

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