Debian published Jessie last month. Big congratulations to the release team and all the contributors; quality is again at the rendez-vous!
This time, I could not contribute much, being busy with parental activities (hello my son, if you read me), apart from making sure that my packages are ready for the D Day. This work was made easy by the automated removals of buggy packages set up by the release team. Many thanks for that development.
I hope to use Jessie for a long time without the need of upgrading to Testing. At the moment, it provides everything I need, including the input of Japanese characters together with the possibility to switch between Japanese (or American) and multilingual Canadian keyboard layouts, which was not easy to do anymore in Wheezy.
Many thanks again.
mime-support is installed by default on Debian
systems. It has two roles: first to provide the file
associates media types (formerly called MIME types) to suffixes of file
names, and second to provide the
mailcap system that associates
media types with programs. I adopted this package at the
end of the development cycle of Wheezy.
Changes since Wheezy.
The version distributed in Jessie brings a few additions in
/etc/mime.types. Among them,
which as their name suggest describe two file formats designed by Debian. I
registered these types to the
which is more open to the addition of new types since the
The biggest change is the automatic extraction of the associations between
programs and media types that are declared in the menu files in FreeDesktop
Before, it was the maintainer of the Debian package who had to extract this
information and translate it in mailcap format by hand. The automation is
A big thank you to Kevin Ryde who gave me a precious help for the
developments and corrections to the
run-mailcap program, and to all the
Your help is always welcome!
In December, Debian has been contacted by Timothy D. Morgan, who found that
an attacker could get
run-mailcap to execute commands by inserting them in
This first security update for me went well, thanks to the help and
instructions of Salvatore Bonaccorso from the Security team. The problem is
solved in Wheezy, Jessie and Sid, as well as in Squeeze through its
long term support.
One of the consequences of this security update is that
systematically use the absolute path to the files to open. For harmless
files, this is a bit ugly. This will perhaps be improved after Jessie is
/etc/mime.types is kept up to date by hand; this is slow and
inefficient. The package
shared-mime-info contains similar
information, that could be used to autogenerate this file, but that would
require to parse a XML source that is quite complex. For the moment, I am
considering to import Fedora's
mailcap package, where
/etc/mime.types is very well kept up to date. I have not yet
decided how to do it, but maybe just by moving that file from one package to
the other. In that case, we would have the
mime-support package that
mailcap support, and the package whose source is Fedora's
mailcap package who would provide
/etc/mime.types. Perhaps it will be
better to use clearer names, such as
mailcap-support for the first and
media-types for the second?
Separating the two main functionalities of
mime-support would have an
interesting consequence: the possibility of not installing the support for
the mailcap system, or to make it optional, and instead to use the
FreeDesktop sytem (
xdg-open), from the package
Something to keep in mind...
apt install nodejs-legacy if you want
npm install to work.
I recently realised that one can browse the archives of debian-private via SSH. I find this a good compromise between subscription and ignorance. Here is for instance the command for November.
ssh -t master.debian.org mutt -f /home/debian/archive/debian-private/debian-private.201411
In 2009 I called for a general resolution regarding membership procedures in Debian, to block a change that, in my opinion, was going against our values. Results, even if they satisfied the majority came with a bitter feeling and it became questioned whether a better solution could have been reached without using a constraining procedure. I did not think so, but not to the point of not having doubts about it, and therefore, regrets.
This year, we are again having a vote related to a change that some people think it goes against our values, and again the existence of this vote makes it hard to find compromises. Bitterness will win whatever the result is. For the avoidance of doubt, I have proposed the amendment number 3, stating that this general resolution should not have been started.
I hope that this amendment will defeat the original proposition and will make people think twice before pressing Debian's alarm button next time.
PS: amendment 3, that is amendment C, that is choice 4. If there was a need for an example that the procedure is complex, here it is...
I eventually answered to the Public Consultation on the review of the EU copyright rules. As a coincidence, the radio was playing European Super State, from Killing Joke.
One can see in the consultation the picture of an Internet shaped to better control the diffusion and copy of non-free works, and monitor for possible infractions. It is therefore important to answer and remind primacy of the presumption of innocence, and the importance of the respect of privacy.
Nevertheless, I also asked for reducing exceptions of copyrights, because to give a temporary access to non-free works at zero cost has the consequence of reducing the incentive for creating alternatives that can be copied, modified and redistributed freely.
This morning when preparing the update of a package, and I saw a PNG file in
its documentation. Even before opening it, I felt old, tired, distressed
and unable to escape the situation. Inspecting the file confirmed that the
image was not hand made. The source file is missing. The proof: anther
image in the same directory has the same style and a SVG source. To make
things worse, there are no instructions on how to generate the PNG from the
SVG. More and more in these cases, I give up and abandon the package. I
lost time and energy make Upstream some requirements for which I personally
have no concrete interest. SVG in addition to PNG is better, but PNG alone
for the documentation of a Free software is Free enough for me. However,
the points of view expressed on
debian-devel give me the impression that
it is not good enough for Debian, so I just give up…
In his blog, Lars puts words on my feelings of weariness in these situations where we are asked much efforts to make our packages modifiable by contributors who can not or want not to use Git.
Most of the core Debian tools, dpkg, debhelper, litnian, debian-installer and many others are developed in Git repositories. Somebody serious about contributing to Debian can hardly avoid Git.
It is time for our tools and methods to evolve and take advantage of Git. This requires to say “no thank you” to contributions based on source packages downloaded from our FTP server, instead of being cloned from the Git repository where the package is actually developed, and this calls the question of what is the real source of the binary packages, but this is a question that is becoming unavoidable.
I prepared machine images of the Debian Installer in each region of the Amazon Elastic Computing Cloud, following the method that I described earlier, and that I updated and documented in Debian's wiki.
Started with a preseed file, these images install Debian à la carte on a storage volume that can then be registered as a new machine image. This is not yet automatic, but I am working on it. In the meantime, it is possible to install Debian interactively using the network console.
EMBOSS explorer was broken in Debian 7 (Wheezy) because of an incompatibly with EMBOSS 6.4. The package was repaired with the second update (7.2). The development and maintenance of EMBOSS explorer have stopped for many years. If a new serious bug surfaces, we may need to remove the package rather than repair it. In consequence, do not hesitate to suggest us an alternative, or if you are developer and need EMBOSS explorer, to see how you can reinvigorate this project (currently on SourceForge).