New media types in 2022

At the beginning of this year I updated a hundred of media types associated with file name extensions in the file called /etc/mime.types, distributed by the media-types package. Most changes are additions originating from recent submissions to the IANA. Amon the themes that caught my attention, there are telecommunications, computer security, commerce, healthcare and industrial automation. The vast majority of the update come from western provenance. Did the rest of the World decide to move ahead without us?

Search in Debian's sources

Via my work on the media-types package,

I wanted to know which packages were using the media type application/x-xcf, which apparently is not correct (#991158). The site gives the answer. (Thanks!)

Moreover, one can create a user key, for command-line remote access; here is an example below (the file dcs-apikeyHeader-plessy.txt contains x-dcs-apikey: followed by my access key).

curl -X GET "" -H @dcs-apikeyHeader-plessy.txt > result.json

The result is serialised in JSON. Here is how I transformed it to make a list of email addresses that I could easily paste in mutt.

cat result.json |
  jq --raw-output '.[]."package"' |
  dd-list --stdin |
  sed -e '/^ /d' -e '/^$/'d -e 's/$/,/' -e 's/^/  /'
Trying R 4.1

I am trying R 4.1 in a schroot experimental container, while waiting that Bullseye's release will allow the package to be uploaded to Sid and the needed dependencies to be recompiled.

The schroot:

sudo debootstrap sid /srv/chroot/r-4.1
sudo vi /etc/schroot/chroot.d/r-4.1
# Edit it to have something like
    description=R 4.1 (experimental)
    users=  # Here put your username
sudo schroot -c r-4.1
vi /etc/apt/sources.list # To add the experimental distribution
apt update
apt install sudo vim wget

Installation of R:

schroot -c r-4.1
sudo apt install r-base/experimental -texperimental
sudo apt install -texperimental pandoc libxml2-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev git libssl-dev texlive

And RStudio (preview version needed)

sudo apt install libnss3 libasound2
sudo dpkg -i rstudio-1.4.1714-amd64.deb 
sudo apt -f install -texperimental
Debian Bullseye: more open

Debian Bullseye will provide the command /usr/bin/open for your greatest comfort at the command line. On a system with a graphical desktop environment, the command should have a similar result as when opening a document from a mouse-and-click file browser.

Technically, /usr/bin/open is a symbolic link managed by update-alternatives to point towards xdg-open if available and otherwise run-mailcap.

Debian Analytica

A couple of days ago I wrote on debian-vote@ that a junior analyst could study the tally sheets of our general resolutions and find the cracks in our community.

In the end, with a quite naïve approach and a time budget of a few hours, I did not manage anything of interest. The figure below shows one circle per voter and my position as a red dot. The circles are spaces according to the similarity of the vote profiles after I concatenated the results of all GRs until 2010.

So if there is something to extract from these data, it will need a more expert analyst… This said, I think that our future votes should all be anonymous, and that we should stop distributing that kind of data.

GR toxique

Many quickly reacted to the return of rms to the FSF and asked that he leaves again; some also asked for the whole board of directors to resign and some not. Meanwhile, Debian discusses a general resolution on that matter. Maybe it was not the original intent, but in practice the object of the GR is about FSF's board of directors. Perhaps we will have the result after rms resigns? Like many GRs, it will divide Debian and leave scars, at least a tally sheet of who voted what, and who voted like whom.

I think that most other organisations did not go through a process as plenary and collegial, but also heavy and cleaving, to decide which way to go.

What if our two DPL candidates would issue a statement that, if elected, they would refuse to fund events linked to the FSF until rms quits again (and also the directors, if that is what the DPL candidate wishes to propose). This would let Debian be part of the wave of reaction on time, and maybe allow us to cancel this GR?


I was using a container for a bioinformatics tool released two weeks ago, but my shell script wrapping the tools could not run because the container was built around an old version of Debian (Jessie) that was released in 2015. I was asked to use a container for bioinformatics, based on conda, and found one that distributes coreutils, but it did not include a real version of sed. I try Debian's docker image. No luck; it does not contain ps, which my workflow manager needs. But fortunately I eventually figured out that Ubuntu's Docker image contains coreutils, sed and ps together! In the world of containers, this sounds like a little miracle.

Thank you, VAIO

I use everyday a VAIO Pro mk2 that I bought 5 years ago with 3 years of warranty. It has been a few months that I was noticing that something was slowly inflating inside. In July, things accelerated to the point that its thickness had doubled. After we called the customer service of VAIO, somebody came to pick up the laptop in order to make a cost estimate. Then we learned on the phone that it would be free. It is back in my hands in less than two weeks. Bravo VAIO !

How to not open a PDF with GIMP

Some tools such as the command-line email client neomutt can launch graphical applications. In order to select which application for which file, mutt uses the mailcap system, provided by the mime-support package.

mailcap gets its default informations from two sources: some files installed by packages distributing the applications in either /usr/lib/mime/packages in mailcap format or in /usr/share/applications in FreeDesktop format. The Debian Policy specifies that the packages that provide informations in the FreeDesktop format refrain from repeat them in mailcap format (9.7.2).

The GIMP image editor declares its capacity to open PDF files in the file /usr/share/applications/gimp.desktop. GNOME's default PDF reader, Evince, declares this in /usr/share/applications/org.gnome.Evince.desktop. Desktop environments that follow the FreeDesktop standard have access to extra informations that give the priority to Evince. The mailcap system does not access them and gives the priority to alphabetic order. Therefore when one opens a PDF with mutt, it opens with GIMP, which is not convenient.

Fortunately, mailcap is easy to configure. In order to change the priority for one's personal account, one just has to copy the evince entry that is found in /etc/mailcap and place it into $HOME/.mailcap. For instance (but beware, it is simplistic):

grep evince /etc/mailcap >> $HOME/.mailcap

edited on feb. 28th to add $HOME to the example.

... meanwhile, in the BTS

An while people still debate about legitimate aggression in our mailing lists, we still get offensive bug reports via the BTS...