tomasz buchert's page

BSP in Munich

... or how to squash bugs and have fun

My first plan was to participate in the Bug Squashing Party (BSP) in Paris, but finally I didn’t manage to organize the travel and proper stay in the capital of France. Finally I settled on Munich and below you will find a summary of my stay there. While organizing my trip, the Munich natives offered me a couch to surf during the stay, which was very kind. In the end, however, I stayed at my friend’s place - thanks a lot Mehdi!

The BSP gathered Debian people interested in preparing Jessie release, but also KDE, Kolab and LibreOffice people. The host for the meeting was LiMux (on of the most known large-scale Linux deployments) which provided a venue, but also food (free!) and other attractions. Organizers, if you read this, I thank you for the amazing work that you have done.

I arrived on late Friday’s evening and so I didn’t participate that day in bug squashing and took a good sleep instead. On Saturday and Sunday we were, well, squashing bugs. I haven’t done NMUs before and it was a new experience to me, even though theoretically I know how it works. The DDs present at the BSP were more than helpful to help me when I was stuck. Here is a short description of what I have done:

  • #770085 - This is a bug I reported myself before BSP. I picked it as a low-hanging fruit and I had it fixed after 2 hours. It fixes a Python module that couldn’t be imported in Python 2.

  • #768690 - This was a tricky one. latex-mk depends on tgif which is not going in jessie. A “lazy” workaround I made in the patch is the disable tgif-related functionality completely. It is not essential to the package, so it should be ok (a shameless publicity here: I use and recommend latex-make).

  • #768615 - A simple one - the package testsuite is tightly wired with pygments version (actually, the package is a ruby wrapper around pygments) so it had to be fixed to reflect the version in jessie.

  • #768695 - I’ve spent nearly a whole day understanding and writing a patch. Long story short - statsmodels uses numpy, pandas and scipy, and its testsuite depends a lot of interfaces of these libraries. For example, it relies on pandas to have DateRange class which is not true for the version in jessie. We uploaded the patch which fixed most of the problems, but the build still failed on i386 due to some precision in floating point operations. The new patch was prepared and awaits upload.

  • #768673 - I’ve traced the problem to the recent POODLE attack (Wikipedia). Ruby-httpclient uses SSLv3 by default which is deprecated and disabled on the server. The SSL negotiation ends with a nasty ECONNRESET. This problem has been fixed in the newer version of the library so I just backport in my NMU. Note: I suspect that #770616 is related.

  • #768905 - keyutils testsuite breaks on newer versions of the kernel (i.e., > 3.16 which is in Jessie). The bug remains, but by testing we confirmed that it won’t affect jessie.

I also got my GPG keys signed and vice-versa, so I’m much better connected to the web of trust now (7 signatures of DDs so far).

All in all, it was a great experience which I recommend to everyone. The atmosphere is very motivating and there are many people who will gladly help you if you don’t know or understand something. You don’t have to be DD to participate even, but a minimal packaging experience is definitely very useful. I’m quite sure that people would be glad to help even a complete newcomer (I certainly would do), but being able to build a package using apt-get source and debuild won’t hurt anybody. At the very least you can always triage bugs: reproduce them, find the cause of the bug, propose a way to fix it, etc. As always you should be open-minded and willing to get your hands dirty.

I want also thank Debian for sponsoring me which finally convinced me to participate (Munich is around 500 km from where I live and the travel is fairly expensive).

Some links of interest:

Many bugs still wait to be squashed (120 at the time of writing this), so let’s get back to work!


inspired by classicthesis / 2015