Debconf6 day 7: Lightning and splashing

May 20th.

The day started with an important meeting that was aimed at getting our priorities straight for the Google Summer of Code (SoC) program. Many good and some not so good applications have been proposed to Debian by students from all around the world. Now it was the time for Debian to choose the best of these proposals and rank them according to our priorities. We did not know how many applications Google will grant us, so we had to get our rankings right through the whole scale. We want to be sure, for example, that after this meeting project ranked 5th would be less useful to us then any of the first four, but more useful then all others. The discussions were short and very on topic. Rankings were determined quickly and mentors for all selected project were appointed. AJ leading the BOF was very helpful in making decisions when they had to be made. Now we only need to wait and see how many application slots Google will give us.

A set of lightning talks followed. The talks were very different: some were funny, some were serious, some were too fast, some got to get boring. The one talk I want to highlight especially is a talk by Joey Hess about what Debian can learn from Gentoo. Especially handling of configuration files on package upgrades was raised as an example. Gentoo is an interesting distribution that is developing very separate from Debian, so it is quite possible that upon closer inspection there are other things that Debian could use from what Gentoo is doing. That only needs some closer inspection by someone with in-depth knowledge in both systems.

Right after the lightning talks I want off to prepare for the second group photo - the fun photo in the pool. It was planned just before lunch. The start was small and easy - 15 people easily make a swirl by the side of the pool. As people continue to join maintaining order becomes harder and harder despite all efforts of self-organization on the part of all people involved. The swirl grows, deforms beyond recognizability and then straightens out again, just to be deformed again by newcomers. Just like Debian.

When the number of people grew to 50 I decided that we no longer can get a better swirl in any reasonable timeframe, so I called that shot done and called everyone to group into a single bunch for a different take on the fun group photo. That was much easier except for the splashing fight that broke out in the back rows and took over the whole group as soon as I called that the second fun group photo is also done. After that all went for lunch.

The next thing I went to was the discussion about the Debconf7. Apparently it was not supposed to be a public discussion, but after a while the consensus of open discussion prevailed and candidate cities for Debconf7 started their presentations. Edinburgh was the first candidate - they had it all: good transport connectivity, good Internet, nice facilities, nice living places. It was not clear about the food and the prices were very high - 30 EUR per person per day, not including food. As the presenter from next city could not come because of visa problems, stockholm presented for her. Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and the organizers have all needed problems solved already: facilities are provided by an UAE company (so they are the best one can get for any kind of money), 20 Mbit of sustained throughput Internet connectivity, very cheap food with good adaptability, 15 minutes from the airport. In total the Sarajevo Debconf would cost around 15-17 EUR per person per day. After that "Brixon boys" presented their city for Debconf7. The presentation was more concentrated on skying and other relaxation issues then on the questions that are more relevant to the organization of such conference as Debconf.

>From this meeting and from talking to people later on I have two conclusion on the matter: 1. it would be very good to make a decision on the next Debian conference place slightly more open and also pool people about issues that concern them (which is planned now), but I still think that one person should be entitled to make the final decision; 2. I think Sarajevo is the best choice for next year for many reasons, but most important because of cost. The less it costs per person to hold a Debconf, the more people can be there and the more people could get sponsored travel. Some people might even agree to come to Debconf by a bus, which should be quite possible from most of continental Europe it the conference is in Sarajevo. It would be much cheaper and would still be not as exhausting as the 40 hour flight mambo jumbo that I had to take to get to this event here.

Bubulle spoke afterward summarizing the i18n situation in Debian before Debconf6 and the discussions that took place at Debconf6 that intend to improve it. It was a good summary, so you only need to watch the i18n BOF videos if you will be working in the infrastructure.

CAcert signing event was conducted after that. I have no idea of the real use of those certificates, but some apparently do.

As the final discussion a meeting specifically about the Google Summer of Code i18n infrastructure project was conducted. We were deciding what shall we ask Gintautas (the student that proposed the project) to do, how will we define the scope of his work, so that we can have a definite way of determining if he did that or not be the end of the SoC program. The final decision will ultimately be on me. The result of this meeting was that we will ask Gintautas to take the current code of Pootle and make of it an translation system with clearly separated backend where other translation frontends could be plugged into. After that (optionally) he should work to create such plugins in cooperation with other Debian i18n and Pootle developers and also continue refactoring and remaking the codebase to allow for other plugin development. But the essential part of Gintautas contribution will be a clearly separated translation backend with Pootle frontend and a stable API between them. After the SoC will be over Gintautas will be welcome to present his further vision on the whole infrastructure at the I18N meeting in Extramadura. This work will also serve as a research base to clarify Debian i18n needs, so it is very well possible that at Extramadura it would be decided to abandon the current code and make a new system from scratch in Zope 3. :)