Author Archives: ana

How to get your bugs solved in Debian+KDE

Imagine you have found a bug in your Debian running KDE, a nasty one, and you want to get it resolved. What you should do?

This is centered on KDE and Debian but most of it is useful in general.

First Case: You have a problem and you have no idea whether it is a bug or not. Even worse, you don’t know which package to report it to.

This happens more often than you might believe; it even happens to experienced people. Your first step should be to checking user forums and mailing lists [0] to see if someone else has encountered the same issue. You might find that your problem is already known (and maybe easy to solve).

In the case that you do not find your problem there, then you can ask for help and post a mail or message explaining your problem. Pick one mailing list or forum board, the one you think is more appropriate, then post your issue there. The most detailed you are about your problem, the bigger is the likelihood of you obtaining help.

It could happen that:

  • you are told how to solve your problem. yay \o/
  • your problem is not a real bug in Debian/KDE and you learn why.
  • your problem is not solved, but you are at least pointed to the software that is causing it.
  • you do not get any answer.

If you do not get any answer it might be that nobody got into the same problem and they do not how to help you. But it is also possible you were not clear about your problem. Also, you need to be patient; it is unlikely someone will answer your question 2 minutes after you posted it.
If you find out more about your problem, it is a good idea to send another email or post updating your first message. If after 5-7 days you do not get any answer, you can try asking for help in another forum or mailing list.

If you are given pointers to what software is causing the problem you can go to the second case.

[0]
Mailing lists:

Forums:

Second case: You know where the problem is. Where you should report your bug?

First, you should check in both the Debian and the KDE bug tracking systems [1] to see if the bug is already reported. If that is the case, and you are able to give more information about it, update the bug report.

If the bug is not reported, then report it in the KDE bug tracking system if you think it is a problem in the application or in the Debian BTS if it is a packaging problem. If you’re not sure what kind of bug it is, you can go to the first case (in the beginning of this post) and ask in the users forums and mailing lists [0].

However, you won’t always get it right, and in some cases you will be pointed to the other bug tracking system. Do not take it personally; KDE developers can not help you with packaging problems and Debian packagers can’t always help you with the application bugs.

It might be that your problem is solved in the development version, so if possible check what is going on in the development version before report.

When reporting the problem, give all the details you can about your problem. If you can detail the steps to reproduce the bug, even better. Also, if you are asked for more information, reply the best you can. Somebody is trying to help you. Be nice !:)

Also, remember to be patient when reporting bugs or being asked for more information: both KDE and Debian are big projects with a lot of traffic on their respective bug reporting systems (esp. KDE), so sometimes there is not a quick reply from the developers.

[1]

In Debian, a lot of people report upstream issues in the bug tracking system and they think it is good and what they have to do. The truth is that in a very few cases, such as security bugs or data loss bugs, this is a good idea. But most of the time it is not useful to report problems to the people who can not solve them. Do not expect Debian/KDE maintainers to forward your problem upstream (a problem which they may well not be able to reproduce), then back to you when upstream ask for more information, then back with the information to upstream… it is time consuming and we have big (wo)manpower problems.

In any case, if you think the bug is very important and should be in the Debian BTS, you can report it in Debian as well as reporting it to KDE. Make sure you mention the KDE bug in the Debian bug.

Third case: your problem is not a bug, just a feature request.

Until now, I have talked about bugs, when you find something that is clearly not working right in your system. But what about when you want to ask for a new feature in a piece of software?

In very few cases this belongs in a Debian wish list. Most feature requests apply upstream and you should tell the about your idea. If you do not tell them, it is unlikely they will implement it. Still, after reporting, you should accept it if upstream thinks it is not a good idea or it is not interested enough to implement it.

Post updated on the 30th September, thanks to Rupert Swarbrick for grammar fixes.

Introducing http://news.debian.net

In short: what is http://news.debian.net? It is an unofficial news website where you can read and submit news about what is going on in the Debian project.

I have always missed having something similar to “KDE Dot News” in Debian. I refer to KDE’s news place because it is the project I more closely follow after Debian, but there are similar news websites for other projects such as Ubuntu’s Fridge.
The Debian project has http://www.debian.org/News/ but this is just a HTML version of the announce mailing lists.

For a long time, debian-devel-announce and debian-announce were enough but they are reserved to the very important stuff (at least they are supposed to) that is mandatory for developers to know. With the project growing over the years, every day we generate interesting bits about our project that are nice to know, but it is not always so important that it justifies an email to announce. This information usually ends split between:

  • personal blogs aggregated onto Planet. (Not everybody follows Debian Planet.)
  • several Debian mailing lists. (No-one is able to follow all the mails in all the mailing lists.)
  • changelog files of packages. (Nobody reads debian-devel-changes to know about uploads of major new version of software.)
  • IRC. (Not everybody is in IRC, and even people are unlikely to read everything.)

Several solutions were tried to solve this problem:

  • Debian Weekly News and Debian Project News. These keep a format that require too much work to maintain and they are currently not being published (although there is some work going on to rectify this). In addition, as they take some time in being published they often carried news items that are more than one week old, and thus did not qualify as “news” anymore.
  • http://times.debian.net This was an very interesting step in the right direction IMHO, but it was 90% aggregated content from other sources and submitting contributions was not easy.
  • http://twitter.com/debian Great idea but microblogging has some limitations: maximum length of the messages, no comment system, only DDs with their key at hand can send messages, ugly short URLs, …
  • Developers news in debian-devel-announce. Similar to Debian Weekly News, to make it worthwhile, you have to wait until you can aggregate few news items together which can result in the oldest news is not being really “new” anymore.

Finally, you have other different websites that are merely content aggregation from several sources, such as http://www.debian-news.net/.

What I was missing is a place to that allow people submit content easily (email, quick web form, and if you are really interested, publishing rights!), with short news (several lines, but not long but not so short as Twitter) and links to the interesting stuff for the rest of the project.

Examples of content I would like to have in http://news.debian.net

  • Small updates about uploads of an important version of new software, for example: KDE 4.3 has been uploaded to unstable or you have Python 3000 in experimental if you want to play with it. Obviously, and upload of KDE 4.3.1 or Python 3.0.1 are not interesting news.
  • Summaries of Debian Meetings. From time to time Debian teams meet and take decisions, some send an email to debian-devel-announce, some don’t. In any case, it would be interesting for all the project to know about them and their most important results. And of course, thanks to the sponsors.
  • Also, having a place to to publish interesting stuff such as DebConf videos or schedules. Yes, there is a DebConf blog, but as personal anecdote, when I wanted to make the schedule public it did not look easy to me find out how to publish stuff there and I decide to write about it on my own blog instead…
  • News about Debian running in new and exotic hardware.
  • Very short articles about companies and institutions using Debian.
  • Links to the most interesting posts of Debian contributors in Planet about Debian infrastructure improvements. Or, if it is the case, to a mail in the web archives.
  • … I am sure there are more examples, but this is what I can think of now :)

I will keep publishing/linking to the interesting stuff I see on Planet and on mailing lists but I do not read everything. If you have any interesting news you want to publish, please submit it. In the future, it would be nice to reach approximately 50% selected content from other sources (eg. personal posts from Planet) and 50% generated content.

If you have any comments, want to be an editor or want to help with the site design/theme (it can be highly improved), please drop me an email.

DebConf provisional schedule draft and holidays

Good news, the DebConf provisional schedule is finally available. If you see any problem, please, let us to know at schedule@debconf.org

If you are interested in Debian and Free Software and close to Cáceres, you are very welcome to come to the Debian Open Day on 24th July. The schedule for the Open Day is still not closed but you can see some of the planned talks already.

They were 2 long days trying to put it all together. What I was planning to do last weekend was mostly planning my holidays through Iceland, but ended doing this instead. Funnily, what Andreas Tille was mostly planning to do in the weekend was the DebConf scheduling, but he spend some hours in the saturday writing a mail about Iceland that has almost become my planning for the holidays :)
He documented his mail with some of his great pictures. If you were amazed by earlier pictures of Iceland in Planet Debian, check Andreas’ !

Creating a new GPG key

I wanted to renew my GPG key for some time and after reading the latest news, I finally have generated a new key today.

pub   4096R/6AA15948 2009-05-10
      Key fingerprint = 7A33 ECAA 188B 96F2 7C91  7288 B346 4F89 6AA1 5948
uid                  Ana Beatriz Guerrero López <ana@ekaia.org>
uid                  Ana Beatriz Guerrero López <ana@debian.org>
sub   4096R/2497B8B2 2009-05-10


Since I tend to forget this stuff, I am blogging all the steps I have followed.
Long and verbose post follows…
Continue reading

Llegó la hora de KDE 4.2 en unstable

(Spanish translation of this english post.)

Ya hace 2 años que empezamos a trabajar en los paquetes de KDE 4, y exactamente 20 meses que comenzamos a subir KDE 4.0.0 beta 1 a experimental. Finalmente, estamos trabajando en paquetes que vamos a subir a unstable. \o/

Como ya se anunció en la lista de usuarios, subiremos KDE 4.2.2 a unstable en los próximos días, así que presta atención a lo que actualizas :)

Hemos trabajado mucho para que la actualización funcione sin problemas, pero dado que el cambio es tan grande, algunos problemillas apareceran aquí y allí. Uno de los mayores problemas ha sido que estabamos usando .kde4 para guardar los datos de configuración de KDE 4 y ahora ha llegado el momento de volver .kde.

Como había varias opciones de migración, para que los usuarios pudieran escoger la que preferian, dentro del equipo de Debian KDE se ha creado una herramienta de migración llamada Kaboom.

Hay que tener en cuenta que habrá algunas incosistencias en unstable los días siguientes a subir KDE 4.2.2, así que por favor, sed pacientes.

Aun estamos probandolo todo y no vamos a subir nada hasta que no pensamos que todo va bien, así que podríamos tardar 2 semanas en lugar de varios días. De nuevo, paciencia :)

Si quieres seguir usando KDE 3.5.10 algunas semanas más, simplemente no actualices aun. Pero si quieres seguir usando KDE 3.5.10 durante meses, quizás deberias pensar en usar Lenny.

Si tienes preguntas, dudas y/o sugerencias, puedes consultar la página del equipo Debian KDE donde intentamos añadir información y el archivo de la lista de correo de usuarios de Debian KDE. Tanto la web como la lista de correo, son en inglés.

Ahora una nota personal. KDE 4.2 es un gran cambio sobre KDE 3.5 y es normal que al principio no te guste mucho. Pero pienso que la mayoría de los usuarios de KDE 3 se sentirán a gusto en KDE 4 tras varios días de uso. Solo hay que descubrir la nueva filosofía del sistema y encontrar nuevas formas de hacer las cosas. Una vez que KDE 4.2 esté en unstable, se podrán subir al archivo un montón de aplicaciones de terceros, sobre todo plasma widgets o plasmoids, que harán que KDE 4 sea incluso mejor.

KDE 4.2 in unstable is coming

It was 2 years ago when we started working in KDE 4 packages, and exactly 20 months ago when we started uploading KDE 4.0.0 beta 1 to experimental. Finally, we are working in packages that are targeted to unstable \o/.

As announced in the users mailing list, we will be uploading KDE 4.2.2 to unstable in the next days, so look carefully at what you update :)

We have worked very hard in providing a smooth upgrade, but given the change is so big, some new (little!) problems will be discovered. One of the most problematic points is we were using .kde4 to store user data and settings of KDE 4 and now it is time to switch back to the default .kde. There are several possible migration cases here and for allow users select the case they prefer, a migration wizard tool named Kaboom has been created inside the Debian KDE team.

Be aware that there will be some inconsistencies in unstable the following days after KDE 4.2.2 reaches the archive. So please, be patient.

We are still testing and we are not uploading until we think it is good to go, so next days could become 2 weeks. Again, be patient :)

If you want to keep using KDE 3.5.10 for a few weeks more, just do not upgrade yet. But if you want to keep using KDE 3.5.10 for months, maybe you should consider become a Lenny user.

If you have questions, doubts and/or suggestions, you can check our Debian KDE Team website where we try to add information and the archive of the Debian KDE users mailing list.

Time for a personal note. KDE 4.2 is a huge change from KDE 3.5, and it is normal if you do not fully like it in the beginning. But I do think most of users of KDE 3 will feel very comfortable in KDE 4 after some days using it. You just need to discover the new ways of doing some tasks. Also, once KDE 4.2 is sitting in unstable, a lot of third party applications (specially plasma widgets) for KDE 4 will be finally uploaded to the Debian archive, making KDE 4 even better.

Are you from the past?

I have found today someone who spents an average of 12 hours every day working with the computer, and who has never heard about twitter. He keeps insisting he comes from the future.

FOSDEM 2009

Some stuff I want to reminder for next year’s FOSDEM:

  • Carry a power bar with at least 3 outlets. Power plugs are a limited resource. With a power bar at FOSDEM you always will be able to get power for your laptop/gadgets and make new friends. All at the same time!
  • Make a backup schedule, in case the talk you wanted to attend run out of space.
  • Häagen-Dazs next to LUIZA/LOUISE metro station is good for breakfast and dessert. And there is wifi!

End of backports and about KDE in Lenny

About a week ago I updated the KDE 4.1 backports for Lenny with the fourth and last revision of KDE 4.1.
As previously announced, this will be the last update available at http://kde4.debian.net

What is next?

The repository will continue there, so Lenny users can choose between KDE 3.5.9+ and KDE 4.1.4. But since 4.1.4 packages are not official, they do not have support: no bugs in the BTS or security updates.
If you are using Debian Lenny for stability and security purposes, you should use KDE 3.5.

Testing users (future squeeze, current Lenny) can continue using them until KDE 4.2 reaches testing. Again, remember, no bugs in the BTS or security updates, but they will get a clean upgrade to KDE 4.2 in the near future.

Unstable users. I have found that there are people using unstable with the backports, when they should be using experimental KDE 4.1. If this is your case, you can stick with 4.1.4 until KDE 4.2 reaches unstable or switch to experimental in a few days and get KDE 4.2 (no yet! it needs to be released first :) ).

Last, but not less important, thanks to all the people helping with the backports: MoDaX for helping as backup and the rest of the Qt/KDE team who worked in the experimental packages. HE, zobel and aba for his sysadmin tasks. apol for allowing me torture his PowerPC machine. All those who translated the instructions into their languages and
helped to others users in mailing lists and forums.

A quick note about KDE 3.5 to be released in Lenny

As most of you have realized, the packages of KDE 3.5 in Lenny and unstable are a mixture of KDE 3.5.9 and 3.5.10. Given that KDE 3.5.10 was released after Lenny was frozen, we could not push this new version into Lenny, however the KDE 3.5 packages were patched about June last year with the latest changes in KDE 3.5 from the KDE subversion. This means some of the modules with the version 3.5.9 are exactly the same that is shipped as 3.5.10.
The only “big” stuff missing are the kicker improvements shipped in kdebase and some bug fixes in kdepim. But in global, it is closer to KDE 3.5.10 that to KDE 3.5.9. If you want to see what changes are you missing, check the KDE 3.5.10 changelog.