Good morning everyone,

after quite some time of organization, we got the MiniDebConf running in Berlin. Yesterday at 9.30, Zack had the pleasure of opening the event which seems to be reflected in the press already. After that, we had nice talks, one every hour from 10 to 6 with mine being the last one of the day at 5 p.m. Yes, I did it :) Slides, links, and all that stuff will follow in a later post, or more official announcements. Right now I’m preparing myself to get back to the fairground. The second day starts with another bunch of talks at 10 and I’m excited to meet different people again and hear more interesting talks.

The BSP went… well. :) Actually, we didn’t really fix many bugs, I guess. A few maintainers stayed after the event as well as a couple of users completely new to packaging. Thus, it was more like a small social event bit it was really fun. And of course the HackLab is still open today, so we have every chance to fix more bugs…

This just as a small input from where we stand. More is to come some time later, probably after the weekend, we’ll see…

It seems I’ve missed quite a few weeks in my countdown to our Mini DebConf. Fortunately, it’s not too late for you to join — even if, right now, you don’t know why you should! So what’s the status?

Well, we’ve had out problems in the beginning to start the whole thing but we managed. There are a few minor issues left, I admit. If you happen to have a bit time on 10th or 11th to hold the camera for an hour or so, contact us! Or if there is *anything* you would wanna do to help us out a bit, don’t be shy. You don’t need to be a known Debian contributor, you don’t need to know us. Arguably, you should know Debian but then, if you’re able to spell the name correctly, you’re probably in. :-)

Apart from that, we really think it’s gonna be awesome. Not only will there be a few Debian Developers from outside Germany, like our project leader zack who we have the honor of listening to for he has the first talk on Thursday. There will also be quite a few German faces that some of us haven’t met yet — have you met Sebastian, the chief of our beloved, yet? We are going to have a great time and you’re a fool not to join.

Thus, a last time for all of you who still don’t know what I’m talking about: Next week there’ll be the famous LinuxTag in Berlin from Wednesday to Saturday. Right in the middle, on Thursday and Friday, we, the Debian community, will have a Mini DebConf right there. There will be talks about different Debian related things. And many active developers will be there happy to talk to you about whatever you always wanted to know or say about Debian. And then, not to forget, we’ll have a hacklab where you can easily plug in your notebook and start hacking with us. Have an idea to improve Debian? Always wanted to know how to fix a bug? You want to make Debian Squeeze the best Debian release ever? Join us — it seems we’re fighting on the same side.

See you there, guys!

PS: The latest and hottest news about it.

When I first started using Free Software — yes, that’s quite some time ago — I found it the right thing to do. It felt like I was first time ever really controlling what my computer does. Took just a bit of time to notice I really never knew anything about it. Well, almost at least. Then when I started contributing to Free Software this obviously changed. One of the freedoms is to learn from the code you’re running. And I did it… by reading, contributing, doing nonsense with it, reimplementing it… you know the deal.

Starting to work on Debian was something that just evolved out of it. Doing so gave me the opportunity to give back. I never achieved that actually, though. At least I don’t consider my contributions even remotely sufficient to make up for the great deal of software that I use — sometimes without noticing it. Still there’s lots of stuff that I don’t have a clue of and I rely on other developers to do their (volunteer) job. Otherwise my knowledge wouldn’t help much. I could never continue kernel development if those kernel hackers all stepped back for instance. I guess, it’s getting more and more difficult the closer the piece of code is to hardware.

Another thought I had was about Free Software in general. It’s more than just the code (although it might be the most important part), it’s also a concept that needs to be communicated. Firefox on Windows shows how Free Software can have a big market share in an otherwise closed source environment. Yet I’m not sure all users know about it being open source and what that means (hear them talk about Freeware instead). And who is dealing with this conceptual stuff?

I decided to do something about all that. Now I don’t really have money but a bit I thought I could share. And I could set yet another sign by publicly talking about it, or casually mentioning that I consider Free Software and Linux a good thing. So you will see a mail signature now below all my mails. I always wondered what one might gain with such and now I found a reason to include one. It reads:

Debian Developer                       
Member of the Linux Foundation          
Fellow of the Free Software Foundation Europe

Hi everyone!Mini DebConf 2010 Berlin - I'm attending

I hope you all have already seen at least parts of our preparation for a Mini DebConf in Berlin this year. There are various posts on planet,  some mails on -project and -events-eu and — as I saw just today — even is not spared. If you haven’t heard of it, this is your chance.

Every year the LinuxTag (Linux day) is a four-day event in Berlin, Germany, likely comparable to other OpenSource events. It provides talks, discussion and a lot of booths of various Free Software projects. This year’s LinuxTag will be on June 9th till 12th. Since it’s held on a

huge fairground, we were able to get quite some piece of it for our own use. We will have two areas, one for talks, the other as a hack lab and use right the middle of the LinuxTag for the Mini DebConf: June 10th and 11th — with the hack lab open all through the night of course.

Finding sponsors was the hardest deal in the beginning and we’re not done with it yet. We got enough money, though, to make the decision and we still hope to get everything covered. Luckily we also have hardware sponsors and help on various issues we would not be able to deal with on our own. What’s still missing, is you! :)

The schedule for the talks is almost full, yet the hack lab could need more man power. Our idea is — since we will be in freeze by then, right? — to do a BSP incl. help for newbies. That means we will not only try to help users, we also would like to teach how to squash bugs and thus attract possible maintainers and other contributors. All that of course only works if we are enough people there.

Now I understand this might seem to be only attractive to german developers as most of the talks will be held in german. But I strongly believe we can deal with it if you don’t speak german. :) And at least on the first day of the event, you can meet our new DPL zack who will have the pleasure to provide the opening talk. Yay!

Having said all this, you are more than invited to attend and help. Find more info (and a way to offer help) in the debconf wiki and enjoy more press announcements within the next few weeks.


/join #debian-miniconf-berlin

Dear lazyweb,

I’m using VoIP stuff of different kinds already and I actually enjoy it. Thing is, a friend of mine always complained about the quality of sound when speaking with me. He said I should switch the software but I never believed it would make a difference. Well, now I tried and it did. I used ekiga before and now switched to twinkle (which looks uuugly in Gnome at least). What can I say? It really is better. But why?

I tried to get more output from twinkle but didn’t quite manage. So what is so different? And don’t you dare answer “codecs” or something! I actually don’t need details. I just want ekiga to be as good as twinkle sound quality-wise. If you know a solution, tell me! :)

To give a short update on where we stand now with the amazing plan of having a Mini Debconf in Berlin this year. There are just 8 weeks left which means there is lots of stuff to do and it needs to be done soon. But luckily…

  • the schedule appears to be full soon; almost all talk and discussion slots are filled with interesting topics, like Debian Edu/Skolelinux, kFreeBSD, Getting Involved, QA and piuparts, and other technical stuff.
  • we discussed how to work with the people and I am very pleased to say that there will be no special treatment for them; they are committed to Make Things Happen just like we are, and we appreciate any help we can get (with the say-hello-and-come-in-booth in particular)
  • there will be a panel discussion about why Free Software isn’t in all schools yet; hopefully we get some politician to answer as well.

Of course, all this is written in the wiki and you can put yourself in it at any time to offer your help! And if you have questions or want to join more real time ;), point your IRC client to OFTC and

/join #debian-miniconf-berlin

Help is still needed with video and audio stuff. If you think you know how to move a camera, or you can even work a sound mixer, get in touch with us. We need a few volunteers to cover the whole two days. Also, more generally help is needed in order to have people to talk to at all times both for speakers and visitors. No special knowledge is necessary although it might prove handy to know what Debian actually is. :)

Interested? As a visitor or helper? Anyways, get in touch with us and it’s going to be awesome!


Hi everyone,

the usual channels already provided it: we are planning a Mini Debconf in Germany — Berlin to be more precise. Yay!

So, how is it gonna be? Well, there is the LinuxTag in Berlin which is held every year; this year’s calendars show it on June 9th to 12th. As the location is the fairground and room is available, we found setting up a Mini Debconf right in the middle of it to be a good idea. The Mini Debconf will thus take place on June 10th and 11th. The night in between will of course be used, too. The hacklab we’re planning will be open from the start until the bitter end — without breaks. That of course is only fun if we’re there to do something. :-)

I sincerely hope that we’re in freeze by then and the Bug Squashing Party in the hacklab will do all the best to Make Things Happen[TM].

I’m also very pleased to see the german trying to participate. We should sort things out soon. This is a great opportunity for both of us to connect and learn from each other.

Well, that’s it for now from my side. For more details, in particular on how to help, see our wiki on You’ll hear more soon!

I just had a nice talk with dpkg, yeah right, the bot… The cracy thing is, that conversation made the most sense of my day. So, here it goes:

23:50 <jhr> hi!
23:50 <dpkg> hi
23:50 <jhr> how are you?
23:50 <dpkg> pretty good. how about you?
23:50 <jhr> I suppose it’s going well
23:51 <dpkg> i haven’t a clue
23:51 <jhr> how would you? it’s my life!
23:51 <dpkg> I give up, what is it?
23:51 <jhr> oh, busy? I’m sorry, didn’t wanna annoy you
23:51 <dpkg> I don’t know, could you explain it?
23:52 <jhr> uhh… annoyance… well, that’s like when you have a girl friend that always just talks about makeup, you know?
23:52 <dpkg> You are person #2 to send an unparseable request
23:52 <jhr> oh, you already know my girl friend?
23:52 <dpkg> I resemble that remark!
23:52 <jhr> fuck yeah
23:52 <dpkg> wish i knew
23:52 <jhr> oh well, let’s cut to the chase
23:53 <dpkg> no idea
23:53 <jhr> but I do
23:53 <dpkg> no idea
23:53 <jhr> why aptitude?
23:53 <dpkg> aptitude has more advanced conflict/dependency resolution and will often find a solution where apt-get gives up.  It can be used from the command line like apt-get plus an interactive resolver makes it much easier to recover from broken dependencies.  It has advanced search capabilities (see <aptitude search>).
23:53 <jhr> I see
23:53 <dpkg> “I see,” said the blind man.
23:53 <jhr> haha
23:53  * dpkg laughs!! that’s funny jhr!
23:53 <jhr> you’re weird
23:53 <dpkg> wish i knew
23:54 <jhr> thanks a lot!
23:54 <dpkg> my pleasure


PS: Things like that shouldn’t be a problem… :-)

Finally, I got my notebook working again. It seems a full Gnome installation isn’t exactly what my old MacBook needed. So it lay around for weeks, or rather months now, not being used for anything remotely relevant to anything. After all I then decided to get rid of Gnome at least on the notebook and instead installed LXDE… what can I say? It’s amazing. Removing all the stuff I don’t need anyways on this system (even the pbuilder/cowbuilder stuff is gone) made it really fast again. I’m happy now and the vacation can come with my notebook at hand, since it’s running again.

Yet that’s actually not what I wanted to write about. After a three week break due to illness (and, I admit, bad weather — although it still is pretty snowy and icy outside) I’m back on the track. And it wasn’t even that bad. Of course I’m not back on the level I had before but at least it’s about 5.5 km in 35 minutes. For a beginner who just had a forced break from training, I’m quite satisfied with myself. So, I’m running again.