Ideas for Debian Utsav

This post attempts to share some ideas of what could be done/achieved in Debian Utsav 2012.

Hi all,
First of all its great news to know that Debian Utsav is being celebrated by various educational institutions in this calendar year. While I would be repeating myself these are some of the tasks which could be done by one or more volunteers who might be interested to contribute in one of the myriad ways to the Debian ecosystem. Now of course it depends if the Utsav is supposed to be a whole day event or just for couple of hours. Please note all of the below are mere suggestions, feel free to add, modify and adapt the ideas below as needed. :-

a. Debian Project Introduction :- Have an introductory talk about the Debian Project. There are quite a few presentations in the wild that could be used or reused, just need a bit of google fu.

Tip: One could use examples of colleges/institutions who have been using various packages (gcc etc.) or/and use in the commercial environment and any lessons that could and would be interesting to share to replicate successes. This would be more of a sharing experiences rather than doing any coding.

b. What the community is pretty bad at is maintaining current documentation. One of the things that people could do is for e.g. take a look at the Release Goals for the upcoming Debian Release (Wheezy) and ask various teams and maintainers to either direct to blog posts and e-mails for status updates on the various Release Goals so its current. This would be a good help for the project as well. (Again not really coding stuff)

c. Now if I’m not mistaken, there would be people from the Debian-in team to handhold/teach whoever comes to the Utsav. This would be a good excuse to share about what the Debian-in team has been doing in the last few months. IIRC there was a big migration from subversion to git (and there had been few problems), currently afaik some of the members of the team have adopted some of the indian language font packages and are busy renaming them from ttf to font as per changes in Debian Policy. Now I’m sure that Debian-in team would always like/enjoy new blood and there might be some more initiatives or have more depth in current initiatives which would be beneficial both for students and the Debian ecosystem as a whole. Maybe the Utsav would serve as a conduit for the same.

d. There is lots of house-keeping involved if we want to make sure that Debian remains a universal operating system. I don’t think I would be wrong if I said we need lots of translators to help with the various localization efforts. As Debian is constant evolving it makes sense (especially as we move closer to the freeze and release dates) to have translations of the Debian-installer package, the various debian-tools packages and maybe push some patches up from Debian to upstream to translate strings. I’m guessing most of the teams would have their own style guide (norms) so please follow-up with the respective localization teams to know more. (il8n gurus could be helpful here.)

e. Now there are tons of packages which people have been asking to be packaged. This is where Praveen, Kartik and the other Debian gurus would come in. Either with your interest or their help choose a package on the wishlist and start hacking away.

f. Last but not the least if not in the mood for coding then one can perhaps solve some of the easy bugs on the release-critical list. One can simply start hacking or ask for guidance in the #debian-bugs IRC channel. While some could simply be given more accuracy by triaging a bug-report (see if you have similar situation crop up), fixing would require understanding of the tool called quilt used by DD’s to keep and apply patches.

g. Now obviously there are going to be fanboys of particular packages. For instance aptitude is one of the packages I love, it would be nice to see if some more people can give time to improve this package. I am no coder but I do know that aptitude uses quite a bit of c++ (so if you know the language that could be put to good use). Please be aware though that Aptitude is arguably one of the critical packages in the Debian repository/arsenal (although arguably dpkg could be used if things come down to it). People (like me) would love having it more featured and still have less of a memory footprint than it has atm.Also be aware it has a huge bug backlog which needs to be cleared of. The good news is aptitude is being revived with a rough roadmap as we speak so feel free to dive in.It would be nice if debdelta can be integrated in aptitude in the coming weeks/months for e.g. (It was part of GSOC last year which for reasons unknown didn’t happen  😦 . Aptitude lives in a git repository.

So with the above tips I would be looking forward to know what the students do with Debian Utsav 2011.

Till later. Happy hacking 😛

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