DebConf 18 – Day 1

This year’s DebConf happens to be the first in Asia, in Hsinchu, Taiwan. And also for me the first DebConf I ever participated. I arrived on Saturday night from Japan, and will try to report a bit about what is going on here.

Since there are up to three parallel sessions, the following is a selection of those I attended. After the opening ceremony Benjamin Hof presented his work towards heightening security of package distribution. The ideas look very promising, but due to being (up to now) a one-man-show only time will tell what will find its way into the actual repository management. Due to time reasons I couldn’t ask my questions, but from I heard and understand I thought it would be a nice application for BlockChains.

After the lunch our Supreme Leader reported Bits and pieces from the DPL. Nothing surprising or new here, but lots of apparent jokes, and for my feeling a bit (far to) pathetic talking (seems to be an age thingy, the older I get the less I enjoy pathos). Anyway, in Chris’ list of things Debian should improve on, I missed better support for developers (not DDs, but general developers), as I have the feeling that due to the explosion of middle-ware and the proliferation of language specific package managers (meson, sbt, npm, …) has in practice made much of the Debian packaging irrelevant for the development process. Hoping to see some path forward, although I am not sure what would be a good one.

After that I had my own talk about Analysing Debian packages with Neo4j, with some very interesting post-talk discussions.

After the coffee break I attended the Debian Science and Debian R BoF, where Andreas Tille reported about packaging activities in these areas. As a regular R user I brought up the same topic about middle-ware in the R session, because I often suffered from unpacked/outdated packages. Andreas presented his packaging scripts that allows creating/updating packages in the blink of an eye. Here of course thanks goes to large part to the CRAN, where there are extremely strict regulations what can be uploaded, which reflects easy packaging. CTAN (the TeX archive) unfortunately historically does not have such a strict set of rules, which makes packaging much more painful.

At the end I joined the Key Signing Party which is actually ongoing throughout the whole week.

After the dinner lots of people aggregated in the hack lab, probably due to the steady support of excellent local beer!

I returned to my hotel room around midnight, just to get a shower and a good night’s sleep.

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