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Preview: Myon's Debian Blog

Myon's Debian Blog

Christoph Berg's Blog

Published: Sun, 29 May 2016 19:49:28 +0200


vcswatch is now looking for tags

Sun, 29 May 2016 19:49:28 +0200

About a week ago, I extended vcswatch to also look at tags in git repositories.

Previously, it was solely paying attention to the version number in the top paragraph in debian/changelog, and would alert if that version didn't match the package version in Debian unstable or experimental. The idea is that "UNRELEASED" versions will keep nagging the maintainer (via DDPO) not to forget that some day this package needs an upload. This works for git, svn, bzr, hg, cvs, mtn, and darcs repositories (in decreasing order of actual usage numbers in Debian. I had actually tried to add arch support as well, but that VCS is so weird that it wasn't worth the trouble).

There are several shortcomings in that simple approach:

  • Some packages update debian/changelog only at release time, e.g. auto-generated from the git changelog using git-dch
  • Missing or misplaced release tags are not detected

The new mechanism fixes this for git repositories by also looking at the output of git describe --tags. If there are any commits since the last tag, and the vcswatch status according to debian/changelog would otherwise be "OK", a new status "COMMITS" is set. DDPO will report e.g. "1.4-1+2", to be read as "2 commits since the tag [debian/]1.4-1".

Of the 16644 packages using git in Debian, currently 7327 are "OK", 2649 are in the new "COMMITS" state, and 4227 are "NEW". 723 are "OLD" and 79 are "UNREL" which indicates that the package in Debian is ahead of the git repository. 1639 are in an ERROR state.

So far the new mechanism works for git only, but other VCSes could be added as well.

10 Years Debian Developer

Sat, 05 Sep 2015 23:42:13 +0200

I knew it was about this time of the year 10 years ago when my Debian account was created, but I couldn't remember the exact date until I looked it up earlier this evening: today :). Rene Engelhard had been my advocate, and Marc Brockschmidt my AM. Thanks guys!

A lot of time has passed since then, and I've worked in various parts of the project. I became an application manager almost immediately, and quickly got into the NM front desk as well, revamping parts of the NM process which had become pretty bureaucratic (I think we are now, 10 years later, back where we should be, thanks to almost all of the paperwork being automated, thanks Enrico!). I've processed 37 NMs, most of them between 2005 and 2008, later I was only active as front desk and eventually Debian account manager. I've recently picked up AMing again, which I still find quite refreshing as the AM will always also learn new things.

Quality Assurance was and is the other big field. Starting by doing QA uploads of orphaned packages, I attended some QA meetings around Germany, and picked up maintenance of the DDPO pages, which I still maintain. The link between QA and NM is the MIA team where I was active for some years until they kindly kicked me out because I was MIA there myself. I'm glad they are still using some of the scripts I was writing to automate some things.

My favorite MUA is mutt, of which I became co-maintainer in 2007, and later maintainer. I'm still listed in the uploaders field, but admittedly I haven't really done anything there lately.

Also in 2007 I started working at credativ, after having been a research assistant at the university, which meant making my Debian work professional. Of course it also meant more real work and less time for the hobby part, but I was still very active around that time. Later in 2010 I was marrying, and we got two kids, at which point family was of course much more important, so my Debian involvement dropped to a minimum. (Mostly lurking on IRC ;)

Being a PostgreSQL consultant at work, it was natural to start looking into the packaging, so I started submitting patches to postgresql-common in 2011, and became a co-maintainer in 2012. Since then, I've mostly been working on PostgreSQL-related packages, of which far too many have my (co-)maintainer stamp on them. To link the Debian and PostgreSQL worlds together, we started an external repository ( that contains packages for the PostgreSQL major releases that Debian doesn't ship. Most of my open source time at the moment is spent on getting all PostgreSQL packages in shape for Debian and this repository.

According to minechangelogs, currently 844 changelog entries in Debian mention my name, or were authored by me. Scrolling back yields memories of packages that are long gone again from unstable, or I passed on to other maintainers. There are way too many people in Debian that I enjoy(ed) working with to list them here, and many of them are my friends. Debian is really the extended family on the internet. My last DebConf before this year had been in Mar del Plata - I had met some people at other conferences like FOSDEM, but meeting (almost) everyone again in Heidelberg was very nice. I even remembered all basic Mao rules :D.

So, thanks to everyone out there for making Debian such a wonderful place to be!

PostgreSQL 9.5 in Debian

Thu, 02 Jul 2015 20:03:35 +0200

Today saw the release of PostgreSQL 9.5 Alpha 1. Packages for all supported Debian and Ubuntu releases are available on

deb YOUR_RELEASE_HERE-pgdg main 9.5

The package is also waiting in NEW to be accepted for Debian experimental.

Being curious which PostgreSQL releases have been in use over time, I pulled some graphics from Debian's popularity contest data:


Before we included the PostgreSQL major version in the package name, "postgresql" contained the server, so that line represents the installation count of the pre-7.4 releases at the left end of the graph.

Interestingly, 7.4 reached its installation peak well past 8.1's. Does anyone have an idea why that happened? statistics

Wed, 04 Feb 2015 11:24:22 +0100

At this year's FOSDEM I gave a talk in the PostgreSQL devroom about Large Scale Quality Assurance in the PostgreSQL Ecosystem. The talk included a graph about the growth of the repository that I want to share here as well:


The yellow line at the very bottom is the number of different source package names, currently 71. From that, a somewhat larger number of actual source packages that include the "pgdgXX" version suffixes targeting the various distributions we have is built (blue). The number of different binary package names (green) is in about the same range. The dimension explosion then happens for the actual number of binary packages (black, almost 8000) targeting all distributions and architectures.

The red line is the total size of the pool/ directory, currently a bit less than 6GB.

(The graphs sometimes decrease when packages in the -testing distributions are promoted to the live distributions and the old live packages get removed.)

New urxvt tab in current directory

Wed, 09 Jul 2014 19:13:32 +0200

Following Enrico's terminal-emulators comparison, I wanted to implement "start a new terminal tab in my current working directory" for rxvt-unicode aka urxvt. As Enrico notes, this functionality is something between "rather fragile" and non-existing, so I went to implement it myself. Martin Pohlack had the right hint, so here's the patch:

--- /usr/lib/urxvt/perl/tabbed  2014-05-03 21:37:37.000000000 +0200
+++ ./tabbed    2014-07-09 18:50:26.000000000 +0200
@@ -97,6 +97,16 @@
       $term->resource (perl_ext_2 => $term->resource ("perl_ext_2") . ",-tabbed");
+   if (@{ $self->{tabs} }) {
+      # Get the working directory of the current tab and append a -cd to the command line
+      my $pid = $self->{cur}{pid};
+      my $pwd = readlink "/proc/$pid/cwd";
+      #print "pid $pid pwd $pwd\n";
+      if ($pwd) {
+         push @argv, "-cd", $pwd;
+      }
+   }
    push @urxvt::TERM_EXT, urxvt::ext::tabbed::tab::;
    my $term = new urxvt::term
@@ -312,6 +322,12 @@
+sub tab_child_start {
+   my ($self, $term, $pid) = @_;
+   $term->{pid} = $pid;
+   1;
 sub tab_start {
    my ($self, $tab) = @_;
@@ -402,7 +418,7 @@
 # simply proxies all interesting calls back to the tabbed class.
-   for my $hook (qw(start destroy key_press property_notify)) {
+   for my $hook (qw(start destroy key_press property_notify child_start)) {
       eval qq{
          sub on_$hook {
             my \$parent = \$_[0]{term}{parent}

Comparing Version Numbers in Shell

Wed, 25 Jun 2014 09:56:50 +0200

On RedHat/CentOS/rpm systems, there's no dpkg --compare-versions available - sort -V can help to compare version numbers:

version_lt () {
    newest=$( ( echo "$1"; echo "$2" ) | sort -V | tail -n1)
    [ "$1" != "$newest" ]

$ version_lt 1.5 1.1 && echo yes
$ version_lt 1.5 1.10 && echo yes

PostgreSQL 9.4 on Debian

Fri, 16 May 2014 07:54:27 +0200

Yesterday saw the first beta release of the new PostgreSQL version 9.4. Along with the sources, we uploaded binary packages to Debian experimental and, so there's now packages ready to be tested on Debian wheezy, squeeze, testing/unstable, and Ubuntu trusty, saucy, precise, and lucid.

If you are using one of the release distributions of Debian or Ubuntu, add this to your /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pgdg.list to have 9.4 available:

deb codename-pgdg main 9.4

On Debian jessie and sid, install the packages from experimental.

Happy testing!

Trusty and Saucy on

Tue, 25 Feb 2014 09:32:01 +0100

Over the past few weeks, new distributions have been added on Ubuntu 13.10 codenamed "saucy" and the upcoming Ubuntu LTS release 14.04 codenamed "trusty".

Adding non-LTS releases for the benefit of developers using PostgreSQL on their notebooks and desktop machines has been a frequently requested item since we created the repository. I had some qualms about targeting a new Ubuntu release every 6 months, but with having automated more and more parts of the repository infrastructure, and the bootstrapping process now being painless, the distributions are now available for use. Technically, trusty started as empty, so it hasn't all packages yet, but of course all the PostgreSQL server packages are there, along with pgAdmin. Saucy started as a copy of precise (12.04) so it has all packages. Not all packages have been rebuilt for saucy, but the precise packages included (you can tell by the version number ending in .pgdg12.4+12 or .pgdg13.10+1) will work, unless apt complains about dependency problems. I have rebuilt the packages needing it I was aware about (most notably the postgresql-plperl packages) - if you spot problems, please let us know on the mailing list.

Needless to say, last week's PostgreSQL server updates are already included in the repository. on DDPO

Wed, 12 Feb 2014 17:12:49 +0100

More and more packages are getting autopkgtest aka DEP-8 testsuites these days. Thanks to Antonio Terceiro, there is" running the tests.

Last weekend, I've added a "CI" column on DDPO that shows the current test results for your packages. Enjoy, and add tests to your packages!

TF101 flickering and a loose cable

Sun, 08 Dec 2013 20:36:44 +0100

My ASUS Transformer TF101 had suddenly started flickering in all sorts of funny colors some weeks ago. As tapping it gently on the table in the right angle made the problem go away temporarily, it was clear the problem was about a loose cable, or some other hardware connection issue.

As I needed to go on a business trip the other day, I didn't look up the warranty expiration day until later that week. Then, Murphy struck: the tablet was now 2 years + 1 day old! Calling ASUS, some friendly guy there suggested I still tried to get ASUS to accept it for warranty, because the tablet had been with them last year for 5 days, so if they added that, it would still be within the warranty period. I filled out the RMA form, but one hour later the reply was they rejected it because it was out of warranty. Another guy on the phone then said they would probably only do the adding if it had been with them for maybe 10 days, or actually really 30 days, or whatever.

Some googling suggested that the loose cable theory was indeed worth a try, so I took it apart. Thanks to a forum post I could then locate the display connector and fix it.

Putting the case back together was actually harder than disassembling it because some plastic bits got stuck, but now everything is back to normal.