Last week I was attending my first DebCamp which was an amazing and enjoyable experience. In a nutshell, I was in the right environment to leverage my GSoC project since I was able to develop new features for Distro Tracker while interacting with other experienced Debian contributors who provided me highly valuable feedback and ideas. However, in this post, I will focus on reporting my main activities during DebCamp and presenting my early impressions.

Thanks to Debian project sponsorship, I was able to attend DebConf18 in Hsinchu, Taiwan. DebCamp occurs the week before DebConf which aims at gathering together Debian contributors and teams to focus on their tasks. Despite its technical nature, DebCamp seemed to be more about the interaction between people since it enables people who work remotely around the world to work together in person. In this sense, they not only have the chance to quickly resolve open bugs and to keep doing their great packaging/translating/reviewing/(.*?) work, but also to discover other projects with which community members are involved, to meet new people, to encourage, discuss, and bootstrap new ideas, to teach and learn about FLOSS, and to have fun with their friends by doing what they like and believe.

In fact, people are the most important part of free software projects and I was really happy to see that the Debian community shares this thought. For this reason, DebCamp was very fruitful for me. Most people are very receptive and open to conversation. They do care about your experience during the event and are happy to meet new people as well. Meal times are great for sitting down with different people and talking about the most varied things, such as curiosities about their home countries. A positive surprise is the number of people who are involved with non-technical aspects of the project, such as translation, teaching, bug triage, events organization, and user support, although there is a need for many more people getting involved in these areas. It is awesome to have the opportunity of talking with people from different countries and with such varied background.

I was able to talk to many experienced Debian contributors who spoke warmly about the Debian history, their activities and experience, and who are also interested in what I am doing. Some of them had already seen my work on Distro Tracker before and they provided several good ideas for improvements and new features. I am taking note of all of these ideas and I plan to compile them into another blog post as a roadmap for my future post-GSoC contributions.

Another key outcome from those conversations is that I have realized several opportunities within the project where I can contribute as a Software Engineer. In particular, due to my early working on Distro Tracker, I’m quite interested in enabling an event-based, pub/sub mechanism for Debian services. I had some experience with RabbitMQ during my masters and I strongly believe using it on the Debian infrastructure could bring many benefits. Although I’ve started some conversations about that, I still need to understand some aspects of the project better and discuss with more interested people as well.

Like me, many other people are new to the community and I was glad to see the willingness to contribute in most of them, such as some GSoC students who intend to continue their projects, active members who got involved with Debian through previous Outreachy and GSoC programs, and locals who are taking the opportunity to get started in the project. Along with them, I intend to actively contribute to Debian project in the days to come =).

Technical Report

Here is what I did at DebCamp:

  • Distro-Tracker#43: Add extensions to Bug table field to highlight RC bugs and to add BTS links for each bug category. My code is already merged and running on production environment.
  • Distro-Tracker#46: Fixed patch bug action item BTS urls
  • Distro-Tracker#45: Enabled the creation of multiple package tables to be displayed in teams’ page. Each table aims at listing packages related to some specific scope, such as:
    • Packages with RC bugs
    • Packages with newer upstream version Raphaël Hertzog has already reviewed this Merge Request and suggested some improvements.
  • Distro-Tracker#44: Improving table rendering performance based on a caching strategy using Redis. However, we will need to change it since we will not be able to use Redis for now (see Raphaël’s comments on the Merge Request).
  • DebConf19’s Website Helped Lucas Kanashiro and Valessio Brito to create the first version of DebConf19’s website

Right now, DebConf is happening and so I did not have much time to work on other technical things this week.

Once again, thanks to Debian for enabling my participation in both DebCamp and DebConf. I’m really enjoying it.

Let’s get moving on! ;)