My FLOSS activities in February 2016

February 2016 has been a very active month regarding me contributing to the FLOSS world.

  • Finalizing MATE uploads to Debian with regards to the Beta 1 Freeze of Ubuntu 16.04
  • Work on RDP related packages in Debian
  • Work on Debian Edu related packages
  • Work on Debian LTS
  • Work on nx-libs (NX v3)

Honouring my Sponsors

I am happy to share that this month's FLOSS work has been sponsored by various sponsors.

  • Work on the packages mate-dock-applet, topmenu-gtk and getting GIR-support back into libwnck has been sponsored by Martin Wimpress, the main driving force (AFAIK) behind Ubuntu MATE [1].
  • Work on Debian LTS has been sponsored by the various Debian LTS sponsors proxied through Freexian SARL (thanks to Raphael Hertzog for organizing the paid LTS contributors team via his company) [2].
  • Work on nx-libs has been sponsored by the Qindel Group [3].

Thanks to all people and companies sponsoring my work on FLOSS projects.

This month's MATE uploads to Debian

With regards to the Beta 1 Freeze date of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (18th Feb 2016), Martin Wimpress, Vangelis Mouhtsis and I performed quite some work on Debian MATE.

Uploads to Debian unstable:

  • caja 1.12.4-2 [4]
  • mate-menu 5.6.8-1 [5]
  • mate-panel 1.12.2-1 [6]
  • mate-dock-applet 0.67-3 (NEW) [7]
  • mate-polkit 1.12.0-3 [8]
  • eom 1.12.2-1 [9]
  • pluma 1.12.2-1 [10]
  • topmenu-gtk 0.2.1+git20151210.8c6108f-2 (NEW) [11]
  • mate-tweak 3.5.7-1 (latest upload on 2nd of March) [12]

The Debian MATE Packaging Team also took over maintenance of the GTK-2+ legacy package libwnck [13]. The first upload introducing some major changes and package clean-ups caused a slight wave [14] because of a missing dependency in libwnck-dev (that fell victim to some clean-ups in debian/control).

Those issues have been addressed immediately and have now been settled. The main reason for working on a legacy package like libwnck was the need for having gir1.2-wnck-1.0 (back) in Debian. The new MATE dock applet requires the libwnck GIR package to be present at runtime.

One of the novelties in Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS will be the option to adapt the look and feel of the MATE desktop to how a Unity-based desktop looks like. Martin Wimpress is giving intense work to providing a dock applet and topmenu support as one alternative among the various Ubuntu MATE desktop experiences provided. The alternative desktop layouts can be configured with the MATE Tweak tool.

Work on RDP related packages

Work on FreeRDP 1.1 as currently in Debian

I finally managed to give some priority (and thus time) to fixing various issues in the freerdp package in Debian [15]. Many people had provided patches and solutions to open issues and I tried to honour as many of those, as possible.

Please note that I had to disable the GStreamer support in FreeRDP for the recent uploads, as the currently used Git snapshot of FreeRDP only supports GStreamer 0.10's API whereas the security team is in the process of having gstreamer0.10-* packages removed from the Debian stretch/unstable archives.

Work on FreeRDP 2.0, coming to Debian soon

Furthermore, Bernhard Miklautz is currently working on a freerdp2 package, which will bring the latest Git snapshot of FreeRDP upstream into Debian (and also re-introduce GStreamer support, based on GStreamer 1.0).

Bernhard invested a lot of time on pushing the current HEAD of FreeRDP upstream [16] towards a FreeRDP 2.x version. Starting with FreeRDP 2.x it will be possible to install different FreeRDP versions on one system without file naming conflicts.

For March 2016, I have doing the final freerdp2 reviewing on my todo list (possibly together with Héctor Orón Martínez who is highly interested in the RDP backend support in Wayland/Weston), so that we can provide first uploads to Debian experimental sometime the coming month. The packaging progress is continuously discussed on the #freerdp channel on Freenode and can also be viewed on Github [17].

Review of revised XRDP package

Recently, Dominik George from Teckids e.V. [18] contacted me about reviewing their effort of updating the Debian package xrdp, which currently is in ITA state [19]. Feedback has been provided and I am waiting for a ping from his side so that I can take some (ideally) final looks at the package and sponsor the upload.

Work on Debian Edu related packages

This month, I spent a couple of hours of work on several Debian Edu related tasks, some of them induced by problems at local school sites we support.

  • Fix the gosa package in Debian unstable [20]
  • Document a switch-over to systemd-networkd for Debian Edu jessie notebooks [21]
  • Help out in fixing outstanding issues in ldap2bind [22]
  • Upload a new shutdown-at-night package version to Debian unstable [23]
  • Fix some icon issues in the italc package [24]
  • Take a first glance at packaging terminal-quest [25]
  • Playing with the Lego Mindstorm (NXT) tools

Work on Debian LTS

My 8h-portion of work for the Debian LTS Project, I performed at the very end of February. With the Debian squeeze LTS EOL date on 29th February, I saw to finalizing my personal open todos regarding Debian squeeze LTS, which basically was getting two CVE issues fixed in the lxc package [26].

The rest of the work hours has been spent on helping out the Security Team of Debian with open CVE issues in Debian wheezy packages:

  • Providing a .debdiff for gosa in Debian wheezy (addressing CVE-2015-8771 and CVE-2014-9760)
  • Investigating an open issue in smarty3 (CVE-2014-8350) and providing a recommendation on how to handle that (which is: pick the latest smarty3 3.1.21-1 from Debian jessie and provide that to users of Debian wheezy)
  • Taking a first look at pdns regarding a fix for CVE-2014-7210 in Debian wheezy

The gosa .debdiff has been approved by a member of the Security Team, the upload will happen today.

With my LTS frontdesk hat on (during week 9 / 2016) I also spent some time providing help regarding SVN checkout problems and raised a couple of questions on how to coordinate the work phase between the Debian squeeze LTS EOL and the official launch of the Debian wheezy LTS project phase [27].

Work on nx-libs

At the end of February, I finally managed to propose a way of dropping the bundled library from the nx-libs code base. I filed a PR [28] against nx-libs that proposes its removal and provides a patch for using X.Org's version.

As a preview for nx-libs work in March 2016... I have started with removing the complete library from nx-libs and using X.Org's X11 client library. This will introduce a code removal of around 160.000 lines of code to nx-libs. More to come on this later...



[4] (caja)

[5] (mate-menu)

[6] (mate-panel)

[7] (mate-dock-applet)

[8] (mate-polkit)

[9] (eom)

[10] (pluma)

[11] (topmenu-gtk)

[12] (mate-tweak)

[13] (libwnck)


[15] (freerdp)




[20] (gosa)


[22] (ldap2zone)

[23] (shutdown-at-night)

[24] (italc)


[26] (lxc, Debian squeeze LTS)

(The thread continues in March 2016)