My FLOSS activities in July 2015

July 2015 has been mainly dedicated to these five fields of endeavour:

  • Debian Edu rollout at a grammar school (Gymnasium) in Lübeck, Germany
  • GOsa² and Debian Edu testing and fixing
  • Upgrading a Debian Edu squeeze main server to jessie
  • Packaging started to get ILIAS into Debian
  • Work on Debian and Debian LTS

Debian Edu rollout at a grammar school (Gymnasium) in Lübeck, Germany

In spring 2015, we got contacted by the IT coordinator of a grammar school (Gymnasium) in Lübeck, Germany. He asked for some consultancy on the existing school network based on Debian and Linux Mint. The school has been running on Linux all-over for the past 5 years (at least, IIRC).

After several phone calls and a personal meeting, the decision was reached to switch over the educational segment of their school IT completely to Debian Edu / Skolelinux.

GOsa² and Debian Edu testing and fixing

This new customer gave us the opportunity of intensively testing Debian Edu jessie. Diverting from previous rollouts, we dropped LibVirt as virtualization technology and switched over to Ganeti. The Debian Edu machines all run in KVM virtual machines.

Our Diskless Workstations and diskfull workstations have been running on Debian Edu jessie plus MATE desktop environment for a while already. But the main servers at other customers' are still on Debian Edu squeeze.

My FLOSS activities in June 2015

June 2015 has been mainly dedicated to these five fields of endeavour:

  • first uploads of MATE 1.10 to Debian experimental (still work in progress)
  • development of nx-libs (3.6.x branch)
  • meeting other nx-libs developers at X2Go: The Gathering 2015 at Linuxhotel in Essen, Germany
  • contribution to Debian and Debian LTS,
  • production deployment of Ganeti and Ganeti Manager (a web frontend for Ganeti)

Received Sponsorship

Last month's contributions of mine (8h) to the Debian LTS project had been contracted by Freexian [1] again. Thanks to Raphael Hertzog for having me on the team. Thanks to all the people and companies sponsoring the Debian LTS Team's work.

Also a big thanks to people from Hetzner GmbH for sponsoring my stay at X2Go: The Gathering 2015 @ Linuxhotel (in Essen, Germany).

MATE 1.10 entering Debian experimental

Together with Martin Wimpress from Ubuntu MATE and other people in the Debian MATE Packaging Team I managed to upload a great portion of the MATE 1.10 packages to Debian experimental.

Please note that this is still work in progress. Not all MATE 1.10 packages have been uploaded yet and several packages from the MATE 1.10 series in Debian have grave bugs still (mostly packaging and installation issues).

The plan is to make the complete MATE 1.10 stack available in Debian experimental by the end of July and also get all the open kinks fixed by then.

Development nx-libs 3.6.x

In June 2015, I have looked at various aspects of nx-libs development:

My FLOSS activities in May 2015

May 2015 has been mainly dedicated to these three fields of endeavour:

  • development of nx-libs (3.6.x branch), license clarification of nxcomp (a library in nx-libs)
  • contribution to Debian LTS, Debian packaging
  • test deployment of Ganeti and Ganeti Manager (a web frontend for Ganeti)

Received Sponsorship

I am happy to report that I received a personal sponsoring over 3.000,- EUR from a sponsor not to be named in May 2015. The sponsoring has been dedicated to supporting my work on The Arctica Project.

Last month's contributions of mine (8h) to the Debian LTS project had been contracted by Freexian [1] again. Thanks to Raphael Hertzog for having me on the team. Thanks to all the people and companies sponsoring the Debian LTS Team's work.

Development and License of nx-libs 3.6.x

What has been achieved in May 2015 concerning the nx-libs development?

  • nx-libs(-lite) continues to stay DFSG-compliant (see [2] for details)
  • Ulrich Sibiller has started working on enabling the RandR based Xinerama extension protocol in nxagent (the prototypes already work quite well) [3]. His work will make it possible to:
    • drop libNX_Xinerama from nx-X11,
    • drop the need of xinerama.conf file that needs to be updated from the client side of the session whenever a RandR change occurs on the client side
    • drop some nasty LD_LIBRARY_PATH hack from x2goruncommand (in X2Go)

DXPC retroactively re-licensed as BSD-2-clause, nx-libs(-lite) now really DFSG-compliant

We recently had an intensive phase while reconsidering the DFSG-compliancy of the nx-libs(-lite) code base.

TL;DR; In May 2015, all versions of DXPC released before version 3.8.1 (sometime in 2002) have retroactively been re-licensed by all previous maintainers of DXPC as BSD-2-clause.

This blog arcticle is a modified version of the nxcomp/README.on-retroactive-DXPC-license file [1] and gives an overview of the discussion thread that lead to the retroactive re-licensing of DXPC.

For the full discussion, see doc/DXPC_re-licensed::debbug_784565.mbox [2] in the nx-libs source project or #784565 on the Debian bug tracker [3].




In May 2015, a serious license issue around the nxcomp code shipped in this source project was raised and solved on the Debian bug tracker (thanks to Francesco Poli and many others):

From: "Francesco Poli \(wintermute\)" 
To: Debian Bug Tracking System 
Date: Wed, 06 May 2015 19:35:32 +0200

I noticed that the debian/copyright states:

| Parts of this software are derived from DXPC project. These copyright
| notices apply to original DXPC code:

Rebasing NXv3 against latest X.Org -- already ~2,700,000 lines of code removed

We have set sails for a great endeavour. We are cleaning up the nx-X11 / nxagent code tree [1] and rebase it against latest / recent X.Org. Until now, we have been able to drop ~2,700,000 lines of code [2] from the source tree that originally got released by NoMachine.

The plan is...

  • to make NXv3 usable with recent desktop environments (work needed on nxagent's randr proto, composite proto, GL, probably more),
  • facilitate multimedia content over NX via the Telekinesis framework (originally developped for X2Go),
  • make X11 events inside nxagent accessible for third party applications
  • and facilitate NX traffic via unix domain sockets.

For more details, see the[3] file on our Github project.

What we have achieved so far...

  • We have only one(!) bundled library left (nx-X11/extras/Mesa--yeah, getting rid of this hunk will be quite an issue, indeed).
  • We are continuously dropping bundled X11 libraries (already dropped:, libNX_Xfont.a,, pending: libNX_Xinerama, libNX_Xrandr, libNX_Xdamage).
  • We have had three major commits that dropped many many lines of completely unneeded imake build logic.

My FLOSS activities in April 2015

April 2015 has been my first month on the Debian LTS team (as a paid contractor working underneath the Freexian [1] umbrella). Working in the team of paid Debian LTS developers requires to write a monthly summary about sponsored work on Debian LTS. Thanks to Raphael Hertzog for having me on his company's team and providing the framework for providing paid work on Debian LTS.

I will use this requirement for a monthly report as a starting point for documenting my FLOSS activities on a monthly basis via my blog (not only for Debian LTS, but also for other projects).

Work on Debian LTS

For the Debian LTS team I have been doing 8h of contracted work in April 2015 (and at the beginning of May 2015). The work focused on:

  • understanding / questioning details on the Debian LTS workflow
  • fixing several issues in xdg-utils for Debian squeeze-lts [2]
  • fixing two CVE issues in the xorg-server package (in two consecutive uploads) [3,4]
  • working on regression documentation

Several more hours have been spent by myself (and also Raphael) for getting me started in the team. Thanks for your patience.

Work on Debian jessie

The Debian MATE Packaging team was able to provide several fixes last-minute before the Debian jessie release (mate-control-center[5], caja-extensions[6], mate-desktop [7]). Thanks to the release team for processing the last-minute unblock requests so smoothly.

Arctica Project - New Remote (Desktop) Computing Project

This is to announce a new upcoming FLOSS project addressing the remote (desktop) computing realm in the GNU/Linux (and possibly other *nices) server world.

The new project's name will be The Arctica Project [1, 2].

In the Arctica Project, 5-6 developers from all over the world have come together to revisit the field of remote (desktop) computing and write a remote computing framework from scratch.

At the moment, there are not many solutions around that (a) are 100% Free Software, (b) work acceptable for most users and (c) also address large scale deployments and enterprise grade customers. To be honest, IMHO there is actually no such solution at all.

The Arctica Project attempts at changing this sustainably; and we are starting with it NOW.

If anyone reads this and gets curious, please join us on IRC and get in touch! If you feel like a potential contributor, we happily invite you to become one. We are open to your input. Please share it. (Thanks!)


[2] IRC channel #arctica on Freenode

Shifting my Focus in X2Go

Dear X2Go Community, dear friends,

as many of you may know, I have been contributing a considerable amount
of time to upstream-maintaining X2Go over the past 4 years. I provided
new X2Go components (Python X2Go, PyHoca X2Go Client, a publicly
available X2Go Session Broker, X2Go MATE Bindings, etc.) and focused on
making X2Go a wide-spread community project. For the last 2-3 years I
have been in the role of the X2Go project coordinator and various other

With the beginning of 2015, I will pass on several of those roles to
other people in the project, see the below list for already assigned and
unassigned roles:

  • project/community coordinator (continued by Stefan Baur)
  • development coordination (continued by Heinz-Markus Graesing,
    very probably introducing some sort of agile development)
  • release management (n.n.)
  • i18n team leader (n.n.)
  • package maintenance (continued by Oleksandr Shneyder)
  • Git administrator (continued by Mihai Moldovan)
  • bug tracker administrator (continued by Michael DePaulo)

The reasons for tremendously reducing my workload on X2Go are these:

  • more time for development, less involvement in organizational tasks
  • more time for paid/contracted work (also in the X2Go context)
  • spend some of my time on doing Remote Desktop Computing research
  • be more available to Debian and Ubuntu as a package maintainer
  • be more available to my family

In several internal exchanges we (Heinz, Stefan, Mihai, Mike#2,

Join us at "X2Go: The Gathering 2014"

TL;DR; Those of you who are not able to join "X2Go: The Gathering 2014"... Join us on IRC (#x2go on Freenode) over the coming weekend. We will provide information, URLs to our TinyPads, etc. there. Spontaneous visitors are welcome during the working sessions (please let us know if you plan to come around), but we don't have spare beds anymore for accomodation. (We are still trying hard to set up some sort of video coverage--may it be life streaming or recorded sessions, this is still open, people who can offer help, see below).

Our event "X2Go: The Gathering 2014" is approaching quickly. We will meet with a group of 13-15 people (number of people is still slightly fluctuating) at Linux Hotel, Essen. Thanks to the generous offerings of the Linux Hotel [1] to FLOSS community projects, costs of food and accommodation could be kept really low and affordable to many people.

We are very happy that people from outside Germany are coming to that meeting (Michael DePaulo from the U.S., Kjetil Fleten ( from Denmark / Norway). And we are also proud that Martin Wimpress (Mr. Ubuntu MATE Remix) will join our gathering.

In advance, I want to send a big THANK YOU to all people who will sponsor our weekend, either by sending gift items, covering travel expenses or providing help and knowledge to make this event a success for the X2Go project and its community around.

Cooperation between X2Go and TheQVD

I recently got in contact with Nicolas Arenas Alonso and Nito Martinez from the Quindel group (located in Spain) [1].

Those guys bring forth a software product called TheQVD (The Quality Virtual Desktop) [2]. The project does similar things that X2Go does. In fact, they use NX 3.5 from NoMachine internally like we do in X2Go. Already a year ago, I noticed their activity on TheQVD and thought.. "Ahaaa!?!".

Now, a couple of weeks back we received a patch for libxcomp3 that fixes an FTBFS (fails to build from source) for nx-libs-lite against Android [3].

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