How contributors.debian.org helped in my email address migration

Some months ago I changed my preferred email address. I updated my profile in different sites to point to the new address, and changed my subscriptions in mailing lists.

I forgot about subscriptions to Debian bugs.

I like that you don’t need a “user” to participate in Debian BTS (you just need an email address) but I learned that there’s no way to get a list of the bugs you’re subscribed to (for mailing lists it’s possible: send mail to majordomo at lists.debian.org with which your.email.address in the body).

Then, I remembered that I’m listed in contributors.debian.org as BTS contributor, and that there is an “extra info” link, so I went there and got redirected to:

https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/pkgreport.cgi?correspondent=MYOLDADDRESS

which lists all the bugs for which I sent an email (not only the bugs that I submitted). So now, I have a list of bug numbers to send -unsubscribe mails from my old address and then -subscribe mails from the new address.

I’m probably subscribed to some more bugs in which I didn’t participate (just lurking or interested in how people deal with them) but I suppose they are not many.

(I could have retrieved the list of bugs from the BTS interface, but contributors.debian.org came first to my mind, and it’s nice to have that link handy there, isn’t it?)

Posted in Tools | Tagged , , , ,

Going selfhosting: Installing Debian Wheezy in my home server

It was in my mind to open a new series of articles with topic “selfhosting”, because I really believe in free software based network services and since long time I want to plug a machine 24×7 at home to host my blog, microblog, MediaGoblin, XMPP server, mail, and, in conclusion, all the services that now I trust to very kind third parties that run them with free software, but I know I could run myself (and offer them to my family and friends).

Last September I bought the domain larjona.net (curious, they say “buy” but it’s a rent, for 1,2,3 years… never yours.  Pending another post about my adventures with the domain name, dynamic DNS, and SSL certs!) and I bought an HP Microserver G7 N54L, with 2 GB RAM. It had a 250GB SATA harddisk and I bought 2 more SATA harddisks, 1 TB each, to setup a RAID 1 (mirror). Total cost (with keyboard and mouse), 300€. A friend gave me a TFT monitor that was too old for him (1024×768) but it serves me well, (it’s a server, no graphical interface, and I will connect remotely most of the times).

Installing Debian stable (wheezy)

I decided to install Debian stable. Jessie was not frozen yet, and since it was my first non-LAMP server install, I wanted to make sure that errors and problems would be my errors, not issues of the non-released-yet distro.

I thought to install YunoHost or some other distro “prepared” for selfhosting, but I’ve never tried them, and I have not much free time, so I decided to stick on Debian, my beloved distro, because it’s the one that I know best and I’m part of its awesome community. And maybe I could contribute back some bug reports or documentation.

I wanted to try a crypto setup (just for fun, just for learn, for its benefits, and to be one more freecrypto-tester in the world) so after reading a bit:

https://wiki.debian.org/DebianInstaller/SataRaid
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/disk_encryption
http://madduck.net/docs/cryptdisk/
http://linuxgazette.net/140/kapil.html
http://smcv.pseudorandom.co.uk/2008/09/cryptroot/
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-security-4/lvm-before-and-after-encryption-871379/

and some other pages, and try some different things, this is the setup that I managed to configure:

  • A “rescue” system with /boot and / partitions, both in the 250 GB disk.
  • A RAID 1 system of the two 1TB disks, setup in the BIOS of the machine (so the motherboard handles the RAID and the OS is focused in other things).
  • Inside the Debian installer, I went to manual partition, then I put my /boot in the 250GB disk (yes, a 2nd /boot there), and then selected the 1TB disk (since the RAID was already made, it appeared a single 1TB disk) as physical device to be encrypted.
  • After that, still in the Debian installer, I setup LVM there: configured a volume group, then, two volumes, one for / and the other one for swap.
  • Then I saved the changes and go on installing my system.

Everything went well. Yay!

Some doubts and one problem

Everything went quite well except some doubts:

  • I’m still not sure if this BIOS RAID (“Fake RAID”) is better than a software RAID or not. I suppose it’s better since I delegate in the motherboard to do it, and leave the OS to care about other things (transcode my videos yeah!). But I don’t know how to measure ‘performance’ and which metrics and results should I expect. The disks (cheap disks) are a bit noisy (just a bit! or maybe it’s the fan that it’s very quiet! poor Laura, never saw/had a ‘luxury’ machine like this one :)
  • I had to install firmware-linux-nonfree in order to properly use the graphics card (Mobility Radeon HD 4225/4250). I have no graphical environment there, only a console, so I was not sure if installing the firmware or not (without the firmware, the letters of the console were bigger, but I just don’t mind since I most of the time I log in remotely from my laptop). Then, two questions arised to my ignorant mind:
    1. Do I need the driver for better performance (aka is the graphics card used for rendering/transcoding/showing images and videos in my MediaGoblin site or just when it’s needed to display them in local (and subsequently, never)?
    2. If I leave the system like that, and forget about the firmware warning at boot time, can the hardware be damaged by the default (free) driver? (for example, due to fan controlling malfunction or something like that).

After talking about this issues with friends (and in debian-women IRC channel), I decided to install the non-free driver, just in case, with the same reasoning as with the RAID: let the card do the job, so the CPU can care about other things. Again, I notice that learning a bit about benchmarking (and having some time to do some tests) would be nice…

And now, the problem:

  • I noticed something strange in my setup. Sometimes, after a system reboot, cryptsetup was not accepting the password to unlock the encrypted disk. And believe me, I was typing it carefully. But when I completely shutdown the computer, unplug the cable, replug the cable, and start again, the password was accepted. The keyboard is USB and this machine does not accept other connection for the keyboard. The keyboard configuration, language and so, was all correct. No Non-ASCII symbols in my password. My password would need to press the same keys in a Spanish and an English keyboard.
  • I thought that maybe something in my RAID was failing. I tried to disconnect one of the disks, and see if (1) the bug was solved (no) and (2) the RAID was working (yes). I made the same with the other disk. I was happy that I could reconstruct my RAID when plugging the disk again. But still I had the problem of the password.

I left this problem apart and go on installing the software. I would think later what to do.

Installing MediaGoblin

The most urgent selfhosting service, for me, was GNU MediaGoblin, because I wanted to show my server to my family in Christmas, and upload the pictures of the babies and kids of the family. And it’s a project where I contribute translations and I am a big fan, so I would be very proud of hosting my own instance.

I followed the documentation to setup 2 instances of GNU MediaGoblin 0.7 (the stable release in the moment), with their corresponding PostgreSQL databases. Why two instances? Well, I want an instance to host and show my videos, images, and replicate videos that I like, and a private one for sharing photos and videos with my family. MediaGoblin has no privacy settings yet, so I installed separate instances, and the private one I put it in a different port, with a self-signed SSL cert, and enabled http-authorization in Nginx, so only authorized Linux users of my machine can accesss the website.

Installing MediaGoblin was easier than what I thought. I only had some small doubts about the documentation, and they were solved in the IRC channel. You can access, for example, my user profile in my public instance, and see some different files that I already uploaded. I’m very happy!!

Face to face with the bug, again

I had to solve the problem of the password not accepted in reboots. I began to think that it could be a bug in cryptsetup. Should I upgrade the package to the version in wheezy-backports? Jessie was almost frozen, maybe it was time to upgrade the whole system, to see if the problem was solved (and to see how my MediaGoblin was working or not in Jessie. It should work, it’s almost packaged! But who knows). And if it didn’t work, maybe it was time to file a bug…

So I upgraded my system to Debian Jessie. And after upgrade, the system didn’t boot. But that’s the story of another blog post (that I still need to finish to write… don’t worry, it has happy end, as you could see accessing my Mediagoblin site!).

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Upgrading my computers to Debian Jessie: Husband’s laptop (Acer Aspire 5250)

This is an old laptop, with AMD E-300 processor, 6 GB RAM, Radeon HD 6310 VGA and Atheros AR9485 wireless network adapter.

It was running Windows 7 (preinstalled). The hard disk failed, and I put the hard disk of another laptop (a broken Acer Aspire One D255) on it. Surprisingly, the Windows 7 on it booted (after some self-configuration that took quite long), but it was a Windows 7 Home 32bits, so it was only recognizing 4 GB RAM. That was the perfect excuse to convince my husband to install Debian in the laptop and begin his transition to a free OS. Yay!

I installed Debian Jessie from scratch last summer. Everything went well (the installer went fine, 8 months before than its RC1 release, congrats Debian-boot team!).

I needed the non-free radeon driver for the graphical display :/

Jessie is running GNOME3 desktop, and I’ve been seeing all these months the transition to 3.14 version, and later, the integration of the “Lines” theme (by Juliette Belin), which I like very much.

I have problems to watch high quality videos, in every player that I tried (VLC, Totem, mplayer) the audio and video are not synced, and video sometimes freezes. I’m almost sure that the problem is what mplayer says: “Your system is too SLOW to play this!”.

I tried to install the ATI non-free driver for better performance, but after successfully install it and reboot, GNOME was not starting (I got a black screen, no gdm greeting me). I could log in tty2, though. I don’t know if I did something wrong, how to solve the problem, and I don’t wanted to waste time, so I uninstalled it and returned to the non-free firmware that goes to the Linux kernel. For now, when I need to watch a video that gives those problems, I upload the file to my GNU MediaGoblin site, or use WinFF to reduce size/quality.

Overall impression

Fine! Both my husband and me are very happy.

The installation went really well.

I’m not a GNOME expert user but I find it easy, intuitive, and he found it easy too.

My husband uses the computer to surf the web, watch some videos and online series (we had to install non-free flash plugin from Adobe #grr), read mail from the browser, write something in LibreOffice and print it (hey! we just plug the printer/scanner and it works, no need to install drivers!), scan some image and send it by email… I set Debian as default in GRUB, and the switch from Windows has been very natural for him (he was already using Firefox and LibreOffice in Windows. He still says “I’m a Windows user” although he is just using Debian for months!).

He bought an IPhone 4S (#grr!) and I tried to connect it as shown in the corresponding Debian wiki page, but it didn’t work (I got “segmentation fault” when connecting the phone). However, it is recognized by Shotwell and we can copy all the photos and videos to the computer, which is what we wanted to do. So no problem on that side, either.

In conclussion, one more computer at home running Debian (“future stable”), and we don’t run Windows at home anymore :)

Posted in My experiences and opinion | Tagged , ,

Upgrading my computers to Debian Jessie

Until now, I usually run Debian stable at work (in my desktop PC) and stable or testing at home in my laptop. I was upgrading to testing during the freeze, and then, stay in testing (future stable) or stable (when it’s published) until the next freeze.

I have changed this ‘conservative’ pattern. I’ve been running Jessie for many months now, and here I’ll document the different experiences in the computers that I use.

Upgrade or clean install?

I decided to upgrade my computers instead of making a clean install (except in the ones  that were not running Debian).

Although the upgrade process have been fine, I’m still not sure which is the best for my needs. Installing from the beginning forces me to re-read the feature list of the different pieces of software and choose the one that fits best (not the one that I was using some years ago). And maybe I just don’t need that non-free driver anymore because there’s free replacement already, the installer is wise. OTOH, upgrading is easier and quicker, and I got all my software and configurations (and my rubbish) there, nothing is lost.

The computers

Here I will link the blog posts of each computer that I upgrade, when I finish writing the corresponding articles:

  • Husband’s laptop (Acer 5250): Clean install – Done, and OK!
  • My laptop (Compaq Mini 110c): Upgrade – Done and OK!
  • Home server (HP Microserver N54L G7): Upgrade – Done and OK!
  • PC at work (motherboard Asus P5KPL-AM-SE): Upgrade – Done, some issues.
  • Mini-laptop Airis Kira N7000 (ARM board, 128MB RAM) – Clean install – Pending

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Debian meeting in Madrid, GPG keysigning

Yesterday some Debian people in Madrid we met to have a drink together and GPG keysigning.I have received 2 signs already #oleole! :)Some minutes ago, I signed all the keys and sent the corresponding emails. Since I have to dedicate some minutes to verify fingerprints and emails, I have dedicated some time to remember each person too: his face, the topics that we talked about, etc.  (we were 8 people!).
It’s been nice to meet Debian people in person, in Madrid (it was the first time I attended). I like to speak Spanish in a Debian context (and different than the translators mailing list), it’s kind of funny, relaxing. It has been also an opportunity to meet new people that can be very different from me, and so, open my mind to new thoughts.

I hope we meet more often so we strengthen not only the web of trust but also the face-to-face social network :)

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Translating (reviewing) Debian package descriptions

Some days I feel super lazy but I still would like to go on contributing translations to Debian.
Then, I leave the web translations a bit, and change to translate or review Debian package descriptions.

It’s something that anybody can do without any knowledge of translation tools, since it is a very simple web interface, as you will see.

First you need to create a login account, then, login into the system.

And then, go to the page of your mother language (in my case, Spanish, “es”). You will see some introductory text, and the list of pending translations:
ddtss_es1
At the end of the page, there is the list of translations pending to review:
ddtss_es2

We should begin with this, so the work that other people already made arrives quickly its destination. And it’s the easiest part, as you will see. Let’s pick one of them (libvformat1-dev):

review1
You see the short description in the original English, and the current translation (if there were changes from a former version, they are coloured too).

I didn’t know what the package libvformat1-dev does, but here’s a nice opportunity to learn aobut it a bit :)

The short description looks ok for me. Let’s go on to the long description:

review2

It also looks correct for me. So I leave the text box as is, and go on until the bottom of the page:
review3
and click “Accept as is”. That’s all!!

The system brings you back to the page with pending translations and reviews. Let’s pick another one: totem
review4
I found a typo and corrected some other words, so I updated the text in the translation box, left a message to the other translators in the comment box, and clicked “Accept with changes”.

And… iterate.

When 3 translators agree in a translation, it becomes official, and its propagated to apt-cache, aptitude, synaptic, etc., and the website (packages.debian.org). This is the most difficult part (to get 3 reviews for each package description):  many language teams are small, and their workforce is spread in many fronts: translations for the website, news and announcements, debconf templates (the messages that are shown to the user when a package is installed), the Debian installer, the documentation, the package descriptions… So your help (even when you only review some translations from time to time) will be appreciated, for sure.

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I’ve applied to be a (non uploading) Debian Developer

I’ve just applied to be a (non uploading) Debian Developer. I’ve just filled in the form, and decrypted the message that I received to confirm my application (I had read the important documents long time ago, and again, some weeks ago, and again, some days ago).

I was expecting today to gather some GPG signs, but the event was cancelled (postponed). So beginning next week, I’ll try to gather GPG signs one by one, by myself.

Outdated translations of the website are finished (no more yellow stickers in the Spanish http://www.debian.org!), and I already began with the translation of new files.

I’ve sent mails to say thank you to some of the people that helped me during this phase of Debian Contributor.

I think I’ve done everything that I can do for now. So let’s wait.

I don’t know how will I sleep tonight.

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10 short steps to contribute translations to free software for Android

This small guide assumes that you know how to create a public repository with git (or other version control system). Maybe some projects use other VCS, Subversion or whatever; the process would be similar although the commands will be different of course.

If you don’t want to use any VCS, you can just download the corresponding file, translate it, and send it by email or to the BTS of the project, but the commands required are very easy and you’ll see soon that using git (or any VCS) is quite comfortable and less scary than what it seems.

So, you were going to recommend a nice app that you use or found in F-Droid to your friend, but she does not understand English. Why not translating the app for her? And for everybody? It’s a job that can be done in 15 minutes or so (Android apps have very short strings, few menus, and so). Let’s go!

1.- Search the app in the F-Droid website

You can do it going to the URL: https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdfilter=wordofappname

Example: https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdfilter=pomodoro

Then, open the details of the app, and learn where’s the source code.

2.- Clone the source code

If you have an account in that forge, fork/clone the project into your account, and then, clone your fork/clone in local.

If you haven’t got an account in that forge, clone the project in local.

git clone URLofTheProjectOrYourClone

3.- In local, create a new branch, and checkout to it.

cd nameofrepo

git checkout -b Spanish

4.- Then, copy the “/res/values” folder into “res/values-XX” folder (where XX is your language code)

cp ./res/values /res/values-es -R

5.- Translate

Edit the “strings.xml” file that is in the “res/values-XX” folder, and change the English strings to your language (respect the XML format).

6.- Translate other files, or delete them

If there are more files in that folder (e.g. “arrays.xml”), review them to know if they have “translatable” strings. If yes, translate them. If not, delete the files.

7.- Commit

When you are finished, commit your changes:

git add res/values-es/*

git commit -a

(Message can be “Spanish translation” or so)

8.- Push your changes to your public repo

If you didn’t create a public clone of the repo in your forge, create a public repo and push your local stuff into there.

git push --all

9.- Request a merge to the original repo

(Using the web interface of the forge, if it is the same for the original repo and your clone, or sending an email or creating an issue and providing the URL of your repo). For example, open a new issue in the project’s BTS

Title: Spanish translation available for merging

Body: Hi everybody.

Thanks for your work in "nameofapp".

I have completed a Spanish translation, it's available for review/merge in the Spanish branch of my repo:

https://urlofyourclone

Best regards

10.- Congratulations!

Translations are new features, and having a new feature in your app for free is a great thing, so probably the app developer(s) will merge your translation soon.

Share your joy with your friends, so they begin to use the app you translated, and maybe become translators too!

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Posted in Tools, Writings (translations) | Tagged , , , , ,

Happy Software Freedom Day!

Today we celebrate the day of free software (each year, a saturday around mid-September) More info at softwarefreedomday.org

There are no public events in Madrid, but I’m going to try to hack and write a bit more this weekend, as my personal celebration.

In this blog post you can find some of my very very recent activities on free software, and my plans for this weekend of celebration!

Debian

Children distros aka Derivatives

I had the translation/update of the page www.debian.org/misc/children-distros pending since long time. It’s a long page, and I was not sure what was better: if picking up the too-outdated last translation, and review it carefully in order to update it, or starting from scratch. I decided to reuse the last translation (thanks Luis Uribe!) and after some days dedicating my commuting time on it, finally, yesterday evening I finished it at home. Now it’s in the review queue, and I hope in 10 days or so it will be uploaded.

In the meantime, I have learned a bit about the Debian Derivatives subproject and  census, I have watched the Derivatives Panel at DebConf13, and had a look at the bug #723069 about keeping the children-distros page up to date.

So now that I’m liberated about this translation, I’m going to put some time in keeping up to date the original English page (I’m part of the www and publicity team, so I think it makes sense). My goal is to review at least one Debian derivative each two days, and when I finish the list, start again. I can update the wiki myself, and for the www, I’ll send patches against #723069, unless I’m told to do it other way.

BTW, wouldn’t be nice to mark web/wiki pages as “RFH” the same as packages?, so other people can easily decide to put some time on them, and make http://www.debian.org even more awesome! Or make them appear in the how-can-i-help reminders :)  Mmm maybe it’s just a matter of filing a bug and tagging it as “gift”? I think no, because nobody has the package “www.debian.org” installed in their system… I’ll talk with the maintainer about this.

New Member process

I promised myself to try to work a bit more in Debian during the summer and September, and if everything goes well, try to apply to the new member process in October.

I wanted to read all the documentation first, and one challenge is to review/update the translations of www.debian.org/devel/join folder. This way, both myself and the Spanish speaking community benefit from the effort. Yesterday I translated one of those pending pages and I hope during the weekend I can translate/update the rest. When I finish that, I’ll keep reading the other documentation.

DebConf15

This summer I was invited to join the DebConf15 organization team and pick up tasks in the publicity area. I was very happy to join, I’m not sure at all that I can go to DebConf15 in Heidelberg (Germany), in fact I’m quite sure I will not go since mid-August is the only opportunity to visit family who lives far away, but anyway, there are things that we can do before DebConf15 and I can contribute.

For now, I attended last Monday to the meeting at IRC, and I’m finishing a short blogpost about the DebConf14 talk presenting DebConf15, that will be published in the DebConf15 blog.

Android, F-Droid

I keep on trying to spread the word about F-Droid and the free software available for Android, last week some of my friends updated Kontalk to the 3.0.b1 version (I had updated at the beginning of September) and they liked that now, the images are sent encrypted as well as the text messages :)

Some friends also liked the 2048 game, since it can be played offline, without ads, and so.

I decided to spend some time this weekend contributing translations to the Android apps that I use.

A long pending issue is to try to put workforce in the F-Droid project itself so apps descriptions are internationalized (the program is fully translatable, but the categories of apps and the descriptions themselves, are not). This is a complicated issue, it requires to take some design decisions, and later, of course, the implementation. I cannot do it alone, and I cannot do it in the short time. But today I have filed a bug report (#35) so maybe I find other people able to help.

Jabber/XMPP and the “RedesLibres” chatroom

Since several months I’ve been using more often my Jabber/XMPP account to join the chatroom redeslibres@salas.mijabber.es

I meet there some people that I follow in Pump.io (for example, the people that write in the Comunícate Libremente or Lignux blogs) and we talk about pump.io, free software, free services, and other things. I feel very comfortable there, it’s nice to have a Spanish speaking group inside the Free Software community, and I’m also learning a bit about XMPP (I’ve tried a lot of desktop and Android clients, just for fun!), free networks, and so.

So today I wanted to publicly thank you everybody in that chatroom, that welcomed me so well :)

Thank you, free software friends

And, by extension, I want to thank you all the people that work and have fun in the Free Software communities, in the projects where I contribute or others. They (we) hack to make the world better, and to allow others join to this beautiful challenge that is making machines do what their (final) users wants.

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Posted in My experiences and opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Disabling comments in the blog

I’m getting more spam than the amount that I can stand in this blog. Comments are moderated, so the public is not suffering that, only me. From time to time I go to my dashboard and clean the spam. I’m afraid that I delete some legit comment in these spam-cleaning-fevers, or, more probably, that a legit comment waits in the queue for several days (weeks?), just because I’m lazy to deal with spam and let days pass by (until the fever comes).

I think I’m going to follow the wisdom of Bradley M. Kuhn and link to a pump.io note for comments on my blog posts (disabling them here in WordPress.com). I usually post a notice when I write something in my blog, so the only task is to update the blog post with the pump.io URL of the thread for comments.

While WordPress.com allows to write comments quickly, without need of an account (you write just a name and an email, and the comment), in pump you need to have an account and sign in to comment. That looks as a bad thing, a barrier for people to participate. But of course, it stops spam :)

After thinking about it a bit, pump.io it’s a federated network, you can choose the pump server that they want, you can create a fake account, you don’t need to provide personal information… and it’s another way to promote one of the social networks where I live. Other systems link to facebook, twitter, or other places, and nobody complains! Even when those services don’t have any of the advantages of being in a federated free-software powered social network :)

If anybody don’t want to use pump.io but wants to comment, other ways to reach me or the related blog post are:

  • Comment in the GNUSocial fediverse: the post announcing the thread for each blog post will be propagated to my quitter.se account too.
  • While I’m still using Twitter, they can comment on the corresponding tweet, but beware that I’m seriously thinking about closing my account there, since I rarely use it and don’t like the platform.
  • Drop me an email, I can post the comment on behalf of that person (if you want your comment to be “anonymous”, please state it in the email).

So now it’s decided, and this is the first post of this new experiment. This text is posted in pump.io too, and you can comment there :)

Posted in My experiences and opinion, Tools | Tagged , , , , ,