Damn statistics ;-)
on 19.06.2007, 21:35
in debconf-news
participate in DebConf7 from abroad
on 16.06.2007, 21:47
in debconf-news
Streams are up
on 15.06.2007, 21:35
in debconf-news
Some more streaming relays wanted
on 15.06.2007, 09:35
in debconf-news
DebConf7 Gallery
on 13.06.2007, 09:46
in debconf-news
mmv: Mass moving and renaming files
on 13.06.2007, 05:55
in packages-news
Debaday closed for Holidays!
on 12.06.2007, 11:54
in packages-news
Yet another camera…
on 10.06.2007, 15:35
in debconf-news
DebConf7 accommodation: breakfasts
on 07.06.2007, 16:45
in debconf-news
Wireless setup for DebConf7
on 06.06.2007, 23:15
in debconf-news
OTS: Command line text auto-summary
on 06.06.2007, 05:00
in packages-news
KLone: C web programming framework
on 03.06.2007, 05:00
in packages-news

Damn statistics ;-)

published on Tue Jun 19 21:35:00 2007 in debconf-news

Looking at the munin stats of the video streams watched (link only works from the DebConf7 network) today was a bit disappointing. About 40 viewers in average for all four rooms combined, worldwide and on the local network together. The upper talk room alone had a peek of 35 viewers today.

But I think (or hope?) the streams were and are still useful, since they allow Debian contributors to participate in DebConf, who otherwise couldn’t. So if you’re one of those, please let us know what you think about the streams, and recordings as well.

What I am really happy about is the software framework we created before and during DebCamp and DebConf. IMO it is really impressive and very very helpful, compared to previous workflows. Ben already blogged a about it a bit. Unsurprisingly the documentation can be improved still and it’s not the only thing that can be improved. And we do have more great stuff in the pipeline for DebConf8 :-)

participate in DebConf7 from abroad

published on Sat Jun 16 21:47:44 2007 in debconf-news

As you might be aware, today is DebianDay, the preceeding event to DebConf7, taking place from June 17 to 23 in Edinburgh in Scotland.

Even if you could not make it to be here in person, you can participate in DebConf7 by pointing your user agents to:

DebConf(7), general information is available at http://www.debconf.org and http://debconf7.debconf.org.

Schedules of the talks are available at https://penta.debconf.org/~joerg/.

Live streams can be seen via http://streams.video.debconf.org:8000/

For discussion during the sessions and as feedback channels you can use the following irc-channels on IRC.debian.org: #debconf, #debconf-uppertalks, #debconf-lowertalks, #debconf-lowerbofs and #debconf-upperbofs.

The videos will become available in the night (british summer time) after the day the event took place: http://meetings-archive.debian.net/pub/debian-meetings/2007/debconf7/.

Streams are up

published on Fri Jun 15 21:35:00 2007 in debconf-news

To say it again and upfront: streaming is optional. While we do try to make them work as best as we can, we also want to state again, that our priority is to preserve DebConf7 for eternity and not for the viewing pleasure of those few, who can’t wait :-D

That said, http://streams.video.debconf.org:8000 is up and running. Yay! Yay! This time also with a lolstream over night.

That announced, we’re still sorting out minor and not so minor glitches. So, I’ll stop blogging now.

And we’re still looking for more servers in Australia, Asia, Africa and Antarctica :-)

And now let’s hope everything will work out in the real world! Have fun at DebConf or watching on your sofa, if you’re lucky :-)

Some more streaming relays wanted

published on Fri Jun 15 09:35:00 2007 in debconf-news

It’s 24h until DebianDay, the day promoting Debian to the general public in Edinburgh, which is the preceeding event of DebConf7. The video setup is almost completly done now. It will allow us to publish the recordings shortly (within hours) afterwards, with very little manual work. Today we’ll be polishing it some more and test everything with three simultaneous streams. Yesterday we successfully tested mixing video from three cameras, which was recorded and streamed to the net.

While recording has still the highest priority, the streaming setup this year will (hopefully) also really rock: thanks to the help of some friendly OFTC people we’ll use geoDNS, so that there will be one DNS name for all and the users will automatically be directed to the closest server. The problem is, there is only one server in Australia, and no servers in Asia, Africa and Antarctica.

If you have a server in one of these regions, and if can open port 8000 in- and outgoing, please contact us, as described in this mail. Clients will use about 300 kbit/s each.

As soon as the geoDNS is in place, I’ll blog again and publish the URL, so that you can watch us testing… :-)

DebConf7 Gallery

published on Wed Jun 13 09:46:00 2007 in debconf-news

Similar to last year we opened a DebConf7 gallery on our gallery server.

We would like to have this again as a central point for all pictures taken at DebConf7, so we would really appreciate if you can (in addition to your own gallery) upload there.

As it is open for everyone just create a user and send a little mail to gallery-admins@debconf.org to get your account activated if you do not have one already.

mmv: Mass moving and renaming files

published on Wed Jun 13 05:55:51 2007 in packages-news

Article submitted by Ferry Boender. We are running out of articles ! Please help DPOTD and submit good articles about software you like NOW !

Mmv is command-line tool which allows the user to move, rename, copy, append and link large amounts of files with a single command. The tool is especially useful when you need to rename a lot of files that have similar filenames, yet subtle differences.

Although mmv does more than just renaming files, this article will focus only on renaming because that is what I use it for the most. The tool is best explained using an example.

Suppose you have the following files in a directory:


You want all the files that start with ‘foo’ to instead start with ‘bar’. In this case it could easily be done manually, but suppose there are hundreds of files! You’d soon be forced to start shell-scripting some solution. But mmv is the perfect tool for this job:

mmv "foo*.png" "bar#1.png"

The above command will result in the following files:



From pattern

Mmv matches the files using the wildcard you gave (the ‘From’ pattern). Then it will rename the matched files according to the second argument (the ‘To’ pattern). The ‘From’ pattern can take all the usual shell wildcards such as ‘*’, ‘?’ and ‘[]’. Remember that you need to enclose the patterns with quotes, otherwise they will be expanded by the shell and mmv won’t understand them!

To pattern

The ‘#1′ in the ‘To’ pattern is a wildcard index. It matches the first wildcard found in the ‘From’ pattern. A ‘#2′ in the ‘To’ pattern would match the second second wildcard, etc. Mmv replaces any occurrences of wildcard indexes with the text for the corresponding wildcard in the ‘From’ pattern. In the example above, ‘#1′ matches the number after ‘foo’ and in front of the period. Note that ‘??’ are actually two wildcards, both of which match a single character!

More examples

The ‘From’ and ‘To’ pattern can also be used to switch around stuff in filenames:


mmv "*_*.txt" "#2_#1.txt"

Would result in:


Another nifty trick mmv can do is changing the case of text matched by a wildcard. To do this, you place a ‘l’ (lowercase) or ‘u’ (uppercase) between the ‘#’ and the number in the ‘To’ pattern:


mmv "?*.txt" "#u1#2.txt"

This results in:



Mmv tries to be as safe as possible to avoid collisions in renaming which might cause files to be deleted. If, for instance, the result of the renaming would cause two different files to get the same name (thereby overwriting one), mmv will issue a collision warning and abort.

Mmv also tries to gracefully handle a rename that causes one of the resulting filenames to be identical to one of the source filenames. For instance:


mmv "*" "a#1"

This does not overwrite the ‘aa’ file with the ‘a’ file but instead results, as expected, in:



Mmv has been available in Debian at least since v3.1 (’Sarge’) and in Ubuntu since Warty. apt-get install mmv will install it for you.


  • Renaming directories can only be done with the -r switch.
  • Remember to enclose the ‘To’ and ‘From’ parameters in quotes!

Debaday closed for Holidays!

published on Tue Jun 12 11:54:45 2007 in packages-news

Dear readers,

Debaday will be closed for holidays after tomorrow’s entry until July 1st. The editors team will be busy at DebConf, Debian Project’s developer annual conference, for the next two weeks and we only have a couple of entries that are worth publishing since we have not receive a lot of contributions lately.
We will continue publishing entries after 1st July on a regular basis as we have done until now, but remember we need your contributions to keep debaday alive!

The editors team.

If you are attending at DebConf7, see you there! :)

Yet another camera…

published on Sun Jun 10 15:35:00 2007 in debconf-news

We’re sitting in Teviot, the network is up and running and everyone here is happily hacking. So we can make detailed and concrete plans about the video setup now. And we just realized, that seven cameras are just not enough ;-)

If possible we would like to use eight cameras, because we’ll be switching between three cameras in the two main talk rooms, plus another camera in each BOF room. So if you happen to have another DV camera, please get in contact with us (to make sure we don’t end up having fourteen cameras…) and then bring it with you. That way, we won’t have to switch equiqment around and the people operating the cameras will always know what to expect in a certain venue.

TreeLine: a versatile tree-like structured custom data manager

published on Sun Jun 10 05:00:12 2007 in packages-news

Article submitted by Miriam Ruiz. We are running out of articles ! Please help DPOTD and submit good articles about software you like !

Do you have lots of sticky notes lying around with various useful information jotted down? Or many lists of books, movies, website logins, personal contacts, or things to do? Can you find them when you need them? TreeLine is a possible anwser to all those questions. It might be an Outliner, or maybe a PIM. What it basically do is store almost any kind of information (including plain text, HTML, numbers, dates, times, booleans, URLs, etc.). The data is structured in a user-defined tree structure, so that it’s easy to keep things organized.

Each of the nodes of the tree can contain several fields, thus forming a mini-database. The output format for each node can be defined, and the output can be shown on the screen, printed, or exported to HTML. Several node types, with different sets of fields, can be included in one file.

TreeLine’s window is divided into two panes. The view on the left shows the entire tree structure, while the view on the right shows various information about the tree node that is selected in the left pane. The right pane is tabbed to show one of three different views of the data. The “Data Output” view shows the formatted text for each node and is read-only. The “Data Editor” view shows a text edit box for each data field within a node. The “Title List” view shows a list of node titles that can be modified using typical text editor methods.

View of treeline’s main window.

TreeLine files are XML by default, but there are options for automatically compressing or encrypting the files. The data can alse be exported to HTML. You can also export a XSLT file, so you can work with the XML TreeLine files. There are many other file formats in which the data can be exported and imported: Tab-delimited tables and tab-indented text files can be imported and exported. Plain text files and Treepad files can be imported. Mozilla and XBEL format bookmark files can also be imported and exported. Generic XML files can be imported and exported, allowing TreeLine to function as a crude XML editor.

The program has many other useful features, like sorting or filtering the nodes, change the node’s icon and output format conditionally based on its data, spell check the text data, or automatically arrange the data. The user interface and documentation are available in different languages.

TreeLine is coded in Python, and uses the Qt toolkit library. If spell checking capability is desired, either the GNU aspell (preferred) or ispell programs are required. Treeline is available for both Ubuntu and Debian with a simple apt-get.

DebConf7 accommodation: breakfasts

published on Thu Jun 7 16:45:00 2007 in debconf-news

Hi there! We are working away on preparing an infomail for DebConf7 attendees, which will cover the specifics of Hostel check-in times, what to bring, key arrangements, etc. etc.

However, we could really use some figures on who might make use of the breakfast facilities offered by one of the two hostels, Budget Backpackers.

BB offer an uncooked breakfast (cereal, toast, tea and coffee, etc.) at a rate of 2 GBP per morning, payable on the morning. They are keen to know who might be interested in this service in advance, so they can prep the kitchen if the numbers are huge.

Both hostels have very good kitchen facilities and I’d expect that most people would be more inclined to group together and buy communal milk, cereal, etc. which is likely to work out cheaper too.

If you are staying in Budget Backpackers (check here if you are not sure) and you think you will be using the breakfast service, please mail accommodation@debconf.org as soon as possible with the days you may be doing this so I can let the hostel know and they can ensure they are adequately prepared for the demand.

Thank you!

Wireless setup for DebConf7

published on Wed Jun 6 23:15:00 2007 in debconf-news

Only in the beginning of May it became clear that we need a new wireless sponsor this year, which quite quickly was found: www.freifunk.net, which is a german grassroot movement, connecting people and communities with mesh networks.

As some of them are also upstream OpenWRT developers, we didn’t only get 19 accesspoints, but I also got quite some intensive training, which resulted in this wikipage with quite extensive documentation and a nice 3D map, how+where+why to place accesspoints.

So we’ll use the Kamikaze version of OpenWRT, whereever possible. Despite it’s name, Kamikaze is the new stable release of OpenWRT, the successor of WhiteRussian.

The accesspoints will be simply running in bridge mode (and using DHCP to get their IP and not running a DHCP server themselves) and provide unencrypted wireless (authentification via chillispot, you’ll have to login once via a webfrontend, then your MAC address will be recorded and you don’t need to login again) on the ESSID DebConf7. We’ll have 802.11b+g everywere and additionally 802.11a in some places.

We calculated that for Teviot we’ll need approximatly 15 accesspoints and three extra for the hackcenter we’ll be using at night. As we got 19 from freifunk, we should have enough. But I like to have some more, to be on the safe side and to be able to replace the least powerful ones with better ones.

If you can bring an accesspoint that runs OpenWRT, please send a short mail to debconf-infrastructure@lists.debconf.org. We prefer OpenWRT, so we can easily include them into our monitoring with munin and because it’s a PITA to deal with lots of different web interfaces for administration (and look up lots of different manuals on different webpages…). If you really want to bring an AP which doesn’t run OpenWRT, make sure the config described above is possible and please pre-configure it like that.

You can check if your accesspoint can run OpenWRT, a modell with broadcom or atheros chips would be best, simply because I already have preconfigured images. Alternativly, the above mentioned wikipage has instructions how to build an image. (And I have a build environment on my laptop. But that’s easy to setup.)

On a personal note, I intend not to be much involved in the wireless setup this year after unpacking the hardware, there is a nice admin team this year and I want to concentrate on the video team and our work there.

And last but not least, but again: don’t just plug your AP into the network in Teviot. God might kill a kitten, and we might loose our uplink if you do :-)

OTS: Command line text auto-summary

published on Wed Jun 6 05:00:27 2007 in packages-news

Article submitted by Alex Gretlein. We are running out of articles ! Please help DPOTD and submit good articles about software you like NOW !

Open Text Summarizer is both a library and a command line tool (developed by Nadav Rotem) that, well, summarises text. It is similar to the functionality incorporated into Microsoft Word and available in all native Mac OS X applications. The approach taken by OTS is to use word frequency to prepare a list of keywords and assign priority to sentences based on that frequency. It then outputs a summarised version of your text based on a ratio you supply —the default is 20%, i.e. the summary will be one-fifth the size of the original in terms of number of sentences. An automated process like this can never be perfect, and some texts are more amenable to auto-summarising than others. The reliance on sentences means that a well structured prose text works best, and that it should be somewhat substantial to produce meaning. Auto-summaries can be used as a basis for abstracts or catalogue descriptions, for article summaries in RSS feeds, or for checking keyword frequency for Search Engine Optimisation. Shorter texts, lists, and internally incoherent or structurally inconsistent texts will tend to produce gibberish —which can have its own amusement value. While the performance of OTS may not quite be up to the standards of proprietary alternatives (see this 2003 review), it is —as far as I was able to determine— the only available free or open source (specifically GPL) library for this purpose.

The developer has produced a screencast showing OTS in action. As a sample of the program’s output, this is a 20% summary of the “Ground Rules” section of the Ubuntu Code of Conduct.

This Code of Conduct covers your behaviour as a member of the Ubuntu Community, in any forum, mailing list, wiki, web site, IRC channel, install-fest, public meeting or private correspondence. The Ubuntu Community Council will arbitrate in any dispute over the conduct of a member of the community. We expect members of the Ubuntu community to be respectful when dealing with other contributors as well as with people outside the Ubuntu project, and with users of Ubuntu. Your work should be done transparently and patches from Ubuntu should be given back to the community when they are made, not just when the distribution releases. If you really want to go a different way, then we encourage you to make a derivative distribution or alternative set of packages available using the Ubuntu Package Management framework, so that the community can try out your changes and ideas for itself and contribute to the discussion.

You can run OTS by itself with the command —surprise!— ots:

Usage: ots [OPTIONS...] [file.txt | stdin]
  -r, --ratio=<int>      summarization % [default = 20%]
  -d, --dic=<string>     dictionary to use
  -o, --out=<string>     output file [default = stdout]
  -h, --html             output as html
  -k, --keywords         only output keywords
  -a, --about            only output the summary
  -v, --version          show version information

Help options:
  -?, --help             Show this help message
  --usage                Display brief usage message

So, for example if I had a document called ucoc and I wanted a 10% summary of it in a file called ucoc-tiny, I would run:

$ ots -r 10 -o ucoc-tiny ucoc

The --keywords option seems to be deprecated. The --html option outputs an HTML page of the entire text with the elements that would make up the summary highlighted in yellow.

OTS uses XML based dictionary files to provide word recognition for different languages. The latest version includes files for 37 languages —including most of the major languages written in Roman script, as well as Russian and Hebrew. It does not appear to have any means of recognising variant forms of the same word, such as verb conjugation, particularly in languages like Hebrew.

OTS is available in the repositories of Debian from at least sarge on, and of every release of Ubuntu. It is available by itself under the name libots0. To install it use your favourite graphical installer or run:

$ sudo apt-get install libots0

In both distros this is version 0.4.2, released in 2003. There are also libots-dev packages. A new version, 0.5.0 was released in April, 2007. The source code is available from Sourceforge.

As a library, libots can also be used by other programs. There is a list on the project home page of three applications that provide summarising through OTS:

  1. There was a plug-in in the development version of AbiWord at the time the OTS site was written. That “development version” is fairly ancient and it is a fully integrated part of the version available in current Debian or Ubuntu systems. Abiword itself is a great lightweight alternative to OpenOffice Writer. It’s also the default word processor for Xubuntu, and part of the xubuntu-desktop package. If you’re not running Xubuntu, you can install it with the package name abiword. (There are also development and plug-in packages for Abiword.)
  2. The second application to use OTS is Gnome-Summarizer, a GUI by the author himself. It appears from the screenshot to display the output HTML file and keywords. Even more exciting-looking than this is the “Researcher’s Tool” demonstrated in the screencast of the next version.
  3. The third program listed is a gedit plug-in by Daniel Brodie.

To this, we may be able to add Haystack (described here), an extension for the Plone framework which identifies related content. It uses a Python wrapper called ots, which is available in Python’s Cheese Shop.

An earlier version of this article was posed at IQAG Notes.

KLone: C web programming framework

published on Sun Jun 3 05:00:17 2007 in packages-news

Article submitted by Kari Pahula. We are running out of articles ! Please help DPOTD and submit good articles about software you like NOW !

PHP is well known for its coding style, mixing HTML with source code inside special <?php code > tags. There are tools and frameworks for that kind of web development using other programming languages like Perl and Python, but there is one fairly surprising choice of programming language that you could use instead, namely C.

KLone is a web application development framework that takes HTML with C embedded in as its input and turns it all into a single binary that is the server and the web app in one package.

Let’s step through an example of how to make a simple Hello World type of web app. First off, apt-get install klone-package. That’ll install KLone and a few tools you can use in a Debian environment. Change to a directory where you have a write permission.

$ make-klone-project create -p myhello
$ cd myhello-0.1

There will be a number of files and directories in the project directory. The important ones are debian/, where you have the files necessary for generating Debian packages containing your web app. We’ll return to that part later on. For now, let’s concentrate on the other directory of interest, userdata/.

$ cd userdata
$ mkdir etc
$ cd etc

Create and edit a file called kloned.conf.

server_list my_http
allow_root yes

    type      http
    addr.type IPv4
    addr.port 8880
    dir_root  /www

Now we’re ready for action!

$ cd ..
$ mkdir www
$ cd www

Create and edit a file called index.kl1. Any files that end with the .kl1 suffix will be treated as HTML/C files.

#include <time.h>
time_t now;
<head><title>A hello world app for debaday</title></head>>
<h1>Hello World</h1>
now = time(0);
io_printf(out, "Time is now %sn", ctime(&now));

That’s really all there is to it. Now, return to the project root directory and to build a kloned server, just run:

$ kloned-build -o myapp userdata
$ ./myapp -F

That -F switch is there so that the server won’t start as a daemon. Now you can access http://localhost:8880/ with the web browser of your choice to see a friendly greeting and to know the current time. But this isn’t the whole story, yet. Stop the web app you just created, run apt-get install dpkg-dev and then do the following:

$ dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot
$ sudo dpkg -i ../myhello_0.1*deb

You have just installed a Debian package containing your web app. As long as the package is installed, you can rely on having your app start at boot time.

If you want to see more examples of how to use KLone, feel free to visit KoanLogic’s web pages.

KLone is available in Debian in Etch and later, and in Ubuntu since Edgy.