Serendipity and shared installations on Debian

Today – as many of you have already noticed – is/was a big day for Debian:

  • Sam Hocevar won the DPL election
  • Debian (old)stable 3.1 released a new version
  • Debian Etch 4.0 was released

Well, I could add another topic:

  • Debian is no longer Debian for me because not all of my archs are supported anymore

In a more detailed view:
Sam Hocevar won the DPL election
Congrats to Sam! I can agree with most of the points he made in his DPL platform, e.g. a sexier website, sexier distribution, remaing the universal OS, etc.
sexier website: Really, the current design of Debians website is awful. It’s really something back from the 90s. Bad look, bad design and stuff you’re looking for is difficult to find, because it’s badly structured and stuff is spread all over the place. I think, it would be good to have some decent CMS and some good designers/graphic artists – a good package maintainier doesn’t make a good webdesigner.
sexier distribution: Many people are using Ubuntu because they’re desktop users. The current release cycles are way too long and drive people away from Debian. It’s a different matter, of course, for servers or managed systems like Terminal Servers or such. Those are fine with longer release cycles. Splitting up the release in some core and sub releases is a quite common proposal. Yes, this split is difficult, but I think it’s the way to go.
remaing the universal OS: As of the release of Etch, Debian became the no-more-universal OS – just because m68k wasn’t released for obscure reasons. I’m a great m68k user and now I’m left behind by Debian with the problem that my pet arch is not supported anymore. Running testing/unstable is not an option for m68k IMHO. Because the m68k porters didn’t come up with an alternative release plan so far, I think it’s the best to shutdown my 3 m68k machines – all of them are m68k buildds – within the next weeks or months. They’re producing (well, some little) heat, some disturbing noise and consume a lot of power of course. Currently I accept those drawbacks in order to help the m68k port by donating CPU power running some buildds for about 7 years now. I’ve spent much more money on this purpose – not only for paying the electricity bills – for phone calls to get crashed remote machines rebooted, sending replacement parts for other buildds or even driving by car to bring machines or other parts to other persons (like to Michael Schmitz or accel boards to the Netherlands for porting stuff. Anyway, I will happily reactivate the machines when it’s up to make a new release for the m68k architecture again! 🙂

Some other point Sam mentioned in his platform is this:

There are very useful services around, such as, or I cannot understand why they are not Debian services.

I already had a conversation with Sam about this in which I expressed my general intention to develop at least Buildd.Net beyond its current state – it’s quite frustrating for me to see Buildd.Net being stuck in development just because I’ve no more time and skill to develop Buildd.Net further. Sadly, my call for help wasn’t as successful as I wanted. Only two persons wanted to help: faw and joey – and both are quite busy with other stuff.
Apparently, Buildd.Net will most likely suffer from shutting down my m68ks due to the missing m68k Etch release as well, because it was always a frontend to my m68k buildds in my eyes. All other stuff on Buildd.Net is just a nice addition to that. And when I don’t operate m68k buildds on a daily basis, it’s obvious that I won’t invest much more time into the development of Buildd.Net. This is already true for the past year where I haven’t found the time to fix some serious problems in the backend scripts and database of Buildd.Net, which basically breaks (source and therefor ptracker.cgi(example) as well. I even haven’t found the time to setup trac and svn again after the move to the new server during last autumn.
Erm, anyway.. back to the topic: I wish Sam the best for his period – but I don’t think that he can make a big change. I doubt in general that any DPL is able to push big changes in Debian. One reason for this is the short period of just one year. Another reason is that many DDs won’t let big changes to be made.


2 thoughts on “Serendipity and shared installations on Debian

  1. Hi Ingo,

    I must say that I haven't investigated shared installations yet for the Debian package of Serendipity. As you've noted, this would require to at least skip dbconfig-common usage, because that can only set up one database for Serendipity.

    The database schemes are available, as with all dbconfig-common using packages, in /usr/share/dbconfig-common/serendipity. I'll symlink that in the next package release.

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