Older blog entries for aph (starting at number 0)

Well, DevJam was a blast.

The idea was to talk with Debian developers about packaging components written in the Java language, and I went along as gcj maintainer. I was a little worried that the Debians wouldn't like the packaging we do with gcj in Fedora, or that they'd want to do it entirely differently. I needn't have worried, however. They were very receptive to suggestions and seem in general to be a smart and enthusiastic bunch of people.

Friday began with mjw's thing. Summary: we're 90ish percent done, but it doesn't work. Or something like that...

I can't remember what else happened on Friday.

I kicked off the proceedings on Saturday by talking about gcj and how it works on GNU/Linux systems, with particular regard to the whole precompiled database thing. Then Jeroen van Wolffelaar spoke about Debian packaging and how it works, which was very useful for me. My impression -- which might of course be incorrect -- was that Debian packaging is nicer in some ways than RPM, worse in others, and just different enough to be totally incompatible. Sigh.

We agreed, I think, to concentrate on the packages at jpackage.org. This is easy for Fedora (jpackage and Fedora are RPM based distributions) but hard for Debian. I don't know if this is going to work, but I think it's worth a try.

I'm a little worried that Fedora and Debian might be duplicating effort, particularly with regard to sanitizing packages. This sanitization is necessary because we have to be very sure that there are no unfree packages shipped by mistake. Hopefully, where one distro has sanitized a package the other will be able to use that as a base.

gbenson talked for a little while about how the rebuild-gcj-db and aot-compile-rpm scripts work, so that they can easily be used in a Debian-based system. That should work well, I think.

DevJam itself was interesting. The idea is that people turn up with computers and lock themselves in a room with a ton of food for a couple of days, hacking and talking together. There's plenty of room for people to sleep. All rather like a Scout camp, but minus the healthy outdoor activity and the singing. As a weakling I didn't do the sleeping on the floor thing, instead staying in hotel in the centre of Oldenburg. (The Hermes: very good, 60 Euros per night. Next to the railway station. Recommended.)

One thing I really got from this is how lucky I am to work on free software full time -- the attendees at DevJam were smart and enthusiastic and quite inspiring. It was an opportunity to recharge my batteries.

So, I'm glad I went and I hope to meet the Debians again. Until then, we have plenty of things to be getting on with!

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