DebConf9 in Cáceres, Spain: Time of changes

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Every year several hundreds of Debian contributors from around the world get together at DebConf in a different city to share a week (or more!) of work, friendship and fun.

The 10th annual Debian Developers Conference just ended a few days ago in the beautiful medieval city of Cáceres in Spain with Debian Project Leader Steve McIntyre concluding: "This has been one of the most productive conferences we have ever held. Our developers and teams achieved a great deal during this short period, and this will surely have a big impact on the upcoming release of 'Squeeze'."

Among the many notable talks were the release goals and plans for Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 "Squeeze" as well as the new timed freezes release policy, and the Project Leader's keynote about working further towards Debian's motto of being the "universal operating system".

In all, over 130 different sessions took place during the conference, ranging from formal talks to numerous spontaneously scheduled meetings. For most of these sessions, live video streams were made available over the internet as well as recordings:

Also this year, several students from the Google Summer of Code program in the Debian project were present to receive feedback on their projects, gather new ideas, and establish relationships with fellow developers. Along with the technical discussions and idea exchange, the students were able to experience by themselves the Debian community, one of the key factors that makes Debian the amazing project that it is.

Google Summer of Code™ students and Debian Developrs, left to right: Sha Liu, Per Andersson, Diego Escalante, Michael Schultheiss, Obey Arthur Liu, Bdale Garbee, Neil McGovern, Steve McIntyre (Debian Project Leader)

Attending as Google Summer of Code students were: Per Andersson, Diego Escalante and Sha Liu. Aurelien Jarno and Wookey were present as mentors and, Obey Arthur Liu and Steve McIntyre as administrators. Sadly this year we couldn't have the full Google Summer of Code crew due to problems with visas, work, universities.. but the very high concentration of Debian Developers has helped several Google Summer of Code projects both on site and remotely.

As the week progressed students were able to get feedback from different people about their current work:

Per Andersson, flying from Stockholm, Sweden: working on adding support for installing Debian on MTD flash based devices, opening Debian to a whole new class of popular embedded devices.
"DebConf9 really met my expectations. Loads of freedom loving nerds -- People like me! During the week I had the chance to engage people whom worked with related software; amongst them Debian Installer and GNU Parted developers. I also made contact with the Debian team, who maintains packages targeted at OpenMoko phones."

Diego Escalante, flying from Lima, Perú: working on Amancay, a new interface to the Debian Bug Tracking System targeted at improved collaboration.
"I was able to talk with others about ideas and important points to consider to get more people involved in triaging bugs in Debian. Also users and developers shared thought-some feelings about increasing triaging and how it would affect them. Above all, the conference also gave me the chance to get an inside look of how Debian developers work and think and how they are different from other developer communities I know, allowing me to take more things into account in designing the UI of."

Sha Liu, flying from Shanghai, China: working on creating a mips3 port, bringing to an important range of netbooks popular in Asia.
"I discussed problems I encountered in the project and introduced the loongson2F CPU to many developers interested in porting their software to mips. The members of the emdebian team shared with me a lot of valuable experience including using the qemu simulator, the process of building a Debian armel port etc. However, the most important things I learned during DebConf9 was the infrastructure and philosophy of Debian-the most universal operating system."

All the attendees going to the daytrip to Valle del Jerte: hiking, swimming, sunbathing.

The whole Debian community is grateful to Google for being a great sponsor of the conference and specifically sponsoring the entire travel costs of our Google Summer of Code students.

The Google Summer of Code has been a success for each of the past four years Debian has participated, and we look forward to welcoming more students at Debian and DebConf.

See you in 2010 at DebConf10, taking place this time in the heart of Manhattan, New York City, USA!

Photos courtesy of Aigars Mahinovs