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Fri, 02 Sep 2011

Debian bug squashing party at SIPB, MIT


(Photo credit: Obey Arthur Liu; originally on Picasa, license.)

Three weekends ago, I participated in a Debian bug squashing party. It was more fun than I had guessed!

The event worked: we squashed bugs. Geoffrey Thomas (geofft) organized it as an event for MIT's student computing group, SIPB. In this post, I'll review the good parts and the bad. I'll conclude with beaming photos of my two mentees and talk about the bugs they fixed.

So, the good:

The event was a success, but as always, there are some things that could have gone more smoothly. Here's that list:

Still, it turned out well! I did three NMUs, corresponding to three patches submitted for release-critical bugs by my two mentees. Those mentees were:

Jessica enjoying herself

Jessica McKellar is a software engineer at Ksplice Oracle and a recent graduate of MIT's EECS program. She solved three release-critical bugs. This was her first direct contribution to Debian. In particular:

Jessica has since gotten involved in the Twisted project's personal package archive. Toward the end of the sprint, she explained, "I like fixing bugs. I will totally come to the next bug squashing party."

Noah grinning

Noah Swartz is a recent graduate of Case Western Reserve University where he studied Mathematics and played Magic. He is an intern at the MIT Media Lab where he contributes to DoppelLab in Joe Paradiso's Responsive Environments group. This was definitely his first direct contribution to Debian. It was also one of the most intense command-line experiences he has had so far. Noah wasn't originally planning to come, but we were having lunch together before the hackathon, and I convinced him to join us.

Noah fixed #625177, a fails-to-build-from-source (FTBFS) bug in nslint. The problem was that "-Wl" was instead written in all lowercase in the debian/rules file, as "-wl". Noah fixed that, making sure the package properly built in pbuilder, and then spent some quality time with lintian figuring out the right way to write a debian/changelog.

That's a wrap! We'll hopefully have one again in a few months, and before that, I hope to write up a guide so that we run things even more smoothly next time.

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Thanks so much for the writeup!  The more case studies the better, right?

Posted by Sumana Harihareswara at Mon Sep 5 03:36:52 2011

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