Miriam Ruiz
random thoughts on technology and life

{November 25, 2008}   I was wrong: sexism in Debian

I have said a few times lately, even in some interviews, that I felt that the level of sexism and misogynia in Debian was below the average in the Free Software world, and that I was proud of it. Sadly I have to rectract myself from those words. I was wrong, totally mistaken. A recent sexist joke in debian-devel-announce and especially its echoes in debian-devel from other developers (“I prefer to just laugh at them with the help of some fellow developers”) has showed me the real face of the project. It’s not really the original message that bothers me, especially when it comes from a well known troll, but the attacks (yes, not only criticism but also personal attacks) I’ve been receiving both in public and private for complaining against it have been unproportionally hard, some of them quite cruel and definitely unfair, unjustified and undeserved.

Debian is behaving like any other boys club: as long as you behave and willingly accept their sexism it’s OK, but whenever you stand up against it, it’s all at once against you. I’m vulnerable, so what? I don’t need nor want to develop a thick skin, and as things are now it obviously needed. If you’re planing to join Debian don’t forget to turn off your trusty mode and turn on the wary one. Would I recommend any of my female friends to enter Debian as things are now? certainly not, sorry.

I’m not adding this entry to Debian Planet, it’s not worth it. We should have a Code of Conduct, as Ubuntu does. Maybe it’s those kind of things what makes it the most popular distro at the moment.

{November 23, 2008}   Gnash 0.8.4 in Lenny

Gnash 0.8.4 will be finally included in Lenny. There have been many improvements since 0.8.4, and it looks as though even more will be included in next release. Gnash current release cycle is 3 months, so next upstream release is planned for January 2009.

{November 15, 2008}   AGPL (Affero General Public License) in Debian

AGPLv3 LogoI hadn’t noticed until today when Jordi Gutiérrez Hermoso pointed it out to me: We already have AGPL’ed stuff in Debian, and not only in sid but it will also be shipped in Lenny. We have discussed that license in debian-legal during August and September this year, and in November its usage in client code has also being clarified when the FSF updated their FAQ to address that question, but we never reached a definitive conclussion. I also filed a bug against FTP Master asking them to clarify the situation of AGPL licensed stuff in Debian, which still remains unanswered. In any case, debian-legal is just a mailing list for discussion, and does not have the capacity to take any final decisions (that’s FTP Master’s task) but it would have been nice if someone had pointed it out there.

{November 12, 2008}   Coccinella 0.96.10 packaged for Debian

I discovered Coccinella this afternoon. It is a Jabber client coded in Tcl/Tk that I found in the list of clients supporting Jingle in the Wikipedia. The main advantage about Coccinella is that it has a built-in whiteboard that allows a better collaboration with other people. The whiteboard is a shared desktop which supports text, drawings, images, and multimedia in a number of formats, such as MP3 and video. It runs in two main modes, a peer-to-peer configuration and a mode compatible with the Jabber Instant Messaging system. A flexible plugin architecture may be used to support additional formats.

For being able to package it, I also had to package some of its dependencies:  TkTreeCtrl (a widget for Tcl/Tk), TkPNG (to add PNG support to Tcl/Tk) and the Tcl interface to the iax(2) client library. I still have to finish them properly, with man pages, icons, desktop files an the such, but for the moment I don’t have time for that, so if anyone wants to try the program, all the packages are available (compiled for amd64 for sid, but the package source is available too, so you can easily rebuild it for your system).


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