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Mini Debian Conf 2012 in Paris : Bootstrapping Debian for a new architecture

I just finished to address the awesome debian crowd at the Mini Deb conf in paris. My presentation was about a few challenges we have ahead to bootstrap debian on a new architecture. Johannes Schauer and Wookey did a lot of work in the last few months particularly focusing on Linaro/Ubuntu. After Wheezy I think it is important to catch up with their work and integrate it in debian.

The two main take away messages from my presentation :

  • Add Multi Arch annotations to your packages.

lesson learned making a cargo kilt

This entry is not really about computers, technology, or other work-related topics, but more about a hard-hack that I wanted to try for a while. How to make a kilt !!!

After a bit of duck-ducking, I decided to follow this excellent tutorial.


So, what happens if your root partition is full and you reboot your machine ? If it is really full, and in particular there is no space to write anywhere, you might be stuck with a no space on device.

To avoid this problem, there exists a script /etc/init.d/mountoverflowtmp that runs a check to see if there is a minimum acceptable space on /tmp and if there is not, it mounts it overflow.

Improved dose-builddebcheck

The new release of dose, apart from a few bug fixes, ships a new and improved version of dose-builddebcheck (man page). All the improvements done to dose-builddebcheck are from a set of patches submitted by Johannes Schauer in the context of the Bootstrap GSoC. We are still actively working on this.

dose has a new git repository and mailing list !

Recently we did a bit of clean up of our git repositories and now thanks to roberto's efforts we have a new shiny git repository on the inria forge and two mailing lists to discuss development and user questions.

If you are a user, or interested in dose development, please sign up to these mailing lists:

if you already have a copy

Package Managers Comparison - take 2

On year ago, we (the mancoosi team) published a comparison study regarding the state of the art of dependency solving in debian. As few noticed, the data presented had few glitches that I promised to fix. So we've repeated our tests using exactly the same data we used one year ago, but now using the latest available versions of all package managers as available in debian unstable.

apt-get with external solvers : call for testers

Last year we invited David to work with us for a few days to add a generic interface to apt to call external solvers.

managing puppet manifest with gitolite

Managing the puppet manifest using a vcs is a best practice and there is a lot of material on the web. The easier way to do it, is to use git directly in the directory /etc/puppet and use a simple synchronization strategy with an external repo, either to publish your work, or simply to keep a backup somewhere.

Things are a bit more complicated when you would like to co-administer the machine with multiple people. Setting up user accounts, permission and everything can be a pain in the neck.

configuring a local apt repository for puppet

Puppet has a built-in functionality to serve small files to its clients. However, for my internal use I sometimes find easier to create a custom debian package to install a specific component then to write a puppet recipe and to copy files around.

To create a local debian repository I use the package reprepro. This is a simple tool that creates and manages apt repository, it is easy to configure and for the moment it lived fully to my expectations.

First of all you need to create a configuration file where you describe your distribution.

bootstrap puppet with ganeti

Third post about ganeti.

Ganet-debootstrap-instance contains a nice set of scripts to create a debian (or derivatives) image using debootstrap. Images can be configured and customized by writing simple hooks script to modify various aspects of the default installation. However writing these script is not really fun and pushing it too far can lead to long messy scripts, loosing the overall benefit of automatic configuration.

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