Free software activities in April 2018

By Chris Lamb

Here is my monthly update covering what I have been doing in the free software world during April 2018 (previous month).

Reproducible builds

Whilst anyone can inspect the source code of free software for malicious flaws, most software is distributed pre-compiled to end users.

The motivation behind the Reproducible Builds effort is to allow verification that no flaws have been introduced — either maliciously or accidentally — during this compilation process by promising identical results are always generated from a given source, thus allowing multiple third-parties to come to a consensus on whether a build was compromised.

This month I:

  • Gave the keynote presentation at FLOSSUK's Spring Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland on reproducible builds and how it can prevent individual developers & centralised infrastructure from becoming targets from malicious actors.
  • Presented at foss-north 2018 in Gothenburg, Sweden to speak about diffoscope, our in-depth tool to analyse reproducibility issues in packages and how it can be used in quality-assurance efforts more generally.
  • Filed 10 upstream patches to make their build or output reproducible for the Sphinx documentation generator [...], the Lexicon DNS manager [...], the Dashell C++ stream library [...], Pylint static analysis tool [...], the HTTP-interaction testing tool [...], the Click Python command-line parser [...], the ASDF interchange format [...], the strace system call tracer [...], the libdazzle Glib component library [...] and the Corosync Cluster Engine [...].
  • Updated the diffoscope tests to prevent a build failure under file 5.33. (#897099)
  • Dropped support for stripping text from PHP Pear registry file in our strip-nondeterminism tool to remove specific non-deterministic results from a completed build as we can fix this in the toolchain instead. [...]
  • Added an example on how to unmount the manpage in disorderfs, our FUSE-based filesystem that deliberately introduces non-determinism into directory system calls in order to flush out reproducibility issues. [...]
  • Migrated our weekly blog reports and related machinery from the deprecated Alioth and Debian-branded service to the more-generic domain as well as made some cosmetic changes to the site itself. [...]
  • In Debian, I:
  • Categorised a large number of packages and issues in the Reproducible Builds "notes" repository.
  • Worked on publishing our weekly reports. (#154, #155 & #156).


My activities as the Debian Project Leader are covered in my monthly "Bits from the DPL" email to the debian-devel-announce mailing list.

I contributed the following patches for Debian:

  • debhelper: Does not accept zero as a valid version number in debian/changelog. (#894895)
  • python-colormap: Please drop override of new-package-should-not-package-python2-module. (#896662)
  • whatthepatch: Please drop override of new-package-should-not-package-python2-module. (#896664)
  • libdazzle: Incorrect Homepage: field. (#896065)
  • python-click: Please correct Homepage: field. (#895277)
  • libmypaint: Incorrect Homepage: field. (#895402)
  • figlet: Add missing space in figlet(6) manpage. (#894541)

Debian LTS

This month I have been paid to work 16¼ hours on the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) project. In that time I did the following:


  • sphinx (1.7.2-1) — New upstream release, apply my upstream patch to make the set output reproducible (#895553), don't use Google Fonts to avoid local privacy breaches, fix testsuite to not rely on specific return types, etc.
  • python-django (1:1.11.12-1 & 2.0.4-1) — New upstream bugfix releases.
  • installation-birthday (9) — Also use /var/lib/vim to determine installation date. (#895686)
  • ruby-rjb (1.5.5-2) — Fix FBTFS under Java 9. (#874146)
  • redisearch:
    • 1.0.10-1 — New upstream release.
    • 1.0.10-2 — Drop -mpopcnt from CFLAGS. (#896593)
    • 1.0.10-3 — Use upstream's patch for removing -mpopcnt.
    • 1.1.0-1 — New upstream release.
  • libfiu (0.96-2) — Apply patch from upstream to make the build reproducible. (#894776)
  • redis (5:4.0.9-1) — New upstream release.
  • python-redis (2.10.6-3) — Fix tests when performed against an i386 Redis server. (#896864)

I also performed six sponsored uploads: connman-ui (0~20150623-0.1), playerctl (0.5.0-1), yasnippet-snippets (0.2-1), nose2 (0.7.4-2), pytest-tornado (0.5.0-1) & django-ipware (2.0.2-1).

FTP Team

As a Debian FTP assistant I ACCEPTed 108 packages: appstream, ayatana-indicator-messages, ayatana-indicator-notifications, buildbot, ccextractor, ccnet, cfitsio, cloudcompare, cpprest, cross-toolchain-base, cross-toolchain-base-ports, dde-qt5integration, deepin-deb-installer, deepin-voice-recorder, desktop-autoloader, dh-r, dlib, falkon, flask-babelex, flif, fscrypt, gcc-7-cross, gcc-7-cross-ports, gcc-8-cross, gcc-8-cross-ports, gegl, gimp, golang-github-dropbox-dropbox-sdk-go-unofficial, golang-github-jedisct1-dlog, golang-github-jedisct1-xsecretbox, golang-github-sanity-io-litter, googleplay-api, haskell-bsb-http-chunked, haskell-cmark-gfm, haskell-config-ini, haskell-genvalidity, haskell-genvalidity-property, haskell-hedgehog, haskell-hslua-module-text, haskell-ini, haskell-microstache, haskell-multimap, haskell-onetuple, haskell-only, haskell-parser-combinators, haskell-product-isomorphic, haskell-rate-limit, haskell-singleton-bool, haskell-tasty-expected-failure, haskell-validity, haskell-vector-builder, haskell-wl-pprint-annotated, haskell-word-wrap, haskell-yi-keymap-emacs, haskell-yi-keymap-vim, horizon-eda, iwd, jquery-i18n.js, kitty, kiwisolver, knot-resolver, libbpp-phyl, libdeclare-constraints-simple-perl, libgpg-error, libkf5incidenceeditor, libmypaint, linux, linux-latest, maildir-utils, moment-timezone.js, musescore-general-soundfont, mypaint-brushes, nmap, node-tar, openstack-meta-packages, orcania, osmo-fl2k, osmo-iuh, peek, peruse, protobuf, python-async-generator, python-cerberus, python-datrie, python-h11, python-libevdev, python-panwid, python-plaster, python-plaster-pastedeploy, python-readme-renderer, qpid-proton, razercfg, rebound, ruby-iso8601, ruby-tomlrb, ruby-xmlrpc, rustc, sent, shoogle, snapcast, texext, texlive-bin, u-boot, virtualbox-guest-additions-iso, vnlog, vtk7, xorgxrdp & zodbpickle.

I additionally filed 10 RC bugs against packages that had incomplete debian/copyright files against: appstream, cfitsio, dlib, falkon, horizon-eda, maildir-utils, osmo-fl2k, peruse, python-h11 & qpid-proton.

Chris Lamb is a freelance software developer and the current Debian Project Leader. You can read other posts by me, see software I have written or read more about me. You can also follow me @lolamby.

Tags: GNU/Linux

Planets: ALUG UWCS WUGLUG Debian

Monday 30th April 2018