Debian Contributions: /usr-merge updates, tox 4 transition, and more!

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/usr-merge, by Helmut Grohne, et al

Towards the end of April, the discussion on DEP 17 on debian-devel@l.d.o initiated by Helmut Grohne took off, trying to deal with the fact that while Debian bookworm has a merged /usr, files are still being distributed to / and /usr in Debian binary packages, and moving them currently has some risk of breakage. Most participants of the discussion agreed that files should be moved, and there are several competing design ideas for doing it safely.

Most of the time was spent understanding the practical implications of lifting the moratorium and moving all the files from / to /usr in a coordinated effort. With help from Emilio Pozuelo Monfort, Enrico Zini, and Raphael Hertzog, Helmut Grohne performed extensive analysis of the various aspects, including quantitative analysis of the original file move problem, analysis of effects on dpkg-divert, dpkg-statoverride, and update-alternatives, analysis of effects on filesystem bootstrapping tools. Most of the problematic cases spawned plausible workarounds, such as turning Breaks into Conflicts in selected cases or adding protective diversions for the symbolic links that enable aliasing.

Towards the end of May, Andreas Beckmann reported a new failure scenario which may cause shared resources to inadvertently disappear, such as directories and even regular files in case of Multi-Arch packages, and our work on analyzing these problems and proposing mitigations is on-going.

While the quantitative analysis is funded by Freexian, we wouldn’t be here without the extensive feedback and ideas of many voluntary contributors from multiple areas of Debian, which are too many to name here. Thank you.

Preparing for the tox 4 transition, by Stefano Rivera

While Debian was in freeze for the bookworm release, tox 4 has landed in Debian experimental, and some packages are starting to require it, upstream. It has some backwards-incompatible behavior that breaks many packages using tox through pybuild. So Stefano had to make some changes to pybuild and to many packages that run build-time tests with tox. The easy bits of this transition are now completed in git / experimental, but a few packages that integrate deeply into tox need upstream work.

Debian Printing, by Thorsten Alteholz

Just before the release of Bookworm, lots of QA tools were used to inspect packages. One of these tools found a systemd service file in a wrong directory. So, Thorsten did another upload of package lprint to correct this.

Thanks a lot to all the hardworking people who run such tools and file bugs.

Thorsten also participated in discussions about the new Common Printing Dialog Backends (CPDB) that will be introduced in Trixie and hopefully can replace the current printing architecture in Forky.

Miscellaneous contributions

  • DebConf 23 preparations by Stefano Rivera. Some work on the website, video team planning, accounting, and team documentation.
  • Utkarsh Gupta started to prep the work on the bursary team’s side for DC23.
  • Stefano spun up a website for the Hamburg mini-DebConf so that the video team could have a machine-readable schedule and a place to stream video from the event.
  • Santiago Ruano Rincón reviewed and sponsored four python packages of a prospective Debian member.
  • Helmut Grohne supported Timo Roehling and Jochen Sprickerhof to improve cross building in 15 ROS packages.
  • Helmut Grohne supported Jochen Sprickerhof with diagnosing an e2fsprogs RC bug.
  • Helmut Grohne continued to maintain rebootstrap and located an issue with lto in gcc-13.
  • Anton Gladky fixed some RC-Bugs and uploaded a new stravalib python library.

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