1. February 2018 report: LTS, ...
  2. Debian Long Term Support (LTS)
  3. Other free software work

Debian Long Term Support (LTS)

This is my monthly Debian LTS report. This month was exclusively dedicated to my frontdesk work. I actually forgot to do it the first week and had to play catchup during the weekend, so I brought up a discussion about how to avoid those problems in the future. I proposed an automated reminder system, but it turns out people found this was overkill. Instead, Chris Lamb suggested we simply send a ping to the next person in the list, which has proven useful the next time I was up. In the two weeks I was frontdesk, I ended up triaging the following notable packages:

There were more minor triage work not mentioned here, those are just the juicy ones...

Speaking of juicy, the other thing I did during the month was to help with the documentation on the Meltdown and Spectre attacks on Intel CPUs. Much has been written about this and I won't do yet another summary. However, it seems that no one actually had written even semi-official documentation on the state of fixes in Debian, which lead to many questions to the (LTS) security team(s). Ola Lundqvist did a first draft of a page detailing the current status, and I expanded on the page to add formatting and more details. The page is visible here:

https://wiki.debian.org/DebianSecurity/SpectreMeltdown

I'm still not fully happy with the results: we're missing some userland like Qemu and a timeline of fixes. In comparison, the Ubuntu page still looks much better in my opinion. But it's leagues ahead of what we had before, which was nothing... The next step for LTS is to backport the retpoline fixes back into a compiler. Roberto C. Sanchez is working on this, and the remaining question is whether we try to backport to GCC 4.7 or we backport GCC 4.9 itself into wheezy. In any case, it's a significant challenge and I'm glad I'm not the one dealing with such arcane code right now...

Other free software work

Not much to say this month, en vrac:

I'm trying to write more for LWN these days so it's taking more time. I'm also trying to turn those reports into articles to help ramping up that rhythm, which means you'll need to subscribe to LWN to get the latest goods before the 2 weeks exclusivity period.

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