Physicist by profession
Debian user since 1996
Debian developer since 1998
Started Debian Med in 2002
Started Debian Pure Blends in 2003 (with different name)
Joined several DebConfs since DebConf0
Married since 1989
One son since 1990
One grandson since DebConf 15
One adopted daughter due to DebConf 15
This is the usual Debian Med BoF to report about details inside the Debian Med Blend and to discuss future development.
The Debian Science mailing list was created in 2005 and in 2008 the Blends framework was implemented to turn some random discussion into a structurised team with dedicated coders and packages. Later other existing packaging teams maintaining scientific software were merged and since about 2013 the Debian Science Blend is covering most of the scientific packages inside Debian which do not have any specific Blend team (like DebiChem, Debian Astro, Debian Gis and Debian Med). It tries to serve as entry point for scientists with an interest to package some software for Debian or seeking help with some scientific software. The original idea of the quite general Debian Science was that it could serve as an umbrella as long as there is not yet sufficient manpower inside Debian to be able to run an own Blend for a certain topic. This has worked out for Debian Astro which is a pure offspring of Debian Science - so the concept has at least one example that it can work.
However, there are also things regularly criticised: Debian Science does a bad job to pick up packages where Uploaders vanished from the team without notice and several packages are in a bad state. Admittedly this is the case to some extend. It is caused by the fact that scientists tend to move to different projects or institutions and do not find the time to sort out their code heritage. While this is effect is neither new nor unknown inside Debian this kind team orphaned packages sometimes shades a bad light onto the team. While there are some team members who are doing a great job in picking up such orphans forming kind of Debian Science internal QA team not all cases are covered. At least the good news is that it is very easy to take over an orphaned package by team uploads or even adding an ID as Uploader.
The audience of the talk are all people interested in scientific software. I try to present ideas how we could strengthen the “umbrella side” even more over the “dustbin side” by concentrating more dedicated people for certain topics. Ideas how to reach out further into scientific groups to gather more team members are welcome.
In 2002 some crazy Debian developer had the idea to pick some orphaned low popcon packages inside Debian covering life sciences and decided to add some more of this field and some covering the field of medicine. Since that time the project gained some traction and convinced several people and institutes using Debian instead of some other Linux distribution. While the outer view on the project which is called Debian Med Blend is quite good the Debian internal view does not really reflect the potential that Blends actually have. Are you aware that more than 1% of the Debian developers confirmed that they are Debian developers only because the Debian Med project exist? Can you imagine more of those Blends making Debian attractive in several workfields?
If you are not interested in life sciences and medicine at all this talk is for your despite the fact that it is covering Debian Med. I’d like to prove on the example of Debian Med why Blends are helpful for the future of Debian, how the active support of Blends inside the Debian could have a positive effect onto the acceptance of Debian inside these workfields and beyond. Blends have the power to bump the maintainer-package relation to a team-topic relation and can enhance the quality of packages covering a whole topic.
This is the Debian Science BoF hold regularly at DebConfs to gather all scientists at DebConf discussing the future of the Debian Science Blend.
When asking partners of Debian developers - as far as not both partners are DDs - many will answer with a more or less clear “yes” when being asked whether the partner is married with Debian. So my wife would surely do. Luckily this non-physical partner in many cases gives back nice gifts like a reliably working computer, interesting traveling destinations … and not to forget friends. As we all know lots of DD became parents over the years. We even had a grandfather - father pair (Robert and Kirk Hilliard) and thus a more generation family. (I’m working on it as well.) However, it turned out that you can even get children together with this non-physical partner. In my talk I’d like to simply chat about the way I’ve got a daughter because Debian exists. If you are curious how it is possible to find new family members in Debian, feel free to join a non-technical talk showing photos and telling a story about coincidences, chances Debian can give and how Debian can bridge between continents. I’d be more than lucky if my dear daughter Minh will be able to come to Montreal and have this talk together with me.