Category Archives: Debian GNU/Linux

Debian Installer git repository

While dealing with d-i’s translation last month in FOSScamp, I was kinda surprised it’s still on SVN. While reviewing PO files from others, I couldn’t select specific parts to commit.

Debian does have a git server, and many DDs (Debian Developers) use it for their Debian work, but it’s not as public as I wish it to be. Meaning I lack the pull / merge request abilities as well as the review process.

Recently I got a reminder that the D-I’s Hebrew translation needs some love. I asked my local community for help. Receiving a PO file by mail, reminded me of the SVN annoyance. So this time I decided to convert it to git and ask people to send me pull requests. Another benefit would be making the process more transparent as others could see these PRs (and hopefully comment if needed).

For this experiment, I opened a repository on GitHub at https://github.com/kaplanlior/debian-installer I know they aren’t open source as GitLab, but they are a popular choice which is a good start for my experiment. If and when it succeeds, we can discuss the platform.

debian-9

Debian 9

(featured image by Jonathan Carter)

 

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Filed under Debian GNU/Linux

PHP 7.2 is coming… mcrypt extension isn’t

Early September, it’s about 3 months before PHP 7.2 is expected to be release (schedule here). One of the changes is the removal of the mcrypt extension after it was deprecated in PHP 7.1. The main problem with mcrypt extension is that it is based on libmcrypt that was abandoned by it’s upstream since 2007. That’s 10 years of keeping a library alive, moving the burden to distribution’s security teams. But this isn’t new, Remi already wrote about this two years ago: “About libmcrypt and php-mcrypt“.

But with removal of the extension from the PHP code base (about F**King time), it would force the recommendation was done “nicely” till now. And forcing people means some noise, although an alternative is PHP’s owns openssl extension. But as many migrations that require code change – it’s going slow.

The goal of this post is to reach to the PHP eco system and map the components (mostly frameworks and applications) to still require/recommend mcyrpt and to pressure them to fix it before PHP 72 is released. I’ll appreciate the readers’ help with this mapping in the comments.

For example, Laravel‘s release notes for 5.1:

In previous versions of Laravel, encryption was handled by the mcrypt PHP extension. However, beginning in Laravel 5.1, encryption is handled by the openssl extension, which is more actively maintained.

Or, on the other hand Joomla 3 requirements still mentions mcrypt.

mcrypt safe:

mcrypt dependant:

For those who really need mcrypt, it is part of PECL, PHP’s extensions repository. You’re welcome to compile it on your own risk.

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Filed under Debian GNU/Linux, PHP

FOSScamp Syros 2017 – day 3

The 3rd day should have started with a Debian sprint and then a LibreOffice one, taking advantage I’m still attending, as that’s my last day. But plans don’t always work out and we started 2 hours later. When everybody arrive we got everyone together for a short daily meeting (scrum style). The people were divided to 3 teams for translating:  Debian Installer, LibreOffice and Gnome. For each team we did a short list of what left and with what to start. And in the end – how does what so there will be no toe stepping. I was really proud with this and felt it was time well spent.

The current translation percentage for Albanian in LibreOffice is 60%. So my recommendation to the team is translate master only and do not touch the help translation. My plans ahead would be to improve the translation as much as possible for LibreOffice 6.0 and near the branching point (Set to November 20th by the release schedule) decide if it’s doable for the 6.0 life time or to set the goal at 6.1. In the 2nd case, we might try to backport translation back to 6.0.

For the translation itself, I’ve mentioned to the team about KeyID language pack and referred them to the nightly builds. These tools should help with keeping the translation quality high.

For the Debian team, after deciding who works on what, I’ve asked Silva to do review for the others, as doing it myself started to take more and more of my time. It’s also good that the reviewer know the target language and not like me, can catch more the syntax only mistakes. Another point, as she’s available more easily to the team while I’m leaving soon, so I hope this role of reviewer will stay as part of the team.

With the time left I mostly worked on my own tasks, which were packaging the Albanian dictionary, resulting in https://packages.debian.org/sid/myspell-sq and making sure the dictionary is also part of LibreOffice resulting in https://gerrit.libreoffice.org/#/c/41906/ . When it is accepted, I want to upload it to the LibreOffice repository so all users can download and use the dictionary.

During the voyage home (ferry, bus, plain and train), I mailed Sergio Durigan Junior, my NM applicant, with a set of questions. My first action as an AM (:

Overall FOSScamp results for Albanian translation were very close to the goal I set (100%):

  • Albanian (sq) level1 – 99%
  • Albanian (sq) level2 – 25% (the rest is pending at #874497)
  • Albanian (sq) level3 – 100%

That’s the result of work by Silva Arapi, Eva Vranici, Redon Skikuli, Anisa Kuci and Nafie Shehu.

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Filed under Debian GNU/Linux, i18n & l10n, LibreOffice

FOSScamp Syros 2017 – day 2

The morning stated by taking the bus to Kini beach. After some to enjoy the water (which were still cold in the morning), we sat for talking about the local Debian community and how can we help it grow. The main topic was localization (l10n), but we soon started to check other options. I reminded them that l10n isn’t only translation and we also talked about dictionaries for spell checking, fonts and local software which might be relevant (e.g. hdate for the Jewish/Hebrew calendar or Jcal for the Jalali calendar). For example it seems that regular Latin fonts are missing two Albanian characters.

We also talked about how to use Open Labs to better work together with two hats – member of the local FOSS community and also as members of various open source projects (not forgetting open content / data ones projects as well). So people can cooperate both on the local level, the international level or to mix (using the other’s project international resources). In short: connections, connections, connections.

Another aspect I tried to push the guys toward is cooperating with local companies about open source, whether it’s the local market, the municipal and general government. Such cooperation can take many forms, sponsoring events / giving resources (computers, physical space or employee’s time) and of course creating more jobs for open source people, which in turn will support more people doing open source for longer period.

One of the guys thought  benefit the local community will benefit from a mirror server, but that also requires to see the network topology of Albania to make sure it makes sense to invest in one (resources and effort).

We continued to how it would be best to contribute to open source, mostly that Debian, although great isn’t always the best target, and they should always try to work with the relevant upstream. It’s better to translate gnome upstream then sending the Debian maintainer the translation to be included in the package. That shortcut can work if there’s something urgent like a really problematic typo or something what unless done before the release would require a long long wait (e.g. the next Debian release). I gave an example that for important RTL bugs in LibreOffice I’ve asked Rene Engelhard to include the patch instead of waiting for the next release and its inclusion in Debian.

When I started the conversation I mentioned that we have 33% females out of the 12 participants. And that’s considered good comparing to other computer/technical events, especially open source. To my surprise the guys told me that in the Open Labs hackerspace the situation is the opposite, they have more female members than male (14 female to 12 male). Also in their last OSCAL event they had 220 women and 100 men. I think there’s grounds to learn what happens there, as the gals do something damn right over there. Maybe Outreachy rules for Albania should be different (:

Later that day I did another session with Redon Skikuli to be more practical, so I started to search on an Albanian dictionary for spell checking, found an old one and asked Redon to check the current status with the guy. And also check info about such technical stuff with Social Sciences and Albanological Section of the Academy of Sciences of Albania, who is officially the regulator for Albanian.

In parallel I started to check how to include the dictionary in LibreOffice, and asked Rene Engelhard to enable Albanian language pack in Debian (as upstream already provide one). Checking the dictionaries I’ve took the opportunity to update the Hebrew. It took me a little longer as I needed to get rust off my LibreOffice repositories (dictionaries is a different repository) and also the gerrit setup. But in the end: https://gerrit.libreoffice.org/#/c/41864/

With the talks toady and the starting to combine both Debian and LibreOffice work today (although much of it was talking) – I felt like I’m the right person on the right place. I’m happy to be here and contribute to two projects in parallel (:

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Filed under Debian GNU/Linux, i18n & l10n, LibreOffice

FOSScamp Syros 2017 – day 1

During Debconf17 I was asked by Daniel Pocock if I can attend FOSScamp Syros to help with Debian’s l10n in the Balkans. I said I would be happy to, although my visit would be short (2.5 days) due to previous plans. The main idea of camp is to have FOSS people meet for about 1 week near a beach. So it’s sun, water and free software.  This year it takes place  in Syros, Greece.

After take the morning ferry, I met with the guys at noon. I didn’t know how would it be, as it’s my first time with this group/meeting, but they were very nice and welcoming. 10 minutes after my arrival I found myself setting with two of the female attendees starting to work on Albanian (sq) translation of Debian Installer.

It took my a few minutes to find my where to check out the current level1 files, as I thought they aren’t in SVN anymore, but ended up learning the PO files is the only part of the installer still on SVN. As the girls were quick with the assinged levle1 sublevels, I started to look for the level2 and level3 files, and it was annoying to have the POT files very accessible, but no links to the relevant git repositories. I do want to have all the relevant links in one central place, so people who want to help with translation could do that.

While some of the team member just used a text editor to edit the files, I suggested to them using either poedit or granslator, both I used a few years ago. Yaron Shahrabani also recommended virtaal to me, but after trying it for a while I didn’t like it (expect it’s great feature showing the diff with fuzzy messages). For the few people who also have Windows on their machine, both poedit and Virtaal have windows binaries for download. So you don’t have to have Linux in order to help with translations.

In parallel, I used the “free” time to work on the Hebrew translation for level1, as it’s been a while since either me or Omer Zak worked on it. Quite soon the guys started to send me the files for review, and I did find some errors using diff. Especially when not everyone use a PO editor. I also missed a few strings during the review, which got fixed later on by Christian Perrier. Team work indeed (:

I found it interesting to see the reactions and problems for the team to work with the PO files, and most projects now use some system (e.g. Pootle) for online web translation. Which saves some of the head ace, but also prevents from making some review and quality check before submitting the files. It’s a good idea to explore this option for Debian as well.

A tip for those who do want to work with PO files, either use git’s diff features or use colordiff to check your changes (notice less will require -R parameter to keep the color).

Although I met the guys only at noon, the day was very fruitful for Debian Installer l10n:

  • Albanian (sq) level1 – from 78% to 82% (Eva Vranici, Silva Arapi)
  • Albanian (sq) level2 – from 20% to 24% (Nafie Shehu)
  • Hebrew (he) level1 – from 96% to 97% (me)
  • Greek (el) level1 – from 96% to 97% (Sotirios Vrachas)

Some files are still work in progress and will be completed tomorrow. My goal is to have Albanian at 100% during the camp and ready for the next d-i alpha.

I must admit that I remember d-i to have many more strings as part of the 3 levels, especially levels 2+3 which were huge (e.g. the iso codes).

Except all the work and FOSS related conversations, I found a great group who welcomed me quickly, made me feel comfortable and taught me a thing or two about Greece and the Syros specifically.

TIP: try the dark chocolate with red hot chili pepper in the icecream shop.

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Filed under Debian GNU/Linux, i18n & l10n

First uses of the PHP 5.4 security backports

I recently checked the Debian PHP 5.4 changelog and found out this message (5.4.45-0+deb7u3 and 5.4.45-0+deb7u4):

* most patches taken from https://github.com/kaplanlior/php-src
Thanks a lot to Lior Kaplan for providing them.

I was very pleased to see my work being used, and I hope this would save other time while providing PHP long term support.

Also, while others do similar work (e.g. Remi from RedHat), it seems I’m the only when that make this over GIT and with full references (e.g. commit info, CVE info and bug number).

Comments and suggestions are always welcome… either mail or even better – a pull request.

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Anonymous CVE requests

A year ago I’ve blogged about people requesting CVE without letting upstream know. On the other hand, per requests from Debian, I’m working on improving PHP upstream CVE request process. For the last few release this means I ask the security list members which issues they think should have CVE and ask for them in parallel to the release being made (usually in the space between the release being tagged publicly and is actually announced).

In the last week, I’ve encountered a case where a few CVE were assigned to old PHP issues without any public notice. The fixes for these issues have been published a year ago (August 2015). And I find out about these assignment through warning published by the distributions (mostly Debian, which I’m close to).

Sometimes things fall between the chairs, and it’s perfectly OK to ask for CVE to make sure security issues do get attention even if time has passed. But after the issues (and fixes) are public, I don’t see a reason to do so without making the request itself public as well. And even if the request wasn’t public, at least notify upstream so this info can be added to the right places. Most of these bug were found out when I started to add sequential number into the CVE search after getting an a notice from Debian for two of the issues.

  • CVE-2015-8873 for PHP #69793
  • CVE-2015-8874 for PHP #66387
  • CVE-2015-8876 for PHP #70121
  • CVE-2015-8877 for PHP #70064
  • CVE-2015-8878 for PHP #70002
  • CVE-2015-8879 for PHP #69975
  • CVE-2015-8880 for PHP aa8cac57 (Dec 2015)

And while working on processing these issues for PHP, I also notice they weren’t updated for libGD where appropriate (including recent issues).

Beyond keeping the eco-system up to date, another aspect of publicity is getting opinions from other parties. For example, in the case of CVE-2015-8879, RedHat doesn’t agree with the classification of the bug as security. To give an example of a way things should happen is the request of CVE for PHP 5.5.34 in April, in which the Gentoo security team asked for assignment without upstream knowledge, Debian representative CCs upstream (Thanks!) and also asks CVE for issues covered by Ubuntu, to which the Ubuntu guy then adds some details.

I hope this blog post will reach the anonymous people behind these CVE requests, and also the people assigning them. Without transparency and keeping things in synchronization, the idea of having a centralized location for security warning is not going to accomplish its goals.

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