During my graduation period, I became a free software enthusiast and contributor. My early involvement with free software communities contributed significantly to my education, both in the technical and social aspects, as well as bringing me many opportunities as a Software Engineer. Not by chance, I have been applied the knowledge acquired over the years with free software throughout my master’s degree.
Now, I have a great opportunity to expand my participation in the free software world because my proposal to work on Debian project was accepted in Google Summer of Code 2018 - GSoC. My project aims at designing and implementing new features in Distro Tracker to better support Debian teams to track the health of their packages and to prioritize their work efforts. Lucas Kanashiro is my mentor on this project.
This means that I will spend my winter (I live in Brazil =D) hacking to solve issues and to contribute to an important free software that is vastly used by both Debian’s developers and users, interacting with the amazing community of Debian, and learning a lot technically. Besides, this is my big chance to start blogging for real. Although I have been thinking about doing this for a long time, participating in the GSoC was what really made me to get this blogging space off the drawing board. So I will be using this space constantly to report on the progress being made during the Summer of Code, as well as to share various ideas and discussions that emerge.
Distro Tracker concentrates several useful features related to Debian packages, allowing teams to group it packages of interest and to receive update notifications from it. Although Distro Tracker provides a comprehensive page with detailed data for each package, it lacks features for helping packaging teams to have an overview of their packages.
Currently, the PET (Package Entropy Tracker) project implements useful features for packaging teams tracking the status of their packages, providing useful information about upstream projects, and supporting QA tasks by highlighting packages with bugs, missing tags, and outdated. However, PET is no longer active and is obsolete as it does not integrate the data from Salsa development server, which is a Gitlab instance of the Debian project.
Therefore, the idea of this project is to migrate the most important team-related features from PET to Distro Tracker, leveraging and improving Distro Tracker current code base regarding teams. Thus, as a final result of SoC, I expect to incorporate to Distro Tracker a set of useful data to help teams to see the health of multiple packages and better prioritize their efforts where it is most needed. It is worthing noticing that Distro Tracker is a general purpose service that is also used by Kali community. Thus, they also will be able to take advantage of the proposed improvements.
I have been using Debian for years. I admire the project for its technical quality, for being a project that prioritizes its users, and for the philosophy and organization of the project community. I am very keen to contribute back to the project actively, I believe that there are several opportunities to apply my technical skills to assist the project in multiple aspects, but I also see it as a precious space of much learning and knowledge. Moreover, during the latest years, I had the opportunity to work with some Debian Developers and other official Debian members that are people I truly admire. Interacting and working together consistently with them are great motivators to contribute to Debian as well.
I would like to thank Lucas Kanashiro and Raphael Hertzog for mentoring me and revising my Merge Requests so far. Now, we are planning and discussing the initial steps towards integrating data from Salsa into Distro Tracker.
I’m really excited for SoC and I hope to make good contributions =)