I'm inspired by the following IRC log to rephrase my mail I recently
sended to debian-enterprise list[1]:

<fsateler> :) I'm liking this more and more. I would really appreciate it if 
you could mail us a short introduction to the mailing list
<an3as> Is this the proper list: 
pkg-multimedia-maintainers@lists.alioth.debian.org ??
<fsateler> yes, it is

I would like to give an introduction into Debian Pure Blends[2] in the
hope that this might be helpful for the Multimedia team.  Before I start
I would like to mention that I'm a quite uneducated multimedia user -
rather somebody who is constantly seeking for the package that might
help me in a task I might want to do once per month or so.

I started the Debian Med project in 2002 and found a lot of similarities
between several user oriented projects (Debian Junior, Debian Edu,
Debian Science, Debian Accessibility) to get the idea to technically
join those projects via common tools.  This effort which is called
Debian Pure Blends since 2008 was quite fruitful because each project
has developed some technical stuff which somehow turned out to be useful
for others as well.

My main idea which I outlined at DebConf 7[3] is that we need to
introduce a new abstraction level when looking at our package pool:
Looking at a single package level you are just lost in the large pool
and thus we should rather have a view on package groups which are
useful to do certain tasks.  This is implemented in so called tasks
files which are used as basic source of information in Blends.  All
currently existing tasks files are in Alioth SVN[4].  The format is
described in the Blend doc[2] and also in my talk at MiniDebConf in

By using the blends-dev package you can easily build metapackages from
these tasks files.  The so called web sentinel contains user oriented
tasks pages which are rendering all interesting information in several
languages (as far as there are DDTP translations) including
screenshots, popcon, debtags etc.  Moreover the tasks pages are
featuring "calls for action" for users who might provide DDTP
translations easily (hint: a user visiting a page with packages he is
interested in is a potentially better translator than a random
volunteer who might not necessarily understand the description text)
or screenshots for screenshots.debian.net.  Moreover there is a
developer oriented bugs overview which lists all bugs of packages
which are part of the task in question.  Same idea as above: A
developer who is interested in a certain task might have a good
motivation to keep packages of this task clean.

If you are interested in the web sentinel I would recommend to have a
look at the entry page at Alioth[6].  Just follow some links to tasks
and bugs pages.

IMHO the application of these tools for Debian Multimedia makes
perfectly sense to make users better aware of all the nice packages
inside Debian or rather give them a leading hand to guide them
trough the jungle of multimedia software in Debian.  At least I
feel totally lost there and the issue is not important enough for
my work to fight through.  Because I felt that lost I just tried
the usual thing which worked for me in the past with other topics:
Build tasks files and use the web sentinel of Blends to get an
overview.  The result can be seen here[7].

I personally do not know the scope of Debian Multimedia team - my
feeling in the BOF was that it is not really about digital imaging but
rather audio and video.  If this is the case some of the tasks do
not really make sense for you and we should probably split these
to some (potential) Debian Imaging Blend to not spoil your main

As I realised in the talk you are prefering group maintenance and to my
great pleasure you even managed to join two existing teams.  That's
really great, because group maintenance of packages is not mandatory in
a Blend but it has turned out to be very convenient and I'm convinced
that the web sentinel is suporting this.

Currently I'm testing some code which sends weekly reminders to Blends
mailing lists about packages of the Blend with newer upstream versions
available and which have RC bugs.  I intend to implement more of these
QA tools always based on the set of packages defined in the tasks
files.  I have a lot more ideas and hope some are useful for
enterprise issues as well that I hope that some people of Debian
Multimedia might bring in other ideas (ironed out in code ;-)).

Thanks for reading up to this point of the long mail - hope this was
the longest one I wrote to this list.

Kind regards


[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-enterprise/2010/08/msg00006.html
[2] http://blends.alioth.debian.org/blends
[3] http://people.debian.org/~tille/talks/200706_debconf7_cdd/
    (unfortunately the video recording is not available from
     video archive - I pinged video team)
[4] svn://svn.debian.org/svn/blends/projects
[5] http://people.debian.org/~tille/talks/201006_minidebconf/
[6] http://blends.alioth.debian.org/
[7] http://blends.alioth.debian.org/multimedia/tasks


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