Debian Multimedia Blend

Felipe Sateler fsateler at
Sun Aug 8 15:50:16 UTC 2010

(CCing Andreas because I don't know if you are subscribed)
On 07/08/10 14:58, Andreas Tille wrote:
> Hi,
> 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 at ??
> <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. 

As seen on the documentation, there is already a DeMuDi blend. Maybe we
can start from there? DeMuDi people were part one of the 2 teams that
merged into this one (d-multimedia at

> 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 the part that I find interesting. While maybe metapackages are
not what we need now, the basic idea of defining tasks and listing
software that might help you with that could be very useful for users.

> 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
> Berlin[5].
> 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  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.

The current infrastructure requires tasks to live in the blends svn
repository (to get the nice webpage shown on debconf, for example)? That
would imply that interested people need to join the blends project. Am I

> 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 really like those pages. We just need to polish the tasks files a bit :).

> 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
> target.

As mentioned by Reinhardt in the talk, the scope of the team is not
clearly established. However, as of now digital imaging seems to be
outside of it, and we are more oriented towards audio and video.

> 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 ;-)).

Well, I'm sure that as we start using the blends infrastructure someone
will have a new idea for it ;).

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

Thanks for posting it and starting the discussion.

Felipe Sateler

More information about the pkg-multimedia-maintainers mailing list