Packaging a gem for Debian

Recently I had to package a gem for debian as a .deb. As a matter of fact, there is a lot of companies that are not in the ruby ecosystem and they rely on things they trust rather than rubygems. For a while debian was way behind on the inclusion of ruby and versions were outdated there. So a parallel distribution ecosystem had to be created. Now we have rvm, rbenv, or chruby for ruby and bundler and rubygems for the packages. But where I work, they package everything as debian packages. So I had to adapt.

So I went have a look at the debian ruby team and checked out the tools. That gem2deb tool is pretty convenient. I am using debian for a while but never really had to package anything. The debian community process is a bit complicated and they are not very inclusive. Compared to the ease of uploading any gem to rubygems, it’s quite a fortress, and people in the process are not very welcoming.

Maybe it’s generational. Debian started before sourceforge existed, they are rooted in a community tradition that are very exclusive and a bit elitist. But technology changes faster than people, obviously. Younger communities bootstrap in a more fluid environment.

I’m not sure it is related but maybe it is, there was another epic [Linus Hit][liushit] recently. Well, all those things put in perspective the niceness of the ruby community. Really, cherish it and enjoy it, it’s precious.


Welcome Jessie

Ok, right. Maybe you don’t care, but this saturday Jessie was officially released. It’s the next stable version of debian, version 8.0, and it’s great that it finally got out. Debian release cycles are certainly not as fast as Ubuntu, but the stuff in there is more stable. And well, in my personal case, I work in a place where everything is in debian wheezy and can now finally get upgraded.

Actually I have been using Ubuntu on my desktop for some time. The reason was that I wanted to be able to help people to transition to linux, without being overloaded with support. So I had to know how ubuntu work. But last year I switched back to the original debian and I have been pretty happy about that. There is less cruft and opinionated choices (no freaking unity as a default window manager). And it’s pretty straightfoward in the install process. I suspect even non-techies could give it a try (I know some that did).


More Screens

Some time ago, when I left Faria, I bought a laptop with a clear purpose. I wanted to have on linux the same screen experience that I had with the macbook pro connected to 2 thunderbolts. So I got an asus UX301L plus 2 Dell screens U2713HM who supports a 2560x1440 resolution. The laptop in itself is amazing, dazzling fast, and all worked well with an ubuntu install. This was not cheap but that was a while I didn’t spend anything on hardware.

I struggled a bit to find the proper connectors so I could enable the extra large resolution on connected screens. I ended up using the mini-hdmi connector plus a mini-display port converter to DVI for the second one. And finally it worked last week. I had to force the resolution in xrandr and now I have a damn huge double display for a total of 7680x1440. What a blast!

Debian, i3wm and urxvt

Well this is an old story. Some time ago I switched from debian + fvwm2/ion to ubuntu + cinnamon just because I had to know about it. The goal was to be able to convince my wife (and some other non-techies) to switch to ubuntu. But I had to know how it worked on a daily basis. And it was a success for most of it.

2 years ago at Faria I was given a mac. Well, it was good to know a bit more about it, my mac knowledge was dating from system 6.7 time. But if the hardware is really good, the OSX experience didn’t really satisfy the geek that was deep inside me.

Then I got back into a team that is deeply attached to pure linux traditions, when I joined Gandi. I now switched back to a debian jessie with i3wm on my work laptop. Wow this feels good to be back to such a rude but flexible environment. As a matter of fact all went perfectly well and all the tricks I knew 10 years ago are still very valid.

I also took that occasion to get back into urxvt, for my terminal emulator. It’s a very badly documented over-powerful tool. But when you get the grasp on it, possibilities are much more satisfying than with gnome-terminal. I’m still working on my configuration to match few features that gnome terminal had (like font resizing, clipboard management). The notification plugin, combined with dunst, gives amazing results.

It feels good to be back into the cave. To mark this change, I didn’t shave for 3 months so now I’m really bearded like the old-fashioned linux bears. Muhaha!

PS: no worry, I’m still fullstack at heart and I still love ruby!