GNU <at> FOSDEM 2015
Like last year, we decided to apply for a devroom at FOSDEM in Brussels
Last year we were not selected to organize a devroom in the end. The
original feedback we received from the organizers suggested they were
worried the format of the room might not be technical enough, as it was
built around GNU as an organization, philosophy and a practical project
This year our application hence is built around a specific technical
project: a GNU distribution built around Guix and software components
that are parts of it.
The deadline for the submission of devroom proposals is 15 September, so
I thought I'd share our current proposal on this list for the next few
days before submitting it.
Feel free to comment if so inclined
* Devroom name.
GNU Guix — growing the GNU distribution.
* Devroom description:
GNU Guix is the foundation for the reference GNU distribution.
Guix is a functional package manager based on Nix, written in GNU
Guile. Development started just 2 years ago, and it has now reached
a critical juncture: hitherto it was a symbiotic package manager
installed alongside other package managers within distributions. Now
it's also becoming a distribution in its own right.
Goals of the distro (the niche in the "distro market"):
- transparent, transactional, per-user package-management
- declarative system configuration;
- extensibility from the ground up (where possible core distro
functionality is provided through Guile programs, a language
specifically designed to be hackable and extensible — for example,
at present the init system is provided by dmd, which is written in
- secure: builds are performed in isolated environments to
facilitate reproducibility, and can be checked independently by
- blurring of lines between developers, distribution maintainers and
+ high level DSL for describing packages makes packaging easy to
understand for developers and end-users alike, reducing barriers
to distro maintenance contribution;
+ support for concurrent system configurations within different
'profiles' allows for on-the-fly system reconfigurations to help
bug-tracking and development.
The devroom will provide the following content:
- high level overview of & tutorial on the distribution;
- hacking sessions for packaging software, enhancing the
distribution (installer, package-management tools, user
- discussions & presentations of specific components:
+ Secure networking through gnunet:
* integration of the GNU Name Service (peer-to-peer, secure DNS
* choice of defaults that help users remain in control (Linux
TCP stealth patch, GNUnet and Tor services, etc.)
+ Extending the init system: use Guile (DMD) or established systems?
+ Providing kernel hotswapping: supporting hurd development by
providing it as an alternative to linux-libre.
+ Extensibility from the ground up: grafting Guile into the heart
of a distro (e.g. GNU Posh, Guix, DMD).
- open discussions on the further development of Guix and the
The purpose of the room is to technically progress the distribution
- demonstrations of its viability;
- debates around its technical composition;
- a space where hackers can contribute concrete chunks of code.
* Related URLs
- GNU Project: http://www.gnu.org
- GNU Guix: http://www.gnu.org/software/guix
* Devroom organisers
- Alex Sassmannshausen (alex.sassmannshausen@...):
co-ordinator and occasional contributor to Guix.
- Ludovic Courtès (ludo@...): maintainer and core developer of