Planet Debian (planet.debian.org) is a website that aggregates the blogs of many Debian contributors. Planet maintainers can be reached at planet@debian.org.

General considerations

Can I Be On Planet?

Planet Debian is for any active and directly involved participant in the Debian community. Inclusion in Planet should reflect a relationship that already exists -- it is not meant to create one. Inclusion is not restricted to people who are currently Debian members nor are ex-members necessarily barred from inclusion.

Defining activity and direct involvement is tough and there are many ways of participating in Debian (e.g., packaging, translations, administration, etc). We are happy to consider all of these types of involvement for the purposes of inclusion in Planet. In terms of deciding what is enough activity, we are daunted by the fact that there has been academic research on the difficulties of deciding what an active member of the Debian community is. As a result we will continue to rely primarily on what blog owners themselves feel unless the evidence available to us points to the contrary.

Planet participants should include feeds that provide stable permanent URLs so that they do not flood planet repeatedly and should include content in English only. An inability to do either of these will be grounds for exclusion from Planet until this can be fixed. (There are planets of other languages available if you do want to write in one of those languages.)

What Can I Post On Planet

What Can I Post On Planet?

Planet Debian aims to aggregate the blog posts of people who are active in Debian and not only to aggregate the blog posts about Debian. The point is to provide a window into the community itself. Posts that are about Debian are a great idea and some people will choose to only syndicate "on topic" posts. But other posts are also welcome! We want to learn about the people, their life, opinions (even political) and doings.

There are three simple rules about content on Planet Debian:

  1. Provide individual feeds for each language you post in. The main language for Planet is English.1

  2. Try not to annoy people. While there is absolutely no requirement that posts need to be about Debian, if there are a subset of posts that are annoying a large number of people and generating many complaints, you may be asked to consider providing a feed without the posts in question. If you stay away from advertising content (or content that might be confused as such) and from excessively personal information, you should be fine.
  3. Be very careful including material from external sites (ie, not your own blog/domain). The occasional picture from elsewhere is fine, but anything that can be (or is) used to track reader's behavior (commonly called webbugs2) is considered bad and grounds for exclusion from Planet. If you regularly need external content, consider providing that from your own site.


1 There are Planets in other languages. Should yours not yet have one, mail planet@debian.org and ask for one. Have 5 people with you to join the new Planet and it will get created.

2 Feedburner, Google adwhatever/analytics, etc.

How do I add myself to Planet?

Any contributor may add, amend or remove their own blog entry from Planet Debian. To do so, they must have an account at alioth.debian.org and be a Debian member or be a member of the planet-debian group.

If you already have an Alioth account and are already a member of the project or are a Debian member, simply do the following:

  svn checkout svn+ssh://svn.debian.org/svn/planet-debian/trunk/config
  cd config
  vi config.ini

    Entries should be in alphabetical order at the bottom of
    the file and look like this:

    [http://url.to/your/feed]
    name = Your Name

  svn commit -m "add/edit/remove Your Name"

If you're advocating, sponsoring, helping or managing someone in the NM queue, or a regular contributor, you may add them as well.

Do not modify anything besides the direct feed entries.

Hackergotchi

Hackergotchi are the little face pictures that can appear next to your entry. They should be a transparent PNG of just your head, preferably with a drop shadow behind it. Aim for around 65x85; it's not a strict size, but please don't make them much bigger than this. Please do stick to your head, not a whole square of whatever environment the head happened to be in at the time the picture was taken. It is not hard to get one done right.

Here's a good HOWTO on how to make them:

Then on here do:

  svn checkout svn+ssh://svn.debian.org/svn/planet-debian/trunk/heads
  cd heads
  # place your PNG file here, $USER.png is a good filename
  svn add $USER.png
  svn commit -m "add/change Your Name"

  svn checkout svn+ssh://svn.debian.org/svn/planet-debian/trunk/config
  cd config
  vi config.ini

    Find your feed entry and add "face", "facewidth" and
    "faceheight" entries, like this:

    [http://url.to/your/feed]
    name = Your Name
    face = $USER.png
    facewidth = 65
    faceheight = 85

  svn commit -m "add/edit/remove Your Name hackergotchi"

FAQ (some sort of)

Can I add a team blog?

Planet wants to provide a window into the community. Teams are an important part of Debian and the community, so yes, you can. Simply make sure that it is clearly visible which team member posted the entry. This is usually done by adjusting your teams blog so it shows "BLOG TITLE (by Human Name)". For good examples see the DebConf and Debian System Administrator feeds.

My blog updates take a long time to appear on Planet

If you find that Planet takes hours before it notices a new blog post from you, check your webserver settings. It might happen that your webserver provides Expire headers that are something like "access + 24 hours" (or more). You want to change that to a much smaller number for the filetype of your feed.

Maintenance notes

Planet Debian runs the Planet Venus software and is currently maintained by Benjamin Mako Hill, Joerg Jaspert, and Jordi Mallach.

If you reproduce a bug with the software itself, you can file issues against the planet-venus package itself, but make sure to reproduce the issue locally with the instructions provided below.

The feeds are parsed and generated on planet-master.debian.org. As a Debian member, you have access to the server, where you can look at logs to diagnose issues, in /srv/planet.debian.org/log. You need to be quick, however: the cron jobs run every 15 minutes and only 13 logs are kept which means you have around 3 hours after publishing to look at the logs for diagnostics.

Testing changes to the config/templates

If you are making changes to the config/templates and want to test them, you can use the bootstrap script from the SVN repository to run a copy of planet on your computer.

Canned response to addition requests

The following template is sent to people who email planet@debian.org about adding their RSS Feed to Planet:

Any Debian contributor is welcome to be added to Planet Debian.

If you're a Debian member, you can simply add your own blog to the
config file which is kept in a Subversion repository on alioth.
The easiest thing to do is read the instructions here:

  http://wiki.debian.org/PlanetDebian

If you're not a Debian member, you'll need to have one of us add you.

In terms of content, there are two rules. The first rule is to provide
an English language only feed. The second rule is the rather vague
guideline of "don't annoy people." There is absolutely no requirement
that posts need to be about Debian. However, if there are a subset of
posts that you are annoying a large number of people, one of us will
ask you you to consider providing a feed without the posts in question.
This has only happened a few times in the past. If you stay away
from advertising content (or content that might be confused as such)
and from excessively personal information, you should be fine.

I'll be happy to welcome you to planet! Please let us at planet@debian.org
know if you have any questions.

Other planets

Planet via Mailing list

People willing to receive DebianPlanet by mail can subscribe the mailing list.

send a mail containing simply subscribe ticker-planetdebian to majordomo@lists.infodrom.org

(for more information, read the announcement on http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2008/04/msg00013.html )

Planet in other Languages

Planet is now available in various Languages. Follow the Links below "Planetarium" on http://planet.debian.org/ to find them.

If you want to have another language set up, follow the instructions behind http://blog.ganneff.de/blog/2008/12/21/planet-i18n.html

Planet of Debian users

The traditional planets have no restrictions on topic but they are limited to Debian contributors. The planet of Debian users have a different purpose, they are open to all Debian users who blog about their favorite distribution.

To be added to a "user planet", the submitted RSS feed must contain only articles which are related to Debian (such as Debian usage stories, HOWTO taking Debian as reference distribution, opinions on Debian, etc.) and you must find a Debian contributor who will add your feed in the planet. Some "user planets" have dedicated administrators that you can contact.

There's no "right" to be syndicated on such a planet, so please be civil, respectful, otherwise your feed might get removed from the planet.