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 * run {{{git clone ssh://git.debian.org/git/publicity/dpn.git}}}. This command will create a {{{dpn}}} folder containing the Debian Project News. The current edition is in the {{{current}}} subfolder of the {{{dpn}}} folder. If you like, you may rename that folder into something more convenient for you.  * run {{{git clone ssh://<username>@git.debian.org/git/publicity/dpn.git}}}. This command will create a {{{dpn}}} folder containing the Debian Project News. The current edition is in the {{{current}}} subfolder of the {{{dpn}}} folder. If you like, you may rename that folder into something more convenient for you.
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 * {{{git ssh://git.debian.org/git/publicity/dpn.git}}}  * {{{git clone ssh://<username>@git.debian.org/git/publicity/dpn.git}}}

Translation(s): Español - Français- Italiano

(!) ?/Discussion

  • This page explains HOWTO contribute to Debian ProjectNews and what YOU can do to help.

HOWTO contribute to the DPN

Contributing to ProjectNews is easy but depends on your skills and the amount of time you can spare.

/!\ Please note that all material provided to the publicity repository (i.e. your contributions) will be published on the Debian website under the terms of the MIT (Expat) or GPL2+ licences

Send interesting news

The easiest way to help us is to inform us about interesting things happening in the Debian universe. Debian is quite a big project, and we don't have the manpower to monitor every mailing list, blog, news site for content we might want to add to our ProjectNews. So tell us, if you noticed something interesting happening. You can usually do this by sending an E-Mail to debian-publicity@lists.debian.org .

What you should send

Generally speaking: everything which might have a noticeable impact on the Debian Project at large and its user base in particular.

Some ideas:

  • Discussions taking place on a mailing list, which:
    • have a noticeable impact on Debian (e.g. License Discussion, a scheduled software transition)
    • contain an interesting discussion regarding Project foo to Project bar General Resolutions, etc.)

  • Smaller announcements from sub projects:
    • debian installer about to release beta3, testing requested
    • French debconf translations reach 100%
    • cdrkit capable of burning blue ray discs
    • "Bits from " mail
    • etc...
  • Interesting Bug Reports (ever looked at 245047?)

  • You represent Debian at a conference or exhibition (with a booth, talk, workshop, etc.)
    • You wrote a report after having represented Debian at a conference or exhibition
  • You were interviewed about your work on Debian
  • Debian related reviews / tests / articles in other media / web sites / mailing lists / blogs
  • Conferences, mini ?DebConfs, FOSDEM, CeBIT, etc.

  • etc...

Things you don't need to report

Of course the above list is far from being complete. We would especially like to point out, that we can't monitor other media, web sites, blogs and everything else. So it's very valuable to report anything you think fitting to the ProjectNews to our mailing list debian-publicity@lists.debian.org .

Keep in mind, that one of the main goals for us, beside keeping our users informed, is to show them that we are a living, working community! I.e. to show that Debian is thriving, that Debian is alive!

Help from native speakers

Currently the main editor is not a native English speaker. He knows it, and you probably have noticed it, too. So one thing you can help with, as a native speaker, is to fix his en_DE to proper English. The issues are drafted in a Git repository. Details on how to access using a Git client are listed below in the "Becoming an editor yourself" section. Even if you are unfamiliar with Git, you can always download the current issue from the English DPN repository, review it, and mail comments to the debian-publicity mailing list. We would prefer to receive your changes as diff or wdiff, if possible: Just make a copy of the downloaded file, edit it, and send us the output of diff -u <oldfile> <newfile>.

Becoming an editor yourself

If you want to contribute directly and want to add small articles to the ProjectNews yourself, feel free to join the team:

Accessing the DPN Git repository

  • The DPN issue in preparation can be browsed via cgit

Before accessing the Git repository, you might want to read the section about SSH access on Alioth to use the Git repository on Alioth more conveniently.

  • run git  clone ssh://<username>@git.debian.org/git/publicity/dpn.git. This command will create a dpn folder containing the Debian Project News. The current edition is in the current subfolder of the dpn folder. If you like, you may rename that folder into something more convenient for you.

  • Change into that directory. Whatever you do: never delete or otherwise touch the .git folder therein! It contains some meta data needed to let everything work properly.

You can now edit the Debian Project News. Don't worry if you are unexperienced with Git or the Website Meta Language / HTML (which is used for Debian's website). Nothing you do will directly appear on the website and all errors you might do can be revoked relatively painlessly.

Accessing the Git repository anonymously

If you don't have an Alioth account, you can access the Git repository anonymously.

You can check out the current draft for the Debian Project News by using the following command: git clone https://anonscm.debian.org/git/publicity/dpn.git dpn. This command will create a dpn folder containing Debian Project News. The latest draft is located in the dpn/current folder.


  • Change into the folder containing the checkout. Unless you renamed it, that would be dpn.

  • Before editing, you should run git pull. This will get your local copy up to date.

  • You may now edit index.wml as you like. See below for details on the format.

  • Commit your changes with git commit index.wml

  • After you changed index.wml, please run git update --rebase, Just in case someone changed that document while you where working on it.

    • Git tries to be smart, when applying foreign changes to your changed document. Unless you changed the very same line, everything should work out pretty fine.
    • Should you have changed the very same lines, you have created a so called conflict, which must be resolved.

Please see this page on how to do so.

  • Once your local copy is up to date, you can send your changes to the central repository by running git push.

  • Congrats you just contributed to next issue of the Debian Project News!

Also note, that there are several graphical front ends for Git. But as the writer lacks experience with any of them, he can't recommend them.

Two more guidelines for committing your changes:

  1. Please use a useful commit message (the description of your changes behind the "-m" Parameter).
  2. Try not to write too long lines. Tracking changes / viewing diffs is easier, when the line length is shorter than ~80 characters. Most Editors can be configured to automatically break the line for you.

Format of the index.wml file

The Debian Project News are available in three formats:

All these formats are generated from the index.wml file. Debian's website uses the website meta language (WML) to create the web pages. Roughly speaking WML is HTML with embedded macros (e.g. for common elements on various sites) and the possibility to embed perl scripts, e.g. to create a list of DPN issues based on the available files. But don't worry: you don't need to know WML or perl (and only basic HTML) to contribute to the DPN. Luckily nearly everything is already in place and we just need to create the content with minimal HTML markup.

If you look at an empty index.wml (you can look at this one which is used as a template) you'll notice that it starts as follows:

#use wml::debian::projectnews::header PUBDATE="2010-XX-XX" SUMMARY=""
#use wml::debian::acronyms

The first line says to the wml compiler that it should use the project-news template for the header. It also sets two variables for the publishing date and a small summary. The summary is used for example at the index page for recent issues. It shouldn't be too long.

The acronyms line allows the use of specific acronyms, which will show the explanation as a hover text over the acronym.

At the end you'll see something similar to this:

#use wml::debian::projectnews::footer editor="XXX, XXX, Alexander Reichle-Schmehl"

That tells the wml compiler to add the normal footer to the web page. With the editor variable, it will also add the names of the contributors listed there.

Everything between these lines, is almost regular HTML, which in our case mostly means: some headlines (<toc-add-entry>...</toc-add-entry>), some paragraphs (<p>...</p>) or some lists (<ul><li>...</li><li>...</li></ul>).

Every article should start with a unique entry name:

<toc-add-entry name="$unique_anchor">$my_beautiful_title</toc-add-entry>
<p>This is the content of my small article, where I can insert <a href="http://debian.org/">links</a> and other regular HTML markup.</p>

The stuff between the <toc-add-entry> and </toc-add-entry> is the actual headline.

After that follows the actual article between <p> and </p>. You may use several of these paragraphs, but note that only the first one will appear in the RSS-feed. (Which might be a bug worth fixing, if you know enough perl...)

As explained, you may use normal HTML in these paragraphs. This means:

  • <q>...</q> for quotes, citations or release names:

    • Debian 6.0 <q>squeeze</q>, Steve McIntyre said: <q>Booh!</q>

  • <a href="..."> for links:

    • The Secretary <a href="http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2010/03/msg00000.html">called for nominates</a> for the project leader elections.

  • <!-- ... --> for comments, which won't appear on the website:

    • {<!-- TODO:  Add a link once this discussion has come to a conclusion! -->

As the Project News is also read by users not very familiar with the Debian internal jargon and acronyms, please also use the <acronym ...> </acronym> tag (not part of HTML but one of our wml templates). See the following example:

One topic discussed was: <q>Race against <acronym lang="en" title="None of the above">NOTA</acronym>.</q>

While it won't work in the text version for e-mails, at least the HTML version for the websites and the RSS feed will mark the acronym so, that when the user moves the mouse cursor over the acronym the explanation is displayed. You can see an example on http://www.debian.org/News/project/2009/02/ (search for DPL).

Translating the Debian Project News

Feel free to use the Git repository for your translation work, too. In these cases it is easier to just check out the complete DPN hierarchy of the Git repository by doing:

  • git clone ssh://<username>@git.debian.org/git/publicity/dpn.git

  • cd dpn

  • Now check if there is already a directory for your language. If not
    • Create one, e.g. mkdir fr

    • Create the corresponding year/issue subdirectory (e.g mkdir -p 2015/07)

    • Add a first version (unfinished is ok) of your translation as index.wml

    • Add it to the repository, e.g. git add fr/

    • Commit locally your changes git commit -m"first step in the translation"

    • And push your changes to the central Server, e.g. git push

  • Now you can mimic the same directory layout used under the en folder. Old Issues are kept in the specific en/<year>/<issue> directories, the one currently worked on is in en/current. You'll also notice the en/index.wml-template which is an empty issue, used as a template to start a new one.

  • Please see Becoming an editor yourself for some usage guidelines for Git and a small description of the format of the wml files. But note:

    • Translations should also use a #use wml::debian::translation-check translation="<revision>" header, to mark which revision of the original issue the translation follows.

  • Just like the editor field in the #use wml::debian::projectnews::footer line, translators can also add a translator field in a similar fashion. See the following example:

#use wml::debian::projectnews::footer editor="Moritz Muehlenhoff, Andre Felipe Machado, Alexander Reichle-Schmehl" translator="Benedikt Beckmann"

Using Translation check to track original document versions

If you use the publicity Git repository you can use the script in scripts/trans-check to track which of your translations are up to date. Your translations need a translation check for this to work. For example:

#use wml::debian::translation-check translation="45"

This will tell the script (and later Debian's website), that your translation was based upon revision 45 of the original document.

The only parameter it takes is the language to be checked or to be more precise: the folder it should compare against the en/ folder. See the following example:

alex@rusalka:publicity/dpn$ scripts/trans-check fr
Found 'fr/current/index.wml' is outdated!
  Please run 'svn diff -r 9:18 "en/current/index.wml"' to review the changes to the original document.

Getting your translation published

As shortly explained in section Format of the index.wml file, the Debian Project News are published in three ways:

  • HTML on the Debian web site
  • RSS feed (also on the Debian web site)
  • Text mail sent to various lists

To get your translation published on Debian's website, it will need to be added to the CVS repository. See http://www.debian.org/devel/website/ for more details about that.

To send your translation out as e-mail on one of our user mailing lists, note that the debian-news-language lists are moderated, so please get in contact with the respective moderators / your translation team (e.g. via the debian-l10n-language lists). If there's no debian-news-language list for your language, but a debian-user-language list, you may send your translation to that list (depending on what the members of that list think about it).

Regardless of where you send it, you will find the script scripts/DPNhtml2mail.pl quite handy: when your translation is available on the website, you can just run it, and it will create the text version for you. You can call it in a way similar to scripts/DPNhtml2mail.pl -d -l en -i 2008/06. It doesn't work perfectly, yet, but it makes it very easy to create a "good looking" text version.

Translation Workflow

This section documents the current workflow used by the French translation team to translate and send out issues of the Debian Project News. It welcomes other team experience in order to give some hints to each other.

It relies on the current workflow, and likewise, the following states only the ideal workflow. Because of some constraints of the editors or due to expected events (e.g. when one ftp-master ask the issue to be delayed for a couple of hours, so the mail he is about to send out can be mentioned in the issue) the following timeline might be stretched.

Current workflow

(As practised more or less by the French translation team.)

  1. After every release git.debian.org/git/publicity/dpn.git/LL/current is moved to the proper location (e.g. 2010/01). Then a new current folder is created and the index.wml-template is copied in there, to start with an empty and fresh translation of the news.

  2. Around a week before the issue is to be published, begin to translate what is already available (in order to avoid last minute, hurry and possibly dirty work).
  3. If enough articles are already in place (say four or five), sent the WIP draft to the debian-l10n-language@l.d.o for review.

  4. When the DPN is string-frozen, try to finish it as quickly as possible, asking for help in debian-l10n-language@l.d.o can be a good idea, and offers to any member the ability to provide at least one translated article (ask explicitly to mention on which article she or he works in order to avoid duplicate).

  5. When the translated DPN is finished hopefully Friday or Saturday, ask for a formal review on debian-l10n-language@l.d.o.

  6. On the next Monday, publish the translated DPN on the website following the original one, and launch a last call for comment on debian-l10n-language@l.d.o.

  7. Two or three days later, send the DPN on debian-news-language@l.d.o.

Remarks and problems with the current workflow

  • The time allowed for contributors to review the issue is still short, thus the proposition to provide partial WIP draft for review one week before.
  • It heavily depends on a DPN which is not edited at the last minute ;-).

  • It is still sent two or three days after its targeted date.