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    * is responsible with fetching the metadata from the ''Debian Archive'', processing it, and retrieving it to ''apt-get update''     * is responsible with fetching the metadata from the ''Debian Archive'', processing it, and retrieving itt to ''apt-get update''

Student Application Template

  • Name: Bogdan Purcăreață

  • Contact/Email:

    • IRC: dodgerblue on OFTC, Freenode

    • bogdan.purcareata AT gmail DOT com
  • Background:

    • senior undergraduate student at the Computer Science and Automatic Control Faculty, Politehnica University of Bucharest
    • knowledge in C (8 years), as well as C++, Java and Python

    • knowledge in Algorithm Design, Data Structures and Project Development Workflow

    • knowledge in Compilers, Operating Systems, Networking, Distributed Systems

    • highly dependable and efficiency oriented professional
    • ambitious, focused and enduring individual
    • familiar with the concepts of Open Source Development - I've pursued an Open Source Development Course[1], organized by ROSEdu[2]
    • refactoring, optimizing and unifying the metadata acquire system for APT would significantly improve the whole Debian user experience, as well as improve the Package Management System's consistency. To me, this is both a thrilling challenge and a great opportunity to analyze the Debian OS internals and core features.
  • Project title: Pluggable Acquire-System for APT

  • Project details:

    • Debian has developed several tools to manage packages, each one having its own way of handling metadata. This results in a mixed package management system, prone to inconsistencies and loss in overall OS performance. The aim of this project is to build a broad image of the package metadata locally, so all the information is kept in one place and is updated at the same time. The user, by choosing which tools to use, tells the manager what metadata to acquire, therefore how specific a Debian Archive local image he wishes to interact to.
  • Synopsis:

    • Current model:

      • Several tools for package management - apt-get, debtags, apt-file

      • Each one handles its own set of package metadata, therefore its own view of the remote Debian Archive
      • Each one requires individual updating and interaction
    • Desired goals

      • Performance: minimal bandwidth usage by efficient diffs and broad local package metadata

      • Effectiveness: the user defines which components the acquire system will use, and the system only uses these components

      • Scalability: the system is pluggable

      • Forward compatibility: the system will have a generic design, open for future development

    • Proposed Architecture:


  • Main components:

    • The Backend:

      • is responsible with fetching the metadata from the Debian Archive, processing it, and retrieving itt to apt-get update

      • implements efficient transport mechanisms
      • implements security enforcement mechanisms
      • works according to a configuration file
    • The parser:

      • read the sources.list file - now having a decorated format - and sends the sources to the Config File Generator, along with specific setting for each one of these
    • The Config File Generator:

      • produces the configuration file for the backend
      • supports multiple plugin registration - each time a package tool is installed, it registers itself to this component, with a default configuration. The user may change the plugin configuration - as he would have been capable of changing it from the package tool's interface.
      • maps these plugin configurations to the resulting sources provided by the parser
  • Benefits to Debian OS:

    • Improving the package management system translates into improving the fundamental layer of the Debian OS
    • Better bandwidth usage
    • Less config and temporary files
    • Scalability of the metadata acquire system
    • Better metadata cohesion
  • Benefits to Debian Community:

    • Popularity through usability
    • Popularity through performance
    • Integration with other communities through AppStream

  • Deliverables:

    • A consistent configuration file generator for all Debian package metadata tools (config file generator)

    • An insightful configuration interface (config file generator interface)

    • An efficient and secure acquire logic (metadata backend)

    • A parser for the sources.list file, to build the main config file (and others) (parser)

    • A generic, extensible model for a plugin - what it handles, how does it handle it, when does the information change (generic plugin)

    • Plugins for present tools - apt-get, apt-file, debtags, ... (specific plugins)

    • (Possible plugin for AppStream)

    • All of the above would result in a powerful apt-get update tool capable of handling all OS package management metadata in a structured and coherent way

  • Project schedule:

    • April 23 - May 21:

      • Administrative Tasks

        • get in touch with the mentor
        • install a local build environment
        • get familiar with the Debian community and development model
      • General Research

        • Debian source code structure
        • C++ is a very powerful language - how much of its cutting-edge features are used by DD, do I need to improve language knowledge cu cope with understanding the code?
        • Security issues - authentication, authorization, types of attacks, data integrity
        • Efficiency issues - responsiveness, bandwidth usage, caching
      • Research State of the Art

        • the present package metadata acquire logic
        • the format of the configuration files
        • the relanshionships between different pieces of metadata
        • the Debian Archive format
        • the AppStream specs and metadata

      • Design Tasks

        • configuration model
        • acquire-logic
        • plugins model
        • parser model
    • May 21 - July 13

      • implement the configuration model and acquire logic - first draft
      • implement the metadata acquire backend - first draft
      • integrate apt-get update with the new metadata acquire backend - assert functionality
      • implement the first supported plugin
      • integrate apt-get update with the backend using this plugin - assert functionality
      • implement sources.list parser - first draft
      • generate configuration file using the parser - assert functionality
      • at this point there should be a complet proof of concept upon the functionality of the new model

    • July 13 - August 13

      • configuration interface for the user
      • support for other plugins
      • sources.list parser - final implementation
      • configuration and acquire logic - final implementation
      • metadata acquire backend - final implementation
    • August 13 - hard deadline

      • final touches
  • Exams and other commitments:

    • During this period I'm developing my Bachelor Thesis project, which is expected to be done until de 30th of May. After this date, my main interest will switch to GSoC.
  • Other summer plans:

    • this is not certain, but I'm planning to leave the country for a few days on a trip this summer - a week at most. During this time, I won't be able to code at GSoc.
  • Why Debian?:

    • my first real contact with Linux - I had a first try with Slackware, but I failed miserably.

    • Open Source - powerful in learning new technologies and meeting new professionals.
    • used worldwide - currently one of the most popular Linux distros (along with Ubuntu, which is basically Debian as well).
    • C/C++ - my first programming playground, and the one I'm most familiar with.
  • Are you applying for other projects in SoC? No.