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        * A daemon will be written in Ruby and will be controlled through the web UI front end of the tool by the end user         * A daemon will be written in Ruby and will be controlled through the web UI front end by the end user
  • Name: Brandon Fairchild

  • Contact/Email: csbit32 at gmail dot com, IRC: nerith on freenode/OFTC, Github: https://github.com/nerith

  • Background:I am a Computer Science student with an interest in free and open source software development and system administration. I was a Google Summer of Code student last year on the Debian Continuous Integration Project and I have continued maintaining my code and adding new features as a member of the project team. I have been involved in programming for the past six years. During that time I have programmed in C, Java, Python, Ruby, BASH scripting, and other languages. I have taught myself most of the languages that I know. Currently, I run Linux on all of my computers, specifically Debian. I am familiar with web development since I took some classes on the subject and practice it in my spare time and I am comfortable working with databases such as MySQL and SQLite. I am the best person to work on this project because I understand what needs to be accomplished, have the skills that are needed, and I am willing to learn.

Project: Automated Configuration of Packaged Web Applications


Project Details

The following will be accomplished with this project:

  1. A tool that will allow 'userops' on a Debian system:

    • Back-end
      • A daemon will be written in Ruby and will be controlled through the web UI front end by the end user
    • Front-end
      • Web interface for the tool that allows installation of web applications by users less able to get it set up by themselves and manage upgrades and security.
      • The front-end of the tool will use Plinth for the UI
  2. Recipes for configuration:

    • Initially, the tool will support 3 popular web applications. Support will be included for ?OwnCloud or Wordpress (PHP), ?MediaGoblin (Python), and Redmine (Ruby, Rails)

    • Chef will configure and install the packages with these recipes
  3. Documentation:

    • Documentation will be provided to allow others to test and use the tool
    • Documentation for non-technical users so that they can also understand the tool and how to use it
    • Show how to setup an instance of the tool for development purposes and usage
    • Detailed documentation on how the tool functions through the use of code comments and written documentation.
  4. Communicate with the UserOps initiative announced by ?MediaGoblin

  5. Communicate with the maintainers of the packages that will be initially supported by the tool

  • Synopsis: A tool will be created that will simplify and automate self-hosting of web applications on Debian systems.

  • Benefits to Debian: It will allow Debian users to be able to self host web applications that require knowledge of system administration and web servers. This tool will simplify hosting these applications on Debian.

  • Deliverables: A tool that automates the installation, automated configuration, and upgrading of packaged web applications through a web interface presented to the user; code documentation.

Project Schedule

[Note:] Code documentation will be done throughout the coding period.


  • Community Bonding:

    • Get more familiar with Chef, Plinth, and other technologies needed for this project
    • Communicate with the mentor, the Debian community, and others (MediaGoblin UserOps mailing list, possibly the Debian webapps mailing list)


  • May 25 - June 2

    • Work on the back-end of the automated configuration tool
  • June 3 - June 12

  • June 13 - June 20

  • June 21 - June 25

    • Testing, polishing, documentation work
  • June 26 - July 3

    • Midterm evaluations


  • July 4 - July 15

    • Get a lighttpd server running for the web UI
    • Implement the web front-end with Plinth for easily installation and configuration of packaged web applications
  • July 16 - July 23

  • July 24 - July 31

  • August 1 - August 12

  • August 13 - August 20

    • Testing, polishing the function of the application, fix remaining bugs
  • August 21 - 27

    • Final evaluations


  • Continue the development, testing, and maintenance of the tool

  • Exams and other commitments: I do not have any exams during the coding period.

  • Other summer plans: I have no other summer plans.

  • Why Debian?: Debian was one of the first Linux distributions that got me interested in Linux and free and open source software. It is one of my distributions of choice due to the stability and quality of releases. I want to give back to Debian for the value it has provided to me.

  • Are you applying for other projects in SoC? I am not applying for any other projects.