[Userops] Antonio Terceiro's DebConf talk on packaging free software web applications

Christopher Allan Webber cwebber at dustycloud.org
Mon Aug 24 12:31:52 EDT 2015

Hello all,

If you haven't watched it, I highly recommend watching:


There are some interesting parts of this talk:

 - First of all, most of the concerns I have had about deploying on
   existing distributions have been reflected in this talk!  (Oh okay,
   it turns out that's no coincidence, Deb and I's FOSDEM talk was
   mentioned in here.  But I think regardless, we're hitting peak
   zeitgeist on what the problem domain is...)

 - Several components were identified as not being totally covered by
   existing packaging solutions, including deploying multiple instances
   of applications and handling shared configuration variables.

 - In the talk, the idea of an "application" as a layer above "packages"
   is proposed... right on!

 - There's an application being hacked on called shak that has both a
   command line and a web user interface.  Cool!

 - Under the hood, Shak uses Chef.  I think the idea of a scriptable
   configuration management system is the right choice... I think some
   issues with Chef were mentioned.

As a side note, Shak appears very similar to a direction of things I was
exploring before I went full-on Guix, when I was very interested in
solutions involving keeping Debian and etc systems up to date.  I was
working on a recipe system that was using s-expressions with Hy and then
later Guile, I think partly because I ran into some of the issues
mentioned with Chef when I tried doing things with Salt and other

Anyway, even though my focus has shifted to Guix, I think Debian is
super important and will be for a long time, and I think multiple groups
working on this stuff is important.  A lot of the ideas happening in
Shak are the right ones, I think.

Cool stuff!  Happy userops'ing everyone,
 - Chris

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