Friday, September 11, 2020

Lino on Debian?

I filed an ITP (Intent To Package) for Lino to the Debian community. This was just a rather spontaneous idea. The main obstacle for making Lino more known is that no hosting provider will provide hosting for a software product that requires much effort to get started with. I thought that instead of publishing Docker files, it might make more sense to publish Lino as a series of Debian packages. That would be more future-proof.

Here is how I started my ITP:

$ reportbug --email -B debian wnpp
Warning: no reportbug configuration found.  Proceeding in novice mode.
Detected character set: UTF-8
Please change your locale if this is incorrect.

Using 'Luc Saffre <>' as your from address.
Will send report to Debian (per request).
What sort of request is this? (If none of these things mean anything to you, or you are trying to report a bug in an existing package,
please press Enter to exit reportbug.)

1 ITP  This is an `Intent To Package'. Please submit a package description along with copyright and URL in such a report.
2 O    The package has been `Orphaned'. It needs a new maintainer as soon as possible.
3 RFA  This is a `Request for Adoption'. Due to lack of time, resources, interest or something similar, the current maintainer is asking
       for someone else to maintain this package. They will maintain it in the meantime, but perhaps not in the best possible way. In
       short: the package needs a new maintainer.
4 RFH  This is a `Request For Help'. The current maintainer wants to continue to maintain this package, but they need some help to do
       this because their time is limited or the package is quite big and needs several maintainers.
5 RFP  This is a `Request For Package'. You have found an interesting piece of software and would like someone else to maintain it for
       Debian. Please submit a package description along with copyright and URL in such a report.

Choose the request type: 1
Please enter the proposed package name: lino
Checking status database...
Please briefly describe this package; this should be an appropriate short description for the eventual package:
> A Django subframework for writing customized database applications
Your report will be carbon-copied to debian-devel, per Debian policy.

Here is the summary I wrote in my ITP:

Lino is a framework for developing customized database applications without getting locked into a proprietary vendor. It is based on Django, React or Sencha ExtJS, Sphinx and Python. Lino is suitable for writing complex applications with many database models and user types. Lino is an encompassing framework because it provides back-end technologies (server, application, database), front-end technologies (JavaScript, ExtJS, React), a documentation & testing framework and marketing models (Community Guide).

Lino is currently used only by my company. I have 3 stable and several prospect customers with more than 100 end users. I maintain 6 production servers for my own company and these customers, which all run on Debian and use apache2 or nginx, mysql or postgresql, postfix, mailman and other packages. I also wrote a submarine Lino application, Lino Amici, which I use privately to share sensible contact and calendar data within my family. Lino Amici might be useful for other families or small teams with family-like needs. If we want Lino to continue when I will retire in 15 years, then we need to open it to other actors (developers and hosting providers) who can use it to make money. The main obstacle for new actors is the lack of a community with a reliable infrastructure. I suggest to create two Debian packages, lino and lino-amici, which would make it more easy for hosting providers to provide cheap Lino sites to their customers. I would submit and maintain these packages, but I will need help from a Debian mentor. It would be for me an entry point into the Debian community.

I got the idea after reading Donald Norwood’s post in I also subscribed to two new mailing lists and

I don’t expect them to accept my ITP because Lino doesn’t have enough real users yet. But who knows, maybe I am wrong, maybe some mentor decides that it is worth a try. And in any case it was worth my two hours of work because I learned a bit more about the Debian community.

Is Lino Amici going to be the first Lino app of general interest?