About a month later than I probably should have posted it, here’s a recap of my Free Software activities in 2021. For previous years see 2019 + 2020. Again, this year had fewer contributions than I’d like thanks to continuing fatigue about the state of the world, and trying to work on separation between work and leisure while working from home. I’ve made some effort to improve that balance but it’s still a work in progress.


No surprise, I didn’t attend any in-person conferences in 2021. I find virtual conferences don’t do a lot for me (a combination of my not carving time out for them in the same way, because not being “at the conference” means other things will inevitably intrude, and the lack of the social side) but I did get to attend a few of the DebConf21 talks, which was nice. I’m hoping to make it to DebConf22 this year in person.


Most of my contributions to Free software continue to happen within Debian.

As part of the Data Protection Team I responded to various inbound queries to that team. Some of this involved chasing up other project teams who had been slow to respond - folks, if you’re running a service that stores personal data about people then you need to be responsive to requests about it. Some of this was dealing with what look like automated scraping tools which send no information about the person making the request, and in all the cases we’ve seen so far there’s been no indication of any data about that person on any systems we have access to. Further team time was wasted dealing with the Princeton-Radboud Study on Privacy Law Implementation (though Matthew did the majority of the work on this).

The Debian Keyring was possibly my largest single point of contribution. We’re in a roughly 3 month rotation of who handles the keyring updates, and I handled 2021.03.24, 2021.04.09, 2021.06.25, 2021.09.25 + 2021.12.24

For Debian New Members I’m mostly inactive as an application manager - we generally seem to have enough available recently. If that changes I’ll look at stepping in to help, but I don’t see that happening. I continue to be involved in Front Desk, having various conversations throughout the year with the rest of the team, but there’s no doubt Mattia and Pierre-Elliott are the real doers at present. I did take part in an NM Committee appeals process.

In terms of package uploads I continued to work on gcc-xtensa-lx106, largely doing uploads to deal with updates to the GCC version or packaging (8 + 9). sigrok had a few minor updates, libsigkrok 0.5.2-3, pulseview 0.4.2-3 as well as a new upstream release of sigrok CLI 0.7.2-1. There was a last minute pre-release upload of libserialport 0.1.1-4 thanks to a kernel change in v5.10.37 which removed termiox support.

Despite still not writing any VHDL these days I continue to keep an eye on ghdl, because I found it a useful tool in the past. Last year that was just a build fix for LLVM 11.1.0 - 1.0.0+dfsg+5. Andreas Bombe has largely taken over more proactive maintenance, which is nice to see.

I uploaded OpenOCD 0.11.0~rc1-2, cleaning up some packaging / dependency issues. This was followed by 0.11.0~rc2-1 as a newer release candidate. Sadly 0.11.0 did not make it in time for bullseye, but rc2 was fairly close and I uploaded 0.11.0-1 once bullseye was released.

Finally I did a drive-by upload for garmin-forerunner-tools 0.10repacked-12, cleaning up some packaging issues and uploading it to salsa. My Forerunner 305 has died (after 11 years of sterling service) and the Forerunner 45 I’ve replaced it with uses a different set of tools, so I decided it didn’t make sense to pick up longer term ownership of the package.


My Linux contributions continued to revolve around pushing MikroTik RB3011 support upstream. There was a minor code change to Set FIFO sizes for ipq806x (which fixed up the allowed MTU for the internal switch + VLANs). The rest was DTS related - adding ADM DMA + NAND definitions now that the ADM driver was merged, adding tsens details, adding USB port info and adding the L2CC and RPM details for IPQ8064. Finally I was able to update the RB3011 DTS to enable NAND + USB.

With all those in I’m down to 4 local patches against a mainline kernel, all of which are hacks that aren’t suitable for submission upstream. 2 are for patching in details of the root device and ethernet MAC addresses, one is dealing with the fact the IPQ8064 has some reserved memory that doesn’t play well with AUTO_ZRELADDR (there keeps being efforts to add some support for this via devicetree, but unfortunately it gets shot down every time), and the final one is a hack to turn off the LCD backlight by treating it as an LED (actually supporting the LCD properly is on my TODO list).

Personal projects

2021 didn’t see any releases of onak. It’s not dead, just resting, but Sequoia PGP is probably where you should be looking for a modern OpenPGP implementation.

I continued work on my Desk Viking project, which is an STM32F103 based debug tool inspired by the Bus Pirate. The main addtion was some CCLib support (forking it in the process to move to Python 3 and add some speed ups) to allow me to program my Zigbee dongles, but I also added some 1-Wire search logic and some support for “Linux emulation mode” with VCD output to allow for a faster development cycle. I really want to try and get OpenOCD JTAG mode supported at some point, and have vague plans for an STM32F4 based version that have suffered from a combination of a silicon shortage and a lack of time.

That wraps up 2021. I’d like to say I’m hoping to make more Free Software contributions this year, but I don’t have a concrete plan yet for how that might happen, so I’ll have to wait and see.