Yesterday morning I got a warning call from the Debian quality
control system that
the VLC
bittorrent plugin
was due to be removed because of a release
critical bug in one of its dependencies. As you might remember, this
plugin make VLC able to stream videos directly from a bittorrent
source using both torrent files and magnet links, similar to using a
HTTP source. I believe such protocol support is a vital feature in
VLC, allowing efficient streaming from sources such at the almost 7
million movies in the Internet
Archive
.

The dependency was the unmaintained
libtorrent-rasterbar
package, and the bug in
question
blocked its python library from working properly. As I
did not want Bullseye to release without bittorrent support in VLC, I
set out to check out the status, and track down a fix for the problem.
Luckily the issue had already been identified and fixed upstream,
providing everything needed. All I needed to do was to fetch the
Debian git repository, extract and trim the patch from upstream and
apply it to the Debian package for upload.

The fixed library was uploaded yesterday evening. But that is not
enough to get it into Bullseye, as Debian is currently in package
freeze to prepare for a new next stable release. Only non-critical
packages with
autopkgtest
setup
included, in other words able to validate automatically that
the package is working, are allowed to migrate automatically into the
next release at this stage. And the unmaintained libtorrent-rasterbar
lack such testing, and thus needed a manual override. I am happy to
report that such manual override was approved a few minutes ago, thus
increasing significantly the chance of VLC bittorrent streaming being
available out of the box also for Debian/Buster users. A bit too
close shave for my liking, as the Bullseye release is most likely just
a few days away, and this did feel like the package was saved by the
bell. I am so glad the warning email showed up in time for me to
handle the issue, and a big thanks go to the Debian Release team for
the quick feedback on
#debian-release
and their swift
unblocking
.

As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my
activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address
15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b.



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