What is it about?
An open discussion about how to make Debian a better system for mathematicians. Mathematical software is software that is useful to people doing mathematics. Examples include: computer algebra packages; interactive geometry software (e.g. kig); specialized software for e.g. graph isomorphism. For much of mathematics, exact or verifiable computation is an important feature, so packages like GMP are crucial.
 Where and When?
- Thursday August 5, 2010, 11:30
- Interschool Lab, 7th floor, Schapiro Building, Columbia University Morningside Campus
- video stream http://video.debconf.org:8000/interschool_lab.ogv
- IRC: #debconf-interschool on irc.oftc.net
 Questions to be discussed
- What should be long term priorities for Mathematical software in Debian?
- Core packages?
- Missing packages?
- What should be the priorities for the next stable release?
- High impact bugs?
- Working with upstream
- Bundling of libraries
- Working with each other
- What are opportunities for colloboration?
- Are we missing tools?
 The special case of SAGE
One of the long-term packages that would be packaged should be SAGE (package: sagemath). It is, simply put, a "glue" of many packages related to Mathematics that are already in Debian.
From a distribution/packaging/shipping perspective, it presents some challenges, unique to it:
- In its full version, it is simply huge
- It is hard to have only a single maintainer keep up with it (as it would, essentially, mean be a maintainer of many other packages that are already packaged in Debian).
- It currently is uninstallable in sid and has problems with the current python transition, as things have changed from python 2.5 to python 2.6
- The "glue" part of the package is written in python
- It used to (still does?) contain patches to the programs that it glues together that should be pushed to the maintainers/upstreams of other packages. This requires a bit of legwork.
- (something of a lower priority, perhaps:) Since it is huge, the user should be allowed to use it installing as few dependencies as possible (otherwise, it may end up installing, say, a web server or an SQL server---you get the idea, via indirect dependencies). This would mean that putting together a live CD for sagemath is harder than it should be, for size reasons.
- The upstream release cycle is regular and short (about 1 month, if I am not mistaken)
- Partly due to the short release cycle, the upstream team is unhappy with the current situation of the packages in Debian.
- The upstream project discourages the use of the version in Debian and something must be done about this.
- Since the package is uninstallable, it is a RC bug, but it is likely that the package will just get dropped from the distribution.
- The current maintainer of sagemath in Debian (apparently) doesn't seem to mind to hand over the maintainance to other people: http://bugs.debian.org/573538