agile sysadmin

by Ferenc Erki

Gentoo has xsel-1.2.1 among the firsts

xsel works great to “manipulate the X selection”. Last week I stepped up as proxied maintainer to help bring already merged improvements to Gentoo users despite lack of new releases since 2008.

Thanks to support from soap during the past week, upstream has merged all ebuild patches, tagged 1.2.1, and Gentoo already ships the latest version — among the first distros, according to repology.

Why does it matter?

The xsel-1.2.1 release has accumulated several changes over time, including fixes for segfaults and memory leaks. As a personal highlight, the kfish/xsel#16 pull request also fixed an annoying bug that prevented copy-pasting more than 4000 characters.

Before this release, everyone had to build xsel from a specific git commit of their choice with occasional patches to enjoy the benefits of this progress.

The x11-misc/xsel-9999 live ebuild used to make it possible to follow the latest changes on Gentoo. It got removed from the main repository on 2023-04-16, which lead me to contribute a snapshot ebuild next day, containing latest git commits and a selection of build system patches.

Meanwhile, soap worked with upstream to merge these patches, and to cut a new release. Which considerably simplified my work about bumping the ebuild version and cleaning up our interim solutions.

On a personal note, the quality of collaboration both within and across open source projects made me quite happy, and I feel glad about the related result helping an even wider community. Thank you for everyone involved!