The goal of NeuroDebian is to package neuroscience software for Debian. Hence getting software into NeuroDebian means trying to get it into Debian. There are at least two possibilities to achieve that:
In short: When it is ready. The longer answer is that there is nothing special to packages in NeuroDebian in comparison to packages conducted elsewhere. Packaging efforts are announced to Debian via ITPs and the packaging itself is available in some version control system – typically in the Git repositories of the pkg-exppsy group on Debian’s Alioth server, or another VCS, or on http://mentors.debian.net.
The only difference is that a particular package becomes available through the NeuroDebian repository before it has passed all checks for compliance with Debian’s standards. But even after a package becomes part of Debian, the NeuroDebian repository continues to provide binary packages of new versions for a recent set of Debian and Ubuntu releases (aka backports).
When you start using this repository, you probably get warning messages like this:
The following signatures couldn't be verified because the public key is not available.
Or you will be asked questions like this over and over:
WARNING: The following packages cannot be authenticated! ... Install these packages without verification [y/N]?
This is because your APT installation initially does not know the GPG key that is used to sign the release files of this repository. It is easy to make APT happy again. The simplest way is to install the neurodebian-keyring package that is available from the NeuroDebian repository. Alternatively:
Now feed the key into APT by invoking:
apt-key add #file#
Where #file# has to be replaced with the location of the key file you just downloaded. You need to have superuser-privileges to do this (either do it as root or use sudo).
This is in the works, but...
There is no need for it to become one, as the existing Debian Pure Blends already offer the desired functionality within Debian. Similar to Pure Blends, NeuroDebian’s goal is to provide software for neuroscientists using the Debian operating system, and therefore the ultimate goal is to get all relevant software into Debian.
However, various reasons exist that prevent a particular software from entering Debian. Some are temporary, i.e. a package is already useable, but some technical bits do not meet Debian’s standards (yet) or a licensing issue needs to be resolved first. For some software the licensing is so restrictive that it cannot be distributed by Debian, and hence cannot even go into its non-free branch. Unfortunately, sometimes these issues cannot be solved to a degree that is acceptable for Debian. For some other packages Debian itself is not ready yet, e.g. huge data packages with neuroscience data (with sometimes over 1GB).
NeuroDebian aims to be a platform that provides a staging area for neuroscience software packages on their way into Debian. All packages are properly registered in the relevant Debian Pure Blends, e.g. Debian Science Cognitive Neuroscience or Debian Med Imaging. Inside Debian these efforts already provide a suitable framework for this purpose, and hence there is no need to establish yet another one.
We always need people to help maintaining existing packages. If you need some additional software packaged and you want to try it on your own, we would be happy to mentor you. We also have a list of ongoing and planned projects, each listing a number of tasks that need to be done.
If you found something you are interested in, please email the neurodebian-devel mailing list and let us know about it. Thanks!
Please cite the following paper:
Halchenko, Y. O. & Hanke, M. (2012). Open is not enough. Let’s take the next step: An integrated, community-driven computing platform for neuroscience. Frontiers in Neuroinformatics, 6:22.