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 Registration is now closed

Date and venue

Wednesday 26 March 2014 at 10:30 - 18:00 and Thursday 27 March 09:00 - 17:00 

National Library of the Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek)
Prins Willem-Alexanderhof 5,
2595 BE The Hague,


Thinking Like a Package Maintainer

Lots of great digital preservation applications and services exist, but very few are well maintained and packaged. Software is often difficult for non-technical staff to obtain and install or has poor documentation, with the process ending in frustration rather than a satisfied customer. At this event you'll be shown how you can help to make your users' world a better place by looking at your software through the eyes of a long-term maintainer, as well those of a software developer. 

The Little Things Matter

This course looks at preparing packages for Debian based linux distros, but the concepts, practices, and indeed many of the tools covered are applicable to many development / deployment environments. Looking at why issues like documentation, software licensing, release versioning, changelogs, etc. all matter if software is to flourish in the hands of a wider community, or survive a change of maintainer. You'll be shown how to automate the packaging process early in the development lifecycle making releasing software business as usual rather than a series of painful, one-off adventures.

Sys Admins and Developers Should be Friends

You'll be using tools emerging from the DevOps movement, a methodology that encourages collaboration between development and operations. Attendees will get hands on experience of using Vagrant, a virtualisation tool,  to create reproducible development, test, and deployment environments. We'll show you how to use this technology to set up a local continuous deployment environment, where developers can develop work on their chosen platform while regularly testing packaging and deployment on the platform supported by operations. By the end of two days you'll have created a virtualised environment that builds, tests, packages, and installs a software project, that can be kept alongside your code and shared with it. Participants will have some choice of the type of project they work with, with the exercises provided illustrating the principles for Python, Java, and C++ projects.

No Experience Necessary

You don't have to be a software developer to learn how to package software project or to get something out of this event, but a little experience of some of the following will help:

  • Using the command line 
  • Packaging software for release
  • Virtualisation and virtual machines
  • Git and GitHub

as will some knowledge of the software development process, and continuous integration / deployment.


You'll need a laptop with some spare memory capacity, 4GB of RAM in total should be sufficient, preferably with a 64-bit Operating System installed although this isn't essential. Ideally you will have pre-installed a recent version of VirtualBox , the VirtualBox Extension Pack and Vagrant , or have the rights to install software on your laptop. Finally, you'll need the willingness to participate in the exercises and be prepared to ask questions in order to get the best out of the 2 days, the event hasn't been planned with spectators in mind.

Learning Outcomes (by the end of the training event the attendees will be able to):

  1. Understand package management and distinguish between different practices relating to package objectives and chosen programming language.
  2. Carry out package management operations in order to critically appraise current packages and propose changes.
  3. Understand the importance of software licenses, versioning policy, and clear documentation and examples.
  4. Apply best practices to create a simple package suitable for long term maintenance.
  5. Evaluate options for managing configuration and behaviour relating to package installation, removal, upgrade and re-installation.
  6. Analyse opportunities for automating package management and releases, maintaining a clear focus on the user rather than the developer.
  7. Critically evaluate opportunities to generalise package management to allow the easy building and maintenance of packages on multiple platforms.
  8. Recognise and assess opportunities apply package management techniques in your own environment.

Delegates will receive a certificate of attendance for the training course.


The agenda is available here: Agenda - Preserving Your Preservation Tools

The event will be conducted in English.

Who should attend?  

Software and tool developers, system administrators

No digital preservation knowledge required
You will learn how to make your software sustainable so it is easily distributed, installed, and used.


Registration is now closed.

Morning and afternoon coffee breaks and lunch will be provided and are included in the registration fee. 

*Please ensure you bring your laptop with you so you can participate in the practical exercises.* 

Travel and accommodation information

There is a map and instructions of how to get to the KB here: Take the exit from platform 12 and you will arrive at the KB main entrance.

From Schiphol airport there is a direct train which takes you to Den Haag Centraal station in 30 minutes. Click here for the journey planner.

A list of nearby hotels can be seen here: Hotel_DenHaag_Jan2014.doc

Many hotels are getting booked up due to a major conference taking place in The Hague at the same time, but there are still city centre hotels available (checked 12/03)

Also please consider Leiden for alternative accommodation. Leiden is 11 train minutes away from the Den Haag Centraal station.

There is a fast train going to Den Hague Centraal about every 15 minutes.

A few hotel options in Leiden:

* Opposite the train station, 3 stars:;dcid=1
* About 5 minutes walk from the train station, 2 stars:;dcid=1;checkin=2014-03-25;checkout=2014-03-27;srfid=db38428b44c4ab91b882b9c8ebd9dbd51edcdb96X8
* About 10 minutes walk from the train station, 3 stars:;dcid=1;checkin=2014-03-25;checkout=2014-03-27;srfid=db38428b44c4ab91b882b9c8ebd9dbd51edcdb96X3
* About 10 minutes walk from the train station, 3 stars:;dcid=1;checkin=2014-03-25;checkout=2014-03-27;srfid=db38428b44c4ab91b882b9c8ebd9dbd51edcdb96X10

Event dinner 

The (self-paid) event dinner will take place on the evening of Wednesday 26 March. Please indicate if you would like to book a place when registering.

Further information

If you have any questions about the event please email us: rebecca [at] openplanetsfoundation [dot] org or melanie [dot] imming [at] kb [dot] nl.

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