Google and Debian work together to make COVID-19 researchers’ lives easier


Posted by Joe Hicks, Yun Peng, Olek Wojnar

debian logo

Google and Debian work together to make COVID-19 researchers’ lives easier

  • Bazel is now available as an easy to install package distributed on Debian and Ubuntu.
  • Tensorflow packaging for Debian is progressing.

Olek Wojnar, Debian Developer, reached out to the Bazel team about packaging and distributing Bazel on Debian (and other Linux distributions such as Ubuntu) in service of delivering Tensorflow Machine Learning functionality for COVID-19 researchers:

“I’m working with the Debian Med team right now to get some much-needed software packaged and available for users in the medical community to help with the COVID-19 pandemic. At least one of the packages we desperately need requires Bazel to build. Clearly this is an unusual and very critical situation. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that lives may literally depend on us getting better tools to the medical professionals out there, and quickly. The entire international community would be extraordinarily grateful if @google and the @bazelbuild team could prioritize helping with this!”

The Bazel team jumped in to help Olek and the COVID-19 research community. Yun Peng, Software Engineer at Google with Olek Wojnar led the team of Bazel and Debian volunteers to move the project forward. The joint effort between Debian and Google has produced some great results, including packaging the Bazel bootstrap variant in 6 months time (Debian 11 — released in Late 2021; Ubuntu 21.04 — 22 April 2021). Bazel is now available as an easy to install package distributed on Debian and Ubuntu. The extended Google team continues to work with Debian towards the next step of packaging and distributing Tensorflow on Debian and other Linux distributions.

In addition to Yun and Olek, other contributors to this project include Michael R. Crusoe of Debian, Joe Hicks, John Field, Philipp Wollermann, and Tobias Werth of Google.