Debian Weekly News - August 19th, 2003
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - August 19th, 2003
Welcome to this year's 33rd issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. Aryan Ameri wrote a user review of
Libranet 2.8, which is based on Debian. Richard Stallman said
he now prefers the GNU/LinEx distribution over Debian because of
non-free software on our FTP servers. There's been a lot of discussion
on the debian-legal list about the definition of the word
"software", with much heat generated.
Birthday Present: Rescue CD. As a special birthday present for the
10th anniversary of the Debian project Jörg Jaspert has created a
business card sized rescue CD. Although only 50 MB in size, it
contains most tools required to rescue a GNU/Linux systems, plus some
tools which are useful to rescue other systems. The CD can be ordered
Origins of the DFSG. Bruce Perens explained that when he designed
the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG), his intention was that
the entire contents of that CD would be under the rights stated in the
DFSG, be they software, documentation, or data. His view is that
invariant sections in documentation, such as those allowed by the
GNU Free Documentation License, are OK for attribution, the
copyright statement and license only, and not for other aspects of the
Public Release of xml-core. Ardo van Rangelrooij announced the
first public, highly experimental version of the xml-core package.
It contains the update-xmlcatalog tool to manage XML catalog files.
For more details see the draft of the Debian XML Policy. Note that
the next version of the policy will require a local catalog for
often-used stylesheet files, which is already implemented in
update-xmlcatalog. Issues or bugs should be reported to the
debian-sgml mailing list.
Open Source good Choice for Companies. In a short story by Jan
Stafford, editor of SearchEnterpriseLinux.com Debian Developer Tony
Mancill says "Because most open source software is based upon open
standards and written to fill functionality gaps left by proprietary
offerings, conversion from Proprietary A to open-source can be easier
than the conversion to another proprietary product." Tony Mancill
talks about two examples of how open source technology helped two
firms he has worked with.
Continuing the G++ 3.x Transition. Matthew Wilcox noted that work
on this transition plan has slowed down. He reveals that there are
more than 120 maintainers who maintain packages that still depend
on libstdc++2.10. There are still 145 source packages compiled with
g++ 2.95 in the archive. If Debian wants to hit this release goal,
it's time to get working on these packages.
Installing Debian on an Indy. Jan Ivar Pladsen wrote a document
which describes how to install Debian GNU/Linux on Indy. In detail he
describes how to fetch and configure the MAC address to boot the
machine via the network. He continues with a detailed calculation for
partitioning the harddisk. Most of this information should already be
part of the Debian installation manual but apparently isn't.
Debian's Founding Moment. With Debian's 10th Birthday, Ben Finney
wondered if there was an inaugural email or some other document
that marked the start of the Debian project. This email from Ian
Murdock was pointed out. Matt Zimmerman thought the goals of an
"installation procedure that doesn't need to be babysat" and a "system
setup procedure that will attempt to setup and configure everything
from fstab to Xconfig" may still need work. But Peter Makholm
noted that at least the "Be warned that it will be rather large
:)" message was accurate.
Mounting the Root Filesystem read-only. Thomas Hood noted that one
of the remaining obstacles to running cleanly with the root filesystem
mounted read-only has been the mount program, which can only write the
mtab file in /etc/. If this file is a symbolic link then mount will
not write to it. People have wished that mount would follow a
symlink so that it could point somewhere like /run/mtab. Thomas has
developed a patch for this, so did Goswin von Brederlow.
When a Build requires Kernel Headers. Jörg Wendland experienced
problems with including kernel header files in a regular package. Ben
Collins explained that userspace applications should not require
kernel headers for building. Herbert Xu added that the solution in
this case is to include a copy of the said header file in the package
Support for encrypted Swap and Data Partitions. Vincent Bernat
wondered if Debian would like to support encrypted swap and
encrypted data partitions. He has modified mountall.sh to allow
encrypted partitions. Encrypted partitions need user interaction to be
mounted, since the password is not generated on the fly (like for the
swap), so it is only usable on laptops and maybe on some home systems.
Protest against Software Patents. Felix Klee informed us that on
September 1st the European parliament will vote on a directive that
legalises software patents in Europe. If this directive comes through
we will be stuck with software patents in the foreseeable future.
Chances of changing the patent law back are close to zero. The
FFII is organizing a conference in Brussels on August 27 as a
last minute protest to raise the attention of yet undecided members of
the parliament and asks webmasters to close their websites on August
Introducing Mepis Linux. Mepis Linux is derived from the Debian
GNU/Linux code base. LinuxOnline is hosting a series of articles on
this LiveCD. The first is an overview of the CD, which reveals
that there are not that much cheat codes like Knoppix. It is followed
by a full review. Finally, Mepis creator Warren Woodford is
interviewed, and said that Mepis wouldn't be possible without the
high quality committed work of the Debian community.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* netris -- Buffer overflow.
* autorespond -- Buffer overflow.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* ample -- Simple MP3 server easy to use.
* apoo -- Assembly course aid.
* c2n -- Tape transfer utility for CBM/Oric-1 machines.
* checkpolicy -- SELinux policy compiler.
* csound -- Powerful and versatile sound synthesis software.
* giftoxic -- GTK2 based GUI for the giFT filesharing system.
* gngb -- GameBoy Emulator.
* gnotime -- Tracking and invoicing time spent on projects.
* irqbalance -- Balances irq's for SMP systems.
* late -- Simple game of capturing balls.
* lcab -- Create Cabinet (.cab) files.
* mpichpython -- MPI-enhanced Python interpreter.
* nast -- Packet sniffer and LAN analyzer.
* pgpdump -- PGP packet visualizer.
* pound -- Reverse proxy, load balancer and https front-end for
* spip -- User Friendly but powerful Content Managment System
build in php.
* thuban -- Interactive geographic data viewer.
* tictactoe -- Tic-tac-toe game written in Ruby.
* ulogd-pcap -- PCAP extension to ulogd.
Orphaned Packages. 15 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 195 orphaned packages. Many
thanks to the previous maintainers who contributed to the Free
Software community. Please see the WNPP pages for the full list,
and please add a note to the bug report and retitle it to ITA: if you
plan to take over a package.
* amiwm -- Amiga look-alike window manager. (Bug#206021)
* bibview -- X11 Bibliography database tool. (Bug#206137)
* boust -- Tcl/Tk text-reader that formats the file in
* bulkmail -- Speed up delivery of e-mail to large numbers of
* crm114 -- Controllable Regex Mutilator and Spam Filter.
* freedict -- Freedict. (Bug#206113)
* pftp -- Fast file transfer program. (Bug#206119)
* phototk -- GUI interface for digital cameras. (Bug#206121)
* pyching -- Python program to cast and interpret I Ching
* rsxs -- Really Slick X Screensavers. (Bug#205725)
* sn -- Small NNTP server for leaf sites. (Bug#206025)
* squishdot -- Web-based News/Discussion System.
* w3mir -- All purpose HTTP copying and mirroring tool.
* zircon -- Powerful X Internet Relay Chat client.
* zope-tinytable -- Present tabular data in Zope.
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