Debian Weekly News - February 10th, 2004
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - February 10th, 2004
Welcome to this year's sixth issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. Since supporting UTF-8 in Free Software takes
quite some time, several people started the project UTF-8 for
evangelisation and documentation of proper Unicode (and most
specifically UTF-8) support in Free Software. The core of the
Jabber protocol, the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol,
has been proposed as an IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force)
LILO Support for Device Mapper. Andrés Roldán added preliminary
support for device mapper block devices to lilo. The Linux
kernel device mapper is the LVM (Linux Logical Volume Management)
Team's implementation of a minimalistic kernel-space driver that
handles volume management, while keeping knowledge of the underlying
device layout in user-space.
Optimising your Filesystem. Roderick W. Smith discussed several
filesystems for Linux and their special features like support for
journals, reserved blocks, check intervals, block sizes, directory
hashes and i-node options. He also mentions that on rare occasions, an
ext3 journal may become so corrupted that it interferes with disk
recovery operations. In such cases, one can convert the filesystem
back into an ext2 filesystem using the debugfs tool.
KDE Support in UserLinux. Bruce Perens clarified that
UserLinux willprovide commercial support for KDE after some
confusion. However, KDE is not the chosen GUI of the UserLinux
project. Bruce also says that Qt doesn't fit their licensing policies
because it's putting the GPL in a place where he would prefer to put
the GNU Lesser General Public License so that proprietary
development can take place without a commercial license.
Library depending on Data Files. Sebastian Ley was seeking advice
on how to organise a library package that depends on data files.
Originally, these data files would be placed in the same directory for
all libraries, but that would circumvent parallel installation of
different versions. Thomas Viehmann suggested to use version
specific directories. Colin Watson also explained that several
versions of the library should be installable to reduce upgrade
GCC Transition Status. Nathanael Nerode noticed that the
transition status is online again. It shows that there are only 46
source packages still compiled with g++ 2.95 without intentional
exceptions like Qt2. All libraries have been converted. Matt Zimmerman
supplied the list of packages still missing.
Aging of "experimental" Packages. Phil Edwards wondered if
packages in the "experimental" distribution are properly aged, as
described in the developers' reference manual. It says that the
"experimental" packages are automatically removed once the package in
unstable has a higher version number. James Troup explained that
this is currently based on source packages with exactly the same name.
Voluntary Writers needed for the Hurd. Lucas Nussbaum complained
that documentation for the Hurd is difficult to find and scattered
all over the Internet. He also asserted that many parts of the system
are not even documented and many howtos are broken. He offered to help
reorganise the Hurd end-user documentations, to add links and to
suppress redundancy between them.
XFree86 License Problems. The new license proposed by the XFree86
team is likely to be incompatible like Paul Cannon outlined if
linking is considered to create derived works. Andrew Suffield
explained that it is the licenses on GPLed works that would be
violated, not the license on XFree86, so it's the interpretation of
the authors of the GPLed works that counts.
Closure of main. Adam Majer asked how to interpret "must not
require a package outside of main" from the policy manual. Joel
Baker explained that it means that the dependencies of a package
must be satisfiable in main alone. Hence, a single non-free package as
alternative to free packages in main does not harm. Steve Langasek
added that the same is required from "Recommends".
Hurd within Bochs. Lucas Nussbaum managed to create a Bochs
image for Hurd. Bruno Bonfils' document about setting up
GNU/Hurd and Bochs was helpful as well as the description
about the same by Julien Puydt. Lucas concluded that these documents
were helpful but not sufficient, though.
Debian-Installer Support for UTF-8. Nikolai Prokoschenko proposed
to configure the second-stage installer to use UTF-8 since the
first-stage installer already uses UTF-8. This would make UTF-8 de
facto the default encoding. Alastair McKinstry explained that
UTF-8 can also be a regression since one loses the ability to do
compose characters (eg. accents).
Status of Debian/NetBSD. John Goerzen asked about the state of the
NetBSD port. Matthew Garrett explained that there are two
ports indeed: one uses the NetBSD base system while the other one
favours the GNU C library. However, not many people are working on
them. There has even been work on sparc and alpha ports, since NetBSD
does support much more architectures and sub-architectures than Linux.
International Free Software Forum and Debian Conference. The Brazilian
Projeto Software Livre called for papers for the 5th
International Free Software Forum which will be held from June 3rd to
5th in Porto Alegre. The forum is purely academic and has
well-defined topics. It takes place right after this years' Debian
Conference which will be held in Porto Alegre from May 26th to June
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* Linux 2.4.17 (mips+mipsel) -- Local root exploit.
* gaim -- Several vulnerabilities.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* gnome-sharp -- .NET binding for GNOME.
* gtk-sharp-examples -- Sample applications for the gtk-sharp
* lapack3 -- Library of linear algebra routines 3.
* mono -- The Mono .NET development environment.
* ncbi-epcr -- [Biology] Tool to test a DNA sequence for the
presence of sequence tagged sites.
* nhc98 -- Another Haskell Compiler (the nhc98 Haskell
* picax -- Tool for creation of aptable media.
* pxesconfig -- PXES Universal Linux Thin Client Configuration
* ri1.6 -- Ruby 1.6 interactive reference.
* rt3-clients -- Mail gateway and command-line interface to
* sec -- Simple Event Correlator.
* tap-plugins -- Tom's Audio Processing LADSPA plugins.
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