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Debian Weekly News - September 19th, 2000

Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - September 19th, 2000
Welcome to Debian Weekly News, a newsletter for the Debian community.

[1]Work is underway on designing a replacement for Debian's aging
installer. The replacement aims to address many problems of the
current installer: It will be modular so it is easier to maintain and
extend, and the user interface will be modular as well, opening the
possibility of an X based install. Other concerns include hardware
auto-detection, automated "kick-start" style installs, and support for
the Hurd. This and much more is under discussion in a [2]long thread
on the debian-boot mailing list. The plan is to have the new installer
ready for the release of woody.

An important [3]new set of features have been checked into apt's
development cvs branch. They allow apt to "pin" packages at a
particular version or Debian release, so they will not be upgraded
even if apt sees that newer versions are available. This makes it
possible to add both stable and unstable to sources.list, configure
apt to only use stable by default, and override apt at the command
line as needed to easily download packages from unstable. Other uses
include downgrading, and controlling how apt uses third party
repositories such as Helix GNOME, and other things we are only
[4]beginning to think of. Jason Gunthorpe adds, "Sadly, I don't have
a complete set of docs for this function yet, and I'm not finished my
major source-incompatible changes to the library so this code isn't
going into unstable for a good while yet."

Security fixes for Debian 2.1 will end on September 30th. The security
team [5]announced that "Debian is phasing out support for Debian
2.1". Moreover, only very important fixes will be backported to slink
before the 30th, and they will only be built for the i386 and m68k
platforms. They recommend that "sparc and alpha users should upgrade
to Debian 2.2 (potato) immediately", and that's good advice for users
of any architecture who care about security. The security team is,
however, still open to [6]feedback about this
. There were no security fixes this week.

The [7]Kernel Cousin Debian is a new Debian news source that was
[8]first published on September 7th. [9]Kernel Cousins provide
detailed summaries of mailing list traffic in a variety of projects,
now including the debian-devel mailing list (the [10]Kernel Cousin
Debian Hurd has summarized debian-hurd for some time now). The new
Kernel Cousin Debian goes into more detail and covers more threads
than does Debian Weekly News -- while Debian Weekly News attempts to
cover more mailing lists and other news sources, and provide a more
condensed summary than does the Kernel Cousin. We hope they both prove
to be valuable resources, and welcome the new Kernel Cousin Debian --
DWN will probably borrow some material from it in the future.

The Kernel Cousin Debian for [11]September 14th covers several threads
from the past couple of weeks including discussions about whether
debhelper should be build-essential, changing a system's default
shell, and why an old version of pine with a free license isn't in
Debian yet. They are also looking for more contributors.

Graphing the Debian web of trust. It's been a few years since the
Debian keyring was last graphed. Now [12]new graphs of the debian gpg
keyring have been produced. The graph of the gpg keyring has some
interesting properties -- the gpg keyring revolves around DPL Wichert
Akkerman. And since each key signing happens at a real life meeting
between two developers, this is a great way to get a feel for how
often we meet in real life.

Lots of KDE applications continue to be added to Debian this week,
including the following and [13]83 other packages:
  * [14]kchart: KDE Office Suite - KChart
  * [15]kdepim-common: Personal Information Management for KDE
  * [17]killustrator: KDE Office Suite - KIllustrator
  * [18]koffice-common: KDE Office Suite ([19]dev, [20]libs)
  * [21]kpresenter: KDE Office Suite - KPresenter
  * [22]kspread: KDE Office Suite - KSpread
  * [23]kword: KDE Office Suite - KWord
  * [24]qt-designer: QT GUI Designer
  * [25]task-kdegames: KDE games collection
Finally, a quick editorial. Though it's not directly related to
Debian, [26]this Freshmeat article is an interesting read. In it, a
developer of the Conectiva distribution talks about making rpm
suitable for use with apt. It seems Conectiva has modified apt to work
with rpm's, but making full use of apt makes demands of packages that
rpm's cannot easily meet. "Just like a painter who paints the floor of
a room and gets trapped in a corner, certain features in RPM seem to
have been designed to make integration with APT impossible" The
problems Conectiva is running into involve things like rpm's handing
of conffiles, the lack of interactive maintainer scripts, and the
tendency of rpm's not to restart daemons on upgrade -- issues that are
partly technical, but mainly matters of policy. This is perhaps the
best answer to the age old question, "which is better, rpm or deb?":
Neither. Policy is what really matters, and Debian has a large lead
over every other distribution in terms of having a formalized,
well-developed, and consistently applied [27]package policy. Let's
make sure we maintain that lead.

  1. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0009/msg01072.html
  2. http://lists.debian.org/debian-boot-0009/msg00132.html
  3. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0009/msg01219.html
  4. http://www.debian.org/News/weekly/current/issue/mail#1
  5. http://lists.debian.org/debian-security-announce-00/msg00041.html
  6. mailto:feedback@security.debian.org
  7. http://kt.linuxcare.com/debian/
  8. http://kt.linuxcare.com/debian/dd20000907_1.epl
  9. http://kt.linuxcare.com/index.epl
  10. http://kt.linuxcare.com/debian-hurd/index.epl
  11. http://kt.linuxcare.com/debian/dd20000914_2.epl
  12. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0009/msg01039.html
  13. http://auric.debian.org/~tausq/newpkgs-20000918.html
  14. http://www.debian.org/Packages/unstable/x11/kchart.html
  15. http://www.debian.org/Packages/unstable/x11/kdepim-common.html
  16. http://www.debian.org/Packages/unstable/devel/kdepim-dev.html
  17. http://www.debian.org/Packages/unstable/x11/killustrator.html
  18. http://www.debian.org/Packages/unstable/x11/koffice-common.html
  19. http://www.debian.org/Packages/unstable/devel/koffice-dev.html
  20. http://www.debian.org/Packages/unstable/libs/koffice-libs.html
  21. http://www.debian.org/Packages/unstable/x11/kpresenter.html
  22. http://www.debian.org/Packages/unstable/x11/kspread.html
  23. http://www.debian.org/Packages/unstable/x11/kword.html
  24. http://www.debian.org/Packages/unstable/devel/qt-designer.html
  25. http://www.debian.org/Packages/unstable/games/task-kdegames.html
  26. http://freshmeat.net/news/2000/09/16/969163199.html
  27. http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/

see shy jo

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