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Debian Weekly News - September 3rd, 2001

Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - September 3rd, 2001

Debian  for  professionals.  The  German  computer  magazine  c't  has
published  a  [1]survey  in their 17th issue which compares the use of
various  Linux  distributions  by different types of users in Germany.
One  result  of the study was the fact that the more people know about
Linux  the  more they use Debian in favour of other distributions like
Mandrake,  SuSE  or  RedHat.  28 percent of people with more than five
years  Linux  experience  prefer  Debian, though only 3 percent of all
newbies use it.

Lack  of  Localisation. The same article criticizes the lack of German
localisation  in  all  distributions.  This shows that our projects of
[2]translating    packages    files,   localized   boot-floppies   and
international  message catalogs for many packages are the right way to
improve  the  acceptance  of Linux and Debian among people who are not
native English speakers.

Lintian  reports are back. Josip Rodin has [3]announced the return of
public lintian reports for all packages. You can now check the reports
sorted  by  [4]package  names, [5]maintainer or by [6]lintian tags.
The  main  page  at  [7]http://lintian.debian.org/  also  shows  some
interesting  statistics.  If  you're  wondering,  "what  the  heck  is
Lintian?"  its  a  Debian  package  checker  that can check binary and
source  packages to make sure the package is in compliance with Debian
policy for packages. It's a Good Thing.

New  layout  for  lists.debian.org.  Joy  has had a busy week, he also
[8]announced  a  new layout for the public web-archive of our mailing
lists  at  [9]http://lists.debian.org/. The main page will only refer
to      index      pages      for      [10]Development,      [11]User,
[12]Internationalisation,  [13]Miscellaneous  etc. This should improve
load  time  for  the  index pages drastically since they don't contain
links  to  all  lists  anymore,  a  lot  of people have requested this

GPG  Key  Signing Coordination page. In order to enter Debian's web of
trust,   prospective  Debian  developers  have  to  meet  an  existing
developer  in  person  for a [14]GnuPG (GPG) [15]key signing. Although
the almost 900 Debian developers are distributed all around the world,
it  is  often  hard  to  find  one  nearby. In order to facilitate the
coordination of GPG key signing meetings, Martin Michlmayr has created
a  [16]web  page where prospective and existing developers can sign up
and  enter  their  location.  Prospective  developers can now see at a
glance  whether someone nearby is willing to meet for a key signing or
sign up so existing developers can contact them.

Linking  non-PIC  code  with  PIC code for libraries. A [17]discussion
came  up  on  debian-devel  that  covers  a  problem  with linking PIC
(position  independent  code)  with  non-PIC  code  in the same shared
library.  PIC-code  is  used  in  shared  libraries (suffix .so) while
non-PIC  code  is  used  in  static  libraries (suffix .a). The thread
covers  some  [18]details about how dynamic linking is done with Linux
for those who didn't know already.

Missing  RedHat  Compatibility. A problem has been [19]discovered with
programs compiled under a current RedHat system that does not run on a
Debian  system.  RedHat's  choice  of  C++  compiler  (2.96) for their
release  is  the [20]reason for this breakage. Unfortunately they have
used  a  compiler  which  was  [21]never  released and which generates
binaries  that  are incompatible with both earlier and later releases.
The  precarious  issue  with  this is that many commercial vendors are
supporting  RedHat  systems  and compile their software on such a box.
These  software  simply  won't  run on other systems, which could keep
companies from using Debian or other distributions on their production
boxes.  A  similar problem arose with SuSE using an unreleased version
of  egcs in may 1999 which lead to this [22]announcement (only German,

ReiserFS  with  Debian? A couple of people wanted to run Debian on top
of a Reiser filesystem to benefit from its journaling and dramatically
reduced  fsck-time.  Debian does not yet officially support a ReiserFS
on  its  boot-floppies.  However, there are [23]two projects listed on
Freshmeat which cover Debian boot-floppies with support for ReiserFS.

Sections  for doc-base. Yoshito Komatsu [24]found out that there is no
policy, howto or anything that tells us which section to use for which
kind of documentation that is registered with doc-base. One way to get
around  this  was  to  use  the  menu sections as a guideline. Yoshito
finally came up with a [25]draft of a doc-base section HOWTO.

Boxed   Penguin   contains   Debian   GNU/Linux.  [26]Mekinok  Systems
Engineering  has introduced [27]Boxed Penguin: Instant Infrastructure.
This  product  uses Debian GNU/Linux and adds additional packages that
integrate  all  of  the  most  common  parts  of  a company's software
infrastructure  into  a  single  system.  The  system consists of Free
Software so the product itself is free. Mekinok hopes to make money on

A  hard  time  for  security.  Wichert  Akkerman, member of the Debian
Security  Team,  has  posted  a [28]mail outlining problems with doing
security  uploads  and architectures that will be released with woody.
Currently  the  security team has to support six architectures (alpha,
arm,  i386, m68k, powerpc, sparc). With the release of woody there may
be  five  more  architectures  to  support  (ia64, hppa, mips, mipsel,
s390).  Doing recompiles on six architectures is a hassle already, but
doing  it on eleven machines is even more time consuming. One possible
solution  would  be  to  use  an  rbuilder  for  all architectures, so
recompiles could be triggered via mail.

Freeze Upload Policy. The release manager, Anthony Towns, has posted a
[29]request  not  to make any major changes to the base system as part
of  the  ongoing  freeze.  Changes  should  be limited to the absolute
minimum  required  to make the package suitable for release. The focus
for  base packages is fixing release-critical bugs, but other bugs and
wishlists  can  be  done  as  well,  as  long as the fix makes minimal
changes  in order to not introduce new bugs. His request also includes
a list of base packages.

Experimental  Berlin  packages.  Bastian  Blank  has [30]announced the
availability of [31]prelimnary packages for the Berlin display server.
[32]Berlin  is  a windowing system derived from [33]Fresco, a powerful
structured   graphics  toolkit.  Berlin  extends  Fresco  to  a  full,
network-transparent windowing system which is not based on X.

Porting  Debian  to  Cygwin?  Doesn't  that sound strange? Somebody on
debian-devel  has  started  a [34]discussion about porting Debian to a
Cygnus  cygwin  environment running upon a well-known non-free system.
It's  quite  unclear how the architecture should be named, though this
would be one of the first things that is required to make dpkg work as

LVM  Problem. A severe problem with the Logical Volume Manager and the
current  Debian unstable has been [35]discovered. The problem is quite
tricky,  since  LVM needs to be initialized before all filesystems are
mounted,  though  it  can't  initialize  correctly  since it writes to
/etc/lvmtab  which  will  fail  before the root-filesystem is mounted,
which in turn eventually can't be mounted since it is on a LVM device.
The  maintainer came up with a [36]possible solution. Another solution
would be to use an [37]initial ramdisk.

Problem  with  fonts.  It has been [38]reported that fonts under Linux
are  not  in  a  satisfying  state.  The  problem  is mostly that some
applications use "blocky" fonts, bitmapped fonts that are enlarged. As
an exercise just try to use a font in xfig, enlarge it, export that to
Postscript  and  re-view  it with ghostscript. Some techniques such as
anti-aliasing  and [39]Sub-Pixel Font Rendering could fix parts of the
problem,   however   this   requires  tweaking  of  the  X-server  and
applications.   An   interesting  project  was  mentioned  during  the
discussion: [40]PfaEdit - a postscript font editor.

German  Debian  News. Joey has started an [41]experiment and requested
the  creation  of  the  debian-news-german  mailing  list. The list is
moderated  and  will  contain Debian news and announcements translated
into  German.  For  the  last  months  translations  were only done on
www.debian.org transparently and on [42]linux-community.de. Frequently
we  meet  people  who  don't  speak  English  fluently  and  who would
certainly  appreciate  a  German  news list. We'll have to find out if
this list will be accepted by our German speaking users or not.

Recent Security Advisories

If  you  have  any  of these packages installed on your system, you'll
want to upgrade ASAP.
  * [43]openldap -- Remote DoS
  * [44]xloadimage -- Buffer overflow
  * [45]netkit-telnet -- Remote exploit
  * [46]fetchmail -- Memory corruption
  * [47]groff -- Print format attack
  * [48]imp -- 3 Remote exploits
  * [49]wmaker -- Buffer overflow

New Packages
  * [50]x-window-system   and   [51]x-window-system-core   --   New  X
    packages, yum!
  * [52]lskb  --  The  Linux Security Knowledge Base, includes info on
    Linux-specific security issues.
  * [53]samhain  -- Integrity checker and intrustion detection system,
    because a little paranoia is a Good Thing.
  * [54]kinkatta -- QT client for AOL Instant Messenger.
  * [55]kgeo  --  The  program  formerly  known as KEuklid, a geometry
    program for KDE.


We've  had  a lot of interest in translating DWN, if you haven't heard
from us yet about translating we will be in touch shortly.

  1. http://www.heise.de/ct/01/17/186/
  2. http://auric.debian.org/~grisu/debian_translation/
  3. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0108/msg01092.html
  4. http://lintian.debian.org/reports/packages_1.html
  5. http://lintian.debian.org/reports/maintainers.html
  6. http://lintian.debian.org/reports/tags.html
  7. http://lintian.debian.org/
  8. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0108/msg01042.html
  9. http://lists.debian.org/
  10. http://lists.debian.org/devel.html
  11. http://lists.debian.org/users.html
  12. http://lists.debian.org/i18n.html
  13. http://lists.debian.org/misc.html
  14. http://www.gnupg.org/
  15. http://www.debian.org/events/keysigning
  16. http://nm.debian.org/gpg.php
  17. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0108/msg01045.html
  18. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0108/msg01105.html
  19. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0108/msg00982.html
  20. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0108/msg00996.html
  21. http://gcc.gnu.org/ml/gcc-announce/2000/msg00003.html
  22. http://www.geocrawler.com/archives/3/288/1999/5/0/2158757/
  23. http://freshmeat.net/search/?site=Freshmeat&q=potato+reiserfs&section=projects
  24. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0108/msg00869.html
  25. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0108/msg00975.html
  26. http://www.mekinok.com/
  27. http://www.mekinok.com/intranet/products/bp.html
  28. http://lists.debian.org/debian-68k-0108/msg00016.html
  29. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce-0108/msg00011.html
  30. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0108/msg01342.html
  31. http://people.debian.org/~waldi/berlin/
  32. http://www.berlin-consortium.org/
  33. http://www2.berlin-consortium.org/fresco/
  34. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0108/msg01377.html
  35. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0108/msg01403.html
  36. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0108/msg01442.html
  37. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0108/msg01483.html
  38. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0108/msg01447.html
  39. http://grc.com/cleartype.htm
  40. http://pfaedit.sourceforge.net/
  41. http://bugs.debian.org/109918
  42. http://www.linux-community.de/
  43. http://www.debian.org/security/2001/dsa-068
  44. http://www.debian.org/security/2001/dsa-069
  45. http://www.debian.org/security/2001/dsa-070
  46. http://www.debian.org/security/2001/dsa-071
  47. http://www.debian.org/security/2001/dsa-072
  48. http://www.debian.org/security/2001/dsa-073
  49. http://www.debian.org/security/2001/dsa-074
  50. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/x11/x-window-system.html
  51. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/x11/x-window-system-core.html
  52. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/doc/lskb.html
  53. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/admin/samhain.html
  54. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/net/kinkatta.html
  55. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/math/kgeo.html

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