Debian Weekly News - May 1st, 2002
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - May 1st, 2002
Welcome to this year's eighteenth issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter
for the Debian community. It seems a week never goes by without a
flamebait post to the developers' forum. This week's flamebaits
include complaints about delayed archive maintenance, but, of
course, lacks some substance. On a happier note, we're pleased to
include items from Gustavo Noronha Silva and Thomas Bliesener in this
International Free Software Forum in Porto Alegre. Ronaldo Lages
recently announced the third International Free Software Forum,
to be held in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Many international organizations
will be represented and people from all around the country are coming
to take part in talks and workshops. The Debian Project will be
represented by almost all of our Brazilian developers. They will
promote a course about Debian's installation and use, and will also
give a talk about Debian and Debian-BR.
LILO Boot Screen for Debian. Philipp Wolfer wondered why all the
top commercial distributions come with graphical LILO boot screens and
Debian doesn't. When he installed Woody a few months ago he noticed
that its LILO package supported the graphical boot menu, but didn't
offer any image for it. Therefore, Philipp created a boot screen image
with the Debian logo, which you can download from here.
People with ATM Knowledge Required. Russell Coker recently
announced his intention to orphan the atm-tools package, since
he doesn't own any real ATM hardware, so maintaining and debugging the
package is a bit difficult for him. Though Marc Haber stepped
forward, he can't do much debugging either. A person with access to
ATM hardware and a familiarity with its implementation details is
needed to come forward and adopt the package.
Debian Developer Portal. Igor Genibel announced a developer
portal that collects a large amount of information and links useful to
the Debian developer. This includes bug reports, release critical
bugs, lintian reports, buildd reports and a listing of all
packages maintained by the developer in question. However, Raphaël
Hertzog pointed out that Tollef Fog Heen and Rob Bradford are
working towards developer.debian.org site to perform much the same
Woody Release Announcement. Joey Hess started a discussion about
the planned content of Debian's release announcement for Woody. He's
collecting important facts that need to be mentioned besides the stock
boring numbers such as this many new packages, that many updated
packages, and so forth. Here's a preliminary version. Comments
should be sent to the debian-devel list.
Woody Release Security Round-up. Matt Zimmerman has been tracking
security issues that affect Debian Woody. He listed the security
issues that he has tracked together with their current status. For
each bug he attempted to verify that, in addition to being fixed in
unstable, the fixed version has propagated to Woody. He furthermore
requested that package maintainers indicate which version fixed the
bug when closing a security related bug report. This information is
very important for the security team and our users alike.
OpenSSL and Software Licensed Under GPL. There has been some
confusion whether it is allowed to link software that is released
under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL), with the
OpenSSL library. The problematic item is the advertising clause,
which both of the OpenSSL licenses contain. Their presence imposes an
additional restriction on licensees, which is forbidden by clause six
of the GNU GPL.
Debian in User-Agent Identifier. With the release of Mozilla
0.9.9-4 the Debian Mozilla package uses a customized User-Agent
string, which indicates the distribution and Mozilla version. This is
required by the current upstream policy on User-Agent strings,
which seems to be a result of a bug report, which reveals that the
Debian version contains many patches which make it a derived version.
Daily Debian DVD Images. Attila Nagy recently announced that he
started producing daily DVD ISO (not UDF) snapshots for IA-32
Woody and Sid in jigdo format. To our knowledge, this
makes Debian the first distribution ever that offers daily DVD
Woody CD Images up for Testing. Phil Hands announced new
preliminary jigdo files for Woody CD Images. Phil said that images
for the Alpha and SPARC architectures are currently broken, but that
should be fixed in time for release. Please test these images and
report bugs to the debian-cd list.
SuperH Port Development Suspended. A while ago, Joey noticed not
only that the debian-superh list was rather quiet, but that the
package archive didn't contain any binary files for this architecture.
The porters are probably trying to solve a problem concerning too
many halfway-incompatible architectures. The porters are working
towards cross compiling. Anthony Towns explained later that our
SuperH port has never been an installable distribution.
Debian Best Packaging Practices. Raphaël Hertzog started to work
on a document called "Best Packaging Practices" by merging that
project with the updated Debian Developers' Reference. Adam Di
Carlo will work on a new skeleton for the document, brainstorming for
good ideas will follow, and finally contributers are needed to fill
the structure with life.
The Most Suitable Distribution for Developers? There has been an
interesting poll "What is the most suitable distribution for
software developers?" (english translation) in Geekforum, a
Korean instance of Slashdot. More than 50 % of the readers who voted
preferred Debian GNU/Linux over other GNU/Linux distributions. The
participants explained that this decision is due to Debian GNU/Linux
providing multiple versions of essential development tools and enables
the user to change between them, they have the flexibility they demand
in a distribution.
No May Day Release. The much awaited release of Woody which was
anticipated for May 1st will be postponed. Anthony Towns, the fearless
release manager, submitted a new status report, stating that the
only outstanding changes that need to be made are the standard
security fixes that need to be made throughout the lifetime of stable
anyway. His report contains a verbose description of these problems.
There is also a poor sense of timing on behalf of a fair number of
people, which slows things down.
Preparations for LinuxTag. Michael Bramer and Joey have begun
preparations for the upcoming LinuxTag, which will take place in
Germany at the beginning of next month. LinuxTag is the largest
and most important Free Software exhibition and conference in Europe.
A Debian Conference is planned during the show. People who would
like to ensure that certain things get done, should speak up on the
Bootable CDs for Mipsel. A while ago Phil Hands noticed that
mipsel CDs are not bootable and Karsten Merker explained that we
currently don't have a bootloader that can be compiled under Linux and
is also able to boot a DECstation from an ISO9660 filesystem. However,
later he announced that he had just managed to build an ISO-9660
CD that can boot a DECstation. In the meantime there has been further
work on this topic, a patch against the current debian-cd package
to allow the creation of bootable CDs for Debian/mipsel has been
posted to the debian-cd list.
Bits from the DPL. Even though we unfortunately missed this in our
last issue, Bdale Garbee thanked everyone who participated in the
election process this year, the outgoing leader, Ben Collins, and the
current secretary, Manoj Srivastava. He asked for full support for our
release manager, Anthony Towns, as he leads us through the final
preparations for our upcoming release of Debian 3.0 (Woody). This was
the first of what he hopes will be a fairly regular series of messages
from the new Debian Project Leader.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* acpi -- Displays information on ACPI devices.
* aladin -- A Uwatec dive computer to PC sync tool.
* bibcursed -- An interactive program to edit BibTeX
* dmsetup -- The Linux Kernel Device Mapper userspace library.
* ethstats -- Script that quickly measures network device
* exml -- XML 1.0 parser for Eiffel based on expat.
* gnomemeeting -- H323 Compatible Netmeeting clone for the Gnome
* pisg -- Perl IRC Statistics Generator.
* sextractor -- Builds a catalogue of objects from an
* valgrind -- A memory debugger for x86-linux.
Number of Orphaned Packages Unchanged. It seems that no packages were
orphaned this week that hadn't already been adopted as DWN went to
press. Thus, we're currently at at total of 82 orphaned packages.
Seen something interesting? Please drop us a note whenever you see
something noteworthy that you think is appropriate for inclusion in
DWN. We don't see everything, unfortunately, and this month will be a
busy one for us. Of course, we are also thankful for completely
written items from volunteer writers. We're looking forward to
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