Debian Weekly News - September 10th, 2002
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - September 10th, 2002
Welcome to this year's 35th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. The most interesting news for this week probably
is the removal of Qmail from Debian's list server. Thanks to the
admin and listmaster team, the server now happily runs Postfix.
Additionally, those who own an X-Box, may want to run Debian on
Placement of PHP Files. Matthew Palmer wondered where libraries
and programs for PHP packages should be installed. There is a mini
policy in development that will probably document the correct
location for PHP extension libraries which are written in PHP.
Installing the files into /var/www may end up in the wrong web space,
however, installing them into another directory and linking it into
the real web space may not work with all web servers.
Handling of Task Packages. Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña asked
how tasks are currently handled in Debian. Joey Hess explained
that the canonical source of the task information is the source of
tasksel. Information about tasks is extracted by some program
belonging to the release manager and used to generate the relevant
overrides file. That in turn is used to populate the information to
the Packages files, which are then seen by tasksel and aptitude.
CPU optimized OpenSSL packages? Christoph Martin wondered whether
there is an opinion or policy on optimized library versions. Mike
Stone added that OpenSSL has processor-specific assembly routines
that are selected at compile time and Christoph explained that
optimizing for 80486 instead of 80386 causes a speedup of 2 times
and optimizing for sparcv8 instead of sparcv7 even results in a
speedup of 8 times. Selecting some optimization at run time would
probably be worth it.
Download of non-US illegal in US? Richard Atterer noticed that the
CD FAQ tells US residents that it's OK for them to download
software in non-us for private use. However, since crypto software is
included in the main archive, much of what is left over in the non-US
archive, includes patent-encumbered software. If a US citizen
downloads and uses such software, he might violate U.S. patents
Input from Donald Knuth on TeX License Discussion. David Carlisle
found a statement from Donald Knuth on the distribution of
modified Computer Modern TeX fonts, that heats up the discussion.
Even though the fonts are placed in the public domain, modified
versions should not be named as the original, which would cause a
violation of Debian's guidelines if this is required.
Debian Trademark in Spain. Back in May, a person associated to a
Spanish training company obviously registrated the term Debian as
trademark. Jacobo Tarrio found out that there are three such
applications. Ignacio García Fernández added an explanation by the
company in question.
Java Policy Discussion. Ola Lundqvist wrote that since woody is
released he would like to propose that the proposed Java Policy be
made official. Ola is seeking comment on it and requests a discussion.
The proposed policy talks about virtual machines, Java libraries,
programs and compilers.
Renaming Boot Script Utilities. Henrique de Moraes Holschuh
proposed the transition of invoke-rc.d, policy-rc.d and
update-rc.d to rc.d-invoke, rc.d-policy and rc.d-update. The
transition requires a policy change to demand the use of the new
scripts now and another policy change after sarge is released to
require the use of the new scripts. Symlinks for compatibility will be
installed, so the transition won't break an existing installation or
package. Anthony Towns, though, considers it a waste of time, for
no technical benefit.
Monitorless Installation. Mario Lang tries to figure the best way
to integrate accessibility support into the debian-installer. The goal
is to allow installation with completely different display types than
a normal monitor. This will allow easier installations for the
Graphical Installer? Michael Cardenas released his patch to
cdebconf that adds a gtk2.0 frontend. It still required a little bit
of work but others finished it and Tollef Fog Heen already
committed it. This is an important step forward in the direction
of a graphical installer for Debian.
Bug Reports as a Mailbox. Adam Heath announced that he installed a
new CGI program for the Debian Bug Tracking System. The new CGI
program supports mime parsing of the debbugs log data and thus
provides the ability to download the entire bug report and answers as
a standard mailbox file. All attachments to a particular mail also
contain download links for easy retrieving of the attachment.
Evaluating Package Integrity. Jérôme Marant reminded developers of
a talk Martin Michlmayr gave at Debian Conference 1 on regression
testing of packages. Regression tests are tests that are made to
ensure that the behaviour of a given program has not changed across
releases. Testing the installation could done by using
pbuilder. Additionally, an existing framework for testing the
behaviour of a package is already included in Debian.
On Moving Configuration Files. Joey Hess exhorted that it is the
duty of a package or its scripts respectively to deal with moving a
configuration file if the files were moved between updates. The
policy mentions that the maintainer should check for an upgrade to
a version in which the conffile no longer exists, and use debconf to
ask the user wether or not they would like the conffile removed.
New DebianEdu Subproject. Raphaël Hertzog announced the birth of
the DebianEdu subproject. This subproject aims to make Debian the best
distribution available for educational use. He hopes that this
subproject will cooperate with similar initiatives like the french
Debian Education distribution (French only) and SkoleLinux in
Technical Review for Debian Securing Manual. Javier Fernández-Sanguino
Peña is seeking people for a technical review of the Debian
Securing Manual. Some sections require a rewrite, especially the
configuration checklist, which is no longer reflective. Also, not all
translations are up-to-date.
Changing the Documentation Structure. Rob Bradford proposed to
tidy up the way the Debian Documentation Project implements its
namespace. Currently there doesn't seem to be a consistant scheme.
Therefore he proposed to use a directory structure like
/doc/manuals/<lang>/<manual-name>/<format>/, together with specially
crafted index files in each subdirectory. This will be quite an
excessive change compared with the current directory
/doc/manuals/<manual-name>/ for HTML and
/doc/manuals/<lang>/<manual-name>.<format> for other formats for most
(but not all) documents. Unfortunately this would also break
Reviewing Policy. Manoj Srivastava started to review pending bug
reports against Debian Policy. He commented on twelve such
reports. They cover perl module naming, postscript file
requirements, adding the GNU Free Documentation License to
the list of free licenses, the menu policy and others.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* Mantis -- Privilege escalation.
* ethereal -- Buffer overflow.
* mhonarc -- Cross site scripting.
* cacti -- Arbitrary code execution.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* aseqview -- ALSA Sequencer Event Viewer.
* avview -- TV viewing and capture software for ATI video cards.
* blackbook -- GTK+ Address Book Applet.
* blackhole-exim -- Spam/Virus Blocking/General email filtering.
* carpaltunnel -- Configuration helper for OpenVPN.
* eterm-themes -- Themes for Eterm, the Enlightened Terminal
* jlint -- A Java Program Checker.
* keylookup -- A tool to fetch keys from keyservers.
* lpairs -- The classical memory card game.
* mairix -- Indexes and searches email in Maildir and MH
* mp32ogg -- Converts MP3 file to Ogg Vorbis.
* mpeg2dec -- Simple libmpeg2 video decoder application.
* slash -- The code that runs Slashdot.
* statslog -- An IRC Channel Logger.
* tdfsb -- A 3D filesystem browser.
* terminatorx -- A realtime audio synthesizer.
* totem -- A simple movie player for the Gnome desktop based on
* xdx -- DX-cluster client for amateur radio.
Orphaned Packages. 2 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 113 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.
* kde-theme-plessky -- Matte family of themes for KDE.
* kleandisk -- a file cleanup and backup tool for KDE.
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