Debian Weekly News - November 5th, 2002
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - November 5th, 2002
Welcome to this year's 43rd issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. This week we are pleased to include items by
Matt Black and David Kimdon. A survey about trends in the
information technology of the German computer magazine iX shows Debian
as an outperformer among the GNU/Linux distributions with a growth
from 6 % to 20 % compared with the last survey.
Debian Security Survey. A member of the security team sent letter
trying to gather information about what users and organisations think
about and expect from the Debian Security Team. Since the security
team naturally cannot support potato endlessly, security updates for
potato will end some day. However, there are still organisations that
cannot simply upgrade their potato environment to woody, hence, some
negotiation is required.
Is Debian an Anarchist Organization? Jonathan Walther heard some
people saying that the Debian project is a good example of anarchy in
action. He wanted to know what to tell people who ask if Debian is
anarchic? Sean Perry wondered how a group of people numbering
around a thousand and at any one point in time having at least a
hundred active members could claim to be anarchistic? He also points
out that anarchy like dictatorship is an extreme and extremes do not
work well with people. Russell Coker acknowledged that Debian has
some anarchistic tendencies, though.
Installing and Configuring ALSA Sound Modules. Linux Orbit
explains how to install and configure ALSA sound modules with
Debian GNU/Linux. The HOWTO starts with compiling a custom kernel and
modules and continues with a detailed explanation how to set up ALSA
using the script provided by Debian so that modules are automatically
loaded and unloaded, and your mixer levels are saved and restored on
Update for the Woody Distribution. More than three months after Debian
3.0 was released the stable release manager sent a status report
about his preparations for an update of the stable distribution.
The update will mostly consist of security updates but also include
updates to packages that got lost during the freeze of woody.
Files in /usr/share must be World-Readable. Matthew Swift filed a
general bug suggesting that all files in /usr/share ought to be
world-readable since they are to be shared among different machines.
He also pointed out that this is a requirement in the Filesystem
Hierarchy Standard. For example, Matthew had found that certain files
from several packages were not world-readable. Steve Greenland
replied that the Debian policy already requires this.
TWAIN Image Acquisition for Debian. Bdale Garbee announced that he
has received a request from the TWAIN Working Group for a contact
to work with in Debian. They want to know how a new port of the TWAIN
drivers to Unix and GNU/Linux could best be made available to Debian
users. Bdale's personal needs are currently adequately met by the SANE
driver and it's been a long time since he looked at anything TWAIN
related, so he asks if anyone is interested?
Setting up a Debian Log Server. Vincent Hillier has written an
article about how to deploy a remote logging server using Debian.
The article is quite detailed with an emphasis on securing the server
to ensure it is not compromised. The target audience is newcomers to
GNU/Linux, although experienced users should find it to be a good
Setting up X-Terminals with Debian. Alan W. Irwin wrote
instructions for setting up GNU/Linux-based X-Terminals with
Debian. The goal is to run all your X clients (KDE, GNOME, OpenOffice,
etc.) in a transparent manner on a powerful computer and simply use a
slow computer (the X-Terminal) to display the results and control that
display with keyboard and mouse. This setup is particularly useful for
bringing an old PC back to useful life.
Licensing Issues with UnrealIRCd. Mika Fischer asked for advice on
a new UnrealIRCd license clause that seemed to imply that the license
could be modified retrospectively. Branden Robinson and others
pointed out that this would violate the Debian Free Software
Guidelines (DFSG). Branden was also concerned about the apparent
requirement for a click-through license acceptance ceremony. Mika
talked to the UnrealIRCd author, who amended the license to
clarify that it was not meant to apply retrospectively. However,
Branden feels that the requirement of a click-through license
acceptance ceremony, if in fact it is a requirement, could be
Does the Source CD1 correspond to Binary CD1? The GNU General
Public License requires somebody distributing binaries to also
provide the source code or an offer (valid for three years) to provide
that source code. Blars Blarson wondered whether the entire
sourcecode for woody's first binary CD could be found on the first
source CD, or whether he would need to grab all the source CDs in
order to distribute the first binary CD. Raphaël Hertzog advised
that although source packages are generally added to CDs in a similar
order as the binary packages, there are several reasons why the CDs
will not exactly correspond. People who do not wish to redistribute
the full set of Debian CDs could generate their own CD of matching
source code if they wish to avoid collecting the entire set of source
Low-cost Computing for Rural Spain. The Washington Post reports
about a Debian-based distribution for the Extremadura, a rural
region of western Spain. To eliminate some of the headaches, the
Extremadura government paid a Spanish company, to take one of the free
versions of GNU/Linux and make it suitable for public distribution. It
is great to see Debian's ease of customization and open structure
put to such good use. With so many Debian-based distributions popping
up perhaps we need a more organized way of pulling fixes and
enhancements back into Debian.
Leaving the LZW Algorithm in Source Files? Chris Halls asked if he
may leave a source file that implements a patented algorithm (LZW
compression for GIFs) in the source tarball for OpenOffice.org. The
file is not built or distributed in the binary packages, though.
Walter Landry claims that you are not allowed to distribute an
implementation of a patent and Branden Robinson added that Debian
should not be shipping anything in "main" that isn't DFSG-free.
Problems with Wordlist. Kevin Atkinson reported that due to the
discussion of a possible problem with the license for aspell-en,
the new version 0.50 may not get uploaded to Debian. One of the
included wordlists comes from the DEC Systems Research Center which
has a license that is not DFSG-compliant as written.
Re-Packaging GNOME 1. Josselin Mouette stated that he is willing
to make it possible to install Gnome 1 on a Debian system, without
confliciting with Gnome 2. He believes that the GNOME desktop version
2 lacks large parts of GNOME 1.4's functionality, and suffers from
incompatibilities. Colin Walters pondered if it wouldn't be better
to just work on adding back missing functionality.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* Kerberos 4 -- Buffer overflow.
* Heimdal -- Buffer overflow.
* log2mail -- Buffer overflow.
* Apache -- Several vulnerabilities.
* Apache-SSL -- Several vulnerabilities.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* acl2 -- Applicative Common Lisp: A Computational Logic.
* amoeba -- Fast-paced, polished OpenGL demonstration by Excess.
* blop -- Bandlimited wavetable-based oscillator plugins for
* docker -- System tray for KDE3/GNOME2 docklet applications.
* domesday -- Automatic website index generator.
* drupal -- Fully-featured content management/discussion engine.
* filtergen -- Packet filter generator for various firewall
* fsh -- Fast remote command execution over rsh/ssh/lsh.
* ggobi -- Data visualization system for high-dimensional data.
* gnometab -- WYSISYG GNOME2 Program for creating guitar tabs.
* idecrypt -- Decrypt an encrypted response from pidentd.
* iso-codes -- ISO language, territory codes and their
* isoqlog -- Mail Transport Agent log analysis program.
* jenova -- Say2 chat server.
* lsmbox -- List number of total/unread messages for mailboxes.
* ltp -- The Linux Test Project test suite.
* mico -- A fully compliant CORBA implementation, executables.
* netmon-applet -- GNOME2 Network Load Applet.
* netspeed -- Traffic monitor applet for Gnome2.
* osflash -- Reflash the OS of a Palm Computing Device.
* passwdgen -- Small utility for generating random passwords.
* pia -- Movie Player.
* pngmeta -- Display metadata information from PNG images.
* quick-lounge-applet -- GNOME 2 Panel Applet to organize your
* quicktime-utils -- Quicktime Utilities.
* randomize-lines -- Randomize lines of input text.
* romeo -- The Palm ROM Discombobulator.
* rssh -- A restricted shell allowing only scp and/or sftp.
* simulavr -- Atmel AVR simulator.
* spamoracle -- A statistical analysis spam filter based on
* tv-fonts -- X11 fonts for TV applications.
* waimea -- A highly customizable window manager based on
Orphaned Packages. 5 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 141 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.
* bug -- Bug Reporting Tool interfacing with the Bug Tracking
* gnudip -- Scripts to enable a server to provide dynamic IP to
name mappings. (Bug#167467)
* libming -- Library to generate SWF (Flash) Files.
* libming-fonts-openoffice -- Fonts for use with the Ming
Library for SWF Creation. (Bug#166990)
* tux-aqfh -- 3D Puzzle Game with Tux the Penguin.
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