Debian Weekly News - January 21st, 2003
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - January 21st, 2003
Welcome to this year's third issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is
seeking nominations for their annual Pioneer Awards, honoring
those who extend freedom and inovation in the information technology.
Nominations are due by February 1st, 2003.
Rescueing /var. Nicholas Petreley of LinuxWorld.com somehow
managed to backup the wrong partition and found himself with a
Debian system missing the /var directory. All the important package
information lives in /var/lib/dpkg, in particular the
/var/lib/dpkg/status file. Nicholas describes the three lessons he
learned in recovering from an accidental deletion of the /var/lib/dpkg
Debian older than Humanity? Tomas Pospisek reported that the
Debian Swirl can be cleary seen on one of the pictures taken
by NASA's orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. For example, check the
lower right hand corner of the image. Perhaps this is proof that
grains for Debian were sowed long before the dawn of humanity.
Debian Presentations. Wolfgang Borgert was looking for a set of
slides on dpkg, apt-get and debconf. Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña
intends to provide a 'presentations' section in the Debian
Documentation Project and has already created an archive of
slides. Whilst the Debian web site does link to talks given by
developers and some sample slides, it is difficult to gather this
information and publish it in a homogeneous way. Talks should be
reported to email@example.com and forwarded to him.
Making Debconf Mandatory for Prompting Users? Adrian Bunk
suggested to change the Debian policy to require all user prompts
in maintainer scripts to be performed by debconf. This would
greatly ease things like automated upgrading of multiple computers.
Petter Reinholdtsen provided a list of packages that he had
trouble with because they do not use debconf.
MingW32 for all Architectures? Currently, the MingW32 package is
only released for the IA-32 architecture for no technical reason.
However, Steven G. Johnson reported that he has modified the build
process and built the package on the PowerPC platform. He
emphasises that the only code that is actually compiled for a non-x86
host belongs to gcc and binutils. Hence, the package should work on
all architectures, unless there is a bug in GCC. Ron Lee indicated
that new packages will be uploaded, that should run on all
Antialiasing with GNOME. Bill Moseley discoverd antialiased fonts,
he wanted to turn off, and Michael Sullivan also noticed a major
upgrade with regards to font antialiasing. Fonts should look smoother
but some people find that they just seem blurred, that they are more
difficult to read, and even hurt the eyes. GTK 2.2 provides
support for them but this feature can easily be turned off with an
Documenting Package Tuning. Andreas Tille noted that there are several
situations where packages have to be configured to work together under
certain circumstances of operation or hardware technology, which may
be difficult. He came up with an idea to collect some kind of
knowledge base for those cases. This should probably be written by the
community and could be maintained as a Wiki, DDP document or
Splitting out Documentation Packages. Adam Heath almost ran out of
space and noticed that his /usr/share/doc directory contains 380 MB of
documentation. Adrian von Bidder concluded that documentation
which uses a significant amount of space should be split out into a
documentation package and neither of them should depend on each other.
Jochen Voss finally proposed a recommendation for such a package
License Problem with Glibc. Johan Walles reported about
Bug#171659 that reveals that glibc contains sourcecode from Sun
Microsystems, Inc. Brian Carlson says that it places restrictions on
distribution as an independent work, failing DFSG paragraph 1. It
also fails DFSG paragraph 3 because it prohibits distribution of
modifications of the original work as modifications. Jeff Bailey is
working with upstream to start a reimplementation.
KDE 3.1 for Woody and Ägypten. Ralf Nolden announced that he has
uploaded Debian packages for KDE 3.1 and woody and i386 to the
KTown server. While he was at it he added a complete set of woody
packages for Ägypten. This includes required packages that were
backported from unstable where available.
Conferences in January. The Debian project announced that it will
be present at three conferences this month. The first one refers to
the Debian Mini-Conf prior to the Linux Conference Australia
where many Debian developers attend and give talks on various
topics. From January 22nd to 24th Debian will maintain a booth at the
Linuxworld Conference and Expo in New York and from January 23rd
to 26th the Debian project will maintain a booth at the Hamburger
Computer Tage in Hamburg, Germany.
Debian at CeBIT Exhibition? The Debian project has been offered to
participate in the upcoming CeBIT exhibition in Germany. This could
include installations on customers' notebooks, a booth presentations
and talks. Even though booths don't have to be present on all days, it
would be easier to maintain if at least one person would be around on
all days. Michael Meskes offered to give some talks and Roland
Bauerschmidt volunteered for the booth. The time to organize
things is very tight, so active people are needed.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* IMP -- SQL injection.
* Bugzilla -- Unauthorized data modification.
* dhcp3 -- Arbitrary code execution.
* CUPS -- Several vulnerabilities.
* CVS -- Arbitrary command execution.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* aqsis -- Applications implementing the RenderMan Interface.
* cbmconvert -- Converts different Commodore file formats
between each other.
* cgp -- Curses General Player - general player interface for
* cwdaemon -- Morse daemon for the parallel port.
* dchroot -- Execute commands under different root filesystems.
* divxcalc -- Bitrate calculator for DivX:-) movies.
* drwright -- GNOME 2 program to remind you to take breaks.
* dvipdfmx -- DVI to PDF translator with CJK support.
* e2recover -- Automated tool for ext2 undeletion.
* gnucash-hbci -- Personal finance tracking program.
* hinfo -- Check address ownership and DNSBL listings for spam
* muttprofile -- Utility to choose profiles in Mutt.
* picalib -- Set of PICA helper scripts and configuration files.
* poppass-cgi -- CGI script to interact with a poppassd server.
* pyqt-tools -- Pyuic and pylupdate for Qt3.
* searchandrescue-common -- Common files and documentation for
* sidplay -- Music player for tunes from C64 and C128 (console).
* smarteiffel -- The GNU Eiffel compiler.
* ts10 -- Emulators for various old computers.
* tutos -- The Ultimate Team Organisation Sofware.
Orphaned Packages. 3 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 165 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.
* blender-powerpc -- Very fast and versatile 3D modeller/renderer.
* prozgui -- FLTK-based GUI front end for prozilla.
* xdigger -- A XWindow-game like Boulderdash (without
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