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Debian Weekly News - April 22nd, 2003

Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - April 22nd, 2003

Welcome to this year's 16th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. Steven Frank took a [1]look at patents and Free
Software and estimated the danger of the recent [2]lawsuit against
IBM. Bruce Perens also [3]examinated patents and Free Software. The
European Parliament is likely to ratify a Software Patent Directive in
May. The [4]ffii is calling for people to [5]sign their proposed

 1. http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1107-997082.html
 2. http://www.opensource.org/sco-vs-ibm.html
 3. http://perens.com/Articles/Patents.html
 4. http://swpat.ffii.org/
 5. http://petition.ffii.org/eubsa/en

Resumé from Bdale Garbee. On the last day of Bdale's leadership of
Debian he sent in a final [6]report about his term and in which he
also talks about the future. Bdale will continue to give [7]talks
about Debian and several events are already being negotiated. His
future focus will be the IA64 port of Debian and keeping it healthy.
He remains concerned about the health of [8]SPI, and SPI's
relationship to Debian.

 6. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce-0304/msg00008.html
 7. http://www.gag.com/~bdale/talks/
 8. http://www.spi-inc.org/

DWN translation in Alioth. Ignacio García Fernández [9]reported about
the effort to translate DWN into his native tongue. Over the previous
months the Spanish translation of DWN became a group task. Now that
[10]alioth is available, the team thought that it could be a good idea
to use it and started the [11]dwn-trans project. This project intends
to be language independant so could be utilised by the other
translation efforts for DWN as well.

 9. http://lists.debian.org/debian-www-0304/msg00175.html
 10. https://alioth.debian.org/
 11. https://alioth.debian.org/projects/dwn-trans/

Bits from the new Project Leader. Martin Michlmayr sent his first
[12]message as Debian Project Leader. He thanked Manoj and Bdale for
their work and encouraged anyone to feel free to contact him with
ideas or concerns. Martin is concerned about the next release, because
at the moment there are many open release-critical bugs. Furthermore
the new [13]debian-installer project still requires a significant
amount of work.

 12. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce-0304/msg00009.html
 13. http://raw.no/d-i/getting_started.html

Improving the Speed GNU/Linux Applications. Cameron Laird has written
an [14]article about two different approaches to increasing the
performance of applications: the easy way and the hard way. The easy
approarch is to give the user more feedback on the progress of the
application, since this allows the user to feel more content with
waiting. The hard way is more difficult since it requires algorithm
tuning and careful measurement of the used tools and libraries in
order to speed up the process itself. The old Unix rule applies: first
make it correct, than optimize for speed.

 14. http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/l-perf/?ca=dgr-lnxw83FasterLinux

Total Computer Newbies meet Debian. Charles Williams wrote a
[15]usability study about a family that had decided it wanted
GNU/Linux installed on their new computer. In the [16]second part of
the article the author describes what happened after the installation
and after the users spent some time using their Debian system.

 15. http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=3213
 16. http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=3293

Debian Freebies illegal? In our [17]April 1st issue we reported about
a new [18]law in Germany that intends to save young people from
suffering from violent computer games but which is likely to affect
the Debian project as well. Michael Banck received a [19]response from
a journalist who advised us to apply for child-safe classification for
the entire Debian CD that some Debian people plan to give away at
upcoming exhibitions. It only costs EUR 1000.

 17. file://localhost/../../News/weekly/2003/13/
 18. http://www.usk.de/JuSchG/
 19. http://lists.debian.org/debian-events-eu-0304/msg00045.html

Implementing W3C Recommendations? Thomas Bliesener [20]noted that
almost the whole Debian website meets the HTML standards except some
online documentation which seems to be caused by a [21]problem with
debiandoc2html. However, some packages ship documentation that is non
conforming and some produce HTML code which is not
standards-compliant. Ray Dassen [22]explained that having our
documentation conform to W3C standards and recommendations is
desirable, but not a binding requirement.

 20. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0304/msg00976.html
 21. http://bugs.debian.org/188117
 22. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0304/msg00980.html

Multiarchitecture Binary Packages. Barak Pearlmutter [23]remembered
that some years ago, NeXT modified GCC and the rest of the GNU
toolchain to allow them to produce multi-architecture binaries, so
that a single binary executable could run on both m68k and i386
platforms. They also had a tool that could strip out hunks for
unwanted architectures. He proposed to resurrect this code and build
11+ architectures into each architecture-binary Debian package.

 23. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0304/msg01035.html

Maintainers and RC Bugs. Andrew Suffield [24]created a sorted (most
release-critical bugs first) list of maintainers who have excessive
numbers of old RC bugs open against their packages. Bugs less than 30
days old are not considered. The list is sorted using a score
proportional to the age and severity of each bug. It is fairly likely
that some of these are bugs which should have been closed.

 24. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce-0304/msg00007.html

Debian violating Copyright of ReiserFS? Hans Reiser, the author of
[25]ReiserFS, [26]asked Debian to explain why the credits and
attributions from the reiserfs utilities had been removed in violation
of the copyright. He explained that clauses were included forbidding
the removal of credits, although he never expected Debian to be a
culprit. Jarno Elonen [27]pointed out that these extra clauses are
located in the README file rather than the COPYING file and the
reiserfs maintainer probably inadvertantly overlooked them. Ben
Collins [28]noted that this could render ReiserFS non-free.

 25. http://www.reiserfs.org/
 26. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0304/msg01295.html
 27. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0304/msg01317.html
 28. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0304/msg01332.html

Debian for Lawyers Sub-project. Jeremy Malcolm [29]proposed a new
sub-project called [30]Debian-Lex, which would target Debian at
lawyers. This would contain some obvious selections from the existing
pool such as OpenOffice.org, Evolution and Gnotime, but it would also
need some other packages that aren't yet in Debian such as SQL-Ledger
(which will be packaged soon). Jeremy also intends to put together a
database schema that will serve as the basis for a legal client and
matter database. There was [31]support for the idea, although there
was some [32]discussion over the Debian-Lex name.

 29. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0304/msg01285.html
 30. http://people.debian.org/~terminus/debian-lex/
 31. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0304/msg01291.html
 32. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0304/msg01328.html

Management of Configuration Files with Debconf. Colin Walters
[33]demanded that packages do not use debconf to manage their
configuration files. He pointed out that [34]policy requires that
local changes must be preserved during a package upgrade. When a
package defaults to managing its configuration files with debconf,
local changes can be destroyed without the user knowing. Joey Hess
also [35]demanded that debconf not be used for notes that properly
belong in README.Debian. He [36]knows that some packages do things
right, but even if 10 % of packages misuse debconf the whole system
looks bad. Joey's [37]debconf presentation might be a good starting
place to learn about the proper use of debconf.

 33. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0304/msg01145.html
 34. file://localhost/../../doc/debian-policy/ch-files.html#s11.7.3
 35. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0304/msg01248.html
 36. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0304/msg01289.html
 37. http://kitenet.net/~joey/debconf-debconf/

Building a Firewall with Pebble. Glenn Stone [38]described how to use
[39]Pebble, a Debian-lite distribution to get a homemade firewall up
and running. He described installation and setup on an old Dell
486D/50, with 16 MB of RAM. Pebble is only 17 MB compressed and the
final system ended up being 81 MB on the disk. Glenn thought this
would be a good way to build a firewall on a budget. It also makes
adding extras like a mini-web server or mail proxy as simple as an
apt-get install command.

 38. http://www.linuxjournal.com/article.php?sid=6787
 39. http://www.nycwireless.net/pebble/

Call for Debian Conference Topics. With two Debian conferences taking
place later this year, [40]a call went out for ideas on which topics
and parts of Debian those who might attend would like to see covered
by talks and/or workshops. The coordinator of Debian's [41]LinuxTag
involvement would love to be flooded with ideas to add to his list and
for which speakers could be sought. Ideas for [42]Debian Conference 3
can be added to the [43]to do list in the hope that somebody will
submit a talk on that subject.

 40. http://lists.debian.org/debian-user-0304/msg03306.html
 41. file://localhost/../../events/2003/0710-linuxtag
 42. file://localhost/../../events/2003/0718-debconf
 43. http://www.debconf.org/debconf3/todo.php

Update on Debian for x86-64. Arnd Bergmann [44]reported that the
toolchain and basic utilities for x86-64 work. He made [45]available
biarch packages that are able to produce code for the new architecture
as well as for i386. These packages should work as a drop-in
replacement for the single-arch i386 packages in Debian/sid. They were
tested in [46]Bochs, an IA-32 and x86-64 PC emulator.

 44. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0304/msg00978.html
 45. http://www.arndb.de/debian/
 46. http://bochs.sourceforge.net/

Missing Support for UTF-8? Nikolai Prokoschenko [47]noted that
recently released font packages only contain latin1 characters and
not, for example, Russian which he needs. Manoj Srivastava [48]replied
with a note about how Free Software works: If it scratches your itch,
fix it and send patches. Henrique de Moraes Holschuh [49]added that he
would create a sub-project "Debian-desktop-RU" that had all defaults
tweaked so that it would work properly.

 47. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0304/msg01347.html
 48. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0304/msg01399.html
 49. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-0304/msg01412.html

Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.

 * [50]OpenSSL -- Decipher vulnerability.
 * [51]rinetd -- Denial of service.
 * [52]sendmail-wide -- DoS and arbitrary code execution.
 * [53]ircII -- DoS and arbitrary code execution.
 * [54]mime-support -- Temporary file race conditions.

 50. file://localhost/../../security/2003/dsa-288
 51. file://localhost/../../security/2003/dsa-289
 52. file://localhost/../../security/2003/dsa-290
 53. file://localhost/../../security/2003/dsa-291
 54. file://localhost/../../security/2003/dsa-292

New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.

 * [55]bootcd-mkinitrd -- bootcd extension to create an initrd-image
   usable for bootcd.
 * [56]cherrypy -- Python-based tool for developing dynamic web
 * [57]cvm-dev -- Credential Validation Modules (development files,
 * [58]dbus-1 -- Simple inter-process messaging system.
 * [59]duplicity -- Encrypted bandwidth-efficient backup.
 * [60]eclipse-source -- Eclipse source code.
 * [61]fastlink-doc -- [Biology] Some papers about fastlink.
 * [62]fluidsynth -- Real-time software synthesizer based on the
   Soundfont2 specifications.
 * [63]foomatic-filters -- Linuxprinting.org printer support.
 * [64]geki2 -- Vertical shoot'em-up.
 * [65]geki3 -- Horizontal shoot'em-up.
 * [66]glark -- Pattern matching tool similar to grep.
 * [67]gnupod-tools -- Collection of Perl-scripts for iPod.
 * [68]gringotts -- Store passwords in an encrypted file.
 * [69]hostapd -- 802.11x access daemon for hostap driver.
 * [70]initscripts -- Standard scripts needed for booting and
   shutting down.
 * [71]kde-amusements -- The K Desktop Environment (Games and Toys).
 * [72]mordor -- Multi User Dungeon game server.
 * [73]multitail -- Views multiple logfiles windowed on console.
 * [74]pork -- Console-based AOL Instant Messenger client.
 * [75]quickml -- Very-easy-to-use mailing list system.
 * [76]sonar -- Console chat via ICMP (ping) echo-request packets.
 * [77]sqwebmail-de -- German translations for the SqWebMail webmail
 * [78]ttf-dustin -- Various TrueType fonts from dustismo.com.
 * [79]xt-aterm -- Data type (Tree) for exchange in distributed

 55. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/utils/bootcd-mkinitrd.html
 56. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/web/cherrypy.html
 57. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/libdevel/cvm-dev.html
 58. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/devel/dbus-1.html
 59. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/utils/duplicity.html
 60. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/devel/eclipse-source.html
 61. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/science/fastlink-doc.html
 62. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/sound/fluidsynth.html
 63. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/text/foomatic-filters.html
 64. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/games/geki2.html
 65. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/games/geki3.html
 66. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/utils/glark.html
 67. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/sound/gnupod-tools.html
 68. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/admin/gringotts.html
 69. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/net/hostapd.html
 70. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/base/initscripts.html
 71. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/kde/kde-amusements.html
 72. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/games/mordor.html
 73. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/utils/multitail.html
 74. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/net/pork.html
 75. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/mail/quickml.html
 76. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/net/sonar.html
 77. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/mail/sqwebmail-de.html
 78. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/x11/ttf-dustin.html
 79. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/devel/xt-aterm.html

Orphaned Packages. 21 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 196 orphaned packages. Many
thanks to the previous maintainers who contributed to the Free
Software community. Please see the [80]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.

 80. file://localhost/../../devel/wnpp/

 * [81]bg5cc -- Big-5 wide-characters rectifier. ([82]Bug#189818)
 * [83]bg5ps -- Utility to print Chinese Big5/GB documents using
   TrueType fonts. ([84]Bug#189816)
 * [85]cce -- Console Chinese Environment - display Chinese (GB) on
   console. ([86]Bug#189523)
 * [87]ccf -- Chinese encodings (GB/Big5/HZ) conversion filter.
 * [89]cedictb5 -- Chinese/English dictionary data file (Big5).
 * [91]cedictgb -- Chinese/English dictionary data file (GB).
 * [93]cedicttools -- Various tools to use with the CEDict data.
 * [95]cxterm -- Chinese terminal emulator for the X Window System.
 * [97]dnrd -- Proxy DNS daemon ([98]Bug#189659)
 * [99]doc-linux-zh-s -- Linux HOWTOs and mini-HOWTOs in Simplified
   Chinese in HTML. ([100]Bug#189525)
 * [101]icmpush -- ICMP packet builder. ([102]Bug#189625)
 * [103]lpkg -- Newton MessagePad PDA Package Loader.
 * [105]ptknettools -- Selection of Internet service clients written
   in Perl/Tk. ([106]Bug#189809)
 * [107]slmon -- Simple S-Lang based system performance monitor.
 * [109]sphinx2 -- Speech recognition library. ([110]Bug#189693)
 * [111]t1lib -- Type 1 font rasterizer library. ([112]Bug#189694)
 * [113]ttfprint -- Utility to print Chinese text using truetype
   fonts. ([114]Bug#189528)
 * [115]xautolock -- Start a program if the X session is idle for
   some time. ([116]Bug#189522)
 * [117]zh-sgmltools -- Wrapper for SGMLtools to process Chinese.

 81. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/devel/bg5cc.html
 82. http://bugs.debian.org/189818
 83. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/text/bg5ps.html
 84. http://bugs.debian.org/189816
 85. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/utils/cce.html
 86. http://bugs.debian.org/189523
 87. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/text/ccf.html
 88. http://bugs.debian.org/189529
 89. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/text/cedictb5.html
 90. http://bugs.debian.org/189524
 91. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/text/cedictgb.html
 92. http://bugs.debian.org/189531
 93. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/text/cedicttools.html
 94. http://bugs.debian.org/189530
 95. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/x11/cxterm-common.html
 96. http://bugs.debian.org/189817
 97. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/net/dnrd.html
 98. http://bugs.debian.org/189659
 99. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/doc/doc-linux-zh-s.html
 100. http://bugs.debian.org/189525
 101. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/net/icmpush.html
 102. http://bugs.debian.org/189625
 103. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/otherosfs/lpkg.html
 104. http://bugs.debian.org/189526
 105. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/net/ptknettools.html
 106. http://bugs.debian.org/189809
 107. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/utils/slmon.html
 108. http://bugs.debian.org/189810
 109. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/libs/libsphinx2g0.html
 110. http://bugs.debian.org/189693
 111. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/libs/t1lib1.html
 112. http://bugs.debian.org/189694
 113. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/text/ttfprint.html
 114. http://bugs.debian.org/189528
 115. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/x11/xautolock.html
 116. http://bugs.debian.org/189522
 117. http://packages.debian.org/unstable/text/zh-sgmltools.html
 118. http://bugs.debian.org/189527

Want to continue reading DWN? Please help us create this newsletter.
We still need more volunteer writers who investigate the Debian
community and report about events in the community. Please see the
[119]contributing page to find out how to help. We're looking forward
to receiving your mail at [120]dwn@debian.org.

 119. file://localhost/../../News/weekly/contributing
 120. mailto:dwn@debian.org

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