Debian Weekly News - May 20th, 2003
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - May 20th, 2003
Welcome to this year's 20th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. While Debian is still fighting with some GCC 3.2
gotchas, the compiler developers apparently released version 3.3
already. Libranet has released version 2.8 A warm fuzzy review of
this release is here and yet another one here.
Debian Leader Delegations. Martin Michlmayr reported about work he
did during the last few weeks. Manoj Srivastava will continue to act
as project secretary and Matt Zimmerman has become a full member of
the security team. If you are interested in helping out with
security then just go ahead and help. Furthermore, Debian
memberships in other organizations and representatives are now
Report from Webb.it. Federico Di Gregorio wrote a report about the
Debian presence at the webb.it conference that took place from 9th
to 11th of May in Padova, Italy. More than 1000 workshops were held
during this conference. Italian Debian people met a lot of other
people interested in Free Software, installed Debian on some machines,
signed GPG keys, participated and held workshops and showed to
visitors a cluster of 4 Xbox machines running Debian.
Debian MIA Check. James Troup announced actions that will be taken
to handle maintainers that are missing in action (MIA). On the 12th
March he sent out a maintainer ping to 191 possibly inactive Debian
developers. 34 mails even bounced, 28 maintainers replied asking to be
retired, 10 replied that they were still active and 90 people didn't
reply within the 2 month deadline. Some accounts will be disabled in
the near future.
Handling Donations for Debian. Martin Michlmayr announced that
Mako Hill will compile a list of donations to the Debian project that
were collected outside of SPI and ffis, two non-profit
organisations that partner with Debian. The people who still hold
Debian money (e.g., from previous trade shows) are asked to
Icon or no Icon in Menus? Somebody suggested to use a default icon
for applications in window-manager menus when the application doesn't
provide an icon. Lars Wirzenius argued against this idea, since
the point of an icon is to be a visual symbol for the application and
not a random graphic.
Some important orphaned Packages. Martin Michlmayr announced that
he has orphaned several packages. Many of these packages have either
outstanding release-critical bugs or have not been uploaded by the
maintainer recently. He seeks for volunteers to fix those bugs and
eventually adopt these packages.
Important Change in lm-sensors. David Maze reported that the
binary interface in libsensors1 has changed between lm-sensors 2.6.5
and 2.7.0 without a corresponding change in the library's soname. The
correct action would be a changed soname which has to be done
upstream, who did not yet respond. It has been suggested that he
changes the soname of the library within Debian in the meantime.
Translation Dispute about changed Layout. There is a dispute
between the Apache maintainers and the French translation team. The
cause is a changed format of the package description for the French
translation which is not coherent with the original anymore. Matthias
Urlichs added that in his opinion there is a perfectly valid
reason to reformat the description since English text usually is
shorter than the equivalent in other languages.
Security Support for testing. Chris Leishman wrote a text in which
he describes why Debian should support security in testing as well.
Matt Zimmerman explains that fixed packages will automatically
migrate from unstable to testing. If unstable does not yet contain
fixed packages it would be a waste of time preparing updates for both,
testing and unstable.
Going to DebConf 3. Joachim Breitner wondered if DebConf is
worth attending even if one is not yet a registered developer. Andreas
Tille explained that DebConf in Bordeaux was his most productive
time to work for Debian. He adds that the fun thing is that there are
a lot of competent people to ask for help solving problems.
Activating GNOME Font Settings. Sander Smeenk noticed that his
font settings are stored but not activated when he restarts his X
session. Ross Burton explained that the XSETTINGS database is not
populated because Sander doesn't start GNOME via gnome-session. In
such a case gnome-settings-daemon has to be executed from the startup
script manually. Mateusz Papiernik explained how such settings are
written into the configuration file.
Translation of Manual Pages. Denis Barbier noticed that there is
currently no consensus whether translated manpages should be shipped
along with original manpages or within manpages-xx packages. This
leads to conflicts when a translation is first shipped by the latter,
then incorporated into the former (e.g. when it becomes part of
New-Maintainers' Package Repository. Daniel K. Gebhart announced
the Debian Mentors Project which implements a package repository
for people who have applied to become a Debian developer but are not
yet accepted. Since only registered Debian developers are allowed to
upload packages directly into the official Debian archive, prospective
Developers are invited to use this service.
Splitting off non-free Documentation. Colin Walters announced that
he finally split non-free components off of the doc-linux package. The
new package doc-linux-nonfree is waiting for ftpmaster approval, and
may take a little while since it has a monster copyright file.
Currently, just under 10 % of the HOWTO and mini-HOWTO documents are
Debian GNU/FreeBSD Milestone. Robert Millan announced that his
GNU/FreeBSD chroot jail is finally self-hosting and that he was able
to build working packages of glibc 2.3, GCC 3.2.3 and binutils inside
the jail. The tarball has been uploaded, but explicitly states
that this tarball is useless for anything other than development or
DFSG Analysis of Default LDP License. Branden Robinson
investigated the default license of the Linux
Documentation Project (LDP) in detail. It is also the most popular
license among LDP documents. He proposed to rewrite several sections
though, but the license basically is compliant with the "Debian
Free Software Guidelines.
New IPv6 Packages. Fabio Massimo Di Nitto announced a few changes
that happened to the archive. Until now the policy was to keep all
IPv6 packages aligned to the versions distributed in main. It is time
to break this rule with two packages because we need to accelerate the
testing process. The first package is ntp-unstable, a CVS snapshot of
ntp that supports IPv6 with one exception. The second package is
XFree86 4.3 from Daniel Stone which includes the IPv6 patch from
Constitutional Amendment. Manoj Srivastava posted this formal
proposal to amend the Debian Constitution to introduce Condorcet/Clone
Proof SSD vote tallying in elections and general resolutions. The
proposed changes are a result of the hard work of an election methods
committee. The proposal received the necessary seconds and the
official discussion period ends on Friday May 30 23:59:59 UTC
Testing the new Voting Scripts. Manoj Srivastava is currently
conducting a vote to test the new voting scripts. He is running
this vote on his home machine, pending the resolution of the fact that
devotee does not run on potato (vote.debian.org runs potato). This
vote includes a good test of the super majority calculations, since
two of the options require super majority. The test vote involves
picking one of nine colors and as Manoj said: "May the best color
Support for the Ogg Media Type. Ray Dassen reported that the Ogg
bitstream format has been designated an official MIME type in RFC
3534. It would be good to see Debian support this MIME type as much as
possible. The Ogg bitstream format is the container format employed
for the well-known Ogg Vorbis audio code. Ray added an incomplete list
of packages that require modifications.
Debian Stance on the SCO Allegation. It was asked twice last
week whether the allegations of SCO, formerly know as Caldera, a
GNU/Linux-oriented business, affect the Debian project. Ray Dassen
explained that the issue so far consists of allegations and rumors
from a company that is far along the way to obsolescence. They have
yet to produce anything that could be remotely considered evidence,
while there have been concrete indications of SCO itself violating the
GPL by the inclusion of GPLed filesystem code from the Linux kernel
into its proprietary (Unixware?) kernel. A detailed analysis was
released earlier by the Open Source Initiative.
Report from the IFIT Conference. A report about the Debian
presence at the IFIT (Informationday Free Information Technology)
that took place on 9th and 10th of May in Innsbruck, Austria, is
online. The conference started with a panel discussion with
politicians and continued with several workshops that gave a detailed
view of many projects, including the Debian development model.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* MySQL -- Multiple vulnerabilities.
* lv -- Local privilege escalation.
* sendmail -- Insecure temporary file creation.
* BitchX -- DoS and arbitrary code execution.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* cdbs -- common build system for Debian packages.
* colordiff -- Tool to colorize 'diff' output.
* dbbalancer -- Database connection pooling, load balancing and
* ddrescue -- Copies data from one file or block device to
* ethstatus -- Console-based ethernet statistics monitor.
* exim4 -- MTA (Mail Transport Agent).
* glfer -- Program for reception and transmission of QRSS/DFCW
* linwsjt -- Digital modes used for DX work on VHF/UHF and
* loki -- [Biology] MCMC linkage analysis on general pedigrees.
* retchmail -- Really fast POP3 retriever.
* rsh-redone-client -- Reimplementation of rsh and rlogin.
* rsh-redone-server -- Reimplementation of rshd and rlogind.
* scapy -- Packet generator/sniffer and network
* sleuthkit -- Tools for forensics analysis.
* splint-doc -- Documentation for splint: a tool for statically
checking C programs for bugs.
* tkcon -- Enhanced interactive console for developing in Tcl.
* trickle -- User-space bandwidth shaper.
* udptunnel -- Tunnel UDP packets over a TCP connection.
* xsim -- X Simple Input Method.
Orphaned Packages. Three packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 184 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.
* libauthen-sasl-cyrus-perl -- Perl extension for Cyrus SASL
* openag -- Open alternative to AudioGalaxy Satellite.
* xpvm -- Graphical console and monitor for PVM.
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