Debian Weekly News - May 27th, 2003
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - May 27th, 2003
Welcome to this year's 21st issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. The GNOME project released their unstable
snapshot of GNOME (version 2.3.2) for testing. The miniwoody CD, which
offers a stripped down variant of Debian woody, has been renamed
to Bonzai Linux.
Donations Wishlist. Wouter Verhelst proposed to create a donations
wishlist similar to the one FreeBSD developers maintain. The list
requires people to state how they would use the hardware. If someone
works on something which is important to someone elses business, a
donation could be to the benefit of both.
Proposal to remove Mosix. Francesco Lovergine proposed to remove
all Mosix packages from the archive. Currently, Debian ships both
Mosix and OpenMosix. However, OpenMosix is more actively maintained
and even contains support for IA-64. It was forked off of Mosix when
Prof. Barak changed the license into a proprietary one.
Packages with I18n Support disabled. Denis Barbier compiled a list
of source packages that contain gettext files which are not
distributed in the corresponding binary packages. He will continue to
investigate these packages and file bug reports when
internationalisation (i18n) support is not enabled at build time or if
the translated files contain bugs that prevent the translation from
Debian used on Pegasos Platform. Eugenia Loli-Queru reported that
Debian GNU/Linux comes preinstalled on Pegasos machines which are
based on the IBM/Motorola PowerPC G3 and G4 CPUs. Through the use of
Mac-On-Linux the Debian systems allows you to run MacOS or OSX without
requiring Apple hardware or a BIOS.
Interview with Andrew Tridgell. Alexander Antoniades was lucky and
spoke with Andrew Tridgell about the pizzaware he created which is
called Samba. Andrew also revealed that he only uses two GNU/Linux
distributions regularly, Debian and Red Hat. However, he prefers
Debian and runs the unstable distribution on his development machine,
updating every couple of weeks.
Retain GCC Binary Compatibility? Matthias Klose wondered if it is
worth striving for binary compatibility between hppa based
distributions. For GCC 3.3 exceptions were changed from sjlj based
to dwarf2 based on hppa and m68k. Since there are no hppa or m68k
distributions released using gcc-3.2, compatibility with other
released distributions may not be an issue, though.
Maintaining the Kernel Source. The discussion covers the problems
with too many kernel packages per architecture per distribution. Manoj
Srivastava explained that there is a mechanism to specify the
order in which kernel-patches are applied and that all architectures
should only provide patch packages. By consolidating the kernel source
packages we should be able to shrink the distribution by one CD.
Hosting a DebConf in the U.S.? Aaron Ucko wondered whether an
upcoming Debian Conference could be organised in the U.S. He reports
that a professor is interested in sponsoring a Debian conference in
Washington, DC, next spring, in conjunction with an international
conference on Open Source in government. Joe Drew added that there
are a number of non-american developers who will not set foot on
American soil, due in part to the DMCA, something Alan Cox warned
Firebird 0.6 packaged. Eric Dorland announced that he has uploaded
packages of Mozilla Firebird, formally known as Phoenix, to his
personal apt repository. Eric plans to upload this package to
unstable after a few more tweaks, if there are no objections. The
packages don't conflict with the Phoenix packages he provided earlier,
since they were also unofficial packages.
Debian Multimedia List created. Marco Trevisani announced that the
debian-multimedia mailing list has been created by the lists
administrators. It intends to combine the efforts of A GNU/Linux
Audio Distribution and Debian to create a GNU/Linux distribution for
professional audio users based upon Debian.
Debian Wiki back Online. Michael Ivey announced that the
Debian Wiki is back online, and should stay that way. He
experienced a lot of trouble with Zope on his tight server. He finally
learned about Kwiki, which is written in Perl, and has converted.
All old links are still working with the help of mod_rewrite.
NetBSD Kernel Package Policy. Joel Baker has resolved problems with
the libc on his Debian/NetBSD system and realized that if you install
a new libc on a system with an older kernel, the system may end up in
a hardly recoverable state. To address this he wrote a mini policy
which documents a way to prevent this.
Donating Debian CDs to Libraries. Matthew Briggs wondered if it
would be useful to donate his Debian CD collection to his university
library. However, libraries often use cataloging data to keep track of
their materials and this probably doesn't exist for Debian CDs.
Debian powered autonomous Robots. The Inquirer reported about a
team of scientists at SRI International, a non-profit research
institute affiliated to the Stanford University, who are working on
robots that can perform tasks autonomously and report findings back to
a central controller. The camera on the robots provide realtime
feedback. The operating system controlling the whole thing is Debian
W3C approves Patent Policy. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has
approved the W3C Patent Policy based on review by the W3C Advisory
Committee. Tim Berners-Lee explained the decision and says that
this policy discourages revenue generation strategies that work by
forcing standards-compliant applications to pay licensing fees.
However, the problem with a "royalty free" patent, is that it can be
sold to someone who then charges for it, which happened to the JPEG
patent, for example.
Debian Package Tags GUI. Enrico Zini announced the new website
for the Debian Package Tags system. He also created a graphical user
interface (GUI) for massive editing of the tag database. This
tagcolledit package has been uploaded into the Debian archive and will
be available in a couple of days. Additionally Enrico created a
logo for Debian Package Tags.
All Systems Boot CD? Alastair McKinstry wondered whether an image
could be created that would be the only necessary boot CD for the 4
Debian kernel ports: GNU/Linux, GNU/Hurd, GNU/NetBSD and GNU/FreeBSD.
Many of the "all" architecture packages overlap and it should take
less than 500 MB in total. This wouldn't happen in time for the sarge
release, but once all issues are dealt with it should be possible
to build a single boot CD that will install a working system using any
of the 4 Debian systems.
Upcoming Keysigning Parties. Peter Palfrader is responsible for the
upcoming keysigning parties at LinuxTag in Germany, Karlsruhe, and
DebConf in Oslo, Norway. Gerfried Fuchs is also organizing the
keysigning party at LinuxWochen in Vienna, Austria. All parties
will use the Zimmermann/Sassaman method and expect a lot of
Priority of a Developer over a Non-Developer? Stefan Schwandter
found himself without a Debian machine and had to orphan the
packages he maintained. Raphael Goulais wondered whether the
Debian policy says that a registered Debian developer has a
priority over a not (yet) registered developer when it comes to
package adoptions. Josip Rodin explained that it is instead a
More MIME Improvements to the BTS. Colin Watson announced that the
web interface of the Bug Tracking System (BTS) decodes each part of
MIME messages for display. Quoted-printable and base64-encoded text
will be displayed in a readable form. In addition, attachments are now
only displayed as a download link rather than as a download link plus
the full encoded attachment. The changes were also committed to the
Debian Sub-Projects. Gustavo Franco wondered why some Debian
sub-projects are listed on the official website while others
aren't. Raphaël Hertzog explained that this merely depends on
somebody dedicating time to write web pages. Ben Armstrong
explained that Debian Jr. is a personal subproject of his
within Debian, that received a lot of contribution by others.
Packages per Maintainer. Petter Reinholdtsen reported that he had
discovered that the distribution of number of packages per developer
is very uneven. Very few developers maintain a lot packages and a
large number of developers maintain only a very small number of
packages, as the histogram reveals. He didn't honor other Debian
work and Ben Collins even said that these numbers mean absolutely
What makes a DebConf a DebConf? Joe Drew asked what criteria a
conference needs to meet until it can be called a DebConf. In
particularly he wondered, if the conference in the US ends up
happening will it be a DebConf or not. Andreas Schuldei said that
he would like to see as many Debian meetings as possible. David Harris
explained that people who can get expenses reimbursed and sponsors
need to have a focus and hence there should only be major events
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* animal0 -- AN IMAging Library written in C (development
* dact -- Multi-algorithm compression.
* ipe -- Drawing editor for creating figures in PDF or PS
* ipsvd -- Internet protocol service daemons.
* kvim -- Vi IMproved - KDE version.
* lg-issue90 -- Issue 90 of the Linux Gazette.
* mas-server -- Media Application Server daemon.
* mas-utils -- Media Application Server utilities.
* partimage -- Linux/UNIX utility to save partitions in a
compressed image file.
* pixieplus -- A fast, and full featured image browser for KDE.
* planets -- Gravitation simulation of planetary bodies.
* rezound -- Audio file editor.
Orphaned Packages. 9 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 189 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.
* cracklib2 -- Pro-active password checker library.
* gnap -- GNOME client for Napster. (Bug#194022)
* swisswatch -- Mother of all X Toolkit clocks. (Bug#194029)
* wm2 -- Small, unconfigurable window manager. (Bug#194038)
* wn -- Secure and efficient HTTP server with advanced
* xbat -- A classic shoot-em-up game for X11. (Bug#194027)
* xgammon -- Implementation of backgammon under X.
* xitalk -- Talk intercept utility for X. (Bug#194021)
* xpaste -- Program to display the contents of the primary paste
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