Debian Weekly News - June 24th, 2003
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - June 24th, 2003
Welcome to this year's 25th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. Debian 3.0 has been on the cover of the
Australian Australian Personal Computer magazine for the first
time ever. Rob Savoye reported an interesting experience of
bringing up a rack of 20 dual processor Itanium II machines (HP
zx6000s), over a 48 hour period. All of them are now running Debian.
Security Update Procedure. Matt Zimmerman noticed that many
package maintainers are not aware of the recommended methods for
handling security issues in their packages. Therefore he urges anyone
who participates in package maintenance to read the relevant
section in the Developer's Reference which documents the
current recommended procedures. It has recently been updated with
additional details and clarifications.
Freeze Date Estimate. Drew Scott Daniels talked about freeze date
estimates which he believes are useful for developers to help to
prepare for a release. He expects the debian-installer to be finished
in two months which makes him expect a freeze this year. He also
estimates that the freeze cycle will last 6 months.
Debian presence at LinuxTag. The Debian project will be exhibiting at
LinuxTag in Karlsruhe, Germany from July 10th to 13th with a booth
in the exhibition and a day of talks and workshops dedicated to
developers and interested users on July 11 2003. Newsforge has a
story that details several of the non-profit exhibitors.
Popularity Contest Revised. Bill Allombert announced that he has
written a replacement page for Avery Pennarun's now broken
popularity contest web page. He's also made the page's script
available. It sorts the results by number of installs, number of
votes and more.
Knoppix and MAME. KnoppiXMAME 1.0 was released, as announced
on Slashdot. KnoppiXMAME is a bootable arcade machine emulator
powered by Knoppix Debian GNU/Linux, X-MAME 0.69, and gxmame
0.33. The ISO image is only 200 MB large. You can put the ROMs on the
CD ISO without remastering/recompressing Knoppix.
80,000 GNU/Linux Computers in Schools. According to
DesktopLinux.org a sweeping initiative Spain has put 80,000
GNU/Linux computers in schools. The systems feature a customized
version of Debian, called GNU/LinEx, and features the GNOME
desktop and other Free Software productivity programs.
Voting Method General Resolution Results. Manoj Srivastava
announced the results of the condorcet/Clone proof SSD Voting
Method General Resolution. There were a total of 160 unique votes
cast, with 144 votes in favour of the resolution. Therefore, the
resolution passed with a 9:1 super majority, which is in excess of the
required 3:1 majority.
LaTeX Project Public License. The LaTeX Project Public License (LPPL)
has previously been considered non-free under the terms of the
Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG). Jeff Licquia has now
posted a new revision of the LPPL, which he believes satisfies the
DFSG. There was general agreement that the new license is
DFSG-free and after a year of work and perhaps 1,500 emails in
total, the issue should hopefully be resolved.
Hardware Donations. Benjamin Mako Hill, the Debian Hardware Donations
Manager, announced the availability of various hardware donations.
Several SGI Indys have been donated to Debian recently in
California, USA and Germany, and an Alphastation 200 may be
available in Amsterdam. Mako also noted that there is no developer
accessible Hurd machine available, but would be happy to
coordinate the donation of hardware for this if it is something
that developers feel would be useful.
Open Source and Mayor Election. This Wired news story tells us
about a candidate for Mayor of Zaragoza, Spain, who is using the
benefits of open source development as his platform for the election.
Handing out copies of Augustux a Debian based distribution, and
talking about free wireless Internet access for all, Belloch can
clearly explain how free and open technologies can be translated into
opportunities, political participation, economic growth and social
welfare, with hard numbers and real details.
Software Patents in Europe. Wookey reported about the current
status of Software Patents in Europe. Recently there has been a vote
by the JURI committee which essentially allows complete patentability
of software. There have been no significant provisions to help Free
Software or reduce the effect on small businesses. The issue is very
urgent! Wookey continues with a report about the conference about
software patents in Brussels from May 5th to 7th.
Using apt-get with Rsync. Dan Jacobson wanted to know if using the
rsync method for apt-get only affects fetching of the Packages
files or if it will also fetch the packages via rsync. Colin Watson
added that gzip already contains a patch to create rsync-friendly
Missing Package Dates. Dan Jacobson noted that the Packages files
don't contain information about when a package was uploaded. Hence,
without downloading and looking at the changelog file one can't say
whether it is a package that was updated recently or another which
hasn't been updated for a long time.
Ceasing Support for Libc 5. Francesco Lovergine suggested to drop
all i386-specific packages which are libc5 related. Some of these may
be required to run proprietary non-free software, though.
Perl License Clarification. Marc Haber noticed that ftp people
reject packages that are distributed "under the same terms as Perl
itself". However, Perl is dual-licensed, using the GNU GPL and the
Artistic license. Many people acknowledged this as a possible
problem and recommended that upstream be made aware of the flexibility
of interpretation of the Perl style copyright and licensing.
Annoying teTeX Upgrade Questions. Bernd Eckenfels noticed that
upgrading teTeX packages results in updating configuration files. This
won't be a problem at all, but upon upgrade the user is asked for many
files whether it should be updated since allegedly local changes were
made. Matt Zimmerman explained that this happens when a
configuration file moves from one package to another, is renamed, or
when a configuration file switches to being a configuration file when
it was previously not.
Improper Package Description. Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña
complained about wrongly used package descriptions. The
description should be written so that it gives the system
administrator enough information to decide whether to install the
package. Several packages fail to meet this requirement, hence, Javier
is going to open bug reports accordingly.
Read-only Root Filesystem. Thomas Hood reported that some progress
has been made towards the goal of making Debian easier to use with
a read-only root filesystem. Action has been taken to remove variable
files from the directory /etc/, or at least to make it possible to do
Packaging Haskell Libraries. Isaac Jones reported about problems
with packaging Haskell libraries. There has been a lot of discussion
recently on the Haskell mailing lists about the best ways to package
Haskell libraries and tools for Debian. One problem is that almost all
Haskell compilers, interpreters and releases are binary-incompatible.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* ethereal -- Multiple vulnerabilities.
* eldev -- Insecure temporary file creation.
* orville-write -- Buffer overflows.
* xbl -- Buffer overflows.
* webfs -- Buffer overflow.
* osh -- Buffer overflows.
* tcptraceroute -- Failure to drop root privileges.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* ddns3-client -- Issues dynamic DNS v3 requests.
* dns-browse -- Front-ends to DNS search.
* hexer -- Interactive binary editor with a Vi-like interface.
* obexserver -- Receive files with OBEX protocol.
* rafkill -- Vertical shoot'em-up similar to Raptor: Call of the
* steghide -- Steganography hiding tool.
* wiggle -- Program for applying patches with conflicting
* yaz -- Utility programs for Z39.50 toolkit.
Orphaned Packages. 8 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.
* gpe-todo -- GNU Palmtop Environment todo list.
* gtk-doc-tools -- GTK documentation tools. (Bug#197849)
* kbackup -- A console single host backup solution for various
* kforth -- Small Forth Interpreter Written in C++.
* libcapplet1 -- Library for GNOME Control Center applets.
* libgnomeprint15 -- GNOME Print architecture. (Bug#197842)
* memprof -- Memory profiler and leak detector. (Bug#197845)
* visual-tcl -- Tcl GUI builder. (Bug#197844)
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