Debian Weekly News - July 8th, 2003
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - July 8th, 2003
Welcome to this year's 27th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. A Professor from the University of Göttingen
questioned the enforcability of the GPL in Germany while the German
Institute for Legal Issues on Free and Open Source Software
analysed the study and discovered several flaws. The City of
Austin, in Texas, USA, became one of the latest governments to try
out Linux. And some big companies are collaborating to use Linux
in consumer electronics devices.
Comments on GNOME 2 Transition. Drew Scott Daniels posted a
summary about the status of the GNOME 2 transition. Christian
Marillat reported that GNOME 2 packages are finally in testing and
that some missing packages will follow soon.
Removing RFC from Documentation. Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña
asked that RFCs be removed from packages in the main (free) Debian
distribution. Since the doc-rfc packages have been moved to non-free,
he had cloned the respective bug and assigned it to other packages
which provide RFCs. For a full list please see the the bug report.
However, it seems that some RFCs might be DFSG-free, probably the
earliest. Package maintainers should contact the Internet Society
on their own.
Debian for non-profit Organisations. Mako Hill announced a new
sub-project named Debian for non-profit organisations. The goal is
to put together a sub-distribution that fulfills their needs. If they
are large and technically involved enough to need their own server,
they probably already use GNU/Linux. However in day-to-day operations
most use proprietary operating systems. Unlike many groups of users
where advocacy is an uphill battle, many non-profits *want* to use
GNU/Linux on their workstations but are waiting for someone to "make
it easy for them." This sub-project wants to do just this.
Debian Menu Encoding Support. Bill Allombert announced that it is
now possible to select the encoding used to write files generated by
menu in a menu-method, i.e. for a window manager. Bill said that it is
very important that all menu methods get fixed to include an encoding
setting. This will allow menu translations to be activated by default.
Bug #200000: Using gettext for Debconf. Michel Grentzinger opened
Bug #200000 and requested that the package in question switches to
using gettext for debconf templates. This bug repport underlines the
efforts of the localization teams, mostly French and Brazillian,
which actively submit bug reports and patches to help maintainers move
to the po-debconf format.
But which Distribution? Charles Arthur of the "The Independent" a UK
national broadsheet wrote an article concerning GNU/Linux for
novices. He opted for Debian because the penguin on the box looked
friendly, but haven't glanced through the documentation and stumbled
into the text-oriented installer. Oh, and even worse, a commandline
seemed to be a bad thing for him. Maybe Debian is not useful for
Interview with Russell Coker. Sam Varghese from The Age has
interviewed Russell Coker. Russell is among those who have made a
sterling contribution to the NSA's SE Linux project. Russell talks
about how he became affiliated with computers, his work on Debian and
SE Linux and e.g. how people from the Free Software community are
Licenses for Documentation. Emma Jane Hogbin received feedback
that her choice of the GNU Free Documentation License (FDL) for a
howto that she wrote may not be free according to the Debian Free
Software Guidlines (DFSG). She does not intend to use invariant
sections, so could not see why there would be a problem. Brian Nelson
pointed out that Anthony Towns' proposal views the FDL as
DFSG-free if invariant sections are not used.
Benefits of the OASIS Membership. Mark Johnson explained the
benefits of membership of the Organization for the Advancement of
Structured Information Standards (OASIS). It gives Debian
representation at one of the major XML-related standards bodies, and
makes Debian the only GNU/Linux distribution with a voice there. For
example, Mark and Ardo van Rangelrooij are on the Entity Resolution
Technical Committee, which is presently working on the XML Catalogs
specification. However, very few Debian Developers have chosen to take
advantage of the OASIS membership and Mark is raising funds to cover
the membership fee.
Support for NEWS.Debian now available. Joey Hess announced that
thanks to Matt Zimmerman and Joe Drew, apt-listchanges will now
display NEWS.Debian entries for upgraded packages. These are displayed
before the regular changelog entries, and Matt plans to later let it
be configured to only display news, if the user wants (more useful for
users of stable). The NEWS.Debian file is installed as
/usr/share/doc/<package>/NEWS.Debian.gz. It is always compressed and
always with that name.
Debian Mini-Distribution for Diskless Routers. Vadim Berkgaut
announced a new project with the goal of making Debian boot
from flash and work from a filesystem in memory. It produces a boot
wrapper for Debian that is intended for diskless routers. The project
features Debian woody (stable) with some packages from sarge (testing)
to add support for 2.5 kernels. It boots in two stages: first a script
from initrd copies the root filesystem from flash to tmpfs and makes
tmpfs the new root, then init runs as usual. Vadim would welcome
feedback and comments.
Finalising the DDP Policy. Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña proposed
that the draft Debian Documentation Project Policy be published on
the Debian website. Noone has spoken against the document that Javier
presented as a proposal and questions about licensing and
documentation seem to come up often. This would give the document a
wider audience, and with help Javier may be able to remove the draft
status of the document.
Debian at Conferences in Europe. Debian announced that several
developers will meet in Metz, France, on July 9th - 12th at the
Libre Software Meeting. On July 10th - 13th many developers and
users will attend LinuxTag in Karlsruhe, Germany, where they will
staff a booth and maintain a one-day conference and give
additional talks. After this, on July 18th - 19th, a lot of Debian
developer will meet at this years' Debian Conference in Oslo,
Norway, which is preceded by a hacking session.
Explanation for the FDL Issue. Michael Crawford summarised why the
Debian community has decided that the GNU Free Documentation
License is not actually a free license at all, and is starting work to
remove GFDL-licensed work from its main distribution. Such will only
be available in non-free, which some people never install out of
principle and CDROM vendors cannot distribute in whole because the
licenses on some packages forbid it.
Guide to GNU/Linux Desktop Survival. Graham Williams book Guide to
GNU/Linux Desktop Survival was introduced on OSNews.com as "Good
Debian desktop survival guide that covers all the major applications a
user would need." The aim of this book is to rapidly get the reader
going with GNU/Linux and to deliver a fun and productive environment.
It guides him through the many different regions of a GNU/Linux system
with a focus on getting the desktop environment to do what he wants.
Status of KDE for Sarge. Drew Scott Daniels wondered about the
status of KDE and its entry into sarge (testing). He noticed that
there are a few release critical bugs in kdelibs, although work on
kdelibs seems to be proceeding. Tomas Pospisek advised that
some issues have been resolved, but that work on kdelibs is becoming a
problem because of the huge time it takes to compile. He wondered if
kdelibs would fall apart, since probably not many people are able to
afford compiling, running, and testing the current CVS version.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* sami, wemi -- Insecure temporary file creation.
* x-face-el -- Insecure temporary file creation.
* liece -- Insecure temporary file creation.
* mozart -- unsafe mailcap configuration.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* dbtcp -- Miscellaneous command-line DBTCP utils.
* debiandoc2dbxml -- DebianDoc to DocBook XML converter.
* farpd -- Fake ARP user space daemon.
* gcipher -- Simple encryption tool.
* grig -- Graphical user interface to the Ham Radio Control
* iiimgcf -- IIIM GTK+ 2.x Input Method Module Client.
* kopete -- Instant messenger program.
* quark -- Music player daemon controlled from the gnome panel
* scowl -- Spell-Checker Oriented Word Lists.
* socklog -- small and secure replacement for syslogd.
* spread -- Spread messaging daemon.
* streamtuner -- GUI audio stream directory browser.
* tla -- Revision control system.
* wackamole -- Daemon to make a cluster highly available.
* xmlsec1 -- XML security command line processor.
Orphaned Packages. 6 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 191 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.
* abuse -- Crack dot Com's Abuse action game. (Bug#199543)
* abuse-frabs -- Levels and graphics for Abuse. (Bug#199547)
* abuse-lib -- Levels for Abuse. (Bug#199546)
* abuse-sdl -- SDL-port of Crack dot Com's Abuse action game.
* abuse-sfx -- Sound effects for Abuse. (Bug#199544)
* tao -- The ACE ORB. (Bug#199772)
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