Debian Weekly News - July 22nd, 2003
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - July 22nd, 2003
Welcome to this year's 29th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. Linus Torvalds is working on pre-releases of
Linux 2.6, Joseph Pranevich published the Wonderful World of Linux
2.6, so maybe it will be released in time for sarge.
Creating Debian Packages. Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier, a former DWN
editor, published an article that describes the basics of creating
Debian packages for distributing programs and source code. The article
shows all the necessary components of a package and how to put them
together to end up with a final product.
LinuxTag Success. This year's LinuxTag, which took place in Karlsruhe,
Germany, was a great success. With more than 19,500 visitors, this
year's LinuxTag has become the largest Linux event in the world.
Amongst other things, the Debian developers in attendance got
together for dinner with both the KDE people and the GNOME people.
ServerBeach ships Debian GNU/Linux Servers. SeverBeach
announced the availability of their Starter Servers and Power
Servers with Debian GNU/Linux preinstalled. Many customers want and
appreciate the two driving forces behind Debian - technical excellence
and the commitment to Free Software, said Richard Yoo, Big Kahuna,
Debian Free Software Guidelines FAQ. Barak Pearlmutter composed a
draft Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) FAQ. It is meant as
an introduction to issues discussed on the debian-legal mailing
list, with some general background material to help bring new readers
up to date. Suggestions and comments are welcome.
LGPL affecting Client Java Code? According to this article,
Dave Turner of the FSF has decreed that the steps required to use an
LGPL'd Java library will actually infect client code with substantial
GNU-ness via Section 6 of the LGPL. (The "Lesser" GPL is supposed to
protect only the Library, without infecting code using the library)
This, as you might imagine, puts a few LGPL Java projects that
previously thought they were embeddable without being viral in a bit
of a bind. Various weblogs have further coverage.
Missing Timestamp Handling. Marcin Owsiany reported that when a
source package is unpacked, all the files that have modifications in
the diff.gz file are given somewhat "random" timestamps, because patch
updates their timestamps as it processes the diff file. This causes
problems for packages that rebuild their Makefiles on demand but don't
build-depend on autotools.
Libpng Transition Status. Josselin Mouette reported that 84 binary
packages are left over which should be rebuilt before sarge releases.
However, none is essential, but he insists that the more of those are
rebuilt, the less issues we will have later when libpng changes its
soname again. The list of packages is attached to Josselin's mail.
Debian Packages in a Chart. Bram Stolk announced that he has
created a software map of Debian packages. The chart depicts all
packages from testing/main with 5 or more dependencies. Instead of
visualizing the dependencies directly, a classification has been made.
Working without a Release Roadmap? Adrian Bunk reported that the
software in Debian 3.0 is currently roughly one and a half years old.
He adds that one release a year is badly needed and that a big system
like Debian doesn't become stable without a plan how to get it stable.
He is willing to help in QA and/or release management if this results
in a new stable release within clearly less than a year.
Unicode Character Database. Florian Weimer reported that many
packages that include a copy of parts of the Unicode Character
Database do not indicate the source and are thus violating its
license. Thomas Bushnell added that the next release of GNU
miscfiles will include a version which is really free.
Creating Manpages from GNU FDL Documentation. Hans Fugal wondered
if he is permitted to create a manpage from documentation that is
released under the GNU Free Documentation License (FDL) and which
requirement he has to meet. Walter Landry answered with a detailed
Improving CD Mirrors. Mattias Wadenstein summarised suggestions
for the CD Image server and mirrors. The plan is to provide both
images and jigdo files of CDs as well as testing images. There was
also a request for a contrib-directory for Knoppix or a few more
Knoppix mirrors in US.
GNU/Linux as Commodity Software. Tim O'Reilly was interviewed about
the keynote at his company's Open Source Convention he gave. During
the interview he hints that Debian founder Ian Murdock and his
company Progeny Linux Systems, Inc., have the right stuff for the
future of computing. Instead of seeing GNU/Linux as a product, he sees
GNU/Linux as a set of commodity software components he can put
together for different purposes.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* php4 -- Cross-site scripting vulnerability.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* chiark-backup -- Backup system for small systems and networks.
* chiark-really -- Tool for gaining privilege (simple, realistic
* chiark-rwbuffer -- Readbuffer/writebuffer: prevents tape drive
* chiark-scripts -- Chiark system administration scripts.
* chiark-utils-bin -- Chiark system administration utilities.
* ettercap -- Multipurpose sniffer/interceptor/logger for
* i810switch -- Enables/disables video output to CRT/LCD on i810
* pydance -- Dancing simulation game.
* sredird -- RFC 2217 compliant Telnet serial port redirector.
Orphaned Packages. 10 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 204 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.
* animals -- Traditional AI animal guessing engine using a
binary tree DB. (Bug#202174)
* cgiwrap -- Allows ordinary users to run their own CGI scripts.
* gtkgraph -- Interactive function-plotter/calculator.
* int-fiction -- Support files for interactive fiction
* members -- Shows the members of a group; by default, all
* mwavem -- Mwave/ACP modem support. (Bug#202227)
* nwrite -- Enhanced replacement for the write command.
* pup -- Printer Utility Program. (Bug#202232)
* xcal -- Graphical calendar with memos and reminder alarms.
* xflip -- Programs to mirror-image or melt your display.
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