Debian Weekly News - July 29th, 2003
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - July 29th, 2003
Welcome to this year's 30th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. The Open Group has contracted Bruce Perens to
develop an Open Source Strategy for them to prevent a name
change. Our former editor, Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier, reviewed the
CheckInstall tool, which automatically creates packages after
compiling from source. Besides Debian packages it can create packages
in RPM and Slackware formats. The OpenGroup has published a detailed
list of the conflicts between the Linux Standards Base and
LGPL affecting Client Java Code? In our last issue we reported that an
article said that Dave Turner of the FSF has allegedly 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. David Turner clarified the issue and repeats that your
program, which links against the library, does not need to be
licensed under the GNU LGPL.
Debian as musical Instrument. James Patten and Ben Recht developed
a composition and performance instrument for electronic music
which tracks the positions of objects on a tabletop surface and
converts their motion into music. One can pull sounds from a giant set
of samples, cut between drum loops to create new beats, and apply
digital processing all at the same time on the same table. Knoppix is
used as operating system.
Debian Installer Bootcamp. Petter Reinholdtsen suggested to hold a
debian-installer work camp in two or three months time. If there
is sufficient interest a low-cost meeting will be held, probably in
Europe, to push installer development forward. Currently two locations
are being discussed, in Einschlingen and in Oldenburg, both
located in Germany.
Debian Birthday Parties in the UK and Germany. The Debian project will
celebrate its 10th birthday on August 16th at several locations
worldwide. Robert McQueen announced that the British party
will take place at Steve McIntyre's house in Cambridge. Also
announced is the German party which will take place in a
sports club in Wallenrod, Hessen. Interested people should
register for those parties so enough barbecue source can be acquired.
Joe Barr discovers the Fink Project. For connecting an eMac with a
GNU/Linux box, additional software had to be installed. He discovered
that the members of the Fink Project are doing two things to bring
open source/Free Software to OS X. They port existing Unix software to
OS X and they use package management tools from Debian to make those
ports easy to get, optionally compile, and install.
Knoppix for PowerPC Machines. Experimental support for PowerPC
machines was added to Knoppix during LinuxTag. Last week Heise
reported about a 500 MB large ISO image which is publically
available. Hardware detection needs to be improved and the image does
not yet contain all of the software from the original Knoppix.
Report from DebConf in Oslo. Andreas Schuldei sent a report
stating that this year's Debian Conference was attended by 140 people,
the preceding Debian Camp was attended by 90 people, mostly
developers. The event was sponsored by HP, NUUG Foundation, Lindows,
Trolltech, O'Reilly, Linpro (with Dell) and the University of Oslo.
During debcamp over 200 bugs in the future debian-installer got fixed.
ReiserFS Support for the Debian-Installer. Martin Michlmayr
discussed integrating proper reiserfs support into
debian-installer with Hans Reiser. Hans is very interested in seeing
this happen, and offered technical assistance if any is needed.
Alastair McKinstry explained that this requires a reiserfs kernel
module in its own udeb and a reiserfsprogs udeb that provides
/sbin/mkfs.reiserfs. These steps should be the same for adding
support for other file systems, such as XFS.
Debian MPlayer Packages. Andrea Menucc explained why there are
still no mplayer packages in Debian. He missed some responses from the
FTP people. Ola Lundqvist added that he understood that if
debian-legal considers the current packages fine with the Debian
Free Software Guidelines they should be accepted by the FTP people.
Hence, another discussion was started on that list.
Per-user temporary Directories. Martin Pool is worried about
temporary file vulnerabilities that aren't fixed yet. He notes that
there is already the PAM module libpam-tmpdir which automatically sets
this up on login by creating a per-user directory under /tmp and
pointing TMPDIR at it. Despite the scary low version number of 0.04 it
seems to work reliably and presumably any bugs could be fixed.
Backporting Security Patches. Luca De Vitis started a discussion
on why Debian rather back-ports security fixes instead of releasing a
new version. This is already answered in the security FAQ and in
the Developer's Reference. Matt Zimmerman explained that
security advisories and the associated packages should fix security
vulnerabilities and nothing else.
Removing orphaned Packages. Matthew Palmer compiled a list of
packages that should probably be removed from the distribution. He is
looking for some feedback from others with probably more experience.
He only investigated the oldest packages on the list of improperly
orphaned packages and only considered packages with outstanding bugs
and no history of interest from anyone in adopting it.
Coreutils with ACL Support. Michael Stone is contemplating to
upload a version of coreutils that will have support for file ACLs.
Doing this would promote libacl1 and libattr1 to base. Thus, he is
soliciting input about whether this is something people would like to
see. Another possibility would be an optional coreutils-acl package.
Debian and Unicode Support. Sergey Spiridonov wondered whether
Debian aims to produce a system that properly supports unicode
encoding. This is not an official release goal but it is a worthwhile
goal nevertheless. Adrian von Bidder explained that submitting a
patch will in most cases help more in getting support fixed or added
than a higher severity.
Custom Debian Distributions. Petter Reinholdtsen reported about a
discussion during debcamp in Oslo. All the groups and projects that
are creating Debian-based distributions should join together to find
common solutions to the common problems. He added the problems and
solutions they are using for SkoleLinux as a basis for further
QA Group best Practice. Matthew Palmer started with a list of best
practice rules for quality assurance (QA) uploads since he was unable
to locate them in the Developer's Reference. These include version
numbering, the maintainer field and monitoring bugs from the package
OpenOffice.org at Debcamp and Debconf. Chris Halls reported on the
OpenOffice.org (OOo) team's experience at Debcamp and debconf. A lot
of work was done on OOo, including new packages to replace 1.1 and
1.0.3, a new myspell dictionary layout and a new crashreporter. Once
the last tasks have been done, the 1.1rc packages will be uploaded
to unstable as openoffice.org to replace the existing openoffice.org
and openoffice.org1.1 packages. Help with testing upgrading and
downgrading in all possible combinations of the packages would be
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* fdclone -- Insecure temporary directory usage.
* sup -- Insecure temporary file creation.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* cl-grt -- Common Lisp GRT Raytrace.
* cl-ptester -- Test suite for Common Lisp programs.
* e2fslibs -- The EXT2 filesystem libraries.
* elfutils -- Tools to read from and write to ELF files.
* gbiff2 -- Mail notification program supporting GTK+ and GNOME.
* gossip -- Friendly Jabber client for GNOME.
* gxine -- Xine video player, GTK user interface.
* hydrogen -- Simple drum machine/step sequencer.
* javacc -- Parser generator for use with Java.
* kwavecontrol -- Wireless device monitoring application for
* lvs-kiss -- Load-balancing made easy.
* netpipes -- Manipulate BSD TCP/IP stream sockets.
* testdisk -- Partition scanner and disk recovery tool.
* unifdef -- Remove ifdef sections from files.
Orphaned Packages. 6 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 185 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.
* libvorbis-perl -- Perl extension for Ogg Vorbis streams.
* qpage -- SNPP-to-TAP/IXO gateway and SNPP client.
* ripperx -- GTK-based ripper/encoder. (Bug#202541)
* xfonts-greek-ph -- Rich collection of X11 Greek fonts.
* xmountains -- Fractal landscape generator for X.
* xzoom -- Magnify part of X display, with fast updates.
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