Debian Weekly News - August 5th, 2003
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - August 5th, 2003
Welcome to this year's 31st issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. Few of you may have noticed this already, but as
per the results of last year's security survey the Debian
Security Team doesn't support potato (Debian 2.2) anymore. Also, Robin
'Roblimo' Miller explained why governments should be allowed to
specify Free Software.
Booting Debian with Eye-Candy. Martin Michlmayr wondered about
having Debian show nice graphics during boot up, rather than boot
messages in text mode. He discussed this with Herbert Xu, who
explained that this is no longer a kernel issue. Once the frame buffer
driver is loaded, a user space process can do arbitrary graphical
operations on the console. Alastair McKinstry pointed out that
debian-installer already uses framebuffer support in modules and that
work is under way to divert all stderr towards a logging solution.
MPlayer moves closer to being Free. Andrea Mennucc and Dariush
Pietrzak worked on mplayer checking copyright information and
asked for volunteers to re-check the source code to ensure it
satisfies the Debian Free Software Guidelines. Adam Warner was
pleased with the work and made some suggestions. After it was
pointed out that mplayer contains problematic DVD Content
Scrambling System (CSS) code, Andrea repackaged it with the CSS
code removed. He would appreciate feedback on its suitability for
Linux is a Process, not a Product. In a commentary on
ZDNet.com.com Ian Murdock explained that Linux is not a product but a
process. "To think of Linux as a product is to freeze an inherently
dynamic thing in time and to close something that is inherently open.
It cannot be done without losing something -- and something
significant at that".
Philosophy behind Knoppix. Klaus Knopper was interviewed about
Free Software, the roots of and ideas behind Knoppix, his
interests and the future of his Knoppix project. In his opinion, the
GNU software suite, together with the Linux kernel, have become the
most flexible and usable operating system and application software
available for a vast variety of hardware platforms.
More automatic BTS Reports. Nikita Youshchenko suggested that the
bug tracking system (BTS) generates more automatic mails than just the
list of release critical bugs and the work needing packages
report. He would like to see a list of bugs that have a "patch" tag
for (e.g.) 2 weeks and no "wontfix" tag, a list of bugs that are more
than N months old and also don't carry a "wontfix" tag and a list of
packages with huge bug lists that probably need community help.
DebConf 2005 in Vienna? Gerfried Fuchs proposed to organise the
Debian conference for 2005 in Vienna, since he would like to attend a
Debian conference as well. A good argument for Vienna is that it
is centrally located in Europe and is close to the eastern countries
of the continent, which could help our friends from Eastern Europe to
attend the conference more conveniently. Finally, Tollef sent in his
experiences from the Oslo Debian conference.
Synchronising the BTS and Bugzilla. Erich Schubert has written a
small Perl script which queries the Debian bug tracking system for
bugs forwarded to bugzilla (GNOME in this case) and creates a list of
the bugs and their status in bugzilla. This should help tracking which
forwarded bugs were closed by upstream.
Debian in Schools. Thomas Lindemans explained at the European
Schoolnet, a partnership of 26 Ministries of Education, why educators
should try GNU/Linux. Debian is mentioned as being "built for
stability" and good for those who enjoy a "fast and secure operating
system". The article suggests that using Debian in a school would
require somebody with knowledge of Linux because of text configuration
files, however no mention is made of Skolelinux or the
Status of Debian/AMD64. Access to an Opteron machine was granted
to the Debian project after a discussion with AMD at this year's
LinuxTag. Bart Trojanowski also announced a birds of a
feather session targeting the Debian port to AMD64 at this year's
Ottawa Linux Symposium. Bart explained that a few libraries
are ported to the AMD64 architecture but they are not yet
sufficient to run applications.
Benchmarking Debian's Performance. Indranath Neogy tried to
discover what kind of gains the source based nature of Gentoo
might give it over Debian and Mandrake. The tests included timing how
long it took to open a large sheet in Gnumeric, how long to compile
the Linux kernel and how long to perform various operations in GIMP.
Gentoo was expected to lead in the tests, but the results showed no
significant variation between the distributions. Simple recompiling
doesn't seem to speed things up, fine grained tuning may.
CUPS as the default Print Service. Petter Reinholdtsen suggested
that the default print system in the next release of Debian (sarge) be
changed to CUPS, because it is a more complete, more user friendly
and RFC compliant printing system. Daniel Jacobowitz found that
CUPS lacked functionality, but Cyrille Chepelov thought CUPS has
improved over the last 18 months.
LinuxTag Show Report. Nicholas Blachford reported on his
experience at this year's LinuxTag. He said that "the Debian stand
seemed to be one of the most popular stands, constantly getting a
crowd of people, many of whom picked up the Debian CDs they were
giving away. At the back of the booth they ran an ASCII art animation
via a beamer which got some very bewildered looks at times".
LSB Presentations at LinuxWorld. The Linux Standard Base (LSB)
project will be delivering a tutorial, two presentations, and a "Taste
of Linux" discussion at LinuxWorld in San Francisco. These
presentations will take place on August 5 and 6 and will include
"Designing and Implementing Great Shared Libraries", presented by Ted
Ts'o. Amongst other things, Ted is a Debian Developer and Linux kernel
Inconsistencies in our Handling of Licenses. John Goerzen is
getting an increasingly uneasy feeling about the consensus that
appears to be starting to coalesce around our handling of the FDL,
RFC issues and related matter. He mentions that the DFSG are
guidelines, not a definition, that we allow information to be
distributed with software under even more stricter terms than the FDL,
that standards have to be handled different to software, and that we
need to think about whether the actions we take are advancing our
goals or not.
DeCSS for Debian? There has been an Intent to Package for DeCSS, a
utility for stripping CSS tags from an HTML page. Sam Hocevar
objected to this cluttering of the package namespace with a
useless program. Brian Nelson quoted the project's website
which admits that it is pretty much useless.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* xconq -- Buffer overflows.
* gallery -- Cross-site scripting.
* xtokkaetama -- Buffer overflows.
* wu-ftpd -- Buffer overflow.
* Linux 2.4.18 -- Several vulnerabilities.
* atari800 -- Buffer overflows.
* xfstt -- Several vulnerabilities.
* kdelibs -- Several vulnerabilities.
* mindi -- Insecure temporary file creation.
* postfix -- Remote denial of service, bounce scanning.
* man-db -- Buffer overflows, arbitrary command execution.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* acheck -- Check common localisation mistakes.
* aget -- Multi-threaded HTTP Download Accelerator.
* ardour-gtk -- Digital Audio Workstation.
* backup2l -- Low-maintenance backup/restore tool for mountable
* baken -- Visualisation of European VHF/UHF and microwave
* cinepaint -- Motion picture editing and retouching tool.
* cpufreqd -- Speedstep applet clone.
* dvdbackup -- Tool to rip DVD's from the command line.
* etherboot -- Bootstrapping for various network adapters.
* fakechroot -- Gives a fake chroot environment.
* fortunes-it-off -- Data files containing Italian fortune
cookies, offensive section.
* gift -- Meta-package for the giFT file-sharing system.
* giftcurs -- Text-based interface to the giFT file-sharing
* icecast2 -- Streaming Ogg Vorbis/MP3 media server.
* jetty -- Java servlet engine and webserver.
* kflog -- Flight planner and logger for glider pilots.
* klog -- KDE ham radio logging program.
* lightning -- Library for assembly code compilation at runtime.
* linux32 -- Wrapper to set the execution domain.
* litmus -- WebDAV server protocol compliance test suite.
* lspowertweak -- Simple front end to powertweak.
* pathological -- Puzzle game involving paths and marbles.
* pdsh -- Efficient rsh-like utility, for using hosts in
* puredata -- Realtime computer music and graphics system.
* sins -- Snake game playable with only one key.
* slimp3 -- MPEG Layer III Streaming Server.
* spamass-milter -- Sendmail milter for filtering mail through
* superkaramba -- Program based on karamba improving the
eyecandy of KDE.
* vimoutliner -- Script for building an outline editor on top of
* wmclockmon -- Displays a clock in 12/24h mode with alarm mode
and 3 different LCD styles.
* xa65 -- cross-assembler and utility suite for 65xx/65816
* zynaddsubfx -- Realtime software synthesizer for Linux.
Orphaned Packages. 3 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 183 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.
* smm++ -- Graphical MUD client with mapping functionality.
* tnt -- AIM client for Emacs. (Bug#203894)
* yydecode -- Decode yEnc archives. (Bug#203896)
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