Debian Weekly News - August 26th, 2003
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - August 26th, 2003
Welcome to this year's 34th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. The editorial of the last issue seemed to
imply that LinEx did not contain non-free software, which is
obviously wrong. The most important event for this week is
probably the decision in the European parliament regarding the
legalizing of software patents in Europe. EuroLinux and FFII
call for an offline demo in Brussels and an online demo against
The next Debian Release. Anthony Towns proposed December 1st as
the sarge release date. He also explained why the Debian project
maintains stable releases at all. He also explains that this
release will feature a distributed release management, consisting of
at least four people. The use of the experimental distribution is also
recommended for cvs snapshots and the like. Of course, Anthony also
added a timeline for the sarge release. You're also strongly
encouraged to work out your own schedule for packages you work on.
Debian's Popularity as a Web Server. Gerrit Griebel informed us
about a report by Netcraft, which shows this popularity.. Despite
the absence of funding and being an amateur effort, Debian is the
second most popular GNU/Linux distribution they find on Internet web
sites. Debian's success is a testament to how little difference money
sometimes makes. It is the most cosmopolitan of any of the GNU/Linux
distributions. According to the geographical distribution, France
and Germany contain more than half of all Debian's web server
Libranet: TCO-Friendly GNU/Linux. Timothy R. Butler, the
Editor-in-Chief of Open for Business, wrote a review of
Libranet. He says that "the Debian GNU/Linux distribution is built
entirely by volunteers. Because of this, and because of the large
volunteer base size, Debian has a very strong and clear future. It is
also known for meticulous packaging and release standards, meaning it
is extremely stable and secure." Later he writes that Libranet is a
real treat to deal with and is certainly an administrator's dream.
Debian Retrospective by Ian Murdock. Ian Murdock, the founder of the
Debian project, wrote a retrospective on LinuxPlanet. He writes
that in 1993, what he saw happening seemed completely illogical and
wondered how people without any master plan, from different parts of
the world, speaking different languages and not getting paid, could
come together to build something as complex as an operating system. In
those days people generally bootstrapped their own GNU/Linux systems
from the ground and the term "distribution" wasn't widely used yet.
Debian Birthday Party Aftermath. The first set of photo galleries were
released for parties in Liege, Belgium, Wallenrod,
Germany, and Cambridge (here, here and here as well),
United Kingdom. The people in Liege were also quite proud of the cake.
Additionally, Axel Beckert wrote a report about the German party
and János Holányi reported about the party in Hungary.
Tool of the Month: apt-iselect. Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier selected
apt-iselect as his tool of the month, which is written by Dobrica
Pavlinusic. This tool uses apt-cache to search for packages matching
one or more terms using a text-mode menu and makes installing packages
on Debian GNU/Linux systems even easier than before. It adds
interactivity to apt-cache and makes it more friendly to users.
Debian Keyring with non-Developer Keys? Martin Quinson wondered if
it would be possible for contributors to Debian who have not reached
developer status to get their GnuPG key in the Debian keyserver. He
said that the trust relationship would be eased if he could sign his
mails and contribution with an easily available key. However,
uploading the key to a public keyserver makes it easily
Ruby Policy Draft. Fumitoshi Ukai announced that he's going to
upload ruby-defaults soon and that he will rename the current ruby
package into ruby1.6. He also wrote an initial draft of the Debian
ruby policy which also covers the transition from Ruby 1.6 to 1.8.
Comments are welcome, also about packaging Ruby 1.8.
Stack Protection in Debian? Russell Coker wanted to know who is
interested in stack protection. He believes that it would be good
to have some experiments with stack protected packages in Debian.
Probably the best way to do this would be to start with ssh-stack and
sysklogd-stack being uploaded to experimental. A kernel image with
PaX could be interesting as well.
Monitoring release-critical Bugs. Colin Watson announced a new
release critical bugs mailing list. All mails sent to bugs with
release-critical severities, including acknowledgements of control
messages, will now be copied to the new list:
firstname.lastname@example.org. People interested in keeping the RC
bug count under control are encouraged to subscribe in the usual
way and help out.
Survey about the Freeness of the FDL. Branden Robinson started a
survey to measure the level of consensus on whether the GNU Free
Documentation License (FDL) is considered a free license according to
the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) or not. The purpose of
this survey is so that the participants in the debian-legal
mailing list can make an informed recommendation to the rest of the
Sarge and non-free Documentation. Adam Warner pointed out how the
release of sarge is treating documentation. The release manager's
policy says that documentation in main and contrib must be freely
distributable, and wherever possible should be under a DFSG-free
license. This will likely become a requirement for after the release
of sarge. Members of the FSF have approached us to give them some more
time to come up with a GNU FDL which is DFSG-free before we move
packages in question to non-free and experience bigger controversies.
Managing /etc/shells. Karl Ramm announced that he has uploaded a
version of the shadow package that provides scripts for the
maintenance of /etc/shells. He decided very quickly when he became the
shadow maintainer that he didn't want to be an arbiter of acceptable
shells. This file is no longer a config file, but is maintained by the
add-shell and remove-shell programs.
LSB v1.9 Public Review. Martin Michlmayr suggested people review
the Linux Standard Base (LSB) v1.9 in order to make sure
Debian agrees with its content. Porters should also check the
architecture specific documents. These preview specifications are
unapproved documents for feedback purposes only, in preparation for
LSB v2.0 which will released at the end of the year. The LSB should be
discussed on the debian-lsb mailing list. Feedback to the LSB is
due by 30 September.
Work on new stable Revision for Woody. Bernd Eckenfels wondered if
there were any plans for a 3.0r2 revision. The last update was
released on December 16th 2002 and many security updates have been
released since then. Martin Schulze, the Stable Release Manager,
replied that he is trying to get back to his original bi-monthly
plan. He also mentioned this page which contains his current plan
for this update.
Where to place Kernel Modules? Martin F. Krafft wondered where to
install additional kernel modules. Some packages use a directory of
their own in the top-level modules directory, while other packages
seem to prefer a subdirectory. Christoph Hellwig explained that
one of the reasons for the module directory layout change with Linux
2.4 is so that each package gets its own top-level directory.
Information leaked into Debian Packages. Joey Hess noticed that
information about the build system of some Debian maintainers was
leaking into their binary packages. He said that home directories are
just one thing that can get trapped in a binary. Other likely
candidates include the build system's hostname. Slrn used to use the
build hostname at runtime when posting articles, for example.
Closing Snort Bugs. Sander Smeenk announced that he plans to close
25 bug reports against the stable version of snort. He wrote a
nice message telling the submitter that the bug was reported against
an old version, including a URL to an up to date version of the
package, where these bugs were likely to have been fixed. In a reply
Noah Meyerhans explained that snort should be removed from stable
releases completely, as it is not useful without a means of updating
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* aewm++-goodies -- Utilities to complement a minimal window
* bomberclone -- Free Bomberman-like game.
* cbmlink -- Transfer data to/from Commodore 8-bit computers.
* cdrw-taper -- Taper replacement for amanda to support backups
to CD-RW or DVD+RW.
* cpudyn -- CPU dynamic frequency control for processors with
* devilspie -- Find windows and perform actions on them.
* divxcomp -- Bitrate calculator for DivX movies written in
* giarpfanoa -- Gather network information using module system.
* proxychains -- Redirect connections through proxy servers.
* txt2tags -- Conversion tool generating
* xml-core -- Utilities to maintain XML catalog files.
* xmms-arts -- aRts Output plugin for xmms.
Orphaned Packages. 25 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 214 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.
* 3dwm -- Interface library to painting functions.
* autotrace -- Bitmap to vector graphics converter.
* bblaunch -- Launch windows with manipulated attribs under
* bnc -- IRC Session Bouncing Proxy. (Bug#206490)
* dbd-xbase -- Perl module to access xbase files (optionally
through DBI). (Bug#206878)
* jitterbug -- Cgi-bin tool for problem reporting and tracking.
* labelnation -- Command-line label-printing program.
* libcorba-orbit-perl -- ORBit module for Perl. (Bug#206879)
* libglade -- Development files for libglade. (Bug#206886)
* libgnome-gnorba-perl -- Gnorba module for Perl.
* libgtk-perl -- Perl module for the libgtkxmhtml library.
* libjttui-ruby -- Jakub Travnik's textmode user interface
(JTTui) for Ruby. (Bug#206718)
* libopengl-perl -- Perl module to display 3D data using
OpenGL, GLU, GLUT, and GLX. (Bug#206883)
* meshio -- MeshIO is a simple C++ library for the loading of
3D model files. (Bug#206871)
* mrename -- Tool for easy and automatic renaming of many
* pymbus -- Bus messaging for application communication.
* python-happydoc -- Python Documentation Extraction Tool
* python-pmw -- Python MegaWidgets. (Bug#206861)
* python-simpy -- Python-based simulation package.
* scotty -- Scotty and Tkined Network Management Tools.
* whirlgif -- Create animated GIFs. (Bug#206112)
* wordinspect -- GTK-based Dictionary Client. (Bug#206889)
* wp2x -- WordPerfect 5.x to whatever converter.
* xpa -- Documentation for xpa. (Bug#206869)
* xtend -- X10 status monitoring daemon. (Bug#207154)
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