Debian Weekly News - November 4th, 2003
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - November 4th, 2003
Welcome to this year's 44th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. Bruce Perens reserved nonfree.org as a
possible home for non-free if it ever spins off of Debian. Currently
it's just a CNAME to ftp.debian.org but with a little work it could be
a good facility to manage a non-free cut-over.
Debian faster than Gentoo? Matt Garman wondered why his C++
program ran dramatically slower when compiled on a Gentoo machine than
when compiled with Debian Sid. He later reported that recompiling
the Gentoo C++ libraries with less aggressive optimization flags (-O2
instead of -O3) eliminated the speed difference. Matt also added
that Debian and other distributions are conservative, but set up by
very experienced people.
System Recovery with Knoppix. IBM Developerworks has an article by
Carla Schroder that describes how to rescue a non-booting Linux
system, edit files, mount networked filesystems, and do a bare-metal
rebuild with only a Knoppix disk and an Internet connection.
Improving KDE Maintainership. Some people may have been alarmed to see
that many of the core KDE packages were orphaned last week by Chris
Cheney. Fortunately, this was done to pave the way for the Qt/KDE
Maintainers group of which Chris Cheney is a member. A mailing
list for this group was created and a draft policy document is
Amendment of the Social Contract. Branden Robinson proposed to
amend the Social Contract. Some of his amendments change the
meaning of the Social Contract, whereas others are only editorial. One
of his key proposals is that Debian's commitment to a non-free archive
be deleted. This means that Debian would be free to stop providing
non-free software if it chose. The proposal was discussed on
Slashdot, where Bruce Perens suggested how removing non-free
might work. The proposal would also make the Social Contract a bit
separate from the Debian Free Software Guidelines.
Debian in the Enterprise? James Maguire wondered if there is a
place for Debian in the enterprise world. He talks about certification
or rather the lack of and missing vendor support which is compensated
by third party support from different companies. Use of Debian depends
on the requirements of the end user. If they were technically self
supporting, and they don't want to pay a different vendor, they could
deploy Debian -- and it would lead to greater return on investment.
Draft Position Statement regarding GNU FDL. Manoj Srivastava
reported about the effort writing a document that attempts to
address some concerns that members of the Debian project have about
the GNU Free Documentation License (FDL). This document
attempts to present the reasoning behind the conclusion that the GNU
FDL is not regarded as a license that can easily satisfy the
Debian Free Software Guidelines.
Constitutional Amendment Results. Proposal A in the vote to
disambiguate Constitution section 4.1.5 succeeded over the
other options. This means that the Debian Social Contract and
Debian Free Software Guidelines are now "Foundation Documents",
and may be modified by a 3:1 majority of Developers. The amendment
also clarified the status of non-technical documents, ensuring that
Developers may issue, supersede and withdraw various statements,
including position statements about issues of the day.
Debconf Templates Style Guide. Christian Perrier announced a style
guide for writing debconf templates. During his work translating
debconf templates to French, Christian often found templates which
seemed to be inconsistent with some written or unwritten rules. It
became evident that some formalisation of writing rules and
recommendations could help package maintainers to prepare
"well-written" debconf templates. General style harmonisation could
also greatly improve the perception of Debian, giving it a more
NetBSD Status Report. Joel Baker posted a NetBSD status report.
Joel will be restarting the archive using debpool (which should handle
uploads via HTTPS PUT, without needing logins on the box itself). The
archive will be based on -current again (aka, pre-2.0), since he has
run into problems which can only be resolved by having working POSIX
Thread support. He is also continuing to work on the 4-to-3-clause BSD
license conversion, with the permission of the NetBSD Foundation
(contacting authors and asking them to relicense, submitting patches,
and working with the Core team to get them integrated cleanly). So
far, this has been dramatically successful.
Getting HP Hardware supported for Debian. Kianusch Sayah Karadji is
trying to convince HP to add Debian support to their hardware.
HP claims, that since Debian has no figures on how many users it has
on HP servers, they do not know if supporting Debian would make sense.
If you do, please get in touch with Kianusch at
email@example.com. Several HP employees are members of the
Debian development community.
Tasksel and custom Debian Distributions. Andreas Tille wondered
how tasksel is supposed to support custom Debian distributions such as
Debian Jr. or Debian-Med. Currently tasksel displays the
debian-jr task but ignores the others. Of course, a more sophisticated
solution should be found to handle them equally.
Multiple PostgreSQL Packages. Oliver Elphick pondered whether and
how to have multiple versions of the PostgreSQL packages installed
at once. This is to get round problems with upgrading major versions,
and to allow people to have multiple database clusters, possibly at
different software versions.
Debian Project at COMDEX. There'll be a Debian installation
festival at this year's Comdex in Las Vegas on Thursday, November
20th, from 12:00pm to 1:30pm. Everybody is welcome to help or be
helped. Also at Comdex, in the "Open Source and Linux Innovation
Center", on Tuesday 18th from 1:30pm to 2:00pm a half hour talk
introduces Debian to corporate users and, in the Open Source
conference track, on Wednesday 19th from 3:30pm to 4:45pm a
discussion panel titled "A Practical Guide to Open Source
Operating Systems" will include Debian.
Alternative Postscript- and PDF-Viewer. Matthias Urlichs noticed
that there are virtual packages for postscript-viewer and pdf-viewer,
but no alternatives, i.e. there's no /usr/bin/postscript-viewer. Mark
Brown explained that Debian uses a MIME handler registration
system which viewer programs should be making use of. The run-mailcap
program can be used to find an appropriate program for a given MIME
Localised Bug Reports. Magosányi Arpád wondered if there is a
known or planned way to report bugs to the Debian Bug Tracking System
in a non-english language. He proposed that if a non-english language
is detected, the bug report is sent to a language package instead the
real package. The maintainers of the language package would then
mediate the communication between the user and the package maintainer.
Request for a Debian Kernels List. Francesco Paolo Lovergine
proposed to create a new mailing list debian-kernels in order to
ease the coordination and maintenance of kernels and patches in
Debian. This list would not be limited to Linux kernels but also
include Hurd and *BSD. He also requested the list to be created.
Circular Build Dependencies. Anthony DeRobertis wondered if he is
the only one who believed that one could build Debian from source,
starting with only essential and build-essential packages. In
particular he stomped over the cdbs - libgd-gd2-*-perl - cdbs chain.
Joel Baker would like to see Debian main in stable and testing as
closed sets in terms of build-dependencies. The current situation is a
pain for porters to a new architecture or kernel.
Split Kernel Header Files. Otto Wyss wondered why libc6-dev
suddenly depended on linux-kernel-headers. Mark Brown
explained that there have always been some kernel headers included
in libc6-dev. They have just been split out into a separate package
now. Several of these headers are referenced by headers provided by
glibc which would break those headers if linux-kernel-headers is not
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* thttpd -- Information leak, DoS and arbitrary code execution.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* apache-utils -- Utility programs for webservers.
* bookmark-merge -- Merge bookmarks from Mozilla, Netscape and
* crosshurd -- Install a hurd-i386 system from any running
* debian-installer-demo -- Debian Installer demo.
* gnue-appserver -- GNU Enterprise Application Server.
* gnue-navigator -- GNU Enterprise Navigator.
* gridlock -- Collection of grid-based board games for GNUstep.
* gtklookat -- VRML viewer for GTK+.
* gtodo -- GTK-2 todo list.
* ps2eps -- Convert PostScript to EPS (Encapsulated PostScript)
* udo -- Universal DOcument - text processing utility.
* wavesurfer -- Sound Manipulation Program.
Orphaned Packages. 9 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 190 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.
* findimagedupes -- Finds visually similar or duplicate images.
* gfpoken -- Recreate a grid of mirrors from clues given by
* glotski -- Slide the blocks to reach a goal. (Bug#219062)
* lwm -- Lightweight Window Manager. (Bug#219063)
* overkill -- Bloody 2D action deathmatch-like game in
* pong -- Preference/Property dialogs maker for GNOME.
* sourcenav -- Source code analysis, editor, browser and build
* tuxeyes -- Fancy version of xeyes. (Bug#219065)
* typespeed -- Zap words flying across the screen by typing them
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