Debian Weekly News - November 18th, 2003
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - November 18th, 2003
Welcome to this year's 46th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. Daniel Silverstone announced a Debian
Christmas or rather a Santa Claus meeting on December 6th in
Cambridge. The World Wide Web Consortium has released the Portable
Network Graphics (PNG) specification as a W3C recommendation,
which has also become an international ISO standard.
Getting GNU/Linux on the Desktop. At the recent Desktop Linux
Conference Bruce Perens suggested that in order to get GNU/Linux on to
the enterprise desktop, the community should base their
efforts on one single distribution, namely on Debian. Bruce went
on to say that enterprises will be willing to pay companies to
engineer versions of GNU/Linux to suit their needs, but that the base
distribution should remain free.
Installing Debian on a Lindows MobilePC. Steve Hastings explained
in Linux Journal how he got Debian GNU/Linux properly running on a
Lindows MobilePC, which is a USB- and network-bootable notebook
and comes with LindowsOS 3.0 pre-installed. Basically he inspected the
list of installed packages and exchanged the packages.
Debian Package Caching. Jonathan Oxer wrote about caching Debian
packages in order to save bandwidth when updating or installing
multiple Debian machines. The apt-cacher utility was originally
written by Nick Andrew to maintain two Debian systems over a slow
modem connection. It runs as CGI program and only needs to be set up
on one machine.
New Child: South African Impi Linux. The new Debian spin-off Impi
Linux was announced recently. It is mainly based on Debian
with components borrowed from Knoppix and is currently aimed at
providing an office desktop, but there are plans to create a server
version as well. By releasing a South African Linux operating system,
the creators are demonstrating that Africans can be self determined in
the digital world.
Cafepress Shops with Debian Merchandise. Javier Fernández-Sanguino
Peña noticed that several shops were set up at Cafepress that
help selling Debian merchandise articles. He was worried to see so
many shops related to Debian and wondered which of them really endorse
the Debian project. Some say they do, but do they really provide back
a percentage of their sales as some claim?
Debian Installer Review. Jonathan Oxer wrote an encouraging review
about the beta version of the next generation Debian installer.
This is how Debian is constructing the future of what is known to be
it's Achilles heel. The article explains why having a graphical
installer is not a priority and reports how it now auto-detects
hardware, and how the module selection stage has been streamlined.
This was previously one of the more confusing parts of the
installation for newbies.
Progress towards Debian 3.1. Adrian Bunk summarised some personal
observations and opinions regarding the progress towards the next
Debian release. His impression is that many Debian developers don't
use Debian 3.0, and hence don't know how outdated it is. He reported
that during the last few months, the number of release-critical bugs
in packages in unstable was constantly at the 700 bugs mark and has
come to the conclusion that one cannot freeze testing at any time.
Debian Installation over DSL? Goswin Brederlow and Marco d'Itri
discussed whether it would be possible for the debian-installer to
support a network installation over DSL. One problem is that USB
modems require a lot of firmware packages and not all of them can be
provided by Debian. They could be put on a business card sized CD,
though. A configuration frontend would still be required. Any takers?
Does Debian promote non-free Software? Mathieu Roy noticed that
upon installation of GIMP 1.2 a message is displayed suggesting the
installation of gimp1.2-nonfree. Tollef Fog Heen explained that
Suggests are technically ok but Recommends and Depends aren't.
However, non-free software is still mentioned, which is one of Richard
Stallmans complaints about Debian.
Debian Installer Template Polishing. Christian Perrier reported
that the polishing of all user interaction screens by the Debian
installer team is mostly finished. The purpose of this work is getting
a simple setup process, even for Unix newcomers - a recent review
mentioned the complexity of some screens and the use of too technical
or too "internal" jargon. This work also includes full proofreading of
original English screens as well as much work by all translation
New major dpatch Version. Gergely Nagy announced a new major
version of dpatch, patch maintenance system for Debian source
packages, which was uploaded into experimental. The tool has been
rewritten, but from the users perspective it should be fully backwards
compatible. The new version is more flexible towards different trees
and selectively applied patches.
SPI Board Elections Debate Transcript. A transcript of the debate
between the candidates for the three vacant positions on the Board of
Software in the Public Interest, Inc. (SPI), which was held over
Internet Relay Chat, is now available. The candidates answered several
questions about their plans for the board and SPI's past and future.
Voting runs through Thursday 20 November 2003 (i.e. ends midnight,
Friday morning UTC) and is open to all contributing members, including
those who join this week.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* hylafax -- Remote root exploit.
* minimalist -- Remote command execution.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* br2684ctl -- Utility for configuring RFC 2684 ATM/Ethernet
* dmidecode -- Dump Desktop Management Interface data.
* docbook-slides -- XML Slides DTD and XSL Stylesheets.
* freeguide -- Displays TV listings.
* gnubiff -- Mail notification program for GNOME.
* hawxy -- Script that makes PHP-enabled webservers to HAWHAW
* openrpg -- Client/server application to play RPG over the
* rmail -- UUCP remote mail handler.
* rtfm -- RT FAQ Manager.
* slune -- 3D racing and car-crashing game.
* songwrite -- Guitar tablature editor and player.
* sound-icons -- Sounds for speech enabled applications.
* speech-dispatcher -- Common interface to speech synthesizers.
* sysfsutils -- Utilities for querying sysfs.
Orphaned Packages. 2 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.
* cryptoapi-core-source -- CryptoAPI core kernel module.
* cryptoloop-source -- CryptoAPI's Cryptoloop Module.
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