Debian Weekly News - January 27th, 2004
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - January 27th, 2004
Welcome to this year's fourth issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. Ognyan Kulev fixed a long-standing drawback and
released an unofficial patch for the Hurd to finally allow ext2
filesystems with more than 2 GB. Joe Barr was looking for a large
escape key for the brain, a mind-rotting time waster that truly allows
you to escape for a bit. Then he discovered frozen-bubble, but
managed to write his article as well. The February issue of the
Italian Linux Pro magazine contains a snapshot of Debian sarge
(testing) on a DVD or on 4 CDs respectively.
New deaf portmap Package. Josselin Mouette announced a new
portmap package that doesn't listen on the network by default. The
package has been modified this way since it is installed on a wide
range of desktop boxes without the need to listen to the whole
network, introducing a potential security weakness for desktop users.
FOSDEM: Call for Papers. Wouter Verhelst called for papers about
any subjects to be held in the shared developers' room at the upcoming
FOSDEM. Given the general context of the event, which is aimed at
developers rather than users, talks should be of a more or less
technical manner, and should have a duration of about one hour.
Removing the Exim Dependency. Marc Haber wondered what to do with
about 50 packages in the archive that still declare a dependency to
exim instead of exim4. Since Exim 3 is no longer supported
upstream, and Exim 4 is the default MTA for sarge he intended to file
wishlist bugs against these packages. However, Exim 4 is not a drop-in
replacement for Exim 3, since it uses a different configuration
file format that cannot be converted in an easy way.
Removing the "operator" User. Colin Watson wanted to know which
home directory should be used for the "operator" user. Historically,
this user existed only to run dumps of the disks and log in remotely
without NIS, NFS and the like. However, since it doesn't have a real
home directory as default, the account didn't provide this
functionality anyway. The discussion persuaded Colin to remove
this user from fresh installations.
Amending the Debian Release Process? Lucas Nussbaum proposed to
disregard stable releases and only assign working branches, where
packages would go when the maintainer ask for it, like Raphaël Hertzog
described in his platform. Adrian Bunk objected and explained
that many packages have to go into testing at exactly the same time to
avoid uninstallable packages. He also raised the question of security
support for these snapshots.
Comparing the two General Resolutions. Anthony DeRobertis compared
Raul Miller's draft and Andrew Suffield's proposed general
resolution for amending the social contract. He compares both
proposals sentence by sentence. This should help people to understand
the differences in both intentions.
Public Debian GNU/Hurd Machine. Gürkan Sengün announced a public
machine running Debian GNU/Hurd which he has made available.
Interested developers should send him a mail and ask for an
account, if they want to explore Debian GNU/Hurd or test or compile
Installing Debian on Thunderbird mini-ITX. Henry Kingman explained
how to install Debian GNU/Linux on a Lippert Thunderbird mini-ITX
motherboard based on a Pentium-M processor. It is not specifically an
embedded project, but it does present obstacles similar in nature to
those faced by embedded Linux developers working with boards with
relatively new chip sets. The article included descriptions of
starting with the bf24 boot-floppies and setting up X11 and sound.
Linux on Mac Primer. David Mertz explained that Linux isn't only
for x86 boxes, but runs equally well on PowerPC machines. He explained
the reasons why users would want to run Linux on a Mac and evaluated
Debian, Knoppix, Yellow Dog, and Mandrake on the PowerPC. David felt
he couldn't really recommend Debian, mainly because of difficulties he
experienced trying to get X11 working.
MD/Software RAID Support in debian-installer. Paul Fleischer
announced that he has been working on getting MD support into
debian-installer. He has prepared a mdadm-udeb package and a mdcfg
udeb package, which contains the debconf stuff needed for setup, and
the necessary block file for partconf. Paul has made the
source packages available, although the process currently fails
when trying to configure a kernel for the system, requiring the user
to install mdadm on the target partition, and retry the operation.
New Popularity Contest. Bill Allombert announced
popcon.debian.org that contains package usage statistics. If you
want the survey to include information about the software used on your
own machines, simply install the popularity-contest package. Among
other things, the results are used to decide which packages should go
on the installer CD instead of on supplementary discs.
Proper Use of @debian.org Addresses. Michael Banck released the
results of his survey about the proper use of @debian.org
addresses. About one hundred developers responded, which is about one
ninth of the registered developers. Using @debian.org addresses in
relation with Free Software or on personal homepages was clearly
considered to be alright, while uses not connected to Free Software or
just as general purpose email address were quite clearly considered
New Standard Text Browser. James Troup announced that he demoted
the text browser lynx from priority standard to optional. The new
standard text browser is now w3m, which features e.g. support for
tables. There were some discussions whether links should have been
promoted instead, but up to now the decision hasn't been reverted.
Booting from a USB Stick. Rene Mayrhofer announced a new version
of mkinitrd-cd which supports booting from USB CD-ROM/DVD drives,
USB sticks and USB harddisks. Hence, it is no longer only an
all-in-one package for creating live, bootable CD-ROMs. He wondered if
he should rename the package.
KDE 3.1.5 in unstable. Chris Cheney reported that all components
of KDE 3.1 were uploaded into unstable. However, since the buildd
network hasn't updated their g++ due to its policy to spend as
little time as possible, most packages weren't yet built for other
architectures than IA-32.
Build Daemon Statistics. Ingo Jürgensmann announced additional
information about the Debian build network. It reads the
wanna-build database and displays it. Additional information was added
about machines for all architectures, including the status, machine
types, CPU and disk specification.
Documentation of Source Archives. Henning Makholm noticed that
Debian doesn't ship sufficient documentation about pristine and
other source archives and hence prepared draft text. He is seeking
feedback on the draft and would also like to know where to add it.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* GnuPG -- Cryptographic weakness in ElGamal signing keys.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* baycomepp -- Drivers for the HB9JNX packet radio epp modem.
* baycomusb -- Drivers for the HB9JNX packet radio usb modem.
* cl-rlc -- Common LISP RLC Circuit Simulator.
* convertfs -- In-place filesystem conversion.
* elmo -- Text-based mail-reader supporting SMTP and POP3.
* freefem3d -- Language and solver for partial differential
equations in 3D.
* gpe-contacts -- Contact manager for GPE.
* irda-utils -- IrDA management and handling utilities.
* kodos -- Visual regular expression editor.
* kregexpeditor -- Graphical regular expression editor plugin.
* mell -- Emacs LISP library written by Hiroyuki Komatsu.
* opensc -- SmartCard utilities with support for PKCS#15
* prime -- Japanese PRedictive Input Method Editor.
* qgis -- Geographic Information System (GIS).
* sary -- Suffix array library (program).
* sipcalc -- Advanced console-based ip subnet calculator.
* slbackup -- Skolelinux Backup system.
* tor -- Anonymous communication system.
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