Debian Weekly News - May 11th, 2004
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - May 11th, 2004
Welcome to this year's 19th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. If you were a fan of the original PacMan game,
you'll probably like the New York version of it as well. The
FFII has learned that the EU Council of Ministers has decided to
ignore the EU Parliament, and instead plan to establish a reckless
"patent everything" approach to software and business models.
Debian OASIS Membership. Mark Johnson reported about Debian's
membership in OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of
Structured Information Standards. Debian is the only Free Software
organization with any representation at this standards organization,
and hence provides the only Free Software voice at OASIS. All Debian
developers are welcome to join any OASIS Technical Committee in which
they are interested and are encouraged to do so.
How much Documentation is there? In light of recent discussion of
documentation quality, Karsten M. Self looked at the quantity
of documentation included in Debian. A typical desktop installation
includes about 1,600 manpages which correspond to over 27,000 printed
pages, and the 60,000+ manpages in all of Debian unstable compare to
over 261,000 pages printed, or 523 books' worth, or $ 9,152 in
photocopy costs. That doesn't count READMEs, HOWTOs, RFCs, Linux
Gazette, info pages, and other online documentation also available.
Debian-Installer Release Process Retrospective. Joey Hess reported
about the last debian-installer beta release. This release had
severe problems with regards to bug-fixing and testing. He drew
several ideas to improve the work of the installer team. Among others
these include speeding up their pulse and switching to testing-style
udeb propagation. He would also like to see a remote test laboratory
that could be used for tests of most architectures.
Serial ATA-RAID on Debian. Karl Schmidt explained in a howto that
the last beta release of the debian-installer supports serial ATA
(SATA), but going on to RAID is still a manual task. The basic idea
was to install Debian on one drive, partition the second drive with
just the same sizes, copying the Debian installation over from the
first disk, then repartitioning it and attaching it to the degraded
Draft for Modification of the DFSG. Buddha Buck sent in a first
draft proposal for modification of the Debian Free Software
Guidelines (DFSG) to allow certain forms of documentation, fonts, and
other matters that don't conform to the existing DFSG into Debian.
Basically he proposed to mention documentation and other written
materials, images, fonts, and sounds and deal with them explicitly.
Debian Trademarks. Ean Schuessler started a discussion on the
usefulness of the Debian trademark since the legal counsel of SPI
believes that Debian would be best served by abandoning its marks and
purposefully making the term "Debian" generic. Enforcement is the only
way that a trademark can truly be held. The owner must be the
universal and final arbitrator of use and must show that use is
carefully monitored and enforced. This, however, does involve a lot of
Debian Mini-Conference at LinuxTag. Alexander Schmehl is looking for
proposed talks for the Debian Day which will be held on Thursday,
June 24th, during LinuxTag in Karlsruhe, Germany. This is a one
day conference dedicated to Debian people, targeting advanced users
and developers. Some talks were proposed but don't have a speaker yet.
Interested people should contact the debian-events-eu list.
Heise Portal running Debian. According to the German computer magazine
c't, the popular German tech news portal heise.de is being run on
a cluster of Debian 3.0 machines. They are using 23 rack-mounted
Xeon-2-servers, 18 of them delivering HTML pages, five offering
back-end services like MySQL databases and indexing, assisted by two
Solaris machines for mail and backup. The site is fulfilling up to 92
million HTTP requests per day, the databases have to process up to two
million request per hour, using a redundant load-balancing mechanism.
Heise chose Debian because of the comfortable package management and
Debian License Summaries. Frank Lichtenheld and Andreas Barth
worked on a way to present the findings of debian-legal on the
Debian website with regards to software licenses. Similar lists are
maintained by the Free Software Foundation and the Open Source
Initiative. However, the Debian project uses different criteria to
judge the categorisation of licenses, as shown in the list.
Preferred License for Forums Content. Sebastian Feltel wondered
which license he should use or require for content in a web-based
forum. He has used the GNU Free Documentation License before, but
since it is considered non-free by the Debian project it is not
Kernel Maintenance Group. Andres Salomon suggested to form an
Alioth kernel packaging project to facilitate kernel maintenance
in Debian. Francesco Lovergine noted that the first step in this
direction, the creation of the debian-kernel mailing-list, is done but
apparently has missed its goal.
PNG Library Maintenance. Josselin Mouette suggested to adjust
packages that link against a version of libpng. Several packages still
don't use versioned symbols and only require a recompilation. Using
versioned symbols is a precondition for a smooth transition for all
packages still using libpng2 or libpng10. After that's done, they
should be adjusted to build with libpng 1.2.x.
Bittorrents of current Debian Release. Mattias Wadenstein
announced that bittorrents of the current release are
available. This service is currently in beta stage, so please test
it and tell him about any strange stuff. Joey Hess asked if
torrents could be created for the weekly built full sarge iso images,
since the next debian-installer beta release will include full iso
images and not only netinstall images.
Debian with integrated XML Support. The Debian project announced
that the upcoming stable Debian release (code-named sarge) will
feature fully integrated XML support. Multiple toolchains for XSL(T)
processing, a fully standards-compliant XML catalog system, and a
Debian XML policy document for both Debian developers and users
provide the backbone of a complete, out-of-the-box system for XML
developers and authors.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* exim -- Buffer overflows.
* exim-tls -- Buffer overflows.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* bochs-svga -- SVGA plugin for Bochs.
* burn -- Command line Data-CD, Audio-CD, ISO-CD, Copy-CD
* cynthiune -- Music player for GNUstep.
* mkvmlinuz -- Create a kernel to boot a PowerPC machine from
* sdm -- Secure Display Manager.
Orphaned Packages. 3 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 162 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.
* ncurses-ruby -- Ruby Extension for the ncurses C library.
* raggle -- Console RSS aggregator. (Bug#247988)
* rdoc -- Generate documentation from ruby source files.
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