Debian Weekly News - October 19th, 2004
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News - October 19th, 2004
Welcome to this year's 41st issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. Raphaël Hertzog has written the first French
book about Debian to honour the growing French speaking Debian
community with a sample chapter online. Joey Hess has contacted
submitters of older installation reports to retry and received a lot
of promising responses. Carla Schroder reported about using
Knoppix for system recovery.
Debian GIS Sub-Project started. Francesco Lovergine announced the
launch of DebianGis as new Debian sub-project. The goal is to create a
custom Debian distribution oriented to serious Geographical
Information Systems (GIS) users and applications. Coordination
currently takes place on Alioth.
Academic Free License. Carlos Laviola noted that the FIGlet
developers are considering to change the license of the entire
distribution from the Artistic License to the Academic Free
License 2.1 and wondered if it was DFSG-free. Andrew Suffield
asserted it was clearly non-free, including a number of
problematic clauses. MJ Ray observed that a clause requiring a
reasonable effort to obtain the express assent of recipients to the
terms of the license might be a practical problem for debian mirrors,
regardless of the DFSG.
Debian in New York City. Benjamin Mako Hill announced he has
created a new email list for Debian developers in the New York City
area. The list will be used to schedule social get-togethers and
key-signing parties. Other cities with similar groups are listed
in the unofficial Debian wiki.
Debian Project at Conferences. The Debian project announced that
it will participate in seven events in several cities in Europe. Last
weekend a mini conference took place in Italy. This week Debian is
present at the systems exhibition in Munich, Germany. Next weekend
the project will participate in Berlinux in Berlin, Germany and in
OS 04 in Graz, Austria. Several Debian related talks and workshops
will be held during these events.
Ubuntu Development Model. Michael Banck took a look at how
Ubuntu Linux works. He observed that apparently they managed to
pull off with a tiny workforce what Debian was not able to do with a
thousand volunteers and listed key development areas. Michael pondered
whether all of their work will flow back upstream, whether they will
branch off unstable again and whether the employees will find time to
work on their non-packaging related tasks for Debian.
Generic XTerm Move? Martin Krafft is quite annoyed at times by
softwares that has xterm hard-coded and proposed to move to an
alternatives-based approach. Peter Eisentraut however reported
that he has written scripts that explicitly call xterm because other
terminal emulator programs under X couldn't handle certain programs.
Frank Lichtenheld suggested to file bug reports on packages that
don't use x-terminal-emulator instead.
ppp/ip-up versus network/if-up. A discussion arose about the use
of ppp/ip-up versus network/if-up, since both intend to run scripts
whenever an interface comes up. Marco d'Itri suggested historical
reasons and reported about programs that may have only an interest in
PPP interfaces. Thomas Hood reported that the experimental
ifupdown facility does not currently rerun "up" scripts if pppd
reconnects which means that it cannot replace the PPP mechanism.
Packaging of Driver without Firmware. Aurelien Jarno wondered if a
driver package could go into main if the binary-only firmware blob
would not be included. Marco d'Itri explained that if driver can
be compiled and successfully executed without the firmware, it should
go in main because it's Free Software. The hardware device may not
perform useful work until its firmware has been loaded, though, but
Debian distributes the driver and not the device.
Dealing with Trademarks. Problems with Abiword and a discussion with
their developers inspired Branden Robinson to post a summary about
Debians concerns over trademark licensing. He concluded that the
biggest question for Debian is whether the default protections that
attach to trademarks, even when unregistered and unmentioned, infringe
upon the freedoms the DFSG purports to defend.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* mpg123 -- Arbitrary code execution.
* sax -- Buffer overflow.
* cupsys -- Information leak.
* tiff -- Remote code execution.
* cyrus-sasl-mit -- Arbitrary code execution.
* netkit-telnet-ssl -- Denial of service.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* aircrack -- Wireless WEP cracker.
* amarok -- Versatile and easy to use audio player for KDE.
* bamboo -- Website creation tool with wiki-like features.
* capisuite -- Easy fax and voice box solution for ISDN/CAPI
* cpphs -- Simplified cpp-a-like preprocessor for Haskell.
* gamin -- File and directory monitoring system.
* gems -- Shows a console session in several terminals.
* katoob -- Gtk2 light weight multilingual BiDi aware text
* latex-bridge -- LaTeX macros for typesetting bridge game
* mdnsresponder -- Howl Rendezvous/mDNS service responder
* ml-burg -- Code generator generator for Standard ML.
* nowhere -- Program translator.
* ntfstools -- Legacy package to install ntfsprogs.
* pearpc -- Architecture-independent PowerPC platform emulator.
* phpreports -- XML-based report generator for PHP.
* schoolbell -- Web server for co-ordinating schedules,
timetables and calendars.
* schooltool -- Common architecture independent files for the
* sfftobmp -- SFF (Structed Fax File) Converter.
* sffview -- Structured Fax File (SFF) Viewer.
* shc -- Shell script compiler.
* traceproto -- Traceroute replacement that supports TCP, UDP,
* xkbsel -- Tool for defining, selecting, and indicating XKB
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