This weeks edition is here, containing issues such as Priorities of Alternatives, Improving Debian's Publicity and Tracking Critical Bugs
Debian Weekly News
Debian Weekly News – June 27th, 2006
Welcome to this year's 26th issue of DWN, the weekly newsletter for
the Debian community. Alan Baghumian announced a new version
of Parsix a special Debian-based live and installation CD with
Persian support. Joey Schulze reported that an RSS feed for
the weekly news is generated automatically, including translations
for the current issue.
Debian Query Language. Berke Durak from the French National
Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control is
seeking feedback and ideas for defining a query language that
would be useful to maintainers, power-users and researchers. They have
already developed a dependency checker based on boolean form.
Tools for handling the Debian meta data with its evolution in time are
also being implemented.
Date of last Modification. Kai Hendry noted that policy's date
field is poorly implemented on /var/lib/dpkg/available. Relying
instead on the changelog date for package activity can sometimes be
incorrect as some developers may not update the date on their final
change accordingly. Joey Hess stepped in and recommended the
use of dch -r to update the changelog timestamp when continuing work
Priorities of Alternatives. Wouter Verhelst wondered why the
package maintainers are allowed to chose the priority for
alternatives. Naturally they are biased, as demonstrated with mcedit
becoming the default for /usr/bin/editor. Using popularity contest
instead would ensure that the applications which most people prefer
would be the default.
Improving Debian's Publicity. Raphaël Hertzog announced the
creation of the debian-publicity mailing list. It aims at helping
the press team by preparing and suggesting announcements and reviving
the press clipping section of the project's website. It can also
be a place to help Debian developers in drafting announcements
intended for the debian-news mailing-list. This initiative is one
of the conclusions of the Representing Debian meeting held at this
year's Debian conference. Assistance by non-technical people would
be greatly appreciated.
Tracking Critical Bugs. Andreas Barth announced some enhancements
in his bts2ldap interface for tracking critical issues in Debian
packages. The interface now takes into account the version of the
package a bug appeared or was resolved in. Steinar H. Gunderson then
made many suggestions to improve tracking the resolution state of
bugs in the Debian Bug Tracking System, for example by making the
official release-critical bug graph use the versioning
Separating shared Libraries and Executables. Goswin von Brederlow
noted that policy demands that run-time support programs using
a shared library must not be put in the shared library package. This
would prevent the installation of more than one version of the shared
library. Goswin added that it would also complicate a conversion
Debian in Cuba. David Moreno Garza reported that he has been
invited to go to Cuba to support some of Cuban Free Software
initiatives, which some of them are Debian-based. Walter Landry
explained that it used to be illegal under US law to export crypto
to any country, which has been relaxed though, but does not include
Cuba. According to Walter, some types of communication are allowed,
but some are not and even using the mailing list infrastructure may be
a problem for Debian.
Automatic Loading of Kernel Modules. Jim Popovitch noticed that
the default installation of Debian loads many more kernel modules than
he needs and wondered how to prevent this. Robert Sanchez
explained that the systems probably have some auto-detection
running which automatically load modules for the hardware they have
Stopping Daemons upon Removal. Michael Prokop wondered about
maintainer scripts that fail when they can't stop the daemon process
they try to. Henrique de Moraes Holschuh added that stop targets
are to exit with a zero exit code 0 if the service is already stopped.
Bert Schubert explained that the proper solution for chroot
environments is to add a policy-rc.d script and gave an example.
Private List Messages sent to Google Mail. Ian Jackson noted that
the current privacy and processing policies of Google Mail are not
compatible with Debian's policy for its private list. In his opinion
Google should not get a copy of debian-private, even if the only
current output is aggregate keyword hit reports.
TrueCrypt Licensing. Karl Goetz wondered if the license of the
popular multi-platform disc encryption software TrueCrypt is free
enough to allow distributing it with Debian. Michael Poole
answered that the license isn't free at all because there are a
lot of unclear and unprecise paragraphs which makes it impossible to
distribute TrueCrypt within Debian.
Security Updates. You know the drill. Please make sure that you update
your systems if you have any of these packages installed.
* DSA 1101: courier — Denial of service.
* DSA 1102: pinball — Privilege escalation.
* DSA 1103: Linux 2.6.8 — Several vulnerabilities.
New or Noteworthy Packages. The following packages were added to the
unstable Debian archive recently or contain important updates.
* ajaxterm — Web based terminal written in Python.
* bfilter — Simple web filtering proxy.
* bmagic — C++ template library for efficient platform
* bootsplash — Enables a graphical boot screen.
* chalow — Weblog tool that converts ChangeLog to HTML.
* cmus — Lightweight ncurses audio player.
* edos-debcheck — Checks whether dependencies of Debian
packages can be satisfied.
* edos-rpmcheck — Checks whether dependencies of Red Hat
packages can be satisfied.
* ferret — CASE tool for edit data models.
* gsambad — GTK+ configuration tool for samba.
* hamradiomenus — Hamradio menus for GNOME and KDE.
* klone — Web application development framework.
* kmplayer — Media player for KDE.
* lzma — Default and general compression method of 7z format in
* magpierss — Provides an XML-based (expat) RSS parser in PHP.
* mock — Build RPM packages inside a chroot.
* open21xx — Tool suite for Analog Devices ADSP 21xx family
* overgod — Bi-directional scrolling arcade game.
* parprouted — Transparent IP (Layer 3) proxy ARP bridging
* pympd — Frontend for mpd in the style of rhythmbox and
* rhinote — Virtual sticky-notes for your desktop.
* s48-refman — Unofficial reference manual for Scheme48.
* sks-ecc — Cryptographic tool based on ECC.
* smcroute — Static multicast router daemon.
* texmaker — Free LaTeX editor.
* ttf-nafees — Nafees free OpenType Urdu fonts.
Orphaned Packages. 4 packages were orphaned this week and require a
new maintainer. This makes a total of 311 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. To find out which orphaned packages are
installed on your system the wnpp-alert program from devscripts may be
* drupal — Fully-featured content management/discussion engine.
* htdig — WWW search system for an intranet or small Internet.
* mmix — Assembler and Simulator sources for Knuth's MMIX.
* qcad — Professional CAD System. (Bug#374954)
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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Kai Hendry,
Mohammed Adnène Trojette, Sebastian Feltel and Martin 'Joey' Schulze.