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Debian Project News – August 4th, 2008

Some of the topics covered in this issue include: “Lenny” frozen, Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 updated to include support for newer hardware, Schedule for 8th annual Debian Conference announced, Debian Days around the world … and much more.
Debian Project News
Debian Project News – August 4th, 2008

Welcome to this year's 8th issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian
Some of the topics covered in this issue include:

* “Lenny” frozen
* Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 updated to include support for newer hardware
* Schedule for 8th annual Debian Conference announced
* Debian Days around the world
* … and much more.

“Lenny” frozen

Marc Brockschmidt, a Release Manager, announced that “Lenny”, the
upcoming new stable release, has been [1]frozen as [2]planned. The
automatic transition of new versions of packages from the development
branch (“sid” or “unstable”) to the current testing branch (“lenny”) has
been stopped and new versions of packages need manual approval. New
versions which fix release critical bugs, other important bugs, add
documentation, or include translation fixes can be approved by the
release team upon request.


Lenny is still scheduled to be released in September 2008.

Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 updated to include support for newer hardware

The Debian project [3]released an updated version of its current stable
release Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 “etch” called “etch and a half”. While
this update mainly includes security fixes and fixes for severe bugs,
the Debian project has for the first time also added support for newer
hardware by adding new drivers with updated Linux kernel and
packages. The new drivers are optional and the old versions will still
be supported.


Detailed upgrade instructions are available in the respective
[4]announcement, the [5]etch and a half release notes and the [6]etch
and a half installation guide.


Schedule for 8th annual Debian Conference announced

Jörg Jaspert [7]announced the [8]schedule for the 8th annual Debian
Conference which will be held from August 10th to August 16th, 2008 in
Mar del Plata, Argentina. As usual the schedule should considered a
“work in progress” as session slots will be filled during the conference
with spontaneous sessions, including so called BoF (“Birds of a
feather”) sessions.


For those who can't attend the conference physically, the DebConf video
team will try to stream all sessions, so interested people can point
their media player (e.g. [9]xine or [10]totem) to
[11] and
[12] Users in North
America, Europe and Australia should use, and, respectively, with the corresponding


IRC channels which can be used to participate in discussion sessions
will be announced separately; a schedule with times in UTC is in
preparation. After DebConf8 the sessions will also be available as
videos at [13],
where you can also find older DebConf videos.


In related news, the organizers of the Debian Conference are
[14]soliciting location proposals for the 10th annual Debian Conference
to be held in 2010. Groups interested in hosting the 10th DebConf
conference should prepare their proposal according to [15]this
checklist and send it to [16]


Debian Days around the world

Debian users around the world are preparing to celebrate the [17]15th
anniversary of the Debian project on August 16th 2008. Currently Debian
Days are planned in Nicaragua, Portugal, Italy, Bulgaria, Chile,
Argentina and eight different locations in Brazil. Apart from general
celebration, the Debian Days will feature install fests, talks,
discussion panels, LAN parties, Debian merchandise, software
demonstrations, advanced installation workshops, knowledge exchange,
and much more.


The Brazilian Portuguese event will be transmitted on-line by and torrents will be available after. Other
Brazilian Debian User Groups interested in their own event
transmissions may visit the event page for details.

Limited Xen support in Lenny

A recent discussion on the debian-devel list highlighted that due to
the upstream delays in getting Xen support integrated into kernels
beyond 2.6.18, Lenny will need to ship with limited Xen support. Pasi
Kärkkäinen explained [18]the situation and Bastian Blank wrote [19]an
article about the options the Debian Project has. His conclusion is to
support a 2.6.18 kernel in Lenny, until “lenny-and-a-half” adds better
Xen support. However, the release managers have not yet made a final


Screenshots of GUI applications

Roberto Sanchez [20]raised the topic of screenshots for GUI
applications. Since it's often difficult to judge a package based only
on the textual package description, he suggested being able to add
screenshots of specific applications to Debian. This would allow
package search and maintenance tools to show the user what can be
expected from a specific package.


During the discussion Raphael Hertzog [21]remarked about a previous
discussion during the 6th Debian Conference and Paul Wise [22]added
that the Debian Package Games Team already creates screenshots for
their games which are available in the [23]games-thumbnails package,
and are used by [24]goplay, a debtags-based browser for game-related
packages. Jon Dowland [25]pointed out that there may be possible legal
issues, since screenshots could be seen as derivative works of the
original application in some legislations.


Bits from the Debian Eee PC team

Ben Armstrong [26]reported on the current activities of the [27]Debian
Eee PC team: Debian's next release Lenny will work with all of the
earliest models of the Eee PC and the Eee PC team hopes to soon realize
its goal of a completely DFSG free system for the earliest models of
the Eee Pc. Newer models are now able to install using the atl1e
ethernet driver from; support for wireless and other
aspects of the new hardware will follow soon. The wireless custom
Debian-installer is also making good progress. There are currently two
Debian-live USB images available: a demo of the [28]LXDE desktop (a
lightweight desktop environment that is made with the Eee PC in mind)
and a minimal console-only image for rescue/backup. The team is also
always looking for new members to contribute to Debian's support for
the Eee Pc.


SELinux and lenny

Russel Coker [29]gave [30]several [31]updates on security enhanced
Linux in the upcoming stable release of Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 “Lenny”.


adept package manager alpha release of version 3.0

Petr Rockai gave a [32]report about his work on a rewritten version of
adept, a package management tool for KDE. He points out that the new
version of adept has improved upon the speed, reliability and user
experience of previous versions. Notable among the new features he
added are full text searching and handling of interactive installation
prompts (for example, debconf prompts and dpkg prompts about changed
configuration files).


Debian Project at FrOSCon 2008

From Saturday the 23rd of August 2008 to Sunday the 24th of August
2008, the Debian Project will participate with a booth at Free and Open
Source Software Conference 2008 in St. Augustin, Germany. Please see
the respective [33]events page for further details.


Other news

Stefano Zacchiroli [34]reminded package maintainers that the old
pseudo-header for upstream Homepages in the package description has
been replaced by a proper header which should now be used instead.

34: zack/blog/posts/2008/07/reminder:_Homepage_pseudo_fields_are_GONE/

Ian Jackson [35]pointed out how to properly rename a package to ease
the transition of other package's dependencies upon the renamed


Christian von Essen [36]reported about his [37]Google Summer of Code
project the [38]”Ultimate Debian Database”, which combines Debian
information from various sources. He's also looking for [39]example
queries to allow for further testing of his database layout.


New and noteworthy packages

By popular request, DPN will once again feature a list of new and
noteworthy packages that have recently been added to the unstable
branch. The list will feature editorial picks from the official list of
[40]new packages and will be appended to each issue of Debian Project


* [41]almanah — application to ease management of a personal diary
* [42]amora-server — use a bluetooth enabled mobile phone as desktop
remote control
* [43]bzr-cvsps-import — CVS to Bazaar importer
* [44]cnee — X event recorder/replayer – command-line flavor
* [45]gecko-mediaplayer — Media plug-in for Gecko browsers
* [46]gnee — X event recorder/replayer – GUI flavor
* [47]gnome-mplayer — A simple GUI for MPlayer
* [48]gpsdrive-data — Car naviagion system
* [49]gptsync — GPT and MBR partition tables synchronisation tool
* [50]ia32-apt-get — Apt-get and dpkg wrapper for on-the-fly
ia32-libs conversion
* [51]jabberd2 — Jabber instant messenger server
* [52]jifty — perl web MVC framework
* [53]link-monitor-applet-common — GNOME Panel Applet with graph of
round-trip times to hosts (data)
* [54]maq — maps short fixed-legth polymporphic DNA sequence reads
to reference sequences
* [55]midori — Fast and lightweight web browser
* [56]postgresql-8.3-plr — Procedural language interface between
PostgreSQL 8.3 and R
* [57]singular — A commutative algebra system
* [58]strace64 — A system call tracer for 64bit binaries
* [59]topal — Links Pine and GnuPG together
* [60]trac-accountmanager — account management plugin for Trac
* [61]zope-formulator — tool to create and validate web forms in


Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages
(among others): [62]libgd, [63]iceweasel, [64]xulrunner , [65]clamav,
[66]python2.5, [67]icedove and [68]cupsys. Please read them carefully
and take the proper measures.


Please note that those are only the most important security advisories
of the last two weeks. If you would like to be kept up to date about
the security advisories released by the Debian Security Team, please
subscribe to the [69]mailing list for security announcements.


Work-needing packages

Currently 461 packages are orphaned and 118 packages are up for
adoption. Please take a look at the [70]recent [71]reports to see if
there are packages you are interested in or view the complete list of
[72]packages which need your help.


Want to continue reading DPN?

Please help us create this newsletter. We still need more volunteer
writers to watch the Debian community and report about what is going
on. Please see the [73]contributing page to find out how to help. We're
looking forward to receiving your mail at


This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Don Armstrong,
Andre Felipe Machado, Graham Cobb, Paul van der Vlis, Meike Reichle and
Alexander Reichle-Schmehl.

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