Welcome to this year's 16th issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian
community. Topics covered in this issue include * “Etch-and-a-half” installation images updated * GNU Affero General Public License suitable for Debian “main” * Security Teams Meeting in Essen * … and much more.
Debian Project News
Debian Project News – December 2nd, 2008
Welcome to this year's 16th issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian
community. Topics covered in this issue include:
* “Etch-and-a-half” installation images updated
* GNU Affero General Public License suitable for Debian “main”
* Security Teams Meeting in Essen
* … and much more.
Etch-and-a-half installation images updated
As a result of the release of the first release candidate for Lenny of
Debian Installer (D-I RC1) on November 12th, the installer images for
Etch-and-a-half have also been updated. A consequence of this
update is that during installation of Etch-and-a-half using the
currently available images, a newer kernel version (2.6.26) will be
used. However, the kernel used for the installed system remains
unchanged at version 2.6.24. In some cases this can mean that hardware
which is supported during the installation does not work after the
reboot into the installed system because support for it was added after
the 2.6.24 version.
Old Etch-and-a-half businesscard and netinst CD images remain usable.
Old netboot images are no longer usable and will need to be replaced
with a current image. The Etch-and-a-half Debian Installer web page
has links to the new images and to the release announcements which give
an overview of changes in the installation system. The Debian Installer
team is currently preparing the second release candidate (RC2) of the
Lenny installer, which will again result in an update of the installer
images for Etch-and-a-half. The kernel version used during installation
will remain at 2.6.26.
GNU Affero General Public License suitable for Debian “main”
Jörg Jaspert, representing the FTP Archives team, has released a
position statement about the inclusion in main of works licensed
under GNU Affero General Public License version 3 (AGPLv3). In
short, the statement says that such works are suitable for Debian/main,
even though the AGPL has an additional clause when compared to the
GNU General Public License (GPLv3). The clause in question requires
software to offer the source code to a user when interacting with it
remotely through a computer network.
Security Teams Meeting in Essen
Martin “Joey” Schulze reports on the Debian Security meeting which
took place 28-30 November 2008 in Essen, Germany. Members of both the
stable and the testing security teams attended as did the developers
who are currently working on security updates for the backports
The attendees discussed issues with regard to future security work in
the Debian project and for the Debian distribution. Specific topics
were cooperation between the different teams (both in terms of work as
well as in terms of archive management), as well as long term support
for Debian GNU/Linux installations which cannot support an upgrade
every two years (such as large clusters of Debian GNU/Linux systems).
Notes taken during the meeting will be sent to the
debian-devel-announce mailing list and summarized in the Debian
New Stable SuiteTelecentro 2.0
The new stable version of SuiteTelecentro is now available for
download from Sourceforge. SuiteTelecentro is a customisation of Debian
and is built at the Free Software Laboratory of the IT Board of Banco
do Brasil, the largest and oldest public bank in Brazil.
As already covered at Debian Times, SuiteTelecentro is a
GNU/Linux solution which allows the use of low performance CPU and
memory computers as affordable thin clients at telecentres for the
poor. Over 4 million users now have affordable access to an Internet
enabled computer thanks to this Free Software project.
SuiteTelecentro is based on Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 (Etch) and LTSP 4.2.
The new 2.0 version features easy installation, uses the GNOME
graphical environment and includes: the OpenOffice.org suite, MySQL,
PHP, Apache, MediaWiki and the Ocara telecentre management software.
Dependency based boot sequencing release goal completed
Petter Reinholdtsen announced that the release goal of supporting a
dependency based boot sequence has been completed. This allows system
services to be started in an order which is calculated from their
dependencies on each other instead of a hardcoded order.
He adds that 99.8% of all packages in unstable now have the necessary
dependency information, with only 2 packages missing them. However,
more testers are needed to identify problems with currently untested
combinations of packages.
Debian bugs #600000 and #1000000 contest
Christian Perrier announced that as the bug #500000 mark was turned
on September 24th 2008, Debian developers and contributors need a new
challenge. So a small contest has been set up again. The principle is
very simple: Participants should place a bet (one per person) about the
day bugs #600000 and as close as possible to the real moment bugs
#600000 and #1000000 are reported.
The bet page is hosted in the Debian wiki. It will be closed on
December 31st, 2008. Bets will be kept statically until bug #600000 is
reported. Then the page will be reopened with a new list of bets for
bug #1000000. Thus, there will be four sets of bets for bug #1000000
with even more suspense and fun.
Inter-distribution collaboration for maintaining games
Initiated by members of the merged Debian and Ubuntu games teams and
Hans de Goede from Fedora, a mailing list was created to foster
collaboration between operating systems for the maintenance of games.
The goal is to share and review patches that the upstream project is
slow or unwilling to accept, or to take over as the new upstream for
software in cases where the original upstream has died.
At this time, members of Arch Linux, Debian, Fedora, Fink, FreeBSD,
Gentoo, NetBSD, OpenSolaris, PC-BSD, Slackbuilds, SUSE and Yellow Dog
Linux are on this list as well as GNOME and KDE members.
Call for talks for the Debian Developers' room at FOSDEM
Wouter Verhelst called for talks for the Debian Developers' room at
the upcoming Free and Open Source Developers European Meeting (FOSDEM):
a yearly community meeting that takes place at the université libre de
Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium and which concentrates on bringing
developers of Free Software together. As during previous events, Debian
has the opportunity to hold its own one and a half day conference
When to do non-maintainer uploads?
A recent non-maintainer upload of the php5 package caused some
discussion about how and when non-maintainer uploads should be done.
While fixing release critical bugs is indeed a very important topic
(especially for long standing bugs without action from the maintainer),
release team member Steve Langasek reminded that developers should
still inform the maintainers about any plans to perform a NMU, while
Thomas Viehmann reminded maintainers that they should fix, or at
least comment on, release critical bugs within two weeks.
Popular packages in Ubuntu that are not in Debian “main”
Petter Reinholdtsen did a survey on the question of which popular
Ubuntu packages are not included in Debian/main and why. In order to
determine the packages' popularity, Petter used their popcon ratings.
He ended up with a list of 152 popular Ubuntu packages which are
currently not in Debian/main, a number he considered surprisingly low.
Many of tning packages many are multimedia related. Petter thinks it
would be very nice to have these packages available in Debian and wants
to encourage their packaging.
In related news James Westby did a survey on the quality of the
Ubuntu packages which are not included in Debian using their records in
the Ubuntu bug tracking system.
Developer News wanted
Raphael Hertzog, the author of the Misc Developer News asks
developers to (regularly) share short news about their work and
plans so they can be published in the Misc Developer News. Possible
news covers everything which is related to Debian development and not
worth a dedicated mail to debian-devel-announce. The news is published
whenever five news stories have come together. Raphael points out that
the Misc Developer News can also be used to post calls for help.
Need for an unofficial public community repository?
The rejection from the queue for some new packages to be added to
Debian by the ftp-masters caused some discussion about the need of a
repository for unofficial packages not meeting Debian's
standards or being otherwise unsupported. Holger Levsen pointed to
debian-unofficial.org, which isn't flawless. This caused Holger
to think about a solution inside of debian-community.org. The
proposal to use apt-get.org has been criticised as well.
Bits from the buildd world
Adeodato Simó sent bits from buildd world. Buildds are a part of
Debian's infrastructure, organising which automated build system (build
daemon) is building which package for which architecture. Beside some
personnel changes, he also explains the proper ways to contact the
buildd team, as well as where the source code of the buildd
infrastructure is maintained.
One applicant has been accepted as Debian Maintainer since the
prior issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Jörg Sommer into
Release cricital bug stats for the upcoming release
According to the unofficial RC-bugs count, the upcoming release
Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 “Lenny” is currently affected by 118 release
critical bugs. 43 of them have already been fixed in Debian's
“unstable” branch. Of the remaining 75 release critical bugs, 33
already have a patch (which might need testing) and 5 are marked as
Ignoring these bugs as well as release critical bugs for packages in
contrib or non-free, 36 release critical bugs remain to be solved for
the release to happen.
Important Debian Security Advisories
Debian's Security Team recently released advisories for these packages
(among others): python2.4, xulrunner, iceweasel,
wireshark and phpmyadmin. Please read them carefully and take
the proper measures.
Please note that these are only a selection of the more important
security advisories of the last two weeks. If you need to be kept up to
date about security advisories released by the Debian Security Team,
please subscribe to the security mailing list for announcements.
New and noteworthy packages
The following packages were added to the unstable Debian archive
recently (among others):
* arandr — Simple visual front end for XRandR 1.2
* asunder — graphical audio CD ripper and encoder
* biblatex — Bibliographies for LaTeX
* canto — flexible ncurses Atom/RSS newsreader for the console
* geotranz — GEOgraphic coordinates TRANslator
* iceape-l10n-lt — Lithuanian language package for Iceape
* iceweasel-l10n-bg — Bulgarian language package for Iceweasel
* iceweasel-l10n-cy — Welsh language package for Iceweasel
* iceweasel-l10n-eo — Esperanto language package for Iceweasel
* iceweasel-l10n-et — Estonian language package for Iceweasel
* iceweasel-l10n-hi-in — Hindi language package for Iceweasel
* iceweasel-l10n-lv — Latvian language package for Iceweasel
* iceweasel-l10n-oc — Occitan language package for Iceweasel
* link-grammar-dictionaries-lt — Carnegie Mellon University's
link grammar parser for English
* mseide — A FreePascal-based GUI IDE
* nmapsi4 — graphical interface to nmap, the network scanner
* open-font-design-toolkit — metapackage for open font design
* ps3-utils — Utilities for running Debian on a Sony Playstation
* pyneighborhood — PyGTK2 SAMBA browser
* snow — whitespace steganography for text files
* xplot-xplot.org — fast tool to graph and visualize lots of
* zabbix-proxy-mysql — software for monitoring of your networks
Debian Package of the Day featured the package apticron (a
cron-script to mail impending apt updates).
Currently 488 packages are orphaned and 117 packages are up for
adoption. Please take a look at the recent reports to see if
there are packages you are interested in or view the complete list of
packages which need your help.
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This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Andre Felipe
Machado, Jon Evans, Richard Hartmann, Stefano Zacchiroli, Christian
Perrier, Frans Pop, Meike Reichle and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl.