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Debian Project News – August 11th, 2010

Welcome to this year’s ninth issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community. Topics covered in this issue include…

* The Debian project Release Team announces an official Freeze
* Annual Debian Developer Conference 2010 ended
* A free (as in speech) Debian book in the making
* Second alpha version for “Squeeze” -based Debian Live images
* Net-installation CD images with firmware available
* Debian Edu/Skolelinux 6.0.0 alpha0 test release
* ZFS support in unstable on kFreeBSD ports
* Debian-Accessibility is using Blends web sentinel
* Debian GIS project will release Blends metapackages in “Squeeze”
* DebiChem project will release Blends metapackages in “Squeeze”
* DebConf11 logo contest
* When should services started by init.d scripts be operational?
* Different statistics about Debian
* Building all files from source
* … and much more.

The Debian project Release Team announces an official Freeze

On 6 August at DebConf10 in New York City, Adam D. Barratt and the rest
of the Debian Release Team announced that Debian is being frozen in
preparation for release [1]. The tentative release goal is before the end
of the year. As Adam D. Barratt said, a freeze is a horizontal transition
and it means that one doesn’t introduce new transitions, or upload
packages to unstable which are not intended to be released in “Squeeze”
. Also, if your package is involved in an ongoing transition, don’t
upload a new version until it migrates. You can check thetransition
tracker [2] for more information.

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Annual Debian Developer Conference 2010 ended

The 2010 annual Debian Developer Conference, DebConf10, which was held at
Columbia University in New York City, ended last Saturday on 7 August,
2010. With over 300 Debian Developers, Maintainers, and Users from 40
countries attending, it was one of the most productive conferences ever.
Attendees met other developers, worked on projects, toured New York City,
and attended talks, thus forming strong community bonds throughout the
week long event.

Holding DebConf in New York allowed organizers to include members of the
wider Free Software and Free Culture community who gave talks and
presentations. Eben Moglen, chairman of the Software Freedom Law Center,
gave a talk “The Silver Lining in the Cloud” (beta version of the
recording [3]) that inspired days of conversation and got many
participants interested in the Freedom Box project. John Sullivan from
the Free Software Foundation showed a film about patents, “Patent
Absurdity” (beta version of the recording [4]), and led a BOF detailing
the many campaigns of the Free Software Foundation. We also enjoyed the
award winning animated film released under a Creative Commons license
[5] “Sita Sings the Blues” . The filmmaker, Nina Paley, along with Karl
Fogel from Questioncopyright, led a lively question and answer period
after the film.

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Many other interesting Debian-related talks and ad-hoc sessions took
place, ranging from the latest developments in packaging up to
collaboration with derivative distributions and projects like
“Constantly Usable Testing” . Preceding the conference, a one week work
camp took place, and thanks to the bug-squashing contest held during the
past two weeks, almost 140 bugs were closed for the next release, and
almost 80 for the current stable release!

Debian’s current DPL, Stefano Zacchiroli, gave an inspirational talk
(beta version of the recording [6]), explaining why Debian is still
relevant after 17 years but also making recommendations for attracting
more users and developers, and for building stronger collaboration with
derivatives. The Release Team delivered a quick but concise talk about
their status and announced the immediate freeze of [7] “Squeeze” .

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For those who couldn’t attend the conference, and would like to watch the
talks, many sessions were streamed by the DebConf video team composed of
over 40 volunteers. If you liked their work, please say thank you [8] as
this helps to keep them motivated.

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A low quality beta version of the video recordings [9] is already

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The Debian Project, the attendees, and all who followed the streams would
like to thank this year’s sponsors [10] and the organizers [11] for
making all that possible!

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A free (as in speech) Debian book in the making

Debian developers Raphaël Hertzog and Roland Mas have announced their
intention to translate their French Debian book into English. Their
best-seller covers a wide range of topics from the basics (introducing
the community, dpkg, APT, debian-installer, etc.) to more advanced
administration tasks (automated installation, virtualization with Xen,
RAID/LVM, SELinux, etc.) as well as the most common services (mail, web,
firewall, file server, LDAP, etc.). It will be based on the upcoming
Debian “Squeeze” .

The resulting book will be published under a DFSG-compliant license (dual
license: CC-BY-SA 3.0/GPL2+) provided that they manage to raise the money
required to fund this work. At this point, they need your feedback to
pick the most appropriate funding service: check their announcement [12]
and respond to the questionnaire [13] that they have set up.

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Second alpha version for “Squeeze” -based Debian Live images available

Daniel Baumann announced the availability of the second alpha version of
Debian [14] “Squeeze” -based live images, which can be used without being
installed. Due to space limitations, dedicated USB-HDD images will most
likely not be offered anymore, as the new ISO-hybrid images can be used
on both optical media like DVDs and USB-sticks. It’s also possible to
use them via network boot. The images [15] are available for the amd64,
i386, and powerpc architectures and also contain an experimental
installation system.

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Net-installation CD images with firmware available

During the last few weeks, “netinst” CD images (containing the
installation system and all packages for the base system, downloading
everything else from the Internet) have been available which also contain
the partly non-free firmware files needed (e.g.) for some network and
WLAN controllers. Now that they have been tested,they have been moved to
their final location [16] and can be downloaded from the official
download site [17] for the i386, amd64, and powerpc architectures as well
as one image to boot all three architectures.

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Debian Edu/Skolelinux 6.0.0 alpha0 test release

DebianEdu, who adapt Debian for the special needs of schools and similar
institutions, released their first test version [18] based uopn Debian
“Squeeze” . Many applications have been updated and added, so testers are
asked to take special care about the package selections: missing,
unneeded, and untranslated applications should bereported back [19].
Other newly introduced features are the integration of the LXDE desktop
environment and a roaming workstation profile for laptops.

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ZFS support in unstable on kFreeBSD ports

Thanks to Tuco Xyz, Petr Salinger and Aurelien Jarno, zfsutils [20] are
now packaged for Debian GNU/kFreeBSD [21] and available in “Sid” ,
including therelevant libraries [22] and a udeb package for the Debian
Installer [23]. Its availability also brought some kernel ZFS issues to
light which have been fixed in the meantime. Now Debian GNU/kFreeBSD can
fully support ZFS.

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Debian-Accessibility is using Blends web sentinel

The Debian-Accessibility [24] project is now using the web sentinel
provided by the Debian Pure Blends effort to show their current work to
users. Those who are interested might have a look at the

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* user oriented tasks pages [25]
* developer oriented bugs pages [26]

There is some ongoing discussion [27] whether Blends metapackages make sense
for the Debian-Accessibility project.

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The definition for the packages which are shown on the pages above is
available in the Subversion repository [28] and the documentation of the
format of the tasks files is available in the Debian Pure Blends
documentation [29].

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Debian GIS project will release Blends metapackages in “Squeeze”

The Debian GIS [30] project has now released a set of metapackages built
using Debian Pure Blends tools which are available in testing (and thus
will be released in “Squeeze” ). The web sentinel provides anoverview
[31] of the available GIS and OSM packages in Debian. It would be great
if some OpenStreetMap addicts would join this effort.

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As above, the definition for the packages shown is available in the
Subversion repository [32].

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DebiChem project will release Blends metapackages in “Squeeze”

The DebiChem [33] project has likewise released a set of metapackages for
“Squeeze” built using Debian Pure Blends tools. See theoverview [34] of
chemical application packages in Debian and task definition in the
Subversion repository [35].

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DebConf11 logo contest

While Annual Debian Developers Conference 2010 has just ended,
preparations for the 2011 conference have already begun. One example is
the DebConf11 logo contest [36] collecting ideas and logos for the
conference, which will take place in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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When should services started by init.d scripts be operational?

Petter Reinholdtsen wondered [37] whether a service started by an init.d
script should already be operational when the script exits successfully.
As the execution of these scripts is ordered based on their dependencies,
it can lead to difficult to solve problems (see for example #585966 [38]
or #589915 [39]) when these scripts exit before their service is
completely up and running. A depending service may be called while the
service is still only starting up. Josselin Mouette noted [40] that this
would be the case for all init.d scripts using the start-stop-daemon with
the –background option. Josef Spillner added [41] that services should
be able to handle it if services they depend on are temporarily
unavailable, e.g. by trying to reconnect.

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Different statistics about Debian

Anthony Towns published several statistics [42] about Debian, including
the average time needed to close bugs and the number of release-critical
bugs. The graphs are rendered using JavaScript allowing different filters
and zooming into the graphs.

42 :

Building all files from source

After several bugs had been filed against packages not building Flash
files during their build process but shipping precompiled files, Charlie
Smotherman wondered whether all files shipped in a Debian package really
need to be built from source [43]. Some of the reasons named were quality
assurance [44], conforming with Debian Poliy [45], and compliance with
the Debian Free Software Guidelines [46]: being able to modify files
distributed by Debian [47] is a core principle.

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Other news

The twenty-third issue of the miscellaneous news for developers [48] has
been released and covers the following topics:

* Debian MiniConfs
* Debian Maintainer index
* GoogleCode redirector
* Commit rights to Debian Project News for DDs
* Debian Developer Portfolio Service
* #debian-ubuntu on OFTC
* Team uploads

A list of the contents of all JAR files [49] in Debian unstable is now
generated daily. You can use zgrep to search package names, JAR
filenames, or class names.

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Martin Zobel-Helas announced the agenda for a meeting of Debian’s System
Administrators [50] to take place on 3 September in Munich, Germany.

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Russell Coker documented how to create a chroot environment [51] using
SELinux [52].

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Petter Reinholdtsen wondered [53] whether tools used to create users and
their home directories should use a common framework (e.g. scripts in
/etc/skel.d/) to automatically fill these directories with configuration

53 :

New Developers and Maintainers

Six applicants have been accepted [54] as Debian Maintainers since the
previous issue of the Debian Project News. Please welcome Michael
Ziegler, Josué Miguel Abarca Samayoa, Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo,
Tomasz Muras, Praveen Arimbrathodiyil, and Youhei SASAKI into our

54 :

Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release

According to the unofficial release-critical bug counter [55], the
upcoming release, Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” , is currently affected by 245
release-critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily solved or on the
way to being solved, roughly speaking, about 145 release-critical bugs
remain to be solved for the release to happen.

55 :

There are also more detailed statistics [56] as well as some hints on how
to interpret [57] these numbers.

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Important Debian Security Advisories

Debian’s Security Team recently released advisories for these packages
(among others): xulrunner [58], gnupg2 [59], openldap [60], kvirc [61],
mapserver [62], ghostscript [63], libmikmod [64], gmime2.2 [65], moin
[66], tiff [67], lftp [68], avahi [69], cabextract [70], wget [71], php5
[72] and socat [73].

Please read them carefully and take the proper measures.

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Please note that these are a selection of the more important security
advisories of the last 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 [74] for announcements.

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New and noteworthy packages

The following packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently
(among others [75]):

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* amora-applet — use a bluetooth device as X remote control (systray applet) [76]
* debian-installer-launcher — Debian Installer desktop launcher [77]
* forked-daapd — media server with support for RSP, DAAP, DACP and AirTunes [78]
* gnome-screensaver-flags — Screensaver for GNOME with flags of the world. [79]
* gnuspool — A network-based print spooler [80]
* guitarix — Rock guitar amplifier for Jack [81]
* juffed — Lightweight Qt 4 text editor [82]
* med-data — Debian Med suggestions for medical databases [83]
* mencoder — MPlayer’s Movie Encoder [84]
* mplayer-gui — movie player for Unix-like systems [85]
* mupdf — lightweight PDF viewer [86]
* mussh — MUltihost SSH Wrapper [87]
* nailgun — client, protocol, and server for running Java programs from CLI [88]
* plasma-widget-fastuserswitch — Fast user switch plasmoid for switching between sessions in KDE [89]
* pyrit — A GPGPU-driven WPA/WPA2-PSK key cracker [90]
* vlc-plugin-notify — LibNotify plugin for VLC [91]
* xacobeo — XPath (XML Path Language) visualizer [92]
* xul-ext-dispmua — display Mail User Agent extension for Icedove [93]
* xul-ext-imap-acl — Extension to manage ACLs on IMAP folders [94]
* xul-ext-sieve — Extension that implements the ManageSieve protocol [95]
* zathura — PDF viewer with a minimalistic interface [96]
* zfsutils — command-line tools to manage ZFS filesystems [97]

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Work-needing packages

Currently 597 packages are orphaned and 141 packages are up for adoption.
Please take a look at the recent [98] reports [99] to see if there are
packages you are interested in or view the complete list of packages
which need your help [100].

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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 contributing page [101] to find out how to help. We’re
looking forward to receiving your mail at [102].

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This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Raphaël Hertzog, Andreas
Tille, Jeremiah C. Foster, Biella Coleman and Alexander Reichle-Schmehl

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2 Responses to “Debian Project News – August 11th, 2010” »

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