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Debian Project News – October 18th, 2010

Welcome to this year’s fourteenth issue of DPN, the newsletter for the
Debian community. Topics covered in this issue include: * State of Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” * New question and answer service at ask.debian.net
* Updated DebianEdu released * New “sloppy” backports suite for stable Debian “Lenny” * General resolution about Debian project membership * Hybrid Installer Image for optical and USB devices * About the non-news of package removals in Debian’s testing branch * Following Debian Mailing lists via micro-blogging services * “Four days” promise for Debian Mentees
* Who’s using Debian? * Why do people contribute to Debian? * Further “This week in Debian” interviews * … and much more.

State of Debian 6.0 “Squeeze”
—————————–

After the release team recently met in Paris they published meeting
minutes and gave a release update [1]. Aside from updating the
documentation for point releases and deciding about the future of the
volatile archive [2], a major topic was the progress of the upcoming
release of Debian 6.0 “Squeeze”. They called for content for the Release
Notes, which should document all potential problems during an upgrade.
They also noted that all transitions have been done, and named the
current blockers of the release:a bug in udev [3] which might cause
problems during upgrades (a patch has been proposed in the meantime); a
problem in the preinstallation script of dash [4] (a patch has been
proposed and is currently being investigated); the need for
debian-installer to reach its final release; the lack of proper
documentation in the Release Notes for “Squeeze” installs and upgrades;
and finally the requirement for the security archive to support the new
source format 3.0.

1 : http://lists.debian.org/20101005202925.GU4622@halon.org.uk
2 : http://www.debian.org/volatile/
3 : http://bugs.debian.org/571255
4 : http://bugs.debian.org/546528

All in all the release team hopes to have these blockers sorted out by
the end of October, which would allow a release before Christmas. The
release team also points out that the help of everyone is needed to get
this accomplished, be it by squashing the remaining bugs, providing
facilities for real life bug squashing parties, writing the Release
Notes, or supporting translations.

Some real life bug squashing parties have already been announced for
Paris [5] and Bern [6].

5 : http://wiki.debian.org/BSP2010/Paris
6 : http://lists.debian.org/1287061434-sup-6309@meteor.durcheinandertal.local

New question and answer service at ask.debian.net [7]
—————————————————–

With the help of the Shapado Project [8], members of the Debian project
started a new user oriented service at ask.debian.net [9]. It lets users
ask specific questions and find answers, while also providing rating
systems and badges for users. It allows Debian Developers and other
contributors to easily stay in touch with the community.

7 : http://ask.debian.net
8 : http://shapado.com/
9 : http://ask.debian.net/

Updated DebianEdu released
————————–

The DebianEdu Project has released an updated version [10] of its Debian
Pure Blend targeting schools and similar environments. This update
includes an updated installer to support new hardware as well as various
bug fixes and documentation improvements. Other notable changes are
improvements of site summary where several Nagios checks have been added
to monitor system health as well as a fix for shutdown-at-night.

10 : http://lists.debian.org/201010052157.38081.holger@layer-acht.org

New “sloppy” backports suite for stable Debian “Lenny”
——————————————————

Gerfried Fuchs from Debian’s backports team announced a new suite on
backports [11] for Debian “Lenny”: “lenny-backports-sloppy”. Its usage
is similar to the regular backports suite, but there’s a major difference
in the contents of the suites: while users of the normal backports suite
can expect to update without major problems to the next Debian stable
release (as it only contains backports of the next following
distribution), users of the newly created backports-sloppy suite may need
to take special precautions, as the backports of the sloppy suite are not
restricted to coming from the next distribution, but may come from the
second-next. The new suite thus may also contain newer packages (e.g.
during the freeze already from the “unstable” branch). It therefore
allows users to easily access newer versions of packages; but users can
not just upgrade to the following stable release. They will at least need
to upgrade to using the backports suite for the next release.

11 : http://lists.debian.org/20101004201643.GA8231@edna.deb.at

General resolution about Debian project membership
————————————————–

After Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli proposed a general
resolution about non-packaging Debian project members [13], this
resolution is currently being voted on [14]. If it passes it would
invite Debian’s Account Managers to establish procedures to evaluate and
accept non-packaging contributors to the project including full voting
rights. Non-packaging contributors include for example documentation
writers and translators.

12 : 5
13 : http://www.debian.org/vote/2010/vote_002
14 : http://lists.debian.org/20101004194749.GS4622@halon.org.uk

In related news, Enrico Zini from the New Maintainer Front Desk sent a
[15] “bits from” mail. He welcomed Xavier Oswald as full member of the
Front Desk and noted that applicants to become Debian Developers will
need stronger GPG keys from now on. Following the recent bits from the
keyring maintainers [16], the use of 1024 bit DSA keys is discouraged.

15 : http://lists.debian.org/20101013074217.GA8889@enricozini.org
16 : http://lists.debian.org/20100914051848.GH22220@gwolf.org

Hybrid installer image for optical and USB devices
————————————————–

Joey Hess blogged about a hybrid debian-installer for USB and optical
discs [17]. While it has been possible to boot debian-installer from USB
sticks for quite some time, the procedure to make such a bootable USB
stick has been quite difficult. The new hybrid ISO image can be burned to
CDs as well as simply copied raw (with cat) to USB devices. It is also
very easy to add additional firmware. Joey also mentions that due to
problems with the jigdo templates, currently only a minimal hybrid image
is created, but he points out that it is very easy to make the existing
ISO images suitable for USB sticks by using the isohybrid command from
the syslinux [18] package.

17 : http://kitenet.net/~joey/blog/entry/Debian_USB_install_from_hybrid_iso/
18 : http://packages.debian.org/syslinux

About the non-news of package removals in Debian’s testing branch
—————————————————————–

Is it newsworthy if packages, even popular ones like the Chromium web
browser [19], get removed or added to Debian’s testing branch? Debian
Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli doesn’t think so [20] and points out
that Chromium is a good example for the non-newsworthiness of these
things. It had been removed from Debian’s testing branch, causing a media
fuss and some criticism, as it appeared that Chromium would not be part
of the next stable release. However, as the release critical bugs have
been fixed, the package was allowed back again. Which is – according to
Stefano – actually not newsworthy either.

19 : http://packages.debian.org/chromium-browser
20 : http://upsilon.cc/~zack/blog/posts/2010/10/Debian_squeezes_Chromium_back_in/

Following Debian Mailing lists via micro-blogging services
———————————————————-

Valessio Brito announced [21] the beta version [22] of a new service
allowing users of micro-blogging services to follow the topics [23] of
various Debian mailing lists. It is possible to search for particular
tags, bugs, meetings, or specific work.

21 : http://lists.debian.org/20100909150907.57032hggzrpdivur@ssl.eumx.net
22 : http://follow.debianart.org/
23 : http://lists.debian.org/20100908013207.13173fq11p6fp613@ssl.eumx.net

“Four days” promise for Debian Mentees
————————————–

The current approach of mentoring new package maintainers who can’t
upload packages themselves is far from perfect as it doesn’t ensure
mentees get feedback. Asheesh Laroia and Niels Thykier tried to come up
with a solution. As a first step they started a campaign [24] promising
[25] to ensure that all mails on the debian-mentors list [26] get an
answer within four days. The second step is a rewrite of the
mentors.debian.net [27] service allowing mentees to upload packages to a
central location. [28] “debexpo” will not only allow mentees to upload
their packages and run some limited tests, but will also allow mentors
and other people to check and comment on the packages. However, some help
is still needed before the new service can go online.

24 : http://www.asheesh.org/note/debian/four-days.html
25 : http://lists.debian.org/debian-mentors/2010/10/msg00005.html
26 : http://lists.debian.org/debian-mentors
27 : http://mentors.debian.net
28 : http://lists.debian.org/alpine.DEB.2.00.1010081045040.10500@rose.makesad.us

Who’s using Debian?
——————-

Are you interested to know why other people use Debian? No problem!
Debian maintains a list of Debian users [29] ranging from governmental or
educational institutions up to dozens of companies, of which surprisingly
not all are IT related. Fernando C. Estrada summarised some of the
entries and their reasons [30]. You can send us new submissions [31] via
e-mail.

29 : http://www.debian.org/users
30 : http://news.debian.net/2010/10/06/whos-using-debian/
31 : http://www.debian.org/users/#submissions

Why do people contribute to Debian?
———————————–

Why do people contribute to Debian? Long-term Debian Developer Raphaël
Hertzog tried to answer that often asked question by summarising what
motivates him personally in his contributions to Debian: technical
excellence, inspiring goals, high impact work, working with great people,
and recognition of work.

Further “This week in Debian” interviews
—————————————-

Since the last issue of the Debian Project News, three new issues of the
[32] “This week in Debian” podcast have been published: with Ben
Hutchings [33], member of Debian’s kernel maintenance team; with
Margarita Manterola [34] about the Debian Women Project [35]; and with
Neil McGovern [36], member of Debian’s release team.

32 : http://wiki.debian.org/ThisWeekInDebian
33 : http://frostbitemedia.libsyn.com/this-week-in-debian-episode-2
34 : http://frostbitemedia.libsyn.com/this-week-in-debian-episode-3
35 : http://women.debian.org/
36 : http://frostbitemedia.libsyn.com/this-week-in-debian-episode-4

Other news
———-

Arnt Ove Gregersen created [37] a female version [38] of the
DebianEdu/Skolelinux mascot [39].

37 : http://lists.debian.org/debian-edu/2010/10/msg00063.html
38 : http://user.skolelinux.org/~arntog/iselin/
39 : http://www.slx.no/en/logo-and-mascot

The 600,000th bug [40] has been reported [41] to the Debian bug tracking
system. The results for the bet on the date of this bug have been
published [42] and a bet on the submission date of Debian’s 700,000th bug
[43] has been opened.

40 : http://bugs.debian.org/600000
41 : http://blog.ikibiki.org//2010/10/13/How_many/
42 : http://www.perrier.eu.org/weblog/2010/10/12#bug-600000-now
43 : http://www.perrier.eu.org/weblog/2010/10/13#700000-bet

The Debian Project has been invited to the Society for Neuroscience
meeting 2010 in San Diego [44] and will be present with a booth there.

44 : http://www.debian.org/News/2010/20101007

Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli appointed an additional Debian
Auditor [45]: Martin Michlmayr joins Luk Claes. Stefano also gave his
monthly DPL report [46] where he summarised his recent activities. He
listed a number of interesting interviews and talks he gave, what money
has been spent on, and his communication with other teams inside Debian.

45 : http://lists.debian.org/20101009140120.GA26192@upsilon.cc
46 : http://lists.debian.org/20101006193309.GA28553@upsilon.cc

Robert Millan reported on his personal blog [47] about ZFS integration
into the Debian Installer for kFreeBSD. Aside from a patch for GNU
Parted, all other patches needed for a ZFS root filesystem have been
accepted and made it into Debian “Squeeze”. Robert also made available a
slightly modified version of the Debian Installer Imagefor downloading
[48].

47 : http://robertmh.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/about-zfs-in-squeeze/
48 : http://people.debian.org/~rmh/zfs/

New Debian Contributors
———————–

5 applicants have been accepted [49] as Debian Developers and 7
applicants have been accepted [50] as Debian Maintainers, while 13 people
started to maintain packages [51] since the previous issue of the Debian
Project News. Please welcome Salvatore Bonaccorso, Jeffrey Ratcliffe,
Deepak Tripathi, Michael Schutte, Ansgar Burchardt, Federico Ceratto,
Tanguy Ortolo, Jonathan Yu, Mats Erik Andersson, Ryan Kavanagh, Stefan
Bauer, Stuart Prescott, Andreas Noteng, Gustavo Panizzo, Julien Jehannet,
Kevin Roy, Marek Brudka, Richard Holland, David Hannequin, John
Feuerstein, Hans-Christoph Steiner, James Goppert, John Stumpo, Nicolas
Bonnefon and Mònica Ramírez Arceda into our project!

49 : https://nm.debian.org/nmlist.php#newmaint
50 : http://lists.debian.org/E1P4qsO-0001Bw-V3@franck.debian.org
51 : http://udd.debian.org/cgi-bin/new-maintainers.cgi

Release-critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release
———————————————————

According to the bug-tracking web interface of the Ultimate Debian
Database [52], the upcoming release, Debian 6.0 “Squeeze”, is currently
affected by 327 release-critical bugs. Ignoring bugs which are easily
solved or on the way to being solved, roughly speaking, about 130
release-critical bugs remain to be solved for the release to happen.

52 : http://udd.debian.org/bugs.cgi

There are also more detailed statistics [53] as well as some hints on how
to interpret [54] these numbers.

53 : http://blog.schmehl.info/Debian/rc-stats/#2010-41
54 : http://wiki.debian.org/ProjectNews/RC-Stats

Important Debian Security Advisories
————————————

Debian’s Security Team recently released advisories for these packages
(among others): freetype [55], apr-util [56], subversion [57], moodle
[58] (updated advisory), poppler [59] and postgresql-8.3 [60]. Please
read them carefully and take the proper measures.

55 : http://www.debian.org/security/2010/dsa-2116
56 : http://www.debian.org/security/2010/dsa-2117
57 : http://www.debian.org/security/2010/dsa-2118
58 : http://www.debian.org/security/2010/dsa-2115
59 : http://www.debian.org/security/2010/dsa-2119
60 : http://www.debian.org/security/2010/dsa-2120

Debian’s Backports Team released advisories for these packages:
subversion [61], postgresql-8.4 [62], and dovecot [63]. Please read them
carefully and take the proper measures.

61 : http://lists.debian.org/4CB187A1.7090108@elego.de
62 : http://lists.debian.org/20101010124845.GA5507@anguilla.debian.or.at
63 : http://lists.debian.org/4CB4D710.5080603@debian.org

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 [64] (and the separate backports
list [65]) for announcements.

64 : http://lists.debian.org/debian-security-announce/
65 : http://lists.debian.org/debian-backports-announce/

New and noteworthy packages
—————————

The following packages were added to the unstable Debian archive recently
(among others [66]):

66 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/newpkg

* algotutor — program for observing the intermediate steps of algorithms [67]
* auto-multiple-choice — multiple choice papers management [68]
* autojump — shell extension to jump to frequently used directories [69]
* chemical-structures — set of molecular structures in open formats [70]
* glogg — smart interactive log explorer using Qt4 [71]
* gwibber-themes — social networking client for GNOME (themes) [72]
* hatop — interactive ncurses client for haproxy [73]
* imspector — instant messenger proxy [74]
* ioquake3 — game engine for 3D first person shooter games [75]
* jack-capture — program for recording soundfiles with Jack [76]
* jumpapplet — autojump notification icon, to jump to frequently used directories [77]
* pomodoro-applet — GNOME Panel applet for a time management technique [78]
* postfix-cluebringer — anti-spam plugin for Postfix [79]
* premake — build script generator [80]
* projectfootball — football (soccer) management simulation game [81]
* pyro-gui — graphical tool for Pyro [82]
* wikkid — Bazaar-backed wiki [83]
* xul-ext-firexpath — extension for Firebug to edit, inspect, and generate XPath expressions. [84]

Please note that due to the freeze of the upcoming Debian 6.0 [85]
“Squeeze” acceptance of new packages has almost ceased.

67 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/algotutor
68 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/auto-multiple-choice
69 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/autojump
70 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/chemical-structures
71 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/glogg
72 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/gwibber-themes
73 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/hatop
74 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/imspector
75 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/ioquake3
76 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/jack-capture
77 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/jumpapplet
78 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/pomodoro-applet
79 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/postfix-cluebringer
80 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/premake
81 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/projectfootball
82 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/pyro-gui
83 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/wikkid
84 : http://packages.debian.org/unstable/main/xul-ext-firexpath
85 : http://www.debian.org/News/2010/20100806

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 [86] to find out how to help. We’re
looking forward to receiving your mail at
debian-publicity@lists.debian.org [87].

86 : http://wiki.debian.org/ProjectNews/HowToContribute
87 : mailto:debian-publicity@lists.debian.org

This issue of Debian Project News was edited by Martin Zobel-Helas and
Alexander Reichle-Schmehl [88].

88 : mailto:debian-publicity@lists.debian.org


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